April 23, 2011 - 12:00 PM
Upper fifties weather in Eugene means it is time to break out the short shorts and bikini tops. It is tanning time. In addition, it is "do absolutely any type of outdoor activity that you can" time. Eugenians have this fabulous sense of gratitude for blue skies that I'm not sure exists anywhere else in the world. I can honestly say that I have been places where people are happy about a sunny day, but never a place where a sunny day is automatically a euphoric experience. Thank you, Eugene, for your intense appreciation of the little things.
Last Tuesday was one of these days and I was right there with everyone else. It was like some incredible miracle had come upon all of us. Good vibes were being poured down to us from the universe. I was so happy about the blue sky that I didn't even bother bringing a jacket with me when I left my house. The funny thing is that it was probably just as brisk as the day before, but somehow with blue sky it felt like it was a comfortable 70 degrees.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my day once I was done at work. It was time to bust my rollerblades back out of my closet and take them for a stroll. As soon as I got home, I grabbed my blades and my helmet and headed off to Skinner's Butte Park. When I got there, people were everywhere and they all looked so happy. The play structures were filled with happy kids and their happy parents. Happy hippie folk played hacky sack and Frisbee on the lawn. Happy bikers zipped by and happy people walked and jogged all around. I would be the happy rollerblader.
I strapped on my blades and was off. Eugene has a wonderful paved path that runs along the river. It felt great to be out there in the fresh air. I smiled at everyone I passed, of course, on account of the happiness. Little daisies covered hillsides like snow and ducks waddled about on the riverbank. Also, the neat thing about rollerblading in Eugene is that no one looks at you like you're that silly rollerblader. No, they just understand and think it's super mellow of you. I mean, if unicycles in Eugene are not given much of a second glance, rollerblades are nothing.
I rollerbladed for about an hour and when I finally got back to my car, I felt great. I was so happy that I had come outside just to pay my respect to the great blue sky! When I got back home, I felt relaxed. There is nothing like a little blue sky and little rollerblading to make everything feel a little better.
April 22, 2011 - 9:00 PM
As I discussed in a previous blog post, I have gotten a bit tired of the way students act towards their instructors nowadays. This week, something happened that set me over the edge and I had to speak up about it. The following is the letter to the editor I sent in to the Daily Emerald. It was printed on Wednesday. Enjoy!
Respect is endangered. Common courtesy is declining. Maturity levels have plummeted. The evidence of these truths can most clearly be observed in the classroom of an institute of higher education. It is an unfortunate truth that the behaviors of students towards their instructors have moved from being collaborative and constructive to callous and demeaning. Instead of eloquent debates, students demand their opinions be held high and mighty. Instead of learning from mistakes, students argue at the top of their lungs for one extra point on a test. It is gravely disappointing to watch the entitlement generation turn college courses into high school classrooms one would only see on an exaggerated television series. In an attempt to save civility, I would like to use this letter to pay my utmost respect to an instructor that the University of Oregon is privileged to have.
This is my third term taking the second-year American Sign Language sequence from Mr. Peter Quint and it has truly been an honor. As a member of the Deaf community, Mr. Quint offers students the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Deaf culture. Students are given the chance to learn first-hand about creating a positive environment for equal language access. If anything, my classes with Mr. Quint have taught me just how much of a struggle members of the Deaf community must endure to gain this. In a hearing dominated world, and classroom, Mr. Quint could not be paid enough for the work that he does.
I believe Mr. Quint's best attribute is his incredible sense of compassion. He is understanding of students and maintains a positive attitude through both highs and lows. His sense of humor is engaging and an amazing asset to helping learn the language. Mr. Quint is open to feedback and is continuously looking for ways to improve as an instructor. He is passionate about what he teaches because he understands the greater impact it has beyond the classroom walls.
I encourage all students to take a stand. Prove to society that we are not dwindling into a mass of barbarians. Show that we have manners and that we understand how to express gratitude. We must stop belittling those who teach us and instead raise them up and acknowledge the immeasurable value they bring to our campus. Be an advocate. Pay respect to an instructor who, most likely, is too often overlooked. These are the people who are opening up the world to us and they are doing it because it is what they love to do.
