Here are some essays that were written by the students in guidance of Feride Hekimgil during the Writing Center sessions.

WATCHING A FILM AT HOME OR AT A CINEMA

In the modern world people need to work very hard to maintain a certain standard of living and enjoy a specific quality of life. The daily hassles are nerve wracking and people need some down time. One of the most enjoyable ways to relax is watching a movie. In the past people had to go to the cinema in order to watch a film but now this is no longer necessary. Thanks to the internet, people can download films or watch them directly online. Many people are deserting the cinemas in favor of this option but are they right to do so? The answer is yes; watching a movie at home is definitely to be preferred in the current century.

In the past cinemas used to have far better technology; sound effects, visual quality were all far superior to primitive televisions and DVD’s. There was no question as to which was the better experience. Nowadays things have changed. Flat screen televisions and home cinema systems provide the same quality as a cinema; sometimes they are even better. Some films are now shot in three dimensions but modern televisions provide the same experience: you can watch in 3D in the comfort of your home.

The choice of film is another issue. At the cinema you are limited by whatever the cinema is showing that week; at home your choices are endless because everything is available on line. All films past and present can be viewed or downloaded often for free. That is to say, while you have infinite choice at home, your choice is limited at the cinema. At home you can select the genre you prefer; you can determine the country, the director and your favorite actors. All this means that watching a film at home is a far more enriching experience.

There are also practical differences between the two options. One has to get dressed up to go out to a cinema. It is now possible to book tickets by telephone or online, but the movie theatre requires you to leave the house to be able to enjoy the film. Going to the cinema is a far more social experience as one has to leave the confines of one’s house but staying home is certainly more comfortable. Nobody wants to go out again after a long day’s work when he can subscribe to a cinema channel and stay home. Track suits and slippers or even just socks are far more comfortable than any outdoor clothes. Plus of course every one prefers their own choice of snacks and break times. In short, a cinema is more regimented than your home.

To sum up, in the modern world thanks to the pace of life and technology, cinema going habits are changing. The home experience often matches that at the cinema and even improves on it. In the future, there will probably be fewer cinemas as the trend continues.

THE REASONS WHY PEOPLE LIVING IN BIG CITIES ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE
Under normal circumstances, people co-exist peacefully in large communities. They cooperate, support each other, collaborate on various projects and relax together. However, a general negative mood is becoming more prevalent in cities where people live at close quarters and rub shoulders frequently. This bad feeling, or aggression, poisons day to day living and needs to be well understood in order to be tackled. There are two general categories of reasons for the rising aggression in big cities: overpopulation and lack of interaction.

The soaring population in big megacities means that over 10 million people live crowded together in an ever shrinking geographical space. In nature, most complex mammals require large habitats to survive. Humans, the most complex mammals, are bundled together in tiny habitats – flats- in modern cities, and this naturally causes stress and irritation, which in turn can turn to aggression. For instance, a simple oversight can explode into a confrontation where people come to blows. Not having the time and the space to relax, spend time alone and retreat into one’s self results in frayed nerves. Thus, people are always living on the edge, ready to explode any moment.

One would think that with people living so close together, interaction would not be a problem but it is leading to more or increased aggression. Living on top of each other in daily life means that people shun each other and retreat in to their own little worlds. They prefer to listen to music; surf the web or check out their social networking accounts rather than talk trying to fulfill the need to have some private time. Technology has also changed the quality of interaction making it more indirect and addictive. This means lack of interaction even in the same home. A recent New Yorker cartoon shows a man emailing his wife who is in the kitchen to ask if dinner is ready. This is the life that modern man leads and it is so unnatural that it causes aggression.

In conclusion, increasing aggression in modern cities is a growing problem which needs to be well understood and dealt with. One possible solution is large parks in cities for people to stroll in so that they can have private time. Another solution is to organize community projects to bring people together. One last solution is counseling sessions for people with serious issues with aggression.

