Lately I’ve not really felt much like myself. I’ve been lethargic, really unfocused, anxious and agitated. Okay, so maybe I have been feeling like myself other than the lethargy part….lol.
Anyway, I did some digging to see what could be going on with me, and it seems that I’ve been afflicted with something that usually happens to teenagers when they are about 17 or 18 … I found something that sounds almost exactly like me:
A common disease which plagues high school seniors at one point during their last year in high school. Before they graduate, they are overcome with a lazy and indifferent attitude; uncaring of their studies. There are many different causes of the disease, but it can often be contagious between close friends. Often results in a change in personal style; from anything beforehand to sweats and baggy shirts. Hair is barely ever brushed; or for women, is up in a messy bun or ponytail. They might have many absences and a generally dismissive outlook towards any type of school assignments.
Source: Urban Dictionary
It’s official, I have Senioritis!
I am in the final 3 weeks of school before I finish my MSCJ (Master’s of Science Criminal Justice) and I can’t focus. I have two undergrad degrees and neither time did I struggle writing my final papers but my master’s thesis is killing me. Not because it’s hard, and I love school but GOOD LAWD !
I have a great support group and they’ve said “Hang in there, it’s almost over” and “You got this!” …. both of which I know are true but…GOOD LAWD!
I have thought about different ways that I could get through this, I like to think that I have a great set of coping mechanisms. My first thought is that I could drink, I dismissed that because if I start drinking, I am entirely capable of missing the last 3 weeks of school altogether, so that was no good. I have some friends who have successfully completed college high, but knowing me, I would spend the last 3 weeks of school either sleeping or eating foods that would cause my personal trainer to inflict serious bodily harm on me and I refuse to pay him to do that.
Since I couldn’t come up with an alternative method of coping with my senioritis, I thought that a 12 step program for stressed out master’s degree candidates would help me, until I read the steps:
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our senioritis – that our lives had become insane.
Step 2 – Came to believe that only graduation could restore us to sanity
Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of anti-anxiety medications as we understand them.
Step 4 – Made a searching and feverish inventory of all of our research notes.
Step 5 – Admitted to our professors, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our research theories.
Step 6 – We’re entirely ready to have Microsoft Word remove all these defects of spelling and grammar.
Step 7 – Humbly asked APA formatting to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had thought of harming, and became willing to make good on those promises if they interrupt our research or the reporting of our findings.
Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people who have previously interrupted our research or the reporting of our finidings…….at some point.
Step 10 – Continued to proofread our work and when we were wrong promptly ignored it
Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 – Having had a graduation as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other students, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
After reading the steps, I decided that turning over, asking, making amends, removing defects and all of that, in addition to my research and the reporting of my findings in my thesis was just undertaking more than I can deal with at the moment.
So, after all of the research I’ve done on my senioritis and the various ways that it can be managed, I decided that the best treatment for this disorder was to just got off my ass and make it happen……….I got this.
This session, I have to take this “Readings in Criminal Jusitce” class. Basically, we choose 6 books, get them approved by the professor, read one a week and submit a book review.
The criteria for the book review is as follows:
“Book Reviews: For each Book Review, you will read your approved material and complete a critical
analysis report. Book Reviews should include a summary of the book, but must be more than a
simple book report. They must include a critical analysis of the book coupled with how the book may
contribute to the literature of criminal justice. Other observations about the author’s credibility,
sources, methodology, and ability to be up-to-date should also be included to the best of the
student’s ability. Book Reviews should be 3-5 pages written in Word format, and follow APA style.”
So, last week I did my book review on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. The book discuses Alexander’s theory that the criminal justice system practices a system of institutionalized racism that attempts to disenfranchise people of color in the same social and economic way as the Jim Crow laws of the south had previously.
As emphasized above, one component of the paper is to discuss the author’s credibility, for which I wrote:
“Michelle Alexander is a litigator and civil rights activist and litigator and recipient of a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University (Alexander, 2010). Alexander previously served as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California and later directed the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School where she served as an Assistant professor (Alexander, 2010).”
I thought that would be sufficient but apparently not, my professor had a question which was:
“Why is this author credible? All of her positions have been with ideologically left organizations. Does her book provide a fair and balanced analysis of the laws and the application of these laws to most people? Do you personally view this author to be credible? Why or why not?
This is where your critical thinking skills will come into play. How do we evaluate an author that appears to have an agenda.
I had a student that reported on a book written by David Duke. He claimed Duke was credible because he was an elected official. I would argue that as a member of the KKK, he was not credible. I would personally question anything that he wrote.
