Remember in high school when people you knew could be put on a linear scale of success? Basically all you had to do was look at their GPA and maybe extra-curriculars, and that would determine the caliber of school that they went to. That, in turn, would probably determine their success in life. So, what happened to the people who were obviously going to fail and the people who were obviously going to succeed? It's obvious, right?

Let's look at my friend, who I'll call Mike, and his sister, "Amanda," who together perfectly illustrate the deviant vs. straight and narrow model. I've known their family very closely for a long time, and they both went to the same high school that I did, while I too figured  them as the wise king and the fool.

Mike is the fool, a looney person, passionate about everything. He'd insist that trail markers and signs are just suggestions, and as long as you know where you are you're fine. He's a strong flavor of ice-cream; not for everyone but always memorable. However, he procrastinated doing homework and housework and spent each dinner arguing with his parents.

Amanda, the first born, was somehow the polar opposite. She was smart and beautiful, and she studied hard. Amanda was an obedient dog, desperate to please her parents, someone who would never disagree or try to go a different way. The wise man, the straight path, follow the guide. 

Amanda was cherished as she always did what her parents said, and Mike was the perpetually patronized. Amanda was getting over a 4.0 GPA and Mike was barely making B's. While Mike was bringing home medals and awards from his sport, his parents would just insist that he should drop out. They even called the school and asked to have him disenrolled because it was taking away from studying time and making him gain weight.

Where are they now? The next installment will explore where they went.

As a college student, I am often faced with many wonderful opportunities and choices. There are so many organizations that whoever has the right stuff can join, internships you can apply for, and scholarships you can get. Sometimes I feel that there are so many opportunities for us students, the hardest thing is deciding which ones to try.
Of course, that's not to say that there aren't stipulations for getting these opportunities. In order to ensure that you are an ideal candidate, you can attend seminars about success, read self-help books, and try to gain experience to make you a well-rounded and healthy person.
Though we're all far from perfect, personally I try to gain a lot of substance. I've gone to the career center to learn to exploit my strengths, and I've got communication skills coupled with an ability to keep a positive atmosphere when things are tough. I know how to give an interview, with enthusiasm and professionalism. The two most important characteristics an applicant can have to an employer are honesty and leadership skills, and I both value honesty and have experience with leadership classes. Not bad for a sophomore?

However there is one vital element that I lack, an element that cannot be taught in a seminar or learned in a book. This element has barred me from probably a good three-quarters of the scholarships and internships for which I have wished to apply. No, what I (along with so many others) am lacking is much more important than a positive attitude.

What I am talking about of course is the elusive dark skin.

How could I have missed that? I guess I am just not talented enough to apply for the American Academy of Science's Minority Science Writing Internship, nor can I get the Flip Wilson Journalism Scholarship. Sure I'm a journalism major with a passion for science and an ability to write a biography for Flip Wilson, but I just don't have enough of that golden melanin to be deserving.

So I encourage you pasty-faced losers, don't let this happen to you. Don't get so caught up in things like education and experience, because a true test of character is reflected in your complexion. Sure, you might get skin cancer before you're tan enough to be considered a minority, but it's worth the risk. Besides, us white people should be ashamed of the way we were born, anyway.
California student leaders gathered last weekend to discuss sustainability at an annual convergence held at the University of California, San Diego.

A group called the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) hosts both a spring and fall convergence each year at different California university campuses. Student leaders from across California interested in sustainability on campus and in their communities attended these convergences to learn the latest in environmental science and opinions, to share resources, and to socialize with other environmentalists. 

“It’s so great to come together with like-minded people and know you’re not in this struggle alone,” said Orange Coast College student Brianna Flores, who had come to the convergence after being alerted via the CSSC e-mail list. “Sometimes you feel like you’re taking on all these things, and just to come together with all these students who have done so much for their campuses, created such change…it’s really inspiring.”

The mission of the CSSC, according to their website, is “…to unite and empower California’s community of higher education to collaboratively and nonviolently transform our selves and our institutions based on our inherent social, economic, and ecological responsibilities.


The students were told to arrive Friday night, where they socialized to get to know each other until that night, when many of them sprawled their sleeping bags across the floors of the dorms to sleep. On Saturday, the attendees went to three workshops of their choosing. Workshops, hosted by students, staff, and volunteer speakers, covered a broad range of topics, including traditional foods, how to advertise for a nonprofit organization using the Internet, the effects of meat on the environment, and home composting. 

This semester, UC San Diego’s Student Sustainability Collective hosted the convergence, with convergence coordinator Jared Muscat, an involved member of the student sustainability community.

“It’s kind of our Mecca, you know?” said Muscat. “Every fall and every spring, it’s the one thing we come back to, we see each other if we haven’t seen each other for a while…we get super, super excited, and we just dive right in into all this stuff.”

The convergence provided free vegetarian, organic, local food for all the meals at the convergence, which had been donated by businesses around the campus as well as the campus farming co-op.

Later on Saturday night, there was a concert put on by a local band called The Skavolutionary Orchestra, to which the attendees enthusiastically danced.

Sunday morning, the attendees ate breakfast and attended one more workshop. The last event of the convergence was a spiral hug, in which the attendees all took each others’ hands and spun in a line to create a human spiral, which tightened into a massive group-hug.