Archive for March, 2007

Post for SA

Just a list of links for the SA

1) WordPress

2) Bloglines

3) Class Wiki

4) Del.icio.us

5) Flickr

Wait a second!

I received an e-mail today about the program for the Student Academy on Saturday. Now, it has fully hit me that I am actually doing this, help!

My heart is starting to race and the presentation is still a few days away, public speaking has never been one of my strong points (or something I really enjoyed). I think it says a lot about Martha and Jerry that they can convince me to do something that is usually against my nature, I would watch out for them.

There are many fears and doubts running through my head, but worrying is only going to make me more anxious. I am going to suck it up and just enjoy the experience. Of course I am going to bother Martha with a million questions, the more details I know, the better I feel. Any advice is always appreciated.

I’m actually kind of excited about the Panel Discussion, probably because there will be 3 other people talking too, an easier situation to deal with.

My mother and my friends from back home are starting to wonder what is happening to me, it is quite a change. What is happening to my life?

One Thought Leads To Another…

Because it is 3:00 in the morning please forgive any rambling incoherent sentences, I tend to get my wackiest thoughts at this time in the night/morning, whatever you want to call it.

Last week after a good conversation it was decided I needed to declare my major as history. Excited that I had made a decision (a new character trait for me) I called my mother to talk to her about it. She was naturally surprised that I had decided on something without waiting to the very last minute. She also brought up the fact she should/could have majored in history, it should be known my mother is the fountain of random historical, music, film trivia. No one else but my mother would know the name of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s favorite horse (it is Traveller if you are wondering, I’ve been asked the question enough times to know). So after the initial excitement the dreaded career question came up, but this time I was armed with an answer. In response to what kind of job would I get with a history degree I said that I had been told by a wise professor that unless I wanted to become a chemical analyst or an accountant, it didn’t really matter what I majored in. She seemed satisfied with my answer and I basked in the glory of my victory over the dreaded career question.

As I was reflecting over these series of events I wondered why it took me so long to believe that what I majored in did not necessarily have to dictate what my career would be. I am sure that I have been told that same piece of advice by several people, but for whatever reason it finally resonated.

So, while contemplating these matters I was struck by the thought (somewhat connected) of learning the difference between knowing vs understanding an idea. If I may, I’ll use the odd example that came to me while thinking about this. Knowing vs understanding could be compared to learning how to share. As a toddler when we first learn to share we are not completely aware of the reasons why we are doing it, we are told to do it, so we do. Over time, as we grow older, we understand the reasons behind sharing and we understand from experience what it means. We go from sharing a toy to eventually sharing our lives and our hearts with others.

I realize my struggle has been the wait, the wait for knowledge to become context for something greater. How often I struggle with an idea or a class because I am waiting for it to take meaning (and by waiting, I mean wanting it to happen now) and when it doesn’t, I lose focus and interest. As a sidenote, this sort of reminds me of a post I made in February about viewing my classes in their own bubble and lacking larger context. I also realize there isn’t enough time in the day to think about every little bit of knowledge that comes my way and worrying about how it fits into the grand scheme of things. Even if there was enough time, it wouldn’t be worth it. For now, I think I will be satisfied in my current understanding that things happen in time. Whether it is school work or just life issues often understanding just comes with experience.

I suppose this is why people view the world through different lenses. As a historian might view a piece of information one way an economist will have a different view, because what they have learned has become the context for understanding other things. Of course context also occurs outside what our careers may be, living life gives us context.

A Little YouTube Testing

During my never ending quest in search of distractions I found this music video on YouTube.

It is called “dan le sac VS scroobius pip “Thou Shalt always Kill”

I can’t remember how I found it, but I keep watching it for some reason. So why not waste more time by blogging on it?

The artist is thought provoking, because I can’t remember the last time I went to look up what an artist was referring to after watching a music video. I found the myspace for the group and in reference to that “Thou shalt not buy coca-cola products and thou shalt not buy nestle products” they gave a link for a website called knowmore.com and the specific links for coke and link for nestle.

Is it weird that I actually knew what the four elements of hip hop were before this music video? Perhaps I should spend less time watching VH1.

I’m wondering why he insists on spelling phoenix, pheonix…maybe it just makes more sense phonetically? I tried to google it, but alas no such luck.

