Jenna McCarthy: What you don’t know about marriage

Nowadays, it’s a well-known fact that marriages– at least in America– are very likely to end in divorce than a happily-ever-after scenario. However, writer Jenna McCarthy presents her researched findings about the factors that are common in all successful marriages.

McCarthy has injected jokes and humor into her presentation. Some may find her entertaining and pleasant to listen to. Others may be put off by her attempts to make the subject matter funny. She almost paints a negative image of marriage at the beginning. She acts like it’s comparable to torture, when in truth marriage is about compromise and it’s still very possible in our current society to make it work. We are a generation of impulse, and if it’s not working without difficulty then we will give up. If you marry someone you truly love, I believe you can almost always find a way to make it work. I’m perfectly fine if people don’t feel like marriage is for them and don’t want a monogamous, lifelong relationship. But I do have a problem with people who get married several times and don’t try to find ways to make those relationships work. We as a society should try to be less pessimistic about marriage.

Nonetheless, if you are interested in making your current marriage work or if you want to know how to bulletproof your future marriage, this TED talk is worth watching.

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Do girls really mature faster than boys?

imgres-14I’ve always heard people say that girls mature faster than boys, and wondered if there was scientific evidence to support it. Well, it looks like there is.

As a teenage girl, I’ve always felt considerably more mature than the boys in my grade. And it’s not just me who feels like that, almost all of my friends feel the same. It’s finally improving in high school, but middle school was when it seemed like the difference in maturity was most significant. Of course by separating kids into specific groups is a gross generalization, but I’m speaking very broadly on personal experiences. Of course I’ve known very mature boys, and very immature girls. But there seems to be enough of a difference to constitute some scientific reason behind it.

Girls’ brains can develop up to 10 years earlier than boys’, according to theTelegraph. This might explain “why girls mature faster in certain cognitive and emotional areas than males during childhood and adolescence,” according to Psychology Today.

While studying how the brain stores information, a group of researchers at England’s Newcastle University stumbled upon evidence showing that girls’ brains start to work more efficiently at a younger age than boys’. They found that the restructuring that happens in children’s brains occurs much earlier in girls than in boys. The brain actually weeds out information and focuses on what’s most important. Connections in the brain that don’t get regularly used are dropped and those connections that get used the most are nourished and reenforced. This all happens as early as 10 years old for girls and between 15 and 20 for boys.

Knowing how our brain works can tell us many things about people in general, and is the basis of psychology. It’s very important to understand how it works, so we can further understand ourselves.

Why to do with a degree in psychology

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When I tell people I want to major in psychology, I often get weird looks and people telling me, do you expect to get a job with that? It’s a common misconception that psychology degrees are useless, but that’s far from the truth.

True, you can’t get a job in an area of psychology with only a bachelor’s degree. You can’t become a licensed psychologist unless you have graduate training plus additional hours of supervision, but the skills you gain as a psychology major translate well into many jobs, especially in entry-level positions.

Many students graduating with a bachelor’s degree will work in some division of human or social services. Some common job titles in the area include:

  • Case Management
  • Career Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Psychiatric Technician

Some of the most important things you will learn during your undergraduate years are interpersonal skills. Your understanding of the human mind and behavior make you a good candidate for jobs that require strong communication skills. Some examples jobs in this area include those in sales, marketing, case management, and social services.

According to Charles Brewer, a psychology professor at Furman University, looking at psychology undergraduate degrees as simply a step toward an advanced degree is often a mistake. “A lot of people think that in order to do anything with a degree in psychology you must get a Ph.D and become a psychologist,” he explained in an article by CNN. “Most parents, even if they are professionals in their own right, don’t understand what opportunities are open to psych majors.” He also suggests that the biggest advantage of a bachelor’s degree in psychology is its adaptability.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is sometimes seen as a stepping stone toward a graduate degree. Many psychology majors end up going on to business school, law school, or some other type of advanced degree program. Personally, I’m interested in majoring in psychology and then going to law school. The other option I’m considering is to continue with psychology to get my doctorate, and become a clinical psychologist. That’s the good thing about psychology; it’s so versatile. I can take those first four years of college to decide what I really want to do with my life, and still have so many options with that one major.

If psychology is what you really want to do, you should expect to go to college for more than four years. Students seeking a master’s degree in psychology often have successful careers as industrial-organizational psychologists or as psychological assistants when working under the direction of a doctoral psychologist in research, counseling, or clinical settings.

