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For many of you juniors and seniors who are contemplating choosing English as you major when you move on to college, this blog should provide answers to everything from curriculum to internships to possible career choices as you make that next step on the road to education.

Q: Is it hard to obtain a degree in English?

A: NOT AT ALL! To graduate from college you’ll need at least 120 hours of classes and the English major only requires 40, which leaves room for with a double major, a minor, or more time to concentrate on getting the best grades you can in your major.

Q: I really want to be an English major, does that mean I have to become a teacher?

A: Contrary to what some may think, the English Degree is one of the most versatile degrees as far as what one can do after obtaining it. The skills you’ll learn as an English major could easily set you on the track for a career as a writer for Rolling Stone, a lucrative career in publishing or prepare you for law school.

Q: What are some ways I can seem more qualified for careers that aren’t in my major?

A: Many people don’t do the job that is specified within their major. One explanation is that it really isn’t the degree but rather how hard to worked in college. One way of making yourself more credible is by taking internships in fields that interest you outside of English. This experience should make you very marketable to employers

Q: How do I get an internship?

A: Throughout the year, ISU holds a few internship fairs, which allow any student to meet potential employers and present a resume.

Parting Thoughts

Good writing to me is being able to convey ones thought clearly and fluidly. It never has to be filled with many fancy words or be 10 pages long, as long as the reader can clearly understand the message the author is trying to get across then they have read good writing. Not only does the way we speak affect the way we write because of the language aspect, but also dialect is a huge literary tool in writing. Not only does it make the literary work authentic, but it also gives the reader a sense of the authors voice coming through.

I personally could care less if the writing I am reading is grammatically correct. Of course if there are big mistakes throughout the paper it may become a little annoying, otherwise I don’t go through papers looking for the missing semicolon. That takes away from what the author is trying to say. We come from a nation that is so diverse and that has so many different writing styles so there isn’t one right way to write American English. Some works are long and drawn out phrases while others are direct and right to the point. Some authors like Zora Neal Hurston and Alice Walker have no problem using the word “aint” in there works while it wouldn’t be found in something by Edgar Allen Poe. Hurston’s time as a  writer during the Harlem Renaissance and Poe’s as a Gothic writer allows us to see the social norms in which our favorite writers exist. That is what makes American literature so exciting.

I believe that there are some things that some will excel at while others will not. For instance, I tend to always have a general idea of what I want to say but it takes a series of drafts before I can create something my audience will understand. Writing is something that has to happen in stages and every professor takes a different approach but the first is always the same. The writing has to find their voice. Once a writer has something that they are passionate about expressing then they are more willing to put in the time it takes to learn and perfect there craft. Without a voice the student will find the rhetoric of the writing process mundane.

Frustation Divided by our nation

In a deep dark place where pain is not painless and shotguns and rifles are not aimless

Shots fire and everyone seeks refuge on the ground but  one person is going to stay layin down

Then come the whys the what ifs and the maybes and a woman in the street yellin “thats ma baby”

The Equation

Where people are still here but we livin on welfare and a crackhead on the street tryna sell some link and givin the money to a man who beats her before he even thinks

Youre on the ground and cryin now and your face begins to spit apart as your mind and your physical is left battered and scarred, battered and scarred.

Frustration divide by our nation

Where their is no representation for the taxed and the taxation punctures the gapping wound that is America to the north spilling red and blue blood throughout the sorces from which we consume knowledge corrupting, as we walk around with PHD’s of allusions and Masters in mass confusion. as the equation begins to divide us.

The Equation

Where there is much living and dying at the same time and every three minutes a black man commits a crime and grown men wanting young girls behinds in a nation that is frustrated with the with coming of a evolution that is transforming the faces of the pale into shades of black and brown no longer making things clear as the simplicity of the simple lives become simply complicated making it harder to subtract the confusion.

As I sit and let my pen bleed my thoughts onto the white canvans of the paper I find that wells run dry and nights grow longer,Existentialism is a jest in a court of fools, and I the Emporer who has no clothes, racing across a sky of indigo where half truths make whole lies-the darkness waits for me, Men of quality look for answers and find the road has long since been traveled by the girl who questions why the yellow bird comes, The nightingale seduces the minds of men with her sweet song, Harmony is lost amongst the cherubim, Blood the color of hate forms pools on which we build nations, The moon is distant from the sea and man walks upon water, Shallow as eyes that lead to souls deep as oceans, I float.

