4A - Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A year of lasts
W hen August ends and summer were entirely new and entirely our own. In the
nights quietly fade into autumn first few weeks of school, every new friend, every
mornings, I class, every mass meeting and every trip to South
think of going home. U Pizza is filled with the endless possibility of
Summer to me has adventure - an opportunity to define yourself, to
always been a different become the person you want to be, to find your
kind of existence unto itself. passion or the just-as-important best slice of late-
Growing up, when school night pizza, shared loudly with people you have
ended my friends and I the sudden and irrepressible urge to become
would say our goodbyes, impromptu best friends with.
exchange small tokens of JULIA You may not find fame, you may not find the
our friendship and pre- person you will spend the rest of your life with,
addressed envelopes for the ZARINA you may not even find half your classes until
letters we promised we'd a week or two into the semester, but what you
write (but never did), and will find in the searchingis a home and a family,
board planes destined for every corner of the perfect in their imperfections.
world.Weweregoinghome,ourparentstoldus,to I found my home in the physics class that
the countrieswe associated more with a passport changed the way I think about the world and
cover than an inherent sense of belonging. Home my family in the faces of the people I shared 2
wasavagueandnebulousconcept,ever changing a.m. dance practices with inMason Hall, punch
in location and in definition. In the summertime, drunk from exhaustion and consumed with a
home was where the distant relatives insist you complete and limitless sense of belonging.
eat more food, I decided. Home is heartbreak, it is challenging and
When summer ended and the evenings of questioning the institutions that shape your
visiting family members of uncertain relation experience, it is mistakes and failures, it is
were replaced with dusty afternoons playing bombing a blue book exam and surviving to
soccer afterschool, the definition was different. tell the tale, and it is the people who somehow
Home was where the friends were. As third make every tear worth it.
culture kids, we.came from places all over the This year is a year of bittersweet "lasts." My
world, trading our jeans and dishdashas for last Welcome Week. The last first day of school.
school uniforms and smoothing our accents The last time I'll dance on stage with the people
that had become textured with our parents' I love in front of a crowd of 4,000. And with
languages over the summer into softer, each of these occurrences comes the growing
unplaceable English. realization that we've all built homes here. I
I imagined our return to school not as a watch football now, not because I particularly
resolute homecoming, but as a trip driven by "get" it yet, but because I'm addicted to the
fate and forecast towards one of many inevitable feeling of ownership and belonging that comes
destinations,just as the tides are indiscriminately with standing in a maize-and-blue sea of
turned to shore but quickly run back out to sea 115,000, screaming with a passion you never
and to other faraway coasts. knew you had. I've Gone Blue. I'm tearing up in
We were searching for home in the the Diag. I'm feeding the squirrels. I'm spending
in-between places. Lookingin the spaces on the these last few warm lavender nights sharing
map separating where we lived and where we unasked questions, secrets, and fears ofthe future
were from, in the time difference dividing our with the kind of friends you make not just out of
new lives from the ones we left behind, and in convenience, but the selfless kind you do crazy
the translation between an elegant thought in and beautiful things for just to make them as
our own language and the bulky and awkward happy asthey makeyou.
reality ofit expressed in another one. Michigan is a nostalgia for a time that hasn't
Home was an idea, a place I thought I would passed yet. And when we do leave, we leave a
find one day in its entirety, established and home of our own; a home we will carry with us
unchanging and requiring little building or always. A home that has offered us everything
input on my behalf. and inspires in us gratitude for the placesawe have
Then, suddenly, there was Michigan. comefrominequal amounts,withexcitementfor
Ann Arbor in early fall is wild and full of new beginnings in the places it willtakeus. It is a
possibility, like a summer evening before a home we make, just as much as it helps make us.
storm, the way the air crackles with electricity,
*frightening and exhilarating all at once. Here, - Julia Zarina can be reached
we were all faced with infinite beginnings that firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't do stupid s***
I remember having a discussion
with one of my friends in Paris
about American foreign policy. On
a warm spring day in the City of
Lights;she asked me, "What should
Obama do to protect American
interests abroad?" I thought I
could summarize it in a couple of
words: "Don't Do Stupid Shit." And
that's what this administration has
attempted to do.
