Exit 17 - Tenth Edition
A collection of Mt. Hood Community College student essays
from Writing 115, 121, and 122
Reviewed, compiled, edited, and produced by
and the MHCC English Department
Table of Contents
(all essays are in PDF format - requiring Acrobat Reader)
Even though there are some drawbacks to having a laptop computer, the money I spent on it has been well worth it. The music has been playing since I started typing this paper. Yes, I keep going back and forth changing the music, playing Minesweeper, and going on MySpace. It’s hard to ignore all these tempting things that are right in front of my eyes.
With that subtle understanding, I push my legs towards the group. It is time to escape this peaceful moment of sunshine and stillness. It is time to abuse my body and challenge my mind. It is time to place my hands upon an axe handle and swing the pick into an ice formation. It is time to hear my pick make solid placement. It is time to feel the smooth rotation of an ice screw.
Decreasing the violent actions as well as eliminating the drug abuse by students in schools in general is the ultimate goal of the zero tolerance policy, and it is successful. But zero tolerance policy itself sometimes means zero options, a one-size-fits-all punishment for offenses that are not always equally offensive. The rules of such policy lack common sense since they state that every weapon is a weapon, whether it’s an AK-47 or a camping knife. Every drug is a drug even if it is only a Tylenol tablet.
With our weapons loaded and charged, ready to kill if necessary, we stepped out of our vehicles soaking wet with sweat from nerve and the hundred degree heat inside. We wore our full desert fatigues and sixty pound flak vests with our Kevlar helmets, with our boots laced up tightly. In front of us, as far as we could see, were a vast desert, mountains, and adobe buildings underlying the most beautifully serene blue sky we had ever witnessed.
So what does all this suggest? That the family unit has evolved and continues to evolve even now. Society has made some major advances in how we perceive this union, be it a holy writ of God or a convenience for the political and social climate. Some of the changes, such as the treatment of women, have been positive, while others, notably the dissolution of the family structure, are potentially devastating.
The struggle against forces we can never vanquish, yet we struggle on nonetheless, stirs a sense of empathy that is so innate it must be part of that nature we wish to conquer. This reaction is evident when we see tornado aftermaths on television and are thankful for having the sense to live between two volcanoes that rarely erupt rather than beneath a sky that frequently does. We say ‘bless you’ after a stranger sneezes, wishing them luck in their battle against a disease that has no cure by evoking our survival of the Black Death. There is the internal struggle against our impulses, Freud’s id, the ‘it’, the thing, the non-human, and therefore animal, therefore nature.
Why take years to climb to the top of the corporate ladder? Why take the time to learn to cook well? Why waste years developing a good relationship with your husband? Just spray on a little Enjoli perfume. You and all your problems will disappear in the mist of the perfume and the new, improved, “superwoman” will emerge from the cloud ready to take on the world!
The fact that our children experience high levels of anxiety over the need to wear the “correct” name-brand jeans and athletic shoes is bad enough. More subtle is the insidious interpretation they must make: any emptiness, any discomfort can be alleviated if one makes the correct purchase. Is it any wonder that we have become a nation of greedy materialists? Is the growing rate of juvenile obesity a surprise? Childhood is next on the endangered species list.
In an effort to combat institutionalized homophobia, colleges around the nation have banned the American Red Cross from holding blood drives on their campuses until the FDA changes its policy. If enough people in communities, colleges, and even high schools protest the American Red Cross and the FDA, they will have no choice but to reform their deeply prejudicial and unethical regulations.
Certainly, televising such base behavior normalizes it, but one must question which came first in a sort of chicken-or-egg debate. Regardless, the reality of the situation is that this amorality is now rampant, whether it was initiated or only mirrored by reality TV. There are now chickens, the damage is done.
Bewildered, your mother wonders why you have checked out so many Dr. Seuss books and whether or not her child is a Nazi enthusiast because the last book on the stack is Mein Kampf. Should she be worried about you? Maybe pull you aside and ask you about your reading habits? Now what if it’s not your mother looking through your checkout list – what if it’s your government?
Nationality acts as one of the largest and ultimately most defining communities we belong to, affecting both how we see ourselves and how the rest of the world sees us. Demonstrated loyalty, obedience to law, and respect for the institutions and leaders of the country are among the most basic requirements of us as “good” Americans, yet during times of political conflict, what it means to be loyal to the U.S. and what respect for our institutions really demands of us can become matters of great controversy and debate.