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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Posts Tagged “Irish lit”

The Travails of my Senior English Essay

Remember the Senior Essay requirement for English majors? Remember how I opted to write a long paper the fall of my junior year, so if I wound up finishing the English major, I would already have completed that requirement? Remember how I also did a Butler Summer Institute project last summer and finished a draft of another long paper?

Remember how I had to decide which one was to be my senior English essay? Well, I went with BSI, since I’ve learned a thing or two since the Irish lit paper (and it was not very good, only I didn’t realize it at the time). And I’m taking EN 450, which will soon be renamed Advanced Academic Writing, which helps prep this essay.

Remember how it turns out my BSI is a complete mess, only I didn’t know this during the summer, and I had to rewrite it completely — not even revise, but full-blown rewrite with a new thesis and all? Oh, yeah, I didn’t tell you because I was too frustrated.

Ce qui sera, sera, as we learned in my French class.

Remember how I rewrote the whole paper during the second semester of my senior year as I traveled all over the country for auditions and had mega rehearsal for Por Vos Muero and Coppélia? Oh, yeah, I didn’t tell you… because I was too busy.

Remember how I was kind of sassy during a blog post when I did eventually divulge all this info? Yeah, that’s because I FINALLY FINISHED!

Well, I finished the draft. Which will be workshopped. So I’ll have to write it again before the year’s up, I’m sure. Oh well. Let me gloat in an unseemly way for just a little while.

Celebrating with a huge mocha and homework for a class that isn’t EN 450…

Senior English Essay

Thinking about becoming an English major at Butler? You’ll need a senior essay to graduate, whether you are a English Literature, English Creative Writing, or even an English-concentration education major.

What is the senior essay? It’s a long paper on a topic of your choice. These are usually written in a 400-level seminar class and honed in the “Senior Essay” class, which will soon be known by the much cooler name of “Advanced Academic Writing.” I will take this course, along with a class taught by the head of the department and her colleague on Midrash. I am so excited for the Midrash class, and I’m sure I’ll plague you with details once that gets underway.

Back to the Senior Essay. Having taken quite a few upper-level English courses by this late stage in my college game, I had a variety of papers to chose to polish into senior essay readiness.

I went with BSI. Since I put so much effort into the project this summer, I’d like to finish it. Novel idea, huh? Wales and Ireland, I shall presently make my great return!

 

Thanksgiving Checklist

Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and Butler students, much as we love to study and attend class, are counting down the days until sleep and family bonding commence. Inspired by Andre’s post, here is what I hope to do over Thanksgiving break:

  • See my family. I haven’t been home since August, and I did not spend much time there this summer either, due to BSI. I guess it’s training for the real world of jobs next year.
  • See my friends from home.
  • Play with my rabbits.
  • Play with my sisters.
  • Take dance classes — as possibly teach as well! My Teaching Analysis of Classical Ballet class should come in handy.

Belly bump with my sister?

Oh yeah, also:

  • Finish a paper on Shakespeare’s Othello.
  • Write a review of another Shakespearian play.
  • Write a dance critique of a performance I’ve seen — I think I’ll do mine on the Luna Negra program I saw a few weeks ago.
  • Reassemble my Irish Lit paper from its URC format to submit as my senior English essay.
  • Begin my research paper for Financial Fictions class on the metaphoric Fall in Frank Norris’ The Pit.
  • Arrange dance photos for my resume — YIKES.
  • Begin a paper for my Theory and Philosophy of Dance class: “What is dance?” I’m going to answer, “Derrida.”
  • Finish my knitting project?

Will all this happen? Probably not. Can I try? Meh… I’ll let you know.

BSI, Weekend 2

The second weekend of BSI passed me by rather quickly. After my surprisingly negative reaction to the First Friday trip, the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project was wonderful. A group of the BSI students along with the woman who is in charge of the program, plus another professor, worked with KIB on a community garden south of Indianapolis.

The KIB logo--click through for website

One group went to build a shade shelter. I’m still not entirely clear as to what that is, but I know it involved plywood and concrete, which is fairly intense. I stayed at the first site, with the vegetable garden. We weeded, cut and transported sod (and got very dirty in the process), and built a path (with step-stones and mulch) from a flowers/sitting-bench spot to the vegetable garden.