Up until recently, the American
public hasn't complained too much
about President Barack Obama's
foreign policy more or less. It
appears, however, that this is
starting to change.
According to a poll released by
The New York Times last week, 58
percent of Americans disapprove
of Obama's foreign policy, in light
of the recent actions of the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria in Iraq,
particularly as ISIS advances on
Baghdad. The Washington Post
and FiveThirtyEight have posted
This policy presents a confusing
conundrum for Obama, as
"Indeed, if one digs into the
NYT/CBS poll, one finds that
majorities of Americans support
the specific steps that the Obama
administration is proposing on Iraq.
Fifty-one percent support sending
in advisers to the Iraqi military, 56
percent support the greater use of
drones, (I didn't know whether to
get rid of the oxford comma since
it's a quote, but there's one here)and
77 percent do not support sending
in ground troops. Nevertheless, 52
percent of Americans disapprove
of the overall Iraq policy. Indeed,
the striking pattern is that when
Americans are asked about concrete
policies, majorities tend to support
the administration's position.
When asked about overarching
policy towards Iraq, or towards the
rest of the world more generally,
majorities now tend to dislike
what the administration is doing.
In other words, foreign policy is
the new Obamacare when it comes
This frustration is surprising
in that the President has followed
through on his promises and has
attempted to clean up the messy
policies that have hurt America
over the past decade.
I will not ignore the faults in his
policy (the sequel to "The Fault in
Our Stars"). Syria and Egypt have
been a mess to say the least. All of
the leaks that have occurred over
the years have created tensions
between the U.S. and its allies
(namely the NSA leaks). The
Ukrainian crisis has put strains on
already cool relations with Russia.
And the revelations of drone strikes
in Pakistan and Yemen haven't
In spite of these blunders, Obama
has delivered on his word. Some
have called it the "Don't Do Stupid
Shit" Doctrine. In other words,
the President is trying to revive
relations with American allies and
adversaries as opposed to sending
in the ground troops.
With the exception of some
military advisors helping to train
military and police forces in both
countries, he pulled most American
forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The development of a new trade
treaty (the Transatlantic Trade
and Investment Partnership) with
Europe that could be very beneficial
for both the U.S. and the EU is
underway. While talks have been
shaky recently, the U.S. and Iran
were able to make an important first
step towards a nuclear agreement.
Even if the P5+1 talks fail, Iran is
weaker than ever. Of course, Seal
Team Six successfully tracked
down and killed Osama Bin Laden.
In today's changing global
environment, the US is not going to
easily achieve all of its objectives.
Drezner raised another point that
is worth sharing: "The thing about
American foreign policy is that
even the best foreign policy outputs
do not necessarily translate into the
best outcome, because the United
States, for all its superpowery-ness,
is not actually an omnipotent deity.
In the case of Iraq, there are a lot of
other variables at play besides U.S.
foreign policy outputs: Maliki's
poor leadership, the neighboring
situation in Syria, the Kurdish
desire for an independent state,
Gulf funding of ISIS and Iran's
sway over the Maliki regime."
The point is that certain
"outputs" are out of America's
control, and Obama alone cannot be
blamed for that.
Furthermore, even though
the U.S. wouldn't like to admit it,
Washington needs to adjust to the
times. Fareed Zakaria in his book
The Post American World referred
to the "rise of the rest" and the
creation of a multipolar world.
With the rise of new powers such as
China, India and Brazil, in addition
to nations such as Germany, global
leaders have been able to develop
their own independent foreign
policies based on their economic
power. More factors today will be
out of America's control, and Obama
is preparing America for that reality.
At this point in time, it is hard
to tell what Obama's foreign policy
legacy will hold and what the
consequences of his policies will be.
