Monday, February 27, 2006

My first draft of my "controversy" paper

Working Mothers: Unwieldy Undertaking or Feasible potentiality?

Older generations always comment at social gatherings about the ‘good old days when things were simple and the living was easy.’ Everything according to grandparents and even our parents was easier ‘back then’ than they are now. Women typically stayed at home and raised children while husbands, the breadwinners, put dinner on the table. Things were simple because men and women had distinct roles which fluctuated very little among different households. Certain ‘expectations’ were established by society and most families conformed to this mold. In present day America almost anyone would agree that most aspects of life are not as simple as they used to be. With the presence of so many more opportunities, the distinct established roles of men and women have evolved over the past several generations. Women are no longer confined to their past confined job descriptions involving taking care of a husband and children. With the ever increasing number of women attending at least four year colleges, many women are inspired to seek challenging careers after college. The simple ‘easy life back in the day’ just got a great deal more complicated.
With so many women attending college, many are inspired to do something with the degree they obtain. Such a goal wouldn’t be so daunting if these women were content with simply having a career. Progressively women are seeking ambitious careers in all career spectra. Women want a career, husband, and in many cases children. This is where the problems and conflicts begin to arise. Having children and taking care of one’s husband could be considered a full time job in itself. How can a woman be expected to complete two full time jobs: housewife and a career? Women want to “have it all.” We want to in a sense “have our cake and eat it too.” Betty Halcomb, one of the top editors of “Working Mother” Magazine and author of the highly acclaimed book Not Guilty says, “and thus Supermom was born” (15).
Women now “want to have it all” juggling a successful career with having children and a husband. With a society that currently encourages multi-tasking it seems only natural that we incorporate this concept into the structure of our families as well. Although trying to combine these three “jobs” into one person can be considered a daunting task, there are many variables that affect what kind of “supermom” will materialize.
Working mothers is a very broad community in the sense that it covers so many different types of women. Some mothers are forced to work because they are single parents or have other extenuating circumstances that leave them with no other choice. Other mothers are able to decide whether they want to work based on their own personal needs as well as their children’s. Although mothers that are forced to work still have many difficult choices they must make, I will focus primarily on mothers who have the option of staying home or working. Factors such as the time commitment, competitive nature, and the type of job itself all greatly affect the sacrifice a mother has to make to maintain her career with the other aspects of her life.
Primarily in the last decade with the increasing number of women trying to juggle home life with a career, there are many questions that have been raised concerning the affects such an alteration has on the entire family. What are the advantages and disadvantages or having a working mother or a stay at home mom? Is it more beneficial to children for their mothers to work/not work? Once these questions have been answered there are an assortment of questions one must consider in reference to child care and employment terms as well. Unfortunately all of these factors make it very difficult to decisively affirm either working or not working as an ideal makeup of a mother.
Betty Holcomb, author of “Not Guilty,” declared “one of the most persuasive argumentation in support of working mothers,” assures that studies show there are no significant differences in child development between the children of working moms and those of at-home moms (site). Halcomb fully explores the many negative critiques expressed concerning working mothers over the past two decades and shows the great variability in the responses. It is apparent in the 1990’s that public opinion fluctuated greatly based on currently published opinions and the way in which the media portrayed these opinions. New York Women’s magazine in 1991 published an article entitled “Trophy Kids: Children of the Rich and Busy” in which they compared children of professional women with victims of domestic violence (Halcomb 20). Halcomb mentions that in Newsweek’s May 1997 issue asserts that working parents are “cheating their kids by not giving them enough love and attention” (Halcomb 21). These are just several of the many references Halcomb mentions that raise extreme claims concerning the affects working mothers have on their families. The media exploits experts’ claims so much that the general public is dramatically influenced by the current trendy study or theory released.
Dr. Spock, a once highly esteemed child advocate and author dismissed day care as merely “baby farms,” but later changed his opinion in his later book A Better World for Our Children. In this book he asserts a much more open view concerning child care in which he says they are “keys” to a better world for children and ourselves and employers need to be “more responsive to the needs of families” (site).
Contrary to all of the negative published material released in the nineties, Halcomb points out that “working women are healthier and less depressed than their non-working counterparts” (cite). She ascertains that women should not feel guilty about their choice to stay at-home with their children or to work. Halcomb says that ultimately every woman must make the choice that is right for herself.
The American Psychological Association recommends that families with working mothers “may lead to positive outcomes for children including academic achievement and fewer behavior problems” (cite). APA also supports that there are indeed benefits for adults whose mothers were employed while growing up: “Young men and women who grew up with a mother employed outside the home have more positive attitudes toward families and are more likely to believe that husbands and wives share equal responsibility for household work” (cite APA). Finally the APA states that “combining work and family roles can contribute to the well-being of women” through “parents developing interpersonal skills through interactions with their children that they can apply to their work roles” and the opposite as well (cite APA).
