The Struggles of Being Rich- Cynthia To

Why do I need someone to set me up with a blind date when I am fine being alone? Do I have to be in a relationship to take over the company? I am about to turn 27 and I don’t need people to tell me when I should get married. I should get to decide when I should get marry and who I want to get marry with.


I know it would be really great for the company and my family if I get married but I’m not ready for the big commitment and marrying someone that I don’t love. “This will help out the company by increasing the percentage rate and being known. This helps my family with the income inequality and to keep our class status too,” they say but I want to get marry but I am not really.


I can still take over the company even though I don’t want to get married right now. I helped the company increase by 0.2 percent. People in the company love working with me because I’m a hard worker and I get things done. Taking over the company takes a lot of hard work that I am willing to do. How does being married now affect me from taking over the family company?


All of my friends already taking over their family company and already married to the girls they love or their parents took them to get married to. Some of my friends aren’t happy with their wife’s and there’s nothing that they can do about it. People that are rich have a hard life finding love as it is already. They are forced to get married to the person that they dislike to help keep their class status and increase the income percentage. Sometimes when I hang out with my friends or with my coworkers, I always imagine what it’s like being married but not how my parents want me to get married. The girl that they want me to get married is Jimin. Her father is a chairman of a really successful company and her parents are also close to my parents because they use to go to Highschool together.


For my whole life, I only thought Jimin as a really close friend and nothing more than that. She’s three years younger than me. That’s weird!! Why would I date someone that is three years younger than me? She liked me since we were little. Everyone is telling me that, “It doesn’t matter about our age but the thing that matters is true love.” Why can’t I just live my life taking over the company and find my true love? Probably I don’t give her a chance is because I’m being forced and just think of her as a friend. I wish people will understand me and my feeling.


I should probably give Jimin a try and not be so harsh on her. I will probably love her later on and get to take over the company and make my family happy. She still loves me even though all I have been doing is be mean and crude to her. That has to mean something, right? I hope. In order to take over the company, I need to marry Jimin. It won’t be so bad since we are close friends, right? I want to make it right for my parents and for the company as well. I guess age doesn’t matter when you grow older and have money. I don’t know what the next step of my life is and I don’t know… can I really handle this commitment?

The Rejection of Family and Fortune

For my entire life, I have looked up to my father. I have wanted to be just like him, as every boy does. When my father died, though I was grief stricken, I was also eager to take over the family business.

Well, yesterday, I got to be just like my father, and I was shocked to learn that everything that I thought I knew throughout my entire life had been fabricated and sugarcoated. I realized that I had known nothing about who my father really was, what he had done, or even what the family business dealt with. I never knew that our customers’ lives were destroyed by our business. Our customers are weak and desperate, they rely on our products just to be somewhat content with life. When I went to observe the work of the dealers, I saw a woman stumbling towards us. She was twitching, she had black teeth, bloodshot eyes, and had deep wrinkles despite only looking like she was in her thirties. When she got to the line, she was begging to get ahead.  I couldn’t believe that my family business had been turning people into zombies for generations. I never knew that the products we traded led to mountains of dead bodies.  When I was on the job, I saw a member of the coast guard approach the ship I was on, to ask some questions. I was shocked when one of my employees shot him in the back. I watched as the blood drenched his uniform and he fell to the ground with a permanent look of surprise on his face. I thought about how this officer probably had a family, a wife, children, and parents that would never see him again. Many of our own people have lost their lives in the name of our company’s profit. Jorge Gonzales, one of my longest serving employees, and a friend of my father’s was shot dead yesterday. I doubt that I will ever recover from seeing the man whom I had known so well as a child riddled with bullets, and I realized in that moment that he had lost his life because of my company.

Many of you standing here listening to my speech have put your lives at risk trying to eliminate our business rivals. I ask all of you whether providing for your family is worth the risk of never being able to see them again.  I assure you that your family would rather have you in their lives than the money you earn. I don’t know what to think of my father anymore. Am I thankful for the fact that he raised me and inspired me throughout my childhood, or do I despise him for lying, sugarcoating, and fabricating the details of the family business? Now that I am a fully grown man and have seen what it is my father was actually doing to provide for my family. I have decided to leave the family business.