I chose a poem that you never read before pretty much because it fit some of the biggest themes I believe you tried to convey in discussion and that being that your writing has to be a representation of who you are as an individual and it should have an authentic voice that come through. Granted we never talked about poetry in class but I believe that there is no greater writing form that I can express myself so profoundly. It’s almost like a stream of consciousness that bleeds from my brain unto the white canvas of a paper and I believe there is nothing like it in the world. Throughout my time in English 101 I found that college was a much more thought provoking environment that wasn’t trying to lead us all to the same conclusions like most of the curriculum that is taught in most classrooms. You allowed us the freedom to make our own choices and to set standards for ourselves on which to be graded and allowed us to have the conviction to stand by those standards that we set for ourselves. I believe some of the discussions we had in class about topics such as race allowed us all to really understand where we stood on certain issues and gave others a clear view of what was ahead of them should they choose the path of becoming an educator. The second poem actually is sort of a account on the state of things in some of the ghettos I’ve seen and some of the events that i have experienced first hand . Frustration divided by our nation is pretty self explanatory but as for the untitled poem it really speaks  of uncertainty in the dark times that we live in today. Having those feelings of sustenance and warmth being taken away from you is represented by the wells drying up and the nights growing longer. The Emperor who has no closes really speaks about the miseducation today’s youth (including myself) and the idea that we are who people say we are, just as the king who thought he wore the finest robes ever because people told him he did even the whole time he knew he was naked and so did they. That metaphor speaks about being afraid of admitting that we don’t know all the answer and are naked with ignorance. Again in the phrase about the sky of indigo is supposed to set up a very calming atmosphere but there is a bit of eeriness to the scene because the darkness is waiting for the persona. The line about the yellow bird and the men brings out the idea that nothing under the sun is new. There isn’t a question or a thought that a human being has had that is original. We are all asking the same questions and searching for the same answers essentially. Harmony being lost amongst the cherubims represent the world we live in where there are fights, wars and murders being committed because everyone believes their way to god is the only way. I decided to make this poem a blog post because I thought I was only fitting to use this poem in the venue that has allowed us all to grow (plus that’s another blog post).

The picture you sure in the top left hand corner is a picture of myself that was drawn by my late uncle and scanned by me. I thought the simplicity to would because I don’t think poetry needs to be any more confusing. This poem came from a place that was all mine and all original and I couldn’t be more proud of it as well as the work I have done in this class .

Remix

Ever since I was in the 4th grade when my parents would go to parent/teacher conferences, all of my teachers seemed to say the same thing to my mom. They always said “Richard is a very bright young man and he does great on his tests but he seems to have problems handing in his assignments.” After a whipping and a conversation with my mom I would assure her that there would be an improvement in my grades because I would start turning in my homework. As much as I concentrated I could never quite focus on finishing my homework but on the tests I always got 100s. When I was 14 years old my family had fallen on hard times and could no longer live in the city. In the fall of 2005 I moved to Bloomington-Normal to go to school. I tend to do a very good job a creating a mess but somehow I believe that one person’s mess is another person’s organization system. I tend to be one who needs a healthy balance of social life as well as work because I believe too much of either doesn’t allow for one to grow because there are some lessons you can’t learn in a book. Upon moving here I found that I strongly disliked Bloomington. Not only did I have to combat the social and economic shock my family sustained by moving to s strange town, but I also had to deal with being a young teen about to start High School. All of these things had an adverse affect on my grades and I finished the semester with a low GPA

The following semester I was enrolled in a new and experimental class called “Freshmen Seminar.”  The Idea behind the class was to take students who weren’t doing so well (But showed great potential to do well) and teach them study skills while setting goals for their High School careers. Gretchen Snow, a senior member of the faculty whose specialty was Psychology, taught the class. My first impression of Mrs. Snow was that she was uptight and had a very aristocratic way about her. I felt like she spoke down to the other students and I whenever she would address us. Little did I know she would be the woman who changed my life forever.  My study habits changed in the sense that before I started to learn something I had to figure out the way in which it worked in my world because Mrs.Snow determined that I was a very pragmatic learner. While it seemed like a bit more work to learn these facts I really found it to be helpful in the sense of mentally allowing myself to learn something because sometimes when teens decide there they don’t want to know something they do a pretty good job of shutting out the teacher or authority figure. To show that she really had an invested interest in seeing us do well, Mrs. Snow organized an event every Tuesday at her house where I am other student would come to her house and have a study session. During this time she would make us tons of snacks. Let is play on her many computers and do all our homework for the day or studying for tests. At the end of all of these study sessions she would make all of us dinner and we would eat together at the dinner table. It was then that the Freshmen Seminar class became less of a class and more of a family for me. Inspiration often comes to us when we least expect it, one never knows when to find it and it is as ephemeral as the breaths that sustain us. I never saw Mrs. Snow coming and I never saw the impact knowing her would have on my life. I believe that education doesn’t begin and end at the doors of an institution but rather the lives we live are filled with some of the biggest tests and lessons we will ever have. It is only through a constant trial an error that one can figure what is right for his or herself and in the end it is not the grade that one takes from a class that will stay with them but rather what life lessons they took from it.

The lessons Mrs.Snow taught (and continues to teach me) are more valuable than anything I ever learned in a classroom. She taught me what it means to be a quality human being, she taught me tenacity and courage and she taught me of the importance of helping fellow human beings with the gifts that we are given. If I can pass on these lessons to just one other person, then I have changed the world in a truly profound way.

