10 Things that Happen in College

  1. college-photo_662._445x280-zmmYou will choose partying over studying more than once.

You’re only young once, right?

  1.  You will eventually learn to choose studying over partying.

A hangover and a test do not mix as well as that orange juice and Malibu you had the night before.

  1. You’re going to lose friends.

It is sad but it is true and I know this from personal experience. In fact, you may lose your best friend at some point. You may even have the pleasure of overhearing her and the rest of your roommates talk about you. You will then feel the need to burst in, break up their pity talk, and tell each of them exactly what the other says behind closed doors. Don’t do that. It is not worth it and you are 100% better that. It is easier said than done, but you will get through these hard times.

  1. You will make new, truer friends.

These are the kind of people who are okay with you calling them at any point in the day, or night, to vent and maybe cry about how sucky your day was. In fact, they will call you if they sense there is something wrong and then make you talk about it. And you don’t mind because you know they truly care. They will get angry when your old friends turn on you, and they will assure you that you’re better, that you deserve more. These are the people you can clearly envision in your wedding party. These are the type of friends who you know will stand by you no matter what.

  1. You know that life plan you’ve had since you were 10? Well, that will not work out.

Once again, I know this from experience. So you’ve found out you hate your accounting major and will absolutely scream if you have to do one more problem involving taxes. Or maybe, like me, you’re struggling with the decision to teach secondary or elementary education. Perhaps you have yet to find the man you planned on marrying right out of college. That is okay, too. Either way that life plan is gone, but this is good. It means you’re growing.

  1. You’ll consider dropping out of college.

Particularly during midterms and finals. You might even think about this once a week.

  1. Becoming a stripper will not only seem like a viable option, but also a very appealing career choice.

Once again, midterms and finals will greatly influence this. And then there’s that ugly realization your life plan in no longer applicable….Strippers make a lot of money, right?

  1. At some point there will be a countdown on your phone to let you know the second you turn 21.

In fact, you will set up the countdown on the day you turn 20 (if you haven’t already set it up, that is).

  1. You will start to truly grow up.

It might even scare you, but no worries. You know those new friends I mentioned? They’ll be at your side to calm you down when you think you found a gray hair.

  1. You will begin to figure out who you are.

And that person is wonderful, I promise.

What lessons did you learn in college?

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The Starters in Life

e3cb72f92cbee1503db9a8cac27cb6abI recently read an article on Thought Catalog written by Danielle Page and her experience on being a starter girlfriend. After reading the article and relating a little too much, I realized that I share something in common with Page: I am also a “starter girlfriend”. But before you stop reading and assume this is a rant directed toward the “evils of men”, listen to why being a starter girlfriend will (hopefully) turn out for the better.
Yes, I am the starter girlfriend. I will root for him and tell him that he can do anything if he puts his mind to it. And he will listen because every word out of my mouth is heartfelt and true. And he will succeed. Hell, I once got a text from an old boyfriend admitting if I had not supported him through his course work, encouraged him to stay in the class when all wanted to do was drop out, he would not be where he is in life. But that didn’t stop him from leaving.
As the starter girlfriend, I will pick up the broken pieces of his shattered heart that his old relationship caused him, and show him that it’s okay to trust someone. Eventually, he’ll believe me. He’ll tell me his secrets, his fears, and he will confide in me and I’ll do the same. He will learn to trust again, but my trust will ultimately be broken by him.
Because I’m a starter girlfriend, I’m patient and understanding, but I’m also starting to get tired of being left. I don’t understand how when you give so much of yourself to someone, and try so hard to make things work, that they only fall apart. It scares me and makes me doubt myself and if I’m worth it.
But there is some guy out there who is referred to as the “starter boyfriend”.
As the starter boyfriend, he always puts his girlfriend before himself. He thinks of how his girlfriend would feel if he flirted with another girl, even if “all of his friends were doing it”. But his girlfriend won’t care. She will still accuse him of cheating and refuse to listen to his side of the story. He may trust her, but she does not trust him. Unlike her, this boyfriend would never accuse someone of such a horrible offense without solid proof.
The starter boyfriend will tell his girlfriend she is beautiful, even when she wears his old t-shirt and has second-day-makeup because she fell asleep before washing her face. She might be embarrassed to look like that around him, but he will not care. He will expect her to have bad, moody days and give her space when she needs it. He will expect the same curtesy, but she may not oblige. Instead, she will nag and demand attention which will only lead to a fight he wanted to avoid. He will introduce her to his family and know they will love her because she is special to him. She won’t understand the importance.
The starter boyfriend will spend time with his girlfriend because he wants to, not just because he wants to have sex. He values the time they spend together. He will mean it when he tells his girlfriend he loves her. He will not throw these words around and use it for just anyone. This is something special to him and maybe she will say it back. Maybe she even means it for that moment and quite a few to follow. But those words will be turned to nothing when she breaks up with him. He will be left broken and once again wondering when someone will give him a true chance.
Out there, somewhere is this twisted and crazy world, there is a boy wondering the same things I am: Why am I not good enough? Why am I always, always, always the second choice? But then we will find each other. And maybe we’ll even be a little guarded at first, expecting the other to leave, but it won’t happen. It won’t happen because we both put effort into relationships and we will fight to make it work. And say it doesn’t. At least we will both know it wasn’t because either of us did not try; instead we will understand some people are just not meant for each other. He will hurt and I will hurt and then we will be move on and with the knowledge that we are good enough and we are first choices. He won’t always be a “starter boyfriend” and I sure as hell won’t always be a “starter girlfriend”.