To my family, I know that all of you are disappointed in me. You think that I am disgracing the family by abandoning the long lived family business. Believe me, I thought long and hard about this decision, I stayed up all of last night thinking about what I observed on my first day. I was not eager to put an end to everything my father had started, or to dishonor the family name, but I decided that staying true to what I believe was more important. Though I’ve wanted to be a drug lord since I knew what jobs were, I realize now that all of my dreams, aspirations, and fantasies about my future were all lies.

Dreaming Through A Lense

Why does Dad always ask me that? Everyday, “When are you gonna get a real job?” Digital media is a real job. It takes a lot of work to write, record, and edit a film. What a surprise, right? Then he has the nerve to tell me to settle down and do something useful with my life. I have settled down and I am doing something, but he doesn’t care because it’s not what he wants.

Dad just wants me to do something that pays well so he can feel validated. He says he’s only looking out for me, but forcing me to do something that I don’t want to do won’t make me happy. I want to spend my time creating. Watching an idea blossom from just a storyboard to a full blown film is the best thing in the world. Then seeing it go on to be successful, it makes me feel like a proud parent. I wish I knew what that felt like, having a parent that supports you no matter what you decide to do.

My entire family has been hounding me about getting a good job for as long as I can remember. They never care about what I want, they just want me to make money. I know that it’s because they want me to be better off than they are, but I don’t know what to do. Maybe they’re right, I mean, it is really hard to find work in this field, but it’s worth it, right? I love photography and cinematography, but maybe it’s not the best choice.

Wait, what am I saying?! Of course it’s the right choice, it makes me happy. Plus I don’t want to be stuck in some office job doing the same things everyday. I want to have adventures, I want to travel and capture all the places I see. I went to college for this for christ sake. It’s been my dream to be a filmmaker since I was a little kid. I’ve been watching and analysing movies and videos since my childhood.

Does that mean I wasted my whole life? Did I spend all those hours, working on a skill that won’t lead me anywhere? Doing the same thing everyday is safer, filing papers, going to meetings all the time. There’s no way I could mess up, get lost, or get hurt. Is it worth it to be safe, but unhappy? I wanna make my family proud. I want to be the kid that grows up and makes tons of money, to be the one that can buy everybody expensive gifts for Christmas, that’s not really easy in a place like this where creativity doesn’t pay off. I guess I should do what my dad wants me to do.

That’s the thing though, it’s what Dad wants me to do, it’s not what I want to do. The only way to live life to the fullest is to actually live. I don’t want to be some robot sitting behind a desk all the time, I’ll go crazy! I don’t want to live in a world of black and white, I need to do something original. Do I want to make myself happy, or my family? Do I want to enjoy working, or do I want a guaranteed salary? I don’t know what to do.

International Love

What am I going to say? What am I going to do? How can I make them be by my side? I know them. They are my parents, right? So I’m supposed to know how they will respond. I should know that they won’t accept it. But, finally, if they don’t accept it they won’t be accepting me either, they won’t be accepting his son. Yes! I could say that! It’s a strong sentence. Let’s keep thinking… Hmmm… Could I tell them I love her? They should be able to understand that! No, that wouldn’t work. That’s upsetting. I’m sure they will say “you’re only teenagers, you don’t know what love is.” Are you kidding me? I know I love her! I want to spend the rest of my life with her! She is the most interesting, beautiful and clever person I’ve met before. That’s what attracted me the most the first time we’ve been together. That’s why I have to try it. I really want to see her, in real life again, not just on my phone or computer screen. Even if seeing her face makes me happy, it’s not like seeing her face to face. Here I go.

(Opens a door)

Mom, Dad, I have to tell you something. No, don’t worry, I’m okay. It’s just that I want you to know something. Before saying anything, I want you to hear me out and try not interrupting me, thanks. Well… Do you remember that time, when some students from another school came one month to my school? Well, I… I fell in love with one of them. Please, don’t interrupt me, mom, at least let me finish telling the story. We started seeing each other in their second week here. We’ve been dating for six months already, we talk at least twice a day, and do Skypes or FaceTimes  frequently for a check-in. It’s serious, mom. Well, I didn’t tell you anything because I knew you would think I was crazy and that you wouldn’t accept this relationship. Well, now it’s  March. I am already making plans for the summer, you kn... Let me finish, please. Just listen, you promised it! Well, I want to go to see her. Thanks mom, thanks dad, for treating like I was crazy. You are really tolerant. Thanks for saying we’re going to break up soon. That’s your wish, right? I am going to see her! We have been saving money since we started, to make this trip possible. I would be one week there. I already have the three-fourths of the money I need. She is going to pay for a hotel and I’m going to pay for the flight. You see? This isn’t a joke. I have never been so sure of anything in my life until I realized I really like her. Her family approved it, I don’t know why you do not. She doesn’t live that far. It’s just Spain! Europe is only across the ocean!

