College: Esteemed Institute or Indoctrination Factory?

There was a big hullabaloo about a month ago when a Pew survey came out revealing that almost 60 percent of Republicans (and Republican-leaning Independents) believed that higher education has a negative effect on the way things are going in this country. Immediately, it should be noted that this does not mean Republicans think college is dumb and learning is bad, but that didn’t stop many outlets from interpreting it that way.

If you’ve been following politics at all, though, you’re probably more aware of where some of this dismal view on higher education comes from. Think of safe spaces, discrimination against conservatives, snowflakes protesting every minor infraction, you know the drill. The issue, as I’ve seen many conservatives explain, isn’t that knowledge is bad. It’s the environment of the institution: campuses practically infested with liberals, where conservatives students are just too afraid to voice their opinions because they’ll get shouted down, and where freedom of speech is in its death throes. Continue reading “College: Esteemed Institute or Indoctrination Factory?”

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Don’t Discount the Value of Subtle Representation

Broader representation is starting to become cool, which is great for a lot of people. I for one have been starved for certain kinds of media since I knew how to read, and occasionally, things got a little desperate and I’d find myself searching the bottom of the barrel on fanfiction sites. I’d say those weren’t my proudest moments, but I regret nothing.

The other cool thing is that a lot of people want to get into writing with representation in mind, and while that comes with a host of issues all on its own — e.g., people attempting to write experiences that aren’t their own and falling flat, or accidentally misrepresenting something badly — it’s nice to see that people see the value in it. For a while it was an uphill climb to explain to people just why it was important that everyone see a bit of themselves out there, and how lonely it can feel when not even fictional worlds have people like you in them. Continue reading “Don’t Discount the Value of Subtle Representation”

Writing and Plotting, Then and Now

As I work on my sixth book, Ghost Walk, which is a wholly different type of project than anything I’ve ever worked on before, I’m reflecting on the kind of writer I used to be vs the type of writer I am now. Somewhere along the way, things changed significantly. I didn’t really have a process for my first few books; I was a pantser at heart and in practice, and it worked. There was little to no outlining; I just took anything I had that remotely resembled an idea and ran with it. Now, while I still give myself plenty of freedom, I actually have a process from beginning to end, and I’m starting to think I like it.

These days, here’s how it works. Continue reading “Writing and Plotting, Then and Now”

My Top Five Subject Recommendations

Anyone who’s been to college, or has ever flipped through a course catalogue, knows there’s a metric butt load of classes you can possibly take. Even if you’ve already decided your major, you might need some filler classes. If you ask for advice on what to take, you’ll probably get a different answer from every person, and those classes will customarily completely coincidentally coincide with their major. (We all love what we do.) I want to try to take more of an objective approach, though there’s still a goal I have in mind when I recommend the classes I do, so if your goal differs from mine, these recommendations might seem wholly unimportant. Keep in mind that these aren’t suggestions for majors, just basic, introductory courses that I think are the most useful.

I’m also slightly limited in that I won’t be talking about classes I haven’t taken or don’t have much knowledge of, because I’m just not informed enough about those subjects to talk about them. But here’s my list! Continue reading “My Top Five Subject Recommendations”

How’s School Going, Anyway?

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This is only really here so I can show off a second picture of my school’s library.

One of the reasons I update less frequently than I used to is because going to school full time has me as about as busy as it’s possible to be. Another reason is that I’m secretly boring and running out of ideas, but at least with school I have something to talk about.

This is my fourth semester, and while it’s been stressful, it’s been a wonderful experience. For those not in the know, this is my second attempt at college. My first try was in 2007 after I graduated high school, and I don’t remember how that went. I quite literally don’t remember anything that happened between roughly mid-2007 to late 2009, so something tells me it didn’t go very well. My transcripts also back that up. But this time it’s a new school obnoxiously far from home with a new major and new goals, and I feel like now that I’m going completely of my own volition and doing what I’m interested in, I’m much more equipped to deal with it. Continue reading “How’s School Going, Anyway?”

Top Four Books of the Winter

When I wrote my list of top five books last summer, I got the idea in my head that I was going to do this twice a year. School has me busy, but I get winters and summers off, so during that time I was going to read a lot and then choose the best five books from that particular vacation and run with it. Seems foolproof, no?

Yet here I am, barely getting started, and I have to break tradition. I read plenty of books this winter, but as luck would have it, I just didn’t enjoy very many of them at all. So here we have my top four books of the winter, and you can blame school for that for starting so early. (It’s actually starting at a perfectly reasonable time, but I’m sad break is over, and I personally feel like my school did not put forth its best effort to alter the space-time continuum, or whatever would make this break last longer.) Continue reading “Top Four Books of the Winter”

Top Five Books of the Summer

I spent a lot of time reading this summer, and even though I did a lot of cover judging and reading based purely on recommendation, most of them were pretty great. There were only a few that were bad enough that I won’t be keeping my copies. But a few do deserve some honorable mentions because I loved them that much.

Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis. This was a really cute book with good characterization and development, a fun story, and a satisfying ending. It wasn’t particularly deep or intense, but it had its surprises. I also like a character who is constantly pushed down but ends up coming out on top. It’s definitely one that has guaranteed a read for its sequel. Continue reading “Top Five Books of the Summer”