What I have learned…

December 9th, 2007

Blog reflection on what you’ve learned this semester and what you wish you’d known at the beginning.

So let’s see – This semester has been one full of struggle and frustration for me…. but it also was fun and I learned a lot.

1. I learned to pick an appropriate topic [one that is focused but also broad enough and well researched previously in order to have enough to say]. And to listen to thesis adviser’s from the beginning since everything wrong with my paper was predicted from day 1. Also I learned to not be SO attached to your topic that you become inflexible and bias – it will only make your research and writing suffer [I promise].

2.I learned that Literature Reviews are not cool – but could be a lot easier if you have already accomplished number 1.

3. I learned that smaller history classes are way more fun and personal.

4. I learned how to use this blogger-mathingy [Which is a big step for someone like me].

5. I learned how to use footnotes in Chicago style and also how to appropriately site things for the first time in my educational career.

6. I learned how to do powerpoint – though I still am stumped as to how to use the timer tool [someday I will figure it out].

7. I learned that speeches don’t have to be scary – the more I practiced, the better they got and the more comfortable I felt. I also learned that when it comes to speeches it is best for me to practice it a minute UNDER time – because I like to expand on things on the spot and tend to [and by that I mean always] go over.

8. I learned that I need to develop a more efficient note taking strategy – post it notes just aren’t good enough for long research papers – I was lucky that this one was only 8 pages.

9. I learned that the best thing to do is to become friends with Jack Bales – he is a cool guy and is very sweet and helpful. Thank you Mr. Bales.

Overall – I feel that this was a very beneficial class for me as a aspiring history major. I feel much more prepared for next Fall when I write the dreaded Senior Thesis. I also feel that I know the history department faculty much better after this semester, which is a plus. Now I can’t wait to be done with the rest of my classes. Good luck everyone with whatever you are moving onto next, have a great break!

One last thing – I wish I had known NO ONE ELSE was going to put up a picture of themselves for the blog, AND I also wish I knew how to take it down.


We’re done!

December 1st, 2007

So I can’t tell you how nice it was to return my stack of library books on Friday morning. If you haven’t done so yet…. and you have library books – DO IT it is so great!

I can’t believe we have nothing left for this class…. good luck to everyone that still has to go!


Home Stretch

November 27th, 2007

So I decided that this week my entry will be an acknowledgment to the fact that we only have 3 weeks of school left [INCLUDING EXAMS]… Not only that – after Friday we have nothing to turn in for this class. Doesn’t that brighten your day a bit guys? It did to me – even though my paper is still terrible and needs so much work it is not even funny and I just put together my first powerpoint ever [i know… what DID they teach me in high school right? Not citations, footnotes, or powerpoint? SERIOUSLY!!!] Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a powerpoint before tonight – oh yeah that’s everyone but me. My roommate had to help me make it look pretty and colorful. Pathetic I say. Anyways goodnight all.


EXTRA CREDIT SUMMARY

November 17th, 2007

So to preface – after a 2 + hour adventure on my extremely cool Saturday night, I am tired and feeling a little bit like a loser given that last night I stayed in to read Notes on the State of Virginia and tonight I devoted another night I could have been socializing [cus i do have friends, i promise!] doing history instead.

“I was born a slave” was a play/reading of sorts that was really powerful. The lights dimmed, the crowd hushed – and a narrative of the life of John M. Washington began. There was a narrator that guided the story through several quotations of John himself and several other female excerpts from the Fredericksburg community. The reader for John had a very deep voice, almost artificially so to me. This reading was an effective way for the audience to get a better sense of the life of Mr. Washington without having to have read the book of his autobiography [which was being advertised heavily tonight]. There were musical interludes, with a powerful ending of “Glory Glory Hallelujah” which Davis informs me is the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” buuutt for those of you who recognize the song by my title of it, your welcome because obviously it’s more easily recognizable by that name. Anyway – this ending was very powerful because the entire crowd sang along and the man singing lead was an amazing vocalist.

