A Defense for the Selfie

I love that I live in the Information Age.

As an aspiring journalist, information and its movement is incredibly fascinating to me.

I am part of the generation that was the first to grow up with a computer and a handheld phone. I keep in my pocket access to nearly anyone or any information in the world. I am able to carry with me camera, calculator, library, notepad, recorder, cds, game console, and phone, all in one device.

This technology didn’t exist fifteen, twenty years ago. We are communicating with more people and in more ways than ever before

I do really mean in more ways. Internet is its own subculture. From the 140-character tweet, to memes, to hashtags, to formatting an Instagram post, each social media platform has its own language, its own subset of humor, and its own popular topics.

And with this culture arose the dreaded selfie.Selfie

It’s seen as a mark of self-involvement or self-obsession. How else could posting a picture of yourself, taken by yourself, for the mere purpose of getting likes and comments be seen?

To some extent, it’s true. There are far too many people who put all the eggs of their self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth into the metaphorical internet basket. With that said, though, the selfie is just one tiny facet of the greater technological culture—a culture that is new, that is exciting, and that has given us so many other tools.

People have been figuring out how to take pictures of themselves since the beginning of time. It used to be through professional painters or sculptors, available only to the wealthy. The sole purpose of a photobooth is to take pictures of yourself with your loved ones. Generation upon generation has been self-obsessed, and ours is no different. We simply now have the tools to materialize it, and are you really going to say that a 13-year-old taking selfies on her phone is more self-involved than an ancient emperor who claimed to be a god and erected statues of himself?

Even still, I would argue that the selfie is not primarily used as a tool to show off.

Yes, a large part of the selfie culture is just posting pictures to show how good-looking you are, or how fit you are, or the newest gadget you got. Under the layer of self-importance, though, is something much more meaningful.

A selfie is more than just a picture of oneself. It’s a way to capture a moment that is somehow special to you, whether that moment was with friends, at a graduation, or just a day you were feeling particularly attractive.

Many of the pictures I hold dear are selfies with family and friends. My phone, my computer, and my bedroom walls are all littered with pictures my friend group took of our outings. And with the rise of Snapchat, selfies have moved beyond just capturing memories to a form of communication, as well.

There is something to be said for the ease of access to photographs technology has given us. With digital cameras and iPhones, there is no film to develop, no wait time, no limit to the number of pictures one can take. More than ever, we are able to capture memories of the people and things we value.

Can people tie too much meaning into their selfies? Absolutely.

But in the Information Age, in my generation, there is a form of self-expression in self-obsession. Selfies are more about capturing moments and memories than getting social media validation.

So selfie away, because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Make It Monday: Maple Bacon Donuts

I never anticipated meticulously sprinkling bacon onto donuts, but when your friends throw a Bacon Party, you have to do what you have to do.

So, from my table to yours, Maple Bacon donuts.

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This recipe calls for a donut pan, meaning no messy frying and a healthier donut. I absolutely adore the pan we have at home, and donuts always seem to be a hit. They’re fun, they’re unique, and there’s way more combinations than cookies or brownies.

This recipe originally comes from Center Cut Cook, with a few minor glaze tweaks from me.

Makes 12 donuts.

Donut Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 5 strips of bacon

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  1. Set oven to 350º

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

  3. Add buttermilk, eggs, butter, vanilla and maple syrup

  4. Stir well.

  5. Scoop into greased donut pans

  6. Cook for 10 minutes

  7. Let cool before glazing

  8. For glaze, mix powdered sugar, water, and maple syrup in a bowl.

  9. Cut bacon into small pieces.

  10. Dip doughnuts in glaze, then sprinkle with bacon before the glaze hardens.

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Depending on how big your donuts are, or how much you like them glazed, you can adjust the glaze by adding more powdered sugar and flavoring. The original recipe called for 3 cups of powdered sugar, but I was able to glaze a dozen decently-sized donuts with just 2 cups.

Also note that these donuts turn out stickier than most because of the syrup in the glaze.

Enjoy!

A goodbye to my freshman year

It’s strange to think that I will leave campus today. Only a few months ago, I was unpacking everything into tiny dorm room.A summer suddenly seems like a very long time.

The welcome party the first day with my roommate. Photo credit to Hillsdale Colleg

Freshman year has been good to me. The struggles of my last post about college still stand, but I think they always will. Making friends, getting enough sleep, and looking presentable all the time are difficult, no matter where you are in life.

Still, here I am, one year closer to my diploma—decidedly not dead, and very, very proud of myself.

Throwing yourself whole-heartedly into a new life is terrifying. You have to rebuild from the ground up, and I’m a far worse construction worker than I previously thought.

I learned a lot this first year. I think every freshman does, and my experiences are not new or shocking. I’m not expecting them to be.

But if I were to pass on advice to myself one year ago, it would be this:

Your time and energy are valuable and there is no point in wasting them on people and issues not important to you.

Learning how to ration myself has been difficult. I am by nature a person who spreads herself too thin, and this manifests itself in the worst ways at school. It means I overstudy for an easy class, or stay friends with people who only bring negativity into my life. It means I try to fix other’s problems or get too involved in their drama.

Rationing myself and my energy means learning time-management, learning how to let things go. It means learning how others and their problems fit into my world.

But it also means figuring out my goals and going after them with a vigor. Rationing myself means learning self-control.

Learning when and where and how to spend my energy has paid off. I end this year with good grades, with friends, with a beginning job in my field.

I’m looking forward to next year. In the fall, I begin work as an assistant news editor for the Collegian and will take one of my first courses for my major.

I am on track to making myself who I want to be. This year has only been a first step.

So, goodbye, freshman year.

Thank you for bringing opportunities into my life. Thank you for gifting me with new friends. Thank you for giving me a second home. Thank you for letting me lay the foundation for who I want to be.

Thank you, freshman year, for being my beginning.