Danielle Page: http://thoughtcatalog.com/danielle-page/2014/12/haveyoufeltthisway/

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Possible Hidden Message in Oroonoko

oroonoko*While I used the Broadview book I have, I found a link to the story so you can read it yourself: http://fiction.eserver.org/novels/oroonoko/

*I will try to be broad so there are no spoilers*

Oroonoko by Aphra Behn is a really interesting piece of work. Oroonoko, an African prince, and Imoinda, his love interest, are the main characters. The short story follows Oroonoko and Imoinda on their journey from royalty to slavery and details all the troubles they face together. It is very well written: the plot is thick and the ending makes the reader think. It has been altered into many different versions and today its reputation is connected to the anti-slavery movement. Whether or not it was initially written for that political reason is debatable, but either way there are elements of the story that are anti-slavery. However, this story was written in 1688, “which was a period of upheaval for the British government due to James II’s precarious position as king” (Broadview 202). Broadview argues that due to her support of King James II, Behn’s short story may have been more influenced by her dislike of the Anglican Church, since those against the King support the Anglican Church. After all, “Oroonoko’s most hypocritical characters claim to be Christian” (Broadview 202), but that is a post for a different day. While there is evidence that Aphra Behn’s short story was influenced by anti-slavery beliefs, one cannot eliminate the idea that slavery may not have been the story’s driving meaning.

The first element that is antislavery is how continued tragedy is seen throughout of the story. The reader wants Oroonoko to find resolution so badly, but this proves very hard for him, especially since he is a slave. Throughout the story readers sympathize for the slaves and hope for a happy ending. Readers become attached to the characters and their purity and attidude. While both the hero and heroine are slaves, they are portrayed as real people and not property. In slavery times, slaves were bought and sold like livestock. Owners believed slaves’ only purpose was to serve them without question. In Oroonoko this is not the case. Instead, the young prince is treated with respect even from his owners.

However, there are also characteristics in Oroonoko that do not condemn slavery, in fact there are parts where it looks like Behn approves of the awful practice. Excluding Oroonoko and Imoinda, all the slaves within the short story are seen as secondhand citizens. Overall enslavement is also not portrayed as a crime, rather only the enslavement on the prince. There are also parts that claim slavery is needed for industry and above all and above all, one could claim the ending of Oroonoko is proof Behn did not write the story to denounce slavery.

There is truly enough evidence for either side of the slavery argument. While it is possible Behn wrote the story with no intention for it to be interpreted as an anti-slavery piece, the work did prove to be valuable throughout the abolitionists’ movement.

What do you think? Did Behn write the work with an anti-slavery view? Did you enjoy the story?

Black, Joseph Laurence. The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century: General Eds.: Joseph Black . Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2012. Print.

