Samar Normand (she/her)

Researched Essay/Researched Essay

Research Essay

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on

Samar Normand

Why social media, specifically instagram is detrimental to our mental and overall health.

Social media was created as a tool for self expression, creativity and authenticity. In recent years, this has shifted from a positive space, to an ugly, scary, never ending nightmare. Instagram specifically is now designed for comparison, constant scrolling and mental health declining. 

Firstly, I will be discussing how cyberbullying on social media, specifically Instagram is harmful and destructive. Social media platforms have taken over and there are rising numbers in the amount of time spend mindlessly scrolling. New research has conveyed the increased amount of hours spent online can be linked to cyberbullying type behaviors. Cyberbullying is especially damaging as it takes place online, with no face to put to a disrespectful comment. More than one in five young teenage girls experience bullying on Instagram. Children are beginning to utilize social media at a younger age, and having this external source so heavily implemented into daily lives, cognitive development and functioning appear to be going down. Cyberbullying can be presented in a variety of ways: comments, harassment, false information put out or spread, stalking and more. Researchers have also stated, bullies on Instagram and other social media feel a lack of empathy and remorse since they are able to find behind a screen.

Secondly, I will be addressing the impacts of social media on todays education system. There is a dramatic difference from when social media was first created to how it is used now. Using social media in an academic setting may seem new and innovative, however research has shown including phones in the classroom is linked to poor academic performance, as attention is distributed towards many different things, not fully on the work. Students use their phones and social media platforms like Instagram to browse, speak to friends, and distract themselves from the task at hand. 68% of students said they don’t get enough sleep because of social media — this also contributes towards declining academic performance and ability to concentrate in school. 

Thirdly, I will be explaining how social media is linked to the development of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and more. Instagram is linked to a chemical called dopamine, making us feel good and satisfied when we see likes, comments and messages— which is why we often go back, even whilst knowing and understanding the negative effects. According to the PEW Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teenagers in the United States use social media, and Instagram has lead to depression by 7% and anxiety disorder by 20%. Scrolling for hours on Instagram can increase feelings of the fear of missing out, anxiety, sadness, comparison, insomnia. Studies have shown that eating disorders in adolescents girls has increased over the last 50 years, where 0.48% of girls experience anorexia nervosa and 1 to 5% of girls experience bulimia nervosa. The portrayal of false and distorted images causes concerns about body weight, shape and size, insecurities within the body, which causes young girls to lose weight and later develop eating disorders. Media emphasizes and centers the idea of a perfect, skinny body, which is unrealistic and is not healthily attainable. 

To conclude, instagram and social media have a variety of negative effects on mental, physical and spiritual health which can cause severe damage to the mind and body. Conversations and discussions should be had regarding how we can improve the ways we utilize social media. 


Reflection #1/Reflection #1

Assignment #1 – Multimodal Language and Literacy Narrative

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on

Samar Normand

Assignment #1: Multimodal Language and Literacy Narrative

In my junior year of high school, our final assignment was to create a piece of art: poem, song, writing, etc, on topic of The Great Gatsby. I chose to make a mini booklet (2-4 pages) of different short poems relating to the different perspectives of Gatsby, Daisy, the Green light. I spend hours attempting to come up with a “good poem”, after speaking to my father who writes poetry in his own time, I became inspired and began to find a groove to my writing. When I take the subway in the city, I will often see short poetry at the end of the cart and I always stop to take a photograph. Reading these little words of wisdom, on a day where I feel down, truly is enlightening, encouraging and inspiring. A key moment language and literacy moment I had was during the summer of 2019. I was sitting alone in my grandmas apartment and thinking about how lonely I felt, especially due to social media. I sat on the corner of the bed and wrote my first short poem in 10 minutes. “Its a sick ailing feeling, opening these devices which should be used as tools of comfort but instead obliterate pure beauty. We gaze into the very souls of these instruments longing for acceptance, we crave synthetic validation, tangible moments become lost and passionate bonds are broken. It does more than destroy interconnection, but can shatter an innocent beautiful mind. Time is wasted scrolling mindlessly through distorted images and false personas. The touch between one and another is slowly fading. It will taunt your inner being and trick your mind into thinking you adore it, when you only ever admired the feeling of affinity.” — This is a poem I felt very overwhelmed but very proud of. It was very emotional writing about this as I have my fair share of struggles with social media and at times it is hard to accept the truth. Someone who contributed and connected to my language and literacy was my senior year high school English teacher. Mr. Abrams was always incredibly supportive and creative, he encouraged me to dig deeper and keep writing. 

WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on

Rabies Free Karachi

I’ve always been interested in telling stories through a camera’s lense. In 7th grade, I started to make short videos about my friends and their many talents, about my travels, and about social causes that were important to me. The most important learning experience I have had with film was in the summer of 2018, when I went to Karachi, Pakistan, the home of my mother and the place I was adopted. I went with the idea of creating a film about the katchi abadis (slums) and the problems that residents there face accessing fresh water. My aunt, who has a Phd in epidemiology, pointed out another big issue: rabies. Hundreds of cases of dog bites occur every day in Karachi, and many victims are children, bitten by stray dogs. The dog bites are often treated at home until it is too late after the victim develops signs of rabies, which includes hallucinations, excessive salivation and confusion. Most of these rabies cases end in death. My aunt suggested that I look into Rabies Free Karachi, a publicly funded initiative located out of the Indus Hospital. 

My journey began with meeting the Rabies Free Karachi (RFK) project leaders and learning about their work. The project had just started and focused on capturing stray dogs, vaccinating them for rabies, and neutering them. The team also had a public awareness arm teaching the community how to deal with rabies, and that culling dogs was not the right way to control the disease. The RFK staff invited me to visit Ibrahim Hyderi, a fishing village, which is the epicenter of rabies cases. 

 I decided to tell the story of RFK through the eyes of the field workers. During my interviews, the field workers, whose job was to capture stray dogs, spoke about what goes into the training, how they catch the stray dogs, the problems they faced, and the importance of spreading awareness of the project. Because of the work of RFK, in just 6 months, the number of mass dog vaccinations increased from 861 to 2,530, and more villagers were beginning to understand the significance and benefit of this project. 

Rabies is often called an “orphaned disease,” a common disease that is given little attention by researchers because it mostly affects those in developing countries. I realized how fortunate the people of Ibrahim Hyderi were to have RFK and how lucky I was to have the opportunity to document their work. The movie I made, supported by the studio of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Films, featured the amazing staff and vets of RFK and is posted on their website. 

During my filming, I encountered a young girl, around 5 years old, who had light brown eyes and a big smile, despite the poverty stricken conditions of her life. She reminded me of myself. I could have easily grown up in these conditions if I had not been abandoned at a hospital in Karachi at birth and adopted immediately by my Pakistani/ American family. 

The three weeks writing, filming, editing, and distributing the RFK-story made me realize how much I wanted to work with young children, expand their horizons and help develop their minds. At the same time, I want to learn more about myself and my world, explore my interests and sharpen my skills.

Rhetorical Analysis/Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Analysis- Samar Normand

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on


Samar Normand

Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Rhetorical Analysis Response

Rhetorical Analysis is noticing the smaller details around you. Subconsciously you make quick judgements and analysis everyday. The main elements rhetorical Analysis includes are: the audience, purpose, medium, context, language and formality. 

In my day to day life, I have learnt to be a lot less judgmental as we are all going through something, however I definitely observe and watch how people move, act, speak, and style. I find it very interesting to witness human beings in their own worlds living. As well as people, I experience situations like a room with loud music and lights, and draw conclusions and judgements based on the environment, visual situation, and how I feel.  

Laura Bolin Caroll emphasizes being curious about rhetoric: Question the context, and formulate opinions on your beliefs after the message is heard/witnessed. Included in a persuasive argument are: Logos, Pathos and Ethos. Only using one component will likely not be as powerful as using all three appeals, which entails reason, emotion and credibility. Pathos can be conveyed through an anecdote, images, and humor. 

Rhetoric is used in various ways such as: cartoons, videos, images, graphs. All of these include an aspect of persuasion, meaning they would like you to believe a certain thing, and accept they are correct. Rhetorical Analysis helps avoid falling into a one way thinking mind trap, it allows for interest and question. This type of Analysis is also helpful to understand as we encounter a variety of different situations where we should be inquisitive about what is going on. 

Skip to toolbar