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Posts Tagged ‘school’


For this week’s major writing assignment I have been asked to write a five page paper for my Jane Austen and the 18th Century course. As a graduate student I am expected to create my own topic and to bring in an additional source to analyze from outside the books assigned for class. To fulfill these two fairly simple requirements I decided that it would be interesting to compare Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship to Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders. The focus of my comparison would include the choice of literary form and how each main character’s style and “art” appeals to the sensibilities of their readers.

At the moment I have a decent collection of quotes and ideas of what I want to do with this paper but I am having minor difficulties with writing out an acceptable introduction to the whole thing. I have been informed many times that I don’t have to write the introduction before writing the body of a paper but my personal preference is to work my way through from start to finish instead of jumping around.

So, where to start? I know that during the 18th century it was difficult to survive as a woman unless you were connected to a man or some wealthy family–and even then a comfortable life was never guaranteed thing. But do I want to include this awareness in the introduction? Or, should I start with a much more direct attack at the 18th century conceptions of “art” and “sensibility” and how the written word was a method through which women of ill repute could use a certain degree of art in their writing in order to appeal to the sensibilities of their intended readers?

My gut is telling me to go with the second option–especially after going back and reading that last paragraph. Below will be my rambling attempts at an introduction to my paper:

In the struggle to survive on their own in a male and money dominated culture, women of the eighteenth century had limited morally acceptable choices–especially when their family’s social and economic status were taken into account. The primary choice for all was to find an advantageous marriage in which their money needs would be provided for by their husbands while they cared for the house and family. For those born into titled and wealthy families this expectation of matchmaking was a given and yet if a match could not be made those old maids in the making had the security of a home and yearly allowance. However, what about the gray area of social status given to those girls (soon to be women) who were raised within the sphere of the privileged families but held no claim to title or fortune? Their morally correct options could range from marriage like their better endowed peers to stepping down in station by becoming a governess or going into service in another household.

or

In the struggle to survive on their own, women of the eighteenth century often had to rely on the kindness of friends, family, and strangers depending on their social position—or lack thereof. Sometimes this reliance was wholly acceptable and received without any true art of persuasion or application to the sensibility of their relatives—as was the case of characters like Fanny Price from Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. But, as made wholly apparent by the stories told by Laura from Love & Friendship and Moll Flanders in the novel that bears her name, not all women had the privilege of a wholly supporting adopted family combined with an honest steadfastness in “temper” to maintain them. Instead, these two women find themselves in more desperate circumstances in which their ideas of sensible necessity drive them to take certain unsavory actions in order to obtain monetary support of the lifestyle they felt was deserved. In their respective novels (or a collection of letters in the case of Laura), these two women attempt to explain the winding course of their lives as a lesson to their intended readers. These creations—supposedly penned by their own hand—represent the use of a written application of art in which appeals to the sensibilities of their readers.

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Post its are miraculous things. They can be put anywhere to remind, encourage, decorate, mark important sections in books, and countdown. I have them everywhere and I don’t know what I would do as an English and religious studies major if I did not have post-its to help me survive.

With my school semester coming to a close, my post its are helping me now to stay motivated and focus on the assignments I have left between me and winter break. I have a note place on my apartment wall for each assignment, quiz, or exam I still need to complete. This is a photo of my wall before thanksgiving break to give you an idea of what I’m doing. (It is backwards because I used photo booth on my Mac.) Since then, I have been productive enough to remove three sticky notes. When I remove the notes a weight is lifted from my shoulders because it is another thing gone and I can actually see my pile of work shrink in a tangible form.

My room mate liked the idea of my post-it to do wall that she created one for herself as well. Her being a nursing major, there are many many more serious post-its on her portion of the wall. But, either way we both have a way to know what we need to do and stay motivated by the chance to remove one post-it at a time from the wall.

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This semester of school has been a busy one for me, as life always seems to be. I am constantly on the go or have a pile of assignments to complete. Now what feels like only a day or two after the start of the semester, I am down to my final two weeks before winter break. How time flies. Soon enough I will be back in my parent’s house to celebrate Christmas and then waiting for my next semester to begin.

That is the life of a college student, hurry up and wait. We must complete all of our work and then wait for the grade. Finish a semester, then live in a state of limbo until our next semester and fresh stacks of homework.

I have frequently alluded to the fact that I want to slow down my life and enjoy it more. The pattern of hurry up and wait steals from me the experience of college and turns it into a task to complete. However, it is one thing to wish, dream, and say I want my life to slow down and then actually doing it.

This semester I have made an effort to lighten up my schedule by slowly leaving all commitments to band. Now I have more nights to myself to get my homework done on my own time, instead of constantly under the pressure of time restraints. Yet, I still feel rushed at points because when I have things to do I don’t allow myself to relax. I need to work on this. It will happen. Maybe by the end of next semester I will have the skill of balancing down-time and assignment/commitments under more control.

That is it for now. It feels good to be writing again. Hopefully I will keep this up.