*Here’s a link to the story so you can read it yourself: http://fiction.eserver.org/novels/oroonoko/

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Thoughts on Nella Larsen’s Passing

9780393979169Throughout my African American Literature English class (what a mouthful!), we have read many novels and nonfiction commentaries. Some novels include Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, Charles Chesnutt’s “The Sheriff’s Children” and Conjuring Stories, and Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative. The main commentary we have read are the thoughts of Henry Louis Gates, who is truly is a brilliant man and I encourage all to read him. I’ll list a few of his works at the end of this post. Currently, we are reading Passing by Nella Larsen.

This is my attempt to summarize the book; no worries, there are no spoilers:

The story is a third person narrative of Irene Redfield. Irene is black, but she has light skin and therefore can pass as a white woman when she wants. One day she receives a letter from her childhood friend, Clare. Clare is also part black, but with her blonde hair and skin even lighter than Irene’s, no one would even think guess that she might be African American. And she, mostly, likes that. The letter asks if Irene is willing to meet up with Clare. However, Irene is hesitant. Irene has a flashback to when she first saw Clare after years of not hearing from her. It is not a pleasant memory. Brought back to the present, Irene reluctantly agrees to meet with Clare. As Clare becomes more and more present in Irene’s life, Irene quickly learns that she should have listened to her initial gut feeling.

In my class we talked a lot about the concept of passing. I’ll try to explain the idea of passing to the best of my ability. The idea of passing is that if you have light enough skin you can call yourself “white” and socialize in “white culture”, even if you are part black. Keep in mind that this book is placed in the 1920’s.

Clare is part black like Irene, but she seems to be more “white” that Irene. Even though she was treated like a servant, Clare was raised by a white family. This suggests the concept of environment playing a role in the ability someone has to pass. Clare considers herself white, but also black and in my class we discussed if she has the option to do this. As humans, we want to categorize, but this does not necessarily work with people. Every person fits into multiple categories, even if they try to stay in just one. These attempts are sometimes caused by social pressure to fill gaps. In the book, there is an idea that if you’re white, you’re supposed to act a certain way and live particular type of life, especially if you are an aristocrat. There is also the idea that if you’re black you’re supposed act a certain way and also live a specific kind of life. In my class my professor also mentioned that President Obama also dicusses this problem in his autobiography. He talks about when he was in college and the struggle he faced with his identity. Obama tried to figure out how a black man was supposed to be like, only to discover there is no certain way. Color and race does not determine how someone should act or live. I think that a large part Passing tries to deal with stereotypes and Larsen uses this novel to show just what dangerous stereotypes can be, which is especially present at the end of the book.

I think categorizing is a really sad part of human society. However, I also think humans are working to break these divisions. I know that I am guilty of using some stereotypes and I resent that part of me. I sometimes even stereotype myself, like how white girls can’t dance. But I also know that I can work hard and change that portion of myself and I think we all have that ability. I have friends of many different races, African American, Asian, Latino, Native American (my best friend is actually Native American), and Caucasian. Nella Larsen’s Passing shows just how dangerous stereotypes, categorizing, and the feeling of needing to pass are. I agree with her, they are hazardous. But we can fix this.

Gates, Henry Louis. Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “racial” Self. New York: Oxford UP, 1987. Print.

Gates, Henry Louis. “The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America’s First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers.” Choice Reviews Online 41.02 (2003): 41-0782. Web.

Larsen, Nella, and Carla Kaplan. Passing: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.

The book is pretty short, only 77 pages, I think.

Have you read Passing? What are your thoughts on this novel? Do you think humans try to categorize people?

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Gulliver’s Travels Lesson Plan Project

I have a final project in my English 321 class and one of prompts available to us was to make a lesson plan! I decided to focus on the British Restoration Period and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. These are the essay topics I would give if it was a real lesson plan:

  1. Choose one land in Gulliver’s Travels. Who/what does Swift critique within the land and/or people? Write a 2-4 page analysis of the satire within Gulliver’s Travels using examples and quotes from the land and people inside the novel.
  2. Gulliver changes throughout this novel and in each land he seems to take on a new persona. How does his character in the first few voyages compare to his last one? What do you think of Gulliver? Write about his development in a well-written 2-4 page analysis. Make sure to include quotes and examples to support your ideas.
  3. You are living in the Restoration/Augustan time period in Britain and come across Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. You decide to buy the book and give it to your neighbor as a gift. Your neighbor later finds you and tells you his opinion of the book. Using your knowledge of the historical background in the Restoration/Augustan Era, what would your neighbor’s reaction to the book be? Write a 2-4 page paper on your neighbor’s reaction to Gulliver’s Travels and be sure to use examples and quotes to back up your claim.

