By: Sneha Pasupula
As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, we approach the halfway point of fall semester. Students are cramming for their midterms, TAs are frantically grading, and professors are devising lesson plans for the next unpredictable semester. Week 9 was plagued with immense amounts of work in all of my classes, and my anxiety-ridden brain and sleep-deprived body felt like it was perpetually stuck driving through Rainbow Road on Mario Kart. On top of crying over homework, students received the news that next semester will be delayed and spring break is no more. While students are upset over this news, I am excited about the two-month winter break, as it gives me plenty of time to recover from the chaos of this semester.
Tuesday in ENGL 105 started with the usual class check-in, which I appreciate. An opportunity to overshare about my life while facing no repercussions? Sign me up! One of the main activities we did during class was revisiting last Thursday’s activity in which we analyzed model ethnographies (the basis for our unit 2 projects). Watching the different groups discuss their model studies helped me grasp a better understanding of how to organize my ethnographic presentation draft, which was due before Thursday’s class. Also, I realized the importance of connecting the ethnographic study to oneself, rather than being a complete outsider. Next, we discussed writing a conclusion, which I was quite nervous about. I had just completed my observations; how was I supposed to get a conclusion written within less than 48 hours? Paul’s tips helped me calm down, and I came up with a consensus on how my conclusion would look. We finished the class by discussing how to condense text, which is something I STRUGGLE WITH. You can tell by how long this blog post is. Being a detail-oriented writer, I hate cutting corners. I always spend more time condensing than I do writing. Paul’s discussion helped me find different ways to cut down my observations so that the main points are clear to the readers.
Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent countless hours trying to put together a Unit Project 2 (UP2) rough draft. My ethnographic study is about how country clubs appear during the pandemic and why club members continue to use the club’s amenities when it means risking their health. I spent upwards of five hours trying to condense my observations, and even today, they’re still not at an ideal length. I scrambled to write a preface and left the background, conclusion, and references blank. I hate turning in things incomplete, but it had to be done.
Thursday in ENGL 105 was chaotic in a funny way. We workshopped our UP2 drafts, and mine was ROUGH. I appreciate doing these workshops, as I love peer-editing other people’s writing, and I find it helpful to have my peers give me tips on how I could improve my work. After the workshop, my classmates and I practiced oral presenting, as we were forced into our breakout rooms to perform impromptu 30-second presentations. Then, each group had to choose one member to present in front of the class. My group, The Four Seasons, graciously chose me to show our class how to use a post-it note. I found this experience to be quite nerve-wracking due to my anxiety. However, while my hands shook as I wrote “I am dead” on a post-it note, nobody seemed to notice. Rather, my peers seemed to enjoy my presentation. This experience helped me boost my confidence a little and made me realize that I actually can fake it till I make it. Paul wrapped up class with a discussion on what makes a bad presentation, and I was immediately transported to junior year. Never again. This discussion helped me realize some aspects of oral presentation that I could improve on, such as reducing vocal fillers.
While week 9 was one of my most stressful weeks this semester, I appreciate the laughs I had in ENGL 105. As Friday and the weekend rolled around, I spent hours revising my UP2 to get it turned in by tonight. Am I finished yet? No….but at least my blog post is done!
Lastly, Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! To commemorate Indigenous people today, I researched what native land I currently live on. I encourage you to do the same via https://native-land.ca/. My house sits on the land of the Tuscarora Nation. Tuscarora means “hemp gatherers,” as they are known for their use of hemp for medicine. Pretty cool, right?
For further reading, check out this NYT opinion article about how Indigenous people maintained the Amazon for generations and how climate scientists should listen to Indigenous people to guide the green revolution.
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