university

Halfway There

This past Friday was officially the end of my sophomore year.

My mom drove me to the train station on Thursday and told me, “Can you believe you have two years of college under your belt?” And later, on Friday, my friend said, “Madi, you’re technically a junior!”

Oh my, I really can’t even believe it myself! Those people who warned me to enjoy every bit of college were right, it does go by so fast!

I’m trying to absorb everything about college and sometimes sitting down and writing about it really helps. Actually, it’s rather hard because I have to think of all that I have done and what I’ve accomplished.

I was really hoping to make honors and the Dean’s list this year. Last semester, my Trig course brought my GPA down. Let me be frank, I understand I need to be a well-rounded student, but please tell me what journalist ever used parabolas and radians to conduct an interview?

Miraculously, I got all A’s (well, one A- and all A’s) and I am so happy! This hasn’t happened since middle school! Not to mention, most of my classes require a hefty amount of reading and writing, and on top of that, I work about 30 hours a week. Thanks for letting me take a nice break from blogging, WordPressers, you can give me a virtual pat on the back if you would like!

This last semester has been great, but difficult all at the same time. Thankfully, almost all of my classes were major-related, so nothing was a worthless GenEd course (except for Modern History of Western Societies, sorry Prof.!).

The literature course I took was extremely difficult for me. I’ve never been that good at figuring out themes, analyses, or applying outside knowledge to the texts. I’m more of a “give it to me straight” kind of girl. The course, overall, was mostly fun since we got to look at graphic novels and the theme of heroes and villains. You would think it’s all, “Oh yay Batman!” but the course really gave me a whole new perspective on comic book agendas and heroes in general.

I had a news reporting class (seriously, how cool does that just sound to you!) which gave me the chance to meet some fantastic friends in my major. I have convinced a good handful of media and communication students that we should all start working on having a school newspaper, and this summer our advisor and myself will be working towards just that! I do believe my willingness to get this going should make me some sort of editor, what do you think?

Speaking of my advisor, this year I had the chance to really get to know him, and he could probably say the same thing about me. I didn’t want to be another face in the crowd, so I’ve really been reaching out to try to improve things at the college. Our major is really unappreciated, and while I sense a lot of exciting things will eventually happen, it’s hard to keep your head up in the meantime, knowing a lot of people at the school don’t really think of your department as important. That being said, what does keep me going is knowing that all the professors in the English and media and communication department care so much about the students. When I say they care about the students, I don’t just mean they occasionally stay in their office a bit later, or they wait after class for me. I mean they let me text them with final exam questions at 11 p.m., they read my blog, they hand me jobs for working on campus, they mentor, teach and act as a guiding hand towards my success.

Alright, now you may just be thinking I am trying to sweeten them up for a good grade (did it help??) but I’m being completely serious. Sometimes I think about transferring to a school in the city. I really want to try something new, and I think some of the schools in the city are great for just that. But, when I think about leaving the faculty, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Without them, I’m sure I would be having not only a miserable time at school, but I wouldn’t be the student I am right now.

My advisor in particular is probably the reason why I haven’t lost faith in my future career/plans. Reporting changes whenever technology does. It’s more than just being able to write, and I don’t think I knew that until about a year ago. I always thought in high school that because I could write, that would get me the job. My advisor has taught me that yes, I can write, but the fact that I’m driven and I’m able to adapt is what people will want. He’s helped me at all hours, night and day, answer the question I wanted an answer to. His knowledge and experiences has helped me figure out what I need to do to be successful, and I can’t wait to make some changes at the school to make him and the department proud!

The other class I thoroughly enjoyed this semester was my Theory of Writing class. Never have I had a class where at the final exam, a professor would bring in chips and salsa and have us casually sit in a circle and read aloud a final paper. It seems like a fun time, but it was more than that. It wasn’t a professor giving us an easy way out. He wanted us to sit and express something greater than any 12 page test could do. The point of the assignment was to write a series of snapshots (known as crots) that would explain how far we have come with our writing (I will post my paper later!). These snapshots could be anything from theorists excerpts, short stories, poems, lyrics, letters, text messages, thoughts, experiences—heck, you oculdn’ve even used a fortune cookie message. We had about four or five students cry while reading their papers, and most of us were teary eyed listening. What they had written, what we had written, was so moving that only by reading it aloud could we see how expressive we all are. This is what the class had taught me. That through writing, you can do more than just get a good grade or become a person who “writes well.” You can make mistakes and still get your point across. You can say, screw the conventions, and just write a series of blurbs to make an essay come alive. You can make meaning of what you are writing. I did all of that and more with this class, and it’s one that I never want to forget.

"The definition of liable is..."

“The definition of libel is…”

My professor who taught that class is more than just some salsa-loving guy who wants us all to sit around and cry over our words. He wants us to do something greater with writing, and I think we all have learned that. He’s the reason I no longer write with some silly five-paragraph essay, and the reason why I try to write in my own voice and not someone else’s. He also asked me to be a writing tutor next year, and I’m so excited to be a part of that team! It’s great to see my development as a writer is recognized.

Overall this semester has been so many things, and I don’t think I can say it all in just one post. Technically speaking I can, but I think you all would start to get bored. I’ll just leave it at, sophomore year has been great but I am happy for it to be over with.

My summer is looking great. I have an internship at my college, where I will be working in the marketing and communications department. I will also be keeping my job at the library, I can’t leave the House of Books (as my friend calls it). So again my summer is working 10 hour work days, which is fine by me! I love to stay busy. I also joined a gym so you will be seeing posts about me actually being active. I plan on reading a lot too, and maybe I will even pick up a new hobby! Who knows, life is full of possibilities, and if I learned anything from this year, I can make things happen!