Most poignantly he says “Thou shall think for yourselves” followed by “Thou shalt always kill” (perhaps a subtle jab at America as the Presidential Seal at the beginning and end probably indicates), just gets people to think.

One of those weeks…

This has been an odd week, but odd in a good way.

Things have changed, ways of thinking and things that are beyond description, at least at this point. I am in the midst of some sort of transition and I don’t think I’ll be able to identify what exactly it is until I have gone past it. It would be much easier if one could physically experience ones mental journey. Being able to identify signposts “You are at Enlightenment”, “Anger City”, “Conflictville” would just be a useful thing at this point.

In any case, I am going to be presenting at the Student Academy on March 31st and also participating in a panel, pretty much the excitement of my week. I’m still in the planning stages of what exactly I want to say for my presentation, but I’ve already got a few ideas swimming around my head.

As I was checking my Bloglines feeds, I clicked on a folder to go back and read a post I had read earlier and apparently clicking the button sent my Bloglines backwards in time about 40 years. It not only showed the posts that had been posted in the last 48 hours, but apparently posts that had been submitted December 31st, 1969. Obviously this is a computer error, but intrigued by the fact that it pulled up a bunch of random posts I felt perhaps the Bloglines Feeds gods were sending me a sign. Most of the posts had been written around August of 2005 and just going through them was an enlightening experience, viewing someones thought process from the first inspiration. Realizing a person blogged on something in 2005 that I currently think about creates a connection across time itself. In addition, apparently people aren’t just born smart and full of wisdom it is actually attained over trial and error…

My weekends plan are to catch up on the sleep that has been sorely missed this week.

Thoughts From My Cousin

My cousin is a senior at Gettysburg College and she recently put the following on her Facebook. She lived 2 houses away most of my life so we shared many of the same experiences. Many of them joyful memories but, probably a few tragic ones that we wished we didn’t have to go through. I just had to share it and I really hope one day she does write a book about it.

“I think we should stop saying “everything happens for a reason,” or “you’ll be fine” to one another. Such phrases actually invalidate the reality of how real and absurd life is, and they keep us from really facing things and going through them. Someday I’ll write a book about this and hopefully it will make more sense. For now, it is my sincere hope that everyone will assess and challenge the idea that everything happens for a reason. There’s a difference between reason and purpose.”

She puts into words the feelings that sit in my brain in scattered bits and pieces. Just one reason out of many why I love my cousin.

FSEM Panel

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a panel on the FSEM (First-Year Seminar) led by Keith Mellinger with Steve Greenlaw singing backup, or rather, also in attendance. Me and the 4 other people who showed up were asked about our opinions on our experience in the FSEM. As Keith pointed out it would be helpful to get the opinion of the actual students that took the course instead of just guessing how we felt about it, which I guess is always a good philosophy. I also hadn’t had the opportunity to hear other peoples opinions of their FSEM experience outside of the people who took the Globalization FSEM so it was nice to get an idea of how things varied from class to class.

While writing this post, I had an a-ha! sort of moment. During the panel conversation I brought up the fact that some people in our class felt that the class lacked structure and I probably had some random explanation with a few “ums” and “yeahs” for good measure. While I was writing this post I had a moment where I realized the FSEM was the first time I had a class where the teacher did not have all the answers was not the keeper of all the information, doling it out for us to memorize just to have us later give it back in a well thought out persuasive essay. Once we had collectively come to an agreement about the definition of globalization and had an understanding of the so called “basics” we went out and actually researched topics that interested us. The professor didn’t have to know a thing about it, but if we were willing to put in the time and effort we could certainly do whatever we wanted (whether I accomplished that is another story). Of course it helped to have that push from the professor when guidance was needed and to have him send a link to an article he had found that looked like it could help with the research. I understood this abstractly before, but I just never could find the right words to put down what I meant and I think I’ve come pretty close to how I feel. All of the above is a lot of what makes the FSEM a unique experience for freshmen, most likely they have never had a class like it, I certainly didn’t.

Ok, enough dorky ranting on the greatness that is the FSEM experience. It is still weird to think that my opinion matters much in any of this. No one ever mentioned when I applied to college that I may be helping shape the future of the college’s curriculum, neat stuff.


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