Advantages for being a working mother of course include the added benefit of an elevated income, but there are several other advantages as well. Children of working mothers are more likely to be independent and mature because their mother isn’t as available as stay at-home mothers. Mothers who work feel a sense of satisfaction, sometimes making them happier people and thus better mothers. Psychologically, women may feel more accomplished and intelligent if they feel they have more to “offer” then simply being a mother (cite).
Weighing the many factors involved in whether a mother should attempt to balance a career on top of the already grueling job of raising children is extremely controversial as one can already see. There are so many factors that complicate formulating a decisive answer to such a question.
Although there have been studies recently conducted that show benefits to both working mothers and their children, there is also evidence which presents detrimental affects on the children and families of working mothers. The CWA or the Concerned Women for America reports that the Beverly LaHaye Institute claims that more than “thirty hours of childcare a week can result in a child becoming aggressive, defiant, and disobedient” (CWA). The quality of healthcare and the economic background of the children does not appear to affect the outcome. The study referenced also says that “children of mothers who back to work full time while their children are infants have poorer mental and verbal development” then stay at-home mothers (CWA).
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Human Child Care also confirms that children need the daily presence of their mother and that when deprived of this, infants fail to develop a secure attachment to their mother, which is a necessity to a child’s development. When three year olds from an average home environment and average child care whose mother did not work by the ninth month of the child’s birth, scored in the fiftieth percentile on the Bracken School Readiness test. Children in similar settings whose mothers were employed by the ninth month of their birth scored in the forty-forth percentile (CWA).
Given the various advantages and disadvantages concerning working mothers, women must weigh the various arguments carefully and make a decision they are comfortable with accepting. Many magazines, online resources, books, and various studies advise mothers on how to balance work and family if they indeed decide to pursue a career. One family oriented website advises that “every mother has options” and that there is always at least small adjustments that can be made to change one’s situation ( Countless organizations exist that offer information, tips, and support for working women as well as stay at-home moms. Several examples include: National Federation of Business and Professional Women, National Association of Working Women, and National Association for Female Executives. Companies such as Working Mother magazine is a popular magazine that caters slightly to working women.
So the question is can women “have it all?” Of course one can always try. Can women really “have it all?” The answer is that is depends on many variables: particular family, husband, job logitstics, and of course the wants/needs of the mother. Any one of these variables could make working while being a mother more difficult or easier. Letty Cottin Ponegrebin said it is a “disservice to women to market the idea to find the right formula and figure out the time table that makes the most efficient of crucial years of twenty to thirty-five” (cite). She says that we cannot be this rigid in our planning of our lives. Shari Turner a psychology professor at Boston Univeristy says that “each age defines the good mother anew in its own terms, with its own requirements, ideals prohibitions, and mythology” (cite). Turner claims now that the standards currently set for a mother is “formidable, self denying, and utterly unattainable” (cite).
Halcomb in her book cites Marcia Clarke and Hillary Clinton as famous mothers who have struggled with having a successful, ambitious career while maintaining a family (Halcomb 94). Halcomb describes how the high-profile prosecutor, Marcia Clarke almost lost her children when her husband sued for custody of their two sons, claiming that Clarke was too busy most nights working on her current case to spend time with her children. Contrary to her husband’s claim Marcia “took heat” in the courtroom for giving her boys too much attention. In reference the media, specifically the Detroit News summarized that Clarke “can’t have it all” (Halcomb 95).
There are many factors that must be sorted in determining whether women can “have it all:” a career, husband, and children. It is definitely a challenging task to juggle all three when each is its own job in itself. Janice Crouse, Ph. D. writing for Concerned Women for America, advises that the “best environment to foster a child’s intellectual development is one in which his or her mother is actively involved on a day-to-day basis” (CWA). Janet L. Srarbek in her book Planning Your Future: A guide for professional Women, Srarbek suggests that women considering becoming working mothers need to “analyze their circumstances and beliefs to determine what is right for them” (CWA). Contrary to this view, Crouse says that the “right” question to ask is “what is right for the child?” (CWA). She claims that we need to be reminded the attachment between a mother and her child cannot develop unless the child is in her daily care. Crouse is suggesting that one must put the child’s needs first while Srarbek suggests one should analyze the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a working mother.
Thus, the controversy continues over whether women can “have it all” and if they can whether it is reasonable for children to be subjected to an environment where their mother isn’t always present at home. A lot depends on each individual woman and what will make her happy and fulfilling. As of 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sixty-two percent of women with children under the age of six are working; there are obviously many women who feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (CWA). Converse of this sixty-two percent, one must also consider the thirty-eight percent who still believes it is better to stay-at-home with children instead of attempting to juggle and multi-task in this insane modern society. Many of these decisions do not have concrete answers thus it often becomes an individual decision that every woman must make.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