Once the reading was over, the historian we came to see was introduced and took the stage. David Blight is an engaging public speaker with a good sense of humor and a passion for what he does. He seems to wish he was a novelist because he mentioned on several occasions how nice it would have been to make up facts and have the two men that he had compiled memoirs on meet for a more dramatic effect. He demonstrated that much of being a historian is being persistent, thinking outside the box, having a good assistant who is also persistent and intelligent, and having the luck of getting to something or having an idea to do something first. He summarized briefly the lives of both the men – Turnage and Washington, and how they came to achieve their freedom.  They had interesting stories and I am sure the book would be a page turner.

After his “lecture” he introduced Ruth, the grand-daughter of Washington and she delivered a well rehearsed speech that got a standing ovation – for that reason, I think I should simply put my speaking career on hold, honing my skills until I am 89 when people will admire the fact that I am still living and not care about how I speak or read from notes because they are just in awe. She seems like an amazing woman. She still drives herself around, is a TA in FL and is very lively. It was cool to hear her story. Next the great grand-daughter got up [and to be fair by this time i was wishing we were leaving] and she spoke for another 10 to 15 minutes. She was very emotional as I am sure I would probably be if this were happening with my family – but dragged on for a while,  given how long the audience had already been sitting. She did make a valid argument that we should pass down information about our lives to our children and their children and let them know where they come from. This was obviously a big deal for her and it was pleasant to see her reaction to such a monumental event in her family’s history.

One thing I just can’t wrap my head around is – How can someone not even know the name of their Grandfather? I know the names of my Great Grandfathers! Then again I did have the privilege of meeting and knowing one of them. It is strange to me that they didn’t know more about their family and it took a historian to figure basic things out for them. I think that is sad. It is important to know and love your family… and it is silly to not know a thing about where you come from.


EXTRA CREDIT

November 14th, 2007

So who’s going to this and can we please meet up before hand so we don’t all walk in separately and awkwardly now knowing what to think?


Eye Witness Testimonies

November 14th, 2007

I have a story that demonstrates the main idea of this article – its kind of long but pretty exciting and hence its worth sharing but not taking up class time [if that makes sense]

My boyfriend unfortunately witnessed a shooting last year [i know, scary. And NO he is not a thug and does not live in the ghetto at school or anything]. The confrontation was between his neighbor [also a college student] and two men who lived down the street. A bunch of my boyfriend’s friends were out in the street being drunk and stupid setting off fireworks… Robbie [bf] was studying for an exam he had the next day but was aware of the raucous outside his house. He went outside when he heard the fireworks going off and witnessed the scene as it unfolded. Apparently 2 guys that lived down the street approached cursing, half naked [only in boxers in 30 degree winter weather], and trying to start a fight. They apparently did not appreciate fireworks being shot at 11pm down their street. It was apparent that these men were either intoxicated or on some sort of drugs because of their aggressive and strange behavior. To get to the chase, Robbie got his roommate in the house [who had previous run ins with the police and was intoxicated] and stood on the porch helpless to what might happen yet.  — personally i would have liked for him to get in the house and or call the police at this time but boys are silly — So in this shout-fest the students [Robbie’s friends] were given the impression that these guys had a concealed knife and they made for their respective houses. Robbie’s neighbor, Mark, went inside and got his shotgun to scare the men away. Mark stood on HIS porch and told the men to leave, threatening to shoot them if they continued to advance on his property. One man continued to come at the porch and Mark shot a warning shot into the air. At this the man ran at him and Mark shot him in the leg with a bird shell, disabling him and obviously hurting him badly. Then the 2nd man grabbed a tiki torch out of the yard and began to swing it at Mark, running up his yard and up the steps of his porch. Mark shot this man two times once in the leg and once in the private parts [unfortunate and not intentional]. After the first shot the man continued to come at Mark so he fired the second. [I know this sounds ridiculous but this did happen – despite obvious bias on my part and a few details potentially misplaced since I wasn’t there]

Robbie was one of two guys to witness it besides the 3 directly involved [the shooter and “victims”] and he was taken to the police station for questioning. This where it comes back to the article. Robbie obviously witnessed this crime and there was no doubt who was involved since two men were in the hospital and Mark turned himself in when the police arrived. What is interesting is what details we make up if we didn’t remember. Robbie thought there were only 3 shots fired. In my story there are obviously 4 and I think the police report says that there were 5. It may not be relevant to the charges at all but this is a crucial piece of information which everyone had differently.

