Friday, December 4, 2009

Final Paper

There are many aspects of a person’s identity that can affect how they are able to, as well as how they choose to, move about the world around them. I am affected in my movement by many things including my age, gender, race, nationality, and personality traits. I am limited in the places I can go in America because although I am legally an adult, but am still considered too young for certain privileges in this country. Being female makes it harder for me to travel certain places alone, and causes a lack of respect in certain areas of the world. Being white gives me more ability to move in some places, simply because race matters more in other countries. My own personality is also as valuable to my travels as anything else that I am unable to control, simply because I am confident and sociable, which makes it easy to make friends and get help if I need it. All of these aspects of my identity have helped determine my ability to travel as much as I already have, as well as the multiple opportunities presented to me to travel all over this country as well as the rest of the world in the future.

To be able to view all parts of America, it is really necessary to be at least 21 years of age. This is how old a person must be to enter casinos as well as other businesses. Bars are off limits because of the presence of alcohol, and making my way around Las Vegas would not be nearly as interesting as it could be if I were just a few years older. This restriction by the US government puts some limits on my movements within the country, but at least they are only temporary and will no longer be in the way in a few years. My age is also something that many adults older than myself take into consideration when I am travelling. People older than myself are still very inclined to help me if I need it, and this makes it very easy to make my way through busy places, such as airports, with ease. This is an advantage during my travels, and not something I mind at all, but as well will probably not last forever.

In other nations women are considered second-class citizens, and so that makes travelling by myself difficult at times. In South Africa the girls on the team were all made aware quite early on that travelling alone at night was not safe. Every girl would find a man to walk with them to check on horses, and walking in the city without a man present was not a very smart idea. My gender can put great limitations on my movement at times, and can definitely make things more dangerous for me in certain places. While I am not too worried about my safety in most cases, at times I am definitely more cautious about where I am as well as what company I am keeping while moving around from place to place. It also helps me put into perspective the ability of other women to move throughout their surroundings.

Although quite sad, there is the undeniable truth that certain races have an easier time in this world currently. My race allows me to feel fairly safe while travelling, because in many nations that is the race of the people in power. I am not worried about being discriminated against, and the sad truth is that crimes against whites often have a much lower tolerance that those against minorities. Being American also gives me a definite advantage in many places. Since America is so powerful as a nation, I am automatically granted at least some respect in most areas. It is also nice to be able to go almost anywhere and find that many people speak English. The lack of a language barrier makes travelling very easy, and many countries have and English requirement in school so that many people can communicate easily. Both of these factors, neither of which I am able to control, make movement across the world very easy for me, and put me at an undeniable advantage compared to many other people.

Lastly, but certainly not the least important, are my own abilities that I am fully in control of, that help me travel and move throughout my surroundings and across the world, are my own personal traits that I have acquired over time. I am resourceful and logical, so instead of panicking in unfamiliar situations I am able to think clearly and find a solution to any problem I might have. I am sociable and able to go meet people and make friends quickly, who undoubtedly help me move safely in other countries. I am able to communicate my thoughts clearly, both verbally and in writing, which although is not often thought about regularly, it is something that will often make a strong impression on people, and will help my future movement both in travel as well as in my career. While I have not always been as confident or capable as I am now, I aim to at least maintain the capabilities I have now or improve upon my social skills in the future.

There are many things about me which can affect my movement wherever I may go. Some of them may help me along, and some may hinder my movements. Some are things that will change, while others will remain constant throughout my life. There are also some aspects which I have absolutely no control over, and some which I have most of the control. I have learned to work with the advantages I have because I really love to travel, and wish to continue the expansive movement around the world that I have already attempted to set in motion. I have many opportunities to move in nearly any direction I please, and I hope to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as I possibly can.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What in the World is Going On?

November 30, 2009;
This month's discussion revolved around a few large questions about government. The big topics of the night were about how large a government should be and how much it should be involved in our lives. There was a debate right off the bat about the definition of government size, whether a large government meant one with a large amount of people participating, which multiple separate branches, or one that had a lot of regulation over the people in the area it controlled. The United States government involves a large amount of people within its three branches, but the checks and balances involved in this setup slows down political processes and keeps the government from having too much control of the people. The Soviet Union in contrast had less people involved in the government, and everyone was pretty much in one unified branch. This government could still be considered large though because of the enormous amount of regulation it had over the rights of the people in the USSR.

