Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Finished Another School Year!

(Note: I started writing this a while ago, but then life got in the way... I still want to be able to share my reflections on my last full year of college though, so that is why I am posting this now)

I've done it!  I have completed my last full year of my undergraduate career.  But I'm not done just yet.  I still have one more semester to go.  Still, it's weird to be in the calendar year of my graduation, even if it is in December.

This was such a weird school year... it was a year of trying new things, stumbling, falling, sometimes failing (though I didn't fail any classes).  I just want to talk about those things and reflect on the school year.  So without further ado, these are things that I did that I'm rather proud of this past school year:

Student Senate.  One thing that I was really proud of doing was joining Student Senate as one quarter of the Commuter Senator chair.  It was an interesting experience, making decisions on behalf of the undergraduate student body.  It was weird that on each Tuesday meeting, I would be called "Senator Bernard" instead of my first name.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints and suffering academic work, Senate was the first activity of mine to go.  I resigned in November.  Nevertheless, it was a good experience and I am happy that I at least tried being on Senate.  It was just more of a time commitment than I was aware of.

Daycare.  I have had a couple of jobs this school year related to childcare.  I started off in a corporate daycare that is in my neighborhood.  It was good for a while, but in the end, there were too many children, not enough staff, and horrible management.  I started in September and left in February.  I think this is the longest amount of time I have spent in a job that wasn't through campus that is more corporate.  At the end of February, I interviewed for an after school daycare program for school-age kids.  I am still in that job, but will be more or less finished with the job once I start teaching this summer.  I'll be on the sublist, but that's it.

Balance and Standing Up For Myself.  The theme of this semester has been recognizing when I have taken on too many things and then owning my stuff when I screw up.  Even though there is still a lot of embarrassment and anger that bubbles to the surface when I think about these things, I think it's an accomplishment to own up to things that I failed to do or didn't do as well as I was expected to.  Not one to be celebrated, but good for a self-pat on the back for getting a little bit more mature.

Writing Opportunities.  This school year has been crazy with writing opportunities, which has made me extremely happy.  They are as follows:
  • Writing for The Wheel Student News: I had the opportunity to be a Multimedia Journalist for the school newspaper.  It was a lot of fun because I got to talk to a lot of people around campus that I wouldn't normally get to talk to.  If you want to read those articles, you can find them HERE.  As of right now, I am planning to continue with this opportunity during my final semester.  I truly look forward to this!
  • Induction in Delta Phi Lambda: This is the Honorary Writing Society that exists only through the University of Minnesota and St. Kate's in Minnesota.  I'm not sure where else it exists.  It was nerve-wracking to pull together fifteen pages of writing and send them off into the world (or to the English Department) and then to have the professors in the English department find my writing good enough... that felt good.
  • Ariston: Ariston is my university's art and literary journal.  Last year, I submitted a photo from Ontzet in Leiden, the Netherlands and it was published.  This year, I wrote about Sophie Scholl and my experience in Munich, Germany.  This was a piece that I wrote for my Creative Nonfiction class in the Fall and it was one that I was pretty proud of.  It feels really good to have my writing recognized on campus.
  • The Odyssey: This opportunity kind of fell into my lap a little bit.  My mom has a friend whose daughter writes for the Odyssey at her school.  I applied kind of on a whim and within a couple of days, a lady who lives in New York was in contact with me.  My intention was to just be a writer and gain experience there, but then one thing led to another and I became Editor in Chief for the Odyssey at St. Kate's.  I'm still writing, which is what I wanted, but I have the extra privilege of building my skills in editing.  It's been a crazy opportunity and it's a leadership position, which is neat.  It's challenging, but I'm learning so much at the same time.  If you'd like to read what I've been writing since March or April (I can never keep track of these things), you can click HERE.
Research Papers.  I had the opportunity to write a number of interesting research papers this year.  They're ones that I was very interested in any way, and I'm glad that I had the space to write about and explore these topics.  I wrote about the English Language in the Netherlands for my Language as Power class and I wrote about China's threat to the Tibetan culture and language since they're destroying Tibetan land in my Ecolinguistics Senior Seminar.  I had been looking for to take Language as Power for a long time, but Ecolinguistics was not on my radar at all, until it became my last opportunity to take my senior English seminar.  That class was such a treat.  I learned so much.  Ecolinguistics helped me discover that I have a passion for language and how it's applied in the world.  This might be something I'd like to pursue later down the road as I consider graduate school.  But that's not for a while.  We'll have to see what comes of this.

The past school year has been a really challenging one that came with a lot of ups and downs.  But I'm really proud of what I was able to accomplish.  Here's to my last semester!  I hope that it's just as great, if not better.

Thanks for reading!


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