Posts Tagged 'Academics'

RA Post Week: Fridays off can be productive.

Words by Cait, Booth Seventh Floor RA

Registration is wrapping up and many of you students out there are really excited for the sweet class schedule you’ve created. I’ve heard a lot of people rejoicing because they’ve got no Friday classes.

Well, isn’t that swell.

Now you dance your socks off into the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, sleep until 3 p.m. on Friday, and get out of bed only to catch last night’s “The Office,” on Hulu… or, you could be a little more proactive with your free time.

My sophomore year of college I had no Friday classes both semesters. To keep my good karma coming, I decided to do good during those empty afternoons. I’m a nutrition and dietetics major, so I was looking for a volunteer opportunity in foodservices. After filling out a volunteer interest form at the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public & Community Service, I got the contact info for the Samaritan Center on Montgomery Street. This program provides a daily nutritious meal to those in need.

It was a perfect fit. Every Friday I’d ride the warehouse bus downtown, pull on a hair net, and serve up some tasty grub. The patrons were so grateful and making a positive contribution to my community felt really good. On Fridays we served fish, so the Friday volunteers called ourselves “The Fish People.” We even had T-shirts.

So if you are one of the lucky students who scored a four-day week, consider the great things you could do with that extra time. There are tons of organizations on campus that coordinate volunteer opportunities. Every Friday at 2:45 p.m., the RAs of BKM meet with other RAs to volunteer at the Syracuse Boys and Girls Club. If kids aren’t your cup of tea, head down to the Mary Ann Shaw Center to check out other options.

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RA Post Week: The art of Zen poetry.

Words by Dylan, Marion Second Floor RA

What is Zen poetry? You could argue that it is poetry by Zen monks. You could define it as all the poetry written by people influenced by Zen. You could even treat any poem with a feeling of Zen about it as Zen poetry. The appreciation of Zen poetry has become universal with its simple expression of direct, intuitive insight and sudden enlightenment. It’s been building a large audience by appealing to lovers of poetry, spirituality, and beauty everywhere.

The simplest definition is the first one: poetry by Zen monks, especially in the countries where Zen has a long history (China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam). Zen is a Japanese word that derives from the Chinese term chan. Chan is a translation of the Sanskrit word dhyaya, meditation, attesting to Zen’s ultimate origins in India.

Zen monks wrote poems about a wide variety of experiences, though not all of them have everything to do with Zen itself. Some argue that writings inspired by Zen are ultimately a contradiction in terms. Some of what is typically captured in Zen poetry is the monk’s talkativeness and the variety of their moods based on their own readiness to temper their higher aspirations with everyday human concerns. True Zen, however, is a means of achieving sudden enlightenment by breaking with the constraints of commentary and tradition, and by transcending the boundaries of language. Zen by its practice is a concentration on direct experience rather than the ties we make to the conditions we have been taught to follow.

‘The Morning Ferry’ by Yang Wanli speaks to this and leaves us there in the moment. He wrote purely about that the environment he was experiencing and not the way he felt of it.

Through the mist

The river and the mountains are dimly seen,

And from the crowing of the roosters

And the barking of the dogs

I would surmise that we were passing a village.

The little ferry has a coat of thick frost;

And when I se my foot upon a board,

My shoe leaves its perfect print upon it.

[and] This poem by Saigyo captures Zen, in even more of a raw state than Wanli’s because there is no direct association to the words chosen; they just are, and that’s all they need to be.

Every single thing

Changes and is changing

Always in this world

Yet with the same light

The moon goes on shining.

Design this year’s Newhouse t-shirt!

Every year, the students of Newhouse are given an opportunity to come up with a design to be put on the year’s Newhouse t-shirt. The design should say Newhouse and/or some variation of the full title, be one that appeals to the entire student demographic of the school (regardless of major), is “decent” and “clean” to a reasonable person, and one that you’d be proud to wear to show your school pride.

The competition goes until December 14, 2009.

The winner of the t-shirt design chosen will not only receive those accolades, but will also win a $50 gift card and a free t-shirt with his/her winning design.

Please submit all designs to Paul Brockwell: cpbrockw@syr.edu.

Studying? Sleeping? Both?

No one can deny it – long nights studying keep all BKM residents up at night at some point in the semester. That said…

Share your favorite place to study with your fellow BKM residents!

(…and FYI: Sleeping in past noon on the weekends doesn’t make up for lost sleep during the week! Manage your time wisely 🙂).