The second half of the discussion was mainly based on how much involvement the government should be allowed to have in citizens' lives. There was a lot of debate over how far the government can invade people's lives to protect the country as a whole. The subjects of wire-tapping and the Patriot Act were brought up, and many people thought that this was too much involvement. There were also a few students who think that many Americans complain, but are not willing to go figure out what is really going on for themselves or get involved to help change things. The subject of insatiability was also brought up, and how not everyone can be satisfied, but everyone does the best they can for the good of everyone. This is inevitable since everyone has differing opinions so they can't all be satisfied. This makes government sometimes useless since there will still be arguments going on about the decisions made no matter what. There was a lot of debate, multiple viewpoints on most topics, good points raised, but not much agreement. It does get one thinking about government and what's involved, as well as what one person can do to help.

Greensboro Project Part 1 - Downtown Buildings

First Citizens Bank - 100 S Elm St # 100, Greensboro, NC

This building was built specifically to be a bank, and its outward appearance makes this very obvious. The entrance is on the corner of Market St and Elm St, right in the center of downtown Greensboro. The doors are angled to aim at the corner instead of on one side. There is a large gold doorway with an arch above it. The upper floors have large class windows, presumably to let in plenty of light to the offices inside. They are easy to locate even from a large distance. The unique design makes this building very easy to spot, and the domineering look of the entrance makes it looks safe, which in the beginning of banking was very important to people. In present times banks come in all shapes and sizes, many with glass fronts and doors, but this building looks more like a stronghold from the outside, which might convince people that it would be a good place to trust with their hard-earned money.

This location did not allow pictures to be taken inside. Once entering through the large gold doors, there is another set of glass doors, and then customers must walk around a center wall to get to the tellers. There is a space of to the right of the counters and offices to the left. Someone is standing by the entrance to assist people as they come in, and the staff seemed friendly. The rooms do not have much exterior light, so while it is nicely set-up, the inside is still a little bit dark, and could be somewhat intimidating. This does not seem like just a regular branch, but instead appears to be more specifically laid out for the location.

BB&T Bank - 4541 W Market St, Greensboro, NC‎

The BB&T branch in Greensboro had a very interesting building exterior. The structure was concrete with large arches all around the outside and enormous glass windows, even on the lower floors. This is probably to allow for plenty of light inside, but does not give this building the same strong appearance as the First Citizens Bank just a block away. It does not seem as if this was originally built to be a bank, but was rather converted into one after having a previous purpose. It is also very easy to locate, and has large logos on each face of the structure.

The inside of the branch is just like any other local bank branch. It is very light and open with two sets of large, glass double doors to enter from. There is a long desk of tellers directly in front of the entrances with plenty of room for a long line. There is again a small sitting area to the right and offices to the left. This bank seems a lot busier than either of the other two, and not as oriented toward the individual customer, but rather serving the masses as quickly and efficiently as possible. This business did allow us to take pictures inside with an escort.

Bank of America - 101 W Friendly Ave, Greensboro, NC

The Bank of America building had a lot of glass on the exterior of a large, plain brick building. The first floor windows are very unique and are not flat, but rather concave in some places and convex in others. There are multiple entrances on different sides of the building, and the upper floors extend out over the first floor providing a covered area over the sidewalk. The logo on the side of the building is not extremely large, but the glass windows along the entire side of the structure make the building not too hard to pick out from the others along Elm Street. This building, as well as the other bank branches, is not incredibly tall compared to the skyscrapers downtown, but they are all fairly large.