This is the beginning of my draft of Essay #1 for my Chaucer class:

Writing poetry can be a difficult task in the many facets one must consider to express one’s overall purpose. Unfortunately, being a court poet can be an even more daunting task considering that court poet’s are not only concerned with conveying their message but pleasing their patron as well. The distinction of class between a patron and his poet forced poets to devise ways to ensure they were not in any way offending their beneficiary. Court poets were not at liberty to ascertain knowledge of what it is like to be part of the nobility. Poet’s must carefully balance gracefully fulfill the wishes of their patron gracefully without excessive lying or praise. Tactfully representing a person or event accurately while managing to express one’s own thoughts is no simple undertaking. Chaucer in the Book of Duchess elegantly balances his patron’s wishes, Chaucer’s interpretation of truth, and reality.
In the Book of Duchess, Chaucer uses several methods to commemorate the life of Blanche and mourn her death. Kiser in the Truth and Textuality in Chaucer’s Poetry, suggests that there are numerous devices Chaucer uses to ensure that Blanche is not misrepresented in prose. Chaucer develops fictional characters to represent both John of Gaunt and Blanche. The Black Knight resembles John of Gaunt while White represents Blanche. Each of these characters resemble their real counterparts just enough for reader to be aware who they represent, but being fictional, allow Chaucer leverage in describing them. In this way, Chaucer escapes the difficulty and pressure of trying to recreate them perfectly and in absolute accuracy. Kiser says in this way Chaucer “casts [the real] characters in fictional guises” so that slight manipulation of their descriptions and situations is acceptable considering they are not “real” people (Kiser 12).
Creating fictional characters in this way gives Chaucer greater leverage to play with their characteristics and the way in which they are described. In this way there is a greater ability for a poet to express their thoughts through the description of the character that is indeed “fictional.” From this idea one can see the presence of textuality in that in agreeing to write for another one’s own interpretation is expressed, not the overall “truth” of an experience or person. Each description is simply a particular person’s interpretation and has no greater weight. Thus, the Book of Duchess poses the question is it possible to capture the truth of another human being Kiser wonders (12). Thus to avoid these complications Chaucer creates fictional characters to represent the actual people being described.
Chaucer’s portrayal of the Black Knight’s character also proves as a safeguard to any misinterpretations of Blanche of John of Gaunt. The Black night repeatedly claims that in his descriptions of Blanche “I kan not now well counterfete/ Hir wordes” (1241-42). The Knight is states that he is unable to adequately describe White’s beauty or highly esteemed demeanor. By the Black Knight claiming this, Chaucer is somewhat free from obligations of perfectly representing Blanche.
The overall representation of the Knight’s character affirms his claims of Blanche and his feelings true. (add evidence) He continually claims that he is honest and true to his word in his feelings towards his love. The Knight is essentially claiming that he is aware that he “failed” to accurately convey his love for Blanche in this elegy, but this is acceptable because of the careful way the Knight’s character is revealed.
Another important device to protect Chaucer from misrepresentation is his incorporation of the Ovidian tale of Morpheus. Kiser her article “True and False Portrayture” says that dream-frames such as the one Chaucer outlines in the Book of the Duchess, are known as “notoriously untrustworthy” and lack truth (18). The retelling of the Ovidian tale serves to compare Chaucer to Morpheus. Morpheus like Chaucer is commissioned by a social superior to assuage one’s grief by recreating an image of their lost loved one. Morpheus is asked to recreate Ceyx as Chaucer is asked to recreate Blanche. As Morpheus fails to accurately recreate Ceyx, Chaucer fails to commemorate ‘White’ through the Black Knight’s character. Ceyx may appear to be recreated, but is unable to talk as previously…

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Listing- Prewrite
*I have listed all potential questions that go with my topic

-can you “have it all”
- or do you have to make choices/sacrifices (either family or career) or more on then the other
-is abusive/harmful to children if mother works?
-what are advantages/disadvantages for kids/husband to have working mother?
-should employment practices give special consideration for women to help them “have it all”?
-do working women have less successful marriages as a whole then non-working (what percentages, statistics)
--are women who work, married, have children more stressed then women who stay at home?
-how do these 3 factors relate to one another?
-are stress levels from trying to “have it all” detrimental enough to actually cause health affects such as:
-other negative side affects
-how has the way society views of working mothers influence:
-employment practices
-number of women working
-feelings of working women
-does being a mother make one less affective coworker on job (compared to woman w/ out children)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I tried to post this on friday morning and for some reason it didn't post, so I rewrote it:

