Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

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Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Use this thread for discussion among your Committee.  After this first week, there will be more serious discussions but, this first week, to get started, introduce yourself and try to get to know one another. Over the next sixteen weeks, you're going to be reading and discussing one another's work.  This will be easier if you know something about the folks who will be reading and commenting on what you have to say.  

Begin by letting your committee members know something about yourself in terms of what your plans are for when you finish up the course or finish up at Reynolds.  Where are you in your program of study?  

Are you looking forward to the course?  Why, or why not?

It's OK if you aren't.  Too many students have flashbacks to horrible literature classes where they'd read something great, got into discussing it, only to find out that no matter what they thought the lit was about, it turned out that the important meaning was hiding somewhere in the teacher's head.  This class won't be an exercise into getting at what I think the lit means.  

This also won't be one of those lit classes where any interpretation is as good as another.  Authors write because they want to accomplish something and, usually, because they want to be understood. Most of this course will be about your learning how to put yourself in the author's place and ask, "If I wrote what I just read, what would I be trying to do and how would I want to be understood."  

Just as in everyday life, understanding others is a complicated process.  However, it's how we learn about others and one means we learn about ourselves.  Because it's complicated, understanding others (and ourselves) is often a process we get wrong.  If we didn't ever get an interpretation wrong, there would never be any misunderstandings and we'd never make decision that later turned out to be wrong on a "gut" level.  Worse, understanding others often involves us taking the risk of others getting to know us and taking a long look at ourselves.  We have to really understand ourselves well if we're going to understand why we'd do or say something we didn't do or say.  We have to risk sounding silly or getting an interpretation wrong, that is, if we're going to discuss our interpretations with others and learn from their interpretations. Take it from a teacher who does it every day, taking the chance of sounding silly in front of a group of relative strangers can be scary, but it's one of the risks involved with a greater joy.  It's sort of like asking someone out the first time.  Yes, you might get shot down.  Yes, you might sound silly, but the risk is sooo worth the joy.    

The bottom line?  One of the main reasons we study lit is to practice understanding what others mean in a low stakes environment.  Let's face it: if you get Poe or Emerson wrong, chances are there aren't going to be huge consequences.  It's not like misunderstanding your boss or significant other and getting fired or getting dumped. We read lit to practice how to get higher stakes, critical readings right, and we study lit to learn how to share our interpretations with others and--in the process--learn to take the risks involved.

Very few of us are really, really good at reading and understanding ourselves and others.  I do it for a living.  I've been getting paid to interpret for a couple of decades.  I've got a doctorate in reading and understanding literature, myself, and others.  All this means is I can successfully get into someone else's head with more success than not.  No one gets it right every time, and the world wouldn't be much fun if people didn't do or say things which just don't seem to make sense, that is, until you get to studying and get to know them.  The bottom line is that you're a sophomore in college.  By definition, you're just getting started and learning the tricks involved in learning to know yourself and others.  Worse...many of you have had horrible experiences, some of them in literature classes, which turned you off to the joys of really getting to know others.  The upshot?  Many come into our course expecting not to like it.  You'll have to take my word for it, but the folks who stick it out--most do and earn a high grade--end up enjoying literature more, and most report really enjoying the class.

So, quit reading me and introduce yourself.

Steve
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Kendall Plummer
Hello,
I am taking this class to satisfy the gen ed requirements for other universities. I am in the process of applying to many schools now. I was accepted into VT last spring, but chose not to attend. I plan to major in Psychology and then go onto receive my Masters and PhD for Counseling Psychology. I want to work with the abused women and children. I hope to go to Africa to help the women and children in the Congo.
I currently babysit for a couple families as a part time job. I love running and playing music. I am currently training for a marathon coming up in March and I am assisting a handbell choir for disabled adults by accompanying them on the flute.
I'm excited to meet and learn more about everyone else once we get to class.

Kendall :)
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Kendall,

Welcome.  My wife works at Children's Hospital as a pediatric speech pathologist, so I very much appreciate your choice of hobbies and career.  Being a consoler is good work.  You get to help a lot of people.  