Hint: You are allowed to make up details of your fictional neighbor: is he in a political positon, and if so is he a Whig or Torie? Is he part of the Protestant reform? Remember, all of these factors would influence his view on the book. This is the hardest prompt and requires the most creativity; papers that attempt this prompt will be given extra consideration.

  1. Choose any one satirical element embedded within Gulliver’s Travels and write a 2-4 page in-depth analysis of it, using different examples and quotes from different parts and lands of the book.
  2. The Houyhnhnms are controversial creatures. Some believe Swift includes them in his novel to portray the ideal human society while others believe Swift uses them to show exactly how society should not be. What do you think? Does their treatment of the Yahoos affect your view? Using quotes and passages from the book, write a 3-4 page paper argument to support your view. (This is an opinion piece, so you may write in first person tense.)

So what I have noticed throughout all my high school and college English classes is that there is one prompt that always sucks. Like seriously, there is just one topic that no one would choose unless they were crazy! However, I feel like teachers give extra points to the students who are crazy enough to attempt that option—I know I would! So, being an “English teacher”, I also decided to include one that I think is terrible. Which one do you think it is?  I also made the requirements for the last prompt longer because I believe that one is the easiest because you can write in the first person, and since it is the easiest I know a lot of students will choose it. However, I want to read some variety and the page length may discourage some students into choosing a shorted one! Aren’t I so nice?

P.S. The third topic is the one that sucks. Which one did you choose, though?

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Life Decisions

The professor of my English 321 course opted to give our class a final project rather than a final–something I’m grateful for. One of the prompts included was to pretend to be a high school teacher and revise an English curriculum that includes the British Restoration material. Because I am currently and elementary education (ELED) major, I decided to choose this prompts. The only problem with this decision is that I discovered how much I lover making high school English lesson plans… which makes me want to switch to a secondary (high school level) education major.

In Massachusetts, if you decide to be an ELED major, you are required by law to choose an additional major. Groaning and complaining about how this requirement unfair this rule was, I chose English. I am good at it and choosing it as a “default” major just made sense. The problem with picking English was me realizing I absolutely love it.

I now appreciate all Shakespeare’s work and recognize how unbelievable smart he and talented he was. Nathaniel Hawthorne? That man is now the love of my life; short stories do not get better than “Young Goodman Brown”!  I obsess over any sort of Gothic literature, like Dracula or The Yellow Wallpaper and analyzing any work excites me.

But there are problems with my new dream of becoming an English teacher. One concern is that I am only 5’2″ and with my small body frame I look like a high schooler. Will I be able to stand in front of the classroom and demand respect? Will students laugh when they see me the first day of school? Will a school even hire me once they see how young I look, even with an impressive resume (I plan to go immediately to grad school after I graduate)? These are all things that need serious consideration and I envy everyone who does not have to deal with any of these possible limitations. Yes, I will age and I will grow older, but how long will that take?

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Figuring out blogging and a little more about me

This is my first blog post so I have no clue what I’m supposed to write about…

But, my name is Jordan and I am a junior in college. I am currently double majoring in both English and elementary education, I say currently because I might drop the ELED part and graduate early with just my bachelors in English. From there, I would go straight to grad school where I would get my masters in education.

I have lived in Massachusetts all my life. I truly believe I live in the best part of the country–even though winter can suck.

I have a younger sister who started applying to colleges a few weeks and this makes me realize how old I am getting, even though I’m not yet 21. I have a dog whose personality resembles more of a cat’s and her bark sounds more like a “moo” (yes, I know that is weird).

Okay, so my next post will be more “bloggish” I suppose, but thanks for bearing with me on this extremely boring post!

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