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Staying Close To Home

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Going to college is one of the biggest steps in a young adult’s life. Moving away can be the first time someone has ever gotten the chance to live on their own and be an individual. Your parents are no longer nagging at you to do your homework or telling you to make curfew. This all might sound like a perfect situation for most 18-year-olds, but you might realize that it’s not as great as it sounds.

When you first get to college, the amount of freedom you have can be overwhelming. All the social events can become a first priority quickly, until you start to realize that you have homework, no food, and your laundry is piling up. Reality hits you that your mom isn’t there to do all these things for you.

Though mom may not be there in your dorm you picking up after you, it’s still important to keep in touch. Today there are so many ways of staying connected, either through Facebook, e-mail, or cell phones, that there is no excuse to not have time to have a five-minute conversation with a family member. Use a study break or the walk to class to send a quick text message, and they’ll realize you care.

If you live close to home, it’s much easier to designate a day out of each week or month when you can go home to see your family. It may not be your favorite thing to do on a weekend, but it’s important to still be an active member in your family. If you can’t make it to your house, invite your parents to come up and visit for dinner. Most parents don’t want to invade their child’s college freedom with making plans, but an invite would show how much you wanted them to come.

Being far away from home is one of the toughest things when going to college. You may not get to see your family until Thanksgiving break or even Christmas. This is where communication comes into play because it may be your only connection. Invite your parents up for the university’s family weekend or have them come up and tailgate for a big game. There are many options if you can’t make it home to make sure your parents can get a quick glimpse of your college experience.

I consider family one of the most important things in my life. Making plans to have dinner with siblings once a week has kept my family close. Even though I do enjoy being independent of my parents, I still miss home. They may not tell you they want you to come home, but most parents still want to feel like they’re needed. Make a point to make sure you stay in touch and try to make it home on a regular basis.

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About Catherine Fuller

  • LOL @ Arch!

  • Arch Conservative

    I like Alan Kurtz, if for no other reason than the fact that he seems intent on taking my place as the Blogcritics pinata.

  • Mel Odom

    Actually, I encourage students to submit at Blogcritics to get some real world experience, and also to get readers outside of the network of family and friends that generally circle a blog or Facebook account.

    Unfortunately, that also means potentially subjecting my students to asinine comments and lame ass attacks by people who think they themselves write prettily and with cleverness, and who tend to excuse their self-righteous and self-aggrandizing excesses as some kind of guardian post.

    Trust me, they will not “let a pompous freak like Alan Kurtz” deter them from writing articles. I coach brave kids out into the world and feel badly for them because the internet world isn’t as innocent and respectful as the print world. But this is where the opportunities lie for potential jobs, interests, and networking. Not to mention free stuff for reviews. Two of those students are down at the Austin Music Fest this weekend writing articles.

    They’ll put up with a few bad apples to get where they’re going.

  • Please permit me another thought from a different angle: college students nowadays are emotionally vulnerable. This year has seen several reported cases of students driven to suicide by online bullying or other Internet-related humiliation. Last month 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge following a web-cam invasion of his privacy.

    I wish Tyler Clementi hadn’t killed himself. I extend condolences to his family and friends. But the response to this tragedy hints at the sort of trouble Blogcritics may be letting itself in for if this delicate business of student writers isn’t handled just right.

    On October 6, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced plans to introduce national legislation requiring that colleges and universities prohibit harassment of any student. Once we have such a federal law, the logical next step is to regulate the online treatment of students outside the school environment.

    Why is that logical? Think about it for a moment. If the University of Oklahoma has a legal obligation to prevent harassment of its students, it presumably exposes itself not just to criminal charges but to civil compensatory and punitive damages should such harassment occur. In this environment, OU would be well advised to reconsider assigning students to participate, as part of their normal coursework, in Internet outreach such as posting articles at Blogcritics. After all, such behavior by students virtually invites harassment.

    Here at BC, I for one have repeatedly been identified as a bully. Just eleven days ago, for example, Jordan Richardson wrote about me (comment #97): “He is, without question, little more than an internet bully. He’s done it for years. … It would be absolutely tragic if you let a pompous freak like Alan Kurtz deter you from speaking out.”

    An hour later on the same thread, Jeannie Danna pasted Jordan’s statement into her own comment #104, adding: “Quoted for truth!”

    Since the editors let these accusations stand, they must be true. Which means that by assigning its students to submit articles to Blogcritics, the University of Oklahoma is exposing them to a known internet bully who’s done it for years and is moreover a pompous freak. The litigious possibilities here are dizzying. And Blogcritics could be sued just as readily as OU.

    I urge the appropriate authorities to look into this matter. Naturally I stand ready to assist in their investigations in any way I can.

  • El Bicho

    “What do you think it means?”

    It’s called marketing.

  • Thomas Carver

    Poor Alan, you must really have an inferiority complex. There’s help out there for that. It’s hilarious to me that you think a student’s writing is somehow of lesser quality than yours. Maybe you should get over yourself. If it’s that big of a deal to you then quit reading it. It’s that simple.

  • El Bicho

    For those that don’t suffer from your delusions, Alan, what is the agenda beyond encouraging writing students to get some real world experience regarding getting their work published?

  • “A sinister cabal of superior writers.”

    I keep coming back to the motto that Blogcritics founder Eric Olsen emblazoned on the masthead atop each and every page on this web site. As both writer and reader here at BC, it haunts me.