By the end, we were so grimy from the dirt blowing off the sod we ran into the sprinkler to clean off. Then we ate at a Jewish deli. Then it was home for a shower. I call that morning a success.

Later that night I had a potluck dinner with my roommate and another good friend, and we watched Sex and the City. I had never seen it before. It’s silly, but oh the clothes theclothestheclothes! Dinner was delicious–my friend found the best rosemary crackers. With soy cheese? I ate so many.

Green...

Sunday, I biked to church, saw my boyfriend who just arrived for summer classes, went to a ballet rehearsal, and had some truly excellent pizza. Monday it was back to BSI, and I finished skimming/reading Declan Kiberd’s Irish Classics. This is a massive book. I celebrated (preemptively) with ice cream, which was obtained by biking to the Safeway via the canal path.

I have decided I like Butler in the summer.

URC continued

Things I liked about the Undergraduate Research Conference this year:

- I got yogurt and hot chocolate in the morning while listening to the Provost welcome everyone.

- As much of a pain as it was to shorten my twenty-four page paper to six pages/twelve minutes, I tightened my argument. When I revise the long version to turn in as my senior English essay for my secondary English major, I’ll keep some of the changes I made. The new key point? Martha C. Nussbaum’s version of Stoic cosmopolitanism uses hierarchy in include, not to exclude. Earlier, I implied all hierarchy produced negative results. Wrong!

- I got to hear an English major’s presentation on the gods of Paradise Lost and the Aeneid. When I wrote my BSI proposal, I worked heavily from the example on the website–which was the genesis of this very project. I was interested to see what a BSI project’s URC presentation looked like and what the student actually concluded after conducting his research. It was neat to see the very first and very last steps of a research project.

Hey there, Aeneas.

- I got a free boxed lunch. It was a Friday in Lent, so I opted for a grilled veggie sandwich… which was rather odd. The veggies, a very thin layer of lettuce and what might have been squash, were oddly saturated with oil from the bread or something else very strange that I cannot put into words. The orzo was pretty good though, as was the super-tart green apple.

- Whenever someone on our panel took a sip of water, we all smiled at each other. Our faculty sponsor had given us “water training” during our mock-conference at the end of the class. After we make important points or finish a particularly weighty paragraph, we are supposed to take a sip of water to allow the audience to process the information. Good advice, but I still felt a bit silly sipping my water when I wasn’t even thirsty.

- I got to hear the other panelists’ perspectives on Irish national identity, obviously. Our discussion at the end as a group, as we answered questions and referred to each other’s papers and texts for verification, was really neat. I felt like I was part of a scholarly community.

I normally associate scholarship with writing–natural enough, for one who likes literary research and analysis. Participating in an oral forum with an audience watching as we bounced ideas off one another was new and exciting. That’s what URC is all about, right?

My primary text

URC

Last year, this was opening night of Swan Lake. We had a fire alarm the previous night at 3 o’clock in the morning, so we were all happy morning classes were canceled. I sat outside and blogged and watched hordes of well-dressed people walk by with box lunches.

This year, Sleeping Beauty is in two weeks, classes weren’t canceled, there were no fire alarms last night, and I just returned from grocery shopping instead of dancing Four Swans. Also, I was one of those eating from a boxed lunch.

Today was the Undergraduate Research Conference, a forum for undergraduates (just over half from Butler) to present their research. I presented my long Irish lit paper from last semester. (Remember that?) I spent all last night practicing saying phrases like “nonhierarchal hybridity,” “absolute, oppositional,” and “quasi-national.”

My paper was twenty-four pages long. I shaved it down to six.

I was a bit nervous going into the presentation, though some of it had to do with the fact that I’d just come from Choreography II class (often stressful for me) and that the Sleeping Beauty rehearsal/understudy schedule is shifting since our lovely, lovely Aurora has a stress fracture and can’t perform. (So sad!) So going into my talk, I felt sort of scattered.

However, the whole thing wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. If you have a chance to present at a conference like this, I highly recommend it. So many of my peers were presenting! I wish I’d been able to see more than just my panel and one other presentation I managed to catch in the morning. (After I ate my free yogurt cup. Yay free food!)

