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HSBurke's blog

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Declassifying Disney: Jane and Esmeralda's Acorn Adventure    <---- Click me! 

Here's my project! It's really a children's book, but I took pictures and put them in a PPT so you guys could more easily see it. I will also be bringing it on sunday to turn in, in case it would be easier for you guys to see it in person. Also, I included the script at the end of the PPT, in case the words in the picture are difficult to see.  The author's note is also a good explanation of what my whole idea was. 

I hope you enjoy it! 

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Final(ish) thoughts!

Everything that went on in class today made we realize how much I've come to love ESem. I'll admit it, In the beginning, I was quiet, unsure, and cursing myself for choosing a topic which I knew nothing about. After these 13 weeks I'm glad to say that I definitely feel differently. So, like we did with Parkway, I have some thank yous for you all as well:

Thank you for introducing new points of view to me, and being willing to share your unique backgrounds.

Thanks for always being such an open, understanding group. 

Thanks for being the only one of my classes that I actually feel close to, and that I know everyone's name.

Thanks for being so awesome outside of class, too. 

And finally (and repetitively), thanks for being my friends. It really means a lot. 

I hope that we can continue to remain close. Thanks for a great semester!


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Academic Writing

As I'm learning, I have formed a very narrow definition of what is means to write academically, but still, the image that pops into my head when I think about this style is something long, stuffy, boring and unrelateable. Through my classes this semester, I have been exposed to academic writing that fails to fit this description, and thus is more enjoyable for me to read and understand. However, when I am asked to write an academic paper, I know that, most of the time, the more personal, anecdotal style is not what my professors are asking for. Because of this, I still struggle with feeling very stifled by the idea of "academic writing".

Additionally, I had a difficult time grappling with the style of our recent research paper. Taking data from interviews and coupling it with our own interpretations was something that I hadn't done before (outside of journalistic style for my school newspaper). At times I felt that my voice was becoming lost on all of the very precise language I was attempting to use. But at other times, I felt that my interpretations were taking over the paper and that my voice had too much of a presence. That particular assignment required balance from me, and although I struggled, I think that by attempting this new style, I was able to further my abilities in conquering academic writing without losing my own writing style in the process. 

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Today's discussion

I enjoyed today's discussion and activity about class markers. I didn't feel like I was being called out when asked to write about my own life in a public setting, until I actually was called out. It will make it easier to tell you all that I am the one whose house has themed rooms. I can definitely see how that could be perceived as a class marker. However, in many cases, I don't believe it is. For example, I never expressed how many rooms my house is, which could also be an indicator of class. If I had said that while each room in my home is themed, I live in a two bedroom apartment, could that have changed things? Now I wonder, do people assume that I am from the higher class because my roommate and I have extensively decorated our room? Do decorations have to be expensive? or even cost anything? Personally, I didn't buy any of our decorations: I snipped from the NYT, printed my own photos and made coffee filter flowers. This is why I think that the idea that BMC's Project Dorm Room was classist isn't necessarily true, and also why I think today's activity was inevitably flawed. It's impossible to make class assumptions based on things like decoration, when there are so many other aspects at play that we aren't aware of. 

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Class and Thanksgiving

Here's my little run-in with class issues over Turkey Day:

My aunt works as a server at a fancy restaurant. Catering to the non-culinary types, this restaurant was open on Thanksgiving, and thinking that the tips would be awesome on such a holiday, my aunt decided to work a double shift. When my aunt called us later that night, however, she reported a not-so-pleasant customer experience. Apparently, the tips were stingy, the customers rude and the overall demeanor depressing. I definitely thought that the atmosphere would be very festive and family-like because of the holiday, but it seemed to be just the opposite. It got me thinking: did people look down upon my aunt even more so that night because they assumed that if she was working on Thanksgiving, she obviously needed the money and that she was likely from the lower class. Or possibly that she didn't have a family or friends to go home to so that meant that she didn't need as much tip or to be treated civilly? Waitressing is such a classed occupation as it is, and it was interesting to me to see how the time/season (Thanksgiving) made it even more so. Any thoughts on why her customers acted like this? Is it just the nature of a bunch of grumpy people who don't have a homemade turkey dinner to look forward to? Or is there a stigma associated with those of us who have to OR CHOOSE to work on a holiday?

