Friday, February 19, 2010

Walk by Faith....

Walk by faith, and not by sight?

Ada, Oklahoma – – We all have difficulties that we have to overcome in our lives, some of us more than others. Alexandra Taussig is a prime example of someone who may have a little more to overcome than most, but as it turns out, she is doing splendidly.

Taussig was born in Missouri with a visual impairment that most of the Doctors hadn't encountered before. A rare atrophying of the muscles around the eye, making both focusing of the eye, and control of the eyelids somewhere between difficult and impossible.

 By the age of six, the doctors did a through examination, and she was determined to be legally blind. While she can sometimes make things out with the small monocular she wears around her neck, actions like driving a car, or even crossing the street are often as not an impossibility.

That hasn't stopped her in the slightest though, if anything, its given her a reason and a direction to push forward. With her determination and tenacity alone, she seems set on making a name for herself in this world.

Even though she was born in Missouri, her parents moved to Oklahoma City when she was in her early teens. Along with her older brother and younger sister, they lived there for the better part of the next seven years.

Taussig went to a normal high school, and found that being around people who didn't cater to her disability made her push herself to new heights. She found that she excelled best, when the playing field was against her.

It seemed only natural then, that Taussig decided she wanted to go to college. Given her experiences in high school, finding a college that was for the blind and visually impaired didn't really seem to be a viable option. So she talked to her parents and began looking for an option that would allow her to have a normal colleProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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“I heard from my school councilor that East Central University was good with people that have disabilities, She tells me, so I came with my parents to check it out, and two months later I was enrolled here.”

Her time here has been anything but smooth sailing. Adapting to living alone has been a difficult transition, and one that has not been without its bumps.

“When I first came here, getting around was extremely difficult,” She tells me, “I lived upstairs, and had problems actually seeing where there were.” “Finding classrooms was virtually impossible unless I asked for help from a nearby student or teacher.”

When you have visual problems, any new environment is like a new maze to learn. Apparently Taussig usually needs several months to become easily accustomed to moving about new environments with ease.

There were also battles with administration and teachers over being able to take tests over a longer period of time to allow her time to read the tests properly, and having the tests themselves printed in a larger font.

“Not everyone was as willing to help as I had hoped,” Taussig says regretfully, “Many of the Professors were very nice, but some just didn't seem to care.”

Looking around the room that Taussig inhabits, its fairly easy to tell where her interests lie academically. There are books of Browning's poetry, Jane Austin novels, Anthologies of American literature and a book by Desmond Tutu, and these are only a few of the novels that can be found in the stacks upon her table.

“Literature has always been something I enjoyed,” Taussig says, “becoming an english major just seemed like an easy direction for college as well.”

Not only does it seem to be an easy direction for her, but her studies are going exceptionally. She is currently in good standing with the East Central Honors Program, headed by Dr. Yarborough.

You have to maintain at least a 3.3gpa to stay in good standings with the Honors program, and Taussig has been in the program steadily for almost three years now. Not a bad achievement for someone who has difficulties seeing the print on most of the books assigned for her classes.

As for what she is planning currently? Working on her honors thesis is her current goal. “I'm planning on attempting to do a survey on both small towns and cities.” She tells me, “I'm hoping to see why the mindsets towards people with disabilities changes so much between small and large populations.”

After she graduates from East Central University, she wants to go to graduate school, and obtain her degree in library science. Seeing as they have a program for that at East Central University, she may end up being here in Ada for quite some more time. It seems she's quite okay with that idea though.

“I really like Ada as a town, and many of the people here.” Taussig says, “Cities are exciting, bustling with people, but its a lot harder to get to know people.”

Still, not everything is as ideal as Taussig would like. When I inquired if there was anything different she would like about Ada, she sighed and confessed that she had been going through serious withdrawal lately. Withdrawal over what? IHOP.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dorm Room Success.

Being in college was an unexpected experience. Truth be told, I never expected to go to college when I grew up. My parents often told us stories of people who reached success without college (which made sense, as they were not college graduates themselves).
So as I found myself within first dorm room I lived in, just days before school started, a sense of apprehension gripped my being. It seemed sparse, it seemed foreign. It had no familiar elements, no crayon marks on the wall from when I was five, no pictures or posters on the walls.

