The Final Portfolio

This is a bittersweet moment, I guess.  I have 5 days until I'm no longer a freshman.  I also only have 5 days left to revel in the feeling that I'll be a student on a campus where I actually know most people I see and I know where everything is.  As these final 5 days wind down, I'm going to enjoy being a Seton Hill student, even if it is for the last time.  I'm leaving all of you, and heading back to the Land of Lincoln (Illinois, for those of you who don't know where Abraham Lincoln is from) to become a student a Illinois State University, which is actually one of the best schools for education in my lovely state.  So this is my farewell to all of you.  I have learned tons in this semester.  I've learned that you'd best do your work on time, or you could be up past three in the morning catching up on blogs or readings.  I've learned how not to write a sonnet.  I've learned that not all assigned readings are horribly painful.  And I've learned that even if you hate the reading or writing assignment (*coughresearchpapercough*) that you'd better buckle down and do it, rather than just procrastinate further by writing things that don't pertain to your class.  (And don't worry, Dr. Jerz, you didn't scare me away from Seton Hill.  I had already decided to transfer before I saw the 10+ books on the list for the class)


Coverage:  In all of my blogs, I have made sure to include a direct quotation, with the correct citation as well as a link back to the homework entry on our course website.

Timeliness: So I'm not known for doing my work well in advance.  But for a lot of these blogs, I didn't actually wait till the last minute, but finished them in the afternoon before the next day's class:

Interaction: 
So, another thing I'm not great at is going back to my blogs after I've posted them and reading what other people have commented.  I know I don't go back to blogs that I have commented on and looked to see if other people have replied to my comment, so I doubt other people here do, too.

Depth: 
I tried for more depth with my entries lately.  I'm trying to think intelligently and relate things I've learned in this class and others to the readings.  These are a couple of blogs where I feel I achieved good depth:

Discussion: 
I've really tried to leave good comments on people's blogs and comment on people's blogs where I would be the first person to leave a comment, so I could say something original.

Also:


Farewell Seton Hill, and farewell fellow English majors.  I shall miss you.

A Life or Death Matter

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"Susie: There just isn't a good treatment for what you  have yet, for advanced ovarian.  I'm sorry.  They should have explained this --

Vivian: I knew

Susie: You did...  What you have to think about is your 'code status.'  What you want them to do if your heart stops

[...]

Vivian: Let it stop... Just let it stop" (Edson, 67-68)


I don't really know what to think of the play as a whole...  I kind of liked it, but then parts I didn't.  I just don't know.

But the quote...  I personally cannot imagine having to decide if I want someone to try to keep me alive or if I just want to let my heart stop beating.  I suppose that when you're battling terminal cancer, you know that the cancer is going to beat you and I guess you'd just get to the point where the pain is so intense you don't want to imagine having to spend another minute in that torture.  But your decision is going to affect everyone else you know.  It's just such an incredibly difficult decision that someone has to make, but Vivian was just very concise about it.  She said she didn't want to complicate matters and from what I know about her from the play, she doesn't like to complicate anything, so I guess it would make sense that she was very straightforward about it.  But it's interesting that during this exchange between Susie and Vivian, you don't really see any emotion from Vivian.  I would expect at least some emotion if you're deciding to be a DNR or not.  But that's not who Vivian is.


Hamilton Teaches Me About Shakespeare

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"To aid modern readers in seeing such contrasts, editors space prose passages as in novels: they extend the lines all the way to the right margins and capitalize words only at the beginning of sentences, not of lines.  In contrast, the indicate that a speech is in verse by capitalizing the word at the beginning of each line and by leaving a wide right margin,in keeping with the format for poetry.  Editors also indent blank verse lines that are shared between two or more speakers and number them as one line, to show that the dialogue reflects a close meeting of the characters' minds," (Hamilton 238).

Let's get this straight: I am not a Shakespeare fan.  I am not a Shakespeare expert, nor do I pretend to be one.  When I'm assigned a Shakespeare play, I struggle through it and I attempt to understand it just enough to get by and I pray that this unit will go by quickly.  So when I see things like that in the books, I'm just assuming that Shakespeare himself wrote it like that.  I didn't know that that was the work of an editor.  Of course, I also didn't really care enough that to find out if that's how Shakespeare would have wanted it printed or what, but the point it, I had no idea that it was formatted like that to make reading it easier.


...Although for me, I don't think anything is going to make Shakespeare easier...

GREAT book.

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Holy. Crap.  I really was not expecting this book to be as good as I thought it was.  I went into this assignment dreading the amount of reading we would have to do, but I ended up loving it and I sped through this novel much quicker than I thought.  Good choice, Dr. Jerz.  I approve. :)

I couldn't choose just one quote this time:

"'We train our commanders the way we do because that's what it takes -- they have to think in certain ways, they can't be distracted by a lot of things, so we isolate them.  You.  Keep you separate.  And it works.  But it's so easy, when you never meet people, when you never know the Earth itself, when you live with metal walls keeping out the cold of space, it's easy to forget why Earth is worth saving.  Why the world of people might be worth the price you pay'," (Card, 267).

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to be reminded of why they're doing something hard - something outside of themselves.  Ender wasn't fighting for just his life up at Battle School and breaking himself down just for some kind of masochistic pleasure.  He was struggling for the entire human race.  To know, at least subconsciously, that the entire fate of the human race rests on your shoulders -- the shoulders of a child -- has to be an overwhelmingly heavy burden to carry.  But it's probably like when soldiers come back from leave and are able to spend even a little time with their loved ones -- they are reminded of why they're risking their life fighting a war.  People put their lives on the line all the time for our freedom.  I hope a time doesn't come when we're forced to send little children out to save the entire human race.


