Monday, September 19, 2016

Blog Post 1

This semester promises to be filled with many unforgettable experiences.   As a senior I have the opportunity to participate in many exciting classes and programs such as Engineering Senior Design Projects, ROTC activities, and many more that Loyola has to offer.  These all promise to be interesting and rewarding.  Perhaps the most rewarding program I will partake in is the Understanding Literature Service Learning Option.  Loyola's Service Learning Program offers me the opportunity to get out of the classroom and work with local children to help them.  I am choosing to volunteer at the Patterson School where I will most likely be assisting teenage refugees with schoolwork, especially algebra.  As someone who has tutored before, and worked with younger people, I know firsthand the sense of reward and accomplishment that comes from helping somebody succeed in an area where they previously struggled.  The school I will be tutoring has a large refugee population.  The sense of reward will be that much greater knowing I have helped a child who has already been through so much in their life, and still has much more to go through.  It will be an honor to help them, and make their lives better in any way I can. 
I also look forward to being introduced to new perspectives.  Having been raised in a small town in Connecticut, attending a school with similar people, I have a habit of seeing world events and ideas through a fairly small tube.  I have been on mission trips with my church in high school, but theses were fairly short and I did not interact much with the people I was helping.  Service Learning at the Patterson School promises to be very different in this regard.  Here I will be spending a large amount of time interacting one on one, or in small groups, with people who have experience a very different upbringing than I have.  They will be offering a different perspective and a different way to see world.  Additionally, our media has a habit of painting a negative picture when it comes to world events, especially those concerning refuges.  Having the opportunity to meet, work,  and communicate with refuges, and learn their story, will afford me the other side of the debate that is such a controversial topic in today's society.   
Frances Haper's poem, "Learning to Read", was very powerful.  Many of us know how after the Civil War many Northern "Carpetbaggers" moved down South to help the newly freed slaves, or in some instances make a profit.  Having taken a Civil War and Reconstruction History class at Loyola last semester this topic was discussed extensively.  One aspect we did not dive into was the perspective of the newly freed slaves.  "Learning to Read" offered this perspective.  It showed me how the newly freed slaves were great full for the help they were receiving.  It also eluded to retribution they faced from their old masters and that society.  What also struck me was the narrators drive to learn how to read.  She wanted to be able to read the bible before she passed away, and was about sixty years old at this time.  It made me realize how much I take for granted, especially my education. 
Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" encouraged me to think of how we interact with not only our neighbors, but with society in general.  His poem discussed how neighbors build fences to mark off their property, and do not always socialize and corporate with each other.  Parallels can be drawn between this poem and how the international stage is being set, especially with the upcoming election.  There is a mighty debate going on between globalism and nationalism.  Nationalism would be the neighbor who wants to keep their fence up, while the narrator is globalism, or advocating for a more open and cooperative society.  Both ideology's have the merits, and their flaws, but Robert Frost was obviously advocating for globalism in "Mending Wall".  He almost certainly believes that the increased communication and trade between countries that comes with globalism is superior to the self-sufficiency and putting your people first mindset that nationalism breeds.

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