Monthly Archives: September 2014

Civic Engagement Speeches Evaluation

After a long week of listening to speeches, I think that we are all reminded of something: giving a speech in front of a crowd of your peers can be simultaneously fulfilling and nerve-wrecking. On one hand, it feels great to be able to share our experiences and our viewpoints on issues, while on the other hand one feels judged by everything from one hair being out of line to a small, almost unnoticeable stutter.

I think that this was a particularly difficult assignment. Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that it’s difficult to prepare a three minute long speech, but rather it is just cruel to tell someone to find something that they would love to talk about and only give him three minutes to do so. I know, personally, I would feel much more fulfilled speaking for, at the very minimum, five minutes so that I can properly inform people about my topic, while still giving people the chance to feel engaged by it. I do understand that five minutes would give people all too much time to ramble on, but rambling and straying off-topic is in the fault of the speaker, not in the structure of the assignment.

I truly enjoyed all of the speeches that I heard, except for the speeches that felt like someone had basically read someone’s entire biography and briefly followed it with the statement “therefore he/she is civic.” I felt like people brought with them the exact enthusiasm necessary to engage the audience. People who were more passionate about the topic seemed to be more casual in their approach and therefore more involving in their delivery, while people who were more calculated about their speeches tended to feel more aggressive and caused the audience to distance themselves. Overall, I have truly enjoyed the whole experience and I cannot wait to give my speech this week.

The “C” Word

Many people in the world today tip toe around this word. Some people want to ignore its existence entirely, while some people completely embrace it. People who embrace it swear by it, while people who distance themselves from it miss out.

But I’m not afraid to say the “C” word.


Cardio, as defined by the movie Zombieland, is the most important part of surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular exercise, is also often referred to as aerobic exercise. Cardio can really be anything that is from light to moderate intensity exercise. Some common examples of cardio would be medium to long distance running/jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking. Aerobic exercise differs from its counterpart, anaerobic exercise, based on the intensity of the work out. For example, running may be considered to be an aerobic exercise, while sprinting would be considered to be an anaerobic exercise.

A chart to measure which zone an exercise is categorized in based on your pulse rate.

I could sit around and list out all of the benefits of doing cardio, but I think most people already understand the majority of the benefits. Overall, people know that doing cardio makes a person much more healthy. Some of the lesser known benefits of doing cardio are improved mental health, stress reduction, and improved cognitive capacity. That’s right; doing cardio can actually make you smarter. Another lesser known fact is that high-impact aerobic activities can actually stimulate bone growth. Furthermore, people who take part in regular intense cardio exercises were found by the National Sleep Foundation to fall asleep 54% faster, which I think we could all agree is all too tempting to pass up (Source.) Overall, cardio is kickass. But enough talking about the benefits- let’s talk about how to actually get your cardio going.

I do recognized that “improved” is spelled incorrectly.

A great way that I find to actually get myself to do cardio is either to play a sport with friends or to constantly be running late for things. Although I usually get more cardio in from the latter, the former is much more rewarding. When most people think of cardio, they think of people who get up at 5am and run six miles for God knows what reason. I mean, I have nothing against people who do that, I’ve just never been able to understand how someone could motivate themselves to do so and how they could not become bored. A lot of the most basic aerobic exercises are thought to be those high intensity, high motivation activities, yet it’s not necessary to get your cardio in that way.

Instead of thinking that you have to participate in highly motivated activities in order to get your cardio in, simply find something that you love to do outdoors. I know that I personally hate doing cardio, but I love playing sports with my friends. You’re not motivated to keep working because you want the work out; you’re motivated by the fact that you’re having fun. I suck at tennis, yet it’s one of my favorite things to do with my friends. It gets us running around without realizing it. Of course, we have modified the rules in order to make up for our complete lack of skill, but the point of being out there isn’t to be good at what we’re doing. Rather, it is to just be doing it together and having fun- with cardio as an added bonus.


Eating Healthy

Eating healthy. Those words make any normal person cringe. Those two words on their own bring up great images of people who are lean, fit, and overall healthy, but at the same time it just sounds so much like limiting yourself. That’s the hardest part about eating healthy.

For starters, I would like to clear up any confusion about dieting. Dieting is a noun that was made into a verb, and honestly, I don’t like it one bit. A diet, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.” So a diet is not what people and the media make it out to be. “Diet” does not have to be a cringe word, because you are on a diet right now. “Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat.” So, simply by making decisions on what you want to eat, you are dieting. If you choose to eat an entire cheesecake to yourself instead of eating a salad, you are dieting. Now, eating a whole cheesecake isn’t something I would encourage, but I think you get the point.

There are a few key essentials to a healthy diet. Every day, you should make sure that you consume protein, vegetables, fruit, and water. These are pretty much the key essentials to living  healthy life. I would also recommend adding taking a multivitamin to your routine just to ensure that you have everything you need in order to be and feel healthy. Personally, as a man who does intense work outs regularly, I would recommend Mega Men Sport. In reality though, one multivitamin is hardly different than another multivitamin. You may pick up two bottles of multivitamins and compare what each one has in it, but in reality, there is no major difference between the two. The reason why I choose Mega Men Sport is because it has everything that a normal multivitamin has, but it also has a bunch of great nutrients for high intensity work outs.

