Planning for New Beginnings at the Beginning of the End

Over the past year, I’ve been really struggling to figure out what I want to do.  Many of my friends are already accepted to grad school or have been offered jobs; every time someone asks me what I plan to do next year, I always cringe internally and respond, “That is a GREAT question…” and then hope we can just laugh and talk about something else instead.  So many of my classmates and friends have, over the past 4 years, discovered their guiding passion– from speech pathology to music education to pediatric physical therapy and everything in between.

Me?  I love people.  I love meeting them and speaking with them, learning about them, listening to them, and helping them solve their problems.  I also love words.  Learning them, analyzing them, writing them, manipulating them.  I especially love reading them.  So while everyone around me pursues specific, oftentimes lucrative goals, I try to find some way to make a living off of people and words. The challenge is in the wealth of opportunity afforded by those two things.  Do I try teaching?  How about publishing?  But what about journalism and new media?  What about non-profit work?  Or public relations?  I mean, hey, why not just drop everything and run for office?  The pressure of the decisions that await as my final semester at UD looms in front of me is daunting.  While I’m scared, I’m also incredibly, incredibly excited.  Both people and words open up the possibility of endless adventures.  I can’t wait to get started.

– Mary Kate

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My Experience with This Class

Now that the semester is over, I can truly say that I will miss this class the most.  I have never had a course like this, where I was able to spend so much time interacting with my classmates.  It was  definitely a class I looked forward to attending every week.  It wasn’t one of those classes that I dreaded waking up early for or doing homework for.  I enjoyed writing all my papers and I was always fascinated by all the discussions we had.  At first I was a bit nervous when we were told that majority of the course will require us to express our thoughts. I became very comfortable and open minded after a while and I didn’t feel like I was being judged or criticized in a negative way.  I not only learned to write better but I learned what kind of write I am.  When it comes to writing, I’ve always tried to improve my grammer or punctuation but never really focused on what kind of writer I am.  I learned that I need to work on organizing my thoughts better, which is something I wasn’t really aware of until I took this course.  It’s a discovery that will truly change the way I write from now on because I can work on strategies to overcome it.  I also have to agree with Professor McCamley that my classmates are some of the most talented writers I have come across.  I never realized that there could be so much creativity when it comes to writing until I had the opportunity to discuss topics with people in this course.  So, I hope that other students get to experience a course like this at least once during their college life because it really would help them discover a little bit more about themselves as writers.  

-Helina

Easy Like Sunday Morning

When I was abroad last semester, one of things I missed most was the sound of English.  Italian is absolutely beautiful, that’s undeniable.  But I craved the sound of my own language; the pre-flight announcements on the British Airways flight I took to London for spring break was like music to my ears.  While I spoke English with my classmates all the time, I missed hearing it on the street, on the train- I missed understanding the conversations occurring around me.

One of the highlights of my mornings was hearing English from the most unlikely of sources- a colorful, energetic subway performer.  As I’d walk from my train down a long, winding tunnel that eventually dumped me out onto the Piazza Flaminio, I’d hear his jazzy keyboard and growling, Louis Armstrong voice growing louder as I journeyed onward.  Eventually his thin, dark figure would appear, swaying with the beat as he flashed a brilliant white smile to everyone who passed by.  Some mornings he’d sing a funky version of “Georgia On My Mind.”  Some days he’d go with a drawling, soaring “and I’m eeeeeeeeeeeeeeasyyyyyyyyyy…..I’m easy like Sunday morning.”  The most unexpected, un-Italian cover- and my personal favorite- was “Country Roads.”  And just like that– I’d be home.  I’d be walking down the Green to class or climbing the front steps to my front door or walking from our beach house to the back bay.  The power words have to transport you, mind and spirit, from one place and experience to another, instantaneously, is astounding.  When I was homesick, hearing John Denver’s words come out of that Italian stranger’s mouth was just the remedy I needed.

