Letter through time: Thingjimmie-amabob

Dear Madam Smith,

I sometimes write my mother too, but not in a missive, in a text or email as Madam Pihlaja has told you about. Although our mothers are wise, they do not predict weather anymore. In this day we have the internet, which is every encyclopedia in the world, plus some, at our fingertips. On the telephones that Madam Pihlaja has told you about we also have items called, “apps” they are different platforms or ways for us to do something specific whether it is playing a game, planning the day, or contacting someone. One of those apps tells us what the weather will be like. It even shows photos and what is happening with the weather at that exact moment although it is not usually accurate.

In our day, on the internet, we have something called social media. It is a way to connect to others with electronics, which are mainly our phones and the internet. On our phones, we have apps, which I explained earlier. Some of these apps can send images of people immediately to others or even videos, which are a capture of what is happening right now, a capture of the movement and sounds. One app called Snapchat uses photos to communicate. Once someone views it, it deletes itself after ten seconds. It is a little weird but a popular invention. Another highly used app, which is also on the internet, is called Facebook. On this social media platform, which we view through a screen, we are able to share anything. We can share videos, photos, text, news articles, recipes, weather updates, and anything else you can think of. If we wanted and sometimes even if we do not want it, the whole world can see what we post and write. I do not like to use the social media pages much because I feel my thoughts are better shared in person and with those who I know will be respectful of my thoughts even if they disagree, but sometimes I post photos to Facebook and write private messages to people I have not talked to in awhile. It is a good way to see what others are doing.

Another highly used app, which is also on the internet, is called Facebook. On this social media platform, which we view through a screen, we are able to share anything. We can share videos, photos, text, news articles, recipes, weather updates, and anything else you can think of. If we wanted and sometimes even if we do not want it, the whole world can see what we post and write. I do not like to use the social media pages much because I feel my thoughts are better shared in person and with those who I know will be respectful of my thoughts even if they disagree, but sometimes I post photos to Facebook and write private messages to people I have not talked to in awhile. It is a good way to see what others are doing and keep in touch.

We also have something called Twitter. This platform can be limiting to what we write, but we can share photos and videos, which may depict our message just as well. In our videos, we can add written words to help our message along. This platform is usually used for promoting a business or for people who feel like putting information out there, personal or not. Twitter is not used as often for communicating with family and writing messages, but people seem to like it a lot.

Sometimes we use platforms such as LinkedIn, which is meant to tell others about our experiences and expertise so we can find a place to work. In this day, we do not do our own work, we do not grow our own food, make our own clothes, and sometimes watch our own children. We have to get jobs to pay others to do that work and this platform helps us present ourselves to the employers.

We also have something called blogs or the blogosphere. Yes, we still use funny words like thingjimmie-amabob and sometimes make up new words that sound just as silly such as blogosphere. A blog can be personal, creative, a journal, a how-to, or whatever else the author would like it to be. There is not a limit on the quantity of words used, but we do need to understand what people want to read and how they will view it to get the largest amount of people to look at our blogs. I do not know the reasoning people want others to view their blogs. It may be financial reasons but sometimes it is exciting to see that others are viewing it. Most people may write for themselves, to give themselves something to do, and to feel important and helpful to at least one reader. Blogs can be fun to write because you can be creative and personable.

Madam Smith, I do not think you are missing out. It is a wonderful feeling to immediately talk to a loved one or see photos of family members, but people are lonelier now than they used to be. Due to people having less face to face conversations, the conversations have turned impersonal and become less and less. When you walk into a room, drive down the road, or go into a restaurant you barely see people talking to one another. They are all looking at their phones. Some people look for attention online. They may find it, but it is temporary and probably unsatisfying. Some people find themselves feeling sad when they see what others have or what others want him or her to perceive what they have. Sometimes it is all an illusion, and people do not feel whole with their imaginary perfect lives. There are some wonderful benefits to having social media, such as creating awareness to a cause or helping boost someone’s confidence, but I think we were better off with face to face or written communication. I am sorry that I am ending on a negative not, but as a positive, you will hopefully treasure your communications as they are now.