My thoughts?? My thoughts are “Why in all hell are we comparing Michelle Alexander to the card carrying KKK politician David Duke?”
In all of the years that this man has been teaching, the only author of questionable credibility he has encountered has been David Duke?
*No Words*…..*Blank Stare*. I have a bad habit of shooting off my mouth at or around the same time that I am trying to process and get the full gist of a situation. I got the gist of this one rather quickly……he’s comparing an accomplished and educated author against LSU graduate and Ku Klux Klan aficionado David Duke. Makes perfect sense to me…….ok, I’m lyin, makes no damned sense and is slightly offensive.
I finally got around to answering the question wearing by Sunday best, student hat, the one’s like they give out at the “Professionalism School for the Tactfully Challenged”:
“You are correct, most of her positions have been with left organizations, however, the issue of a disproportionately amount of minorities in prison has been a discussion in criminal justice, especially after passage of the truth in sentencing legislation, the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing legislation . However, when she first entered the field of law, she was not focused on race and became focused on race after having a personal encounter regarding race and the criminal justice system. I think that she could qualify in court as an expert witness on the topic of racial disparity in the criminal justice system based on her qualifications.
Her book does not provide a fair and balanced analysis of the laws and application of these laws to most people, it’s not designed to, and her book is designed to highlight what she perceives as institutional racism in the criminal justice system. I think she goes beyond just saying “it’s a racial issue” to outlining why and how she believes the criminal justice system is a system of disenfranchisement for people of color and how it can be compared to other social systems such as the Jim Crow laws of the south. Alexander also references statistics that are accessible by the public and prepared by organizations that are considered non-biased, such as the United States Department of Justice. After looking at David Dukes credentials, I have to say that I agree with you, I think he pales in the credibility comparison to Michelle Alexander.
In the respect that Michelle Alexander’s perspective is plausible and she is, by qualifications a reliable source on racism in the criminal justice system, I would find her to be credible. Although I find her credible does not mean that I agree with every word she says. I think there is a large socio-economic piece that also lends to a higher incarceration rate among minorities but I am hard-pressed to believe that it’s the only component. ”
That made perfect sense to me and he gave me credit for my answer but in reading some of the other input he had to offer, I think that my professor doe not believe race is an issue as far as the criminal justice system is concerned. I don’t know what criminal justice this retired law enforcement professional is looking at but the one here in the U.S. does not afford the same opportunities to minorities or the poor that other’s have.
I am just still all caught up that we even had to discuss David Duke…….and how did we get there, again?
Well it seems like I recovered from my melt down the other day. Yesterday, I spoke at one of the Community College campus’s to a juvenile justice class. I lectured on the new issues and trends in juvenile justice.
One thing that I got a lot of time to talk about is how the age of technology is making legislators rethink current policies as they relate to the online distribution of child pornography by minors.
The core issue is that prior to the age of camera phone, iPhones, pads, Blackberry’s and so on, the only way to distribute pictures was to have them developed and mailed. Young people were not engaging in that kind of activity, as it took time and money, but now, with the convenience of picture phones and smart phones, anything is a go…..
The gist of my lecture is that many states are just now beginning to introduce legislation to deal with child pornography created by minors, distributed by minors and received by minors. Prior to some of the recent legislation, minors were held under the same child pornography statues as adults. The creation, distribution and receipt of child pornography would, in fact still be a felony for minors and and they would have to place their name on the sex offender registry, just as an adult.
Many states are seeing the felony and the registry component as being too severe for minors, as both of those entities would follow a minor into his or her adult life. so many states have passed laws decreasing the penalties for minors to a misdemeanor and no registry addition. Although, this is a lesser charge, a misdemeanor is still punishable by up to one year in jail and a wide range of fines.
We discussed the issues as to how state, local and federal governments were going to assign jurisdiction over such cases and the whole nine yards.
The reference point for the conversation was an analysis of the topic as brought to light but the video of a 14-year old girl who was recorded performing oral sex on her boyfriend, that recently went viral as well as the concept of “sexting”.
At the beginning, many people were prepared to disengage. Some had their heads on their desks, other people where chillin with their iPods and so on… it wasn’t intimidating as much as I thought it rude. I was able to use humor to redirect that behavior and get everyone focused. Once that happened, the lecture went very well. The class asked great questions and the more we got into the topic, the more they opened up and discussed how they think the law should handle these situations.
Overall it was a great class and my mentor may have an opportunity for me to help write an Introduction To Criminal Justice textbook…that would be AWESOME!!