I began taking notes on some of the sources that I am using for my annotated bibliography and I have found a particularly useful book by Betty Halcomb entitled Not Guilty. Not Guilty discusses the views that working mothers have faced from society for the past several decades and ultimately claims that women should not feel guilty for working after having children. The author, Betty Halcomb was one of the top editors of Working Mother magazine and has spend numerous years researching the various opinions concerning working women and how conceptions of this have changed over the last fifteen years or so. In the introduction Halcomb references Dr. Spock as one of the leading experts in the early nineties on families and how to raise one’s children. This reminded me that my mother use to refer to Dr. Spock and even had one of his books when raising my brother. Halcomb talks about how some think that “having it all” is possible while other experts claim this is “hollow” and “unrealistic.”
Halcomb also mentions Arlie Hochschild, a leading sociologist in family affairs. Hochschild claims in her book The Time Bind that parents turn to work as an escape from their children. This view contrasts other views that Halcomb discusses including that women can indeed “have it all.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This was a summary I did for my Social & Political Philosophy class on Plato's Republic and John Simmons article Tacit Consent

Plato’s strongest argument in the Trial and Death of Socrates is that by breaking orders of one’s country/city even if this involves your own death is inherently wrong. You are destroying your city by disregarding the laws that have been put into place for your well being and that you obviously has regarded and obeyed before until this instance where your true obedience is being tested. Socrates questions how can you destroy the city that has “given you birth, nurtured you, educated you; we have given you and all other citizens all of the good things we could” (52). He says that we owe it to our cities not to destroy their laws and principles by suddenly disobeying a law that is now doing harm to oneself. We chose to be citizens, now we must face the agreement we already made. Socrates also points out that we run the risk of putting friends and loved ones in danger of exile if we break rules of our cities.

A. John Simmon’s main point is that one never has a legal obligation by enjoying the benefits of a society or by simply living in a society. Tacit consent is defined as remaining silent and inactive, and in this way giving a form of consent, because it is assumed that you would protest in some way if you did not agree. Simmon’s claims that Locke in his Second Treatise of Government says owning land gives one’s consent. Simmons’ says that this is actually giving consent unintentially which is absurd and this “automatic” consent can not sufficiently be defined as a form of consent (13). Simmons’ main objection with Locke’s analysis is that Locke fails to distinguish between “signs of consent” and “consent implying acts” (16). “Consent implying acts” cannot be defined as forms of consent, which Locke does not clearly separate from “signs of consent.” Locke claims that personal consent is the sole ground that one can have a political obligation, but since he is unable to define consent clearly it is impossible to label living in a particular are or enjoying benefits of a society as tacit consent or any other form of consent. For this reason, Simmons says one isn’t under any legal obligation to an areas even if one lives there or enjoys benefits of the particular area.

Monday, February 20, 2006

This was a journal entry I completed tonight for my Chaucer class:

Deficient in Expression: the Black Knight’s Inexperience Showcased

Much of Chaucer’s prose centers on Petrarchan discourse and the foundation of courtly love. In the “Book of the Duchess” Chaucer describes the agony and upheaval that the Black Knight has in relation to his lost love. Although it is adequately conveyed that the Black Knight is indeed cares a great deal for his love and adores every aspect of her, the way in which the Knight conveys his adoration isn’t always as prosaic as one may hope for. The Black Knight in many cases awkwardly describes his love and fails to create any lasting images in the readers mind in his depictions. An example of this awkwardness can be found when the Knight describes his beloved’s shoulders as “right faire shoulders and body long…and arms every lyth/fattyssh, fleshy, not gret therwith” (952-4). He also describes her as of “good brede” (956). Describing someone as of a good breed sounds like what one would say if they were describing a dog or animal, not one’s beloved.
The Black Knight is of Noble blood, but of course is not a court poet thus it is natural for him to lack talent in expressing himself through poetry. The Black Knight has difficulty articulating his feelings of sadness and longing for his love. The Black Knight even admits that he is unable to express his emotions and thoughts the way that he would like to. He says “me lakketh both Englyssh and wit/For to undo hyt at the fulle/And eke my spirites be so dulle/So gret a thing for to devyse” (898-901). The Knight is saying that he admires people who can write affectively, but he is unable to do this.
There are several reasons Chaucer may have decided to make the Knight’s language awkward. Allowing the Knight to be portrayed in this way gives a realistic account of how a Knight would react and cope if faced with a situation similar to his. The Black Knight is obviously still in a state of shock over losing his love. When in a state of shock, it is difficult to express feelings. This also might explain the repetitive nature of the Knight’s topics. He repeatedly discusses his love’s beauty and references her repeatedly to “lyght” and the sun. Conveying the Knight in his state of turmoil gives a realistic representation of love devoid of impersonality.
Another potential reason for Chaucer allowing the somewhat awkward prose formulated by the Knight may because of Chaucer’s own agenda to remain the expert in chivalrous poetry. Chaucer is a court poet and would not want to be upstaged by a Knight
who lacks experience in writing prose. The difference between the supposed Knight’s prose and Chaucer’s can be seen as a fairly significant difference. Before the Knight commences with his story, the introduction describing the night carefully depicts the Knight in way that gives the reader a sense of his character and feelings. Hence, when the Knight has trouble expressing himself, the reader at least already has some sense of how the Knight feels. The Knight’s feelings are described as “the most pitee, the moste rowthe/That ever I herde; for, by my trowthe/Hit was gret wonder that Nature/might suffer any creature/To have such sorwe and be not dede” (465-9). This passage clearly
describes the pain and suffering that the night feels and compares this suffering to being
dead. In this way, one can see the difference between such an eloquent passage as this one in comparison to the less articulated prose of the Black Knight.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rewriting topic “controversy”