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Research Paper

This paper was difficult for me in that I'm not sure I adequately understand what a research paper is supposed to be like. I didn't have a problem using my interview data to support my claim, but was that what we were supposed to be doing? I felt just like I was writing one of our usual papers but using the interviews as texts. Beyond my confusion about the format of the essay, I really enjoyed hearing first hand accounts from my interviews, and using my peers' knowledge to provide data for a topic that I am interested in. Although I didn't end up using one of my interviews in my essay, seeing a different, administrative view of Bryn Mawr was certainly very helpful and enlightening. In the end, I'm not sure I was able to do myself and my efforts justice with this paper. It was difficult for me to present the information in a concise, scientific way when so much of my information was personal to the speakers. However, I did find that my thoughts flowed onto the paper easier this time around. I think this comes from the amount of papers that we've written so far and that my writing is finally growing to reflect/catch up with my expanding thoughts. If I could go back, I think it would have been helpful for me to have seen/ learned about what is meant by a research paper, similiarly or in conjuction with how we learned about interviewing. 

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Thoughts on the Workshop

At one point during our group discussion, we were asked to identify a time in which we noticed class divides at Bryn Mawr. I decided to talk about my experience working at Wyndham: oftentimes, I have been snapped at (literally), snubbed, flat out ignored or just plain mistreated by the customers whom I am serving. I have recently begun to notice a connection between these particular patrons: they are old, wealthy (judging by clothes/conversations) upper-crust women. After telling my story, one of my group members, a McBride scholar, said very bluntly, "Well you can't change the ways of a stuck-up Main Line lady." While at the time I agreed, I couldn't help but think after: why not? The forum that we conducted demonstrated our ability to get a variety of different people together to talk about class. And in my opinion, this was a successful conversation. Although it is not really our place to try and "fix" the attitudes of classist people, it is not altogether impossible to enlighten them and bring them into a conversation. What my group member said may be true, but if we don't start from the ground up to educated people on the effects and class and the divisions that still exist, we will always be plagued by a generation of 80 year old Main Line ladies. And speaking from experience, this is not something to aim for. After witnessing the success of our smallish group discussion, I think it would be interesting to invite the community into Bryn Mawr to join us and have a conversation.

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Is Halloween classed?

In light of recent Halloween festivities, I was asked to write a memo for my Urban Soc class about the sociological aspects of Halloween. One of the factors I chose to focus on reminded me of ESem, so I chose to post a bit here. Let me know what you think! 

"What has occurred to me while writing this memo is that Halloween is also a very “classed” holiday. In order to participate, you must either A) buy candy to pass out or B) buy/craft a costume to wear. The very essence of the event all but excludes those who are money and/or time poor. In this way, the difference between a suburban Halloween and an urban Halloween can be quite different merely based on the socioeconomic background of the residents. I have always been fortunate to experience a very festive, community Halloween. However, celebrating the holiday in the city vs. in a suburban area is unique due to differences in access between urban and suburban dwellers."
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My Space

For this essay, the space I chose to write about was my dorm room. I spend most of my free time in the room, both studying and socializing. In this way, my space serves a dual purpose to meet both of my needs. The way I have decorated my room and they ways in which I use it indicate my goals for education at Bryn Mawr: to be a well-rounded student and maintain a balance between work and play. By comparing the image of my room to those we were shown by Jen Rajchel, I can see that the use of space, and thus students’ expectations for Bryn Mawr, have changed since M. Carey Thomas's time. In addition, I believe the class hierarchy that was connected with having more space and privacy no longer exists. The social aspect of college plays a pivotal role in my time spent here at Bryn Mawr, and unlike some of my predecessors, I am not ashamed of being labeled as lower class by my peers. 

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Rather Dead than Coed

Hey guys! 

I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that many of you have seen the recent article written by an ex-BMC student now attending Wesleyan about why she found Bryn Mawr to be a negative experience. She then goes on to extend her view to women's colleges in general. What was most interesting to me about the article, though, were the comments. Many Seven Sister students were immediately up in arms againt what Ms. Chu states in the article. If you had a chance to look at them, what do you think these comments say about the "class" of Bryn Mawr. Do you think this is something that has experienced a shift since BMC's beginnings? 


Also, to play devil's advocate: How does the bashing of Ms. Chu's opinions relate to what we discussed in terms of censoring and holding back opinions in fear of offending someone? Obviously the commenters did not, but is that what they expected from the author? After all, the purpose of an Opinion piece is to express the opinion of the author. What do you think about the fact that the piece is not longer available online? (Or else I would have posted it here..) 

Looking forward to hearing what you guys think!

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