This location did not allow pictures to be taken inside, although the large glass windows allowed me to show you the cool ceiling. The inside of this branch was very unique, even more so than the Citizens Bank interior. This was very surprising to me since this branch belonged to the largest chain of the three. The interior was very large and had a lot going on. The setup was different than inside the other two, with the teller desks along the left wall, space to sit in the middle, and offices along the left wall, next to the windows facing the sidewalk. The other banks all had the offices farther away from the street than everything else. There were potted plants and small trees inside, with a Christmas tree just inside the street corner as well as some pieces of art around the room. The ceiling was very unique, with many different shades of lights that had a triangular up-and-down pattern that encompassed the whole room. This room did not seem much like a bank at all, and felt very homey and comfortable.

Greensboro Project Part 2 - Bank Maps

A First Citizens Bank‎
4635 W Market St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4068‎
B First Citizens Bank‎
4708 High Point Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4070‎
C First Citizens Bank‎
1132 N Church St # 100, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4040‎
D First Citizens Bank‎
1220 Bridford Pkwy, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4085‎
E First Citizens Bank‎
100 S Elm St # 100, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4000‎
F First Citizens Bank‎
3600 N Elm St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4047‎
G First Citizens Bank‎
3200 Randleman Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4080‎
H First Citizens Bank‎
620 Green Valley Rd # 100, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4059‎
I First Citizens Bank‎
1509 Highwoods Blvd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4220‎
J First Citizens Bank‎
Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 412-4184‎

116 Results near Greensboro, NC. 176,577 Total.

2274 Vanstory St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4170‎
606 College Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4150‎
101 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 574-4566‎
915 E Bessemer Ave, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4210‎
4541 W Market St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4280‎
4025 Premier Dr, High Point, NC‎ - (336) 888-0221‎
G BB&T: Sales Finance‎
101 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4860‎
2835 Randleman Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4230‎
201 W Market St # 100, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 433-4001‎
Place closed
120 W Main St, Jamestown, NC‎ - (336) 888-0260‎

108 results near Greensboro, NC. 7,598 Total.

A Bank of America: Mortgages‎
629 Green Valley Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3870‎
B Bank of America‎
101 W Friendly Ave, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3669‎
C Bank of America‎
2105 Pinecroft Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3745‎
D Bank of America‎
1616 E Bessemer Ave, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3050‎
E Bank of America‎
107 Muirs Chapel Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3113‎
F Bank of America‎
3303 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3150‎
G Bank of America‎
1500 S Elm Eugene St, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3080‎
H Bank of America Home Loans‎
701 Green Valley Rd # 101, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 574-7081‎
I Bank of America‎
435 Pisgah Church Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-5311‎
J Bank of America‎
700 College Rd, Greensboro, NC‎ - (336) 805-3373‎

346 Results near Greensboro, NC. 193,785 Total.

All maps and statistics generated by Google Maps.

Greensboro Project Part 3 - Speculation

Since the First Citizens Bank building is right in the middle of town, and it seems fairly evident that the building was originally constructed for that bank, it probably was important to the beginnings of the city. The building itself has a strong presence on that corner, and is very hard to miss. The fact that it managed to claim and save a spot right in the middle of everything leads me to believe that it was a reliable business and was able to stay in business as the city grew up around it, instead of being closed due to other competition moving in later. Although this is just one branch of a large chain of Citizens banks, which are located mainly in the southeast as well as a few on the west coast of America, this particular branch looks specifically designed for the location, instead of an average bank building found anywhere else in America.

The BB&T branch in town was a fairly generic looking branch, especially on the inside. The BB&T banks are a regional chain in the southeast section of the US. They seem to be very prevalent in the south, and it is not surprising that there is one located near the center of the city. The branch was clean, but crowded and working at a quick pace. These banks seem to be very popular, which would make them less oriented towards getting to know specific customers. There was along area to wait in line and everything seemed to be based on a fast and efficient system, instead of a calm relaxed environment. This bank did not seem to be catering specifically to the Greensboro location, but rather just filling the role of any other branch in the chain as a part of southern banking.

While Bank of America is the largest banking system out of the three, it was not nearly as generic of a branch as the BB&T. The inside of the building was very unique, and designed to make customers feel relaxed and at home. The outside of the building had large glass windows that are not on a flat surface. this leads me to believe that this may not have been the original purpose of the building, and that it was probably converted from some other previous occupant. The bank is very close to the center of town though, which may mean that it was an important bank that managed to make it into a prime spot in town due to popularity. This bank would be useful to connect people's money across the nation and overseas. While First Citizens bank is fairly large, there is a large concentration in North and South Carolina in particular. Bank of America has slightly more branches and is more evenly spread out across the country.