There’s the other bonus to being a Butler student: Fees for the conference are waived, unless you want to shell out $10 for the t-shirt. I’ll be presenting again next spring after I finish my BSI project this summer!

Ah, research projects. You can see the abstracts from this year’s URC gathering here.

Readings

Do you ever get stuck in a scholarly rut? Perhaps “rut” is not the best word. Maybe “track” or “idea” is better. Ever since I finished my long paper on national identity in Brian Friel’s play Translations, I have viewed all my classroom texts through a quasi-deconstructionist lens.

As far as producing interesting readings goes, this has proven quite fruitful. I’ve taken Wordsworth to task for finding authenticity in common language, seen Meville’s ocean as a space of textual ambiguity, and found Emily Dickinson to exhibit postmodern tendencies. Can you tell I’ve just come from a meeting with a professor about a paper?

Intense gaze. You know this guy's serious.

I’m happy to splash around in the postmodern waters for a bit, but I don’t think I want to stay forever. Judging from past experiences, I know some other concept will catch my interest. It happened with mythology, pseudo-astrophysics, real physics physics, the Welsh language, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Rose Adagio, creative writing, knitting… All past obsessions of mine. All still hold a special place in my heart.

However, this whole text-is-dependent-on-the-reader and words-change-significance-with-every-meaning so-many-hyphens phase represents the first conceptual idea I apply to such a wide range of classes, be it an English class or a dance history class, choreography or technique.

Do you ever feel like you really take an intellectual idea to heart for an extended time? Do you ever feel like you might be growing steadily more obnoxious every day?

Also, has anyone read any criticisms that place Emily Dickinson as a postmodern poet?

Butler Summer Institute

Quite a while back, at the beginning of fall semester, I met with my Irish Lit professor to discuss topics for the long paper I was going to write. I initially suggested a comparison of Dylan Thomas’ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both works are written in English by authors who have strong ties to particular nations that have their own languages: Thomas is Welsh and Joyce is Irish.

Here are the two texts I want to compare. Both narrators also write in English, since the works are semi-autobiographical. I want to examine the presentation of the Welsh and Irish languages in the two works and connect this presentation to the authors’ English-language writing. I hope to argue that Thomas and Joyce continue to participate in the Celtic literary heritage–especially as modern bards–though they write in English.

The class for which I first proposed this project was Contemporary Irish Literature, but I really am interested in Ireland’s neighbor across the Irish Sea–Wales. I’ve been learning Welsh on my own since I was a senior in high school. Dw i ddim yn gallu saraid Cymraeg, ond dw i’n mynd trio wneud e!

My professor liked my idea, but neither Young Dog nor Young Man was on the reading list for the class. She suggested that I apply to Butler Summer Institute. I then wrote my long essay on the subjectivity of national identity and the conflicting sources of such that lead to nationalist-inspired violence in Brian Friel’s play Translations. Now it’s February, and I’m ready to turn in my proposal for the Young Dog/Young Man project.

Butler Summer Institute is a nine-week session during the summer that allows students to pursue independent research projects with a faculty mentor. I think two-thirds of the projects are from the sciences–something about the way the program is funded–but scholars from all disciplines are welcome. This type of project is extremely attractive for several reasons:

  • I can research whatever truly interests me without worrying about fitting it into a class syllabus. Comparative literary studies!! WALES!! WELSH!!
  • I can work closely with my Irish Lit professor. She’s the perfect mentor for a project like this: Her specialties include transnational literature and multilingual texts, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature.
  • I’ll produce a longer writing sample–something I’ll need should I apply to graduate school after what I hope is a career in a dance company.
  • On that note, I’ll practice writing a literary analysis longer than twenty-four pages.
  • I get to do the comparative literature thing.
  • I can surrender to my total love of all things Welsh. During the research for the partial bibliography I’m including in my application, I kept getting distracted: I just had to read part of “The Social Identity of Welsh Learners,” even though it will not be included in my final project. Oooo, the other one I had tremendous difficulty putting down was “Near-Sameness in Early Insular Metrics: Oral Ancestry and Aesthetic Potential.” This article WILL figure into my final project. So excited. (Early Insular Metrics = early poetry of the Insular Celtic languages, which include Welsh and Irish Gaelic).
  • I’ll receive free housing for the duration of the session, plus a stipend. This will definitely help defray the cost of summer school–and the cost of not being able to hold a job during the summer.