I originally wanted my community to be the ‘children with older parents’ community and focus on whether it is detrimental to have older parents or not and the overall affects of being raised in this environment. This topic is broad and I found it hard to come up with a strong argument in support or against older parents, thus I decided to change my topic to something entirely different.

My mother and I have had many discussions on the decisions my mother made concerning what is important in her life and how to balance work and family. My mom advises me that it is almost impossible to be a corporate lawyer for a hospital and have a husband and kids. She says that basically something will have to give: I either have to end the time-consuming, stressful job or not have children. She says being a mother is the biggest responsibility that a woman will ever have and that I will be sacrificing my children’s lives and potentially my marriage if I try to tackle all three. She says that if I decide to have children it is not morally right for me to subject them to my long hours at work. I am somewhat open minded about this, but I would like to be able to “have my cake and eat it too.” I want it all as everyone does: husband, job, kids, home…did I mention to please add ‘dream’ to the beginning of each item on the list?

I am thinking I am now going to focus on the “working” community: specifically working women. In our current American society, is it possible for a woman to work in a highly demanding job while being married and having a family? Is it robbing children of an ideal family environment if their mothers are working full time? One side of the argument is that with the setup of our American society it is not feasible for women to work long hours without causing strain to their families and marriage. One simply cannot have it all and must make choices. The other side is that women should be able to have highly demanding jobs while maintaining a marriage and family.

I am still not sure if I have narrowly defined what the “controversy” is and what the arguments for each side should be. I am going to think more about this tomorrow morning and hopefully clarify my topic to a greater extent.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Style Summary Chapter 2

Williams in chapter two of Style makes is apparent that the correctness of one’s writing can determined by some general rules, but that there are many rules that depend more on one’s personal style or choice. There are many “idiosyncrasies” in the English language, making it difficult to come up with strict guidelines on how to write. On cannot determine one’s education or discriminate based on how one uses language in writing.
There are three kinds of rules (“social attitudes”) that Williams discusses. “Real rules,” “rules of standard English,” and “folklore” are the three that Williams highlights. “Real rules” are requirements that define English, for example articles proceeding nouns. These rules are usually common knowledge and are only misused when a writer is tired or makes a careless mistake. The “rules of standard English” distinguish the standard dialect from the nonstandard. These sorts of rules may be broken by someone who isn’t a native speaker of English or not familiar with the more formal rules of English. “Folklore” are rules that we grammarians say that we all should observe, but are easily overlooked. Williams advises that when writing it is important to use “selective observance” and not “blind obedience.” One cannot use all of the rules invented at all times, because in doing this one’s writing would lack all personality and style.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ideal Age to have Children: is older detrimental to offspring?

Growing up I have always noticed some inherent differences between many of my friends’ parents and my own. My friends’ parents typically seemed to have interests more similar to my friends while my parents seemed to have interests that I usually associated with older people. While my best friend’s mother would want to take her daughter shopping and to go get manicures, my mother would rather go out to dinner or go see a play. My best friend could wear clothes in her mother’s closet to school and they were still “cool.” I would never have thought to grab something out of my mom’s closet because my mother didn’t wear the younger clothes like some of my friends’ mothers still did. Instead of attending parties and going out on dates, my parents would prefer to stay at home and have a relaxing evening while other parents I knew would rather go out and visit friends or get drinks somewhere.
There are many ways in which I felt different from my friends’ relationships with their parents, especially their mothers. Some of my friends’ relationships with their mothers were more of a ‘friend’ relationship than that of a mother, given their closer distance in ages. My mother was much older than me and in many ways I felt we couldn’t identify with one another as well because I felt that she was from a different ‘age’ or generation.
The main reason for many of these differences among my parents and my friends’ parents is that my parents are older than the typical age of parents who have children my age. My mom is currently fifty-six years old and my dad is fifty-four. I turned twenty-one September 27, 2005. My brother is fourteen, so for him he has much older parents that the normal age range. My mom was thirty-five when she had me and forty-two when she had my brother. My question is: how do having older parents affect children? Do children of older parent benefit more than children of younger parents? What opportunities do children of older parents miss out on? In the long run and overall, what is the ideal age to have children? What are the affects on the children of having children at an alder/younger age? What are the affects on the parents having children at an older/younger age? I hope to find the answers or “truth” to these questions and get a good idea of whether it is a good idea to have children at an older age.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Revisions to Journal 2/15

