I am a fan of anything that goes into great depth to analyze media or the humanities, whether that be Wikipedia articles on niche linguistic concepts, articles analyzing album themes, or what I’ll be talking about in this article: YouTube video essays. There are a wide variety: ones analyzing movies or TV shows, ones discussing political concepts, and more. I also believe that there’s much to learn from these videos aside from the ideas that they posit, such as topics to use in one’s own writing and ways of structuring one’s own writing, and they can even be something to watch in one’s free time or as background noise.
Looking online, you can find videos on almost any topic; to me, this is an interesting way to brainstorm ideas for your own writing, as well as a way to find sources. Similarly to how you wouldn’t cite Wikipedia and would rather go and find the sources from which the authors get their information, oftentimes creators will include their sources throughout the video or in the description. This way, you can look more into primary sources for the topic and then gather your own. The intersection of the topics of these video essays also allows for you to find resources on deeper, more academic topics while hearing about how they intersect with media. There are channels dedicated to music and its use in films, and one video I’ve watched talks about how animated movies use imagery relating to immigration and police and the implications such imagery has on the films’ messages as a whole. There are also ones that just talk about a specific topic on its own, one in particular I think of being about how languages die out because of colonial powers. The structure of these videos can also be of benefit when looking at your own writing. Continue reading
It’s the spring semester, and whether you’re on campus or not, the onset of classes brings a sort of schedule to the week and some variety as compared to winter or even the last semester. I know that I’ve felt some more variety for the first time in almost a year, since this is my first time being extensively back on campus since last March, when I had to move out of Redding! Still, with many classes relegated to your room and the overall year of quarantine that we have gone through and continue to go through, it can feel like we’ve been repeating the same week over and over or are beginning to go into that cycle. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to add some variety to life that can also help you keep tabs on the days.
I was inspired to write this article for two reasons, the first of which being an event that was held in my Residence Hall, Independence, on the first day of classes. We were able to go down to the lounge that night and, while maintaining social distancing, grab a small pot, fill it with dirt, and plant some seeds in it. This is my first time taking care of a plant (if you don’t count science classes in middle and high school), and watching Pharbara’s progressive growth has been great! And yes, my plant’s name is an extended reference to Phoebe Bridgers. The first week there was little growth, but since then four sprouts have popped up and continue to rise. Watching as it grows and making sure I’m watering it as its soil becomes dry has been a nice little daily activity that keeps things fresh and a little bit exciting. Continue reading
Another semester and a new academic year at the UD Honors College! While Fall 2020 means another round of homework, midterms, and finals, it also means one more thing: the general election. Back in spring I was able to watch debates and Super Tuesday results in Redding’s main lounge, and though I’m not able to do that on-campus this semester, there’s still many important things we can do. That spring I wrote an article about absentee voting, which was not-so-conveniently written immediately following COVID-19’s sending us off campus. Now that we’ve gone several months through these restrictions and that a major election is upcoming, more options are available to voters.
In my previous article, I focused heavily on voting by mail and voter registration. For college students, especially those out-of-state and living on or around campus, voting by mail is the likely option for many. Rules involving absentee mail-in ballots vary by state, so websites such as https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/ can help in pinpointing what is required in your individual state. I took part in Philly’s mayoral and city council elections last November, and I did so by voting by mail on campus! The directions were all laid out in my ballot, including how to seal it properly and how to make sure it gets mailed off. The former is especially important here in Pennsylvania, where rules require you to place your ballot inside of a provided blank envelope and then into a second envelope from there. Many states also allow you to track your mail-in ballot online, so you can make doubly sure that it gets mailed in time. https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/ is a great resource for finding when your ballot is due to be mailed by, and many states even allow you to drop off an absentee ballot at a county election office. Continue reading
Because of quarantine, many of us have more time at home to do things. It’s up to you how you spend your time, and whatever you choose to do should be what you want, whether it be getting ahead in work, picking up a hobby, or just relaxing. Languages are a big interest of mine (my majors are Linguistics and Three Languages, after all), and keeping up with language classes can be difficult when not in a classroom environment. I’m in the Honors section of my Italian class this semester, a class which has a large focus on conversation. Both my Italian and German classes thankfully have weekly Zoom meetings, but not everyone has that guarantee. There are all kinds of resources online for learning a language, and each resource offers its own pros and cons.
Duolingo is one popular app and website for language learning, offering over 35 courses in languages of all different varieties. Every language major under UD’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DLLC) is offered on the site save for Ancient Greek, though one can always branch out if they want to, including with constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon. Duolingo is good for first getting into a language; however, it starts to falter once more complicated grammar concepts get thrown into the mix. Alongside that, the quality of courses differs by language, with some languages being constantly updated and others not being touched for years.
It’s primary election season, and even in Redding, you could tell. A group of us watched February’s Ninth Democratic Debate in the lounge, and I watched the results of Super Tuesday come in alongside some others in the lounge. All of this election talk had me thinking about the resources available to us as college students when it comes to voting.
I registered to vote during the first month or so of my first semester; my state, Pennsylvania, has an easy way of registering to vote online. While methods of voter registration vary by state, you can find ways to register for a party or to vote in your state specifically on https://vote.gov/. In my case, I received an email a week or two after registering that let me know that it successfully went through. Continue reading