Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Portfolio: Looking Back (Cover Letter), MySpace VS Facebook (Essay #1), The Big Move (Essay #2).

Looking Back
            Second semester has really flown by with the blink of an eye.  All throughout my schooling, I have only had two fun English classes this is one of them.  There were many components to this class that I enjoyed and that was actually quite helpful. The workshops helped us students communicate with our peers. It helped us interact first off with our class members. Secondly it helped us with our essays by bouncing our essay ideas around and seeing which one was stupid or not. Before writing an essay, I will now start bouncing around ideas with my brother or someone in general. It really helps you look at different perspectives.
            The movies and documentaries we watched in class were helpful by having a physical visual to watch and see the emotions across many faces that we were introduced to. If I can find a movie or something to watch that’s related to the topic that I am going to write or talk about it would be extremely helpful because you would feel like you are there. It would be easier to add pathos in whatever that’s needs to be discussed.  Like the documentary we watch about Iran. To be honest I did not know anything about Iran, only that America and them did not get along, but did not know the exact reason why.  Being a visual learner myself, it really opened my eyes to the history being the conflicting countries and the emotional toll that got casted upon its citizens.
            In the beginning of the year, everything was so nice and shiny. I was pretty much a lost puppy. Not only did I not know how to navigate around school, but also I did not know anyone. It was terrifying having come from a school that you knew the majority of the people to somewhere where you do not know one persons name. It was definitely a challenge to overcome. Putting aside the social aspect, the academics side was a much more difficult challenge to overcome. College was without question is more difficult than elementary, middle school and high school combined.  The expectations are much higher, and the knowledge is vaster.  Overall something that changed in me was not caring not much about the social aspect of college. In high school, especially the early years, being “cool” and “popular” was the thing that most teens cared about. Of course I would be lying if I said I did not care at all about it but overall it was not something I put high than anything else.  College especially now grounded me into not caring about the social aspect at all. In the broader sense of identity, I still feel like I have not truly “found” myself.  Mainly, because I find myself making decisions that contradict what I believe in.  Everyone says college is where people find themselves, which I want to happen already. I feel like when you do then you can truly make the right decisions for yourself, long-term wise.

MySpace VS Facebook
MySpace and Facebook have become addictions in our everyday life. Similar to people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol, social networking junkies count the minutes to their next profile fix, checking their computers multiple times per day to see how many shout-outs, or new friends they have acquired. Personally sometimes I guess I am one of those junkies, especially when I am bored. The Facebook APP will one day become the death of me. Sometimes even in class I start refreshing my Newsfeed. Even though I know half the “posts” I see on there will be worthless. Despite it all I still feel as if I am connected to the people in my friends list.
Personally, I only had MySpace for about a month. Starting it up was slightly confusing as I remember. One thing I liked was that the layout really was customized to your liking. You picked any background you wanted. My favorite part was you could choose a song, so when someone visited your site it would start playing. One thing that always frustrated me was trying to find friends or navigating from one place to the next.  Unfortunately, I deactivated it because my parents did not like me having one.
Shortly after my friends introduced me to Facebook, which I made just like everyone else to keep up with the newest and “coolest” social network. Almost everyone I knew was already on there.  I felt like the new student in class. I did, however, get used to Facebook in a shorter time than I did Facebook. Why? The Facebook layout is very simple and easy to navigate around. Everything is literally in front of you clearly wrote out. All you have to do is click. Which, of course, was a plus.
Facebook got started with a group of students from Harvard. It seems logical that the owners of multi millionaire and billionaire companies are from Harvard: Microsoft and Facebook. This is why most mention that Facebook users are more in the higher social class. Which is ironic because half the things posted up there are definitely not “high class”. According to the article by Boyd, “MySpace is being associated with the term “Ghetto”. Defined, it means a section of a city, especially a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships. Teens use the term probably because mostly minorities take up more of the demographic and also it is used as a music outlet. Mostly hip/hop and rap.”  Until this article, I had never associated the term ghetto with MySpace before. The only distinction I have seen is that MySpace is more for people that are into their music, and somehow want it to get promoted.
I have to say I like Facebook more both the reason that I got a MySpace and Facebook was because a guy asked me if I had one and I didn't want to be an idiot and say no lol I have never referred to MySpace as ghetto though I think that's really funny... I think Facebook had more features than MySpace but the one thing I loved about MySpace was the personalized profile
According to Danah Boyd, “Social media is faddish. MySpace came first and many teens chose to embrace it. When Facebook came along, plenty of teens adopted it as the “new thing.” In doing so, some chose to leave MySpace, while others simply maintained two profiles. Yet Facebook did not simply usurp MySpace. In May 2009—two and a half years after teens began splitting—comScore reported that MySpace and Facebook had roughly equal numbers of unique visitors. In other words, while a shift did occur, not all MySpace users left for Facebook, and not all who joined after both were available opted for the newer site.”  I agree with the notion that teens embrace whatever fad comes along. Attending high school you see this first hand with all the trends that teens are exposed to every so often. We see this with, for example skinny jeans. Everywhere you look now skinny jeans, skinny jeans. Can they be any tighter? I’m not even talking about the girls, the boys equally if not more.  The article also brings up a good point about the speed that these websites come about.  To me it is like a domino effect, when one falls they all one by one fall at a good speed. Like Boyd said, “ At the beginning of the school year, teens were asking “Are you on MySpace? Yes or No?” At the end of the school year, the question had changed to “MySpace or Facebook?”
“I actually didn't switch over at first. I was using both websites simultaneously. My cousins were using Facebook more, and my friends were using MySpace more. I didn't like how everything seemed like a competition on MySpace. For example, if you were or weren't on someone's top friends list, or if your profile background was considered "cool" or not... I don't like that Facebook has turned into some sort of stocking website. In other words, people know your every move, and for some people, they want the people on their friends list to know. However, what I don't like about both websites is that they make you waste so much of your time. I never thought about MySpace being ghetto.”
            From my findings, not one person had ever associated Ghetto with MySpace. There were others that like me had thought about the music promotions that MySpace has whereas it a little more difficult showcasing it on Facebook.  Either they did not know what ghetto meant or they thought the idea was “funny”. I believe this is more a matter of opinion. Although yes, it’s true MySpace and Facebook have different users which statistics shows but I wouldn’t go as far and say its Ghetto.

