Letter of Recommendation

If you have ever applied to a college, or graduate school, you may have had to get one of these things; a letter from a teacher or employer, explaining who you are, or telling the school why they should accept you. To me, this entire process is useless.

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Discover Challenge: A Piece of Advice

Always give 110%, that way you’ll never have to regret not trying.

This is a piece of advice from one of my college professors. He was one of the most hated professors on campus, and one of my favorite. Sure, he was a tough grader, but he really wanted to make sure you were learning, and understanding the material, not just make stuff up. I wasn’t uncommon for a straight A student to fail his class. He was tough. It wasn’t even uncommon for student to cheat on the exams and still fail. But if you put in the effort, you could pass.

I won’t say that I was a straight A student, though a did get a 4.0 a few semesters. I’d classify myself as an A/B student. And that’s what I got in his classes. Because I studied.

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Midterms are Dumb

Having just finished midterms week, I though I’d tell you why the concept of midterm exams is probably the dumbest part of college.

For those of you who don’t know what midterms are, or how they work, I’ll explain. In the middle of the semester, or close to the middle of the semester, there is a week of exams; midterm exams. There’s also finals week, which is also a week of exams, but the two are very different. During midterms week, classes carry on as usual. During finals week, everything stops, and your only responsibility is to go to your exams.

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In Five Years

Something that I have been asked over, and over, especially in schools, is where I see myself in five years, or ten years, or even thirty years. I understand that this exercise is often used to help young people plan for their future, and have goals and the like. But I always hated this question.

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Don’t Stay in School

Now, I’m a big supporter of education. I believe that the more we know about diverse subjects, the better off we are in our personal lives, the relationships that we hold, and our careers. I’m also a huge fan of learning for fun. Some people collect figurines, some people collect coins, I collect knowledge.

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Update!

I’m just here for a quick update right now.

As many of you know, I have been packing and preparing for the new school year a lot recently. Well, that’s all finished, I’ve moved in and classes have started. Unfortunately, my laptop can not connect to my school’s network. This means no internet. Not only am I having withdrawal from the internet, I also can not get much of my school work done. Most importantly though, I cannot post any blog posts worth reading.  Thus, I am just updating you.

My computer is “being worked on” and “should be finished by Friday.” I might need to have a word with someone if it takes that long.

Anyway, until this little obstacle gets taken care of, I will be unable to post photo challenges and other longer posts.

I will try my best to post atleast once a week for this semester, but please be aware that unfortunately, school work must come first. I wish it didn’t, but it does.

As usual, I apologize for spelling and grammatical errors. Have a fantastic day and I’ll see you when I get my computer back!

)O(

Author’s Message Isn’t Important!

First, I’m going to need all of the English/Literature teachers to sit down and hear me out.

Okay, so we all remember being forced to read some book that didn’t sound at all interesting to us. But on top of that, we were expected to figure out what the author was trying to tell us. Personally, I always hated that. Now that I think back on it, I probably would have enjoyed some of those books a little more if I wasn’t being forced to psychoanalyze the author through a story they wrote. While that may be a fair way to figure something out about the author, 12 year old, middle school me was not educated in psychology, or at all interested in dissecting anyone’s brain.

Anyway, now that I’m a few years out of being forced to read things, and can read for my own enjoyment, I’ve discovered something. Critical reading can not really be taught in the same way that math or history can be. It’s something that the reader has to want. Anyone can read a book and understand the plot. But there has to be a desire to go deeper, and let me tell you, when you’re forced to write a report on what the author is trying to say, students will just Google it, and that requires only a desire to get a good grade. Being able to look passed the words on the page and find that subtle symbolism comes from the reader, not the teacher.

I am certainly not saying that we should stop teaching these critical reading skills, but maybe we need to teach them differently. This is where I get back to the purpose of this post. I hate author’s message. It’s completely unimportant to the story, or the the reader’s ability to understand it. I’m not saying that we should abandon the idea that there is a message within the books that we read. Not at all. But I am saying that there are many messages, and some are more important than others.

So which ones are important, and which ones are not? Well, as you might have guessed, the author’s message didn’t make the cut. This is where things get a little blurry. Truth is, there are infinite messages is books; it all depends on who reads it. Okay, let me explain. When the author wrote the book, they had some idea of what they wanted to get across to the reader; the author’s message. But as soon as the book is picked up by a reader, the interpretation becomes completely the reader’s. In other words, the same book can mean something different to every one who holds it, and what the author was trying to say is irrelevant to what the reader learns from it.