Please, trust me, accept her, and accept me. Accept my decision. Just why? You don’t understand anything! So why don’t you understand that I love her? She loves me and I love her, I know my feelings much better than you do! (long talk about the decision of the parents, which is obviously negative). Okay. No, I’m not angry, at all. (Ironic) I am ashamed of having parents who don’t care about the happiness of their son! I hate you! Forget me!

Johnson // No More Gummy Worms

Hey Sel- since when did you start smoking, you are in school! Give that to me, you airhead. What is wrong with you?

Okay, you are the loudest person on the face of this earth, and now you can’t talk? You don’t have anything to say to me right now? Well I have something I need to say to you.

I don't want you to take this in a good or bad way. I mean this is for the better...wait! I'm not saying you should improve yourself I jus- nevermind just listen to what I have to say. I met you in kindergarten, I was holding on to my mother’s leg and I refused to let go. You came over to me, took my hand, and placed a gummy worm in it. We were instantly best friends. Our friendship only grew stronger and you are always here for me, so I want to be here for you. I just don’t think that being with Connor is a great idea.

Hold on Selah, don’t walk away. Here, let me rephase a little bit.

I love you, but you and I both know you’ve changed. In the beginning of the school year you were completely different: you had all A’s and B’s, you were in soccer, we volunteered at the after-school program with the children, and you took care of yourself. Now turn around and look in the mirror, besides from the dirty splatters, lipstick stains, and gum from these horrid girls, do you see the same intelligent and sporty girl you once saw? I know I don’t.

Look at your eyes, they aren’t a bright and sparkly wonderland anymore, a land where everyone wanted to be, to make their lives happier and more adventurous. Your hair, it used to be in a dark brown curly bun, with an Under Armour headband to top it all off. Even your clothes, as you once were opinionated and didn’t care what anyone thought of your sporty and artsy style unless it was either your mother or I.

Right now, you are not that girl.. My best friend doesn’t treat me like this. She doesn’t bail on me just to hang out with her boyfriend at a party and do the unthinkable. She doesn’t take her family for granted by not answering their calls when they are worried about when she is going to come home. Your parents call me when you don’t answer. I used to have an answer to those questions, but now I don’t even know where you are when we are in school. Selah, you know your mother, and most importantly your father will do anything for you. Don’t you know I would want that more than anything? Don’t you see Selah? When you are hurting them, you are hurting me. I would switch my life with yours any day just to have a father who loves me as much as yours does.
Listen, you're my best and only friend. I want something to change, and I don't want to lose what I barely have. Please come with me and we can work on this together.
Okay, I’ll mark this date, as the day I lost everything in a visit to the girl’s bathroom. Bye Selah Marie Davis.

Insolvency and Ice-cream

Why has God forsaken me? What did I do in my past life to be treated in this way? Am I in hell? Please, God, if you’re listening, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t wave hello to stupid Ms. Jeckles. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up that most likely flea-infested dog. I don’t know what I’ve done but I’m sorry. It’s not fair, I’m a relatively good person, I should have money. (small pause) Maybe I should ask mom. Yeah. She should understand where I’m coming from. (pause) Then again, maybe not. She might get suspicious because I never call her. Ooh, I could probably text her. (pause) Maybe not, she’s always calling me disrespectful and if I text her asking for money then she will never shut up about it. (pause) In that case, then I’ll have to go meet her in person and that is way too much work. But that means that I have to call her and then she’ll probably yell at me over the ph–

(ring) Hello? (pause) Mom? (pause) What do you mean I have no emotion when I answer the phone, I have plenty of emotions. (pause) Yeah, yeah, okay, fine. Actually, it’s a good thing that you called because I have a question to ask. (pause) I swear on my life that it’s important. (pause) Can you lend me some money? (pause) Because you’re my mother and you’re supposed to pamper me. (pause) But moooooom, I’m too old to be getting up and running around like that! (pause) It doesn’t matter that I’m only twenty years old, my back says otherwise. (pause) What’s it for? (pause) Ice-cream sundaes.

