It’s that time of the semester. No, not the time where everyone is getting married or engaged (though it is that time, too). It’s nearing the end of the semester which means Academic Awards! Yesterday I went to the College of Arts and Science’s awards celebration and got to see several of my friends receive awards ranging from research in psychology to outstanding work in a foreign language. I also received the Corinne Dale Award for Acheivement in Writing about Gender, which was really neat. I actually had Dr. Dale as a professor my both semesters of my first year at Belmont, and I always wanted to live up to the high expectations she had for students. It is really neat for me to be able to receive an award in her name. But it didn’t end yesterday (which also happened to be my birthday). On Monday, the University wide awards are being handed out, and I’m privileged and honored to be receiving the Alfred Leland Crabb award in writing along with another outstanding English Major. It’s really great to celebrate the acheivement of my friends and fellow students and this is just another cherry on top of graduation being less than a month away.
So here I am, three weeks into the spring semester. College seems to be more and more demanding, but I continue
to love every moment of it. A typical day for me starts at 7 in the morning getting ready for the day. It is one of the few moments during the day that I get to myself. Classes start at 8 am and throughout the day I will attend several classes including Percussion Methods, Harmony IV, and College Algebra to name a few. Also this semester I began taking voice lessons with Mrs. George to satisfy my vocal add-on to my degree. Mrs. George is an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and she knows how to transform students into beautiful singers. It has been a pleasure taking lessons with her. But because of all the lessons, classes, and rehersals I have to rush from class to class, therefore I spend less time with my friends and relaxation.
If any of you are considering being a music education major, make sure you truly love to teach and play music. This degree shouldn’t be a fall back career, like many students tend to do. You will be doing homework and playing and instrument in a practice room while many of your friends will be having fun. For me though, this is entirely worth it. I love the classes that I am taking and the opportunities I have had. I have grown tremendously over the past two years because of the degree and the relationships I have formed because of them.
Now many of you may be thinking that I have no life outside of the school of music, but this is defenitely not true. I have learned to appreciate the time I spend with my friends and the moments of relaxation. Last friday I went to see Krzysztof Penderecki (a world-renown composer) conduct the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, which was an amazing concert. Also my friends and I have a weekly game night, where we meet up and play a board game.
I wouldn’t be anything other than a music education major. If any of you want to discuss music education with me feel free to look me up on facebook. I would be happy to talk to you.
Random thought: So after several attempts of finding the perfect pet for my dorm room, I finally come to a
conclusion. African Dwarf Frogs are the best, they are fun to watch, easy to mantain, and are very hardy. (I tried betta’s but each one died in a matter of days).
On January 13th, I started my last first day of undergraduate. I can’t say how surreal the whole thing feels and how much I want it to both last forever and to be over as quickly as possible. In all honesty, though, I think I’m mostly ready to be finished at BU. Over the Winter Break I was informed that I was accepted into Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and so in the Fall, I will be pursuing my Masters of Theological Studies there. I’m so excited and ready to do postgraduate work. I’m realizing I’m a bit of a nerd as far as learning goes, and I can’t wait to be immersed in a new academic environment. But I also know that without the strong critical and ethical foundation I received at Belmont, I could very well be doing something else. I still want to get an MA in English, but right now, I’m really feeling led to pursue a theological education.
In addition to all this excitement about my future, the present is looking pretty fun. I’m taking 17 credit hours, and I have an 8AM biology class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that is shaping up to be a doozy, but I’m pretty excited about everything else I’m taking, especially my Christian Ethics class entitled, “Poverty and Justice.” There are several reasons why this is exciting. One: It takes place inside the Bass Correctional Facility, which is a minimum security prison, through an education program called Inside Out that seeks to create community between students inside and outside the prison walls. I had the privilege of taking a class inside BCF last spring and it was the most enjoyable class I think I’ve ever had in prison. To go from only knowing what I saw and heard about prisoners on TV and the News, to actually becoming friends with these men was a truly inspiring process. Inside of the classroom, we found we were all able to learn from each other intellectually, emotionally, and experientially. This year, I’m excited again to be able to engage with some old faces and some new faces as well. Two: This class is also partnered with American Baptist College, a predominately black college with a great history of educating leaders in the Nashville area. It’s always good to have a variety of voices that aren’t necessarily fostered inside the Belmont Bubble. Finally, I’m excited about this class because of the work we are going to be doing. Engaging issues of poverty and justice from a Christian perspective is of utmost importance to me. I’m especially enthused about the reading and discussions that we’re going to be doing. “Nickle and Dimed”, “Where we Stand: Class Matters” by bell hooks (who is my favorite author, btw), and “One Nation Underprivileged,” all seem to be great books that allow for a great systematic analysis of the situation in conjunction with the presence in a prison where many of the insiders have been affected by poverty and class issues, resulting in environments that led to imprisonment and crime.
