186 South College

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

Month: November 2013 (page 2 of 3)

The Language of Music

It has always been a dream of mine to learn another language. I love listening to people speak in different languages, and I am always amazed that hundreds of different sounds can consolidate into comprehendible, meaningful words. I admire that people in certain countries grow up fluent in two or even three languages.

In college I took a few Spanish classes, so I usually can hold a reasonable conversation in Spanish. I also picked up a few Portuguese words from meeting international students. Someday I desire to be bilingual, so I recently began researching top languages to learn. As I was researching everything from Mandarin Chinese to rare Indian dialects, I realized I do know a language other than English: the language of music.

I consider music to be another language because it has its own set of notations and symbols that create meaning. There are so many different styles of music, from jazz to classical to techno. But the best thing about music, is that it is a universal language. People from all over the world, no matter what language they speak, recognize tunes and songs. Music has the ability to move people from all walks of life.

When I traveled to Spain this summer, I was amazed to hear American pop music playing on the radio. My native Spanish friends knew the songs and sang the tunes, despite the fact that they did not speak English. I was able to learn songs from them, and picked up melodies without having to comprehend every Spanish word.

Being a singer and an instrumentalist myself, music has always been a part of my life. I love listening to music, learning songs, and even writing my own music. The best part about music is being able to share it with others. Music also brings people together. It provides opportunities for people to collaborate and present their talents to others. This week in Honors, we had the annual Redding Coffee House, which allowed students to showcase their musical talents to people in the entire building.

One thing that attracted me to the University of Delaware was the plethora of musical opportunities on campus. The university has incredible choirs, orchestras, acapella groups and theater companies. Delaware also has an immense amount of talent. In my building, people are always playing the grand piano, improvising vibrant melodies at all hours of the night.

Music is also a way to display challenging topics. I am involved in the “Campus Chatter Workshop Troupe” on campus. A few undergraduates are learning songs to perform at a showcase about struggles international students face coming to America. The songs are filled with emotion, and the show reveals student’s struggles to fit in when they feel they are different. I love how these stories about international student’s experiences are presented through the universal language of music. Music acts as a medium to present these moving messages. Whether listening to music makes a person feel sad, elated, or hopeful, it still makes an impact.

Music has played a huge role in my life, and I am so grateful to have many opportunities to express myself through the art of music. Even though I might not be able to communicate with others in Italian, French, or perfect Spanish, I know I can speak through music.

~ Amanda Abrom

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

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It seems like just yesterday I moved into my new room in James Smith in my JCrew shorts and tank, basking in the beauty of the blasting air conditioner, a far cry from move-in day in Russell freshman year.  Fast-forward a few months and instead of my AC in the 60s, the temperature outside has far surpassed that and now resides in the 40s and 50s on a regular basis.  There is even snow in Newark’s forecast this week!  In addition, previews for Disney’s new animated feature Frozen are popping up all over my TV, while peppermint hot chocolate is now available at the Starbucks in Smith, and twinkle lights are starting to be strung around Main Street. You know what this means… the holidays are upon us!  And if you are anything like me, you could not be more excited; it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Granted, Halloween was only 13 days ago, and we have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving.  However, I can’t help myself; I just want it to be the holidays already! It is such a magical time of the year. I swear the general public is a lot happier during the season. How could it not be? The holidays encourage us to show love and give thanks for all of the people in our lives and to showcase our ideals and beliefs. Plus, we get to eat lots of cookies and watch movies where there is always a happy ending, which is why I love watching them so much! Either the two leads fall in love and kiss under the mistletoe, or the Grinch-like characters start to believe in the spirit of the holidays. Regardless, they are such feel-good movies, just like the entire season itself.

Courtesy of UD’s Facebook page.

However, I have found that while some people (myself included), are beyond excited for the holiday season, there are some people getting frustrated that the holidays are creeping up on us, just like those Grinch characters in some of those beloved movies. My Twitter feed is a jumble of confusion! Some of my followers embrace the spirit, through watching the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” or listening to their favorite carols, while some have even put up their trees! Yet, there are those few Scrooges that say it is too early for such antics and that people should not start celebrating until after Thanksgiving. They are almost offended and extremely angry that people are in the holiday spirit! How can anyone be angry that it is almost the holidays?!

