Welcome to InClass/OutClassed: On the Uses of a Liberal Education, an Emily Balch Seminar offered in Fall 2011 @ Bryn Mawr College. This is an interestingly different kind of place for writing, and may take some getting used to. The first thing to keep in mind is that it's not a site for "formal writing" or "finished thoughts." It's a place for thoughts-in-progress, for what you're thinking (whether you know it or not) on your way to what you think next. Imagine that you're just talking to some people you've met. This is a "conversation" place, a place to find out what you're thinking yourself, and what other people are thinking. The idea here is that your "thoughts in progress" can help others with their thinking, and theirs can help you with yours.
So who are you writing for? Primarily for yourself, and for others in both sections of our course. But also for the world. This is a "public" forum, so people anywhere on the web might look in. That's the second thing to keep in mind here. You're writing for yourself, for others in the class, AND for others you might or might not know. So, your thoughts in progress can contribute to the thoughts in progress of LOTS of people. The web is giving increasing reality to the idea that there can actually evolve a world community, and you're part of helping to bring that about.
We're glad to have you along, and hope you come to both enjoy and value our shared exploration of class, in education and outside it. Fee free to comment on any post below, or to POST YOUR THOUGHTS HERE.
For the final project, Kamila and I put together a virtual scrapbook of the course. The idea came from a project I had to do as a senior at my high school, a learning walk. In my opinion, it was a great way to summarize In Classed, Out Classed and to revisit what we've learned and the many moments in that journey. While it was not as interactive as many of the other projects, It seemed to be well recieved by the class and I am proud of the product we put forth. With more time we would have gone much more in depth, but in general I feel our video gave a a good representation of the course and all we've accomplished.
The event in general was a great way to wind up our ESem experience and I enjoyed everyone's creative approaches to such an open-ended assignment! I really think each project encapsulated that course and wish everyone the best of luck with finals!
I was so happy tonight at the final performances--I had loved reading people's public "essay" #11, and this seemed like another outlet for expressing things that maybe are a little messier or more raw than what we've been assigned to write previously in this semester.
That being said, I definitely felt like my project was outshone by a lot of yours! I loved the creativity of playing Apples to Apples, Jeopardy, 20 Questions, and all the videos--I thought that they were so intriguing and fun, and only wished we'd had more time to explore them.
I still felt that my group's project was worthwhile--we had planned on breaking the group up, discussing what we had written down, etc. But of course, time flew, and so we were not able to follow through on that. But I thought that leaving things up to individual interpretation might be even more in the spirit of the exercise--it whets your appetite, if you're interested, in continuing our class (in both meanings of the word) disscussions, and bringing up taboo or private thoughts even if it's scary. If your thoughts were left in the bag as mine were, I'm sorry that we couldn't get to you--but maybe that can be incentive for you to make yourself heard elsewhere?
In any event, I have loved this class so much, and felt incredibly privileged to get to learn and work with all of you and to call you my friends.
First of all, for tonight, I'd say that our final performances are really a "happy ending" for our esem class while it's also a good start point for all of us to carry on our discussion.
Words about our project:
The reason we choose this particular topic is that we noticed the disparity between "how we feel when we stay here" and "who are we." Bryn Mawr is such a special place that the designing of the campus and the way it has been used are so "classist." A space is somewhere need to be occupied while as a part of the "Bryn mawr" structure, we, as students, have to face the pre-occupied spaces (the connotations of upper class) on campus and balance it with our own identity. After some many years, education, space and students changes a lot; however, there is one thing that remains to be true, people would have mixed feeling about themselves on campus when we first come here and find our own way to settle down in a comfortable way. For the time we staying here, all we want is to convert the place into home, a place we feel comfortable doing everything and grow.
For my project I did a prezi called Class for Dummies. I was kind of trying to mimic the series of books “blank” for dummies. I found that explaining class is a difficult endeavor because there are so many elements that determine an individual’s class. I tried to convey in my prezi that class is very complicated and not always based on the things that society tells us their based on. I used the prezi to take the reader on a journey through the concepts I’ve learned about class in ESEM. My target reader is all of society because it is relevant information for people with money and people without and those somewhere in the middle.
My piece is titled 'We All Live in a White Man's World' The color represents the different perceptions in the world. I could not find a canvas anywhere so I resorted to using paper. The white is suppose to represent the the upper class that shapes our society and controls what is 'proper' and what is not. I used a typewriter to create the words. The picture in the middle is the close up of the center of the piece. It reads 'see past the colored lens, look in their eyes' and I also put the single words a majority of us chosse in class, 'noise' and 'jail' because I thought they were not only great descriptions of class but of my piece connecting that the 'white man's world' is a jail and the perceptions are the noise. If I had a frame I would have framed it and hidden on the back is a clipped on 'Guide to Naming Your Class.' I spoofed on an old-aged article of who is who.
