Research Research Research

This evening, while procrastinating getting caught up on French and Math (I am constantly behind in both, but still keeping afloat *famous last words*), I decided to respond to the email I finally got back from Across the Pond – the Partnership program that helps American students apply for school in the UK.

Since the email I got was excruciatingly long, it took me a while to give it the just attention it deserved – well, I say that, but really it was full of assumptions that I was still in high school. I shouldn’t have resented that assumption, but I did. After all, aren’t the majority of students applying straight out of high school? So I had to write a long winded email correcting this assumption, letting them know that I was a 4.0 student, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, in the college’s Honors Program, and a member of the Writing Center staff as well – just to put everything in perspective.

I had to set them up somewhat in response the latter half of their email, which listed all the schools in the UK that would best fit my interests. They asked me to pick five schools and that we would go from there. Every school I picked had a note next to it stating that it was of Ivy League quality. It took a lot of research. Some of the websites that were provided with the school’s information were just difficult to navigate – something that hasn’t changed much since I was university hunting in high school.

However, here is a list, with links, of schools that I’m looking at, as well as reasons that caught my eye (I won’t lie, I don’t know too much of what I’m looking for, and I’m only giving it half my focus this evening).

In no particular order….

There’s a lot to think about. These are just schools in the UK. I need to consider more local schools as well. I recently found out that University of Washington isn’t a bad school – it’s one of the better public schools, and I wouldn’t have to pay out of state tuition. That’s something to consider. As mentioned before, I’ve had suggestions from Columbia University and Penn. State, but I’ve also gotten emails from University of Tampa (no interest), Louisiana State University (no interest), and University of North Dakota (I haven’t looked into it). There’s options, and I need to remember that cost is only one factor. I don’t know that I’d be happy going to a school in the UK, I just know it’s cheaper, and I don’t want to live in Seattle (though it wouldn’t be the worst choice).

I still have another year before I have to start applying to Universities. But if I have a general aim now, then I can make sure that the classes I sign up for are beyond just the AA Transfer degree that’s designed for Washington State universities, and look into specifics that other universities might want – for example, two full years of foreign language, or further than Pre-Calculus.

While Whatcom has been helpful overall, their transfer advisers have not been. I need to take matters into my own hands and do my own leg work. Hopefully I’m doing it right.

Writing for Someone Else

My super Fast update because I really need to catch up on homework –

Today I met up with a friend that I haven’t seen for a while who is starting up her own fashion line, here in Washington. She’s finding creative ways to crochet and invent useful wares that I do think will take off – at least locally if not on a wider scale.

She’s also asked me to be her writer person. So I get to venture on doing something I’ve never done before – blogging for someone else. I sort of did that for Think Piece Productions, but since I was involved, it was in part for me as well. I’m really looking forward to the experience. It’ll be something to challenge me and get me to think of my writing in a different way. I’m really excited to see where this goes!

That’s about all I’ve got for my news today.

It will never be said I didn’t work hard for this

The last couple of days have been debatably productive. I’ve been running all over campus on my spare time, trying to catch certain people for certain bits of information so that I can find out exactly what I need in order to be an excellent candidate for whatever University I decide to transfer to.

After my annoying discussion with one of the advisers that I wrote about the other day, I was referred by one of my co-workers in the writing center to see the adviser that specializes in transfers to schools other than Western. I went to go set up that appointment only to find she was booked for the rest of the week, but was on “Drop-in” duty, and I could try and catch her after 3. So I made sure I was there and specifically waited for her. Unfortunately, this meant that she could only give me ten minutes of her time.

When I did manage to see her, she said that yes, she does specialize in transfers outside of Western, but not outside of Washington State. Because the country is so big and we have thousands of Universities, it’s impossible to come up with a transfer degree that fits the needs of all of them. So, really, she wasn’t much help. But she did say she was willing to make a go of it and see what she could do to help out, which was nice.

I needed to hunt down the guy in charge of the Honors program at WCC – who only has office hours after 4 – and find out if I can have all my honors classes in one subject, which is what both advisers said I should attempt since I still needed to meet some more Humanities requirements. I happened to see his door open today, and popped my head in, disturbing the poor man while he was eating. He said I could, though there was no guarantee that there would be Humanities offered every quarter in the Honors Program. However, what I can do, is arrange an honors style independent study. He gave me a card to yet another adviser I need to make an appointment with that specializes in learning contracts of this manner.