April 17, 2011 - 9:00 AM
I have senioritis big time and, after talking to a friend of mine last week, I know I'm not alone. Senioritis is a real thing. We have to be strong. We have to fight to the finish line. Until then, there is time for dreaming of what the other side will look like. Therefore, this blog is dedicated to the top three reasons why I am ready to graduate. I'm not entirely sure they are my top, top three and I'm not necessarily ranking them in order, but regardless, they are important and noteworthy and, so, here goes!
1.) NO MORE HOMEWORK: As a college student, weekends and nights are not typically what they should be. At least, they haven't been for me most of this year. I am looking forward to the blissful reality of going to work and then coming home to nothing to do. I want to do my work at work and then come home and not have to write three papers and study for four tests, etc. I am really looking forward to the break. I got a taste of it last summer. I would do my internship from 9-5 and then would get back to my house and twiddle my thumbs, feeling anxious about not having anything to do. Eventually, the anxiety went away and I realized how to embrace the beauty. It will be, oh, so sweet.
2.) A NEW ENVIRONMENT: Eugene, I love you, but it is time for me to move on. Your college students are getting younger and younger. I can't relate to them as well anymore. And, although your mellow nature will always whisper home, I need some new pizzazz. I need some new excitement. I want fresh faces and new places. You've been great, you really have. You're an excellent college town and I swear I will come back to visit you, but I need to move on. We both saw this coming. I'm sorry.
3.) PLEASURE READING: I kind of forgot what these words meant. Even while I was typing them for my number three reason, I was a little confused as to what I meant. Then it dawned on me that this is because I haven't really gotten to do any pleasure reading in FOREVER. I forgot what it was. My reading time has been filled with textbooks and assigned articles posted on Blackboard for the past five years. I have read some interesting things, yes, but they have not been quite as enjoyable as they could have been because I was forced to read them. I have a stack of books I have been wanting to read for the past several years and soon, oh, so soon, I may actually have the time to start one and not have to read it in a matter of ten weeks.
April 16, 2011 - 11:30 PM
This weekend, I am very proud to say that after hours and hours in the library, I finally have a rough draft of all of the major sections of my thesis. It feels pretty good to know that I am that much closer to a final draft. On the one hand, I feel as though I have been working on this thing for ages now, but on the other hand, it feels as though this project has completely rushed by. I cannot believe that just next month I will be defending it and will then be complete. I cannot wait!
Over the past week and a half, I have written about 35 pages. These pages have been my project's results information, discussion, and conclusion. They were one of my favorite parts to write because it was dealing with more of my own thoughts and personal research than just describing prior research like I was doing in some of my other sections.
Although I now have a rough draft of all of the major components, I know that I cannot stop working on it. I have to keep up the same level of work because I know that it is going to take a bit of time to get it perfect. Now that I am done with my drafts, I am going to start back at the introduction and begin making edits and creating my second draft. I am also going to go back through and make sure that all of my citations are correct and create my reference page. This part is a bit tedious and I know it will take up quite a bit of time. However, I also know how important of a part it is to this project and any research project. I want to make sure that I document all of my sources accurately. In addition to this, I also have to organize my appendix section. This won't be too time consuming, as I already have all of the pieces of information ready that I want to put into it. I am hoping to get everything organized as soon as possible so that I can receive as much feedback from my thesis committee as I can before my defense.
Once I do finally get my final draft of my thesis completed, I then have to prepare my defense. This means getting all of my paperwork in line, writing an abstract for my department, and creating a PowerPoint presentation to guide my defense.
It is going to be a strange world when I am finally done with this thing. I have gotten so used to it consuming most of my life that once it is complete, I feel like there will be this void in my world. What am I going to have to talk about anymore? What will I do with all of my free time? I have a feeling I will figure it out - and it will be wonderful.
April 10, 2011 - 3:45 PM
Although in my previous post I commented on how my final term is leaving me with all of these feelings of nostalgia, I must also mention that it is concurrently evoking in me a sense of bitterness and rage. I have come to describe my recent feelings with the following comparison: I am the student equivalent of a burnt out government employee. I have given up on the system and I am irritated with the situation. This comparison being made, I will also note that it is founded upon stereotypes of government employees, which I don't actually deem completely accurate. I believe that there are many highly motivated, passionate public servants out there initiating positive change in our communities everyday. So, I apologize for picking on them just for the sake of a comical comparison. Ok, moving on.
