Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shannon at a Conference

Well, I've needed to update for a LONG time. And I still really don't want to, but let's see what I can do. About a month ago an article came out titled "Adrian Peterson's Son's Death Shouldn't Be Just Another Brain Injury Statistic." Obviously, the title intrigued me, so I read it. The statistics towards the end of the article astounded me. The statistics are, "Every 40 seconds, another American youth enters an Emergency Department with a new brain injury (over 765,000 ED visits each year); More than 80,000 American youth are hospitalized due to a brain injury each year; More than 11,000 American youth die due to a brain injury each year; Approximately 1,300 American infants suffer a severe or fatal brain injury from child abuse each year (it is estimated about 75-85 percent of all brain injuries are not labeled "severe" or "fatal")." This inspired me to make a change; to become a TBI advocate. Little did I notice however, that the statistics from the article on Adrian Peterson's son only focuses on youth. For example, it's not simply over 765,000 each year in total, it's over 1.7 MILLION new TBIs each year in total. Right around the time that I had started doing all of this research, my English professor told my class of an extra credit opportunity that we could attend. We could go to a Conference, held by the school, write a report on one of the sessions we attended and turn it in to get extra credit. The topic of the Conference was "Writing for Social Change." The due date to speak at the conference was in less than 48 hours, but I decided that I was going to submit a proposal. "The Writing for Social Change Conference focuses on the power of writing to change the world. Participants include UVU students and community members who submit academic research and creative writing on social change - including issues of the environment, poverty, globalization, and immigration."
I got accepted to speak at the conference and so I started gathering more research and preparing a presentation on Traumatic Brain Injuries. I worked super hard on this presentation to get it just perfect. Because of my previous debate experience, at first I really didn't think it was a big deal. But as I continued talking to people, I began to realize that it was a Conference, at a University, which means that it kind of was a big deal. At least that's what I thought until I got there and listened to the other students' speeches. For one reason or another (lack of research, just complaining, etc) in response to everyone before my hour I thought, "Are you freaking kidding me??" 
My hour was much better. The two students that presented before me had much better argumentation. Everyone who has spoken to me said that the first one had only facts, and the second had only stories, but I had a perfect combination of the two. I also had a power-point presentation whereas the other two did not. I worked on this presentation FoReVeR! 
That was on the 15th of November. Since then, my life has gone to family only.