Separately, I looked up just what Durham University would require from me. I somehow stumbled upon something that said a representative would be in Seattle in April. AMAZING!!! The list of where she was only four locations long, and Seattle was one of the locations. Perfect! I emailed her, and she got back to me incredibly quickly. She wants to arrange a time to meet when her dates are finalized, and gave me a whole bunch of information as to what I would need to do. Basically, other than proving that I have a good GPA, I only need to focus on English in order to get into Durham. She said it sounded like I was on a good track to get in.

Furthermore, I found an organization called Overseas, which is a group of people in the US that represent the top 40 schools abroad that translate requirements for you, and help you, the American wanting to study abroad, figure out what everything means, the best way to apply, what your application should look like, and how to impress your school. I emailed them. I got an automated response promising that they would respond within 48 hours. I’m still waiting on that one.

In the meantime, I began looking at in-country universities as well, such as Columbia and Penn. State, since I’ve received invitations (for lack of a better term) from both of them. My French teacher had mentioned that some schools want you to have more than a year’s worth of foreign language before you transfer, and so I need to find out if second year French is for my own interest, of it contributes to my eligibility to get into other Universities. I didn’t find out too much, but I did end up getting distracted looking up Cambridge University.

That site was impossible to navigate. No, that’s not true, or fair. It was very determined that I choose what College of Cambridge University that I go to, and from there I decide what I need to get in, or something along those lines. Cambridge University, by the way, has 32 colleges. There’s no list of what one specializes in what thing, or what really makes any of them different from one another – other than their age and address. However, there was a list of all their websites I could explore. I went to one or two, and didn’t really find much other than the size of the college and how many students they accept per year. Very confusing/infuriating.

I suppose I don’t know too much more today than I did yesterday, other than what I need to get into Durham. Perhaps it’s a sign that Durham is where I need to be focusing my energy. Who knows. I have a year until I have to begin apply to schools to figure it out.

A Writing First (for me)

I am thrilled. I just earned my first $50 check for my writing online – articles I wrote and posted on a writing platform. Granted, I wasn’t hired to do this and it took me about three years – but I did it! Now, if I can speed up this process to about $50 a month…that’s the trick.

If you’re interested what writing platform got me there (which fairly minimal work aside from the writing, by the way), ThompsonPen.Hubpages.Com is the one.

Bad Advising

I had an entirely silly time with an Adviser at the college. I mentioned in an earlier post that I might have found a way to graduate two quarters early. Well since our school’s website class projector thing – AgileGrad has been known to get things wrong a time or two, I thought I’d pop in and talk to some one specifically about it.

The lady was a “drop-in” adviser. I’ve seen her before, I remembered talking to her when I thought I had to register for classes in person. She ended up not doing a thing for me and just directed me to a computer. She got onto my AgileGrad, looked at my transcript, and was immediately confused that I had a bunch of classes from my Running Start years. I explained to her that I had those classes expunged – which she was very vocal about not understanding why as it would put me closer to graduating (neglecting to see the various D’s and F’s I had from that time, clearly), and that while they appear on my transcript, they don’t count toward my GPA.

“But then those classes don’t count.”

“Yes, I know,” I replied, trying to be patient. “I have it covered -”

“But you had German in there, and all these English classes that you had A’s in!”

“Yeah, I had to throw those out with the bathwater, but the German grades I have covered, I’m taking French -”

“French doesn’t count towards German, you don’t have that made up,” she interrupted before going on.

Obviously French is not German, but as far as a foreign language and cultural studies requirement goes, it covers both. It’s generally the way it works – at least that I’ve come across, any way.

