Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ten Ways to Take on the World

A fellow Windy City writer, Fredericka Meiners writing as Ann Macela, sent these two links that I found particularly interesting.

Ten Ways to Take on the World is a column written by Cindy Richards in the Chicago Sun-Times. She's aimed it at college graduates, but it can apply to anyone.

Richards has a lot of advice that I like. Here's one that resonates with me as a writer:
5. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Los Angeles is full of actors who are between jobs. Most of us call them waiters. But they call themselves actors. They all know who they are; they just don't happen to make money doing it. Yet.

Meet the Middle Ages is a Twin Cities Pioneer Press article about a college that is teaching a medieval course in an unconventional way -- by pretending to be in 12th century Europe during class.

A few fellow writers and I have been known to fantasize about taking an immersion history course, so I found this particularly appealing. Our fantasies have usually involved a fancy party and ball set in Regency England, but I'm flexible.
Medieval Connections is no pushover. Forty percent of a student's grade rests on performance debate and on an oral exam in front of the teachers at semester's end. An additional 20 percent comes from the quality of writing in the margins of the codex.

That eternal parent question, "What are you going to do with a medieval studies degree?" can sometimes be the biggest obstacle. While Adamo hopes that plenty of facts are learned, he said the goal is not to turn out hundreds of medievalists. He believes the skills the typical medieval scholar gained -- critical thinking, debate, public speaking -- will serve students well, regardless of whether they can recall the reign of Pope Innocent III.

On further reflection, I don't think this course would be easy for me, as it has heavy emphasis on areas that give me anxiety. I could enroll and make it a scary goal, but hey, the class is all the way in the Minneapolis area and they don't offer it via the Internet to non-students. Phew!

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