186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

The Case for Learning a New Language in College

I’ve noticed—as I struggle through class participation and oral exams—that the people who most easily pick up the oral aspect of Japanese are the people who already know another language: for example, the bilingual girl from a Spanish-speaking background or the Chinese students who speak perfect English. Maybe it’s because their brains are already adapted to switching between languages. But I don’t know; I’m not a psychologist.

Sometimes I wonder if my own difficulties with speaking Japanese can be traced back to my high school education instead. I took Latin for six years before switching to Japanese at UD, a language virtually without an oral component. But I think my main problem is not learning any language from a young age.

At this point, I’m pushing through Japanese so I can just reach the rumored “breaking point” at which the skills involved in learning a language are perfected, and the only obstacle to fluency is not knowing enough vocabulary. Getting to that point will make it easier to learn more languages, so I can finally add Russian to my language repertoire.

But I’m convinced that if I knew a second language as a child, it would have been easier to pick up more. For this reason, I’m an advocate of elementary language education. However, barring a drastic transformation of the national education system, it seems like it’s on parents to educate their own children. For this reason, not only do I admire UD’s language requirement, I embrace it.

It may be difficult to learn a language in college. Sometimes it may not feel worth it. But there really isn’t a downside to more children being bilingual, and the easiest way to ensure it is to educate college-aged students to prepare them to become fluent in a second language. That way, they can speak both languages at home to teach their children to be bilingual. And knowing more than one language, especially in the United States, can open an infinite number of doors.

~Heather McAdams

Nights at the Theatre by Amanda Langell

Being the Broadway enthusiast that I am, I was ecstatic to find out the plays put on by the REP here at the University of Delaware are of equal caliber to the shows lining the streets of Manhattan. For a little over two weeks, the REP has been showcasing two plays at once: Red and The Things We Do For Love. The plays are wildly different; while one focuses on abstract messages of life through art, the other delves into the twisted feelings of love present in a three-story home. However, despite their contrasting tones and messages, both scripts are compelling, brilliantly executed, and effortlessly manage to captivate audiences.

Red highlights the relationship between Mark Rothko, a well-established artist, and his new employee, Ken, in a breathtakingly intimate performance in the Studio Theatre at the University of Delaware. The two characters battle through their individual ideas concerning art, life, and commercialism for ninety minutes with no intermission. It is an organic display of passion as principles of the past conflict and interchange with introductions to the new world of art. There are no overdramatic costumes, flaunty sets, or any other material objects that would take away the rawness of the performance. As an audience member, I felt every pulsating wave of emotion emitting from both actors on stage and left feeling inspired by the ideas presented throughout the show.

Two nights after, I attended The Things We Do For Love and braced myself for almost the complete opposite of Red. The show had the large audience laughing in shock at the copious amounts of humor and heart-warming moments among the characters all living in such close proximity. Very quickly, the friendships in the play become strained by budding romances that eventually turn the house into a toxic environment driven by sexual desires and abusive tendencies. The cleverness of the three-story set and the ways in which the actors filled the space with subtle humor made this play one of my favorites I’ve seen by the REP. Plus, I (unashamedly) automatically love anything with romance.

I will definitely be purchasing season tickets to the REP next semester because I cannot bear to miss any of these plays with these talented actors, designers, and directors. I highly recommend seeing any show offered by the REP because I can guarantee it will be expertly executed and completely enthralling. Red and The Things We Do For Love were the perfect two plays to end the year here at UD!

Self-Discovery in College by: Avery Beer

College is the first time in our lives where we are allowed endless freedom. For the first time in most of our lives this is the chapter of our lives where we are completely independent and have the capability to do literally anything with our lives, which is scary yet incredibly liberating. Many people will tell you that college is the best time of our lives for so many reasons, but I think many underestimate the emotional journey that many students undergo.

Along with this new independence and freedom comes a lot of soul-searching. Who do you want to be? What do you stand for? What are your special talents and quirks and more importantly, what would you like to do with them to better the world around you? At a large school like Delaware, we are constantly meeting new people and immersing ourselves in different experiences. There is a lot of pressure at this time in our lives to really discover our true selves. It is easy to get lost, it is easy to feel like your life is in shambles (when in reality, it is most definitely not), and it is easy to feel like you do not even know yourself. I have felt like this, as I am sure most people have, on numerous occasions, and to solve my unsettled feelings, I have a mental list of things I can do to help myself clarify, reflect, and realize that I can do anything I set my mind to, so I figured I would share them!

1. Solo Adventures

Some hate being alone, and some love it. Regardless, going on adventures by yourself can really give you peace of mind that you didn’t even know you needed. I call my alone time my solo adventures, even if it just means walking to the get coffee or to the pharmacy and back. I highly recommend doing things by yourself sometimes in college to let ourselves breathe from the chaotic world.

2. Writing

This one is pretty self-explanatory, yet so many people loathe putting their words on paper (or on a computer). I understand why people would hate writing for school, but writing things down for yourself is so therapeutic. You aren’t being graded and you can literally write whatever you want… do it. Sometimes I find myself reading old things I’ve written about a specific incident or feeling that I had and it’s actually nice to look back on these things, good or bad.

3. Yoga

Many people cringe at this word. DISCLAIMER: contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be flexible for yoga. I think people have this confused. Yoga is whatever you make of it and the goal of yoga is to synchronize your mind, your body, and your breath. If your body is telling you to just lay on the mat, that can be yoga too! I started this beautiful art at a time in my life where I was feeling very anxious and although I do not do yoga everyday, it has taught me a lot about myself and it’s something I know I can always do. Plus, yoga clothes are cute!