Ever since I was a little boy I always had a curiosity with the way things worked and how they worked. If ever there were a question my grandma couldn’t answer she would say “Look it up and then teach me later.” I have always had a love of sharing the knowledge that I had learned with others, Adults always found me loquacious and charismatic but my brothers and my cousins always saw me as a “know it all.” It was then that I made the connection that knowledge was the way to stand out from the crowd. When I was 14 years old my family had fallen on hard times and could no longer live in the city. My parents were divorced and the influences of the city were already having an affect on some of my siblings. My mother fearing the outcome decided to move us down to Bloomington-Normal to go to school while my older brother stayed behind to live with some relatives. Upon moving here I found that I strongly disliked Bloomington. Not only did I have to combat the social and economic shock my family sustained by moving to s strange town, but I also had to deal with being a young teen about to start High School. All of these things had an adverse affect on my grades and I finished the semester with a low GPA

The following semester I was enrolled in a new and experimental class called “Freshmen Seminar.”  The Idea behind the class was to take students who weren’t doing so well (But showed great potential to do well) and teach them study skills while setting goals for their High School careers. Gretchen Snow, a senior member of the faculty whose specialty was Psychology, taught the class. My first impression of Mrs. Snow was that she was uptight and had a very aristocratic way about her. I felt like she spoke down to the other students and I whenever she would address us. Little did I know she would be the woman who changed my life forever.

For the first few weeks of the class I was very reluctant to take the advice that Mrs. Snow had given us. She would often have us sit and write down goals of what we wanted out of high school and ultimately what we wanted out of life. I thought this method was only something grade school teachers used between having students trace there hands to make turkeys for Thanksgiving or making “Be Mine” valentines, in a nutshell I thought the class was useless and that she didn’t really care about me or the other students. One day I decided to be very direct and tell Mrs. Snow that I thought the class and her teaching style wasn’t helping at all. Instead of being dismissive or passive to what I was telling her, I found that she was very interested in my thoughts about the class and how she might improve it. To show that she really had an invested interest in seeing us do well, Mrs. Snow organized an event every Tuesday at her house where I am other student would come to her house and have a study session. During this time she would make us tons of snacks. Let is play on her many computers and do all our homework for the day or studying for tests. At the end of all of these study sessions she would make all of us dinner and we would eat together at the dinner table. It was then that the Freshmen Seminar class became less of a class and more of a family for me.

As finals began to steadily approach, Mrs. Snow became more available for studying in her classroom after school and for anything else we might need. Soon I began to confide in her about my feelings of isolation in my household as well as an overwhelming feeling of loneliness that revolved around my world. She told me about how as a child she grew up very poor with six other brothers and sisters on the East Coast. She told me about how she was the first woman in her family to go to college and how when she met her husband they were from two different worlds: Her growing up poor with a father who didn’t have more than a 8th grade education and he who grew up with a brother and a sister and a father who was Vice President of State Farm at the time. It didn’t take long before I realized this aristocratic woman started off very similar to how I did. She was a living mirror of what I could be some day; she showed me I could be more.

Two days before final exams started at around 4 am on a Monday morning two detectives knocked on the door of my family’s singlewide trailer to tell my siblings and I that our stepfather had been murdered at the hands his mistress just a few hour prior. My stepfather was not the greatest guy in the world. In addition to being a womanizer, he was also unemployed and a bit of a drunk. My mother however was hurt by his infidelity and crushed after his death, so much so that she became very depressed. It was during this time that Mrs. Snow began to notice that I was suffering as a result of this and she made the ultimate act of kindness. After talking with me, she then went to my parent and expressed to them her desire to give me a home with her and her husband. My mother was a bit reluctant at first but after talking to me and seeing the home where I might live she made the ultimate sacrifice when she let me go.

Inspiration often comes to us when we least expect it, one never knows when to find it and it is as ephemeral as the breaths that sustain us. I never saw Mrs. Snow coming and I never saw the impact knowing her would have on my life. The lessons she taught (and continues to teach me) are more valuable than anything I ever learned in a classroom. She taught me what it means to be a quality human being, she taught me tenacity and courage and she taught me of the importance of helping fellow human beings with the gifts that we are given. If I can pass on these lessons to just one other person, then I have changed the world in a truly profound way.

Good writing to me is being able to convey ones thought clearly and fluidly. It never has to be filled with many fancy words or be 10 pages long, as long as the reader can clearly understand the message the author is trying to get across then they have read good writing. Not only does the way we speak affect the way we write because of the language aspect, but also dialect is a huge literary tool in writing. Not only does it make the literary work authentic, but it also gives the reader a sense of the authors voice coming through.

I personally could care less if the writing I am reading is grammatically correct. Of course if there are big mistakes throughout the paper it may become a little annoying, otherwise I don’t go through papers looking for the missing semicolon. That takes away from what the author is trying to say. We come from a nation that is so diverse and that has so many different writing styles so there isn’t one right way to write American English. Some works are long and drawn out phrases while others are direct and right to the point. Some authors like Zora Neal Hurston and Alice Walker have no problem using the word “aint” in there works while it wouldn’t be found in something by Edgar Allen Poe. All writing styles are different and that is what makes American literature so exciting.

I believe that there are some things that some will excel at while others will not. Writing is something that has to happen in stages and every professor takes a different approach but the first is always the same. The writing has to find their voice. Once a writer has something that they are passionate about expressing then they are more willing to put in the time it takes to learn and perfect there craft. Without a voice the student will find the rhetoric of the writing process mundane.

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