Sunday, December 6, 2009

12.6.09 Final Reflection

Well the end of the semester is near, and for blogs the end is here. Hard to believe. These blogs have been a huge part of my first semester here. At first, I really hated them. They were a seemingly unimportant pain, a distraction to my Sunday and Wednesday nights (since I almost always waited last minute). However, my opinions have changed. As the semester progressed I really began to take our biweekly blogs more seriously, and have enjoyed them more as a result. Usually, I would blog as a way to complain about things in my life or in the world. That's no longer the case. Through blogs we have a way to express more than what we dislike. In reflections and our question assignments we can talk about ideas, dreams, the future, the past. I enjoy them, despite taking months. Nonetheless, I am happy. I realize I wasn't wasting my time. My ability to write informally has drastically improved, a style of writing that until now I was never able to employ in my schoolwork.

Much has changed in my life as I reflect on this first collegiate semester. I came into school with a clear idea of my future: major and graduate with a degree in International Relations, get my Master's somewhere and maybe my PhD, and land a great career like that. Now I have no idea, but I'm not too concerned. We're in college to explore our options, to get to know ourselves better. I've got time. I picked the majority of my second semester courses in areas that interest me and am looking forward to all of them. My work ethic, too, has changed. I've limited my procrastinating, a great step forward from earlier on in the semester and I like it that way and plan to keep it up. Grades have improved and so has my sleep schedule.

So I say goodbye, my bittersweet blog friend. We've had some interesting times together, typically late at night and weary-eyed, though no longer. I'm sure we'll be reunited, though I know not when. Until then, keep frustrating students. It will really pay off, believe it or not. It has for me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

the end...

I am sitting here, trying to do my homework, which has been a complete fail on my part. It is funny that when I started the semester I was able to do my homework easily and quickly. Now it takes me forever to even get started. All that said, I spent my last saturday night of this semester watching Friday Night Lights with some friends. It is safe to say it was probably a perfect ending. As I read most some of the last blogs everyone is very reflective of how things have changed since the beginning, so I feel like I should probably recap too! After the first day I was ready to go home, I wanted summer back! But now I have grown to love it, and love the people, it has been a great opportunity to see just how different everyone is...really really really different, but in a good way! I have learned to just go with the flow and manage school at the same time! Explorations has been a crazy experience. I feel like it is the season finale of a show and even though your happy for that break, you can't wait to see what happens next season! Thats what college is for me right now. I have nothing more to say really, words can't describe the people I have met and the experiences I have had. I hope everyone has a lovely break...SEE YOU NEXT SEMESTER!!

Final Reflection

Wow! I guess I am starting this off like everybody else, but I seriously can't believe that the semester has come to an end! It really does feel like we just got here but at the same time, I feel like I have learned so much.
It is actually pretty funny. For awhile I was slightly confused about what it was I was supposed to be learning, but then it hit me. This class was not really about the books and other things that we read. Like Allie Cat said in her reflection, this class is more about learning from other people. We were all able to come into a situation in which we could voice our opinions about so many different thing and also learn from what other people in the class had to say. It was so interesting to see that I have the exact same opinion as many other people in the class about so many different topics. It was also very interesting to hear about situations from the perspective of people who had completely different ideas about things.
Surprisingly enough, Explorations has actually been helpful in my other classes. I can't count the number of Goffman references I have made to people who have no idea what I am talking about. Even though I still have no idea what I am going to do with my life, I feel like this class has been valuable. I've learned that there are a lot of people out there who feel or felt the exact same way as I do. Hearing the guest speakers say over and over again that everything just manages to work out in the end was not exactly pleasant at the time, it is good to know that even incredibly successful people did not always have a plan. I guess overall, the most important thing I've learned is that there is not an exact science to figuring things out in life. They just sort of work out and hopefully, for all of us, in the end, things really will work out.

Final Reflection

This semester has gone by so incredibly fast. Yes, I realize that I began my final reflection with a cliche, but the truth is that our welcome week feels like it barely just ended, and now we are taking finals.

And now we have to reflect on all of this stuff. Sheesh. Well, here goes-

In the Explorations seminar, I found the readings to be secondary to interaction with my peers in learning our class objectives. I learned more about myself when I was talking with my classmates than I did from Goffman or Bellah. In these interactions with my friends, I had actual inspiration to analyze who I am, who I was, and what I believe. Learning the stories of my classmates and hearing their opinions made me think of my own. In turn, I would think of how I want to spend my future.