As we read this semester, you may gain some insight into people, which will help in the future job.  You'll definitely gain some insight into yourself, which will help others.  It turns out that most of the legends about drug and alcohol abuse on the part of Edgar Allen Poe were myths made to sell books and written by his literary biographer--a man called Griswold, and we won't be studying Coleridge or Swinburne--British authors who are classic cases of the relationship between some Romantic authors and drug abuse.  However, when we do study the Romantics, we'll study a concept called the sublime.  Much of the reason behind the supposed relationship between genius and drugs--think Rock and Roll here--is linked back to the pursuit of the sublime.

Luckily, we'll also be reading about how to figure out one's ideal self and how little one needs to cultivate a happy, ideal life.  These many help in the Congo.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 4:42 PM, Kendall Plummer [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello,
I am taking this class to satisfy the gen ed requirements for other universities. I am in the process of applying to many schools now. I was accepted into VT last spring, but chose not to attend. I plan to major in Psychology and then go onto receive my Masters and PhD for Counseling Psychology. I want to work with the abused women and children. I hope to go to Africa to help the women and children in the Congo.
I currently babysit for a couple families as a part time job. I love running and playing music. I am currently training for a marathon coming up in March and I am assisting a handbell choir for disabled adults by accompanying them on the flute.
I'm excited to meet and learn more about everyone else once we get to class.

Kendall :)



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Hello Dr.

Andres Santamaria
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey Dr. B and Maryland Committe,
I'm Andres Santamaria and I'm 21 years old and have been attending J. Sarg for 3 years now. I'm a music major expecting to be a graduat in May. I've been a guitar player for 11 years now and I've also been a music teacher for 5 years. Teaching is something I truely enjoy sharing to people of any age, any talent, and most immportantly, a great desireto learn. I love it when I show a student something, and then, all of a sudden, you see this look on their face that says: "Light Bulb!" (especially with young players). I always get a kick outta that.

Literature has never been my best forte. I've always enjoyed writing only in the sense that I actually know what I'm saying, I'm a terrible interpreter. But, nonetheless, I still enjoy reading cool short stories and vivid, fictional stories.

So far from what I've seen, based upon the website, this looks like it will a fun course. I love the password to the site. Cracked me up so much that I had to tell my girlfriend. The rest of the site looks great and is easy to use, so I'm definitely looking forward to meeting you and my class.

See you in class,
Andres Santamaria
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Charlie Smoak
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey everyone,
My name is Charlie Smoak, I am 20 years old, 21 in a little over a week. I am originally from the suburbs of Washington DC in northern Virginia, but I grew very tired and bored of living there, so now I am in Richmond. I go to J. Sarge part time and work part time at Extreme Pizza. My intended major is music, and I plan on eventually applying to the VCU music school for jazz studies with my focus in saxophone. Saxophone is a big part of my life and has been for about 10 years now, it is by far my favorite pass time. I also enjoy going to concerts and house shows around the city, which is a big reason why I chose to move here.

The reason I am taking this class is to complete my general education requirements. I have mixed feelings for this class. English has always been my weak subject, and I have always dreaded taking the class. The main reason I dread it is I hate writing and having people read my writing. Hopefully this class will get me over that. Something I hope to get out of this class is my love for reading back. Reading used to be a habit of mine, but the habit has almost completely diminished since I graduated high school. Steve seems extremely passionate about the subject of literature, so that makes me think I will be able to learn well from him.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to our next class.
-Charlie Smoak

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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

David Mistler
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello Dr. B and everyone,

My name is David Mistler. I am 19 years old and a business major at Sarge, however I am transferring to VCU eventually to study advertising. I love music, I enjoy every type and love to learn about new bands and sounds. I enjoy writing when I am motivated, but reading is not something I enjoy, (unless its  a comic strip or music lyrics). I love to make people laugh and am thinking about trying standup, even though I am not good a keeping a journal of jokes or anything like that. I am looking forward to this class (all except the reading) and hope to get to know all of you better.

Thank You,
David
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Re: Hello Dr.

David Mistler
In reply to this post by Andres Santamaria
Hello Andres,
I have been trying out guitar for a couple of years now and love to play it. My sister teaches middle school band and loves to see her six graders get that "light bulb" moment too.

