Relay for Life at EMU

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This is my sister, she is 26 years old and a survivor of medulloblastoma. Today is Relay for Life and i’ve watched so many of my friends work very hard to make this event happen and continue the fight against cancer. Cancer. It happened to my family in many ways and took many lives, and my sister is still paying for it to this day. It may have stripped her of the abilities that most take for granted, it eliminated nearly all of the promise and opportunity this world had to offer her- and it’s the most unfair and tragic thing I have ever seen happen in my life. It always will be. And although theres not a day that goes by that I am not so sorry that it was her and not me, not a single time I see someone with specific needs that she doesn’t cross my mind. It hurts, but I know there is a reason for everything- a miracle behind every curse. This woman is the most caring, big hearted, carefree and innocent influence I have ever encountered, that the world will probably ever encounter. Her understanding and love is so vast, it could only come in a package as special as she, the world wouldn’t be ready for it in any other way. No one has ever shown such courage, bravery and content with such hellacious obstacles and set backs, and with a smile on at that. She beat it. She beat brain cancer and is still kicking this worlds butt to this day. I am so proud to call this woman my sister. I am so proud to call EMU my home, relay has been so inspiring, yet again, as I see such an amazing crop of people come together to raise awareness, to fight this demon, to create hope, such a proud eagle today.

Resources for All, Not Just Women

I’ve worked for the Eastern Michigan University’s Women’s Resource Center for about two and a half years now, to put it simply- I know the place very well. Our primary purpose is to educate campus on women’s issues, discrimination, events, literature and movements pertaining to equality. Our goal is to educate campus, not just women- which serves as a challenge when a man walks up to our office door and is fearful to cross the threshold (none-the-less it’s comedic to watch). So how do we engage men? How do we make our presence engaging and welcoming, to educate our audience and create a brand that connects all of the communities we want to reach, to make one cohesive audience? We come to you.

Our goal is to meet the Eastern Michigan community where they are at, here at the Women’s Resource Center we have created a web presence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we also have a Q & A box located outside of our office that community members can anonymously ask questions and we will post answers on our office door. Feminism is about creating quality-equality between people of all walks of life; men or women or somewhere in-between. Our events are geared towards educating people about issues and topics we typically don’t feel comfortable speaking about. The key is to open dialogue and create a safe space for positive conversations to occur. Check us out at:

Twitter: @EMU_WomensRC

Facebook: Facebook.com/EMUWRC

Instagram: EMU_WomensRC

 

Let us know what you’d like to see next year from your Diversity and Community Involvement section of Student Involvement, and every here at the Women’s Resource Center!

 

Resume/CV

Resumes are so scary and tedious; your life in 500 hundred characters or less essentially, the doorway to your future, one little sheet of paper. Then you throw that little sheet of paper on dozens of desks in various hands of people who are there to judge you, decide if you are good enough. It’s hardly enough information or time, but it’s the way the world spins. The whole process is cringe provoking. Then the formats, wording, the guidelines and censorship- it has to be done delicately. A resume is highlights of your credentials and what you’ve done. They say to tailor your resume for each job you are applying for. For example, I have a variety of experiences at different lengths, if I were applying for a position that required writing, I would show my Slughorne magazine proposal and other written pieces from courses, I would put an emphasis on my education and show the written work I have done for different positions. A CV is an intimidating piece of the puzzle. Myself for example, I’ve done a variety of things in undergrad, it’s difficult to place what’s relevant, appropriate, or worth mentioning at such an early stage in my career pursuits. They both are such intimidating pieces of paper that can make or break someone’s future, resume/CV writing is an artistic science to build your future. 

Reading and Writing Skills: The 21st Century

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Monday in class we spoke of students declining in their speed and academic choices in reading. We countered that with the popularity of e-readers and Internet access and the inspiration incline curve. This conversation sparked a lot of emotions among our classmates. It became apparent that many of us struggle with readers or non-readers in our lives; whether it be their choices that frustrate us or the fact that they simply don’t pick up anything, we have struggles. I found myself frustrated with the assessment of modern students. While I think reading material should be open for students to decide, lets be real, if they don’t want to read it they won’t or they won’t get anything from it. I think we judge pace and interest too harshly. I believe everyone learns at a specific and personal pace. I also believe everyone gains something different from different reading materials, which I believe the modern classroom neglects. Reading, no matter how fast or slow, is a learning tool. Students are educating themselves at their own pace, in their own way, deriving messages from texts they have an interest in, ultimately, that is the purpose literature is supposed to serve.