The Elephant in the Room
There are times on Bryn Mawr Campus where nothing seems to be taboo. Conversations can range from the mundane and boring to the deep and thoughtful even to the offensive and abnormal. Yet, the topic of class seems to be the most taboo of all. When class is mentioned, conversations are stalled and an awkward tension mounts. And when someone is asked about his or her class (which is a rarity in itself) a sudden wall is erected around them-- causing a barrier to form between the questioner and questioned. According to a survey done during the 2010-2011 school year , class is the most taboo subject at Bryn Mawr-- everyone is aware of it, can feel it, yet seldom wish to openly talk about it. And through this lack of conversation- this silence- frustrations mount and suddenly what could have been a simple conversation becomes confrontation. This silence was distilled during the Class Matters workshop, where class was the only topic to talk about. And with every word uttered during that workshop, the people who attended grew one step closer to figuring out, understanding, and accepting class. And even more so, I, who was supposed to be a hostess, a leader of the workshop learned quite a lot.
“Dear Bryn Mawr College Dining Services,
You are all amazing people. To run this dining hall is like running the world. To deal with these dumb whiny bitches is too much! If they are trying to take the television out of the dining hall b/c they say that too many of the music videos objectify women, then they have meaningless and idiotic lives. You shouldn’t take the dumbass bullshit from these privileged students. If they feel as though they are being objectified, they should write to MTV who shows the videos and, most importantly, the artists who produce the music. To complain about music videos and a television?! Most of the women, girls really, who complain, don’t respect the spaces that they live in. They have no reason to complain about this place. Don’t take the TV away. Rather, tell the snooty dumbasses to SHUT THE FUCK UP! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT REAL OBJECTIFICATION IS!!!
Confused? I was too.
Actually, my range of emotions went from bewildered to outrage to confusion to (perhaps?) understanding and finally frustration. But in order to get to that, you should know my story.
This is a poster-collage that I did last night. I was pleased yet frightened with the finished project and I ended up running to my posse. They were really proud of me and wanted to do their own version of the poster-collage. I was inspired by Marian's zine and I remember being so amused with it because I could relate on so many levels - except that instead of being a millionaire, I decided to declare that I was FAR from that. I think I've always kept my socioeconomic status as a secret in high school and now that I'm in college, I'm deciding to own up to my status, just like Marian did. I'm actually thinking of posting it outside of my dorm because I don't know what else to do with it. But I don't know how the people on my hall will react or if they will react at all. I kept the class workshop in mind because we discussed broadening the audience when it came to talking about class. And my audience is the Bryn Mawr community as a whole.
I had to resize the image (you could initially read it) so I will copy down what the text says on the poster.
On the bottom left, next to the picture of me and my little brother it says: "I graduated from Framingham High School in June 2011. I am the first in my family to go to college. The kid next to me is my youngest brother, Aaron. Hopefully, he'll go to college too."
December 9, 2011
I used to want to be a pompous asshole. Really. I wanted to walk around New York City in a pair of six-inch stilettos wearing classy suits knowing that I was the boss of everyone and had a beautiful lofty apartment to go home to. And in the back of my mind, I wonder if maybe that’s why I chose Bryn Mawr, because it was the fastest way to get to “superior” status.
And then I came to Bryn Mawr and realized that I didn’t actually want to be a corporate, façade of a woman. But that’s part of what Bryn Mawr does; it creates empowered women. I’m fearful that Bryn Mawr will rub off on me, and empower me too much. I don’t want Bryn Mawr to shape me into a woman who feels like she can only change the world by being in a position of power. I don’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or a politician if I’m only doing it because that’s the career path Bryn Mawr women choose. I am afraid of becoming so empowered by a notion of a Bryn Mawr education that I lose the raw emotion of compassion and love, the real qualities that empower a person.
Something I want to say about my project:
According to The China Conundrum published on New York Times, the number of Chinese undergraduates in the United States has tripled in just three years, to 40,000, making Chinese students the largest group of foreign students at American colleges, and the number is still increasing. For most Chinese people, “an overseas student in America” is a “classed” word—the stereotypes for students who are able to study aboard in the US are usually well born, talented and ambitious. As part of this ‘divine’ group, I want to speak for ourselves by using an entertaining way. Therefore I made my project a guidebook for those who have a dream of studying abroad in America, or those who are going to do so, and try to tell them that actually being a Chinese student in America is definitely not easy. Behind the fancy label “overseas student in the US”, is life full of challenges caused by cultural differences and academic pressure.
“You are going to college?”
“Oh actually I am going to study abroad in the US.”
Usually, at this moment the person who asks you questions will give you an expression of appreciation, and say: “Wow overseas student in America! You must be really smart and intelligent!”
And you will give him back a confident smile, and reply modestly: “Thanks.”
Go to this website to view:
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…
http://www.slideshare.net/hsburke/e-sem-book <---- Click me!
Here's my project! It's really a children's book, but I took pictures and put them in a PPT so you guys could more easily see it. I will also be bringing it on sunday to turn in, in case it would be easier for you guys to see it in person. Also, I included the script at the end of the PPT, in case the words in the picture are difficult to see. The author's note is also a good explanation of what my whole idea was.
I hope you enjoy it!
Attached is a short story of a freshman going between two very different classroom environments- a large lecture and a 6 person course. Inspired by the educational autobiography at the beginning of the year, I realized that the most poignant experiences of mine thus far have been the varying classroom environments I have experienced.
After 3 months of discussing class and education, i developed an 8th sense - class sense. This video is an attempt to call us in on some causes of class divide here at Bryn Mawr. It is a declassified paper, so dont expect certain formalities to be observed. Enjoy, criticize, comment and most important act. I must acknowledge my roomate for her moral support and for being Oota.