Boyd, Danah. “Implications of User Choice: The Cultural Logic of “MySpace or Facebook?” Interactions. 2009. Web. 16 May 2012.
Kim, Jenny. Personal Interview. 29 Feburary 2012
Dagstanyan, Marie. Personal Interview. 29 Feburary 2012

The Big Move
            I was born 1993 in Armenia. According to my parents, that year was hell in Armenia. Food was scarce especially things that were essential to a baby like milk and bread for example.  Along with my parents, my aunts and uncles always say how lucky I was to survive.  I cannot imagine what my parents went through to trying to feed their baby, but I heard all about the difficulties they went through.  When I was about 10 months old, my parents decided to go to Russia to have a better life for their child (me). Russia was doing okay at that time and Armenia was not in good shape, consequences of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. As the Armenia State Fund USA states, “The years 1993-1994 were most definitive for Armenia Fund. The need for prompt action dictated its mission, and a broad responsibility emerged to overcome hardships plaguing Armenia and Karabakh at one of the most critical periods for the nation. Established with a strategic vision, Armenia Fund focused on projects that addressed immediate humanitarian needs.”  The quote pretty much sums it all with the “hardships”. We were in Russia for about 5 years, for which when my brother was born. My parents were prosperous there for the first time since Russia. After 5 years my parents decided to go back to Armenia for a few months. They still say that coming to America was an accident, which is pretty funny if you ask me. They applied for an interview and they unexpectedly passed. Coming to America, they did not realize it was going to permanent. What was ironic is that my dad was never a “fan” of the United States of America. Besides my dad leaving his business in Russia, my parents also lost the value of their college degrees. My parent’s were/are highly educated people. My mom graduated from medical school in Armenia and my dad graduated from two universities in physics/ mathematics. Unfortunately when we came to America we were immigrants, so they could not transfer their degrees to the equivalent of a U.S degree. The most difficult part was the language barrier. They barely knew one word in English, so it really constricted their job seeking.  They ended up working for Armenian businesses. Of course it was miles far from what their degrees were for. Having no choice, and having children to take care of, they did all they could.
            We ended up in Glendale, California, which is known for a big Armenian population. That was not surprising. Being in Glendale, was a little easy on my parents in the language department because wherever they turned an Armenian would pop up. However overall they felt helpless in the job field because they were highly limited. Imagine not being able to properly convey your emotions to the person in front of you. The stress and frustration that will come along with it. My brother and I pretty much learned English through cartoons with the captions on, reading along. Obviously for children it is easier for them to pick upon languages, which is why my parents were not that much worried about us. They say I because I am the oldest starting talking basic English in about 2 months and then greatly progressed as I was put into school, and started interacting with children. In and out of the classroom. What I greatly regret about the big transition is forgetting Russian. I see old videotapes of me speaking in Russian, or reciting poems at school events and I feel like I am speaking Gibberish. My parents always say my classmates’ parents back in Russia first thought I was Russian, which is ironic because I was slightly dark compared to their stark white. Despite being Armenian, I could still say that Armenian was not the first language I spoke. I was about nine months when we moved to Russia; therefore I was exposed to mainly Russian. I was put into Day Care and later preschool, where all I spoke was Russian. Imagine going from country to country having to learn the language, and the pressures that come along with it.  After being able to speak perfect Russian we moved to the United States of America, where I obviously had to learn English as soon as possible because I was already 6, the age for first grade.