For now, this administration is just
being realistic and adjusting to the
times, which is something America
needs to do sooner rather than
later. Hopefully, I will not have to
use "Don't Do Stupid Shit" when I
next talk to my Parisian friend.
Paul Sherman can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Jaekwan An, Berry Belmont, Edvinas Berzanskis, David Harris,
Rachel John, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke,
Michael Schra mm, Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck,
Linh Vu, Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
INTERESTED IN CAMPUS ISSUES? POLITICS? SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK'N'ROLL?
Check out The Michigan Daily's editorial board meetings. Every Monday and Thursday at
6 p.m., the Daily's opinion staff meets to discuss both University and national affairs and
write editorials. E-mail email@example.com to join in the debate.
MELISSA SCHOLKE I
Perpetual works in progress
y mom and I sat up in the stands
with dozens of other proud family
members as Marquette University's
faculty gave speech after
speech welcoming the new
freshman class. For these
new students, this was the 4
beginning of what someone
has undoubtedly told them
will be the best four years of
their lives. But not everyone
on campus was celebrating. VICTORIA
Recently, Marquette alum NOBLE
James Foley had been
brutally killed by Islamic,
State militants. The video of
his beheading had been made public worldwide,
and people from every corner of the earth
watched as a life was taken.
Yet, arising from this tragedy was one of the
most powerful arguments for higher education
that I've ever heard, anywhere. One of the
speakers at the freshmanf convocation centered
some of his remarks on Foley's death. Yet his
focus was markedly different from the media
his speech centered onthe work Foley was doing
before his kidnapping. Foley's murder was a
horrifyingtragedy, but he died usinghis position
and skills to inform others of the conditions in
the Middle East. He lived his life for others.
Sitting in that crowded gym, full of my little
brother's new peers and their parents teeming
withpride,Ibegan tounderstand whateducation
- something that I've now spent about 16 years
on - is all about. And it isn't about me; it's about
In our competitive academic world of
cutthroat classes, demanding assignments and
intense pressure to prepare for the so-called real
world, it's difficult to think about anyone but
ourselves. After all, only so many people can ace
that curved class, get into a top-tier grad school
or get hired by Goldman Sachs as a summer
intern. Helping others? That just might allow
someone else to steal away that cool internship
But here's the thing - we can't be selfish with
our education. As students at the University, we
constitute an incredibly prestigious minority -
not because we go to college here, but because we
go anywhere at all. In our microcosmofpressure
and success, glamour and money, it may seem
like just about everyone except Bill Gates goes
to college nowadays. In reality, this couldn't be
further from the truth. Last year in the United
States, only 33.5 percent of 25-29 year olds held
a bachelor degree. Furthermore, in a global
context, the attainment of a college education is
even less widely dispersed. As of 2010, about 6.7
percent of the world's population held a college
degree, an improvement since 2000.
We are some of the most privileged people in
the world. We have the opportunity to learn. We
are generally safe. We have clean water, ample
amenities, a variety of affordable food options
and plenty of consumer goods.
And yet, with all of these incredible resources,
there is something missing. Our education is
totally useless unless it becomes a tool to improve
thelivesofothers.We have the ability tolearnthe
necessary information to create solutions to the
world's problems. And none of us can do it alone.
To move forward, we need each other.
And I guess that's the point of all that
reading, studying, paper writing, problem set
solving and model building. By maximizing
our opportunities to learn here, we are giving
ourselves the ability to really improve the lives
of others later on. We'll be equipped to go out
and address, expose, solve or otherwise improve
serious problems and situations in our world.
But more importantly, we're required to care.
Whether it be about a targeted people halfway
around the world or a little brother going off to
college, there is someone, somewhere, who can
benefit from you, from me, from whoever. And
whether we care about our families, ageopolitical
issue or anything else, it is our passion, interest
and sensitivity thatcmake the real difference.