– Mary Kate

Sometimes I Wonder…

Sometimes I wonder if spending thousands of dollars going to school is really worth it.  I’m saying this because I just finished reading an article in my magazine about a girl who is making millions now all because she decided to make youtube videos about makeup.  Her name is Michelle Phan and she is the original youtube makeup artist.  I remember when I first discovered youtube and I came across her videos.  I learned a lot about makeup from her videos and back then she was just a simple girl using a regular camera.  Comparing her youtube videos from then and now, it’s a big difference! She has professional camera men shooting her videos now, along with some really great editing.  Somehow she gained thousands of subscribers and over a million views for each video.  She was even hired by Lancome as their youtube representative.  I’m not going to lie, I absolutely love watching her videos.  But to be honest, I don’t watch them as much as I used to.  I actually liked her older videos much better because now majority of them have nothing to do with cosmetics and so I’ve lost interest.  But sometimes it just makes me wonder if I should have just used my makeup talent to start a youtube channel and go on to make millions…sigh.

-Helina

The Power of Youtube

So about 3 months ago, I brought home 2 adult lovebirds because I am fascinated by birds.  I didn’t realize I had purchased a male and a female lovebird until I came home to 4 eggs one evening! After about a month, the eggs hatched into little pink blobs.  I let the parent birds take care of the babies for about 3 weeks until the mother tried to kill two of them.  I realized that one of the baby birds is an albino, which caused her to attack it because it’s different from the others.  An albino bird is fairly rare so I’m guessing the mother didn’t know what to do with it.  I ended up going to the pet store and buying a whole new cage and supplies for the babies so that I can separate them form the parents.  I’ve never raised baby birds so I was a completely lost as to how to raise them but I really wanted to do everything I can to make sure they live.  I was not about to leave them with the mother, who was trying to destroy the poor things! I did hours and hours of research and watching youtube videos and decided that I can definitely raise the birds on my own.  So, it’s been about two weeks of hand feeding them, waking up every 3 hours to feed them at night, and cleaning lots of bird poop.  They are fat, healthy, and growing bigger everyday! I’ve grown attached to them and the way they get super excited when I come home.  It’s nice to say that I was able to raise 4 baby lovebirds! Thank God for the internet and youtube because I wouldn’t have been able to learn this new skill without it!

-Helina

Technology In the Classroom

At one point in our class, we discussed technology and how it has an impact on learning.  I honestly think that we can take advantage of all the technology available and improve the methods of teaching students.  Instead of fighting technology, why can’t we embrace it and find ways to incorporate it into the learning process.  I had a course this semester in which my professor had us do all our chemistry on our computers.  We were in the classroom creating 3D structures using applications on our computers.  I never even knew some of these resources existed.  I was able to save so much time and effort using some of these applications.  I was able to illustrate my science papers so much better then just using words and graphs.  It was a learning experience for me and I realized that technology can really help improve the quality of education.  Until recently i’ve always viewed it as a negative impact on learning.  Lectures are very boring compared to all the technology and entertainment we have available to us now.  Sitting in a lecture is just not enough to help students learn anymore.  I believe new methods of teaching really need to be incorporated into the classroom.  Technology is going to be brought into the classroom through cell phones and laptops anyway so why not use it to teach students instead? 

My Introductory Essay

So for me the introductory essay was the easiest part of my portfolio.  I knew exactly what my weak areas are when it comes to writing.  I absolutely suck at organizing my thoughts.  I am good at it to a point but then I just lose it and ramble on, which is why I am not very good at long essays.  I can write a very organized short essay so I had no problem writing the project essays in the portfolios.  I feel that they were better then my actual essays.  When I am writing a long essay, I have just enough focus and information to write an amazing intro and body but when it comes to the final half of the essay, I start filling it with random thoughts.  In a lot of my papers, I ended up getting discussing many different topics rather then just sticking to one.  I don’t even realize when I do it though so I definitely need to figure out a way to work on that.  I’ve found that rough drafts work very well for me because then my peers are able to let me know when I start rambling in my essay.  Once it is pointed out to be, I am able to go back and focus.  One of my professors taught me how to create concept maps for my essays ahead of time so I know exactly what I will be discussing in the paper.  I find that helps me big time because I can always refer to it when I start to over think on my topic.  My last go to plan is to take a break.  If I try to write a paper in one go, I will end up rambling but if I take a break then I come back focused.  So, I have found ways to overcome it but sometimes it’s still difficult for me to keep a paper organized.