Lady in Waiting Kasey

P.S. I know Madam Pihlaja said that there is not room to send anything but this letter, but I was able to make room for these two photos. I decided to sneak them in. She will never know! They are what a current day cell phone and computer look like. Enjoy!

nav_desktops_1115 Above: computer; Below: cell phone



This letter is in response to Madam Smith’s letter to me (also my final for the class):

Dear Madam, I wrote you some few weeks since and as I had not received a reply I thought my letter might be miss sent and I would write again. You wrote me some two months ago that you would interest yourself sufficiently to become my agent to procure means of knowledge of times beyond these. I await your next missive and desire heartily some vision of the communications in your age. For me, I pen a missive to my mother every two weeks, telling her in some detail of Hiram’s work and my fellow wives’ unseemly angers. Some time later, I duly receive a reply from dear mother. Generally, she reckons the weather will be might poor and predicts plagues upon the wheat. What I wonder is how people in your time, when not looking at each other face on, share information. Were I able to stuff my crinolines into our shared vacuum-tube thingjimmie-amabob, I should quite enjoy a hop to the future whereupon I could take stock of how you do your churning and how you cover your absences from each other. In your day, do you write words and, once the ink dries, drip some candle wax onto the envelope as seal? Do you await the hoof beats of the pony express rider? When you write, do you discuss the weather and the

wheat? I nurse a severe hankering to know how you connect with others in your modern age. Some part of me, I guess, wants to know if I would feel less alone were I alive in your time. What think you?

Do write some kind word to me on the reception of this; it will be gratefully received. We should not neglect to answer each other so long again. I had no time today but sit up an hour later past putting the ten four-year-olds to bed (1869 was a busy year for Hiram here in the compound!) to say to you, that you are kindly remembered.

Accept my best wishes and let me hear from you soon.


Ann Eliza G. Smith


Let’s Talk About the Cost of Tuition


We all know how tough it can be to deal with the cost of going to college. Not including  living expenses and other normal expenses, students have a high tuition cost to pay. Actually, Minnesota has the third highest two-year community and technical college tuition in the nation. Thankfully, for me and my fellomnfw students, Lake Superior College is the second/third (depending on who you ask) cheapest public two-year college in Minnesota. Although Minnesota’s tuition is high, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

A little background info for you…

Minnesota State colleges receive money from the state, which is allocated to 37 different colleges, 30 of which are two-year colleges. Every other year the state budget is created (operating on a two-year cycle), which is when the state legislature decides how much money they will give to Minnesota State (the system of colleges we are a part of formerly known as Mnscu) and the rest of the state’s agendas. Minnesota State then uses an algorithm to allocate this money to each school. There are many pieces of data in this algorithm, some of it is unknown to me and even the schools. Of course, what is allocated to each school affects the school’s budget, which is why students will sometimes see cutbacks in the services offered at the school, but the other part of the school’s budget comes from the tuition students pay. Students used to pay one-third of their college costs and the state would pay the other two-thirds. The amount the state pays has decreased over the years and students are now paying a majority of the costs. It’s understandable to say that someone should be paying for what they are receiving, but getting people a college degree then into the workforce is more than a personal goal, it helps our economy and our state flourish. Plus, with so many jobs requiring a degree, students shouldn’t be drowning in debt to get those jobs. In a way, they are paying to get paid.

Have you heard about the tuition decrease?

Throughout the years, especially in recent years, MSCSA has been advocating on behalf of students about college affordability. The MSCSA employees, cabinet, and student senators travel to both the state and national capitals to do this. The past couple years, a large amount of effort has been put into this by MSCSA. From educating stude10434053_10153378399992051_1459383406290337499_nnts about the state’s budget to teaching them to advocate and talk with state representatives. So much so that, students may not realize it, but there has been changes to their tuition. In 2013 a two-year tuition freeze was granted to students,which meant that tuition will not rise for two years and students will pay the same tuition costs each year. Another success from the efforts of these MSCSA members (but not only them) is affecting us right now, Fall 2016. Legislatures enforced a tuition decrease of 1% due to the stories they heard from students. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you think about the amount of interest that would accrue on that 1% of tuition, it adds up. This decrease (as far back as MSCSA can find) is the first DECREASE in over 30 years for the Minnesota public, two-year colleges, which is a step in the right direction for students.

