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One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Posts Tagged “advanced”

Attaboy Atwood!

From the above photo, you’ll see a nice old lady having a conversation with an undergraduate Butler student. What is actually occurring is quite different. A Butler student is having a conversation with an author who is on the cutting edge of social media and marketing.

Margaret Atwood (who I recently met) is a published author. That doesn’t mean she’s stuck in the old way of doing things. She has a twitter account that she actively uses (Follow her @MargaretAtwood). This immediately places her ahead of millions of college age students, the supposed “Digital Natives.”

She also has a blog that she publishes regularly (this I hear is the coolest thing to be doing nowadays). And, like any well-to-do person these days, she has a website. The coolest bit of progress she is heading is the serial publishing of a novel online. I do not know yet where it is (or if it has been released yet), but if I do this blog will be the first to know. Authors are SO COOL!!! Alright…ahem…nerding finished.

Meeting a Legend

Are you still meeting a legend if you don’t technically know who she is or what she’s done? Well, yeah. It just means you’re ignorant.

Photos courtesy of President Danko! Follow him on Twitter @ButlerPrez

I found myself in this very situation last Wednesday on the arrival of Margaret Atwood, internationally recognized novelist, poet, scholar, feminist, and thinker. And she’s Canadian to boot. Part of the Visiting Writer’s Series here at Butler University, I found myself invited to President Danko‘s house for a dinner, a reception of Atwood by professors and students.

Prior to the dinner, I did a bit of research into this visiting writer, and quickly discovered that she was a voice I wanted to be familiar with. Then I got the incredibly rare chance to meet her. Now I’m reading one of her books (it seems like at Butler, we do things backwards).

She was a pretty rad lady: all of the students were more timid around her than she was around us. Many were familiar with her fantastic novels (such as  The Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake, which I am currently reading). Science fiction is only one arena she spends her time in. She also has worked extensively writing poetry and non-fiction. And does everything with the same ingredient: awesomeness.

 

New Classes

Last week the final stretch of classes commenced, and what a relief it has been. To give you an idea of the new velocity we’re learning out, here’s a rundown of the first week:

-Due to the time at which my schedule was given to me, I missed the first lesson. Three hours. In those three hours, I missed approximately five different past tenses, all of which I had expected to be covered over the entire month. On a related note, I am coming to appreciate the simplicity of English verbs.

-The difficulty of discussion has advanced: rather than spending the entirety of three months talking about what we did over the weekend (vocabulary barriers tend to deaden a conversation) we spent one class talking about xenophobia around the world and another discussing euthanasia.

-I feel the need to study! It’s a fantastic thing. The motivation no longer has to be entirely internal.

The biggest difference of all between the classes is the speaking level of everyone in the class. While before we had a wide range (skilled to barely uttering syllables) everyone is much more ahead, with the exception of our Australian friend Tim who is quite a hoot: maybe in his 70’s, speaks as if unaware that an Italian accent exists, but with a reading level far ahead of all of us. He casually dropped once that he’d read a number of books in Italian, and it shows in his eclectic use of massive words.

Metaphor of a moment of introspection

Other things going on in my life: I visited Milano, one of the most modernized cities in the country. It was a fantastic experience, because I got to see what a “modern” city in Italy would be like. Originally I had imagined grey, dark streets and towering skyscrapers that blocked out the sun. In fact, the city managed to combine the beauty of most Italian cities with modernity, transforming it into perhaps one of my favorite cities. Not to mention the fantastic Argentinian burgers I ate there.

First Mall of the World!

Beautiful Stained Glass from Milan's Duomo