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

Tag: Think Bigger (page 1 of 2)

My Two-Month Feminist Transformation

When you hear the word “feminism,” what do you think? A lot of people see feminism as something negative, because they associate it with all of the extreme feminists out there. But that is not what feminism is. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. That’s it. Pretty simple, right? But today, so many people want to distance themselves from the word “feminism” because they only see the negatives, the extremes, the things that do not truly represent what feminism is. A feminist is not a woman who hates men or thinks that women are superior and deserve more than men. A feminist can be a man or a woman. A feminist can be old, young, rich, poor, smart, silly, really anyone who thinks that men and women deserve to be treated equally.

I will admit that I never used to think of myself as a feminist. I have advocated for gay marriage, educated others about human trafficking, and attempted to become as environmentally friendly as I can, but I never really embraced girl power. I feel like it is because I honestly did not completely know what the term represented. This semester has almost been a journey to discover the feminist in me. I first became interested in the subject in my HDFS 230 class this semester – “Diversity and Families.” We discussed feminism and why people do not like being called feminists, and it really puzzled me. The feminist movement has helped so many women and still affects us today. You know that thing called “voting?” Women can do that today because of the feminist movement, because of the feminists who fought for our rights as women back in the day. Feminism is helping- not hindering- but still women refuse to be called feminists.

It is a shame that feminism has received such a bad name. If we are not going to stand up for ourselves, then who will? There are people who still believe that women are inferior to men and that their place is in the home, not the office. The fact that these kinds of sexist ideals still exist today shows that despite our progress, the women’s rights movement still has a long way to go.

Recently UN Women has released an ad campaign that brings such issues to light in a pretty powerful way. They typed phrases into Google such as “women cannot” and “women need to” and used the most popular searches to show how much discrimination there is toward women today. It is so shocking, frustrating, and confusing to see the things that people have searched on Google, the things that people actually think today. I encourage you to take a look at their ad campaign, whether you are a woman or a man.

An image from the UN Women ad campaign

It is possible to achieve equal rights for both men and women as long as we step up and work together. So, let me ask you now, are YOU a feminist?

UN Women ad campaign: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads

~Heather Brody

Do Honors students have social lives? (and other questions)

Welcome to our special “Day Before Deposits are Due” edition of Ask Ashley!

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The Social Scene

This week I am going to address a subject that I’m sure has crossed everyone’s mind at some point: social life. Yes, Honors students generally hold their studies high on their list of priorities, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like to have fun, too!

A common misconception about Honors life is that students who live in Honors housing are isolated from the rest of the student body. Since the majority of freshmen live in East Campus, it’s nearly impossible not to meet people outside of the Honors community just by stepping onto the Harrington turf. Living in Russell gives you a smaller community feel within a large school, which is a nice feeling to come home to at the end of the day. Also, it is nice to have students around you who probably have similar study habits and will respect Sunday night cram sessions.

Honors students have just as many social opportunities as non-Honors students do and then some. We can be involved in Greek life or can join as many RSO’s as they please all while having access to exclusive Honors events, as well. We get the best of both worlds: a quiet study area when needed while having access to the same social privileges as every other student at UD. What more could you ask for?

Your Future Plans

When someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, how do you respond? You may have everything in your career future figured out to the tee, or you may not have a clue. Whether you apply to college as a specific major or if you apply undeclared, discovering new interests and passions once you begin your college journey is inevitable.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but you probably will change your major at least once over the course of your college career. With such a wide variety of interesting courses available, something completely obscure may creep up on you and spark your interest without you even realizing it until the course is halfway over. Also, you may be inspired by a particular professor’s work or a study done by another student. No matter how it happens, I promise that someone or something will inspire you, even if this inspiration has absolutely nothing to do with your future plans.

Throughout high school, I was all about conserving the environment and I was very interested in the natural resources that the earth has to offer, so naturally I applied to UD as an Environmental Studies major. Then, one day over the summer, panic set in: although I’d thought that I’d one day save the world with my environmentally friendly attitude, I thought that I’d better change my major to Plant Science so that I could maximize my career options. Fast-forward a couple months, and here I am, a Communication major with Spanish and Art minors. If that’s not a 180-degree turn, I don’t know what is!

Long story short, it’s so easy to change your mind in college and let’s face it – it’s what kids our age do best! So don’t be afraid to have a change of heart once you get here. I already switched my major twice before I was even finished with my first semester! As long as you’re doing what you love, everything else should fall into place.

If you’re unsure about which major to choose coming into UD, comment here and I’ll be glad to give you my advice!

~Ashley Bostwick

Think Bigger by Starting Smaller

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There are no two ways about it: the events of the past few weeks have been trying, and not only for the students of UD. People everywhere are still reeling from the effects of the Boston Marathon bombings, the attacks in Iraq, the earthquake at the Iran-Pakistan border, the Texas plant fertilizer explosions… sometimes, it seems like the list of things that are going wrong is infinite and unyielding. There will always be times when pessimism would be the easiest route, when writing off humanity is inherently bad would be the simplest… but that wouldn’t be very daring at all.

This week is about daring to think bigger, and even in light of the tragedies, accidents, and mishaps of the past fortnight, I truly do believe that humanity has done that with stunning perseverance and encouraging optimism. The “dare to think bigger” comes in the form of Boston Marathon runners crossing the finish line and going straight to the hospital to give blood to the victims, of the Yankees’ tribute to the Red Sox in the middle of a game, of the national and global support to every person feeling the shock of these events.

Looking back, here’s what I’ve come up with: that daring to think bigger means starting smaller. All of the positive responses to these and, I think, all things start with individuals who cannot stand to sit idly by while others are suffering. These changes come in a number of shapes and sizes: time, money, prayers, helping hands, random acts of kindness… the list is miraculously long, so much so that I could fill a month of posts on the beautiful, thoughtful ideas people conceive.