Think about it: The state created a statute that says they will pay two-thirds, but somehow they seem to have gotten away from actually doing it. The tuition decrease is a step towards getting back to the original commitment from the state.


Photo from MSCSA.org

This can be a lot of information for a student, but well worth knowing, after all, It is YOUR education. Will you walk towards the light or stay in the dark?

Want to learn more? Visit us at MSCSA.org


The Students’ Voice: MSCSA

Lake Superior College students along with about 100-300 thousand (numbers change depending on enrollment and what data is used to calculate) other two-year Minnesota State students are members of a non-profit, student association called Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA). This association is the voice for students at the state level. They also advocate for each campus’ student governments (SG) who are the voice for students at the campus level. They have been given this voice by creating a reputation and by being written into legislation. Students are considered a member even if they do not attend or participate in MSCSA activities because they pay (through tuition) .35 cents per credit but they can receive many benefits from the association such as internships, scholarships, and being advocated for.

MSCSA consists of a student elected cabinet, President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Public Relations Coordinator, who are governed by the nine Governing Council members and Presidents’ Group chair. The Governing Council (GC) oversees the cabinet and MSCSA employees. Each year, elections are held at the General Assembly in the spring where about 300 students come together to elect the cabinet and GC members. There is a GC member for each region in Minnesota, which is split into Northwest, Northeast, North Central (includes LSC), West Central, Metro West, Metro North, Metro South, Southwest and Southeast regions. regionalAll meetings through MSCSA including General Assemblies, Presidents’ Group, and Regional meetings are governed by a set of rules called the Working Document, which is edited and ratified by students at the General Assembly (Again, about 300 students).

Not only does MSCSA advocate for students, but they help students, usually Student Senators, build leadership skills. They offer several conferences each school year. At the conferences, students network and learn about self-development, leadership skills, Robert’s Rules, etc. There are workshops, keynote speakers, and fun evening activities. Students also get to create friendships throughout the state.

Each campus’ student governments have the opportunity to grow with MSCSA. They teach them about teamwork and how to work with the school’s faculty, staff, and administration. It is a requirement for a Minnesota State school’s Administration to present the campus budget and fiscal information to their student government, and it is the job of the Student Body President to write a letter informing Minnesota State that administration informed, explained, and did the budget consultation with them. MSCSA helps the SG’s become knowledgeable about some of the jargon that is used in a meeting with administration, and it helps the Student Body President with the letter that must be sent to Minnesota State and the Chancellor.Wooden gavel from the court placed over a block, isolated on background

Three great opportunities for students who are a member of the association (remember, that includes you, LSC students). They offer two $500 scholarships called the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award scholarship and the 100% American Award scholarship, and are always working on more scholarship opportunities. In January, the winners are invited to the Scholarship Gala where they are recognized for their achievements. MSCSA also offers internships. They currently have positions as the Equity and Inclusion Campaign Intern and the Get Out the Vote Intern. Once a student has graduated from a two-year Minnesota State school, they have the opportunity to become an Alumni member, which is organized like the association but also focuses on fundraising. MSCSA is a great resume builder for students!

Each year, MSCSA has new items added to their agenda and list of initiatives. This year, they are focusing on GOTV, equity and inclusion, and transfer pathways. Their agendas are based on students’ needs. Every year MSCSA takes students to both the state and national capitols where students advocate and give their stories to legislatures for college affordability, Pell Grants, Trio, Open Ended Resources (OER’s), and many other items.

To be involved with MSCSA, it is usually best to be a part of your school’s Students Government. As a Student Senator and former Student Body President at LSC, and Governing Council Alterna11137166_10154273557280884_5833813240581790517_nte with MSCSA, I have had a lot of involvement with MSCSA. I’ve gone to many of their conferences (LSC even hosted a conference last year at the school). I’ve also been able to travel to Washington, D.C. two times to advocate for students. I , along with my region, was given a tour of the Capital by Rick Nolan and in our free time got to site see. It can sound hard for some people to picture themselves in a position advocating for students to a congressman, but MSCSA gives us the tools and
training to do that.