I probably won't be flying to Syria as a
professional photojournalist to help educate
others on the struggle of a people - mostly
because I'm not a photographer. But I do have
other skills that I can use to build toward a life
serving others. We all have skills, and we're
learning them here, at the University. When we
leave Ann Arbor, we'll get to decide what kind
of life we want to lead. For me, the choice is very
clear: a life for others.
-Victoria Noble can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I pressed the "End Call"
button on my phone, the memory
resurfaced amidst surging worries
about exams. It was one of those
memories I originally assumed was
perhaps too irrelevant to catalog
within the chaotic confines of
my mind. Yet, I've learned those
"forgotten" snippets of nostalgia
often sting the most. Immediately
after the conversation with my
best friend, I stared at the powdery
mountains accumulating outside
my window and recalled an
interaction from two years ago with
my former art teacher, a woman I
still admire to this day.
After offering me a wonderful
and under-appreciated compliment
aboutthe drawingI was working on,
my teacher worriedly asked if her
words had made me uncomfortable.
Easily discerning the perplexed
look plastered across my face, my
teacher explained I tended to look
down and cringe whenever she
complimented me. My best friend
confirmed I possessed this meek
and self-deprecating demeanor
with him as well. I never meant to
dismiss their kind words. Rather,
I was always self-conscious about
my work, and I assumed each piece
could've been improved in some
way. I've always detested scenarios
where I could feel the blistering
rays of the spotlight upon my skin,
but I couldn't believe I'd actually
reached a point where I was
recoiling from words of praise.
Little progress elapsed over the
past two years. The same support-
ive friend from that high school art
room futilely tried to congratulate
me and offer streams of accolades
for the first piece I wrote for The
Daily. He zealously encouraged me
to keep pursuing my writing aspi-
rations, and he was one of the first
people to convey how proud he was.
Yet, I regressed to my worn-out
strategy for receiving praise: Deny.
Deny. Deny. I volleyed excuse after
excuse to belittle my achievement.
While my confidence may be
lacking, low self-esteem unaccept-
ably plagues an extensive amount
of women in society. The Atlantic
writers Katie Kay and Claire Ship-
man confirm the cliched belief
women are our own worst critics in
their article "The Confidence Gap."
In fact, women undervalue their
capabilities and talents to such a
detrimental extent these doubts
create a gap in confidence between
women and men in the professional
world. Women negotiate their sala-
ries four times less than men, and
when women do garner the courage
to ask for a raise, they often request
30 percent less money. Therefore
the confidence gap helps to widen
the already hefty pay gap we are
fervently trying to combat.
However, money isn't the only
crucial issue regarding the "Con-
fidence Gap." Ironically, one of
most disappointing details is the
fact women's doubts are blockad-
ing them from opportunities and
careers they deserve - or are even
overqualified for. According to The
Atlantic article, women fixate on
perfectionism. For men, a mistake
may go unnoticed or be regarded as
an uncontrollable circumstance. If
women fumble in the slightest, we
attribute the mistakes to an inter-
nal flaw or a lack of ability. Conse-
quently, we refrain from embarking
on new opportunities or following
life-long passions. For example, if
a woman doesn't possess all of the 4
desired skills when applying for a
raise, she won't apply. Yet, a less-
er-qualified man with more confi-
dence definitely will.
As a feminist, I hate to perpetuate
any stereotypes, but I mustbegrudg-
ingly admit a sizeable amount of
women do tend to overthink. I'm
a classically trained over-thinker
who excels at doubting herself. Per-
haps this makes me a tad biased, but
I fully understand the inhibiting
effects of doubt and perfectionism.
With every compliment deflected or
challenge avoided, we - as women
- trick ourselves into believing we
are perpetual works in progress. We
accept the lies. Our fear of failure is
so paralyzing we surrender before
we even start.
MelissaScholke can be reached
CHECK US OUT ONLINE
Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
Check out @michdailyoped and Facebook.com/MichiganDaily
to get updates on Daily opinion content throughout the day.