In circumstances where tensions are high and adrenaline is pumping, it is easy to miss key details and to fill them in with what makes sense. Robbie remembered that both men were shot and that there was a warning shot.  He did not remember that there was a second shot fired in the air as warning [which i left out in my story] and then a second shot at the 2nd advancing man. It doesn’t matter how closely a witness pays attention – they are going to miss something.  Robbie had no motivation to change the story from 5 shots to 3, it is what he truly thought happened. He also told me that he was worried that with every retelling he was  solidifying his story, but also potentially changing it. He wrote it down the next day to be sure if he were questioned further he would keep the story the same. Needless to say he didn’t do well on his exam the next day….

the end.


Leading Group Discussions

November 6th, 2007

So I was under the impression that if I read and understood my material that I would be more than set for an in class discussion where all I had to do was guide other people through questions about the chapter. WRONG haha talk about crash and burn. Note to the wise – learn from the first groups presentation and prepare clear, well thought out questions that are in the introduction that HOPEFULLY THIS TIME everyone read and then maybe we will have less crickets in the room tomorrow.


Chronology of my LIFE!

October 27th, 2007

Chronology of My Life

Born March 5th, 1988 in Charlottesville VA

Learned to walk and talk

Went to Elementary School

Started playing soccer

Moved from the house I grew up in

Started Private Girls School

Went to High School

Got into Sirens [a cappella group]

Met/started dating my boyfriend Robbie

Starting Pole Vaulting my Freshman Year

Went to Italy to play soccer Junior Summer

Got into UMW

Went to Nationals in NY for Pving

Graduated from CHS

Went to States and lost after a 21-1 season

Came to UMW

Declared a History Major

Got an Apartment

Started YWLP

Made this list

 

I noted all the things because they are important to me. Extracurricular activites/sports have always been important to me and so I noted them in my landmarks.  It’s hard to limit myself to a few key things. I know I will think of more but this is the best I can do. These are the most memorable things/most exciting/most life altering/things I am most proud of [I guess], and this is only the first 19 years! Weeeww.

The role of chronology is to see previous events and how they might have affected the ones after them. Order is important.


Presentations

October 27th, 2007

So it’s not that I am shy… you all know that. But something about making an official presentation is a little bit more intimidating than making snide comments during class. I guess it’s good to make the connection now that my career should probably not include oral presentations as a major element of it. That’s ok with me. As I commented with Mary Beth’s post – the speaking center is going to be my good good friend before the ten minute presentation. Maybe I should start a regiment where “like” “basically” and “um” are not allowed to come out of my mouth… it could help right? Hey… at least that ones over right? Only one more to go and then my speaking intensive gen. eds are ooooovvvverrr.


passive voice and quotations

October 12th, 2007

potential quotations –

“Upon returning home we thought more about the situation and felt that the fairgrounds were not a very suitable place to collect and handle cattle…” Roger Roop

“are heifers being given to countries suffering military defeat? not yet. the war emergency act makes it impossible, but we hope to very soon.  Hungry women and children everywhere must be fed.” – HP pamphlet.

[in relation to pacifists/COs in the Brethren church and applying for CO status in WWII.] – “the tension between beliefs and actual practice made it difficult for young men to make a decision…” – Yoder

Passive voice has always been a problem for me but what i understand is that it is not simplified and direct, it uses the word form to be, and it doesn’t make it clear who is doing the action. Here is a swing at an example….

When she woke up this morning, she had to remember to get coffee and do her homework.


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