(pause) Why are you yelling at me?! (pause) So what if I have money in the bank? That requires leaving the house and interacting with the nasty bank people. (pause) Mom, I barely have two pennies to rub together right now and Swanky Sundaes is really effing expensive! (pause) I do not have to act my age! (pause) Don’t “Lee, please” me, you’ve never gone through what I’m going through right now! (pause) Mom, you don’t understand. Listen, waiting in line for ice-cream sundaes is fun. Waiting in line at the bank isn’t. (pause) What kind of question is that? Of course I have to go to Swanky Sundaes, where else would I get high quality ice-cream sundaes? (pause) Ew, Pete’s only has like three flavors.

(long pause) Wait really? You’ll pay for it? (pause) That’s not fair! (pause) I have paid you back for the socks. (pause) They’re called scarves and I paid you back for those too. (pause) Maybe you’re just old and forgetful. (pause) Okay, that’s not fair at all, you never actually gave them to me once you got them. (pause) AUGH! I’m too ice-cream-deprived to deal with this, mom. Can’t you just buy me ice-cream and yell at me while I eat it? (pause) Why do you keep telling me no? (pause) You get Stephanie ice-cream literally all the time! (pause) Who cares if she’s fourteen and doesn’t have a job? I’m still your child too! (pause) Oh my GOD, why do you always do this? You’ve told me a million times, you should know by now that I am literally incapable of doing that. (pause)(quietly) Lord help me. (normally, exasperated) For the last time, stop telling me to act my age!

Grandpa Beale- Monologue

Yes Mom! I’ll clean up that pile! Yes, I know that those papers have been sitting there for forever! (confused) I’m not talking back, I’m just agreeing? Okayyyyyyyyy I’ll do it now.

(Picks up pile of papers and sifts through, stopping on a pink card.)

Trash, trash, trash…

Huh, I remember this birthday card, one of the cute ones with the cutouts of our family. Grandma used to send these cutesy cards covered with pictures of her, me, and… Bill.

Your official title is now “Ex-Step-not really related-married in-grandpa”, my mother insists, coaxing a sad smile out of grandma. But I don't say that! You were always just grandpa Beale to me. You rolled your eyes and called us silly little kids when my sister and I pronounced Grandpa Bill- Grandpa Beale, Beale- a weird, twangy word. Some strange cross between, like, bean and whale, clearly the handiwork of small children, but to us it meant love. You know that, right?

You aren’t welcome in our picture frames anymore though. My mom scoffs at your name. I don’t really remember why you aren’t Grandpa Beale anymore. Something about lies, for some 3 years, something about stealing, something about money. I don’t know. I don’t ask anymore, at least not after I heard what Grandma said last year. It was Christmas eve at about 10 o’clock, that meant I was up late cause I was only 10. I heard voices from the other side of the house. I tiptoed through the connecting hallway to the guest room, but paused with my hand on the doorknob as I heard the whispers of a forbidden phone conversation. She was talking to you, just like old times, leaning on her pillows, a faint light from her kindle. I dropped my hand but she heard me, let me in, and knew I understood. “I miss Bill,” I said. “I miss him too,” she attempted at a smile. Her thinning lips left crisscrossing stains of lipstick across her front teeth, it was nothing like the full smiles of my childhood, when you were welcome in the picture frames.

You were my grandpa Beale when you taught me how to push the bike pedals back and get back up onto the driveway. Grandpa Beale liked cold bud lights in the ugly blue cans and watching golf in the sunroom. I can still remember the playful banter as I insisted golf wasn’t really a sport, flicking the light switch back and forth on your commemorative golf club lamp from the adjacent chair. You didn't force me to go to mass like (sarcastic sophisticated voice) Grandfather Douglass, instead you always listened, entertaining my thoughts with your big smile. (Sigh) I miss that.

Grandma always told me your smoking would be the end of your marriage. I laughed and playfully coughed in your direction. I thought it could never end.

I still have that Facebook link open on my phone, “Happy Birthday Sofia! I love you!” from months ago. I knew you wouldn't forget! I wish I had replied… I love you too Beale. Even if my mother hates you for lying to us. She doesn’t see my side. Even if I don't understand why we can't move on and still be family.

