For this blog post (which will be my last while I am still in Senior Seminar), I wanted to format it a little differently than what was assigned. We were asked to read David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 and write a paragraph or two about what aspects of it surprised me or resonated with me. In all honesty, his entire speech left me speechless and amazed. I don’t know if it’s because I will be graduating in a few short weeks or if he’s yet another scholar discussing the positives of a liberal arts education, but what he talked about was simply astounding. So, for this post, I am going to include some of my favorite quotes below so that you can be astounded as well.
. . . I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. . .
This is definitely important to remember for any graduate preparing to become an “adult” within the next few weeks. Learning is not something that you only do in school, it is something that you do in everyday life. By learning and listening to others, you as a human being are making yourself into something meaningful and important and worthwhile.
. . . I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. . .
Long story short, you can’t just go through your adult life without making something out of it or else you’d be equivalent to a zombie on The Walking Dead. And I am deathly afraid of zombies so why would I want to go through life without making any connections to the outside world or creating meaning for myself? I think that is what Wallace is going for here, letting us know that our education is not frivolous and actually helps us better our future selves.
I want to leave this quote with you so that you can really think about yourself and your life and hopefully reevaluate it before it is too late and you are already out in the real world. Be brave, and live while you have the chance.
. . . The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time . . .
As I read the article “Reading (and Writing) Online, Rather Than on the Decline” by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, I can’t help but laugh at the irony of the situation. This article is (obviously) about reading and writing online and how it is affecting the perception of the humanities as well as discussing the public’s lack of consumption of physical books, yet I am reading this article ONLINE. Not in print, not in an anthology that is physically sitting on my lap, but online. Honestly, I don’t really see a problem with reading and writing moving from mainly print based to becoming a larger online presence; I think it’s nothing short of beneficial.
Personally, I love a good print book; I love to go to my local bookstore and pick out my next adventure so that I can go home and curl up on a chair with my new purchase. But, I also think that there is nothing wrong with bypassing that step and just getting your new book sent to your kindle in a matter of seconds. I used to be dead-set against digital copies of novels but when I got a kindle from my parents this past Christmas (shout out to the best parents in the world, HOLLA), I realized that they were actually feeding my reading addiction by giving me instant access to novels rather than stunting it. If anything, the move from print to online is fairly beneficial for the authors since their work is able to be read by an audience more vast than before when their work was purely print. The ease of access to all of these sources is also pretty nice because as a college student, I don’t have to search for hours trying to find one article in an anthology that might have something to do with a paper that I am writing; I can just search it online and have a scholarly work on my laptop within minutes.
Now I’m not saying that reading and writing should just abandon its roots and completely get rid of the printing process to just strictly be online. I truly believe that there should be a balance between both and that books should continue to gain a larger presence online so that everyone—not just those fortunate enough to have a bookstore or a library right around the corner from them—can be able to access them. YAY LITERATURE!
Until next time.
explore. muse. create.
Check out Fitzpatrick’s article here!
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “Reading (and Writing) Online, Rather than On the Decline.” Profession (2012): 41-52.
For a college senior, the month of April and the graduation that comes right after it can be both exciting and stressful. It is exciting because, hey, the sun is shining and it’s warm (but apparently not in Scranton) and we don’t have to go to school anymore and deal with mass amounts of homework that keep us up until 2 am (unless of course, you are going to grad school right after, and if you do, then Godspeed to you, you precious soul). While I am excited about what is to come after graduation, I am definitely feeling the stress that April brings, and that stress is fueled by my job search. Luckily for me, good ol’ Lindsey Pollak and her book Getting from College to Career have provided me with some advice so I don’t feel so bad about myself and my fruitless job search.
“Follow every rainbow” (233).
I don’t think that there is any better advice for people in my position than this one right here. Pollak uses this analogy to tell her readers to take every opportunity that presents itself to them when it comes to job offers because really, who knows where those opportunities will take you. I know that as I look for jobs, I am applying for all sorts of things that I believe that I have the ability to perform well and that whenever I get an offer (which I hope will be soon!), I will definitely jump at the opportunity to show my future employer what I’ve got. BAM.
“Go with the flow” (298).
Pollak offers this piece of advice for those going into an interview with a potential employer. She says that while it is important to have an idea of what you would want to say for certain questions that might be asked, you shouldn’t be caught off guard if the employer asks you something that you haven’t prepared a word for word answer for. Pollak suggests that we “go with the flow” and be ourselves, because employers are looking for someone who stands out rather than stays with the crowd.
Until next time.
explore. muse. create.
Pollak, Lindsey. Getting from College to Career. Revised ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.
I’m going to start this post off with a fairly blunt statement: I HATE REVISING. I don’t know what it is about the process of revising that I can’t stand but it just makes me crazy. Maybe it’s due to the fact that after writing a bajillion page paper for class, I just don’t want to look at it any more after the first time I write it. Maybe it’s because after writing, I think that I wrote my paper well enough the first time and if I change it, it’s going to sound awful. Unfortunately, revising is a necessary evil. But to make it better, my homeboys Booth, Colomb, and Williams wrote a ton of stuff about revision and finding the perfect attention-grabbing title in The Craft of Research.
“. . . revising for readers doesn’t mean pandering to them. In fact, you only improve your ideas when you imagine drawing readers into an amiable conversation in which they engage your beliefs as you engage theirs” (203).
After reading this statement, I realized that I just have to suck it up and revise my work because in all actuality, what my readers get out of my work is what really matters. Currently, I am at the revising stage of my capstone paper and will be getting my paper peer-reviewed tomorrow. While I haven’t started revising it yet (because really, what student in their last semester of college actually gets work done before the night before it’s due), I am sure to keep this idea in mind and really look at my work from an outside perspective to get the best (first) revision that I can get!
“The first thing readers read—and the last thing that you should write—is your title” (248).
I know that I am not the only one that struggles with coming up with a snazzy title. I used to try to force myself to come up with one right from the get-go but I realized that doing that is near impossible. I agree with the advice from my homeboys; don’t write a title until the end because then you’ll actually know what your paper is about and can create an effective title that way.
“Readers will accept your claim only if they understand your argument, but they won’t understand your argument if they can’t understand your sentences” (249).
Basically, make sure that you have some awesome, grammatically correct, sentences so that your reader knows what the heck is going on. Clarity is key when creating a convincing argument!
Until next time.
explore. muse. create.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.