To those people that say it is too early to be celebrating: why do you care so much?  So what if people get excited for this time of the year and want to rush it as soon as possible? The holidays provide a sense of hope for people to believe that regardless of what may seem impossible, everything will be okay in the end.  So, as one of my followers, Carrie Kirk, said on Twitter, “If it makes you happy, begin to celebrate whenever you want,” (@kirk_carrie).  Tis the season, Blue Hens!


~Hannah Tattersall

What Keeps You Up at Night?

So, what keeps me up at night?  I will be honest with you: I do not think that this question pertains to me.  I can say with one hundred percent confidence that once my head hits the pillow after a tough day of classes, activities, club meetings, and homework, I black out and fall into a deep sleep that can only be disturbed by the oh so lovely sound of my alarm clock rousing me from my slumber six to seven hours later.  I’m not kidding; I do not wake up once I am asleep.  Last year, there was a big clunky box fan on the windowsill next to my bed.  When I was asleep, my roommate was climbing into the upper bunk bed when he somehow knocked the box fan over.  The fan hit the ground and burst into pieces, sending little chunks of plastic shrapnel all over the room.  All of this occurred while the fan was still spinning, and yet I slept through it all, and awoke to what appeared to be a murder scene the next morning.

So, as you can tell, sleep and I have a very good relationship, and for the most part I do not have trouble falling asleep.  However, I have noticed that lately I do a bit more thinking at night while lying in bed than I have done in the past.  Nothing to the point where I am drilling holes in the ceiling with my constant stare, but just enough to be noticeable.

I am considerably busier this year as compared to last year and I have taken on more activities and responsibilities within the UD community.  Being more involved helps broaden my college experience and gives me a sense of wellbeing and fulfillment.  Not to mention, all of the new skills I have developed and all of the new friendships I have acquired have been beneficial.  Be that as it may, I have noticed that on certain days when it seems that 24 hours cannot possibly be enough time to get everything done, I find that when I try to lie down at night (or more so than not, in the early hours of the next day), my mind will still be running ablaze with thoughts and ideas for my courses and activities. Here I am, just trying to recharge my mind and body for the upcoming day’s task and trials, and all my brain can do is focus on policy alternatives for the drug crime problem in Wilmington, or how to re-phrase the second paragraph of my DEconstruction magazine article, or how to articulate the melody of the latest marching band song.  I suppose this is my brain telling me that I need to take the time to unwind from the day’s hectic and busy tasks before I can slip into the deep sleep that I crave.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: The Gym

Earlier this semester, I wrote on the blog about the beautiful new “Carpenter Sports Building,” aka Little Bob (aka I just call it the gym). I’m still impressed with this new facility, but also with how well attended it is – I love that the greatly increased capacity has encouraged many more people to work out. However, I know there are still some holdouts out there – may I venture to call them anti-fitness hipsters? Well, I can commiserate – I used to be one of them. Having never been particularly athletic growing up, I was skeptical of the gym and its magical powers everyone talked about. However, just in May I started working out, and surprisingly, haven’t ever really stopped. This persuasive piece is dedicated to all those who need a little inspiration to go to the gym!

It’s great people watching. Though I have an especially designated workout playlist on my iPhone and watch CNN on the elliptical screen, the gym is akin to the airport in that it’s just interesting to see the huge variety in who comes to work out. Every once in a while I see two guys who look like they’re straight out of Duck Dynasty – camo athletic gear, beards, the whole shebang. There’s also usually random children…can’t really explain that one. But everyone’s there for the same purpose, and no matter how much effort you put into putting together a cute workout outfit, everyone is sweaty after a good workout. See, the gym is a great equalizing force!


Going to the gym becomes a lot more appealing when your fitness facility looks like this!

But actually, no one is secretly mocking how you exercise. My view that everyone going to the gym was an Olympic athlete used to keep me from exercising, but – while I totally admit to casually people watching – most people, myself included, are too focused on their workout or worried about how sweaty they look to actually notice the details of your workout. No one cares if you’re running slower or lifting less than they are – there’s just an indescribable sentiment that everyone is there to get in better shape, whatever that means to them, so people are not nearly as judgmental as you might think.

Eventually, you’ll feel great.Is it hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym those first few weeks when it hurts like heck and you’re sore afterward? Definitely. Is it worth it to continue? Of course! Most people would agree that the worst part of getting in shape is adopting a routine. Once you’re used to exercising regularly, you’re so (healthily) addicted to the endorphins and confidence exercise gives you, it’s practically impossible to stop.  


No more excuses! See you at the gym!

~Ruby Harrington


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