    What do you think it means? Is it a joke? Certainly the word sinister is facetious. There’s nothing sinister about Blogcritics.

    But what of that second adjective? Was Olsen being sarcastic? Maybe what he meant was, These writers whose work I publish are a bunch of losers who couldn’t get their crap posted anywhere else, so I’ll put it up here for all the world to make fun of and see what inferior writing–or at best run-of-the-mill writing–looks like.

    Yeah, probably that’s what he meant.

    On the other hand, maybe he was serious. Maybe he carefully chose that word. For one thing, it cleverly advertised what he hoped would be first-rate writing. Plus it challenged his writers to live up to that word, to make him proud of us and justify his publishing our work. Above all, perhaps it was Eric’s mission statement, a declaration that he and his writers should strive not just for the ordinary, but for the superlative.

    Does a student article such as “Staying Close To Home” meet this criterion? I think not. Don’t get me wrong. It’s competent. It’s satisfactory. But it damn sure ain’t superior.

    I’m not suggesting that Blogcritics ought to shut out students at OU or any other institution of higher learning. They deserve a place here. But it should be a place where readers immediately recognize, without having to guess, that this is the work of students.

    Most of these OU students have their own personal blogs online anyway. They already have an Internet presence. Plus there’s Facebook and other social media. There are plenty of outlets for them to publish their writing, get feedback, and learn. Why must they dilute the quality of Blogcritics? Why force us to wade through the ordinary in order to reach the meritorious?

  • Thomas Carver

    Wow Alan Kurtz, do you seriously have nothing better to do than pick on college students? Who gives a damn if they are from the same school? Whoa! Call the police! Maybe you should quit stalking people on blogcritics and get a life.

  • zingzing

    if starring doesn’t work, we should round them up into a ghetto. see how that works.

  • Good idea! Thank you. I will do that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    With that in mind, perhaps we could affix a sort of star to each of their articles. That way we’d know who they are so as to fight off the invasion effectively.

    Better still, you could just go around and point ’em all out so that we know and can proceed with caution.

  • I propose their professor has an agenda and thus should be marked. Alternatively, we could just rename Blogcritics the University of Oklahoma Student Writers Online Workshop. That would work too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Alan, you propose these students have an agenda and should thus be marked?

  • Oh, yeah, right El Bicho (#8). They just “happen” to be from the same school. If you expect to fool anyone with that approach, you ought to become a criminal defense lawyer, if that’s not already your day job. You’d fit right in pleading on behalf of a man who murdered his mother and father with an ax. “Your honor, I beg for the court’s mercy. My client is an orphan!”

  • There’s nothing to be upfront about. A group of new writers happen to be from the same school. They are not a unified collective working together so there’s no point in having a feature.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I know you do.

  • Arch Conservative

    I call’em like I see’em Jordan.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And congratulations to you, Arch, for not generalizing for a change.

  • Arch Conservative

    You hold students to the same standards as other writers Alan? In terms of what? grammar, understanding of the subject being written about, strength and reasoning of the argument made?

    It’s been my experience that more often than not an article I come across that has been written by a college student has been written by some sanctimonious, know-it-all liberal who, despite the fact that they’ve never made a single mortgage payment, heating oil payment or had the responsibility of providing food, shelter and clothing for a child, feels entitled to lecture everyone else as to how the world really works because they’ve taken a poli sci class or attended banal rally on campus where other dilettantes have fed their sense of self righteousness.

    However, I rather liked Ms. Fuller’s article. Simple as it was, it’s not every day your witness the average college student opining on the importance of maintaining relations with one’s family. It was a refreshing change of pace from the uppity diatribes we non college students are subjected to.

    Congratulations Ms. Fuller, on not being the stereotypical, annoying, self-possessed college student.

  • El Bicho (#2), thanks for the disclosure about Mel Odom.

    It wouldn’t matter if Mel and BC were upfront about this. Why doesn’t Lisa set up a feature called, say, Norman Invasion, under which all these student submissions could be organized? That way, we’d know what we’re getting.

    Personally, I hold students to the same standards I apply to other writers. But other readers may have second thoughts about how they treat students.

    For instance, have you seen jim’s comment #2 on Kylee Gwartney’s latest BC blog? “This is a stupid article,” he begins. Perhaps he noticed her bio, which identifies her as a junior at OU. Perhaps he didn’t. Those 2-line author bio snippets beneath our blogs are easy enough to overlook. Maybe if jim had seen clearly that she was part of a feature set aside for students, he might’ve taken a different tack in commenting on her work.

    Obviously I’m speculating here, El Bicho. But I’ve always preferred more information, not less.

  • Alan, not sure why it matters, but BC writer Mel Odom is a teacher at the school, and I believe he suggests students try their hand at submitting their writing to get it published and BC is one of the places he recommends.

  • Ms. Fuller, please help me out here. I note that since the present fall semester began at the University of Oklahoma, at least nine students, counting yourself, have posted articles here at Blogcritics.

    Kylee Gwartney beat the rest of you to the punch, with her article published September 3.

    Six days later, you and WesJackson followed suit. One day afterward, MsHappy and SteventheThorn appeared.

    On September 13, Sarah C Thomas weighed in, joined the next day by annikalarson.

    A week later, AudreyHarris and Mike King piled on.

    What is going on? Has some OU professor taken leave of her senses and assigned the entire campus to flood Blogcritics with articles? How many thousand more of these can we expect? Is Blogcritics facing the next Norman Conquest?