Writing In The Prison, Week 3: Emotions

A few days ago was the three-week mark of my independent study, Writing In The Prison. This week, something that I noticed while teaching was how important emotions are conveyed through the writing that we do.

It’s not only the inmates writings’ that have emotional depth but ours as well. Every word we write, every story we tell is based on real things that have happened to us. It up to us to show the world what we want to say. What this means is that there can often be deeper emotions behind the words we write.

We’re given prompts to help us along in our stories, but everyone interprets those differently. For example, one of the prompts for this week was “write about an encounter with a bully.”  What I saw in the inmates writing was their real passion; they knew exactly they wanted to tell their story, emotions and all.

It’s because of this passion that I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the class.

Please don’t forget to like and share.

Until next time.

Writing In The Prison: First Experience

This past Thursday, I had got my first opportunity to go visit the correctional facility in which I am conducting my independent study. I won’t begin teaching until after I am back from Spring Break, but here are some of the things that I learned and noticed while on a tour of the facility.

  • Street clothes instead of uniforms

The inmates in the correctional facility are allowed to wear their regular clothes, as compared to jumpsuits. I found this particularly interesting, as it makes the facility feel less like a permanent place for the inmates, as their stay time is usually 18 months maximum. It also helps to add a sense of personal expression and identity, whereas in a larger prison, individuality is often taken away.

  • Lesser Crimes

As this is a correctional facility, not a prison, many of the inmates are there for smaller offenses, usually drug or alcohol related issues or crimes (i.e., DUI, DWI, drug possession, petty larceny) However, for some of the male prisoners, they may also have domestic offenses. If that is the case, they will not be placed with the female inmates in most programs or classes. At the present moment, there are about 200 people (excluding personnel) in the facility, with roughly 45 of them being women. I will be predominately teaching some of the female inmates during my time there.

  • More freedom than heavier security prisons

Many of the prisoners are part of a work track, meaning that they are able to leave the facility in order to attend job interviews or their outside jobs. They will also keep these jobs once they are released from the correctional facility.

There is also a variety of programs and classes that the inmates can attend, from alcohol and drug counseling, to GED preparation. The creative writing class that I am teaching with is also part of the list of programs, in which the inmates can either be placed in, or volunteer to attend.

However, there are still some restrictions. All food and items that are brought in must be checked by the guards for contraband, there are cameras in almost every hall or room (including the bathroom), visitors are required to sign in, and the guards are armed. While the inmates do have more freedoms as compared to the larger prison, the facility is still a secure place, and there are rules that must be followed.

Overall, my first time going in the correctional facility can be best explained by the facility’s program coordinator.

“When they leave here, we want them to be better off than when they first arrived here.”

And with that, I cannot wait to start teaching soon, and I can’t wait to tell you all about my experiences with the writing group, and in the facility in general. Until next time.

Writing In The Prison 

Hello readers!

I am writing this post to inform you all that this semester, I will be teaching a creative non-fiction course at a local prison. 

As part of my independent study, I was also asked to write a weekly review of my experiences while teaching, and to share it with all of you. 

Please note that names will be changed in order to protect and give anonymity to the inmates and the staff. 

I am unbelievably excited to take on this opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my weekly experiences with you! 

You can look forward to my first installment later this week. 

Why You Shouldn’t Procrastinate (But You Will Anyway).

Because the more you procrastinate, the less you’ll get done. That’s just a fact. 

This post took me over two months to write, and the only reason that I’m writing it now is because I’m procrastinating on the work I’m actually supposed to be doing. Instead of killing two birds with one stone, I’m killing no birds, with no stones.

When you actually feel motivated to do your work (or whatever you need to focus on), you’ll have nothing to do. Trust me. 

There’s always more work to be done when you don’t want to do it, and then there’s no work to be done when you actually want to get it completed. It’s karma at it’s finest.

If you avoid working on important things (like job applications and blog posts), people will be concerned about you. 

