College poetry readings

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So the coffee shop location where the readings happened was small like this. Not as tight quarters with the tables crammed together, but there is a similar vibe.

My second semester writing course focused more on persuasive writing. There was a structured formula to follow that included making an assertion, backing it up with examples and research, providing a rebuttal, refuting that, and then offering conclusions.

The structured part was intimidating, but I remember that it helped me see how it was possible to write a 5-10 page paper on the same topic.

I liked my professor. Something about her made me trust her judgement, not just in class but in general. Perhaps she mentioned her personal writing, offering a sense of more happening besides teaching classes. I forget how it happened, but her opinion was one I trusted and I shared one of my poems with her. She referred me to a friend of hers who hosted monthly poetry open mic nights in nearby Charlotte and edited a literary magazine.

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When you’re NOT interested in a guy’s attention

hires-copyHe was a non-traditional student, about 10 years older and I think pursuing an undergraduate degree. I had met him through PACT, but I believe the first real opportunity to talk happened on the statewide retreat. He wasn’t Catholic, but he was interested in learning about the faith.

I remember being with a small group of people at the retreat, and then slowly others broke off for other things. And it was just the two of us. I wasn’t super comfortable around him, but I couldn’t just leave him. He seemed so alone, and I felt bad for him.

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Finding my voice in an opinion essay

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This post shows how I was able to take a personal writing session and transform it into an opinion piece for a college class. I took real events and feelings and, by writing a first person narrative while fictionalizing some details, I found a sense of voice in my writing. It marked the first time I truly understood what that literary term meant.

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Faith and the inner life: Discovery of self in journal writing

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Unlike most of my classmates, what I looked forward to most about being on campus was not seeking out the parties. It wasn’t a desire for alcohol or all the other “benefits” of this newly discovered independence.

No, I wanted to learn, and that really meant learning more about my faith. I had a solid foundation of what I believed as a Catholic, but it was still very much just absorbing what I had been taught and taking things at face value instead of understanding things for myself.

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Lessons from the Black Knight

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I love this image! It shows how conversations intersect. I assume the overlapping parts indicate shared interests, trying to find commonalities. 

During my first semester in college, I was required to take a one-credit “introduction to college” type class called Critical Issues Symposium (CISM). Each instructor approached this class differently, I’m told. Some people had quizzes. Some had to keep a journal of who knows what. I believe they had instruction for note taking and test taking and adjusting to the transition of a college workload.

The guy leading my class was a visual arts instructor. He had no desire to offer tests or really force us to do too much of anything. We mostly had class discussions.

I believe the first time our class met, he brought out a TV and played us a clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Yes, that Black Knight.

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Strange new world: College independence

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The experience of Move In Day at college is meant to be a joyful and happy occasion, right? Sure you have mixed emotions on both sides; teens finally get that taste of freedom and independence while parents are forced to consider what life will be like without their child at home. But in general you’re supposed to be happy and hopeful, aren’t you?

I wanted to be like the girl in the above photo. I wanted to exude gratitude for my parents’ help with transporting my belongings from home to campus. To be grateful for all of the effort with lugging my boxes and oddly-shaped objects up 5 flights of stairs. To welcome the assistance with not just dumping things inside the doorway but to begin finding homes for each book and article of clothing. To figure out the perfect spot on the wall for my dry erase board, which would serve as a visual reminder for assignments.

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Addressing sensory issues: Am I sharing a problem or demanding others to change?

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In the previous post I shared how the sensory modulation side of my experience with Sensory Processing Disorder is still a problem. I explained a little bit of how previous efforts to address these problems were met with unhelpful advice, especially since I didn’t have a means of explaining why things bothered me.

Now as an adult, I do have more awareness of why a seemingly random noise can have such a strong impact on me. So why isn’t it easy to tell people?

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Visible and invisible sides of Sensory Processing Disorder: A recap

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As I finish discussing my high school years and transition to college, I wanted to do another recap of where I stood with sensory processing problems.

The big list details all the different ways I was impacted by my environment and the way I interpreted the sensory data I received. I’ve also done a recap from preschool through eighth grade to show the progress of these sensory issues.

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Parler-vous anglais?

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Yes, that is French for “Do you speak English?”

I was awesome at French when it came to learning new groups of words. Vocabulary was easy because it was rote memory. You just repeat it enough times and eventually it sticks.

Where I got stuck was forming sentences, specifically going through different verb tenses. I had the same kind of trouble when we addressed this in English class. Distinguishing from past, present and future is easy, but when you throw in various “perfect” tenses, things get tricky. I stumbled with properly identifying these tenses in English.

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Kindness during the storm

Everyone goes through a hard time. It can be a metaphoric storm, a very real tailspin of nothing seems to go right, or a literal storm like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

I’m part of the Southeast United States bracing for the horrors of Irma. The projections are still projections, with any number of possible outcomes. We just know something bad is heading our way.

It’s hard to know how to react in these circumstances. You can get stuck just thinking about yourself and your family. You do have a responsibility to care for those who depend on you: immediate family members, in-laws, fur babies.

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