Monthly Archives: September 2007

Sheila Watt-Cloutier at Red Deer

Come and here Canada’s warrior Sheila Watt-Cloutier speak at Red Deer College on October 17th. She’s a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on global climate change and the impact on the Inuit of the Arctic. Tickets at ticketmaster or at the bookstore at RDC. See ya there!

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BA Social Tonight

Just a reminder that the BA Social is tonight, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at the Far Side. It’s a drop in event, so just come by when you can. If you don’t have a ticket already, they’re available when you show up for $3. That gets your name in a draw for a couple prizes, and also you get a meal ticket worth $6.00 for dinner. (We aren’t allowed to give out free drink tickets, but if your instructor is there they might buy you one, especially if you remind them that your tuition dollars pay their salary!)

 Anyway, stop on by. It’s casual but it’ll be a good time!

 See you there.

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Why Go to University?

It’s an existentialist question – why am I here? On a more practical level – why am I here, taking a Bachelor of Arts degree at Red Deer College? Maybe you’re the type who just sort of fell into it and you’re going with the flow to see where it takes you. Or maybe you have specific goals and plans all lined up for the future: Short term! Long term! I came across an article called Why Go to University, which summarizes a book by Jeff Rybak called’s Wrong with University, and How to Make it Work For You Anyway (ECW Press, 2007).

He claims that university is too costly, time-consuming, and important a step to just sort of get swept into without stopping and considering why you are here or what you will do with your degree when finished.

I’m not sure I agree entirely with him, although I’ll have to read the whole book before I pass final judgment. Obviously you don’t want to just drift along forever; obviously you want to take classes that interest you and have an idea of what to do when you’re done. However, do you need to know those things right away on coming out of highschool and stepping into college or university? I don’t think so. I think it’s a chance to explore a few options and begin to narrow them down. It’s also a great place to figure out what some of your future options are – you might never have known that “sociology” exists before you started at college, and certainly might not have known what a sociologist does after graduation.

So yes – don’t just spend a bunch of money and several years aimlessly drifting from discipline to discipline, eating dry cereal for dinner and writing papers on topics you care very little about. On the other hand, the last thing you should feel is that you have to have your future figured out from A-Z and know every single topic that interests you and what kind of profession is going to appeal to you the day you start at university. It’s a time to explore, grow, and narrow down gradually. By the time fourth year rolls around, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of why you came in the first place and where you might go next, as long as you weren’t hungover every minute of every single day of your college career. (Which is possible! But may make things fuzzy later on!)

Let me know if you think post-secondary means you should have plans and goals all lined up, or if you feel it’s a chance to figure out what those plans and goals might be.

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B.A. Fall Social

After class next Wednesday (September 19) come by the Far Side for the BA Social. It’s pretty casual – we reserve a bunch of tables, you buy a $3 ticket, come by, get dinner and a chance to win some prizes, and people just hang out and eat, drink, and feel merry. If they so choose to feel merry.

You can get your tickets from myself (Alison) in 2506B, or from Jen in 2506I. I’ll also be selling them in the main hallway by the Forum on Tuesday, September 18. Finally, you can always get them at the door if you’re one of those spontaneous types. We have the tables reserved between 5 and 7:30 p.m. so drop in whenever you can during that time.

See you there!

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Group on Facebook

Has anyone started a group of BA Students at RDC on Facebook yet?

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Welcome from the Chair

Hello one and all
I’m hoping that you are excited about the start of a new term and the excitement lasts! I’ll post some comments here as I get time to do so but for the moment check out something called OpenSource Software which is FREE to all users. I’ve added some links under the blog roll for free office software, free photoshop software, and sound editing software. If you have time check out
Also check out the free Mozilla Firefox site especially the Firefox Campus Edition site.

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Hallway Hell: 5 Tips to Survive

It’s been a quiet summer around the college. The hallways were pretty much as open and carefree as a lazy summer mind, the silence broken only occasionally by the sound of flip-flops slapping the floor. I even saw some people getting down with creative dance moves with all that space to fill.

This week is a different story. You don’t keep your eyes open out there, you’re liable to go under in the crush. People are everywhere, standing in lineups, standing in groups outside classroom doors, walking backwards while they try to read signs and figure out where they are compared to where they should be . . . not to mention the late students (and the late instructors) racing to be in class on time.

It’s going to be this way for the next little while, before people give up coming to class, or before they figure out where their classes are and what the most efficient route is from place to place. Or before they stop worrying about being on time.  So here are a few well-tried tips to make it through the throng.

1. Don’t Make Eye Contact – if you make eye contact with the dude slouching down the hall towards you, you’re going to feel an obligation to be polite. If you don’t make eye contact and oops – you whack him with your bag full of sharp-cornered textbooks – well, he’s never going to even know you saw him.

2. The Pointed Glare – there IS a time and a place for eye contact, and that’s when there are three girls coming towards you, walking side by side, talking about whatever it is young and hip people are watching on TV these days and completely oblivious to the fact that they are clogging up a thoroughfare. Give them a dirty look or at least a pointed one, and one of them will nudge her friends and say “Hey, look out”. Guaranteed.

3. Shoulders and Elbows First – don’t present your softer, more vulnerable parts to the flying limbs all around you. Lead with your shoulders and if necessary, stick your elbows up a bit to protect you.

4. Think Ahead – think several steps ahead. Look for gaps. If your classroom door is on the right side of the hall and you are being swept along by a left-side crowd, get ready to make your move well in advance of the door, just the way you’d make a lane change well in advance of an exit. Otherwise, you’re going to be backtracking and it’s really hard to find a place to U-turn.

5. One with the Crowd – if you’re headed all the way across campus and don’t have to make an exit till you reach the wide open spaces of the library, just go with the flow. Get in the middle of a moving throng and let the momentum sweep you along.

 Good luck out there!

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Filed under college, Random Stuff

The Easy Button

I just saw a commercial that makes me feel nervous, excited, and a little sad, even after being out of school for a few years. I imagine this type of commercial will make me feel this way for the rest of my life! You know . . . the “Back to School” commercial, which appears way too early in the summer and tries to ruin your carefree day in sixty seconds by reminding you of the impending fall and the impending return to the classroom.

This one was for Staples – “The Easy Button” campaign they have going. You press a juicy red button marked “easy” and you have everything you need to go back to school. Really. That’s one way to do it. So far I haven’t come across any “easy” button fastened to the edge of the outdoor pool that I can hit.

But I wanted to post a reminder to new students to come to Orientation 2007, and I figure that’s as good a way to describe it as any: a sort of “easy” button that will help you get ready for college. You’ll meet people in the same program as you (I met my best friend at my orientation!) and learn your way around the college, with lots of practical advice like where to eat, study, hang out, buy your textbooks and parking pass, and so on.

Come to the Humanities and Social Sciences meet and greet for sure in the Margaret Parsons Theater from 10 – 11 a.m. if you are a BA student. Lots of your potential instructors will be there and it’ll be a casual way to introduce you to your new program.

Starting school is never easy, and all your life part of you is going to want to punch out the smug commercial parents who hit the “easy” button and then dance with joy because their kid is heading back to school. Nonetheless, going to Orientation will make starting at Red Deer College that much easier, and it’s totally worth your time.

See you there!

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