How about I put that on a t-shirt!?

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The Paper Problem

I recently discovered how sacred printer paper is to college students.

If we held a modern gladiatorial combat with college students, it would be for printer paper.  College students would arm themselves and head into the arena to battle to the death.

I am not sure about other colleges or universities, but at my school printer paper does not come free. Most lounges are supply-your-own-paper printers. Only the commuter lounge, which is really supposed to be used by commuters-only, resources are free of charge. That is, they are free if you know where to look. You still have to walk to a different room to pick up printer paper, and even then it is hard to get. I have gotten many looks from whoever is working there, almost to say, “are you REALLY a commuter.” When you finally get a hold of some paper, you bring back the paper and quickly shove it into the printer.  As you quickly select print, you realize someone else is headed to the printer.  And shooting out of the device comes their notes.  Of course, the paper they just used up was not their own, but they don’t care.  They are in the same rush as you are.  It’s every man for himself!

I’ve never actually gotten mad at someone for using up the paper that I have brought back because I know I can get it for free.  I would be frustrated however, if I brought in stacks of my own paper, and then other students use it all up.  I have seen people literally argue with each other over printer paper.  It’s so ridiculous but at the same time, if people would just respect each others materials we wouldn’t have any issue.

Finals week makes kids go insane. I have seen people hurrying to print out their 50 pages of slides just so they can study.  So it is no wonder students get upset when some lazy student comes in and just prints their papers without bringing any paper.  Some students will have no problem voicing their opinions, and you really see how rude people are on your campus. I had a girl yell at me for using her paper, when I had counted out exactly how many pages I needed and placed them in the printer. She ran over to the printer and whipped out her paper so I wouldn’t use it.  She left some behind, and instead of keeping it, I gave it back to her (although I really think I should have kept it).

Which reminds me, whenever you see printing paper without an owner, snatch it up! I have found many piles of paper that have yet to be used, and hey, if you don’t protect it someone else will!  I have also found that printing your papers at the last minute are never a good idea.  This is just increasing your chances of things to go wrong, which will only leave you stressed and angry.  I also have decided to bring only the amount of paper that is necessary to print my document(s).  This way you aren’t putting extra paper in the printer for someone else to use.  Also, put the paper in the printer right before you go to print something.

I never would have suspected that college students would go so crazy over paper, but I am starting to see it makes sense.  We need so much paper every day, and when people try to take the little resources you have, it can be stressful. Sharpen your elbows students, you may need them!

Patching Up the Wounds and Still Bleeding Blue and White

After reading through a fraction of the 267 page document of the Sandusky investigative report, I have come to a conclusion: People will do anything to protect their legacy and fame.

Whether you live on the West coast, or East, you know what Penn State University is known for, and that is their stellar football team.  Stellar can’t even describe their football team, it goes far beyond that.  Football is a religion at that school, and it’s no question as to why.  Head coach Joe Paterno is worshiped, for he changed the way football was for that school.  Their school should be beyond proud.

I’m not here to talk about football though.  I’m here to talk about the report, and what information was released from the report.  Former FBI director Louis Freeh was hired by Penn State’s board of trustees to look further into the scandal.  Great idea, BoT.  Judging from the fact that you are partially to blame for the covering up of Sandusky’s incidents.  But, the Board isn’t solely to blame.

Unfortunately, this scandal involved several blinded men of power.  What these men failed to realize is while they were protecting their names and legacy, they were harming the children of our future.  And for what?  They still all had to face the repercussions, just 14 years later.  It’s like my mom always said: “You can lie about something now, and you will get away with it.  For days, weeks, months, maybe even years.  But at some point, you will get caught.”  She used to say that when she knew I was about to tell a lie.  I wonder if these men had heard the same thing as I once did?

What has shocked a lot of people, is that in Freeh’s report, Paterno was said to have failed in protecting the children.  He did not take appropriate acts necessary to save the children.  Neither of the “powerful” four were.  Don’t believe me?  How about reading the investigative report.

Somebody on my Facebook wrote that Freeh should be indicted.  Why?  Because he uncovered the truth?  It is written in black and white.  Nothing that was uncovered is a lie.  No one is out to get Paterno, they are only trying to deliver the truth, and sometimes it hurts.

They did what they had to do.  My opinion: If you disagree with the report, you are ignorant.

Does this make those who did not take actions equal to Sandusky?  No, but I do believe that they are close.

Paterno, Schultz, Curley, McQueary, Spanier, the Board, and University Police.

All of those men are to blame.

The same kid on Facebook also noted that his career is influenced by the Penn State scandal.  He is afraid he won’t get a job for going to such a school.

I say to you, are you kidding?

You should be proud to go to Penn State University.  It is an amazing school.  Whether you are there for its academic excellence, faculty, facilities, or football team, you should bleed blue and white; with pride.

I am sure no one at Penn State wished for something like this to happen.  I can also assure you, none of the underprivileged children of Second Mile wished to raped, sexually assaulted, and abused by a man they dearly trusted.  Shame on you for thinking about yourselves and how your life is affected.  What about the kids, now adults, who have to live with those thoughts?  They will never forget.

Penn State will be okay.  It will take time to mend what is broken, but always remember why you went to the school.  Realize that a bunch of men were too focused on keeping the integrity of the school, that they dismissed what would happen as the aftermath.  They thought they could cover this up, but how could they?  It is a shame that people with so much power, did so little…

We can only pray for the children, now adults, to have a peaceful life.  We can be at ease knowing that a monster is locked up in jail, getting what he deserved.  We can hope that this will never happen again.  And, we can move on.

After all, you are, Penn State.