186 South College

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

Month: September 2013 (page 2 of 4)

Where in the World: London

In case you missed the clue from last week’s post, I said I would write about a city that was in the news a lot this summer (royal baby George) and last summer as well (the Olympics).

This is another one of my absolute favorite cities. I visited London about four years ago, after my junior year in high school – I hadn’t even turned 17 yet. A teacher at my school was setting up a trip with EF Tours and opened the 12-day trip to interested students. After begging for approval from my parents, I took off on my first trip to Europe.

Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. We took a few different flights to get to London. Our first flight from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. lasted only 30 minutes. We were barely able to turn on our electronics before we had to turn them off again. On our second flight to Heathrow, I sat next to a man who worked as an Ambassador to England, who was currently living in London with his family. (He calmed me down more than once when the turbulence was frightening).

When we arrived in London, we dropped our things off at our hotel and set out to explore the city (without napping). Let me tell you, the city was absolutely beautiful and trendy. Here are some of my favorite things about London:

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

    You can’t take a step anywhere without seeing a famous piece of architecture. Whether it be Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, or the London Eye, this city is chock-full of remarkable and distinguished sites. One of my favorites might have been Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or the Millenium Bridge. Actually, I don’t think I could pick one, because they’re all so beautiful!

  2. Millenium Bridge with St. Paul’s in the background.

    London is close to so many famous places including Shakespeare’s birthplace and Oxford University. Stanford (where Shakespeare grew up) was full of street performers and vendors (clearly this was a big tourist attraction), but it was a lot of fun! We went to Oxford as well, which reminded me of a scene out of Harry Potter. The students wear robes to class and look so prestigious. Plus, the architecture was grandiose and beautiful.

  3. You can be a tourist, because everyone else is. It’s a bit different from San Francisco in that about 50% of the people, especially in the summertime, are tourists. So don’t feel bad about jumping into the signature phone booth, or posing with a guard, because everyone else is doing it.

There are so many wonderful things about London and the cities on the outskirts, but I don’t have room to explain it all to you here. Have you ever been? What are some of your favorite sights to see there?

Jessica and I with a guard.

Next week, I’ll take you to the land of good beer, breathtaking scenery and a city that appeared in this season of The Bachelorette. Where in the world?


Chelsey Rodowicz

The Girl Who Dreamed

“J.K. Rowling Announces New Harry Potter Universe Film Series.” That headline, courtesy of Buzzfeed, completely and totally made my Thursday.

I was just minding my own business, checking out Yahoo! News and Buzzfeed before leaving for my 12:30 p.m. class, looking for slightly less serious stories and not expecting to find anything earth-shattering. BUT then I discovered that something fantastic will be happening in the not-too-distant future, which involves J.K. Rowling and the wizarding world she created (*cue excitement*). Personally, I love that this upcoming movie series exists in the same universe as HP, but is set in New York seventy years earlier with a new main character: Newt Scamander, author of Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, whose grandson ultimately marries character Luna Lovegood.

I think the world can be divided into two types of people: Harry Potter fans and non-Potter fans, also known as individuals who either (a) tried reading the first book but didn’t like it or finish it, (b) saw one of the movies at a friend’s birthday party one time (5? 4? 6? the one with the dragon and the maze?) but had no idea what was going on, or (c) were never exposed to the source material at all.

I fall into the first category. Since I have a handful of friends who don’t, though, I try not to judge. Some people just prefer reality to fantasy, and I definitely understand that.

But, as a fan, I’m ridiculously excited over this recent, real, J.K.-approved announcement with the promise of more wizard-related material to come. I mean, I re-read all the books several times, saw all the movies in theaters, eagerly waited in line for most of the midnight premiers – sans costume, at least – and am currently registered on Pottermore. Speaking of J.K. Rowling’s interactive Harry Potter-themed website, I decided to retake the Pottermore sorting quiz online this week, since the complete quiz is available via Google. The last time I took the test was during my sophomore year of college, and I felt that 1.5-ish years was a significant amount of time to allow for a house change…and was upgraded to Ravenclaw! Life complete. (I was previously Hufflepuff and don’t really want to talk about it.)

Anyway, J.K. Rowling is one of my idols. I’ve even watched old YouTube videos of her being interviewed about the Harry Potter series before it became such a worldwide phenomenon; that’s how much I admire her. Since my goal is to someday publish a book series, it’s almost impossible not to feel a strange mixture of appreciation/fascination/mild jealousy for the woman who utterly realized that dream. I also wrote a college essay about it; it was for one of those “Who do you admire and why?” type prompts.

This week, I saw the following chart, based on the famous psychology personality chart proposed by Jung and Briggs-Myers but with Harry Potter characters:image06

 I took the psychology test for the first time and found out that I’m INFP, which corresponds with Luna Lovegood. I clicked on a link following my results to “See what famous people share your type!” and found out that J.K. Rowling shares the same INFP personality. Maybe it’s a sign.



Still UD

Originally, I was… speechless, about the events that took place on campus Monday night. Living on North campus and having most, if not all, of my time taken up that night by choir and homework, I wasn’t even aware something had happened until the next morning, when everything really broke loose.

There’s no use ignoring it. Monday night happened. The slew of Facebook messages and tweets happened, too; people asking what on Earth was going on at my school, paired with my absolute inability to fathom it myself.

But the more I heard, the more I thought that while we shouldn’t ignore what had happened, the amazing community of the University of Delaware and the city of Newark shouldn’t let it drag us down either. The group of students involved in the events of Monday night was a small number of the talented, compassionate campus we have at this school. And as the chatter started, and continued, what I found was that almost everyone I spoke with was feeling the same: disappointed, embarrassed, but, more than anything else, determined.