4. Talking to people

I mean have a real, genuine conversation with someone. I understand it can be a bit awkward to just delve into a serious conversation with someone, but sometimes if you just start talking about whatever you are feeling, it will just flow and the next thing you know, you are gaining insight from whoever you’re talking to. The ability to speak to others is something we take for granted.. the power of human communication is one of the greatest of all because we are so intrinsically different and complex, yet we all influence each other. Plus, if you’re talking to someone who knows you well, they will really be able to help you with your unsettled feelings.

We all have our moments, especially in college. It is okay to be moving so fast and not even know which direction you’re going in… chances are there are thousands of people at school who feel the same way. When you’re feeling extra disoriented, extra emotional, or extra unsettled, take a deep breath and remind yourself that:

  1. You’re only human after all.
  2. You’re a blue hen, you’re the best breed of human there is!

~Avery Beer

How to Watch the Sunset by Gillian Zucker

Every day, we travel to another world where we can do anything and be anything we want to be. We are scientists researching cures to deadly diseases. We are pilots, flying high-speed planes to tropical destinations. We are authors or artists, receiving praise for our masterpieces. If I told you that this alternate universe existed within your reach, would you believe me? With the help of the services and apps that our phones, laptops, or tablets grant us nowadays, we can do anything and be anything we want to be. But are we losing something in the process?

Today, we participate in what researcher danah boyd considers an “Always-On Lifestyle.” This means that as a result of advanced technology, we are always connected to the online world no matter where we are. We are constantly multitasking: live-tweeting episodes of our favorite Netflix shows while refreshing emails and texting people on our glossy smartphones. I’m not immune to this phenomenon. Most of the time, I find myself starting off my day, not with The New York Times and a cup of coffee but with a Facebook newsfeed and unfocused eyes that jump from picture to picture, Buzzfeed video to Buzzfeed video without stopping. For a while, I told myself that my daily routine was keeping my brain active with all the content I saw. But I was wrong.

In my Media and Culture class, we watched a documentary (FRONTLINE’s Digital Nation) that talked about how technology can really impact young kids into their college years, sometimes in negative ways. I was frightened by studies in the documentary that showed an increased reliance on technology may be “dumbing us down,” and lowering our attention spans. This documentary made me realize that sometimes in the digital world, our thinking is contorted. We start to consider those 500 Twitter followers that occasionally click “like” on our posts as the real friends who will always be there for us. We start to post those classic Instagram pictures of sunsets instead of actually sitting outside and enjoying its beautiful rays. Rather than reading, we opt for SparkNotes, we “Kik” others out of our lives, and we stop living life to the fullest.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that technology is ruining the world or that everyone should participate in a social media cleanse. I assure you, I’m a Communications major, so I’m always thinking about the effects of media. I personally believe that technology provides everyone with endless outlets for creativity, helps raise awareness of and enact change to solve important societal problems, and it can connect people in ways we’ve never imagined.

But what I want you to keep in mind is that maybe the best way of connecting with that real world is disconnecting from all of those digital distractions from time to time. And to really begin to appreciate that real world around us, all we need to do is go outside again, sit back, and enjoy that beautiful sunset like we used to.

Villanova’s Upset: The Magic of Sports by Amanda Langell

Some monumental things have already happened in 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, the trailer for Finding Dory was released, and Justin Bieber now has dreadlocks. The world of pop culture and cinema has a way of drawing everyone into a seemingly endless void of fame, debate, and gossip within seconds of each new event that sweeps the tabloids. Even though people are consumed by the drama of Hollywood, when it’s the month of March, all of that comes second to the NCAA tournament. Suddenly, every commercial on television is about March Madness and everyone around you is talking about college basketball, whether they are a big fan or just making a bracket for charity. For a month, it is a pulsating time that is undoubtedly more noteworthy than Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks.

There is a certain passion that erupts when watching sports that cannot be duplicated. Sure, when Leo won his Oscar, everyone was extremely happy, but after three minutes, it was over. There was no jolt of electricity like there is when thousands of people scream for a common cause in an arena for an extended period of time, all wearing their team’s colors and almost dizzy with anxiety and excitement. The adrenaline that causes fans to instinctively spring up and scream in ecstasy when a tied game is decided in the final dwindling seconds is, in my opinion, something that is unique and unprecedented. It produces tiny strikes of lighting that curl around your heart, dance around your chest, and refuse to simmer even when you are trying to sleep that night as opposed to the ephemeral feelings Hollywood draws from us. The NCAA final produced all of these emotions and more with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beater three-point shot to bring glory to Pennsylvania.

When you think of colleges with power basketball teams, the obvious answers are always Duke University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Kansas. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is always up there as well, so it did not surprise anyone when they made the final. But Villanova? They are not typically on that list; however, they prevailed throughout the tournament and managed to upset UNC with their offensive determination. With the last possession of the game and only seconds left on the clock, Villanova had to make something happen quickly or else the game was going to overtime. When Jenkins set his feet for the three and let the ball leave his hands, millions of eyes, both in the arena and at home, followed the trajectory of the ball as time seemed to slow down. The country went silent and then it erupted in chaos. There are some occasions in sports that unfold as perfectly and dramatic as if they were scripted and they just do not compare to the faraway events happening on the west coast. There is an overwhelming element of human drama in sports that makes moments like these historic and everlasting, both in the minds of fans and on the replays of ESPN.

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