J2) Horse lover's house
This houw is for all men, women, and children who have a love for horses in general or who love showing and riding horses. Some have participated in many shows and have been riding for years while some have much less experience or haven't ridden at all. Some ride english while others ride western. The house is three stories and lavishly furnished with horse and hunt country decor. Videos of races and shows are played in many of the rooms to add to the overall theme of horses throughout the house. There is a large barn surrounding the house in which over a hundred horses of various breeds are housed. Several show rings surround the barn and there is at least one show ever weekend on the premises. The majority of the people within the house are women but there are men and several children as well.

Randolph-Macon House
The people that make up this house are all either alumni of Randolph-Macon or current students. They all have some similiar characteristics: all went to this small private school near Richmond, VA where the students stereotypically are more conservative then liberal.

Delta Zeta House
These are girls who are diverse as far as interests and majors, but all have the common bond of sisterhood. We all enjoy having a good time and have an enthusiasm for life. We each are active on campus in a different way and in this way we all come together to form a whole sorority. We each became a member by going through rush and decided that this was the sorority we would like to be a part of. There are various tensions within our sorority which vary from time to time but generally deal with relationships among different girls. Sometimes certain smaller groups of friends within our sorority may be in conflict with one another or have misunderstandings. The great thing about being part of this sorority are the many friendships that have been created and that we will have for years to come.

Student Government Association house
This is a group of student leaders on campus who all want to help improve various aspects of campus to improve the living environment for current students. One has to be elected by the student body to be on sga and have a certain gpa requirement. The members all share a desire to make our campus better and we each have the opportunity to give back to our campus.

Had an overprotective parents house
These are children who are now at least 18 as of now who had a mother or father who were very protective in one or many aspects while they were growing up. This overprotecting have affected them in different ways, making it difficult to define them with any specific characteristics. Many were sheltered when they finally entered the "real world" and had a lot to learn when they became independent. Some benefited from the slight or great isolation they had due to their parents' behavior while others were slightly/greatly harmed by such behavior.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here are the many communities (large and small) that I identify with on some level:

Randolph-Macon- I wanted to get a college education and I liked the school and its friendly atmosphere. Being part of this community has helped engage me in even more activities than in high school and in some ways made me more outgoing by being such a small school. By being so small, I have many more opportunities to become involved in aspects of the community.

Delta Zeta Sorority- I felt these girls reflected a lot of the qualities that I have and that I want to possess. These girls are involved in many different activities on campus, very involved, focused on scholarship, and overall have a strong sense of themselves. These are all things I wanted to continue to be and also to improve upon.

Immediate family- My parents have always emphasized how inportant it is to have strong morals and to always stick to them, regardless of what others may do or say. I hence believe that all people should be treated with care and consideration and try to demonstrate that as much as possible. I continue to embrace the beliefs that my parents instilled in me in my everyday actions. Their teachings are part of my everyday social and private lives.

Warrenton Presbyterian Church- I have been a member of this church for a long time and the people in the congregation are some of the most genuine and sincere people I have ever met. I try to incorporate these two principles that I value so much into my everyday interactions with people. I believe that being true to yourself and to others are very important, and although it may be difficult to always act completely in this way, it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and others.

Student Government Association- I became part of SGA initially because I had a great deal of respect for the members of the organization my freshman year. The members seemed to be the "leaders" on campus and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. Being a part of this organization ties me to social aspects of our campus and allows me to give back to this campus that has become a signifigant part of who I am.

Orientation Leaders- This is a group of leaders that I admire for their dedication, talent, and overall enthusiasm for what they participate in and who they are. I am happy to be able to identify myself with this group.

English major- I hope to obtain my degree in this major. It is part of my personal identity because I am fairly familiar with this subject area.

Greek community- I have enjoyed being part of the greek community and it makes up part of my personal as well as social identity. Many of my friends are greek, making it a large part of my life in college.

Fauquier High Grad- This is the high school that I graduated from and it helped shape the activities that I pursued in high school. Some of the activities and interests I had in high school influenced what I have done in college.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day = Depressing Commercial Holiday