In all, this is shaping up to be a wonderful final semester. I’m trying to get to tutoring at the Edgehill Public Library again, and I’m also Co-Fiction Editor of the Belmont Literary Journal, so I definitely have a full plate. 113 days left!!
It is that time of the year again. Now that it is early November that weather has gotten pleasantly cool and the campus is colored with reds, yellows, and oranges. Life has truly be great for me, I continue to love every second at Belmont because of all of the opportunities it has provided me and the people that I have met. Being a music education major has been keeping me very active around campus.
This semester I am taking 18 hours including several classes that are zero classes. I get to take classes such as
Music Education Seminar where I get to do school observation and prepare mock lesson plans. The picture to the right are members of my music education classes at the local donut shop, “Donut Den” early in the morning after an observation. I am also quickly finishing up my Harmony and Ear Training classes. On several days of the week, I have classes straight from 8 am to 5 pm to accommodate the 18 credit hours.
Another class that I am taking is string methods class where I get to learn how to play and teach string instruments.
This is the second instrument methods course that I have, I took brass methods last year. One thing I particularly like about this class is we get to put on a concert at the end of the semester. The music education majors have to play the violin, viola, cello, or bass in the string ensemble. We also get to conduct one piece of our choice, though this is a Christmas concert so most of the students are choosing easy Christmas songs.
This semester has gone by really fast. Christmas at Belmont rehearsals have started and everyone has begun anticipating our performance next month. Also advising extravaganza is next week. This is the time we can meet with our advisors and plan our schedule for next semester. This semester has been great, next semester will be even better.
These are the days when I wish I could sleep in all day. Not only am I extremely tired physically, I’m honestly just tired of school right now. I need a little breather and Thanksgiving Break is not coming soon enough. Call it senioritis or stress, but whatever it is, I’m feeling like I need to make a break from campus and from homework right now (with the exception of Toni Morrison’s “Sula,” which is quickly becoming one of my favorite books).
Good thing I’m going out of town this weekend. In preparing for my future, I’m applying to Emory University’s Candler School of Theology for their Masters of Theological Studies program. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time at Belmont, I’m really very excited to check out what could possibly be the future of my academic life and take a breather for a couple of days. I’m also going to get to spend the night with one of my best friends who I have not seen in far too long, and I can’t wait.
I’m also trying to stay on top of my school work, I’m in the process of writing two essays (in my head right now) that have to be done by the end of the semester which is rapidly approaching. Man, the days are just going so quickly, but the weather is getting so beautiful. One thing I love around Belmont is all the leaves in the quad these days. It’s so much fun to kick through them on my way to or from class (I know, I’m not supposed to be walking on the grass, but sometimes it’s just too inviting!).
Something I really like about Belmont is our “requirement” to take Service Learning courses. However, I’ve easily gone above and beyond the requirement because every time I take a service learning course I not only end up with something good to put on my resume, but I feel like I get far more out of it than most of my other classes.
For example, last year, I served as an English Writing Fellow in a course called “Peer Tutoring.” I sat with a class of about 20 freshman for a semester in their Freshman Seminar and had the opportunity to tutor them all with their final papers. In my class, we spent time discussing and reading theories about teaching/tutoring. We explored every idea from ‘how much help is too much help’ to ‘how might my comments help or hurt this writer’s future writing?’ Things like this were very helpful and when I got to actually read through all of their papers and hold conferences with each of them, I learned something new and gained perspective and insight to teaching with each student.
This semester, I’ve taken two Service Learning courses. The first one just wrapped up as an 8-week course all about Grant Writing. For those of you who don’t know, nonprofit organizations get their funding from funders (the government, foundations, corporations, etc.) by writing grants. I just finished a $70,000 proposal grant for the HCA Foundation to fund a children’s mental health organization in town–and it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. HOWEVER, I loved it. I got to interview my organization and learn how their nonprofit works and what they do to benefit society and children. Then I sat down, looked up the funder’s guidelines, and wrote the grant. It took me a really long time and ended up being 9 (single spaced) pages, but I was really happy with it and felt like I really accomplished something I never would have had the opportunity to do without this class.