College can be a stressful experience. The classes that you take will be the least of your worries. You'll have to worry about schedules conflicting, the homework, the social interactions and trying to figure out how to take the amount of notes needed to complete the classes without killing yourself. In the midst of all of this, the last thing you want is for you to run out of something that will throw off your evening.

This means you need to be aware of the many things needed for a successful college semester. This seems like an appropriate time to give you the first of many lists. These lists will walk you through the needed items to make your first college semester memorable, in a good way.

David's 5 most important things for the college dorm room.

#5. Bedding. There is nothing worse than showing up to college, only to find out that you don't have anything to sleep on. Of course, the mattress is provided by the college, so thats one thing down, but you need sheets, blankets, pillows, whatever catches your fancy. Also remember that dorm rooms don't always have the best temperature control, so have light blankets for summer, and thick comforters and quilts for winter times.

#4. Coffee Makers. Not just any coffee maker either. You will have long nights, that you will be staying up studying, and coffee is a must. You can't be certain that there will be a coffee shop anywhere near, so being able to make your own will allow you to get things done quicker. Many dorm rooms don't allow Coffee makers that have warmers, so try to find one with a warmer that can be switched off (and still allow the coffee to be created), or better yet, get a coffee maker without one.

#3. Microwave. Lets face it, the cafeteria isn't exactly the most exciting place to eat. Many times, you are going to want to stay in your room, and just make something to much on. Nachos, Popcorn, Ramen Noodles. These things become staples for the college student, but without a microProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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ve, things get lot trickier to make.

#2. Groceries. Now that you have a Microwave, and a Coffeemaker, it would probably be a good idea to get groceries. Most dorms will have a little cabinet of some sort, for groceries to be stored. While this isn't necessarily the ideal location to store food, because dorm roommates may steal the food you purchase, it will certainly suffice. Make sure to get plenty of college staples.

#1. Locking boxes. Dorm rooms have an unfortunate lack of space, so having boxes that can easily slide under your bed, will work well for you. You can place your food, and valuables within these boxes to prevent theft, scavenging, and to avoid unpleasant disagreements about what belongs to whom. Since you are probably going to be sharing a room with complete strangers, its never a bad idea to be safe. Just as good fences make good neighbors, locked boxes make good roommates.

So there you have it, if you want to make things easier on yourself, while in the dorm rooms, abide by this list, obtain these items, it can not only make things easier for you, but also those that you live with.

-- David --

Anticipation of Taste

People don't appreciate food. Its an unfortunate fact of our society. In-between our trips to McDonalds, and the TV dinners that we nuke in the microwave, an important factor is lost. What is that factor you ask? Anticipation.

When I was asked what the best meal of my life was, I was taken a bit aback. I see myself as being in fairly good health, and being only 21 years of age, intend to live for quite a while longer. Thus the idea that the best meal of my life is in the past, is quite a distressing concept. I don't see the best meal of my life being in my past, to tell the truth. I see it being in the future. I see it being prepared by my own hands. Unlike much of America today, I haven' t lost the anticipation of eating. The aromas of a loaf of freshly baked bread, the smell of simmering spaghetti sauce, the taste of an enchilada, dripping with a green Chile sauce, melted cheddar cheese on top. These are the things that America forgets about, when we go home to cook our meals at night.

As for me, I can almost taste that meal in the future. The best meal of my life. I may not know yet, if it will be of juicy and tender chicken (dark meat of course), a succulent steak, or perhaps sauteed mushrooms. Perhaps the scents will be of cumin, or mint or even paprika. These things don't matter as much as that anticipation of the meal itself. For without anticipation, it may not be made at all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It commences!

So this is the beginning. As those who will primarily read this (I assume!) already know, I've been assigned the creation of a blog for Ms. Schaefers Newspaper Reporting class.

So what did I do? I cheated! Well..... okay, so theoretically I didn't really cheat. I merely remodeled this blog that I already had, mostly because I didn't want to create a new email address to create a second blog, and I wasn't really using this blog anyways.

It works well though. In the topics at hand, the subject I shall choose, the news articles that I will find, and the stories around ECU will all focus on one central thing. What exactly is the motive and the meaning behind these three topics? Searching for a meaning behind the oddities of the day, the vagaries of the news and the convolution of East Central University should prove to be an interesting topic.

If its not... I do sincerely apologize for that which I shall write henceforth.

-- David --