It is approximately midnight on Valentines Day and I am wondering who came up with this ridiculous holiday and why I find myself dissatisfied at the end of almost every one of these 'treasured' holidays we are blessed with once a year. Tonight consisted of going to dinner with two of my good friends and then coming back to my sorority house and hanging out with the house girls. To make the night absolutely unforgettable one of my friends and I even went and bought a whole bag of Valentine m&ms to munch on. I mean a girl should at least be allowed to have chocolate on Valentine's Day if she isn't fortunate enough to have a real valentine. I will let chocolate be my date. M&ms is one of the best dates I have ever had!!
One of my close friends decided it would be great to have 'celebrate' singles awareness day in place of Valentine's Day since there are many of us who are currently single. I pointed out to her that singles awareness day actually spells out SAD if you make it an acronym. My friends thought this was quite funny. Although this acronym is kind of funny, Valentine's Day makes people blatantly aware of their relationship status and for at least that one day, one cannot escape the happy couples seen at restaurants or at the mall. I went to the mall tonight to buy a shirt for a party I am attending later this week and I was bombarded with men buying last minute flowers, cards, candy, and even balloons for their girlfriends or wives. Happy couples everywhere were walking hand in hand as love themed ballods were broadcasted throughout the mall. I am usually a hopeless romantic, but I found myself being quite cynical and wishing that Valentine's Day at least for this year, could be over.
I tell myself that Valentine's day is only once a year and is primarily a commercial holiday in which retailers make millions by selling candy, cards, and other frivilous products. One day a year I tell could be a lot worse I am sure. It is around 12:30am. Valentine's Day 2006 is thankfully over. I just have to wait until next year...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Style Summary: Lesson 1

Williams points out that there is a vast history of writers failing to write clearly and often confuse writers with their complicated style of writing. In the present, in areas such as law, medicine, and science, many people eveb professionals are confused by the complexity of the language used in these areas. In medicine Michael Chrichton says text is usually written as a "highly skilled attempt to confuse the reader," because a doctor may feel he might lose opportunities if he writes papers too clearly; making his ideas appear too simple. Common causes of unclear writing include: not understanding what they are writing about, not knowing how to write what they want, ignorance of how others absorb our writing, and confusion about the subject they are writing about in general. The biggest cause of unclear writing is our inability to understand how others read our writing. What we write may seem perfectly clear to us, but may not be as clear to others. Joseph Williams points out that clear and consise writing is essential for a reader's understanding of what an author is trying to convey.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I contemplated the unavoidable hurt that would result from this situation. I had to tell a woman going through recruitment that she was not invited back to any of the sorority chapter houses on only the second night of recruitment. It didn't help that she was one of several other women in similiar situations. I quickly tried to plan exactly what I would say in this difficult situation. I could tell the woman a number of things, but unfortunately I was afraid there was little I could do to make her feel much better. Recruitment is a fun exciting time for many women. Ufortunately it can also be a stressful and upsetting time as well if a woman finds herself in a situation where she is released from chapters she was potentially interested in joining. It is difficult to be essentially rejected by a chapter and not take it personally. I must remind this woman and any others in such a situation that the voting systems in each sorority are usually complicated and just because they are not invited back to a particular sorority doesn't mean that the sorority doesn't like them. It just means that with their voting system, they didn't have the adequate votes to come back. This could be caused for a variety of reasons, some of which are not personal. This is one of the most difficult parts of recruitment for the women going through recruitment as well as their recruitment guides.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

“Why it is possible to teach some to be good writers”

Dana was diagnosed with a learning disability at a very early age. Dana always had to work twice as hard as the average student in all subjects. Reading and writing were especially difficult for her because of the many things one must remember when reading. Aspects of writing such as grammar, spelling, word choice, and style were very difficult for Dana and she was easily frustrated when her teachers tried to instill her with such skills. By spending an hour every day reading classics such as Wuthering Heights, Dana was able to expand her vocabulary extensively. Spending several hours a day writing poetry, short stories, and persuasive essays she improved her word choice, style, and mechanical errors, by the end of eighth grade she was able to competently write as any average student her age could. By then end of high school through hard work and dedication she was able to overcome her disability and became a great writer. Some of her poetry was even published in several distinguished magazines. Through her never ending determination and the relentless encouragement from her teachers, Dana was able to accomplish something that is not commonly possible. If Dana with a learning disability is able to improve her writing through practice then surely anyone can become a better writer through hard work.

Communication is an essential component of everyday interactions and is essential to leading a successful life. The most productive groups in society can effectively read and write, making it very easy for them to communicate with others. Productive communities, such as Fauquier County should ensure that all students enrolled there be taught to read and write sufficiently. By teaching all students these skills, we are ensuring that equal opportunities for all are enforced. Improving students’ vocabularies through reading, teaching writing formats, and various other writing exercises will help make students better writers and thus being able to communicate more affectively with others.

Facts and Reason:
Vocabulary and word choice are important components in writing successfully. If teachers help increase students’ vocabularies then they will become better writers. Thus, it is possible to become a better writer if one’s vocabulary is increased. Improving one’s grammar and punctuation will also make one a more affective writer. These are some of the many aspects of writing that can be improved.

Facts and Reason:
Writing is not something that individuals are born with. It is possible to be born with a more extensive vocabulary or better natural writing style than the average person, but there are many skills that can be acquired through practice and teaching. Many famous authors spend years revising their works to mold their finished products. Hard work and practice are two necessary aspects in writing.

