What a week. I am so thankful that it’s Friday because I’m definitely ready for a weekend! I had a great Halloween…I went over to my SLA’s (Spiritual Life Assistant) house for homemade chili, a pumpkin-carving contest (my pumpkin won!) and, of course, a costume party (I was a Confederate soldier). It was so much fun and it gave me a much-needed break from homework.
Speaking of homework…I have been working like crazy on this seven-page research paper for my first-year seminar class! I worked on it up until the time I went to that class yesterday—11:00 am—and I was so happy when I finally turned it in. My happiness was short-lived, however, because my professor shocked us with the news that we have another seven-page paper to write before Thanksgiving Break! The original assignment (the one that I turned in today) was to write a research paper arguing our point of view on a controversial issue. I wrote my paper on government-mandated nutrition; whether or not it is the government’s responsibility to “make America healthier” (I argued that it is not). I must admit that my rough draft was pretty solid. Even though I procrastinated, it turned out to be a fairly decent paper because I work well under pressure. I felt very relieved when I finished it and I assumed that I wouldn’t have to make any major changes before turning in the final copy. I was terribly mistaken. My professor told us that for the “final copy” we have to argue against the argument that we presented in our rough draft. Meaning that I have to write a completely new paper arguing that the government should mandate proper nutrition. This won’t be too much of a challenge because I know the loopholes in both sides of the issue…I just can’t believe that I have to write seven more pages!! As frustrated as I am about this assignment, I actually understand why my professor is making me do this. If I can learn to defend my beliefs and address any possible opposition, then I will be able to present my opinions more confidently and effectively.
My seminar class is called “Politics of Knowledge.” I knew very little about the class when I signed up for it, but the title sounded interesting and my advisor told me that I would really like the professor, so I just decided to take it! The “goal” of the class is to explore different ways of thinking and knowing. We ask questions like, “Where does our knowledge come from?” and “How do we know what we know?” We have covered such a wide range of topics…everything from Autism to wartime propaganda. I love going to that class because it challenges my beliefs and makes me consider multiple ways of thinking.
On Monday night there was a Convocation during which Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado University, came to speak about “Thinking in Pictures.” Dr. Grandin has developed livestock handling facilities for the United States and for other countries throughout the world. Her passion and empathy for cattle—and animals in general—have transformed what could be a stressful, cruel process into a relatively peaceful one. Dr. Grandin is truly a brilliant thinker, teacher and designer. I was more than impressed with her compassion and intelligence.
One thing that Dr. Grandin reiterated was the fact that she learns best with pictures. She has a mild form of Autism, but this has never stopped her from living life to its fullest. Dr. Grandin said that she was mentored by teachers who focused on her strengths and helped her learn how to overcome her weaknesses. Math was always a struggle for her—particularly algebra—because it deals with so many abstract concepts. Without a picture, it is hard for her to synthesize what she is taught. I would consider myself to be a visual learner, so I could relate (to some degree) to what she was talking about. Dr. Grandin’s presentation perfectly complimented my first-year seminar class because the focus was on finding different ways of thinking and knowing. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to hear her speak.
This Saturday I am running a 5K for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! I have raised $1,085 to date. My goal was $1,000 and, thanks to my family and friends, I surpassed that! I’m excited to participate in this event and I know that running with all of the breast cancer survivors—and in memory of those who lost their lives to the disease—will give me strength to keep going.
I really can’t believe that it’s already November!! The weather here is perfect and the trees are absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving, but I still have a lot of work to do (and fun to have!) before then