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Chandrea's blog

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Monument Valley

I've been on Serendip since I've been in Jody's E-Sem and I can probably count the number of times I've changed my avatar on one hand. The current picture I have as my avatar is a candid picture of me sitting on a rock and gazing in the distance (I swear, totally not on purpose) while I was visiting Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation. I try not to pick photos where you can clearly see me, and I think I do that because I feel uncomfortable when the attention and focus is on me. The trip to Monument Valley was part of a summer program I was participating in during the summer before my senior year of high school started. I got to learn about Southwestern culture as well as the Navajo people and their interesting but often overlooked culture. That trip made such an everlasting impact on me and further helped me realize my passion for social justice and I definitely plan to go back and visit one day.

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Race: Still Relevant?

I was interested in Gross' statement about how a white factory worker named Gabe Blum asserted that black men were the most intelligent and honest of workers but didn't have access to more job opportunities simply because of the color of their skin (47). It makes me think about how some people think we actually live in a post-racial society. I find it hard to agree with that idea because of the institutional racism that still exists in our world. It's subtle racism - the policies we maintain in certain instituational settings may not be made purposely to discriminate against a particular group of people, but the outcome is that it does. I volunteer at an organization where I help my clients access social services, and I was helping one of my clients apply for a job at a retail store. The questionnaire on the store applications are unnecessarily tedious and repetitive, but at one point it asked for my client to identify her race. Although it was ultimately her decision whether or not to disclose that information, I still felt annoyed that that was even a question. Why did I have this nagging feeling that if she indicated that she is black, it would be a huge factor in whether or not she would get the job? If a white man were competing with a black man to get a job, who do you imagine would get the job? I acknowledge the fact that other factors are considered when employers look at different applicants but can we really say that race has nothing to do with it? I feel like this situation would have the potential to involve racism, but it's so subtle.

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Student Finds Her Voice

I was particularly interested in Alison Cook-Sather's article about student voice because I could finally take a class reading and apply it to real life! It's only been a week or two since I've started my job as a Student Consultant for TLI (I know a few of us in class have had the job or currently hold it) and I just find it really exciting to see my transition from a being a timid high school student who was frustrated with the way she was "learning" to being in a position where I can feel comfortable enough to tell a professor what she is doing that is or isn't effectively helping me as a learner in her classroom. Why didn't I "embrace the political potential of speaking out on [my] behalf" sooner? (366). I don't think I'll ever stop beating myself up for lacking the courage to explain to my teachers that a certain pedagogical method was not working for me. I'm the learner in the classroom and my needs are important!

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Choosing to be Silent


When I see this picture of a raindrop about to fall off the tip of this leaf, I can only imagine how quiet it will be in comparison to all the other sounds of nature surrounding it.  There’s something so peaceful about this picture that makes it hard to remember that if we had the ability to zoom out and look beyond that particular leaf, as well as tune into our other senses, we might even forget the other sounds we would hear such as the rustling of leaves and the deafening sound of cicadas. Maybe it’s the focus of the camera on this leaf that makes it hard to think about what else is surrounding it. I imagine this leaf being in the woods, and thinking back on moments of when I was silenced, the woods probably would’ve been a good place to get away from it all.

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Silence in Sleep

Today when we were sharing our observations of silence, I noticed that many of us brought up this routine of stressing ourselves out right before we sleep at night. I'm guilty as well! Even when I actively search for silence, my thoughts don't stop and all of a sudden it gets really loud in my mind. It was frustrating that I couldn't be silent in my mind. I thought silence would be easy to come by but it's not. Although I did think of a moment of when there's absolute silence... when I'm asleep! My mind eventually stops racing with thoughts and I can finally fall asleep. I don't think any kind of sleep means there's silence - it's the dreamless nights of sleep I'm specifically thinking of. I'd like to think that while I sleep at night, there is some form of silence that I can acheive.

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Deavere Smith/Cliff Readings

When I first started reading the Deavere Smith text, I had to double check to make sure I was reading the right thing. I think I was so hung up on the fact that it's an article pertaining to theater and performances... and I checked out momentarily.  What really caught my attention was her observation about the difficulty she had in memorizing a passage: "I had not controlled the words. I had presented myself as an empty vessel, a repeater, and they had shown their power" (XXV). I immediately thought of Paulo Freire and the concept of "banking education" and got really excited that I could tie in something from this course to a previous Education course I had taken! In our Critical Issues class and E-Sem, while I struggled to understand and come to terms with the fact that my all-knowing teachers may have viewed me as an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge, I never dwelled on the idea that I could use my voice to improve my learning experiences as a student. I thought maybe making class a little more interactive could do the trick but I never thought of explicitly using my voice to create change. I can't just expect for my teachers to change things on their own - I have to use my voice to make change because as Deavere Smith's Shakespeare teacher said, speech is an action. Using my voice would be an example of me having the agency to change the way I'm being taught. It seems painfully obvious now that I think of it.

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Slam Performance

For our final performance, we decided to do some slam poetry! We all wrote about different aspects of our E-Sem experiences and from various perspectives. Mfon also did a crossword puzzle about the packing problem. Some other topics included learning about banking education and our own perceptions of our socioeconomic statuses and realizing our responsibilities as Bryn Mawr students to bring up touchy topics like class to campus and make them relevant to our peers. Our poems were personal and allowed us to share what we learned from this E-Sem and how class mattered to us back then and how it will matter to us in the future. I remember discussing the project with my group and all of us being unsure about which area about the broad topic of class we would be writing our poems about. It's a complicated subject!

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If I Told You I Was Poor, Would You See Me Differently?

This is a poster-collage that I did last night. I was pleased yet frightened with the finished project and I ended up running to my posse. They were really proud of me and wanted to do their own version of the poster-collage. I was inspired by Marian's zine and I remember being so amused with it because I could relate on so many levels - except that instead of being a millionaire, I decided to declare that I was FAR from that. I think I've always kept my socioeconomic status as a secret in high school and now that I'm in college, I'm deciding to own up to my status, just like Marian did. I'm actually thinking of posting it outside of my dorm because I don't know what else to do with it. But I don't know how the people on my hall will react or if they will react at all. I kept the class workshop in mind because we discussed broadening the audience when it came to talking about class. And my audience is the Bryn Mawr community as a whole.

I had to resize the image (you could initially read it) so I will copy down what the text says on the poster.

On the bottom left, next to the picture of me and my little brother it says: "I graduated from Framingham High School in June 2011. I am the first in my family to go to college. The kid next to me is my youngest brother, Aaron. Hopefully, he'll go to college too."

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Different Forms of Expression?

I was discussing my confusion on the next assignment we have to do for this class with my performance group earlier, and my cluelessness reminded me of how dependent I am on writing academic papers. I remembered worrying, "What do you mean it doesn't have to be in the form of an academic paper?!" I suppose this thought reinforces the idea that this form of expressing our ideas is restrictive but I kind of like it because it's convenient for me. I'm so used to writing papers in this class as well as other classes and I'm reluctant to doing anything other than that. That's all we did in high school! I mean, I could do a poster or something but I really am not that creative/artistic as I'd like to be. Maybe a slam poetry presentation would work for me because I think those kinds of things are fun. I just see writing papers as a cop-out so maybe I'll try something else. I never expected to come to college and be told to do anything but write papers when it came to expressing my ideas...

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Undocumented and Unapologetic

Hi everyone,

This is just a post about the upcoming event with Tania Chairez at TGH ths coming Tuesday. Professor Cameron sent out an email to the Class of 2015 but I figured I'd post about it here in case he missed anybody:

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