The musings of a silly student... And not much else.

The musings of a silly student... And not much else.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Authors of Identity

“Differences challenge assumptions,” the famous author Anne Wilson Schaef once said. As I looked at Chelsea Ann Chalmers, I snorted at the possibility. My assumptions about her, I thought, would never be challenged.
On the surface, we were very similar. We were both of the same age, race and sex. Both of us came from families with fairly comfortable incomes in Johannesburg, we both spoke the same language and we both attended Rhodes University as first year students.
But, as far as I was concerned, Chelsea and I could have been from two different species.
Having observed Chelsea for quite some time, I thought I knew exactly who and what she was, and I was not impressed. “I know your type,” I found myself thinking on more than one occasion, “and I don’t like it.” Her social extroversion and habits created my inability to see the person that she truly was. The culture at Rhodes teemed with ‘people like her’. She fit in beautifully; I was an outcast. She loved people; I felt uncomfortable around them. She enjoyed parties; I would rather cut my own leg off than attend one. She takes pleasure in sport; I find it torturous. It happens so often that we, as human beings, do not feel comfortable when we come across someone who could fit into more than one of the restricting little boxes we have created in which to stuff them. Because I had always regarded myself as liberal-minded and free of judgmental thoughts and ideas, it came as a nasty shock to me when I found that I had created a large number of these little boxes. Not only had I been trapping my acquaintances in these boxes, but my boxes did not even have holes through which they could breathe.
Chelsea is part of the ‘in-crowd’. She is popular, and she taps her feet to the music that blares from the radio. She jumps from one earth-shatteringly fashionable outfit to the next in the space of five minutes. She is invited to all the most exclusive parties as a Rhodes first year, and she attends them. Speaking to Chelsea, I thought, would be a waste of time. It was not. Speaking to Chelsea Ann Chalmers not only surprised me, but it blew all my stereotypically labelled boxes into oblivion.
It turned out that Chelsea and I were more alike than I had ever been able to dream. Human beings, I realised, were human beings not because of, but despite their cultures. Despite being from different cultures, Chelsea and I are both saddened by pain and suffering, and it brings us joy to bring joy to others.
It comes to pass that the most important part of a person is not determined by their habits, their background or their way of life. People share core values, and this makes us human. It is time to break open our boxes, pile them up, burn them down and dance around the flames together.

Think Like a Journalist

I am almost home! Can you believe that seven weeks are almost over? I have just spent the weekend at my dad's house with Benjamin, and my tastebuds have never been more satisfied.

I do not really know what I will write about today... Things that seem old and familiar to me will be exciting and new to you, so I have no idea how to select news for you. As I am reporting this news from my own life, I guess that's a problem all journalists face! I feel that I am starting to think like a journalist more and more these days. After struggling with an assignment I had been given for a whole weekend, I went to my JMS 1 Introduction to News lecturer, Gillian Rennie, and asked her for tips. She was very unhelpful, and gave me cryptic clues and roundabout answers. I went home, ruminated on her comments, and approached her again. Again, the same thing happened. I revised my strategy, thought and thought, and apporached her again. She explained again, and finally I understood. I told her, "Finally, after all this time, you give me something I can work with!", to which she replied, "No, you just started asking the right questions." Needless to say, I am quite chuffed with myself. Learning to ask the right questions is what makes a good journalist and writer, and I am on the way. I will post the piece of writing I created by asking the right questions, and you can be the judges.

Economics is going surprisingly well, and I am writing yet another test on Tuesday that will (hopefully) attest to my economic capabilities (I got 75% for the first one - ace!). I don't know about Sociology yet, but my last essay for the term jumped from a 5 to a 7, so I'm not complaining to loudly.

I miss you so much, and I can't wait to see you next week this time. I want sushi and hugs!

I love you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

And the writing in the salt says: "We ride on out to the stars..." *

The five days I have only barely just survived have been among the busiest of my life (ranking right up there with Drama practicals - whew!) and I have only just touched down for the first time since Sunday.

These five days were filled with the usual amount of lectures and tutorials, and an unusual amount of work, assignments, essays, questions, meetings and other obligatory madness. For Journalism, I wrote a personal narrative for Monday and a profile (for which I had to conduct a serious interview that took serious time) on a fellow tutorial member for today. For English I had, as I always do, two sets of questions, but this week I had to hand in an essay on top of that! Not to mention that I three hours of my invaluable time on Wednesday night watching the archaic John Laurie "Hamlet"... For Sociology I had an essay to hand in today, but I also have a test on Monday. History filled its slot with some indigestably convoluted writing about climate change (enjoyable, though). And Economics decided that this week was the week to slap me with a six-source essay, multiple choice questions and another little essay. Oh, and did I mention the test I wrote on Tuesday?

Activate (the independent student newspaper) meetings started this week, and I attended the Business/Opinions meeting (they share a meeting) and I did my first bit of sub-editing yesterday! I am a born spelling-superstar!

I've dyed my hair dark again! For Ouma and Oupa, who did not know that I was blonde for two months - I was blonde for two months. The regrowth of my natural colour was getting a bit ratty, so I decided to darken it again and it really looks beautiful.

I went shopping for fake flowers today, and found a beautiful bowl at Mr. Price Home for R11.99. It is glazed, and square with rounded sides. It is a dark, glazed brown on the inside and a speckled, watery-looking white painted on the outside with black patterns drawn into it. It is really beautiful.

Time is moving forward so quickly that I seem to wake up from a robotic stupor every Friday and wonder where the hell my week has gone. I am going to try to make some time for myself, if only to remind myself that I am alive (That sounds very sombre - I really am fine, just very busy!).

I miss all of you like a bunny who has lost his carrots.
I love you.

* Modest Mouse - Trucker's Atlas