More than once, I have been asked by family and friends if I’m sick or in trouble, solely because I avoided my responsibilities. This is often accompanied by a lame excuse on my part.

Examples:

“I totally meant to write today…it’s just that (insert show here) was finally added/updated on Netflix, and I needed to watch it.”

“I was going to do my homework…but then I thought it would be a good idea to bake cookies instead.”

or my personal favorite (and most used):

“I meant to do (insert task here), but I got distracted by (insert stupid distraction here)”.

In my case, it’s usually pictures of cute animals and/or random YouTube videos.

The more you avoid something, the more it comes back to haunt you later.

Waking up in a panic at 3 AM because you totally forgot to complete an assignment that’s due that day is a real pain in the ass. Especially because you know you’re not going to get it done. You think you will, but trust me, you won’t.

You have a list of excuses that you use everytime you procrastinate. But no one is buying them.

“I was going to but..”

“I’m working on it now…” (You’re watching Netflix in your pajamas eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. Don’t kid yourself)

“I was too tired/hungry…” (One of my most popular excuses)

“I went out last night…” (Just because you’re hungover, doesn’t mean you can’t get work done.)

These may sound like great excuses, but your friends/family/etc. have heard them before, and know what you’re up to. So don’t bullshit them, or yourself.

And finally…

Procrastination on important things won’t help you in the long run

Sure, it’s great to kick back and relax, but running around like a crazy person later on is not worth all of the trouble. You’re trying to get 5 months of work done in 5 days, and let me tell you, all of the to-do lists in the world won’t help you now.

Just do what you need to do, and then you’ll actually have the free time later to chill out and not worry about everything you’re supposed to be doing. Simple as that.

Tell me, what are you procrastinating on right now? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll happily procrastinate completing my work to respond back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why Finals Week Is Awful

10. You are trying to survive on 3 hours of sleep, maximum.

9. Your blood is made up of 95% caffeine. 

8. A large black coffee is your regular order. The servers also know you by name.

7. The library is your new best friend. And your new home. 

6.When even professors give up on teaching anything. 

5. Your to-do list looks more like a will. 

4. You’re not sure when you last saw daylight.

3. You live in your sweatpants. You may also not be wearing makeup. Both are acceptable options. 

2. Everyone around looks like they’re dead. And you know you look the same way, but you’re too tired to care. 

1.  When you want to cry from stress, but your eyes are too dry from starting at your computer screen for hours.

Good luck on your finals! 

What To Do When It’s A Rainy Day 

10) If at all possible, stay in bed. Staying in bed on a rainy day is one of the best things in the world.  

9) Wear comfortable clothes. Comfortable clothes + rainy day = happiness. 

8) Make yourself some comfort food. (Hot chocolate, soup, cookies, you get the idea) 

7) Catch up on your reading. Always a good way to spend a rainy day.

6) Take some time off and relax a little. Rainy days are meant for this.

5) If you have to leave your house, make sure to wear rain gear. The amount of times I’ve gotten soaked to the bone because I didn’t wear a raincoat. 

4) Take a nap at some point during the day. So wonderful. 

3) Have fun splashing around in puddles, or go mud sliding!

2) Have fun doing indoor activities too! (Puzzles, games, etc)

1) Finally, enjoy your rainy day, and whatever you do during it! 

What To Do When You’re Supposed To Be Working

1. Write this post. Seems simple enough.

2. Make coffee/tea/your hot beverage of choice. Nothing says procrastinating like downing a large amount of caffeine.

3. Clean your living area. This is particularly good for avoiding work if you’re a messy individual.

4. Watch Netflix/Hulu/random YouTube videos/TV programs. It’s like eating Pringles, you can’t only eat/watch one episode.

5. Look at the assignment(s) that you’re supposed to be completing. That way, you can at least say that you’ve looked at what you should be doing.