            When you hear about people coming from third world countries, it is almost always about religion freedom, women’s rights, economic/social reasons, etc. Neither of those really pertained to us, besides maybe economic reasons. Yes, coming here was an accident; however, the economic reasons were the reason for staying.  Compared to Armenia, America has greater career opportunities for even a “commoner”. The education system really helps out people, whether it is Financial Aid, Loans, or other government programs that are out there.  When asked, “What was one of the main reasons for staying in America?” My amazing mother replied by saying, “For you and your brother, our time has passed. It is your and your brothers time to do something with your life. You both has many opportunities in America.  We will do everything to provide you guys with anything you need so you guys can go on with you guysies studies.” It was extremely touching, however I had a hard time not laughing at her grammar.  When I asked her “Why did we move to Glendale first?” Her reply was, “That is a stupid question. You have not seen how much Armenians there are there. Its like a small Armenia.” According to Armeniapedia, “Glendale, California hosts the second largest Armenian population of any city in the USA (Los Angeles is first). It has the highest percentage of residents of Armenian descent, most of whom arrived in the city in the last two decades.” Apparently, my mother is right.
            Besides the language barriers, other things came into play with coming to a different country completely different from our own. The main ones were traditions, customs, and in general the way the two cultures think. We as Armenians, especially my parents and the elders, have a strict sense of tradition.  Yes I do believe keeping our heritage and traditions close to our hearts, because deep down we are who we were. On the other hand, there are areas where being open-minded is a good thing.  Being in this country for almost 13 years, I am extremely open-minded to new ideas, customs, and lifestyles.  Lets take for example the debate on gay marriage. I am all for it. If that’s what makes someone happy, and they choose that life for themselves, then so be it. However, my parents and most of the older generations of Armenians completely disagree with me. Like the republicans, they feel that marriage is between a man and a woman and it is not right. I respect this statement, along with anyone’s opinion on the issue. My parents frequently say that I am Americanized and that I should have been an “American”. It does irk me, but if being tolerant and open-minded is called American then I am fine with it. I do not really blame them that is just an outcome of where and when they were born. I have a feeling if they were brought up here, they feelings would be a tad different. A quote from Persepolis was fitting for my parents. “What do you expect, I came from a traditionalist country.”
A small transition we made after 3 years was moving from Glendale to Burbank.  It definitely was an easier one, because we knew the language very well, were familiar with the school system, and most importantly it was not overseas. It was only 5 streets over, because we lived on the edge of Glendale. This move according to my parents was purely social. I was 2 weeks into 4 grade when we moved.  In a couple more years I would have gone to middle school and then of course high school.  My parents say they did not want us to go to the middle school and high school in Glendale. They had heard stories from other parents that there were always dangerous fights happening inside the school walls, as well as other things.  An online magazine called Ararat says in one of the articles, “The most significant one occurred in 2000, when senior Raul Aguirre, who had no gang affiliation, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death while intervening in a fight between rival Armenian and Hispanic gang members. Aguirre’s death and that of Avetis “Avo” Demirchyan, who was shot in 1998 in an inter-Armenian-related dispute, tainted the Glendale school’s image for years, even though none of the events occurred on campus.”  It goes on to say.  “Hoover High School is located in a city containing the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia and Russia, but ethnic friction between Hispanics and Armenians has been problematic in nearby communities as well.”  This really was the case. I had cousins going to Hoover and Glendale, they were always talking about some fight that happened that week, or if they were lucky, month. Yes, of course, there were fights in my high school, but not as often as the Glendale ones.
Despite all the struggles my parents faced when first coming to America they have finally slightly found their place.  My brother and I are immersed in the American lifestyle, mainly, because of the schools. My parents make us talk Armenian at home, which is a good thing because as they say my Armenian could use some work. My dad still is not that much of a fan of America. As he says, “America brainwashes you kids.”

Armeniapedia, The Armenian Encyclopedia.  27 October 2011.  15 May 2012.

Armenian Fund USA. Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. 20 July 2007. 16 May 2012

Aghajanian, Liana. “Culture Clash: Armenian and Hispanic Relations in the Past, Present and Future.” Ararat (a magazine from AGBU). 6 July 2010.  Web. 16 May 2012

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. France: Pantheon, 2002. Print.

Hakobyan, Knarik. Personal Interview. 14 May 2012.

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