If you are interested in these great opportunities, you should think about joining your campus’ student government.

Check them out at MSCSA.org. Don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of the page for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr to see what they are currently up to.

Click here to sign-up for the MSCSA Newsletter here


Boundary Waters: Slow Down & Chill Out

Picture having to do everything at a slower rate. Create your own heat instead of turning up a thermostat. Canoe out to the middle of a lake to  gather water instead of turning on a faucet. Carry everything you own on your back and shoulders instead of leaving it at home. Walk instead of drive. For three days, I lived my life at a slower pace.

Just this past weekend, October 7-9th, I took a trip to the Boundary Waters with eight strangers for a college course.6e6049ff0786a72c88ba05b6612a6b13 We spent Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday together in the wilderness.
In case you have not heard of the Boundary Waters (BW), it is a portion of the Superior National Forest, which is located in Northeastern Minnesota. The Boundary Waters is about one million acres of preserved wilderness, which does not have roads or allow motorized vehicles and boats. You will run into lakes, hiking trails, campgrounds, and if you are quiet, some wildlife. The way of traveling through the BW is by portaging (foot) or by canoe.

We started the semester off with a two-hour class at LSC where we did the usual firs day of class items then we got to know each other’s names and talked about the gear needed for the trip. Thankfully, the trip had been set up well for us. It was suggested that we wear almost all our clothing, give or take a few items, and the rest of the necessities will be supplied for us. This made it easier to pack a small amount (because we have to haul it with us). Our second class consisted of us learning about the BW and why we get two college credits for the experience. The third class was on the St. Louis River, we practiced canoeing with our partners (still strangers) and left feeling somewhat ready for the trip.

Our first day, we had to meet at the school at 7:30 a.m. We boarded a large yellow school bus and drove for about two hours. Our destination was the Sawbill Outfitters. These are the people who supplied us with our tents, sleeping bags, food, stove, and other 400x317necessities. After getting off the bus, most the students were already chilled and ready to get moving, but that’s not how it works when you take eight students into the wilderness where emergency assistance can’t be called. The Outfitters started our training by playing a movie, you know the kind of movie, the one where it is required, which makes it the most mundane thing you’ve ever seen. The next step was to see what is in our packs and how to pack them back up; although necessary information, this was the boring part. I along with other students, was ready to get a move on. Obviously, we were impatient because we still needed to go over how to carry the canoe, hang our food to keep bears out, and get fitted life jackets. I’ll point out, all of this was happening without us know the time, which caused me to become antsier. Finally, we were ready to go.

It was my job to portage the canoe to the first lake, Sawbill Lake. It was a small walk, but it was hard. I clumsily tried to get the 42-pound canoe onto my shoulders with my partner’s help while carrying the pack on my back, which probably weighed a good 30 to 40 pounds. After an already long day, this was tough, plus, I’m a scrawny little thing. We waited to put the canoe in the water and talked about our route. The instructor pointed out that we have two portages we will be doing, a 30 rod and a 200 rod. A rod equals 16 feet, which means a 480 ft and 3200 ft portages. This didn’t sound too bad, WRONG! We canoed through Sawbill Lake to our next portage, in about forty degree weather. It was windy and drizzled on-and-off. Once through Sawbill Lake, I did the 30-rod portage, again, it was tough and I couldn’t wait to get to the next lake, Alton Lake. With a much larger lake, we were pumped and ready to get to camp. bwcaAfter getting the canoes in the water, the drizzle turned to snow and sleet, which showered straight into our faces. The only way to get out of the wind and waves was to make it to the far side of the lake where it was calmer. We could barely see in front of us, but we made it to the other side. As soon as we made arrived at the other side, the snow stopped. It felt as if we were being tested. We continued on this lake, not led by the instructor due to it being “our experience”. Once we were almost to the end, our plans changed, it was suggested that we go to a closer camp, which will shelter us from the elements. When this was decided, I was thankful for the decision! It was well passed time for me to eat. We found the campground, but it still was not time to eat. We needed to set up our tents and sleeping bags while it was still light out, gather water, and start a fire for heat. All of this took hours but finally it was time to eat, which was exciting until I realized the bugs in our water. The instructor said that it is perfectly fine to drink. We made dinner, with the buggy water, and I scarfed it down. It was freeze-dried beef stroganoff; sadly, it was one of the best meals we had the whole weekend.