I’m nervous about this mainly because I do not know whether my application will be rejected because I have to take a course during the last three weeks of the BSI session if I am to get my secondary English major. Well, we shall see. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Welcome back, ballet feet

Yesterday was the first day of classes, and all was a bit of a whirlwind. I had five classes/rehearsals, and apart from getting out quite early from my first class of the day, I was touting a full schedule. Welcome back, ballet feet. Nice to see you again, ballet arms.

EN 185: This was my first class. I must say, 9:30 is the perfect time to start class. I have a 10 o’clock MWF and 9:30 TR–I have such late classes this semester!–and I am currently in pajamas, eating cereal, writing this blog.

EN 185 is the Intro to the Discipline of English class in which I am the teaching assistant. I’m supposed to have times I’m available for appointments for writing and revising help. Maybe the day before an essay is due, I’ll hang out in Starbucks when I have time in the morning. I feel incredibly official, albeit slightly nervous.

EN 366: My Romanticism class ran for its full time yesterday. We read–guess who?–William Wordsworth. What a surprise. (Not.) I liked the professor, though I do find it odd that we will have a final exam in the class. I’m accustomed to writing long papers for English class culminations. With my BSI proposal and my never-ending revision of the Irish Lit paper (still!), I suppose I should be grateful not to have another long paper on my plate. Or in my mug of tea. My cup runneth over.

Whoops, cereal is gone. I shall continue the meandering tale of my first day back at Butler later. Time to put on real clothes and join the rest of society.

Success is sweet like a cupcake

Physics, physics, physics. The class I took for my general science requirement was a bit unusual: I chose to take PH 201, which is Intro to Analytical Physics. Due to massive scheduling difficulties, I did not take the 100-level physics class. As it turns out, with PH 201 I was a bit out of my element next to all the chemistry and engineering majors who have to take PH 201 as part of their foundational math and science courses.

Thus I worked all semester. I went to the lecture four mornings a week. I went to the two hour lab each Tuesday evening. I went to the hour and a half study tables session each Wednesday evening. I turned in my lab report and problem set each Friday afternoon. And gradually, I stopped dreading the professor’s high velocity explanations of the proofs of various laws and principles. I drove all my friends crazy with my constant stream of science references. Someone told me a good joke about a spherical chicken. Anyone, anyone?

So I came to enjoy my smackdown with physics, though the work became steadily more difficult and detailed. (Gyroscopic motion, anyone, anyone?)

Working during Nutcracker, Act II. Thanks for the picture, Becca.

The tests were brutal. Let’s not mince words here. After the final, I must admit I was rather disappointed in myself. It was not the ideal way to go out after a semester of hard work. So I resigned myself to a celebratory pat on the back after passing.

Grades come out fairly quickly after finals week ends, however, and… I did better than I had hoped for in my most optimistic scenario! I’m not actually sure how that happened, unless the test was curved rather severely in my favor. But hip hip hooray!

The point of the this post? Put in hard work and a liberal sprinkling of muddled applications of torque and an obnoxious scattering of XKCD references and you get the following:

  • an increased appreciation of just how complicated science truly is
  • an increased repertoire of nerdy things to say
  • an increased love of XKCD (can you tell this was a big part of physics class for my study buddy and me?)
  • a good grade in Intro to Analytical Physics
  • new friends
  • new confidence in my own ability to scrape through daunting senarios

I’ll need all of the above as we start the new year and the new semester with my three English classes, the first three to entertain myself when I need a break from all the liberal arts, the fourth when I think about scheduling classes for my senior year (since I will have fulfilled my Division 4 credit), the fifth for all the reasons one needs people like those I’ve met at Butler, and the sixth for general, sappy, feel-good moral-boosting when I’m still revising my Irish Lit paper in a month.

The final score? Physics 374, Olivia 381.

It’s been fun, folks.