(looks up)

I know I'm taking forever mom! I'm keeping this one! Yes mom, it's of Bill. No, my grandpa Beale.

Making a Monster

“Here kid, take this.” That’s what he said as he handed me the gun. I had never had one in my hand before, the long barrel and extended clip for bullets went down to my knees. What am I supposed to do with this?

“You got two options kid, use it on yourself or use it on someone else, regardless I couldn’t care less.¨ The man was tall and had a cold expression that freaked me out.

I had no idea what to say to the man, so I took the gun from him. Why would I want to take my life with the gun? Why would anyone ever do that? The scary man must be joking and playing a trick on me.

I had been home in bed with my mommy, listening to her great stories only a day ago. This makes me want to break down and give up, but I knew I had to be strong for my family. Yesterday three men came to my house and talked to my mom as I ran around the backyard with my little sister. By the time they were finished talking mommy was crying. The guys then grabbed my shoulder and pointed me to an old rusty truck. Mom took my hand and told me these men were gonna take me to a place where all boys go when they reach the age of 13, but I knew by the markings on the truck they were soldiers. She told me things had changed. She said our home was in a war and they needed little boys like me to help out. I must go, I had to be the brave strong man she knew me to be, she said, as she began to cry. The men stepped in and told me I had to leave now, but my mom would not let go of me. One of the men hit her so hard she fell onto the dirt driveway. I began to scream along with my sister. I remember the men picking me up and carrying me to the car. My last glance of my family was from the back of the truck, mommy was lying in the dirt with her hand extended in my direction, I didn’t want this to be goodbye.

Now I’m here, a dark damp cellar full of sandbags and men.Mister, who will I be fighting against? How long will it be until I can see my mom? The soldier gave me an angry glare. I hope the men do not think I have the ability to really kill another person. I become heartbroken, heartbroken at the world. I think to myself, all war has done is destroy my family. Why should I do anything for these men? I see a bright shiny medal on a man's coat jacket. Why would someone want to win a medal for killing another person? I shouldn’t be here, maybe the army guys got the wrong kid. There are plenty of boys much older than me that are stronger and better, than me. They could just do my job and I could go home and see my little sister and mom once again.  

I’m too scared to escape, the cellar has gates-tall gates upstairs and big guys with big guns. Why was I here? Maybe I’m here to become a soldier. I don’t want to become a soldier.  Mommy always said soldiers are monsters, because they hate and fight.  I don’t want to make my mom sad. I don’t want to become a monster.

Family VS Career

Just because someone has a lot of money or power doesn’t mean they should be above the law, sir. No one is above the law.

(Dialogue Pause)

I don’t care. He has committed two different crimes, murder and corruption, both of which deserve a long prison sentence, if not the death penalty. Sir, we know he did this. He abuses his own power, to try and get even more power, which in itself would get him in prison for a while, and then orders the death of not one but two people to cover it up. Even our leader would be happy to know that one of his advisor is trying to seize power from him.  

(Dialogue Pause)

We have the evidence, sir. We have the hitmen, all of whom have confessed to be hired by this guy. We even have obtained emails between our suspect and one of his own advisors talking about their plan. We have all the evidence we would need to arrest a regular citizen. But, because of his wealth and power, we have a different situation. We know that a reason he carried out his plan was because he knows that he had some protection. He knew that maybe his position would give him an advantage and would give him more time to hide his tracks. Now that has backfired. This reason makes him an even more likely suspect. Not a suspect, a criminal. Sir, we know what he did. We have a motive, and evidence that supports the motive and him as a criminal. The only thing that is preventing us now is his position.

(Non Dialogue Pause)

He’s also my brother-in-law.

(Non Dialogue Pause)

If only this criminal wasn’t part of my family. (Anguished scream) Why couldn’t this be anyone else. ANYONE! (Sigh) So I have to choose. My family, or my career. My family, or the law.

(Dialogue Pause)

He’s very respected within the family. Anyone of his position would be respected greatly. When he first came into the family, I too respected him. I admired him. But after uncovering this, I have lost all of my respect for him. As I see things, no one else knows about this. Not even his wife. And most of all, if they found out that I was accusing him of corruption and murder, man, you can’t imagine the backlash I would get. I would no longer be invited to family gatherings, I would probably be kicked out. Yes, I’m not exaggerating. That’s how much they love him. He brings great respect to my family. If people realized he got arrested, then everyone in my family would be rejected. They would become outcasts. And again, my family would blame that on me. And then I would be the outcast of the outcasts.