Facts and Reason
The type of writing being completed makes a huge impact on whether the skills required can be taught or are more of a natural gift that one has. Poetry and creative writing require more creative and artistic talents than writing persuasive essays or a literary analysis. Essays of these latter types have a specific form that can be taught and in many ways perfected. Poetry and stories require creativity that can be expanded upon but are usually already present in a person or not. Such types of writing can in many ways not be taught.

It can be concluded that many types of writing can be taught with hard work and teaching. There are several types of writing that require more talent and individuals may not benefit from being taught how to write such forms. In many cases it is possible to teach students to be good writers.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I peel off the thin paper covering the bottom of the delectable treat. A thin layer of milky brown sweetness covers the thicker combination of smooth, creamy peanut butter and sugar. The bottom is neatly covered with another think layer of rich chocolate. Thicker ridged chocolate surrounds all sides of this mouth-watering delight. The combination of rich chocolate and somewhat salty yet sweet and powerful peanut butter creates a remarkable sensation. One is surprised by the texture the ridges make when one’s teeth pierce the outer shell of the chocolate. The softer inner substance satisfactorily contrasts the slightly tougher exterior.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Journal 2: Expectations of Class

The primary reason that I decided to take advanced expository writing is because I want to become a better writer, since it is essential for me to have this skill in my future profession. I believe that I am a decent writer, but I know that I can improve a great deal and hope to polish my skills and hopefully learn new techniques and become more aware of other styles of writing. I am planning on becoming a lawyer, specifically in health care, thus I will be writing a great deal, trying to persuade others of my clients’ innocence and various other documents. It is very important that I am very clear and concise in my writing, because such documents are crucial in winning cases and being a successful lawyer.
Specifically I hope to be able to express my thoughts more clearly then before because I sometimes feel that what I am thinking isn’t always expressed as well in papers as I would like. What I am trying to convey may come across as confusing or emphasize one aspect more than I would like. I also need to become more patient and spend more time when revising my papers, which would make them much more polished than they typically are. I also sometimes have trouble reaching the required amount of words for papers, mainly because I don’t always elaborate my arguments/ points as much as I possibly should and am sometimes too concise and to the point. Teachers sometimes will right comments like: “nice, please elaborate” or “good point, what else.”
After looking over the syllabus for this class, I am excited to see that we are focusing a great deal on persuasive writing because this is mainly what I will have to write as a lawyer. I have always enjoyed persuasive writing more than any of the other kinds of writing, so this will give me an opportunity to improve in this aspect. I am not really nervous about any aspects of the writing except that is appears that we will have a lot of writing, so I hope that I can still produce quality work and not get burnt out. The most important thing I want to gain out of this class is to improve the way I express my thoughts (express them more clearly) and to have more patience when revising and improving my papers.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Journal 1: Experience as a Writer

In high school I didn’t have many opportunities to write papers in English classes because we focused primarily on reading and comprehension of novels. I would usually receive high B’s on the few papers that I was assigned, which was acceptable but not anything exceptional. Freshman year of college I had Dr. Holliday for a writing companion course as well as two other English classes, hence I had a decent number of papers assigned, which helped give me more opportunities to write. I received mostly A’s on the majority of my papers, which helped me gain confidence in my writing abilities. Towards the end of freshman year I decided to major in English, hence since then I have taken quite a few English and philosophy courses which have required a significant amount of writing.
From the grades I have received on papers in the last several years I assume that I am a decent writer. Although I am fairly good at writing papers, I do not particularly enjoy writing papers and find myself dreading it when I actually have to write one. I am always relieved when I have completed a paper. It is a bit of a lengthy process for me. I begin by reading the question or topic of the paper several times and then begin gathering evidence from the text if the paper pertains to a novel, short story, or other literary work. Once evidence is obtained, then I can use this evidence to formulate a thesis and supporting arguments, which will each be topic sentences in the paper. I will then determine specifically which evidence will go with each topic sentence and what the topic sentence will be word for word. I take all of this and make a detailed outline mapping out the arguments, introduction, thesis, and conclusion of my paper. I then will begin writing the paper on the computer using my outline. The outline is the most time consuming part of writing the paper because most of my planning and thoughts are done in this part. Once I complete the outline, type the paper on the computer I usually take a break from looking at the paper for several hours if time permits and then go back and revise the paper. I admit that I am usually last minute when writing papers, waiting until two nights before and sometimes even the night before, depending on the length of the paper. If the paper requires a decent amount of work or effort I will start at least several nights before so that I can finish it adequately. Once I actually write the paper, I usually only have one draft and make only slight revisions to it. I am fairly picky and spend a decent amount of time in constructing the paper initially, so I do not spend a lot of time revising papers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006