Call Me Dabs

My name is Miranda Dabney, more commonly known by my friends as Dabs.  I am a junior majoring in English and minoring in Communications.  I am from the wonderful small town of Claremore, Oklahoma, the county seat of Rogers County and the home of Will Rogers, a fact of which we are incredibly proud of.  Though I've only lived in Oklahoma since my start of high school, I consider Oklahoma my home.  Oklahoma is a great place to be from!  I have enjoyed the last six years in Oklahoma more than anywhere else that I have lived, which includes North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Iowa and Missouri.  

The University of Tulsa is a school that I didn't even consider attending until the very end of my senior year.  I had already verbally committed to attending Oklahoma Baptist University to be a member of their track and field team when I came to visit TU's campus (at my father's request) and met with their track coach.  On my visit, I fell in love with the campus and with the idea of being a division I athlete.  About a week later, I signed my letter of intent to be a Golden Hurricane! Even though I'm no longer competing on the track team, TU is my home and I am so happy that I made that last minute choice to come to TU.   

Disordered Seasons and modernism

        Between various classes and research projects, I’ve probably read The Waste Land close to fifty times. That said, there is still so much in this poem that I do not understand. T.S. Eliot weaves a myriad of historical and literary references, pop culture shout-outs, and foreign languages into this masterful poem, and I find much of it to be incredibly cryptic. One of my favorite aspects of this poem, though, is the fact that I find something new virtually every time I read it. For example, in the very fist stanza, there is an interesting use of the seasons. Three of the four seasons are mentioned, but not in logical order or with any of the descriptions that one would typically associate with them. Spring (“April is the cruelest month” [1]) is mentioned first, but instead of being followed by summer, Eliot jumps to winter (“Winter kept us warm” [5]). After these two abnormally described seasons, Eliot jumps ahead to summer (“Summer surprised us” [8]), and back to winter at the end of the stanza (“I read much of the night, and go south in the winter” [18]). By starting off the poem in this manner, Eliot immediately calls attention to the disordered, disjointed nature of the world, a common trope of modernism. In The Waste Land, even the seasons—a phenomenon governed by the laws of nature—are off-kilter. Considering the importance of the seasons in human culture since the beginnings of civilization, the fact that Eliot begins his poem in this way really speaks to the state of the world in the early 20th Century. Like his fellow modernists, Eliot saw the world as a confusing, fragmented place. 

Not Actually An English Major But Okay

Although technically I'm communications and film, English is probably been my favorite subject from grade school until now and I still very frequently take English classes. Firstly because I think it compliments my film writing aspirations and also because dissecting and analyzing literature is something that I really enjoy and like to think I'm pretty good at.

So far, I reallly like the depth and variety of classes in college (as opposed to high school). For example, last year, in a course called Gender and Gaming I dissected how our perceptions of masculinity and power structures influenced the writing of Bioshock: Infinite and GTA V. Far and away my favorite literary research paper however was analyzing the Portal series and how it pertained to Donna Harraway's concept of cyborg feminism.

Having the internet at my fingertips, especially for research, is like having an extension of my own knowledge base. I may not know anything about a sepcific subject right now, but give me ten minutes and a Wifi connection and I could give a presentation about it.

My journey to the English field and thoughts on technology

I've been somewhat of a wandering soul when it comes to majors. I am a fairly new English major; as a freshman I came in as a psychology major but quickly became aware I wouldn't enjoy all of the research involved. I switched over to elementary education for a semester or two and then finally realized that I'd prefer teaching English at the secondary level where I could, at a deeper level, share with students my love for written expressions of thoughts. Being fairly new to the major, I haven't been involved in very much research so far, though I did enjoy spending an extended amount of time last semester in my modernism and visual culture class researching the implications of Stevie Smith's blending of text with sketch drawings in her poetry. 

In academics, I find myself relying on technology to help me think more than I wish that I did. With the internet and google in particular, gone are the days of sitting down with paper and pencil to scour my brain for original thoughts and ideas. Instead, I'm much more prone to take an assignment or subject topic and let the easily accessible ideas of others on the internet influence and develop my framework for approaching the topic or subject at hand.