6. Make plans for the week ahead.

7. Cook/bake. This is definitely a time- waster, especially if you’re not the best of chefs.

8. Text anyone and everyone you know. Hopefully someone else is avoiding their own work.

9. Exercise/Take a Shower. Both are good for you, and extremely effective time-killers.

10. Wake up the next morning and scramble to complete your work on time. Bonus points if you’re late to class/job because you were printing your work.

Self Esteem, Meet Coming Home For The Holidays

Happy Tuesday!

I am now home for the next few weeks, until I fly out for my semester abroad! So keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts.

As I just mentioned, I am officially back in my hometown for break. And as anyone coming home from a long time away knows, coming back can be rough sometimes.

That’s because people still remember who you were back in high school, and they don’t know who you are now. Past memories come back to embarrass you in the middle of the night; you do everything in your power to avoid anyone you know. Because you don’t want to remember who you were.

For example, I was in the gym the other day, and I saw two girls who were from my high school class. And even though my self-esteem has improved since I went to college, it suddenly felt like I was 15 years old: I had to impress them by any means necessary. I tried to go faster on the machine, I pretended not to notice them; even though every few minutes I shot them a glance to see how they were doing. After talking to a close friend of mine from college, I realized the problem was not with them, but with me.

I had allowed myself to “wilt” around them, to forget all that I had achieved while I had been in college, and how much I have grown by being there with my friends. It was a problem that I had been dealing with for the past few years but I could never figure out the root of the issue. And even when I asked the people around me, they couldn’t figure it out either.

So the main question is…why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to revert back to our former selves any time we face our past?

Personally, I think it’s partly a habit or a defense mechanism. We feel the need to remember who we used to be, so that we can grow from those experiences.  Or maybe, we revert to who were once were because of the potential fear of judgement from our peers. If one person is more successful than another, it may feel like the latter will suffer a blow to their self-esteem. By coming back to a familiar place, it can bring up past memories for an individual.

Everyone has insecurities. And even if a person was considered to be “popular” by societal standards; it doesn’t mean that they also didn’t have insecurities of their own. And sometimes, it can take years for those insecurities to go away, and sometimes they never do.

But the important thing to note is that who you are now is not who you once were. We as humans adapt and grow as we age, and our mistakes in the past will become distant thoughts in the future. But it is when we cannot let our past mistakes go, that we hinder our future lives. It’s important to remember that we all have moments of insecurity; but we can’t let it control how we behave because then we will not be able to fully grow as humans.

Until next time!

xxoo

Chapters 331, 332, 333 & 334: Back To School

Happy Saturday!

So, as you can guess, I’m writing this from my new dorm room at college! It took me a few hours to get everything unpacked, but I’m pretty much finished now!

It’s a little weird being back at school, because just a few hours ago, I was back home in my own bed with my family. And now, I’m in my school bed, with my school family.

It’s odd to think about how quickly the past year has flown by: I’m a sophomore in college, my little sister is halfway through middle school, and in about a week, I’ll be turning 19 years old. 

And that’s terrifying to me, turning 19. It means that I’ll be in my last teenage years, that the more I age, the more I’ll mature and have to be more independent. Throughout the past year, I’ve tried to become more independent, but sometimes, it’s pretty difficult. 

I guess growing up is a part of life, and no matter how much I try to resist it, it’s going to happen. At least I have my blog (and all of you) to join me on this grand adventure!

Have an awesome weekend! xxoo

Image

Chapters 327, 328, 329 & 330: The Week Before School

Happy Tuesday!

It’s the week before school starts, and it’s been utter chaos. From school supplies, to packing, to picking out an outfit, it’s a very stressful time for both students and parents alike.

And for college students (such as myself), it means packing up every last thing in your room, and driving it a few hours away to a new room!

It’s a bit scary to be honest! I’ve spent about three months back at home, and I feel like I’ve settled back into the routine of being at home…so to head off to figure out a new routine is a little weird!

So, what do you do the week before school?

Have an awesome week! xxoo