Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications
If you’ve ever read one of my blogs, you know a little bit about how I think. I’ve made recommendations about upcoming events, given some relaxation techniques (which may be helpful during finals), and pontificated about the definition of a Spartan. So as I sat down to write a blog, I wondered where I’d be without this graduate assistantship. Since I live in Chapel Hill, I’m only on campus three days a week. Therefore, I asked myself: what would I know about UNCG if it weren’t for this position? Obviously I would have heard about the MFA events, like author readings. But would I have known that there was a Graduate Student Mixer on Monday? Probably not. And would I have attended Homecoming? Unfortunately, no. I’ve written a lot about the great events around campus, but how many of them would I have heard of, if it weren’t for this assistantship? Not as many as you might think—and that’s not to say that UNCG doesn’t advertise them well, because all of the events have been posted on the website. But would I have taken the time to do some research? Maybe I’m getting redundant, but the answer again is no. So who is benefitting from these blogs? I think it’s safe to say that if you are, then I am, too.
We’re here to pursue an education, so it’s easy to get caught up in our studies. I think that’s a good thing—if we weren’t passionate about our degrees, why would we be in grad school? Hopefully we wouldn’t. But at the same time, it’s easy to miss what’s going on around us. During my time at Gettysburg College, I missed some of the best events, simply because I didn’t take the time to see what was going on. For example, during my freshman year orientation, everyone was told what to do and where to be for the entire week. It was great, like we were children again. I attended some very memorable events—but the best was the hypnotist. Up until my orientation, I didn’t think twice about hypnotism, or whether I believed it. But as I watched this guy on stage, I couldn’t help but think that I was witnessing the most unbelievable performance in the history of mankind. Twenty of my classmates were making chicken sounds or pretending they were knights, whatever the hypnotist told them to do. And I believed it all. Afterward, I promised myself that I’d go every year. But while the hypnotist kept coming back, I never went again. I’d hear about it a day or two after he was there. Just because I didn’t do the research, I missed out on the greatest performance ever.
So what am I saying? I’m saying you should attend a hypnotist event. No—my point is that these blogs have helped me adjust to life as a grad student. By researching weekly events, I’ve become aware of what is happening at UNCG and all around the community. I’ve attended events like First Friday and Homecoming, not just poetry readings by the MFA department. I feel like I have a much more “worldly” understanding of our school than I would have if it weren’t for this assistantship. And since it’s November, I’d like to say thanks for the opportunity to write blogs on the Graduate School website every week. I think next week I’ll even write two: one about Thanksgiving and another about Finals (since it wouldn’t be fair to Thanksgiving if I combined them).
And before I conclude, I’d like to point out this is UNCG’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. One of the events that we should all be aware of is the 19th Annual Will Read for Food, Art + Song. The event runs from 6:30-8:00pm on November 21st; student musicians and local authors will be performing and reading in the Weatherspoon Art Museum. The suggested donations are $5 for students, $10 for the public, and all money will go to area food banks and shelters. While there won’t be any hypnotists, it will still be a great event. So now that you’ve heard about it, I hope you can attend!
If you want more information on the entire week of events, you can find it here: http://olsl.uncg.edu/students/community-service/hunger-homelessness-awareness-week/