Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The ILC’s Maiden Voyage to Vanderbilt: Recovery

I'm Free! Today was great especially it being the first day without my sling. I was finally able to pick up my lunch trays without the annoying blue and white obstruction, I could open my own doors again, and I could sit down comfortably in my cramped college desk in class. Apparently I wasn’t the only one enjoying the change because during each of my 3 square meals there was at least one lunch attendant who noticed that my sling was off saying, ” Is your arm ok now baby, “followed by a, “I know your glad to have that thing off.” They couldn’t have been more correct. In retrospect my day wasn’t as eventful as most other days, yet I received a lesson from it.

I would summarize today’s events as a day of recovery, not only physically, but mentally too. Today in our World Religions class we finished the section on Islam and had an Essay Exam on the Abrahamic Faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.) I began the first question essay without truly understanding the question which was, “In conversation with the canons explain compare and contrast the systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” After getting about a half of a page down into my essay, I reread the prompt realizing I had totally missed the point of the essay. I didn’t panic; I simply recovered by restarting my essay writing with a new purpose. This theme of recovery has also helped socially allowing me to be more open without worrying about any extra issues like my arm. At the same time I know to be careful in order to prevent a painful reoccurrence, in which case my parents, chaperone, and VSA would probably bar me from anything requiring movement. Recovery allows one to slow down and take time to think before they act which leads to better decision making meaning better results.


VSA: Time of My Life

We went more in depth studying Islam in class today with the opportunity to read a document by Osama bin-Laden. It was a rather extreme script, making references to the “evils” of Americans and the need to attack them all-- civilians and military alike. These actions were supposedly justified by jihad, or holy war in the name of God. However, God in Islam strictly forbids violence and attacks against innocents. Therefore it was not jihad—rather, it was a war of terrorism.

It is often mistaken that jihad and terrorism are the same thing, which is why stereotypes against Muslims exist.

We also took our first exam today, which was an in-class essay about the Abrahamic faiths. Tomorrow, we will move on with these religions and begin our study of Hinduism.

Glee, my Arete class, was fun.

We are going to create a music video for the song Time of My Life, recording the track ourselves then compiling it into a short video.

Our group was divided into solos, duets, and trios. I am singing a duet with my friend Grace (we have about two lines) as well as the chorus with the entire group. We finished our layout for the storyline of the music video, and tomorrow, we will begin filming around campus. I cannot wait to see the finished result on Friday.

Mail for Me

We have quite a lot of time to hang around campus before our classes start. Julia and I have taken to walking into buildings that allow us to. We take it as a challenge to explore every surface of Peabody, which is the college of Vanderbilt that we take classes on. This was our second day of exploration, and we have a ritual of going to the admissions building and using a drop of their fantastic green tea smelling hand sanitizer. It may sound strange, but if you had a whiff of this hand sanitizer, you would be hooked as well. We wandered to another building that had an indentation that was sort of like a brick window. We decided that it was a great platform to take posing pictures. We also found some interesting statues to pose with as well.

The most interesting thing we did in class today was read a speech by Osama bin-Ladin. He spoke about how the United States has been “plundering its [Islam’s] riches” and “humiliating its people”, trying to “annihilate what is left of this people”. He says that through the U.S.’s help towards Jews in Palestine, that Americans is encouraging murder of Muslims there and is eager to destroy Iraq. He then quotes lines of the Qur’an like “fight the pagans all together” to rally up the Islamic people everywhere to fight in the name of Allah. He calls to “comply with Allah’s orders to kill the Americans” and to fight against “Satan’s U.S. troops” and “the devil’s supporters.”

This is interesting because bin-Ladin says that killing Americans is an act of jihad to defend their religion and Allah. But it also says in the Qur’an that Jews and Christians (which many Americans fall into the category of) are People of the Book, and are not to be hated, since they do believe in God. So these are two conflicting ideas that Osama bin-Ladin is preaching. He is advocating one saying of Allah over the other.

When we asked how this could possibly rally up followers, our professor asked us to look at all this in the eyes of citizens of Iraq. The United States used to drop bombs across the area like there was no tomorrow. There are few people that have not been negatively affected by American action in Iraq. Many are angry, and really, who wouldn’t be? Others believe that the bombing of Iraq is an attack against Islam, and an attack on one is an attack on all. Islam is more than a religion, it’s a way of life, and members are connected through the Islamic lifestyle, and all are brothers and sisters under Allah (not in a literal sense of brother and sister, but you know what I mean).

We wrote essays afterwards, comparing, contrasting, and explain the three Abrahamic faiths.

Step and Stomp was really fun today. My weird spots have not disappeared, and I realized that they’ll probably just get steadily worse as the week goes on, and as we keep practicing. It’s difficult to follow and memorize the steps, but today’s pattern was much easier for me than yesterday’s was. It’s not easy to describe what we’re learning, but hopefully someone can record the dance on Friday, and I can post it!

Our activity tonight was sign-out night. A large group of us walked a whiles away just to eat at this marvelous cupcake shop that we had heard so much about. It was only until we reached the store that we found out that the shop closed early. We changed course and headed to Starbucks instead, where I had a delicious Mocha Frappuccino. I had some nice chats with some of the workers there, explaining why there were so many kids swarming the shop, and what we’re doing here at Vanderbilt. They congratulated us on being so proactive and taking summer classes at the school. They also complemented my name, which I thought was very nice. Is this an example of that sweet ol’ Southern hospitality I’ve heard of? Or maybe they were just being polite and making conversation… either way, they were really nice.

The best part of my day was getting mail from two of my friends back home. Shout out to Erin Miller, a best friend and super cool bud of mine, and Jannette Sandoval, one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Thank you for bringing me reminders of back home! I’m not homesick yet, but it’s always nice to hear from friends back home.