That's not to say I didn't learn anything from the course itself. The books were informative. Goffman gave a vocabulary to those known but unnamed aspects of social interaction. Augustine shed life on one man's logic in the 5th century. Heinlen presented an interesting view of the military's interaction with society. The only problem for me is that these were not flesh and blood examples. Although they actually happened, as in the cases of Goffman and Augustine, the stories of my classmates seemed more relevant to me as one in a similar situation to their own.

If I had the choice, I would choose Explorations again for my first semester UC seminar. Ultimately, as a class exploring identity, I learned the most from those around me. I have never had such an amazing mix of classmates, and I probably won't again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And So Here's The End of the Semester

I can't believe how quickly the semester has gone by... before I know it, I'll be done with college! Okay, I'm not going to get ahead of myself. But looking back at this semester, I really feel as though no time has past between now and August 15th.

It's kind of like when you have a monumental birthday, when you turn 18 or something and you expect to feel extremely grown up and different, but you don't. That's kind of how I feel about this semester: I though I'd become completely different - more mature or something - but that hasn't happened. The only thing that has changed is that I feel closer to being older, closer to being my own adult and closer to what I could conceivably do with the rest of my life. Having said that, I bet my ideas will change at the end of next semester - that's just how I roll.

The best thing is that I went through this semester without having a stress attack which I am very happy for. That feels like a big thing, but I just realized I have a whole other semester to get through and then 3 more years. I won't get ahead of myself in that department.
What has been great about Explorations is that I have found it so applicable to all my other classes. I love it when you have moments where everything overlaps and just falls into place. I am glad I powered through Goffman and he seems to come up every other day in my life. Just yesterday (or possibly today) I was talking to Jena about changing identities. As an International Relations major, I love the idea of different identities and find it fascinating to see all these different walks of life. Starship Troopers, for me, was a great book for me to read at a time in my life where I seem to finally be able to "catagorize" myself in regards to how I see the world. I've always known I'm cynical, but I guess I never fully realized just how cynical my outlook on the human race is!

Especially with St Augustine and Antigone, Explorations sort of introduced a new style of thought to me. It's so much the contextual analysis of the work, but more has to do with the implications of what works say and how it can be applied to everything else around it. For example, when Antigone's want to bury her brother raised so many questions about what a burial actually means, and who it is for. Having read Antigone before, that is never something that we would have thought to discuss, glossing over it as an act of sisterly affection in order to ensure that her brother has the welcoming to the afterlife.

It has been a good semester - so far I have enjoyed all the newness of college and everything and am looking foreword to the next semester.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12.2.09 Which community would I join?

This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, but a fun and interesting one nonetheless (for real). What's difficult is that there are so many communities I would join! However, for the sake of this blog question I will choose only one of the incredible amount of communities that appeal to me: Middle-earth, in particular, the Shire.

To those of you that are sadly oblivious to exactly what Middle-earth is, the wondrous land is none other then the setting of Lord of the Rings. The Shire is where those famous hobbits, Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin reside, or at least did. But why would I like to join their company? Well there's plenty. For one, hobbits know how to have a good time. They have epic feasts with plenty of dancing and tomfoolery. Always a raucous occasion. Gandalf would also be in our company, blowing amazing dragon smoke figures.

I also love the setting itself. The area is similar to England/Scotland. With rolling hills of green velvety grass, the landscape is serene peaceful. Architecture, too, is a great plus. The circular doors of the hobbits' houses are unique and homely, as well as their cozy interiors. It simply is a majestic land.

On a different note, I think it would also be incredible to be a giant compare to the itsy hobbits. All in all, the Shire is a wonderful community that would be welcoming to an outsider giant liek myself. Though I could never realistically join it (well maybe under the influence of hallucinogens), it is always fun to dream.


I am finding it hard to believe that I have finally reached the last blog question, it means that the semester is basically over. I go home in 7 days for a lovely Christmas break and I am so incredibly excited. It is funny, that this blog question seems so simple, yet it is the hardest for me to answer. I entered this class thinking that I would figure out what I wanted to do - sadly I am leaving more confused than ever and its not because of this class. I have been exposed to so much during my first semester here at American that I have discovered so many opportunities that could lead to possible professional communities that I could join and because of that I have no idea what I want to do. Currently I belong to the community of I don't know and I'm okay with that. That is what college is about -discovering where you fit in this big world.
I am going to use this next semester to explore all possible options. It is funny when you are younger you know exactly what you want to do. There is no doubt in your mind when you say you want to be a singer or a firefighter. There is that determination and somewhere along that way that is lost and options are exposed to you, and the long hard process is revealed and life gets harder.
It is true what they say - you don't appreciate those naps in Pre-K until you no longer have the time to take them and you do not appreciate that enthusiasm until you are doubting the decisions you make. I do not know anyone else, but I would love to go back to Pre-K for a day. That was a great community!