Criticism and Disciplines

Today’s class was really exciting! Our discussion inspired by Criticism into the Wilderness really got my wheels turning. Besides the inevitable revolution we’ll have to start in order to lead successful lives, our discussion reminded me of an article I read last semester called Much Ado About Friends (I’ll put a link in here later one I hunt the piece down!) and that article put my future in perspective for me. Basically the article says we will either actually use our LLW degree in a writing/editing job or use our “skill set” in a communication/humanities rooted career. As a future Language, Literature and Writing graduate I realize my career path has three routes; the teaching cycle, the professional grammondo (since we are steering away from the term grammar nazi per today’s class discussion) or a skill set job. I can either become a teacher or go to grad school and probably still end up in an institution job. Or if I’m lucky snag a position doing some sort of editing, publishing, small time writing- which all probably begin with a mediocre, breadcrumb paying, entry level internship. Of course, then option three- pursue a job that doesn’t directly serve literature and my abilities to articulate and decipher dense writings and reiterate messages through complex lenses, but to mute all of those skills and all that jargon aside and execute duties that require a general humanities understanding, that utilizes my “skill set” from this degree; marketing, PR, communications etcetera, and those jobs will be cut throat to get against the growing marketing and PR graduates. With the market growing and a little luck, this is where a majority of us will end up, because our “skill sets” make us unique candidates, it’s one of the few angles we have to work with. That moment when people scoff at us when we explain our degree, I never had a justification for it until today’s class. Anti-intellectualism. Boom. Finally an answer! It’s an intimidation degree, because even though we might not be more educated in a specific field than another discipline scholar, give us a pen and paper and we sure can make you believe we are. Pursuing this degree which, at the heart of it is indeed simply reading and writing, may sound basic and accessible to anybody since these are two skills every degree requires, we majors leave the institution however, experts at it. I would bet by the time we get out of college we have read and wrote more than any chemistry major- making us more skilled at what makes the very foundation of their field. Give us the jargon, facts and a few reliable and scholarly sources and any decent literary scholar can give a chemist a good run for their money in writing a developed and educated thesis. Today’s class really brought that to light- we are defined by stereotypes not our skill set, so when we are mocked for our degree we panic and laugh with the bully picking on us because it’s an intimidating stance, we aren’t sure what we’ll end up doing- but in all reality with all confidence, we ultimately have a good head start in truly any academic field and could end up anywhere, doing anything- that’s what makes our degree so versatile, exciting and useful.

Literature & Criticism- Thoughts on Belsay (a disjointed rant)

After Monday’s class discussion on the assigned reading, I felt my self over analyzing Belsay even more than before the discussion. In class we discussed the difference between truths and “the Truth”, how Belsay argues good literature has an element of truth- tangible people, places, things- etc (how an alien with four heads does not constitute “good literature”). I took this definition as truths (an alien with four heads could be someone’s truth, somewhere for all we know) being a personal belief, the Truth being tangible facts. We shifted to the difference between allegory and realism as well. During this discussion, I started to think of realistic allegory, Winnie The Pooh came to mind. Although it is children’s entertainment, I came across meme of sorts, that’s been fresh on my mind lately. It showed how each of the characters represented a psychological disorder. While I completely understand bears do not eat honey and befriend pigs and tigers, nor do any of these animals speak in actuality, isn’t personification a valid writing tool? Haven’t psychological disorders been validated through science, medicine, study, etc? To step away from infantile entertainment, what about The Lord of The Rings, while I am not completely familiar with the plot lines I understand that there are communities with beliefs that fight battles in pursuit of something. While this is the most basic way to put the plot line, I’m sure, this series has grown expansively in cinemas and in supernatural fandom and culture, such a popular work isn’t considered good literature under this perspective? Despite hobbits, elves, and “unreal” creatures? Or perhaps I am still struggling with the definition of the two different categories. To me, from the class discussion, the perspective unvalidated fictional literature and I did not agree with that. From our class discussion it felt as if we were struggling to collectively decide on one reliable definition which left me with many scattered thoughts I thought I would share here in hopes of insight!

Sexuality in My Name Is Red

Having read Orhan Pamuk previously, I know that he can articulate anything with the most beautiful language, making him more than worthy of the Pulitzer and all of his recognition. However, what has amazed me since first cracking open his work is his ability to subtly discuss sexuality and intimacy in beautiful and tasteful language. While most novels and cultures brush this topic aside, Pamuk embraces it, engages it and subtly enhances scenes with sexuality without being too direct. While I question if the sexuality is necessary to be even brought up in certain scenes, i understand it creates metaphors for importance and intimacy. For example in the last scenes of our final chapter in My Name Is Red, when Black returns to his family and Shekure speaks of an “ink pen and ink jar” she is referencing sexual relations with Black. As I go over my notes and consider the importance of art I realize that metaphor here is to relate how intimate art is. Throughout the novel little references are made such as this scene. The intimacy of art and the relationship these two share is apparent, I think the point that their love making every afternoon continues over the course of 26 years only to end by Blacks death, a heart attack or failure (at a well, where our story begun, how complex!) also expresses that art lives on until your heart isn’t in it any more. That it is who you are and what you share, it becomes tradition while embracing tradition, much like the “putting salve on the wounds” every afternoon.