We probably all remember these.

Maintaining a healthy diet is easy for some, but it is a large struggle for others. Some people suffer from either living in an environment that encourages a poor diet or a lack of access to a healthy diet. The most important part of maintaining a healthy diet is constantly reminding yourself why you are on a diet in the first place. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? How do you want to feel? After a while, your brain will start to answers those questions for you and you won’t have to consciously think about what you choose to include or not to include in your diet. I know that’s something that happened to me. I like it, but at the same time I hate it. Foods that I used to love no longer taste good to me if they’re not healthy just because I have gotten so used to a healthy lifestyle. I love steak, but I’ve cut red meat out of my diet (don’t worry, I still eat chicken.)

In conclusion, dieting is tough, but it is easy if you constantly remind yourself why you are doing it.

Scout Law Artifact

For my artifact for the Unit One project, I chose the Scout Law. The Scout Law is not some random mumbo jumbo that we repeat just to appear unified; it is a personal agreement that we agree to withhold each time that we meet. It is a way of life that we dedicate ourselves to. The Scout Law is a large part of my daily life. It’s really a part of any scout’s life, whether we choose to admit it or not. The Scout Law is a code of ethics that every scout swears to abide by until the day he dies. Those who live by the Scout Law are some of the greatest people you will ever meet.

Boy Scout emblem

For those of you who do not know, the scout law is a promise to ourselves and others that we will live a certain lifestyle. The scout law is the following: A scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Now, some of these traits are traits that you see in people every- people who are not scouts. I do not hold some great view of scouting that only scouts possess these qualities; rather, I believe this is a code that many people live by without even realizing it.

Jensen Ackles in his class A and class B uniforms


The founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Baden-Powell, observed these traits in others. He saw what great citizens people were when they lived by some of these laws, so he wanted to create an organization where people could be truly civic by living by all of these laws. In creating a more civic society, Baden-Powell succeeded greatly. I know for a fact that Boy Scouts made me a much greater person and it is a large part of who I am today.

Kairos does not work that well into the Scout Law because the best timing to implement the Scout Law into our life is all the time. The Scout Law is not about timing; it’s about a lifestyle.

Powerlifting: It’s a Sport

Today, I attended my first powerlifing practice.

Many people have not heard of powerlifting. Many people would ask, “Is that what they do in the olympics?” The answer is no. Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting are two different things at their roots. Olympic Weightlifting consists of the snatch and the clean and jerk, whereas Powerlifting consists of the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. The two different activities do have major overlaps though. Both Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting are about being the strongest possible while fitting in to a specific weight class. So, the two are about having the best power ratio, or weight lifted to amount you weigh ratio.

Man performing a 675lb deadlift

Powerlifting is a sport that I love because I have always been very strong but at the same time very dense. At a weight of 155lbs, I could bench 275lbs- almost twice my weight. Working out is a passion of mine, so the fact that there is a sport that involves that passion makes it all that much better. People say that the best sport is the sport that you love. Personally, I had been training for this sport for years on end without even knowing it existed.

In my junior year of high school, my football coach invited me to go to a powerlifting competition. I didn’t know exactly what is was, but it sounded fun to me. Without having known that I had already been practicing for this competition, I showed up more trained and conditioned than many of the competitors who had been training solely for this competition. At that competition, I placed second place in the county, and I did not come from a small county. There were about 20 competitors in my weightclass.

After that competition, I gained a whole new level of confidence in my lifting. Although, like many high school lifters, I fell in and out of intense routine, I never fully quit weightlifting, making sure that I did it at least once a week. If I didn’t, I just wouldn’t feel good about myself. One of my biggest concerns in coming to college was being able to find enough time to work out. When I saw the powerlifting club at the club fair in the HUB, I was psyched and new that I  had found the perfect thing for myself.

The 2012 Penn State Powerlifting team

The powerlifting club meets Sunday through Thursday from 4:30pm until 7pm. From 5pm to 7pm, the powerlifting club has exclusive gym access, meaning that I get two hours of lifting with only the most intense and focused of lifters. Every year, the Penn State Powerlifting team sends numerous members to the national collegiate competition which is coordinated by the USAPL.

The powerlifting team is a great place to be and I can’t wait to make results and to make the team my family. Lifting is what you make it. Lifting is the one sport where you can see the results every night in the mirror. Lifting is life.

Conservatives vs Liberals

(In Response to Question 3)

I am someone who was raised in a liberal household. My mother, brother, and sister all have strong liberal point of views. Growing up, I was always on the side of the liberals merely because I was following what my family supported. At some point, though, I started to view issues in my own mind- without paying any attention to the influence of my family. I started to view problems for what they were and figured out their roots and potential solutions. As I grew up, I became more and more conservative. Now, to clear up any confusion, I am not a full-fledged conservative. No, I would rather define myself as a libertarian. As a libertarian, I am more socially liberal than Democrats and more economically conservative than the Republicans. Obviously, I view this as the best way to stand.