Then she was impressed that I was able to use AgileGrad – which is a student tool for planning their schedules. When I went in to discuss the possibility of even going to school my adviser at the time showed me how to use it. And it’s not difficult. But she was really amazed. On AgileGrad you can create multiple plans to play around with to plot out your schedule over the upcoming quarters. So, I have three different plans I’ve been playing with. I showed her the first one, which is the one I generally stick to. She was telling me that I should be going into English 202 next quarter, even though I haven’t taken 201 and pointing out all these different flaws. I needed another science class and Nutrition I thought would be an easy one. I made the mistake of admitting I’m a certified Nutritionist, which is why I was taking it. She told me I couldn’t take the class then (there’s nothing to say that I can’t take the class).

So then I showed her my alternative plan that I was looking at that had Oceanography listed instead of Biology and she said, “Oh! You’re taking Oceanography – well then, in which case you need to -” and then proceeds to rattle off all these things. I told her that was just a draft plan, not the one I’m sticking to, that I really don’t want to take Oceanography. But she wasn’t listening.

In the end she’s so confused by my requirements I’ve met that she’s telling met that there’s no way I can graduate by the end of Fall quarter since I need another 60 credits and it says I have 45 already and that’s not right (I might note that I have 3 completed quarters at 15 credits each – which is 45, and there’s this current quarter, Spring, Summer and Fall – that’s four quarters at 15 credits each, which is 60 credits) – though I haven’t a clue why she thought that. She then began to tell me that if I wanted to make sure I had what I needed, then I should go to Western Washington University to find out what they require.

….

…..

……

So, Whatcom Community College is in Bellingham, just like Western Washington University – and they’re buddies. All of their programs are designed with the intent on producing students that can easily slip into Western’s arms. The transfer degree is designed for Western specifically. I have been told it countless times in Writing Center trainings (since we deal a lot with college application essays there, and we also host a great deal of seminars and workshops with representatives of Western trying to get students) by my boss, by the head of the learning center, and by most of my teachers. I don’t know, maybe we have it all wrong.

I left thinking I had wasted an hour of my time getting nowhere with a lady who looked as though she should have retired ten years ago (I do sincerely mean that in the nicest way possible) that gave me no information but rather told me to go to the university that I have no intention of even applying to to get more information as to what my transfer degree needs. I was pretty annoyed, needless to say.

I have a goal to be done at Whatcom by the end of Fall 2015. That has been waved in my face now (granted, I did that to myself), and I’m going to do my best to make it happen. So my list is to get a hold of Durham and find out what I actually need to qualify to get in, set up an appointment with an adviser that specializes in non Western Transfers, and talk to some of my teachers about a learning contract which may or may not contribute to my Honors classes. I’ll take it from there.

Oh, and on a more positive note, I received an email from Penn. State inviting me to consider their university as well. My options are opening!

Let’s Talk About White

I got a strange email the other day from the school saying that staff member had listed me as a potentially interested candidate to be a part of a White Privilege discussion taking part yesterday afternoon. I won’t lie, it kind of freaked me out. I was interested from a cultural perspective, but really, one doesn’t want their name attached to something called “White Privilege”. I opted not to go.

While I was in the Writing Center, my boss encouraged me to go. She said the Writing Center would pay me to go. I couldn’t really turn down more hours, so I went.

I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, since I signed a contract, but we were filmed. Once I see what becomes of this project, I’ll link more information to the overall goal of it (which could be at least a year down the line, from what I know of production, any way). However, I can say that it was a discussion in which maybe 30 (if I’m being optimistic) of us were in one of the theaters, all scootched together in the “audience” section, and a guy posed questions designed to make us consider how being white (or not being white, as the case may have been) influences or doesn’t influence us.

The idea behind it was kind of cool, once I understood it more fully. However, being where we are, we’re all pretty liberal, and thus it was a very one sided discussion. The part that really bothered me was that I felt that it was boarder lining on White Guilt.

Here is my problem with that – and do please, hear my out before you get offended.

Those of us of Western European descent have ancestors that caused a lot of damage, and in fact, there are still a great many that still hold true to the anthem of racism. It’s an unfortunate fact. Being from American, I tend to think that we are the worst, over all. However, there are different forms of racism outside our immediate realms of reality – for example, how those in France are responding to the Charlie attacks. We are in the U.S. battling bigotry toward anyone not white, those that don’t fall into the “norm” of sexuality, and even still, women.

I don’t deny that this is a problem.