Basically, it doesn’t matter what the author was trying to say, just that the reader got something out of reading the book.

My suggestion? Stop asking students what message the author was trying to convey, and ask them what they learned from the book. With this, you are still asking the reader to take away a lesson from the book, but now it is their own, not the author’s.

On a side note, I want to talk a little bit about symbolism. If you aren’t trying to find symbolism for your own reasons, a couch is just a couch and a name is just a name. But if you are personally interested in finding deeper symbolism, a couch is the characters connection to family, and a name can be a symbol of health (both of these are examples from books and television that I enjoy, try to figure out which ones if you want). If you are being forced to find symbolism, a couch is just a couch because a couch is more comfortable, and a name is just a name that the author liked. What I’m saying is, if you don’t want to look for the symbolism, you aren’t going to find it. So, forcing someone to find symbolism in an object will never work. For teaching, the most you can do is encourage the students to want to look for it, and that has to come from your own passion for critical reading.

In conclusion, critical reading can not be taught. Critical reading skills can be taught. The author’s message isn’t important. What the reader learned is important. Forcing someone to look for something they have no interest in finding isn’t going to do anything but make them avoid finding it. I like to stress these things because reading can be incredibly fun and enjoyable if you do it for yourself.

)O(

I’m Back!

I’m Baaaaaack!

Well, last week was finals, and yesterday I moved all of my stuff back home! I have a skinny pathway from my door to my bed because my room is filled with all of my things. I have made a small dent in the stacks of boxes but I got a little distracted.

Anyway, you don’t really want to hear about me unpacking, do you? I didn’t think so.

I just thought I’d post a little something for those of you who care enough to actually follow me! First of all, thank you for following my jibber-jabber. My blog is coming up on its two year anniversary and I’m amazed by the progress I’ve made. I’ll post something a little more sentimental on the anniversary. Anyway, I did decide, in January, to take a break from blogging during this past semester, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made regarding this blog. This past semester has been busy, busy, busy.

I had tons of work to do for classes since my brain malfunctioned and thought it would be a great idea to take an excessive amount of classes. Anyway, I’m waiting to get my grades from this past semester (they should be release sometime next week). I know I set a somewhat unrealistic goal for myself at the start of the semester by hoping I could get straight A’s again. Not that it would have been impossible, just that I would have stressed myself out way too much trying to pull it off. Simply, it wasn’t worth the stress it would have caused.

On a lighter note, I also had clubs and organizations that I dedicate a small amount of time to each week. Plus, my school finally allowed a resource center for the LGBT community on campus, which I, of course, volunteered some time for.

I’m not going to get into the smaller details of what I spend all my time doing, but just know that if I had tried to blog during this past semester, the content would have been spaced out and of unbelievably poor quality. I wouldn’t want to give my beautiful readers absolute crap.

Wow, this post has become much longer than I originally intended.

To the point! I’m back for the summer, and I will make a decision as fall approaches as to whether I will continue into the fall. For the summer months you can expect semi-regular blog posts. I have some things planned. I will be bringing back some of the old blog series that I have done in the past. I will do a challenge in July, as has become sort of a tradition. And I will try to find some fun new ideas to keep you all entertained!

Stay tuned for an obnoxiously long post coming out later today!

)O(

Taking A Break

Unfortunately, or maybe not, I have decided to take a break from blogging (as if I haven’t already). But this time it will be an official break. I obviously can’t keep up during the school year, and unfortunately school is more important. Hopefully, I will be back in May, but no promises there.

I will not be making up photo challenges, but I can’t say I won’t make some update posts. However, I will still be thinking about new post ideas and new challenges for my hopeful return this spring. It is also possible that if I feel a news event is important enough, i will make a post, but that wont be a promised return (unless I say it is).

Have a good 2014!

)O(

Full Moon Challenge: October 18, 2013

Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon. October 18, 2013, 7:38 pm.

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On the last full moon, i set a goal to blog more often. And I think this is actually the first goal that I didn’t achieve this year. I think we can allow one to slide… no?

I have been super busy with school this past month. I just feel like I don’t have time for anything. Every time I do make time for fun, I get more stressed out because I have to squeeze doing homework into the day before or after my ‘fun day.’ I can’t wait for Thanksgiving break so I can de-stress.

I know at this point I’m almost half way into the next moon cycle but you know what? Deal. The next full moon is still a few weeks away and my final projects for the semester are due just after it. My goal for the next moon will be to work on all of my projects and be almost done by the next full moon.

)O(