On the second day, my favorite day of the trip, none of us wanted to get out of our warm sleeping bags because even with the fire we still felt cold. Moving around kept us warm; we all chose a duty and did it. Breakfast and a fire were made, water was gathered, dishes were done, and wood was found. At this point, we still had the 200-rod portage and two other lakes to explore. In my mind, 200 rods didn’t sound like much, but when I walked it (without the canoe) I was surprised at how worn out it made me. This portage brought us to Lake Wonder where I had been told there is good fishing. I was excited to get out and fish. The instructor told me that he had been fishing here for 13 years and has always caught a fish. He caught three and I caught zero, which I didn’t care. I was happy to get the chance to fish. We decided we would explore the last lake on our list, Sunhigh Lake, but we had to find the entrance and get over a couple of beaver dams. It sounds silly, but going over those dams was the highlight of the trip. Everyone was smiling and laughing. We couldn’t seem to maxresdefaultmake it over them without getting stuck, rocking the boat, and getting wet. Overall, enjoyable. It was time to go back to camp, which meant my turn to portage 200 rods. Long story short, it was one of the hardest things I have done physically. I would guess I made it a third or half way before my partner, (a male) took over. I cannot explain the appreciation I had for him at that time. The exciting thing about that portage was; it felt easier. I could not carry it the whole distance, but I was getting better at portaging. Finally, we made it back to camp, did our duties, and sat around the fire until bedtime.

On Sunday, our third day, we wanted to stay in the sleeping bags, but many of us had started the countdown to our next hot shower, which caused me to move a bit faster. We worked efficiently as a team to get tents taken down, pack bags, and clean up the site. It was finally time to head back to the Outfitters. I was excited, but on the way back, I realized that I enjoyed the wilderness, and I enjoyed pushing my limits. I realized that I would miss this experience.


Hold The Door…

Don’t worry, this isn’t another blog or review about the controversial episode on the Game of Thrones where Hodor dies. Rather, it is a blog about something most of us may experience on a daily basis.

I’ve always been someone who notices the small things. Someone who tits_the_little_things_quoteries to think of others and do the right thing. Maybe, it’s something as small as smiling at a stranger, returning something found, or taking the time to notice and speak to someone. The sad thing is, there are too many people who are inconsiderate of others.

The other day, I was walking into school, the main building where most students enter. There were other students on their way into the school too. There are a few doors at the entrance, but most students seem to use the same door. As we all entered the building, a girl who was about two feet, if that, in front of me looked as if she would hold the door for me, but quickly let it close. As I clumsily tried to catch it, I thought to myself about how she didn’t look back to see if anyone was behind her. I pulled the door open and continued on my way while wondering if anyone saw my awkward entrance into the school. For a couple days, I found myself thinking about the experience and the girl. It really didn’t bother me or change my day, but thoughts kept popping into my head. I thought about how thoughtless the girl was and wondered why someone wouldn’t think to check behind them when letting a door close. Although I was able to shrug my shoulders and let the experience go, There is a larger problem with what happened.

We all have rough days. Sometimes, we are in our own little world and not always paying attention. It happens, but lately, it seems that people just don’t care to think about others. They don’t notice the people around them or want to help them in any way.

It’s not the fact that a door wasn’t held for me that bothers me. It is the loss of manners, respect, and thoughtfulness towards one another. Being considerate of others isn’t hard and only takes seconds to show a small amount of kindness such as looking to see if there is someone you should hold the door for behind you. It’s not required that we are all kind to each other, but it is a common courtesy and something that can benefit everyone involved. Because we aren’t required to do something, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.  Sadly, being thoughtful is something we don’t see much of anymore.