Let me put this in context. This week, I started my internship with the Office of Communications and Marketing, and my first assignment was covering and posting about the 9/11 Blood Drive held at Trabant on Wednesday.

And the number of students I saw, and heard about, was incredible. There were groups of students waiting to donate in almost every seat, and I was in Trabant at lunch. The woman running the event mentioned that that morning, there had been lines, and that there probably would be again that afternoon. Standing there, taking pictures for my post, I felt more than reassured.

Last week, the blog team here at 186 wrote about why we chose UD, and I explained that I hadn’t been sure about coming here. And that’s still true. But I also mentioned that I have come to love UD, and this week, even with all its challenges, is one of the reasons why.

We – UD, as a whole – we’re better than this. This campus is full of considerate, thoughtful people. People who take time out of their days to give blood in honour of 9/11 victims. People who hold fundraisers for children with cancer (seen outside Perkins this very same week, I might add). People who care.

Again: Monday night happened. It was an event, and we at UD are probably going to be hearing about it for a while. But it isn’t UD, and it will blow over. And when it does, what will still be standing is the campus, and the community, for which people love this university.


I’ll Never Forget that Day in 4th Grade


I suspect that most college students instinctively knew what my title references. That speaks to how ingrained the memory of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is in the minds of my generation. As I’m writing this, it’s September 11, 2013, the 12th anniversary of 9/11. My day progressed with a cognizant recognition of the date’s meaning, but it wasn’t until a relevant article on a news website caught my eye early in the afternoon that I realized I’ve lived more years post-9/11 than pre-9/11.


That has been true for some time now, actually. I was in 4th grade, just nine years old, when 9/11 happened. I recognize that nine is pretty young, but my reflections on the event as well as conversations with friends make it apparent than in our young minds, we did recognize that something awful had happened and that our country was overcome with grief. In the days and weeks and months of news coverage and overhearing adults’ conversations that followed, we started to develop a tenuous understanding of terrorism, and more generally, the evil that exists in the world. The evil that every parent wants to shield their child from for as long as they can.


Every American thinks of that day and collectively remembers the victims in their own way, and of course that’s okay. For me, 21 years old now, I choose to never forget.


I don’t want to ever forget the significance of this day; the lives that were lost and the innumerable number of lives that were deeply affected by the losses. I don’t want any 11th of September to pass without bearing witness to some sort of memorial, either in person or on TV or online. Though it will be tough to sit through, I want to watch the film about the United Flight 93 heroes – the ordinary Americans who, after learning that the nation was under attack, saved countless lives by rushing the cockpit, thereby preventing an attack on the believed target of the United States Capitol. It’s so important to never erase the tragedy from one’s memory, because to do so would be to forget the innocent victims of this nationally – and globally – transformative part of history.


A year and a half ago, I visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania, where the plane crashed into a field. Though fairly new at the time and not yet completed, the Memorial was incredibly moving. Standing so close to the site of impact while learning about the lives and brave actions of the 40 passengers and crew personalizes the tragedy in an indescribable manner.

The Flight 93 National Memorial.JPG

Flight 93 Memorial


While we must always hold the utmost deference to the victims’ families, I feel that a discussion about remembering 9/11 is incomplete without mention of America’s immediate response. From the courage of the first responders to the average citizen donating blood or money to aid the recovery, we showed the beauty of America. Because of those overwhelming displays of unity, resilience, and patriotism, I know we’ll Never Forget that we are America Strong. 

~Ruby Harrington


Hitting the Academic Sweet Spot

A lot of people come to college knowing exactly what they will study. They have mastered the basic skills to advance their knowledge, participated in various school activities to get some experience, and completed everything necessary to be where they are in their majors happily.


However, other people come to college with no clue as to what they want to do. Some people come in with an idea that completely changes. People like me.


I was admitted an English Education major, had a classroom my senior year of high school and hated it. I then switched to Business Administration, attended a Decision Day, and was bored the entire time. I moved to Political Science, admitting to myself that I love to follow and analyze politics- maybe I’ll find something there. After taking a communications class I added another major. Clearly, I fall into the “all-over-the-place” category.


However, I can gladly say that this week I hit my academic sweet spot.


“What is that Shannon? What is the ‘sweet spot?’” you ask.


Today I tied together that the viral spread of a mass-mediated message displays the values of a culture (which are socially constructed by said culture by the way). A message in clear altruism does not spread if it does not ring true to the values of a culture, regardless if the intentions are kind or not.


Last week, I left myself with the mental dilemma of trying to digest two separate definitions of what the core functions of the media are by two very intelligent professors from two different classes. If they are core functions within communications, how can there be two different definitions? Through varying theoretical approaches, obviously.


 “What did you just say Shannon?” you ask. I am asking too.


If you told me any of that a year ago, I would have laughed at you. People do not get jobs studying communication! Who cares about sending a tweet and having it go viral? Who cares what that says about the culture? Who cares about the functions of media- I just want the latest sports updates!


I have realized I care. I sat outside the library, thinking about all that I learned, and wiped away for an hour that investigating these answers may not provide me with an income. I just sat there and enjoyed exploring a sweet spot in my learning experience.

The best place to have an existential crisis: outside the library

The best place to have an existential crisis, outside the library

I ask professors questions after class because my brain needs clarity. I read all the required readings because I want to. I write over every word count I get for papers because I have too much to say.

This is the academic sweet spot. When you care so much to go above and beyond because you want to, you’ve hit it.

Don’t be afraid to change your major to find it. While I may be biased being a college student and not a struggling adult, I hope that everyone finds their academic sweet spot because man, it feels good.

~Shannon Poulsen




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