Right now I’m taking a class called “Writing in the Community.” Basically, this is a story telling class. I’m interviewing a student from Glenncliff High School and together we’re going to write her story in a memoir. We’ve spent the semester so far learning about writing memoirs, reading them, and discussing ways to get a good story by asking the right questions. My teacher has encouraged us saying, “Everyone has a story worth telling.” The student I’m working with is a refugee and I’m very excited to work with her and write her story.
Wow! I can’t believe this semester is almost over! At times it seemed to take forever, but looking back it felt so fast! However, right now I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and lots of coffee just waiting for finals to come and go. Between hosting a convocation event on childhood gender socialization, writing a 20 page paper on virtual reality and dating, a French final, a poetry/prose portfolio, and a paper/portfolio discussing my internship, it shouldn’t be TOO terribly bad… I hope!
However, I’ve made a list of “necessaries” to get through this crazy time:
1. Coffee and/or Red Bull
2. My MacBook
3. Good friends (for moral support)
4. My iPod
5. Cup of Noodles
6. Air conditioning (It’s getting hot in Nashville now!)
7. Constant reminders of summer plans…
Whew! Here goes!
So, every year the English Department hosts submissions for the Belmont Literary Journal. These submissions are poetry, prose, and original artwork all done by students. The submissions are then gone through by students, selected, and edited by students. It’s an extremely cool process and I found out within these past couple of weeks that 2 of the short stories and 1 of the poems I had submitted to the Journal made it. This has been extremely exciting for me to see half of what I submitted made it through. There so many other great writers included in the Literary Journal that I’m really very honored. One of the short stories, “Rememories,” is available to read on my creative writing blog, here. Anyways, I’m really excited and can’t wait to see my work in print. Yay!
So, I had an awesome break. I went home from Tuesday through Friday and experienced amazing weather. I found it quite humorous when on the plane, on the way back to Nashville, the pilot told us the weather in Nashville and everyone groaned audibly. I enjoyed that 80 degree weather. But I’m also glad to be back in Nashvegas. Since I have 4 day weekends I don’t start school again until Tuesday, but I have a test to study for in Latin and some sonnets to read and some poetry to write and I’ll be good to go, basically. I honestly did no homework over the break. Instead I waited until today to really get study. Bad Amaryah, I know, I was just enjoying being able to read without having to rush to do homework. Anyways. It’s time to get back on the grind. After a really rough fall semester it’s great to have a semester that is not extremely challenging, but I still want to finish strong and do my best in all my classes. So, I guess it’s back to work for me!
Wow, there are only two weeks left until the end of my first semester at Belmont. Time has really flown by these last couple of months. The transition from high school to college was difficult at times, but definitely worth it. I have had some amazing teachers here. Their courses were very challenging yet I learned a lot from them. I have also been improving on the saxophone and piano while I have been here. My saxophone teacher, Rashaan Barber has truly helped me improve my saxophone technique and tone quality. He is really knowledgeable about the sax and he has pushed me to be the best musician I can possibly be. Daniel Landes, my piano teacher, has helped me to not only improve my piano proficiency, but he has also made me a better musician overall by having me practice phrasing, improvisation, and harmonization.
Another person that has been influential to me has been Dr. Barry Kraus, Belmont’s Wind Ensemble director. He consistently challenges the ensemble by giving us difficult literature and expecting us to perform at the top of our capabilities. Being his first year at Belmont, he is doing a successful job in improving the wind ensemble. One of the reasons I look up to him is because I hope to someday become a college band director. Dr. Kraus has proven to have the qualities of a great director.
Overall, these last couple of weeks of school are going to be really busy. Not only do I have to worry about finals, but I still have projects, papers, and saxophone juries coming up next week. I am also switching my housing arrangements for next semester by moving into Pembroke Hall. There is a lot of stuff that I am going to have to move from my current room to my new dorm, but I know my friends will be willing to help me make this transition. Although I am going to be busy these next several weeks, I am looking forward to having almost a month off for Christmas Break.