If you are considering pursuing a graduate degree, you might be wondering how long it takes to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology. Generally, a bachelors degree takes four years of study. While a masters degree requires an addition two to three years of study beyond the bachelors, a doctorate degree can take between four to six years of additional graduate study after earning a bachelors degree. A doctorate degree in psychology is required if you want to open your own private practice. In most cases you will need this level of degree if you want to teach and conduct research at the college or university level. After you’ve been admitted to a graduate program, it generally takes at least four years to earn a Ph.D. and another year to complete an internship. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, students can take state and national exams to become licensed to practice psychology in the state where they wish to work. The American Psychological Association accredits graduate programs in three areas: clinical, counseling and school psychology. If you are interested in going into one of these specialty areas, it is important to choose a school that has received accreditation through the APA.

However, the best thing you can do is enter your post-graduate education with a plan. You have to know that your education will lead you, and have a good career outlook.

What are introverts?

Many people generally know what introverts and extroverts are; I know only the basics. So for this post, I decided to dive in and discover more about introverts: what makes them how they are and how they came to be like that.

Let me start off with saying that I don’t think introversion and extroversion are the same in everyone. I believe it is like a continuum, some people may be far more introverted than others. I believe everyone leans in a direction, but many people are moderately introverted or extroverted.

Sadly, the term introvert tends to come with negative connotations; I don’t believe it should be viewed as negative at all. All people are different, and it’s the differences in us that MAKE us human. It’s like saying people with brown eyes are worse than people with blue eyes, it’s those differences that make us special. I believe that people are born introverted or extroverted, and it’s more nature than nurture. I’ll use my mom as an example, she was adopted by two very extroverted parents, my grandma and grandpa. My grandma gave birth to my uncle, who is also very extroverted. However, my mom is more introverted than extroverted. Sure, it’s only one example, but it leads me to wonder what is the root cause. If you believe the root cause is nurture, why wouldn’t my mom end up more like my uncle?

Here’s a great TED talk about the power of introverts. In it, Susan Cain argues that certain behaviors aren’t anti-social, but just a different way of being social. She shows that introverts aren’t necessarily shy, they just don’t thrive off of social interaction. I really learned a lot from this video, and encourage everyone reading this to watch it.

Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

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In my last post I showed where gay marriage stands now in our country. Support for gay marriage has hit an all-time high, according to an NBC news poll. That’s why many opponents to gay marriage see “religious freedom” laws, such as those now igniting a firestorm in Indiana and Arkansas, as the last remaining policy tool available to them. It’s not the intended purpose of the law, but it does make discrimination much easier. And to be clear, it’s not just Indiana and Arkansas; some 32 states are considering laws that Americans could use to opt out of providing services to other individuals if providing the service offends their religious principles. To me, it’s very understandable why many people would be anxious about this.

I’m all for religious freedom, but when you use it as an excuse to belittle and deny people from basic things, I’m not for that. Personally, I wish people wouldn’t let the Bible determine how the treat people, and sometimes it crosses over from “religious freedom” to being intolerant and hateful.

I do, however, understand the opposing argument. People will say that if it’s a private business, people can do whatever they want. The beauty of capitalism, but in this case (in my mind) the downfall. People often use the issue of the gay couple wanting to buy a wedding cake. If the owner refuses to serve them because of their own beliefs, they can just go somewhere else, right? But this gives me some deja vu to another time in America’s history, but now instead of ‘White-Only’ it’s ‘Straight-Only’. Under this new law, can I refuse to serve Black people because it’s against my ‘religious beliefs’? Can I refuse to serve Christians? Imagine the uproar.

And the Constitution of these United States already prohibits that kind of discrimination in public-service spaces. That is why Indiana has already revised the law it put into place only last week. A week later the revised law explicitly prohibits bigotry, it prohibits discrimination against groups in public service even if it would be based on a religious belief. Why did that have to be revised? Better question, why were the problems with the original law not noticed before it was signed into law.

What I’m trying to say is that I support religious-freedom, but not when people use it as an excuse to discriminate. I know my last two posts haven’t exactly fit in to the usual context of my blog, but I feel that it’s too important of an issue to not give my stance on.

Where gay-marriage stands

In most states, conservatives realize they’ve basically lost the war against gay marriage, both in the court of public opinion and the literal court of law. Same-sex couples are legally allowed to wed in 37 states and the District, and there have been 65  court decisions expanding the freedom to marry since June 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down a key component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. It seems to be only a matter of time until gay couples are legally allowed to wed in every state. However, there has still been some push-back from political leaders.