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Dear Universe,

What do I love most about fridays in college life? It isn’t the opportunity to go party or the chance to head home and be done with the day. The best moment is walking out after my 3:30-4:45 class that I scribe in and sitting down in an alcove of the chapel wall on my school’s main campus and look out across the green. Everything is calm  and all that can be heard are the chapel bells ringing 5 times to tell me that my official day is done and the water falling in the Library Fountain.

You see, on Fridays many students of my school take the opportunity to go home if they can or to go prepare for a night of partying. These choices leave the campus empty and tranquil. It becomes for me a place of peaceful learning. There is no more rush or stress. Just quiet and the ability to take deep breaths and remember why I came to this place three years ago. My university is my home and a place that I have become rather fond of. It is my shelter and my anchor for growth into a hopefully successful adult. It is a place to experiment and interact with new people, ideas, or both.

This chapel wall and my view of the green & library is my sacred space in the world of academics. It is my sanity and the place of I think of when real world life gets to be too much for me.

I am thankful for every moment I am blessed to spend here at my university and especially grateful for my Fridays when so many others head home and my spot on campus is left for me.

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This semester I am once again a CLA. CLA stands for Classroom Learning Assistant. As a CLA it is my job to sit in my school’s learning center for 3 hours a week and wait for students, from the classes I am assigned, to come to me for help or review.

The classes I am assigned to are Religion 101 Honors, Science In the Bible, and all the sections of the freshman common core english class. I am excited to be working with all of these classes. It is my career goal to become a professor (hopefully on the college level) so acting as a learning assistant is valuable experience to me.

With the religion class, I actually need to sit in on the class every week because I took a different version of Religion 101 in my Freshman year.  I probably should be a little disappointed that I have to sit through yet another 101 but, oddly enough, I am not. Every religion 101 class taught at my school is different but as a normal student I can only get credit for taking it once. Now I have the opportunity to sit in the classroom, learn more, and not be required to do any of the homework unless I absolutely want to.

Science in the bible was a class that I took excellent notes in. My job for this class is to essentially act as a resource for the students who are smart enough to come to me. I know

what is on all of the quizzes and exams both because I already took the course and the professor has promised to tell me everything I need to know for the coming semester.

The English classes will be most challenging for me to act as a CLA for because there are around 8 different professors teaching the ENCC 102 classes. So, with that many teachers there are then 8 different syllabi and a variation of the texts that will be used and the rate at which those texts are gone through.

I can’t wait to be of use to my fellow students. I love to learn and to teach and this job is perfect for me. (only thing that may make it better would have been if I got a larger stipend instead of the $300 I receive).

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I am a list maker. The wall behind my desk is scattered with stickies filled with ideas and reminders of things I want to do. I have a lovely new folio book in which I jot down assignments and errands I need to run (if I have no access to my computer). Then if the stickies and agenda book aren’t enough I have digital sticky notes on my computer and a nifty Mac app called Schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse program is really cool. It lets me input all of the assignments from each of my classes for the entire semester. Then I can choose to look at the assignments that are specifically due in the next week. No more shuffling through 6 or seven different syllabi. Everything is now on one screen. ^_^

Here is the description from the Mac App store:

Schoolhouse is a powerful Mac academic management app for students. It makes it easy to manage your homework, grades, schedule and the rest of your school life.

★ Best Student-created Mac App, 2010 Ars Design Awards

Use Schoolhouse to:
• Build lists of your homework, exams and tasks
• Keep tabs on assignment scores and overall course grades
• Manage sets of files for a project and access them easily
• Visualize your course schedule and never be late

The best part was that this program only cost me $4.99 and now I won’t loose track of assignments when classes pick up and my life gets really crazy.

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So many say that silence is golden.

I’m not so sure about that today. Today silence certainly wasn’t golden. I am too used to the general noises of co-habitation with other people (including the family cats and dog) to suddenly go to a place devoid of human sound.

As I said in my last entry, I have moved back into my dorm suite/apartment at school over a week before the new semester is supposed to start. A benefit to moving in early is that I have the entire apartment/suite to myself with nobody to bother or annoy me. The downside is that the campus is all but devoid of life. All that could be heard during the day was the creaking of a mostly empty building. There are other students back early, like myself. But they all are as good as non-existant because I do not see them. Instead all I hear are the creaks and thumps of their movements below me (I live on the top floor of my particular building) and the occasional music leaking from their own apartments into the main hallway.

It was unnerving to sit in my room today with no music or sound playing within my apartment  and only hear the emptiness of the building. I found myself clicking on the tv just so that I could have background noise in the living room while I sat quietly in my bedroom. I felt so alone and out of sorts because there were no living things to interact with or ignore unlike at my parent’s home or when school is in session.

I think I was put off by the sudden silence because I have become accustomed to constantly ignoring noise and always living around other people. However, the uneasiness should soon pass. I am sure in a couple days of my quiet week before finals I will become comfortable again with silence and appreciate it for the blessing that it really is.

Till then, let us play soft classical music to fill in the gap I am missing in my senses.

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