But instead of filling a post, what I want to do and to see more than anything is the filling of campus. In conjunction with “dare to think bigger” and what this post has been about, I’m issuing a challenge to UD; our partner in National Honors Blog Week, Temple University; and everyone reading this post.

Dare to think bigger by starting smaller. It’s one thing to march onto the street and announce a staggering plan for global change, but it’s entirely another to take on the perspective of another. There’s no way of knowing what a passing smile or a door held for the person behind you can do. If everyone reaches out just a little, hands will join. Perspective expands when minds do, and by reading to the end of this post, you’re already a small part of the way. To get you that little bit farther, I’d like to leave you with this quote:

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.” Queen Victoria.

Have a great weekend, UD.

~Claire Davanzo

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Push Harder, Go Farther

Today we hand over the blog to our guest writer, Kristin Bennighoff, Associate Director of the Honors Program to let her dare you to think bigger:

“You know why? Because I’m a pusher. I PUSH people…and now I’m going to push you because I know you are smarter than this.”

            -Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls

One of my students told me I was a pusher, referring to this quote, and she is right. I dare students to think bigger all the time by pushing them. That’s my job: get students to challenge themselves and encourage them to do things above and beyond their expectations.

I do not approve of “easy” schedules: only 4 classes, no Honors sections, no courses on Fridays (or any other day of the week). Life is never just a 4-day week, so you may as well come to terms with that now! I knew a senior in the Class of 2012 who took two 8:00 AM classes in her final semester. Some of her friends called her crazy, but I called her brilliant. Take it easy in your last semester before med school? No way for that student (she won the Warner Award for the outstanding woman in the senior class, by the way).

What makes me happy is seeing a student who is not afraid of what I suggest to them, even if it is a challenging path. When I see potential, I have to let students know that they should think bigger. I need to plant the seeds in their minds so they might take a chance and think of themselves as something MORE.

What are the things that you can do to think bigger? The feasibility of these ideas depends on your year, what you have done so far, your GPA, and your ambitions. These are the bigger things I would encourage students to do when they are sitting in my office:

  • Take as many Honors courses as possible.
  • Get involved with Undergraduate Research and try for an Honors Degree with Distinction (writing a thesis!).
  • Think strategically about what you do with your winter and summer breaks.
  • Talk to faculty and form relationships. Faculty know about all kinds of opportunities—research, internships, upcoming speakers, etc. You will need letters of recommendation or references, so these relationships are key.
  • Get involved—with the Honors Program as a Fellow (Russell, Writing, Senior), by joining clubs & organizations, starting your OWN club or organization, participating in student government, becoming a Blue Hen Ambassador, and so on…
  • Think about how you can make an impact on your community, your country, and/or the world.
  • Add another major, degree, or minor. Take another foreign language. Take a graduate level course. Explore a new subject/course just for the sake of learning. (If you have space in your schedule)
  • For students with GPAs of 3.7 and above, look at the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman scholarships. Yes, you must have leadership activities, great relationships with recommenders, and big dreams, but you can’t win one of these if you don’t apply. Think about other national and international scholarships: the Fulbright, Goldwater, Udall, and Mitchell. Our students have been competitive for these awards and have WON! This spring alone we have a Truman, Fulbright, and 2 Goldwater winners. These prestigious awards could be within YOUR reach.
  • Network: Talk to faculty, staff, alumni, other students. You never know what can come of these conversations!
  • Read/Explore: Watch or read the news and understand what is going on in our country and around the world. Read scholarly articles in your major or written by your professors. Read good books and attend campus lectures with outside speakers (especially ones sponsored by the Honors Program!).

So, now it’s up to you! This is your education and your decision. Will you take it to the next level? I can only push so much. You have to make the choice to push yourself.

~KB

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Undecided? Fundecided.

Our theme this week is “dare to think bigger.” I’ve decided to take this in a somewhat different direction and examine majors. Specifically, I want to look at what happens to the hundreds of students who enter UD each year undeclared.

I started here in fall 2010 undecided (officially University Studies), and not really sure what I wanted to do. I liked journalism and so was leaning toward English, but I wasn’t ready to commit yet. I was initially apprehensive about coming in without a major, but the Blue Hen Ambassadors I had on my several visits, as well as my advisor and lots of people back home, all told me not to worry, plenty of people enter undecided.

And so, I started college undecided. Most of the people I met at UD early on did have a defined major, but it was kind of cool being different. I quickly found out all the people I spoke to were right: it’s not too difficult being undecided. Freshmen year you take a lot of general, university-required classes anyway, so being undecided did not have much of an effect on me then. In my first semester, I also took a one-credit course with a couple of other undecided freshmen who were hoping to figure out what to study. Due to my lack of a major, one of my friends called me “fundecided.” Other than that, there was little difference.

Over my first three semesters I did take a few courses in subjects that interested me and were potentially worth pursuing. I also got a number of those pesky requirements of the way.

As my third semester neared its end, I was ready to declare. I had taken a basic English class, one that all English majors need, that semester, in preparation for what I thought would be my major. I still was not sure what I would do career-wise with an English degree, but I had some ideas, and at any rate, I figured there was no point in waiting until after the completion of my fourth semester, when all undecided students must declare. I was confident English was the field I wanted to be in, and I went for it.

I wasn’t ready to declare a major when I entered college, so I waited. And things have been ok. So I’ll tell you, if you’re “undecided” about what to study, don’t worry. Try courses out, and take your time. You’ll find your niche.

Also, we’re still in the midst of Honors Blog week, so be sure to check out our partner in crime Temple University’s blog at HonorsLounge.com.

~Matt Bittle

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