In a Supreme Court brief filed last week, a lawyer for Kentucky’s Democratic governor argued that gays are not being discriminated against because they’re still allowed to get married— so long as they disregard whom they’re sexually attracted to. According to the brief: “Men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are free to marry persons of the opposite sex under Kentucky law, and men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex under Kentucky law.” So good news to all the gay people out there, you are allowed to get married! Just not to the person you wish to.

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Governor Beshear

Essentially, the governor is defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban by saying it isn’t anti-gay because it applies to straight people too. When I first read this headline I thought it’s origins would be ‘The Onion’, not the ‘Washington Post’. I’m sorry governor, but if you’re advising gay people to marry who they don’t actually love, are you really respecting traditional marriage? It’d be like if someone argued for the ban of homeless people sleeping outside of businesses by saying both the rich and the poor aren’t allowed to sleep there, so it isn’t discriminatory.

Kentucky’s argument closely resembles one used, and rejected, in a landmark Supreme Court case about marriage restrictions: Loving v. Virginia, decided in 1967. Virginia presented similar logic as to why its law banning interracial marriage — like those then on the books in 15 other states, including Kentucky — was not discriminatory. Both blacks and whites were allowed to marry inside their race, after all, and both were equally punished for marrying outside of it. The court didn’t buy it. It’s painful to watch as our country repeats mistakes it made almost 50 years ago.

States defending same-sex marriage bans today have presented other, equally absurd arguments, too. Kentucky also said it should be able to ban same-sex marriage because the “promotion of birth rates is a legitimate interest” and “supporting the formation of relationships that have the natural ability to procreate furthers the commonwealth’s fundamental interest in ensuring humanity’s continued existence.” Michigan made a related argument in the brief it filed with the Supreme Court. Sorry to break the news to you guys, but if a gay man isn’t allowed to wed another gay man, chances are he’s not going to go marry a woman and have children. Laws can decide what people can legally do, but they can’t determine who they love. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

I understand that religious people may be against gay marriage because of their own beliefs. But why are their beliefs paramount to the beliefs of gay people and gay supporters? All these people want are to be able to be recognized by the the government and everyone else that they have made a union with the person they love, and that they deserve all the same rights.

 

 

 

My Thoughts on School Uniforms

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There has been a debate over school uniforms for many years; should they or should they not be enforced? I am personally split, but I lean towards no school uniforms. In this post I decided I’d argue from both sides, showing the pros and cons of the issue.

For School Uniforms:

School uniforms would eliminate several issues in schools. For example, there have always been kids who don’t have as much money as their peers, and may not wear as nice of clothes. Teenage years are when you feel the most insecure about yourself, and school uniforms may be able to eliminate some of the insecurity. If everyone dresses the same, there is less pressure on those who cant afford nice, designer clothing. This will allow students to focus more on why they’re at school: to get an education. In the future we will have to dress accordingly to our jobs, why should school be any different? There is a time and a place to dress how you want, and that can be done outside of school.

A 2007 study from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom found that uniforms “often directly contributed to a feeling of school pride.” Christopher P. Clouet, Superintendent of the New London, CT school district, stated that “the wearing of uniforms contributes to school pride.” A 2002 study of over 1,000 Texas middle school students found that students in uniform “reported significantly more positive perceptions of belonging in their school community than reported by students in the standard dress group.” It appears that wearing uniforms enhances school pride, unity, and community spirit.

Against School Uniforms:

Our teenage years are for growing our individuality, and figuring out who we are as a person. As a nation we seem to be moving further and further away from conformity, which I believe is a great thing. I am all for dress codes, I understand that students should be dressed appropriately when attending school. But I also think that they should be able to chose what they want to wear. Personally, I enjoy going to school wearing a new outfit I just bought, because I get to show people who I am. If we take away teenager’s ability to express themselves, they might try to do it in other, more harmful ways.

I believe school uniforms are fine at private schools, but shouldn’t ever be required at public schools. A big issue you face with trying to bring uniforms to public schools is who will pay for them? It’s unfair to ask the families of these kids to buy more clothes; many of them may not be able to afford it. But you also can’t use tax payer’s money to supply the uniforms, unless they know that’s what their taxes are being used for. And I assume that many of these tax payers would rather have their money going to educational resources over clothing.

 

Overall, I don’t think uniforms should ever be required in public schools. Private schools are a different matter, because parents are sending their kids to go there, fully knowing what they’re getting them into. I also believe it’s important that kids are able to express themselves, so they can begin to figure out who they are as a person.