This overwhelming feeling of irritation has taken me over the past few days I have gone to campus. I always leave my house in the morning with the feeling like this is going to be a great day, but the past few have just diminished the second I reach my first class. Problem number one is my generation - the age of entitlement. I'm not proud of this and I will do everything in my power to reverse it, but I am only one woman in a sea of many, many entitlement babies. I have had the great displeasure the past few days of sitting with a group of classic entitlement generation members. They use the entire class time to argue with the instructor over concepts that they would understand if they actually did the work and paid attention to the directions instead of assuming the teacher should explain it directly to them every time. They make rude comments, act disrespectfully, and try their best to make our wonderful instructor look like an awful teacher. They are annoying and yet, to them, it is the rest of the world that is a problem because the rest of the world cannot fit into their immediate needs. Their blatant disrespect for the institution of higher education has made me believe that if you reach graduation and are not at a certain level of emotional maturity and intellect that you should get a certificate of completion rather than a Bachelor's degree. Harsh? Perhaps, but something needs to be done to save higher education from its biggest backstabbers.
So, after class I usually go to work in the PPPM department's Internship Program. One of my job responsibilities is to go through the Daily Emerald looking for articles on our students to put up on the news board. If you ever have some desire to be outraged, just try reading the Daily Emerald. It's not just the constant wondering of whether they have anyone who proofreads, but it is also the content. Specifically, my outrage usually forms around issues of the ASUO, which I have come to view in my senior as a complete joke. They are under the belief that they are truly representing the majority of the student body when making their decisions, yet their decisions are based off of something like only 20% of the student body that actually votes in student government elections. So, when they put forth ballot measures to get the student majority opinion, they really aren't getting a true taste of what the students think. This year, they are especially not getting an accurate view of what students want and I will explain why momentarily.
I have a list going of letters I'd like to write to the editor of the Daily Emerald, but with my busy schedule, I have been unable to find the time. Instead, I just sit on my student outrage and continue to add to my list each time I read through the paper. This past week, however, I was able to take a deep, relaxing breath when I read another student's opinion piece to the Daily Emerald. It was written about one of the topics I had my list - the recent ASUO ballot measures. These measures were horribly written. When I first saw them when I went online to vote, I was appalled. They were written in ways to completely push specific agendas. They were not fair and they did not leave the decision up to the informed student. Instead, they were completely biased and belittling. When I read this letter sent in by University student, Patrick Freeman, I was so happy that there was another student out there who understood why this was so wrong. In fact, I loved Patrick's letter so much that I will paste it here in my blog for all to read:
"March 31, 2011 was the last day for University students to vote in the ASUO elections. I took the opportunity, optimistic that I could express my opinion to our student representatives. However, I found this was exceedingly difficult. The majority of the ballot measures were biased and misleading. While this has already been expressed numerous times in the Emerald opinion section (for which I am most grateful), I am not writing to point this out or inform anyone about the measures or the issues they regard. It is too late for that. I am writing to argue that this sort of deception is unacceptable.
I am insulted, incredulous, embarrassed and irate that the ballots were written in such a deceptive manner. The University is an institution of higher education. To expect the student body to passively accept such a belittling set of questions is insulting. I am embarrassed to be represented by people who would find the answers to these questions insightful. I am incredulous that this sort of work meets standards at an institution of higher education. And perhaps more than anything I am irate, if simply because it is too easy to imagine a better-written ballot and a kinder world. I encourage you to feel the same and to use that feeling as means to a better end, ideally your education. In such a deceptive world, you will need a very good one."
His letter was cogent and meaningful and made my bitter, fifth-year heart believe again. I was so happy to know that there were Patricks out there. I decided to write Patrick a quick email thanking him for his letter and letting him know that I completely agreed with what he had to say. He then wrote me back thanking me for my support and for reminding him of the importance of public participation. And so, my blog readers, thank you for reading all the way through my rant. Now, I hope you understand why I titled my blog, "A Moment of Solidarity." Through all of my burnt out views of college life and my generation, for a moment, I saw hope and, with a fellow student, through a brief email exchange, I experienced a moment of solidarity. There is hope for the future.