Tag Archives: honors

So far, so good

This semester has been a bit of an adjustment for me. For the first time in my four semesters here at Fontbonne, I do not have classes all five days of the week! :) I managed to get my schedule so that I only had classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I like it a lot so far! It makes managing my time a lot easier. The only downside is I have my first real online class, and getting used to that has been a struggle. Because I do not actually go to a class, I tend to procrastinate on the assignments more than I should. It’s not a good habit, but I have gotten better at not procrastinating! If only I could figure out time management for this one class!

I’ve really enjoyed the first few weeks of this semester, it is less stressful (that could be because it is the first time ever that I do not have a math class…strange feeling for me!) and I really enjoy my classes. It is always a good idea to make the best out of your classes. My first class  is an education class I absolutely love! The teacher is great, everyone is full of discussion, and it is a good way to start the day. My second is a literature class, and not one I enjoy, but I am lucky enough to have my best friend in the class so that makes it much better! Thirdly, is a computer class with my former adviser who is really funny, time goes by fairly quickly in class and I’ve already learned some pretty neat tricks on the computer. And on Monday nights I have an honors class about Masculinity. It is really interesting to see how society has changed the definition of masculinity through the years!

So, basically what this blog post is about: Time Management, Making the best out of the schedule you’re given, and enjoy your semesters in college :)

With Honors

Yesterday, at approximately 9:16 am, I handed in the grand finale of a rather intriguing semester-long experiment involving Fontbonne’s Honors program. See, to be in the Honors program, you have to take 13 credit hours of honors-level classes by the end of your sophomore year, and because I wanted to complete this requirement ASAP, I took 2 honors classes this semester to finish up my credit requirements. One of the honors classes I took (well, am taking, but this semester’s so close to being over, I’m already referring to it in the past tense. I know you’re supposed to live in the present, but…I’m not going to.) is Intro to Religious Studies, an official Honors class. The other class is American History I, a regular class. I worked with my professor and the Honors people to take the class for Honors credit by reading 4 humongous biographies about people who characterized chunks of American history, on top of the regular coursework. I then incorporated all that reading into the final paper that everyone in the class had to write about the development of democracy in America from colonial times to the Civil War.

I really liked being able to take a regular class with honors work. I love history to begin with, so getting Honors credit to read about all the big people in American history was pretty sweet. My favorite book was Team of Rivals, a biography of Lincoln and some of his statesman peers by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was a hefty one because she profiles Lincoln as well as people like William Seward and Edward Bates (from Missouri) to show that  Lincoln was really part of a bigger movement of laborers-turned-lawyers-turned-statesmen that left an impact on the country. I liked the other books I read – ones on John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Andrew Jackson – but just not as much as this one.

Anyway, about bumping up a regular class to an Honors-level one. It felt cool to kind of design my own coursework for the class.  Although my instructor suggested some of the books she thought I should read, I got to choose them on my own. A simple exercise of academic freedom, maybe, but it was pretty empowering. Plus, there’s just something about carrying around a 600-page tome that makes me feel scholarly. The feeling got even better when I was typing my paper and I had all four 600-page books and my notes on them spread out before me around my laptop. I was blending quotes and paraphrasing the authors left and right, and you know what? I found myself thinking, “I feel like I’m in college!”

So, I’m feeling rather accomplished these days, thanks to my experience with taking a regular class for honors credit. I was fortunate that my instructor was as enthusiastic about this project as I was, making it easy to set up and worthwhile to complete. If you’re in the Honors program, you should try it sometime!

I’m in the Bosnian Immigration Experience class!

I’m working on a pretty interesting project for my Bosnian Immigration Experience class, and I’d like to tell you about it.

So, I’m taking this class for Honors credit, and its subject matter really interests me. We’re learning about the causes and the aftermath of the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s, which is referred to by a lot of different names, depending on what side of the story you sympathize with. The teachers of the course tend to use “the Bosnian Genocide” because it was definitely ethnic cleansing (the U.N. has a pretty strict definition of genocide, though, and using the term comes with some serious consequences if you’re a nation, and if you take the class, you’ll learn about how all this relates to the conflict!)

Anywho, part of our final grade is a project. Most students write a paper for this, and I was trying to find a good point to argue for the paper when one day, I received an email from my professor. He said there was a project I might want to work on, instead of writing a paper. Now, although I really like writing, I was not terribly excited about writing a fifteen-page paper for my final project. So, I decided to work on the other project.

Well, what is this project? you might ask. It’s kind of a complicated explanation:  see, the Bosnian Immigration Experience class spawned “The Bosnian Memory Project,” which is sort of an organization that created a museum exhibit that shows the roots of the Balkan conflict, the atrocities that occurred during the conflict, and what happened to the people involved afterward.  Some of the  information used in the exhibit, such as personal accounts, came from interviews with Bosnian survivors of the genocide, which were conducted and archived by students in the class I’m taking. The Project has a website, http://www.fontbonne.edu/bosnia and my task is to listen to the audio parts of the interviews, sift through and find the really important segments, and then put them on the various pages of the website.

I’m going to listen to over 20 hours of audio, and then condense each interview, which is about an hour, into a five minute clip.

It’s going to be a difficult project, especially because the subject matter is so grave. The end result will be a better-than-ever website and will help people get a real feel for the events that took place during the Bosnian Genocide, straight from the people who lived it. I’d say that’s definitely worthwhile.

Oh, and happy Pi Day!

Second Semester Starts Off Swimmingly!

What’s a better way to ring in the second semester than having a three-day week? The academic year officially resumed on Tuesday (after a 35-day Christmas break, mind you) and then we had a snow day on Thursday! It may seem like I didn’t have the opportunity to fit any actual learning into this week, but fortunately, my schedule works out so that I was able to make the most of the few days I went to school, and I’ve sampled all the classes I’ll be taking this semester.

Judging from Tuesday and Wednesday, it seems like I’ll be in some pretty cool classes for Spring 2011. The class that is the most exciting for me is an Honors class called “The Bosnian Immigration” that’s going to examine the war that took place in the Balkans during the 1990s, and the subsequent immigration of Bosnians to Saint Louis. I’m also taking two math classes – Calculus III and Mathematical Modeling, both of which seem fairly difficult but I think they’ll be rewarding!

One neat thing I’ve noticed about Fontbonne is that, in my experience, if a student has the ability to succeed in an upper-level course, she’s allowed to take the class, regardless of her age or year in school! I’ll give you an example of this, but first, in case you don’t know the hierarchy of college classes, I’ll give you a quick explanation: In college, the courses students take are assigned identification numbers that describe the difficulty of the coursework. Entry-level courses are usually 100-level classes, classes that require some prerequisites and are more difficult are 200- or 300-level classes, and the classes that seniors usually take are 400-level classes. In my case, even though I’m only a freshman, this semester I’m taking one 100-level class, two 200-level classes, a 300-level class, and one 400-level class! It’s awesome that there’s so little “red tape” at Fontbonne. For me, this means I’m able to take the classes I want and the ones I’m interested in right away!

It’s nice to be back at Fontbonne again. Eating lunch with my friends, meeting new people in my classes, and being busy with school again is pretty exciting after being gone from it all for so long!

(I just hope my enthusiasm remains with me this semester…I suspect it will soon wear off!)