Please see below for different professional and academic writing samples from 2014-2017. I chose each sample because I believe they demonstrate my ability to concisely and effectively generate specific information or ideas through writing. All of these pieces were written by Morgan Tatum (email@example.com).
Tennessee Detour to Heaven (Travel Writing Piece)
When traveling in the south I have found that you often come across rivers and ponds on sides of roads. They may not have been your destination, but you can’t help but stop and enjoy the beautiful pit stops that nature provides. It is nearing the end of summer, and the breeze brings a peace that the heat often takes away. I was heading to a cabin that my parents had rented off of Skyview Drive in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. For the first couple of hours, everything seemed familiar. As I looked out the window everything faded into one green-brown blur, and I fell asleep. In what seemed like a moment physically I was exhausted. Something about being in a car that long, even though you are sitting and constantly munching on snacks, just wears you out. We got out to stretch, and I walked a few feet to get my blood moving.
I had left the light gray four-lane roads and ended up North where they seemed much more southern than I was. I am used to sweet tea, biscuits, southern accents, and big families. In Tennessee, there were aspects of the Southerner that made me feel like the other. The hair was big, the nails were long, and had a way about them that made you feel welcomed. It was as if they lived and breathed hospitality. You could only be passing them on the street, but their sweet smiles and demeanor screamed Southern class. Passing through the main city where these people gathered, we saw something on the outskirts of town on a small mountain road that called to us. A beautiful mountain stream filled with rocks begging us to come take a closer look.
Suddenly we reach around a bend, and you see other people. I must have heard them before I saw them, but somehow it still surprised me. I was now sharing my secret place. People were jumping from high rocks, and hiking throughout the side of the banks. All the sudden I realized there was even more to this place than I first realized. The people seemed local, and although I wanted to approach to ask about this place I wanted to blend in as one of them.
I climbed up the sides of the rocks, as my little sister cheered me on from below. I was not in my bathing suit, but I was ready for the jump. On top of the rock, I could see forever. The tops of mountains blurring into the cloud filled skies created a sensation that is exclusive to the South. There are midwest sunsets, California weather, and northern snow. But in the South, we have the daytime stretch of trees meshing into the sky. Their beauty is so simple that you might overlook it, but once your heart captures the light blue skies merging with the dark green tree tops you are overtaken with pride, joy, and completeness.
I let my mother take a few photos before I dove into the water below. It did not seem very deep, and I should have probably questioned it before I jumped. But, the serenity of that southern stream made me trust it. I swam to the bank, continuing the hike up to the top rock where I jumped over and over. My little sister’s joyful screams and my mother’s unwavering happiness made that time one I will never forget. As my sister and I dried off I could not help but notice that she was glowing. Although she had never been here before she felt like she belonged. We all belonged to this roadside stream, where exhaustion cannot enter, and photos will not truly remember.
Once we got back into the car I tried to find some name or sign that let me know what this silent yet bustling Tennessee detour was called. I could not find a thing, and when I looked online it seemed as if it was never there. I think this fits the roadside oasis, and I do not know if it would have the same affect if someone sought it out twice. For now, I have my mother’s photos, and my own memories to remember the place that wiped me clean, and revived my traveling soul.
Gandhi: Love Begets Love (Religious Studies Reflection)
When people think about peace they often think about the teachings of Gandhi. Over the years his story has been told all around the world. Many people have embraced his teachings and applied to their own lives. Gandhi has stated that “the nature of the means we use essentially affects the ends we seek.” Many believe that Gandhi was referring to the use of nonviolence as a means to get their desired outcome. I believed that Gandhi’s teachings have also been often misconstrued and this was not his actual intent.
Gandhi was an educated man who was sickened by the mistreatment of his people and others like him. Using his knowledge and small stature Gandhi impacted the world. Many think of passivity when they think of Gandhi, but this is not what he taught. Gandhi believed that you should take verbal, intellectual, and moral action in the place of physical violence. Nonviolence was a simple way of life for Gandhi not a choice. I do not believe that he intentionally set out to preach nonviolence. I believe that his initial intentions were to change hearts and violence was just never an option for him.
When Gandhi said, “the nature of the means we use” I believe that he was referring to using love and verbal action opposed to a passive stance. Instead of “violence begets violence” which is true, I think he meant “love begets love”. Gandhi focused his energy on truly loving his enemy and understanding them instead of self-control and trying not to hurt them.
Grandi truly believed in persuasion and valid arguments instead of manipulation and passivity. This fails when the other side does not want to listen or is too stubborn to admit they are wrong. When this happened Gandhi believed that in order to change someone’s opinion you had to change their heart. Showing his own humanity and proving his love for others moved hearts and that’s why his method was effective. In my opinion, it had nothing to do with nonviolence. That was simply a side effect of a greater solution. When you are appealing to a person’s heart you very rarely would do so with anger and violence. I believe that simply abstaining from violence would do no good against a greater evil. You must appeal to a person’s own heart and humanity in order for change to occur.
Leadership in Society (Discussion Piece on Global Leadership)
In society today the stress to be a good leader is crucial to those that are in positions that require knowledge of other cultures and their sensitivities. Because this is such a challenge we often practice colonialism, imperialism, and hegemony intentionally or unintentionally. It is important that we are prepared as leaders, and understand what it means to practice these things in the way we lead.
We have learned that colonialism has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. During the age of colonialism, many mistakes were made. Some of the biggest were deciding the fate and humanity of those who were being colonized. In modern times this can affect leadership by assuming that those who you are leading understand less than you do, or that you know better. This approach is dangerous because it can often create tension and offend those who you are leading. “The perception of difference lead to violence and extermination” (Jandt). While it may not lead to these extremes, creating a difference will lead to havoc whether it is intentional or not.
Another factor that leaders should consider is cultural imperialism. This is when one culture or country spreads ideas and customs to a lesser developed country or culture with the intent on helping the weaker. Imperialism is often unintentional but can have disastrous effects. Ideas and technology are often viewed in a positive light. One way that modern day imperialism is practical is the sharing of cultures and information via the internet. “Throughout history, ideas and technology have spread from one culture to another. Some of that was spontaneous and unplanned; some was carefully planned and managed. One result of contact between cultures is that through interaction, one culture may learn and adopt certain practices of the other culture” (Jandt). In leadership, the passing of ideas and culture in an imperial manner can be rewarding. But keep in mind that those who you are leading may not want to share your culture or ideas. Allowing those under you the option of culture imperialism within the group is a great leadership quality.
The last way a leader can have an impact is through cultural hegemony, which is “the fear the predominant influence that one culture can unconsciously, or perhaps uncritically, absorb the values” (Jandt). This can happen unintentionally during leadership. When you are leading there are certain values and specific beliefs you must hold. Without knowing it you can transmit these ideas and notions into the people you are leading. Since these are part of your culture and who you are it is important that we are sensitive to others as we lead. An example would be if we hold strong pro-life beliefs, but you are leading a board meeting about funding for a hospital. If others believe that the technology for this is crucial in regards to funding for the hospital your values may overshadow what you think is or isn’t important. Disregarding funding to that part of the hospital would be an unintentional way that you acted upon cultural hegemony; it did not occur to you that abortion equipment was important. Discouraging anyone’s ideas because it clashes with your own beliefs makes you a poor leader. Great leaders are able to stay unbiased and do what is best for the entire group at all times in every situation.