RACISM
Racism which can be defined as the illogical or baseless hatred of another group of people is still prevalent in the modern world. Whereas in the past the term used to mean white people versus people of color, nowadays it has come to include Jews (anti Semitism), middle Eastern and East Asian people as well. Racism is a major obstacle to peace and social order making dealing with it a priority. Understanding the causes of this attitude requires knowledge of history and basic economics.

Racism has its roots in the past. Firstly, the infamous slave trade during which hundreds of thousands of innocent black people were transported to the Americas and sold like cattle. This practice has long since been abandoned but the mentality remains: black people are inferior. Secondly, past grievances will cause lingering prejudice against certain people. For instance, Armenians hate the Turks due to a horrific incident during World War I when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing. Anti Semitism is probably the most wide spread of prejudices dating back thousands of years. Thirdly, people from former colonies are also looked down upon. For instance, Indians and Pakistanis are considered inferior in the UK. However, the only reason for the latter is not the fact that India and Pakistan were former British Colonies; there is another reason.

Racism is also connected to economic concerns. Firstly, members of the former colonies, who have passports belonging to the colonial power, can travel to this country easily to work. In doing so, they undercut prices causing unemployment among local workers. This in turn leads to a reaction against the migrants. Secondly, migrants are blamed for flooding into developed countries and taking advantage of the benefits system whereby they are paid if they are unemployed. The public outcry this has caused has led to the establishment of extreme right wing parties like UKIP. Thirdly, people escaping from war and disaster flood western countries. These people are usually from central and north Africa and the Middle East. The negative reaction they cause is very similar to those cited above. In short, financial loss or the danger of financial loss causes a backlash.

In conclusion, it is difficult to eradicate racism completely but there is a lot that can be done. For instance, history could be taught so as not to perpetrate existing prejudices. Limits can be put to foreign migration. Inter racial interaction can be promoted through social programs. All these will help alleviate the problem somewhat.

THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ZOOS

The world is populated with many wonderful species besides human beings ranging from elephants and great apes to Galapagos turtles. However, the only species most of us are lucky enough to become acquainted with are farm animals and household pets. Seeing and getting to know these animals is a universal desire: they are intriguing, wondrous and awe inspiring. This desire has led to the establishment of zoos, places where numerous species are housed in cages. Zoos have always been a popular attraction for children and adults yet they have both advantages and disadvantages.

There are undeniable benefits of zoos. Firstly, by enabling the public to become more familiar with various species, zoos are able to raise awareness of the plight of the said animals in the wild. Habitats are shrinking, poaching is rife, the illegal pet trade is booming. Sympathy generated by growing familiarity helps tackle these problems. People used to fear and hate sharks and whales until they discovered that they are not, in fact, aggressive animals and have vital roles in the food chain. Secondly, shrinking habitats and changing environments mean the certain loss of various valuable species which can only be preserved in zoos. Some animals, like the Giant Panda, have very restricted diets and are in danger of dying out if they are not kept in zoos. Pandas are currently the biggest visitor attraction in most zoos. Therefore it is obvious that zoos are not only for entertainment; they serve a useful purpose as well. Yet is this the whole picture or is there another side to it?

Zoos do have some undeniable drawbacks especially from the point of view of animals. First of all, most large mammals require large habitats where they can roam freely. Zoos, however, restrict this habitat by imprisoning the animal in a cage or small enclosure. Elephants roam over miles and miles of territory; no enclosure is going to be big enough for them. Places like Water world are also a case in point as they imprison highly intelligent species like dolphins and condemn them to a life of servitude. Many modern zoos now enforce certain standards to improve the quality of life of the animals they have on show. Second of all, forced culling is widespread in zoos as there is a lot of inbreeding. Officials will kill off animals and get others to vary the gene pool thus playing God; something they have no right to do. It is obvious that zoos are not the havens they are cracked up to be.

In conclusion, in the current age, with all the damage we have done to the environment, zoos do seem inevitable unfortunately. The best that we can hope for is ensuring that certain standards are adhered to and the animals are well cared for. Natural parks and reserves like the ones in Kenya and Namibia should, however, be prioritized.

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