Planet Earth as we know it is changing before our eyes, in more ways than one. Socially and technologically, international relationships are being rocked, and technology is exploding at an unprecedented rate. However, in addition to these facets, one of the biggest areas of change is found in the environment. Climate change has been argued more than it ever has been in these past few months, and for good reasons. And while climate change is a topic of utmost importance, there are other environmental concerns that have appeared to take the back seat to it; one such example is endangered species.
Very recently, giraffes have joined the ever-increasing endangered species list, coming as a shock to many. The Smithsonian published an article talking about how these long-necked creatures are now sadly part of this list. According to the Smithsonian, the giraffe population has fallen by 40 percent since 1985, leaving just about 97,000 giraffes left in the wild. As a way to bring this issue to the media and governments of the world, several conservation and environmental groups came together to petition to add giraffes onto the United States’ Endangered Species Act. In addition to this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are reviewing the giraffe’s status level. If giraffes are added onto the act, it would start a crackdown on giraffe parts that are being imported into the United States and would offer help to reduce illegal hunting in several African countries. (Article used: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/us-may-list-giraffes-endangered-species-180972057/)
However, there is room for some potential bias in this argument. While it was argued in the article that giraffes should be saved from being killed, there is an argument for how trophy hunters can actually protect more giraffes in the long run, with their trophy hunting fees being put back into stopping illegal hunting, and also driving down the market for giraffe parts. However, this article is arguing that despite the biased nature that it is a good cause to help protect these creatures.
This is a very important event in a way that has the potential to impact the Earth permanently in the future. If action is not taken now to ensure giraffes are not moved any closer to extinction then they are right now, giraffes might soon face the end that many other extinct animals have faced. Without giraffes, the world loses an environmental and societal icon. Children will have to read about giraffes in books and watch them in videos, without ever being able to see them in real life ever again. If we as humans have the power to run a species into extinction, shouldn’t we use that power to preserve and protect these inspiring creatures? If we let ourselves eradicate these one of a kind animals just for the sport of killing, I would say that it spells out a rather ominous future for not only animals, but the human race as a whole.
Just recently, I was able to go to a local school near the University, a smaller elementary school called Indian Springs Elementary. I found myself there through the STEM Outreach program, a university-sponsored program that has the goal of traveling around Columbus and putting on demonstrations to help educate and spread to the public what STEM really means and what it embodies. As volunteers for STEM Outreach, a handful of other students and I, along with Dr. Linda Anderson, participated in an annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) put on by Indian Springs Elementary. We were one of the many hands-on demonstrations that kids could participate in, in order to build a fun and tangible project that involved science topics. The specific project we had was called “Jumping Jacks”, which boils down to a simple circuit that when connected, would cause a small electromagnet to jump off of the base. So while the kids came through the room making their “Jumping Jacks”, the other volunteers and I had to help them all make them since it was a little bit complicated for younger children. However, I learned something valuable to me as I was doing this.
While I’ve worked with little kids before, it was mostly as a summer camp instructor and was not able to teach them anything. I just made sure they didn’t get hurt on the playground or doing the fun games. However, when I actually got to sit down to teach the kids how to make the “Jumping Jack”, while it was similar to working with the kids before, it was much more gratifying. To be able to watch them freak out in excitement and curiosity when it popped off the stand into the air was fun to watch, like watching them discover some new magic. This experience made me learn that while I never considered any kind of teaching before, I might want to reconsider my viewpoint. While I do not think I’ll pursue a career in education, maybe joining another club or continue to volunteer through these organizations would be a new and enjoyable outlet where I can interact and teach kids how simple science works. I know that older kids putting on science demonstrations when I was a kid certainly shaped where I am steering my education and career towards, so if I could help other mold other children’s paths into enjoying science too, I think I would really enjoy it.
College is perhaps one of the most defining and influential periods of time in a person’s life. It is a time of change, development, realizations, conflict, and victory. While I am not even in the second semester of my first year, I have certainly already received a taste of what is to come.
Already, college has been different in so many different ways than anything else I have experienced in my life. From the non-academic changes like learning to live away from family, learning to do laundry and buy food, and learning how to make new friends, all the way to the academic changes and challenges, such as much more individual responsibility to turn in assignments, learning to study responsibly, and learning to balance work vs personal time. In all honesty, I still am learning how to master all of the topics mentioned above, including many more.
Several times I felt like I wanted to quit and drop out because I did not know how to react to all of these new responsibilities and changes. Other times I have felt like college is awesome and it is an amazing experience to live on my own and be who I truly am. And even though I know my life and experience at college will continuously change while I am here, I know that there will always be ups and downs, and that will be perhaps one of my biggest challenges to overcome. However, one of the best ways to learn anything is by actually going out and doing it, so I might as well give it the old college try.
So far in my life, marching band has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
For me, marching band was all about learning how to handle responsibility, how to become a leader, and learning how to have the time of my life. I learned that I had to memorize the drill and music perfectly, or I would let the group down and compromise the performance for the crowd. When I was old enough to be a part of the leadership team, I realized that I was a leader that was now responsible for not only teaching drill and music to hundreds of kids, but I was also responsible for helping shape who they would turn into as leaders and people.
The discipline in the band was rigorous and draining, but I feel years of learning how to act responsibly and confidently under that physical and emotional pressure helped me become an even stronger leader and person today. I have since strived to translate this discipline and leadership into my academics, as well as my career goals.
Finally, I learned that I made the most valuable and enjoyable friendships I have ever had through my high school marching band. The bonds that were formed from putting so much effort and work into one common goal are unbreakable, and I can never see these friendships fading away throughout my life.