(Dialogue Pause)

I know sir. Eventually I have to choose.

(Dialogue Pause)

Yes, life will go on. The world won’t stop moving.

(Dialogue Pause)

That’s a good point, sir. Once my family got over their bias, and saw the truth, I would be worshipped. I would be praised. I would get the respect that he got. I would be admired. But, I still need a plan. A marvelous plan. A spectacular plan.

(Non Dialogue Pause)

What if we set him up? What if we caused him to think that he was being uncovered, and we got him to think that doing this one thing would get him out of that. We could catch him in the act. Maybe I could even set it up so that my family is there to see his wrongdoing. I could solve two things at once.

(Non Dialogue Pause)

I don’t know. Everyone would probably dismiss anything. I would still be rejected by my family, too. I guess there’s no way around that, if I decide to carry out my plan and arrest this idiot.

(Non Dialogue Pause)

I don’t really like my family anyway.

Media Fluency

Slide About Me

In the beginning of my slide creation, I changed my background to some dark grayscales. This was so my color of words would contrast and not blend in. I also used the certain peach colors to compliment my banner. I changed the size of my words so that they were no too big  but not too small either. The font or shape of my words were chosen to enforce the calm and smooth effect that my leaves intended to give off, in my banner. I decided to place TYAH largely in the center. After all, I am the center focus of this slide. I named the two things I care for the most. I love pizza and my passion, it is a soul part of me, art.

Media Fluency

tech (1)

I focused more on “glance media.” This is why I have creative colors for the text and the background of the slide. There were many colors added, mainly bright, but I tried not to add too much and stick to a theme of colors. Also, I focused on the “text aids” so that the text is visible and clear. I made the words big enough to see so that the audience won’t struggle and ignore it. Most of the words were bigger than 40 in font size in. I sticked to “one slide and one point” by not adding so much information that’ll make it boring. "Contrast" was most important for my slide. There were certain words I made bigger than others because they were the key points of the slide. It gave the slide more emotion and excite by making some words bigger than the rest.

SLA Students and Critical Conversations in Urban Education

On November 16th, five SLA seniors presented as part of the Critical Conversations in Urban Education series sponsored by Drexel University's School of Education. The Drexel Youth Scholars presented their solutions based research on issues related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Through their presentations, students offered solutions to international challenges such as sustainable consumption and production, childhood marriage, food deserts in urban communities, mental health access for undocumented students, and the intersection of urban communities and sea life. 

Our students presented to their families, friends, Drexel faculty and students, SLA Center City, and SLAMS staff. The space that they presented is also a classroom for the SLA middle school, for a moment bringing it full circle. 

This event was also a celebration of the Scholars' work at the International Conference on Urban Education. From November 3-5th, they attended the conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico and where they were featured presenters!

Congratulations to Imani Weeks, Isabel Medlock, Eva Karlen, Xavier Carroll, and Tahmidul Bhuiyan!

5 Min of Science: Cannabinoids & Depression

Science: The Endocannabinoid system is a physiological processes affecting pain modulation, memory and appetite. As our body has different receptors from the brain to the immune system that all connect forming this system. Which induces the chemicals that connect causing the physical or more physiological euphorias in the brain. 

Society: With depression there are treatments used to cure it such as medication, anti-depressants, but scientists find cannabinoids to "slow down" the communication between cells.  THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found in all strains of Cannabinoids has a number of medical applications but used more often as a recreational use. 

Self: I believe in medical marijuana because it has therapeutic potential in people with not only Depression but also people with spasms and physiological disorders. In addition I think that recreational marijuana relieves people of anxiety and fills dopamine in the endocannabinoid system. 


" - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws." Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System -. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Related Links." EMCDDA | Cannabis Profile (chemistry, Effects, Mode of Use, Pharmacology, Medical Use, Control Status). N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

Gregoire, Carolyn. "New Study Finds Marijuana To Be Effective Against Depression." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"RIA Neuroscience Study Points to Possible Use of Medical Marijuana for Depression." - University at Buffalo. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Related Links." EMCDDA | Cannabis Profile (chemistry, Effects, Mode of Use, Pharmacology, Medical Use, Control Status). N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Cannabinoid Science." Cannabinoids: The Science Behind Medical Cannabis. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

@leafly. "Cannabis and Depression | Leafly." Leafly. N.p., 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

"Can Marijuana Help With Depression?" Leaf Science. N.p., 06 June 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

Sharks, Snakes, and Spiders

5 min of Science: Sharks, Snakes, and Spiders

For my 5 minutes of science presentation I decided to focus on the fear we have of certain animals, why we have them, and how they negatively impact our society. I came up with this topic after thinking about when we learned why people think babies are cute. Humans are programmed to think certain traits like big eyes, small noses, and mouths are cute compared to the opposite of those traits. If we know why humans think certain things are cute then when do they think certain things are scary?

I specifically focused on sharks, spiders, and snakes which are three animals that many people fear and even have phobias of. Many species of sharks, for example, are top of the food chain predators with razor sharp teeth and a lust for blood. It’s pretty easy to imagine why someone would be scared of an animal like this because of how dangerous they appear, but they really aren’t at all. Sharks on Average kill 10 people per year and statistically people have a 1 in 3,748,067 chance of getting bitten by a shark according to the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History. Compare this to an estimated 100 million sharks who are killed annually by humans due to overfishing, and bycatch according to the World Wildlife Organization. Snakes are another commonly feared animal which have a 1 in 35,700 chance of biting a person in the U.S. and a 1 in 50 million chance of killing them. Although they do kill and injure more people than sharks, snakes are still apart of a billion dollar snakeskin industry because of humans. Lastly, spiders are one of people's biggest phobias, but on average only kill 6.5 people per year. As you can see these animals kill few too many people for us to be afraid of them.

According to David Ropeik of Harvard University, the reason people are afraid of sharks isn’t because of how many people die, but because of how terrible a death it would be to get eaten alive by a shark. Movies and media like Jaws, Sharknado, and Shark week all base their entertainment off of the grizzly deaths of humans which show sharks as evil killing machines. When we see these depictions of sharks everywhere we actually think this is how we could die if we ran into one even though it is very unlikely. Ropeik also says that humans are hardwired to feel first and think second which is why they are scared of sharks. We also use mental shortcuts like the availability heuristic which uses recent information to make a decision. People jump to conclusions before figuring out a situation, so if something brushes up against your leg in the water you will assume the worst.

When it comes to snakes and spiders we fear them because we are programmed to. Like babies and puppies have features that we think are cute, snakes and spiders have features that we think are the opposite. For example, the number of legs an animal legs is a feature people judge. Spiders have 8 legs while snakes have none and as a result both are thought of as both scary and disgusting. Another reason we are afraid of snakes is because we as a humans have evolved to fear snacks in order to survive and reproduce. Researchers from The Academy of Natural Sciences have found that some neurons in the brain only respond to legless animals. This means people are easily able to spot a snakes compared to other objects surrounding them. This results in a fear and paranoia of snakes because we are more aware of them compared to other animals/objects.

The reason our fear of certain animals matters to our society is because of the result it may have on us. Unfortunately, many animals are becoming endangered and even extinct because of climate change, poaching, deforestation, and overall killing of animals. As I said before sharks are being killed by the millions every year. We do not know how many are left because of the little information we have on the ocean, but they could possibly be endangered. It’s easy not to care about a predator like shark, but the fact is that they are very important to our ecosystem. Since some of them are top of the food chain predators they are able to keep the ecosystem in balance by eating both prey and smaller predators. If enough sharks die the ocean’s ecosystem will suffer due to overpopulation of other animals. Snakes are also being killed by the snakeskin industry which us them for purses, bags, shoes, belts, etc. The killing of these animals and misconceptions we teach others will contribute to poor ecosystem, and will ruin our environment even more. We need to stop fearing creatures that should really be afraid of us.

Sharks are one my favorite animals so this topic was very important to me because I think it’s unfair how we label them as dangerous. Some of them, like the whale shark, don’t even eat meat and even the ones that do are still not a threat to humans. I can still understand why someone would be scared of a shark, especially someone who has been attacked before. Spiders on the other hand I am very scared of, especially for their legs. Despite my fear, I still think they shouldn’t be labeled as dangerous because of the low number of people they kill and the good they do for the ecosystem. All animals and organisms are an important part of our ecosystem and play a part in keeping it in balance, so I think it’s a bad idea to teach people certain ones are “dangerous”.


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