We should all take the small amount of time to show others we care, even with something as simple as holding a door. With everyone liking, sharing, and wanting to be added to a friend’s list, why aren’t we kinder to each other in person?

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful image-224-e1439976485273mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”

I often find myself wondering what has happened to us? Why are so many people hateful towards others? What has caused humans to act this way?

What do you think is the cause of this carelessness?



Where in the World is Duluth, MN?

Well, it’s at the nose of the wolf, you know what I’m talking about, right? The Great Lake that is shaped like a wolf, Lake Superior. Don’t tell me you don’t remember back to elementary school when the best way the teacher could get you to remember the names of the five Great Lakes was by describing their shapes such as a wolf head, a traveler with a backpack, and a leafy squash. If you’re teachers didn’t teach you that way, it’s probably because you didn’t grow up near the lakes! Duluth has a lot of offer, but everyone’s favorite is Lake Superior. For those of you who have never seen the icy-cold lake, it is something worth visiting.

As a native to the Duluth area, it is easy to take Laker Superior for granted. Every morning, I drive over the world’s largest lake distracted by the construction slowing me down and barely noticing the 1,000 ft. vessels waiting to dock or the way the lake sparkles from the sun that has recently risen. I’m sure the locals could argue on where the best view of the lake is located, but I’d say it is when you’re right next to it, so close, your toes are a little wet and somewhat numb. From that shoreline, it looks as if the lake goes on forever, and if you look at the adjacent cities, they look like distant mountains. The beauty of Lake Superior is a view you won’t see anywhere else.

Lake Superior and Duluth have an array of activities to offer. During the warmer months, you can visit the shoreline to see yoga on SUP boards or sailboats coasting by. Tourists can take Segway tours along the Lakewalk, which is also is a great place for runners. From 21st Avenue East to the Lift Bridge, it is only a five-mile run. Don’t believe me? Turn on your GPS and see for yourself, but don’t forget to stop to photograph the Aerial Lift Bridge A.K.A Old Lifty. In the winter, you could ski, snowboard, or check out the nightlife around the city, but I’d suggested locking yourself in the house, jacking up the heat, and drinking hot chocolate until the geese come back to town. Don’t worry, if none of this interests you, it’s not all there is to do in Duluth. There are other options I haven’t mention that can be found by visiting http://www.visitduluth.com.


You could pack your things up, rent a U-Haul and give Duluth a try.

Aristotelian Analysis


In my Aristotelian Rhetorical Analysis, we will watch a video where James Veitch, a writer and comedian, will be presenting a TEDTalks Video called This is what happens when you reply to spam email. I chose this video because it seems fitting for a social media class, and I enjoy watching TEDTalks videos. Before finding this video on YouTube, I hadn’t heard of James Veitch, but I have watched many TEDTalks, and they choose quality speakers. I also figured, if it is comical, it doesn’t have to be credible.

The appropriate audience for this video is someone who has seen a spam email (so, practically everyone), those with a sense of humor, and those of middle age or younger. It is James’ job to make others laugh. He was able to find amusement out of an email and relate it to others. James wanted to make people laugh, which he did. Most of all, he wanted to bring light to a crime that targets vulnerable adults. These people do not realize they have been targeted and scammed until it is too late, but talking about a crime such as this is not fun, so James publically made fun of the scammers to make the talk enjoyable.

James used the fact that most people have enough experience, sense, and that they are able to recognize a scam when they hear, “you’ve got mail”. He also used a hint of sarcasm when making comments such as, “So I knew I was dealing with a professional.” after reading an email from a scammer with grammatical errors and little context. James not only made the audience laugh, but he connected with the audience through humor and being able to relate to thoughts that have gone through peoples’ heads when they receive those pesky, spam emails. He also added that he aided everyone else by taking up the spammers’ time during these conversations.

My final analysis on James’ video is that it is funny, he connected with his audience, he brought to light a problem, he used logic and emotion to catch and keep the audiences’ attention, and he was able to effectively use all seven elements needed for an Aristotelian analysis and great storytelling.