English, Education, and Technology

I have absolutely loved my time majoring in English and secondary education here at TU. Before starting college, I’d known that I wanted to teach for several years, and when it came time for me to pick a subject to teach, English was the obvious choice. Throughout my time at TU, I’ve done quite a bit of research. My most extensive research occurred last semester, when I looked into the way that T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land incorporated elements of Norbert Weiner’s philosophies of relativism and cybernetics. For this project, I used a wide variety of online databases, books from TU’s library, and the Inter-Library Loan service. I’ve also done some research/archiving with items in Special Collections, spending the most time on the diary of a World War I soldier.

My relationship with technology has changed over the past few years. Coming into college, I basically hated computers. I found them beyond frustrating, and couldn’t stand when teachers made technology a large part of a class. Today, while I still prefer taking notes in a physical notebook, revising essays by hand, and marking up hard copies of books and essays, I’ve grown to be much more appreciative of technology. This is due, in part, to an education class I took last semester called Education Technology in the Classroom. From this, I figured out that part of my distain for technology probably stemmed from lingering frustration with former teachers who had not been educated on the proper way to incorporate technology into their classes. I’ve had a number of teachers who attempted to use technology in lessons simply for the sake of using technology (with no real pedagogical benefits). After this education class, I have the confidence that I can use technology in my future classroom in ways that will provide real benefits to my students, not just the novelty of using a computer. 

Music, Saints, and E-Books

Through my communication/media studies major, I’m able to learn about a wide variety of communication and media theories while also exploring pet interests like music and typography. I’ve crafted my own independent study – On Sound and Symbol, which explored sound studies, typography, and cryptography – and explored topics including why people have strong feelings about plot spoilers. My two minors, English and philosophy, came about through classes that complemented what I was already studying. For example, a linguistics class taught me a more specialized vocabulary to discuss semantics while a class on St. Augustine explored semiotics (the study of signs, which is a recurring theme in TU’s communication classes). The main research I’ve done is focused on the word “forum,” especially its historical context and digital characteristics (you can read the current draft over at Culture Digitally). I’m also a student research fellow for the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities this year, where we’re studying privacy.

I haven’t really considering how I think with technology; about technology, well, that would be a very long post, but I think the idea of thinking with technology is intriguing and I don’t have a great answer for it right now. As far as using technology, the context and application matter. I craft essays and papers on the computer because I jump around adding things where they fit most suitably. On the flip side, I’m terrible at remembering things I read in e-books and enjoy many aspects of reading paper books: tactile elements of reading a book, scribbling in the margins, seeing/feeling how many pages are left, and so on. Similarly, I remember class notes better when I handwrite them (The Atlantic actually just recently had an article about this – apparently I’m not the only one!).

Majorly Confused: My Search for a Career

I did not begin my college career as an English and Communication major. When I came to TU as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman, I was dead set on an Economics major and a pre-law concentration. While law school may still be looming in my future, the picture is not as clear as it used to be. I think I probably went through the possibilities of 8 or 10 different majors before settling on English. With my parents pushing me for a (what they call) 'useful' degree, English was not even in my peripheral vision. Last semester, I took a class called Beyond Bella, an English course cross-listed with Women and Gender Studies. It was that class, and partially Dr. Stevens, that prompted my search of possible careers utilizing an English degree and consequent decision to pursue a career in publishing and/or editing.

My experience with being an English major thus far has been a bit exasperating. When I tell someone my major is English, usually the first respone out of their mouth is, "Oh, so you want to be a teacher?" Now, I have nothing against English teachers; I just know that I would be terrible and it is a bit frustrating that most people only think an English degree is useful to teachers.

When using technology, I have realized that I actually tend to think less, especially when I'm reading an ebook. For some reason, it is much easier for me to read an entire paragraph or page and not remember what it was about when I am  reading on an iPad. Yes, e-readers are much more convenient than actual books, but I definitely prefer the sturdy paper pages over an illuminated screen. Even if I'm not reading, it is so easy to use technology for brainless entertainment, and even though I know it's not productive, it's still a little addicting (YouTube definitely). Regardless, I know I will continue reading on my iPad and watching YouTube videos about sneezing pandas, hilarious cats, and zombie kids that like turtles.

True Life: I'm an English Major

As the new school year has kicked off, I have had the opportunity to meet a vast number of people. As with any introductory conversation, various questions were asked and answered, such as: Where are you from? What are you involved in on campus? And, of course, What is your major? Being at TU, I have met countless engineers. My response to their major is usually, "I should have guessed that." Of course, like any polite human being should, they return the question: What is your major? With a moderate level of enthusiasm, I simply respond, "I'm an English major." Being a male English major at one of the nation's most renowned engineering schools has been an interesting experience. I find myself having few classes with the majority of my friends and fraternity brothers. I often find myself involved in conversations of a very technical,scientific, mathematical nature with no idea how to contribute any thoughts. It has been quite the black sheep experience.

