101 North Merion
Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010
December 9, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
I write you this letter to inform you that this has been one hell of a semester. I am convinced that I have been through it all. Ok, maybe not…
These past 3 ½ months have been full of its ups and downs. It has included: all nighters, sleeping on the benches outside in 42-degree weather because I had nothing else better to do, eating 7 clementines in one night because there was nothing else good to eat, waking up my roommate at 1:37 in the morning because I thought it was funny, printing more than 40 pages in the Canaday library on accident, riding my scooter down a hill in the rain…and falling, crying in my room by myself because I had too much work to do (this happened very often), laughing very obnoxiously past “silent hours” in my room and then being yelled at to “SHUT UP”, and the list goes on and on…
When thinking about the class dimensions of academic writing, I wouldn’t instantly see class as being a determining factor of whether or not a piece of writing is academic or not. But I think that this class has made me second-guess myself and think of the class dimensions of academic writing. I would like to say, “yes, class is a determining factor of whether or not a piece of writing is academic or not” but as I think about it some more, I say to myself, “well…that was ignorant”. I think that my confusion about this has led me to rethink the definition of “academic writing”.
I think that there are many different ways to express and communicate ideas—it’s not only about sophisticated and often times confusing academic papers, it’s also about poetry and performances that are useful in communicating ideas to others. I think that ultimately, you can communicate ideas in whichever way to you want depending on how you understand and want to convey the idea.
I find this style of academic writing to be a lot more enjoyable than many other types of academic writings. I wouldn’t say that it’s easier because it’s definitely is not, but it’s a lot more interesting. I think what makes it a harder form of academic writing is that there is so much information from my interviews that I feel obligated to include in my paper. What also makes it difficult is that because I made my claim and interview questions before I actually interviewed someone, I had a specific idea in my head about what I wanted to try and prove in my essay. What makes it frustrating is that I didn’t get the answers/results that I was looking for and for that reason, I wasn’t able to exactly support my claim. I think that this form of writing has made it possible for me to question what I have written and if what I have written actually makes sense…
I think that the workshop was a great turnout but it could’ve been a bit better. S. Yaeger mentioned that she would have loved to see some custodial and grounds staff at the workshop and I definitely agree. However, I was kind of expecting for little to none of the grounds and custodial staff to be there just because of the feedback we got (as a class) about how some had asked their housekeepers and how most felt like it wasn’t their space to be there. I thought that the conversations that we had were great. I got a chance to speak with two Spanish professors and Kelly who I believe is a multicultural director of some sort. Their ideas were very compelling about class and the different definitions that are associated with the word. I had the chance to understand and hear different perspectives about how each individual perceives class. Something that I am still questioning is the definition of “ownership”. I feel like ownership is something that directly relates to being comfortable. In a space where we have some sort of ownership, is usually a place where we also feel the most comfortable because we feel in control. I think what would be helpful is to continue these conversations, if possible, once every two months or so.
For this essay, I chose to discuss a bench that overlooks Shillingford Field. I had a lot of trouble trying to describe how this space is lawfully public but private at the same time and how education and class play a role in this space as well. It was interesting for me to really think about how privacy is viewed in terms of space--for example, when people have to pay for a space (like the rooms of Bryn Mawr as Carey Thomas described), privacy and space are both viewed differently. Privacy implies wealth thus implying greater class--but my space eliminates wealth and class issues. I found myself questioning, then why is it that when class is gone, students can have a better education? Because in my space, I find that works becomes more pleasurable. This dichotomous space that eliminates class allows students to focus on their education and not worry about class issues which I find interesting because it is a public AND private space.
*PICTURE IS ATTACHED*
My perceptions and beliefs about education have definitely been challenged and expanded through the progression of this class. I’ve learned that everyone in my class has had different educational backgrounds than myself, but we all have something in common and things to share with the class. I’m not quite sure what we have in common but I know that it’s something because the way in which we have our conversations, you would think that we have all shared some of the same educational experiences.
It’s nice to be apart of a class where I am not judged for what I have to say. I think that collectively as a class we have so many opinions to offer. I really like that we work really hard to challenge ourselves and work to understand (to the best of our ability) complicated readings—knowing and hearing the ideas of others helps me rethink what I have to say.
I’m not quite sure if I am more nervous or excited to visit the high school in a few weeks. One of the reasons why I am a little bit nervous is because I do not know what to expect. I am just very curious to compare how different or indifferent public school educations can be from private school educations. Within public school educations there are so many sub-categories; there are the public schools that require admission through applications, there are public schools that require a test to be taken, etc.
Being that I went to a small private school 45 minutes right outside of Philadelphia, I became very sheltered from the “outside world.” I have no idea what it would be like to go to a public high school in Philadelphia, or a public school anywhere else for that matter. I find myself a bit oblivious and isolated by having lived in the suburbs right outside of Philadelphia. I never know what it is like or what it could be like to live in the city of Philadelphia. I want to learn about the experiences of the students at the high school. I think that this trip will be very helpful to think differently about the discussions we have had in class.
I have heard the words of Kai Davis way too many times. Kai’s poem neither startled me nor surprised me. I’ve have felt these heavy emotions before and have even felt this type of pain. Although I am not black, I feel as though the experiences that Kai Davis talks about do not only occur within the black race-- it occurs in all races.
What really stuck out to me was when Kai Davis asks, does a 4.0 gpa mean that she’s four shades lighter? She goes on to say that intelligence is a white trait and that “acting smart” means “acting white.” This is something I have been told before. Especially because I went to a private school. My friends from my public school often thought that I left them to go to a private school because I was “too good for them” and that I would probably fit in better with the white people anyways. But how can the color of my skin affect my education? People of my OWN race told this to me-- how can someone of my own race say that I “act too white”? It has always been difficult to understand why people self-hate against their own race. I think that is the main reason why the perpetuating stereotype to be like everyone else in your race still exists.
I found this to be a very hard essay to write. There are so many different ways to define and interpret the word “access.” I started out by trying to look up the word access in a dictionary and I was a bit intrigued by some of the definitions I did not know were associated with access. For example, I found that in the Webster’s Dictionary, access is defined by an increase or growth. This definition really resonated with me as I wrote my paper because I defined access to education as being something I have acquired through my parents. The access they have given me has increased and grown because we are of different generations and also because I was raised in a different environment than they were. Access, in my opinion, is something that you cannot control. Although, my access differs from my parents it still affects my own. I believe that ones parents background can affect their children’s access to education based on their race and socioeconomic status as children. But access to education can be so much more than that. Access to education can be based off of ones experiences, abilities, common sense, realizations, communities, and so much more. So my question is- what is the difference between access to formal education and access to informal education? How do we get access to life experiences and education we do not acquire in school? Is it through experiences in our communities? Nurturing from our parents? Either way, I think that there are multiple ways to view access to education; whether it be through informal or formal education.