However, “White Guilt” isn’t a way to go about things. Many of us have seen the problems in the way we, as a society, received those of other backgrounds, and have worked to fix the wrongs – thus we have an attempt and providing equality for all (I say attempt because we still haven’t achieved it).  Causing those that have “fallen into line” with this, to have guilt over the sins of our ancestors causes resentment. It’s like person B breaking person A’s favorite dish, person B fixes it – either by gluing it together or getting a replica – and both person B and person A continue on and place guilt on the offspring of person B, even though they had nothing to do with it. The children of person B can learn from their mistakes and be sure not to repeat them, but berating them for it isn’t going to undo what was done (please know, I have an extreme understanding that this is a much deeper issue than a broken dish).

Instead, raise children with knowledge of what happened, why it was wrong, and teach them to understand why it was wrong, and perhaps, they’ll take this history and go on to invent unbreakable dish ware so that problems like these need not arise in the future.

My generation, and the generation before mine are aware of the problem. We are aware that there is a divide where there shouldn’t be. But instead of continuing to wag a finger at those that just happen to be pasty-skinned, let’s all work together and show how we can eliminate this divide.

The discussion yesterday kept coming back to not talking about it, and that’s nonsense. Of course we should talk about it, and of course we should recognize that we are all different colored. The reason why is because we all come from different backgrounds and we should be celebrated for our individuality.

The problem is that we’re trying to make everyone the same. Yes, under our skin, we are just a sack of organs. In that regard, we are all the same. However, behind those eyes we are a person, with different backgrounds and different experiences. By embracing that we come from these different upbringings, different ways of living, different neighborhoods, we can learn and grow more fully.

In art, you don’t just learn about one artist and go from there. You study many artists, you go to museums and you learn about different techniques to help you master your skill. Life is a skill. And if you’re not open to learn about the backgrounds of others, the differences that make a person who they are with a chance to learn and to teach, then you’re denying yourself a fruitful life.

Everyone should be open minded and embracing.

Dropped Class

I dropped my first class without replacing it. Tomorrow is the deadline to drop a class without getting a W (for withdraw) on the transcripts. It was my Linguistics class. I know, it’s pretty ironic seeing as that was the one I was looking forward to the most.

This quarter has been extremely hard on me. I decided to go onto AgileGrad (a program through the school’s website that uploads the credits and classes I’ve taken, calculates what credits I need, and gives me a list of classes that fall under those requirements, as well as the teacher and times they’re offered, if available) and figure out just what classes I needed to take that were required.

I played around with it and found out that despite what a counselor had told me when I was asking him about my quandary (whether or not I should be sensible and take Environmental Science or the one I wanted to take, Linguistics), the class didn’t count towards any of my requirements. So, moments ago, I dropped it.

I felt bad, so I emailed my teacher. I let her know that it wasn’t her (although it was a little bit – not enough to be the sole reason, but like 5%), and that I was interested in the subject matter (which was true, it was starting to get juicy), but that I just had too much on my plate. We submitted on Thursday a proposal for our research paper that is due at the end of the quarter. I wanted to do mine on the language of religion, talking about the affects of certain words on people and the language surrounding religions that have essentially created entire sub cultures – for example, the pagan community, and the subbranches within. I asked her if she’d had a chance to look at it and what she thought. I told her it was a paper I wanted to write one day, regardless.

I think it’s a good practice to email and let your teachers know what’s going on. Sure I don’t have to see her again, but I do also work as a member of Whatcom Community College staff, and there is the chance that I might run into her. This way I can know that I was adult about it, and not skulk.

 

It’s a good thing that I did go for Linguistics this quarter though. The Environmental Science class was scheduled for the same time as the Linguistics one. I wouldn’t have been able to drop it. And the whole reason I’m going insane is because I’m taking four classes, three of which are every single day and I only have ten minutes between each from 8:15-2:35 (including my shift in the Writing Center, but that can’t budge because I need to get paid!). If I only had two for two days that would make it easier even.

Lesson learned. I had a look at the rest of my classes, realized how many unnecessary classes I was taking. I went through and cleaned everything out. Turns out I can graduate at the end of Fall quarter of 2015 instead of Spring quarter 2016. That’s only three quarters away. Holy. Crap.