"'So what do we do now?' asked Alai.  'The bugger war's over, and so's the war down there on Earth, and even the war here.  What do we do now?'

'We're kids,' said Petra.  'They'll probably make us go to school.  It's a law.  You have to go to school till you're seventeen.'

They all laughed at that.  Laughed until tears streamed down their faces,"
(Card, 335).

I thought this was just a very important quote to kind of end the main part of the story.  In the end, these soldiers aren't even old enough to have graduated high school yet.  They're younger than even my sister, who's 17.  These kids just saved the entire human race, but yet they would still have to go back to school and try to lead a "normal" life.  hah.  How would anyone expect these kids -- especially Ender -- to ever be "normal" again? 

Children Armies

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“‘I know, you’ve been here a year, you think these people are normal.  Well, they’re not.  We’re not.  I look in the library, I call up books on my desk.  Old ones, because they won’t let us have anything new, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what children are, and we’re not children.  Children can lose sometimes and nobody cares.  Children aren’t in armies, they aren’t commanders, they don’t rule over forty other kids, it’s more than anybody can take and not get a little crazy’” (Card, 118).

 

I think that it’s just pathetic that someone had to actually go and look up what children are and what they’re supposed to do and not do.  But then I sit and remember where they are and what they’re being trained to do and I remember that they’re being trained for battle - to fight a demon that may or may not exist.  At this point, I’m not even sure the buggers exist anymore.  These “children” are being transformed into soldiers to fight and kill; they’re not playing ball or pretending to kill things, as children are wont to do.  They’re being trained to actually go out and there and kill, and it’s despicable.  I understand wanting to protect civilization and the human race, but do people really have to train children to do it for them?

Two Parts.

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"Onomatopoeia... has two meanings.  its most common definition is using a word or phrase that seems to imitate the sound it denotes; for example bang, creak, murmur, ding-dong, or plop.  As with consonance and assonance, that effect cannot come from the sound of the word alone: its meaning is involved as well...  In a broader sense, onomatopoeia means using words in such a way that they seem to exemplify what they denote, not just in terms of sound but also of such qualities as pacing, force, touch, movement, or duration as well" (Hamilton, 221).


In school, when I was taught about onomatopoeias, I was always taught just the first part of this definition.  I really only knew that an onomatopoeia was used to connote actual sounds like bang or pop.  I didn't realize that they could also be used to describe qualities like pacing or other movements.  I don't know if it's just easier for teachers to tell students that this incredibly long word is used to make noises in your writing than it is to have to explain to them the other part of the definition, but I definitely think that students should be taught both parts of the definition, not just the easier part.  That way, they don't have to wait until they're almost done with their freshman year in college to realize that there's two parts to an onomatopoeia.

Pseudo-Hyperscription

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For an assignment in Dr. Jerz's class, we had to make up a word.  My word is Pseudo-hyperscription.

Definition: The action of faking extreme writing.

Tony, stuck taking an in-class essay, was too busy with his pseudo-hyperscription to realize that the teacher had called for them to stop writing.

Also.  I Googled my word and, lo and behold, it doesn't exist.


(and yes, you can tell from that picture that I sadly go to TMZ.com and follow the lives of the celebrities that the paparazzi stalk...  It's an addiction I'm slowly working on)

Humans are Just Tools

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I have to say, I really do like this book so far - and I was genuinely surprised because I don't normally like science fiction.  That said, onto the quote:


"'It isn't the world at stake, Ender.  Just us.  Just humankind...  Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.  Maybe humanity needs you.  To do something.  I think humanity needs me -- to find out what you're good for.  We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.'

'Is that all?  Just tools?'

'Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive'" 
(Card, Ender's Game, pg 37).

To think that humans are just tools in the grand scheme of living and surviving is kind of weird for me to think about.  I don't know if I like the idea that really my only purpose could be to be a tool to help humanity as a whole survive -- but I guess as a woman, that's kind of automatically my purpose.  I have to make sure to pass on my genes and family history to the next generation.  I mean, of course I need some help to do that, but basically, the future of the human race lies on the shoulders of women and the fact that they we can conceive and we must have children to ensure the vitality of the human race.

Introducing the Conclusion

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"At the very least, you ought to rewrite your title and introduction to match your conclusion"  (Short Research Papers).

I know that personally, when I'm writing a research paper -- short or long -- my introduction and conclusion are the hardest parts for me to write.  When I was in high school, when we wrote our gigantic junior research paper, my teacher told us not to freak out about the introduction and to skip it, then write it last, after you've finished the rest of the paper, including the conclusion.  As long as you know what your thesis is, the rest of your paper should be a easy(ish) to write.  And the benefit when you've written the introduction last, you already know for sure what the rest of the paper is about, so it's easy to make the introduction match the body of the paper.  And I always try to make my title something creative instead of just "Stem-Cell Research" or whatever the topic is, so by writing the entire paper first, I might be able to pull something from my writing to be a creative title.

Research papers, for me, aren't that hard.  I just first have to figure out what the heck I'm going to write about...  Oy.

A Balancing Act

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"Most writers strive for variety in their use of syntax; for example, striking effects can be created from varying long, complex sentences with short, simple ones" (Hamilton 191)

I know for a fact that I don't want to read 200 pages full of four-line long sentences.  Not only does it make annotating and highlighting sentences more annoying, long sentences make it annoying to just read it.  And then, if a paragraph is written with just short simple, 4- or 5-word sentences, it makes me feel like the author has dumbed down his/her writing for the reader.  I definitely feel that there should be a good balance between complex and simple sentences.  I try to balance them when I write papers, blogs, and stories, but I do admit that sometimes I just don't know when to shut up and put a period in and it turns into one super-gigantic-long run-on sentence that drives the reader crazy like I'm sure this sentence is driving you crazy right now.
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