In my senior year of high school, I was in a politics class. Our final project was to do extensive research on an issue and to present it to the class in a 40 minute long presentation. My topics were Obamacare and welfare programs– two things that I have a large problem with. My problem with neither program has to do with its goals, but rather has to do with its methods. I made sure that in my presentation I used as many facts and as much logic as possible, as these programs gain all of the strength in their standing strictly through an appeal to pathos, while ignoring most sense of logic. My goal was to derail their credibility through undermining their logic.

Spock from Star Trek- known for his great sense of logic

After my presentation was finished, I had many people approach me and commend me on my work and inform me that it opened their eyes in regard to all of these issues. My strong sense of logic and coherent presentation clearly communicated the issues to my audience, while I also utilized a sense of satire to mock the problems of the issues in order to retain the attention of my audience.

Jon Stewart, a great face of political satire

Many times, people have tried to convince me that both Obamacare and welfare programs are functioning effectively and efficiently, yet those same people have not been able to communicate to me a clear reason why the programs are successful other than just by proposing an emotional argument. A successful argument needs a sufficient balance of logos and pathos with just enough of a sense of ethos.

Don’t work out because someone called you fat. Don’t eat healthy because someone told you to. Work out because you want to love the way you look. Eat healthy because you want to love the way you feel. Put the two together if you want to live the most positive and happiest lifestyle that you can. Exercising can improve more things in your life than you can count, other than just your physical appearance. Here is a list of some of the positive effects it can have on you.

Dieting sucks. The worst part about dieting is looking at someone who is completely cut and toned eating a slice of cake and not caring because they don’t gain weight. The world isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. The thing about life is that those who it gives to don’t appreciate what they have. The person who you want to be is the person who takes what he wants and who never forgets how hard it is to get it. The person who works for something knows the sweetness of success much better than anyone who accomplished something by mere natural talent. Eat your salad as if it tastes better than any cake you have ever had.

It’s the classic story of the tortoise and the hare. The few are the hares who can win any race, but the majority of us are turtles. In that race, we can choose to quit because we think we have no chance or we can choose to push on because we believe in ourselves. The toughest people in life are those who can push through all the mounds of doubt and emerge through the other side a new person. Doubt is one of the strongest motivators around. When you do something, always do so as if you have something to prove- even if it’s just to prove something to yourself. Don’t be your biggest doubter. Be your own biggest fan.

But I am getting off topic. Being healthy is not just to show up the doubters. That may be a means of motivation, but in the end one realizes that being healthy is really for his own benefit. I can not tell you the amount of satisfaction it brings into my life. When I had mono, I had to take six weeks off from working out and I could barely eat. If I had to name the most depressing moments of my life, these would be them. I am a person who has loves fitness and who has eaten healthy since a young age. At first I did it to compete with my big brother and so that he couldn’t beat me up anymore, but at a certain point I realized that I had completely forgot why I started. I was no longer doing it to prove something; I was doing it for me.

How my big brother and I looked at a young age.

There are many decisions in life that people regret, but no person will ever tell you that living healthy is one of them. When you live healthy, you feel sharper, more confident, and you overall feel happier. Whether you workout for the endorphins or you do it for the pump like the Governator, do it because you love it. Do it because you love yourself.

What Is Being Civic?

Civic is a word that is tossed around a lot. People throw around terms such as “civic duty” and “civic responsibility,” yet many people do not even fully understand what this means. People understand that certain things they do make them civic, but the broader definition of civic is lost on many. In my mind, part of being civic is joining with the members of one’s community in order to gain some sense of family and pride.

To be civic is to become someone that is more than just someone who lives in a country or has citizenship. In order to be civic, one has many responsibilities. Although this may sound like a difficult thing to do, most of these responsibilities actually come naturally to us. For example, the RCL book names simple everyday life as an aspect of being civic. No, this does not mean that because you buy groceries and hang out with your friends that you are being civic. We actually are civic without even realizing it. Something as simple as saying the Pledge of Allegiance would make someone considered to be civic. See, it is the simple things that we do to be a part of our community that gives us an essence of being civic. We spread our social beliefs.

Another great aspect, as mentioned in the RCL book, is being a part of shared enterprise. No, this does not mean that you have to start a business with someone. This can be as simple as joining in common work. “People can feel connections with one another through a sense of public purpose…” (Rhetoric and Civic Life, 7.) One instance in my life where I have joined in this common enterprise is through my boy scout troop. Together, we accomplished many things that we could not do without each other and we developed a fellowship through it. We took the support that our community gave to us and we did everything we could to give back to our community. Wanting to be a part of one’s community and making it a better place is one of the most important aspects to being civic.