Don't get me wrong, though, I have loved it. I tried the whole engineering thing my first semester at TU and I was not a fan. Over the last three semesters, I have found a love for Modernism. I find myself fascinated with fragementation. I love shifting perspectives. I love unhappy or unresolved endings. I love brutal realism hiding behind carefully crafted images and texts. In addition, I find that I can often express myself more accurately (and eloquently) through writing.

Recently, I have noticed that I speak somewhat differently than I type. In this instance, I am referring to text messaging. I often text my friends and love to keep in contact with them. However, I find myself putting an extreme amount of care into crafting each message. I simply care a lot about how a message looks. I care about how the words appear on the screen, and how that appearance relates to my meaning. I find this to be an interesting connection between thinking and technology because it certainly impacts my communication. All in all, technology seems to cause me to pay special attention to the visual.

 

Hello My Name Is...

Hi everyone!

I'm Justin, and I'm a junior English major and psychology minor. I grew up in Tulsa and went to Jenks. I had originally committed to OSU during my senior year of high school, but upon visiting campus for their Senior Open House, I noticed that half of my graduating class was there. Not wanting high school, part II, I applied to TU. I visited the campus shortly thereafter and fell in love with it. On campus, I am heavily involved in Student Mobilization (StuMo) and my fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha). After college, I would love to move to India for long-term missions. Honestly, I'm pretty open to whatever the future holds. I'm excited for this class and for getting to know each of you over the next semester!

intro

It's always a little hard writing the first post on a blog or social media site. I suppose it's my self-conscious and somewhat self-absorbed nature which causes me to be a bit introverted and awkward, both in life and online. The thought of someone reading what I've written or listening to what I've said fills me with terror -- what are they going to think of me? How will this affect their opinion of me? Did I make a grammatical error? Did I stutter? Does my mouth look weird when I talk? Do I come off as being (unjustifiably) pretentious? These are all the thoughts that go through my head any time I have to introduce myself.

But it's better to just bite the bullet and get my intro out of the way.

My name is Caitlin Woods. I'm a secondary education and English major. I grew up in Tulsa, and I'm really interested in history, philosophy, and language.

Like most kids in my generation, growing up I was always told I was "above average", "special", and "bright". Of course, as a kid I was always encouraged by this. I had fairly high confidence throughout most of grade school, and I adored the attention placed on me for being "so smart" and "mature for my age". However, once I hit the 5th grade I started to doubt myself. I cracked under the pressure that the words "above average" and "bright" placed on me. Instead of pressuring me to do well, those expectations that adults placed on me caused me to slack off. Being "bright" meant I never had to study or do my homework!

Once I reached high school, I had already labeled myself a slacker. "I'm smart, but I'm just not motivated" is what I said to myself. I let my lack of motivation define me, and I didn't do much to change that about myself. I figured I could get through high school without doing anything hard, and that was fine by me. Since I was so "bright", everything came easily and I would never have to work at anything. I wouldn't say I was happy at that time, but life was easy. Thankfully, the high school I went to had inspiring teachers who didn't use the words "bright" or "above average" to single students out. We were all students there to learn and to prepare ourselves for the world beyond general education. My formerly decadent spirit was set aflame with a new passion I hadn't felt since the first grade, and I enjoyed learning again! In high school, I wasn't motivated at all to get good grades -- I was motivated to learn.

Since then, I've made my passion for learning a part of myself. I like to think that I've matured a lot since even my junior and senior years of high school, and especially since my middle school days. I'm still committed to enriching myself and working to be a better, more motivated, and more satisfied person. I've discovered a lot since my slacker days: education isn't meant to grade whether or not you're "bright", but rather it is meant to teach you all that you don't know, and to motivate you to better yourself -- both for your sake and for the sake of those around you. That's why I've decided to pursue the field of education; to help more people discover a passion for learning in their day-to-day lives.

I hope this wasn't too lengthy, but I don't want to stick to the regular "I'm Caitlin, I'm 20 years old, I like dogs" kind of introduction. Not that I think there's anything wrong with that kind of introduction -- I don't think I get much of myself across that way.

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