Wednesday, September 30, 2009

English Emphasis: I've got your back

College: it’s a time to grow, to learn, to prepare oneself to enter the workforce. A vital part of college is deciding upon a major. This decision alone can be exhausting.

But the decisions don’t end simply because a student has decided upon a major. One still has to choose which electives to take, what minor to choose. And as part of choosing a major, one must decide upon an emphasis, or area of focus within their major.

For those who have chosen the noble language of English as their area of study, there are three emphases available. These include: education, literary studies, creative writing, and professional writing. Each emphasis provides a unique learning experience and set of skills within the academic world of the English language.

Primarily, an emphasis decides some of the required classes of an English major’s educational career, but there are other considerations. What kinds of classroom experience can that emphasis offer? Will it increase the odds of landing that dream job? Will it really help a student acquire the skills they feel are most important to their success?

The answers to these questions depends largely on the individual student and their future plans. One student may wish to teach high school, for instance, while another will be focused on using the skills learned within their English major to work for a publishing company. The skill sets needed to succeed in each profession are related, but still quite distinct.

As such, I will be breaking the major down and discussing each emphasis individually. Look for the first entry next week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lois Lowry reads in Rexburg

Famous author Lois Lowry visited BYU-Idaho as the keynote speaker at the Children’s Literary Conference, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 19.

Lowis Lowry is the author of several well-known children’s books, which include The Giver and Number the Stars.

The night before the Conference, Friday, Sept. 18, she gave a reading at 8 p.m. in the Hinckley chapel. With frameless glasses atop the bridge of her nose and a water bottle in hand, she spoke about her works and the experiences that led her to become an author.

Afterwards, students were given the opportunity to approach and speak with her, or have book copies signed.

One of the earliest experiences that inspired her, she recalled, was reading The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rowlings. The story inspired her to read and to write, and began her love of stories, Lowry said.

Lowry also read from her book, Gossamer. She also talked about the experience of turning this novel into a stage play, which she said was different than she had expected.

“Writing a book is a very solitary sort of thing,” Lowry said. “I set about adapting Gossamer for the stage without really knowing how. I found that on the stage, you have the problem of showing different things.

Lowry discussed her writing style and process, describing how the ideas for her books develop. As an example, she said that the idea for The Giver came from her experience of seeing her father lose his memory.

Lowry also talked about her most recently published book, Crow Call, which is her first picture book. It is an autobiographical story about a day she spent with her father after he returned from fighting in World War II.

Lois Lowry lives in Cambridge, Mass., and has five children and four grandchildren.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What this blog's about.

As an English major, I am very passionate about reading and writing. I love the written word. As such, when I was asked to start a blog, I thought about things that I really care about enough to write about every week, and writing was at the top of the list.

So, as a matter of explanation, that is what my blog is about: writing. I will be posting updates about writing and literature, with a focus on what is going on in Rexburg, and, as an extension, BYU-Idaho.

So please read and let me know what you think!