November 20, 2007

The Process of Choosing

I, personally, am encountering problems while trying to pick a major. I'm just interested in too much, I want to take too many classes, and I have absolutely no career direction. I thought that perhaps if I talked to some other students about how they picked their majors, I could learn a valuable lesson - some sort of esoteric knowledge (though not esoteric to everyone else, obviously - only to me) about how to discover one's most deep and inner longings.

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November 13, 2007

Management Creates Meaning

The management and creation of meaning for a collection in an archive are interdependent. The very way in which the collection is managed creates its meaning.

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September 30, 2007

Major Medium Shift Makes Minor Modifications In Maintainging M'Friendship. Mmhmm.

In fourth grade, my classmates and I were barred from our classroom until the 'first bell' had sounded (don't ask what the logic behind this was, I have no idea). Patiently, we would sit in the hallway for about ten minutes, waiting for class to being. During that period, I would listen to the chatter of the girls around me - they poured over magazines, talked about whatever TV shows they had watched last night, and occasionally copied each other's homework. Never, I thought, would I bond with someone over a TV show! (Pretentious fourth grader? Moi?)

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September 22, 2007

Every day is judgement day.

I judge people on how they look. If you have a nose piercing, ear stud, or tattoos, I will judge you. If you wear your hair long, I will judge you. If you walk around with a "LARGE BRAND NAME" sprawled across your chest, I will judge you. If you do none of the above, I will judge you.

What we wear speaks to other people before we do.

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September 14, 2007

Case do what?!

There were many stories passed around my high school about life at Case. Most of these were centered around the ‘fact’ that Case students cried themselves to sleep at night because:

A. They had a terrible workload.
B. There was nothing for them to do besides that load of work.

This, as I'm sure you can imagine, made me worry. In an attempt to either verify or disprove these conceptions I was developing about Case, I turned to the internet. (Because if it’s on the internet, it must be true.)

An enterprising student can discover lots of things about Case online, through a network of Facebook groups, Wikipedia articles, and college message boards (targeted towards worried prospies like myself), which provided invaluable information for me. If one goes to the Wikipedia article about Case, the only fact mentioned in the Quality of Life section states that Case students are the nineteenth unhappiest in the nation. Excellent. The Facebook group “Case Can Be Enjoyable if You Stop Bitching About It And Find Stuff To Do!” , however, voices a different opinion:
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Multiple threads from College Confidential (a message board site for prospies) feature prospective students worrying about the same two things: Is the workload at Case really hard? Will I be able to maintain a good GPA? Is there anything to do on the weekends?

Most current students respond positively to these worries. Yes, you can handle the workload, yes, you can leave campus on the weekends. However, for the incoming frosh, some of these (mis?)conceptions are enough to make them consider turning away from the university completely.

Finally being here, and looking around on my floor and dorm, the most common bulletin board themes revolve around academic assistance or intramural sports, clubs, and other ways to be social around campus.

Why, that's interesting. Weren't those the two main concerns voiced by students incoming to Case? Case is certainly not oblivious to the outside world and the perceptions that students have coming into their campus environment.

My hypothesis, then, is that Case has specifically tailored the postings in our dorms not just to make our transition to university life more comfortable, but to actively change our perceptions about the university in two main cases: academics and activity. Knowing that many students come to Case with concerns about taking on an impossible workload, not having fun, and crying themselves to sleep at night, it makes sense that the writing on our walls exists to actively contradict that. This planned writing shapes student life by encouraging them to get out, and to discourage the stereotypes that Case (and the student body) fear to exist about the university.

August 31, 2007

Academic Integrity?

High school taught me that if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, it doesn’t make a sound.

Reputed laws about copying are acknowledged in every level of society, high school being no exception. For artists: don’t duplicate the Mona Lisa. For musicians: don’t steal chord progressions from Pachelbel's Canon in D. And for the suburbs: don’t copy your neighbors landscaping (this would be creepy).

From observing my peers, however, the laws of cheating on the street seem hazier than they are in principle. If I learned anything about cheating from in high school, it was from my peers, who primarily adhered to the belief that if no one caught them, they were doing nothing wrong.
One of my favorite examples (brace yourself) takes place in my third-year German classroom. The student in front of me had her textbook open on the floor and was copying translations from the index. Not liking the girl anyway, I kicked her book shut.

No more than three days after this, the girl tried something slightly more suave. She copied the necessary vocabulary onto a sheet of notebook paper and pulled the “I need to use two sheets of paper for this quiz that clearly justifies the use of ONE” trick. This time, the teacher was tipped off... and merely told the girl to put one of the sheets away. Did it work? NO. The teacher could have caught her in the act, but instead chose to walk away, trusting the student whom she knew had tried and successfully cheated several times in the past.

I can never remember a teacher address cheating in the open. After talking to my guidance councilor about some students who had gained access to test questions before the test (The Perfect Score, anyone?), the teacher in question never addressed the issue before the class, something that, in my opinion, should have been mandatory. It seemed that the punishment for cheaters was just as much under wraps as the crime. “Oops... we caught you cheating. We are embarrassed. Allow us to escort you back to the office, where we can discuss the matter discreetly.”

If this metaphorical tree fell in a forest and no one heard it, I would search in vain for a student who would tell me that it made a sound. Though the hard laws against cheating in my high school existed, most students simply didn’t care. If they could cheat and get away with it, they would continue to do so. Even once the problem was brought into the open, administrators and others were reluctant to carry on the conversation. This probably encouraged the no-catch no-problem philosophy, for how is a community supposed to address a problem that they don’t even appear to acknowledge?

If my high school (and possibly others) would like to step up to the plate on academic integrity, cheating needs to be addressed in public and become more than something that only happens on paper. Cheaters don't function independently of their communities (or 'forests'), and actions taken to counter cheating are best addressed by the community as a whole.

August 27, 2007

Second Entry

This is another entry to prove that I can post to my blog.