I decided to drink for the first time yesterday. I came to this decision because I believe I was adhering to my promise blindly (or maybe being blind is the only way to adhere to some promises), and with my curiosity and current life philosophy of thinking independently, I had to break it. The reason why I adhered to my promise so strictly before was because I wanted to train my discipline; I didn't want to make any exceptions because I thought I would be able some how to justify my breaking of the promise and thus, I wanted to safeguard against it. Obviously I was right, I did end up justifying my action, but I do not regret it. Even though I wanted to train my discipline, I do not think I lost any by breaking my promise.

Unfortunately, the experience was horrible. I was with Ken, Walter and his girlfriend and we were drinking at my house. After drinking two beers, I felt like I had a fever; I was a bit dizzy and a bit nauseated. I went to bed early because I was afraid it was going to get worse (too bad I had to wake up in the middle of the night to pee) and now I feel alright. I think it's unlikely that I will drink again.

New Leaders for New Schools

Forward progression and true transformation of public education is the next civil rights movement. New Leaders for New Schools is at the forefront of this movement, breaking new ground with dramatic improvements in urban school performance. We elevate urban student achievement beyond ordinary to extraordinary. Stellar academic success achieved by New Leaders principals in some of America’s major urban centers is clear evidence that children from all communities can achieve at the highest levels.

Our leaders are influential agents of change who impact not only students and schools but entire communities, producing high school graduates well prepared for college, careers, and beyond. It is our mission to ensure high academic achievement for every student by attracting and preparing outstanding leaders and supporting the performance of the urban public schools they lead at scale.

I had an interview with them last Thursday and I think it went pretty well (the guy said he would forward my resume to the hiring manager). They asked me the typical questions and luckily, they're mainly focused on principle. I have a lot of confidence in my interview abilities because I think it's very easy for me to talk about the principles I believe in and my public speaking skills allows me to express my ideas very clearly. I wish I had the chance to get an interview with every job that I applied to, but I know it's impossible. My resume really doesn't make me look that great, but I think if I had a chance to talk with them, they would realize that my resume doesn't do me justice.

I hate being reduced to that one sheet of paper. You can't see that I have passion on my resume, you can't see that I'm bright. Instead, all you see is my education and my work experience. I AM MORE THAN THAT!!! And even though I don't have a better alternative, it still frustrates me to get rejected from jobs I know that I can do.

Patriotism and Universal Love

Patriotism and universal love are mutually exclusive. I will attempt to prove this theoretical argument with logic. First, however, I must clarify what I mean by universal love; universal love is the belief that we are all brothers and sisters and should be treated as such (this implies, more or less, equality of compassion). Now we may begin.

Patriotism implies loyalty; it implies that if the country requires it, you will be willing to bear arms. It implies that if your country goes to war against another country, you will fight for your country. Ideally, you would think that you should only bear arms if you agreed with the principles. However, the theoretical notion of patriotism and loyalty, as I understand it, does not incorporate this.

Now, let us use a more concrete example. I am American. There are problems in America, but there are worse problems abroad. Who do I help first? This situation, of course, is based on the idea that everyone has the moral obligation to help others. According to this obligation, it would seem that I should help the people who are suffering the most first. However, loyalty to my country would make me want to help other Americans first. Therefore, ultimately, I am faced with the basic decision of choosing between what I should do and what I want to do.

With this logic, I believe it is easy to see why patriotism and universal love are mutually exclusive.

Ralph Nader

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

-George Bernard Shaw

For those of us who have an activist mentality, for those of us who sometimes have the urge to give up hope, and for those of us who have been told to conform, I share this wisdom with you. Progress depends on us, so whenever someone tells us to adapt, whether it be society, teachers or even our own parents, I advise you to not. Do what you believe is right. Remember this, society does not determine what is right, but rather what is acceptable. Be a soldier for righteousness, not for conformity.

I saw this quote when I was watching the documentary “An Unreasonable Man” which was a piece about the life of Ralph Nader. I have to say, after watching this, I've become a fan. Having learned about his life, I now believe that I have been more useless than I had previously thought. This man got a lot of things done, and I mean a lot. I can only hope that I will have such an impressive record when I'm his age. He reminds me of the critical responsibilities that people have but rarely accept, and with his exceptional drive to get things done, it surprises me that he hasn't received universal admiration.

Environment America

Environment America Fellows will get a chance to work with some of the top environmental advocates and organizers in the country, and will have an immediate impact on critical environmental issues. The Fellowship Program gives recent college graduates the training and experience to assume leadership roles in the environmental movement for the long term.

The Fellowship Program positions include, but are not limited to: 

As an issue associate, you’ll master your issue area and build the kind of powerful support it takes to make your voice heard and change public policy. Responsibilities include: researching and writing reports, developing and coordinating campaigns, preparing legislative testimony, building statewide and national coalitions, organizing media events, raising funds, and meeting with elected officials. 

As a field associate, you’ll build and demonstrate support for proposals at the state or federal level to ensure that decision-makers hear from and pay attention to the public. You must quickly master the basics of a variety of issues, and then reach out to individuals, media outlets and organizations to build visibility and gain their support.

Issue associates and field associates may work on any of the following issues: global warming, energy policy, clean air and water, preserving our open spaces, and more. Each associate takes on the critical role of building the organization by canvassing at various times during the year and running a citizen outreach office during the summer.

How cool does this job sound? They contacted me to schedule a phone interview which took place yesterday morning and I guess I passed it because they want me to come in to their office for a face-to-face interview! I'm really excited. I haven't scheduled an appointment yet because they haven't contacted me, but it should be very soon. I really do hope I get this job; it has two things I want: the chance to protect the environment and therefore bring my principles to work, and the chance to use my passion and intellect. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.