All maps generated by Google Maps.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Education, My Plan: getting from here to there

I intend to study at UNCG for all four years of my undergraduate degree. Freshman year will be mainly general education business courses, as it has been this semester. Spring 2010 is also mainly general business prerequisites. I am taking a somewhat heavy course load with 17 and 18 credit hours freshman year. As long as I van handle the work load I will be taking as many credit hours as possible per semester since I did not have any prior to college. Sophomore year I plan to take the two semesters of Spanish that I am required for a business degree. I also plan on starting biology in order to get a minor in biology by the time I graduate. These fields of study will be helpful to me in the area of business I wish to pursue. During the first few years I hope to get as far ahead as possible so that I can travel Junior year. I am considering a study abroad semester in the fall of 2011 in Argentina. I figure that South America would be a good place to go because I do not have any other means to get there than through school, and it would work well with the Spanish language classes that I have taken since middle school.

After my study abroad session I plan on taking a little time off to travel while I am still in college and before I have to get a real job. If I work hard enough beforehand and maybe take a few summer classes I'm hoping that I can manage to graduate on time even with taking a full semester off from UNCG. I would like to go spend some time working and riding in New Zealand. I few of my friends have done it already and said it was an amazing experience, and they can set me up with the same sort of situation they had. This seems like the best time to travel, because after graduation I will be expected to get a full time job and start supporting myself even more than I do already.

After returning from my worldly travels I expect to come back to UNCG to finish my degree by completing whichever courses are necessary to get the correct amount of credit hours to graduate. These will probably be mainly business courses that are more major-specific, as well as a few last biology courses to help me achieve that minor. Whether this takes two or three semesters does not really matter to me, as long as I can manage a degree in the area I wish to enter the job market - business administration. As long as I remain diligent in my work habits and stick to some sort of plan, this should work out the way I'd like it to.

I do not plan to attend any education after college, but would rather jump straight into the job market and try to start earning some money. After college my living expenses will increase, so I will need to find a more reliable source of income than I have now. I have travelled a lot already and have begun to grasp a fairly accurate view of the world, at least I think I have. My past experiences have already made me fairly well equipped to navigate the world around me, even when in an unfamiliar setting. My college education is meant to refine my business skills and ability to direct others. This education will hopefully help me get a job, and later develop a reasonable career.

Can Images Still Move Us?

This "Food for Thought" session discussed the lessened power in today's society, especially with our youth. A large eye-opener is that today we can view even real images of apocalyptic scenes and be completely unaffected, and expect them to be fake, whereas when moving pictures were first introduced people were afraid of a moving train. Today there is so much technology to create horrific scenes that everyone has become fairly desensitized to them, whether they are real or fake. The speaker put up many images on the overhead projector to try to see which ones caused an emotional change to people in the room. As different people discussed which ones had affected them the most, they all seemed to have a different image in mind. In some cases it was an image that I was completely unaffected by, but I guess the reactions the images cause maybe differ depending on one's own past experiences.

The majority of the scenes shown were of some destructive force. There were real images of a flooded town in Louisiana following Katrina and September 11, 2001. There were also many pictures of art or computer generated images like the apocalypse from that painter's perspective, Paris under water, and buildings falling in 2012. These images all brought out differing reactions, although did not seem to move us very much. What affected people more was when the possibility of destruction was demonstrated to them in real life. There were projects done in New York where dots were put on trees showed where the water level could be, which was well up over peoples' heads. There was also a project done in which lines were drawn along the streets showing where the new shoreline would be if there was major flooding. It was also very interesting to see what Brooklyn would have looked like if it had never been settled, and how much humans had changed the geological features of what land forms used to be there. This was probably the most interesting section on the discussion to me, because instead of purely fictional, like what is shown in the movies, I could actually see what would happen to real places if massive flooding occurred.