Hope to see you soon
David
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Austin Mills
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello Dr. B and Maryland Committee,

Sorry I am a little late posting on here, but better late than never right? Anyways, my name is Austin Mills and I am taking this class as part of my gen ed. I am planning to transfer, not sure where yet, but I plan to major in marketing and minor in media studies. I like to skate and surf, I am also really interested in photography and filming as well. Music is another passion of mine, although I don't play any instruments. I look forward to getting to know you all and having a good semester.

- Austin Mills
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Anthony Rinaldi
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello everyone!

My name is Anthony Rinaldi, and I've been attending J. Sargeant Reynolds since 2005, so 6 years this semester... (Hard to believe its been that long!) To my credit, only the last 2 have been as an officially full-time student, and after this summer I plan on graduating with an Associates of Science Engineering degree and transferring to a 4-year institution.

I must say, with all my non-technical classes, I've always been more worried about them then I should have, and I believe this class will be the same way. Even though I am a "techie" and like to think of myself in that way, reading has been a love of mine since before my mother took me and my siblings to story time at the local library; the same library I am currently employed. The Art of storytelling is such a passion of mine, I am currently trying to get started in cinematography and moving pictures and will definitely pursue it as a hobby at the very least!

I truly look forward to furthering my knowledge and being introduced to Early American Literature beginning with this course, and hope that this is not the end of said literary education.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Alexa Smith
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hi everyone, I’m Alexa Smith. I just turned 20; I live with my parents and my sister. My family has two dogs and one cat. I also have a kitten named Weasley, (she’s orange and white, a tribute to Harry Potter.)

I began attending classes at Sarge directly after high school. This is my forth semester going to J. Sarge. I’m taking this course because I have to take it in order to earn my Associates. I love reading in general; however, I am fairly nervous about the intensity of the readings we’ll be delving into this semester. I’m hoping to love this class and I’m looking forward to gaining a new understanding of early American history and literature. I’m attending college in the hopes of earning my masters in elementary education. I’ve done observation hours in Kindergarten classes as part of my teacher prep courses and I cannot wait to graduate and start my career.
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Brad Nero
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hi everyone. I am now in my fourth semester here at J. Sarge and i enjoy being here and advancing my education. I currently am pursing a degree in nursing and am trying to get into the nursing school for the fall. I am currently working as a cashier at Dicks Sporting Goods. I enjoy retail because i interact with people all dad but i want to do this on a level where I am helping them. This is why I am pursuing my nursing degree.
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Re: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Gregory Marshall
Hi Everyone!

My name is Gregory Marshall. I'm 22 years old and currently pursuing a major in Business Administration, I'm taking this course along with a Psychology class here furthering my education. I'm originally from Brooklyn New York. I Like music and i enjoy sleeping and going to the gym during my free time. I'm looking forward to this class and all the work that comes with it.

Hope to meet and get to know everyone a little better soon!
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Woubet G.: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Woubet Gebreab
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello
My name is Woubet and my native nationality is Ethiopian but i have lived in the U.S. for a little over 15 years.  My plan at Reynolds is to get my associate diploma in Business Administration and transfer to VCU to pursue Marketing or Finance degree.  I graduated from Reynolds last year May, 2010 for career certificate in Real Estate.  I only have to take three more classes or 9 credits to graduate.  I look forward to this course so, i can improve my reading and writing skills.  I like history so that makes this course to be an interesting one for me.

Woubet
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Re: Woubet G.: Committee Cafe: Maryland Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Woubet,

Welcome to the class and the conversation.  This week, you should have a chance to get caught up on back postings an work.  You won't get another chance until over Spring Break; so, take advantage of this week. It matters when learning happens, but the most important things is that it does.

How has the Real Estate certificate served you?  Do you have plans for what you want to do with the Business and Marketing degree?

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Sun, Jan 30, 2011 at 12:34 AM, Woubet Gebreab [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello
My name is Woubet and my native nationality is Ethiopian but i have lived in the U.S. for a little over 15 years.  My plan at Reynolds is to get my associate diploma in Business Administration and transfer to VCU to pursue Marketing or Finance degree.  I graduated from Reynolds last year May, 2010 for career certificate in Real Estate.  I only have to take three more classes or 9 credits to graduate.  I look forward to this course so, i can improve my reading and writing skills.  I like history so that makes this course to be an interesting one for me.

Woubet


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