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Welcome Back Pioneers

By Harry Pearse
Staff Writer

So, here I am turning on my fourth first episode of a series on Netflix. I have been completely lost since I finished “Game of Thrones” last Friday. What do I do? The action packed, blood flowing and astute HBO series has got me hooked. But, my last words to my housemate Ian Jonson, who hadn’t ventured into the world of kings and wars, were, “Mate, don’t start it, your life will end and with no remorse.”

I have now started to watch another series, after many vigorous trials, and I guess it isn’t that bad. However it is nothing like the heroism of Jon Snow. It will have to do for the time being. This bubble I’ve been in throughout the winter break, during which I was getting annoyed at deciding what series to waste my life on, has been popped, and my brain has come alive with excitement. It has also put things back in prospective. I know what I should really be getting enthusiastic about, and I am now so happy the semester has begun.

In this brisk, bitter, and battering start to the spring semester, which I guess is no different than the torrential rainy London where I come from, my brain and my body grew warm at the thought of the class schedule I have chosen this semester.

I signed up for a Zen Buddhism philosophy class with the infamous and quick-witted professor Alexander Najman; anybody who knows me well enough understands that this type of course gets my ‘juices flowing’.

Philosophy professor Alexander Najman, teaches Zen Buddhism Philosophy this semester
Philosophy professor Alexander Najman, teaches Zen Buddhism
Philosophy this semester

Najman’s ability to intrigue me in his Intro to Philosophy class during the fall semester made me feel the need to take another class with him, and so I did…and as he came to the end of explaining what this wonderful class entails this semester, my mind was exploding.

He explained that in the class we would be, “…ideally creating a new way to overcome and passively analyze the stresses and anxieties that plague our everyday realities.” Now if you aren’t blown away after reading that short quote from the mouth of the man himself, Professor Najman, then I better close up shop. This type of class, with someone with such great experience teaching it, can’t get any better, right? Although I haven’t really begun the full class entirely, I am already filled with content.

My favorite part of this class is the writing tasks. A task that doesn’t only apply to students in this course, but it also applies to students who like writing. Each week, we have to write as much as we can; whether it is a page, page-and-a-half, or two pages, we just have to write something. The rules are that we don’t want to think, we don’t want to really put our minds to this task, but just write, anything: how you feel, what you sense or smell, something you are looking at or have seen.

This is truly beautiful. And I also think it could be therapeutic and beneficial for any student. Any stresses that you feel at the moment, about maybe starting new classes that are going to test you, any anxiety that you are having at coming back to school and seeing people you may not necessarily want to see, or maybe if you broke up with your partner over the break—just write some things down in your notepad.

It will take things off your mind, and make you more relaxed so that you can concentrate on everything that this semester will throw at you. Perhaps practicing this writing technique on a day-to-day basis is something worth trying, and if it doesn’t work then ‘sod’ it. What have you lost?

I hope that you guys felt just as lucky as I do walking into your first classes this semester. If you haven’t, then make sure you give your classes a chance, be open-minded and try to find what the class has to offer to you, to your future. If it is one of those nothing-classes that we all have to take, for one reason or another, then get through it. But please try to find positives in whatever the subject is. Don’t fight the opportunity to learn something new and different.

For example, if you think that your English Literature class will be boring, find something intriguing about it. In my English Literature class, we read a poem called ‘An Essay of Man,’ written by Alexander Pope. I couldn’t help but get aroused at the prospect of learning such gorgeous rhythmic writing. Granted I am English and I am a sucker for philosophy and writing, but if we all go into classes that we think we are going to hate, with an eager attitude and a willingness to try and learn and feel the material we are given, then maybe we might be enlightened to so many new ideas, and we might all just be surprised at what we actually enjoy, whether it be statistics or a poem from a geezer in the 18th century.

Although I haven’t quite understood the meaning of this quote yet, and I am sure I will as the semester goes on. I am going to leave it with you and see how you interpret it:

“Empty handed I go and yet the spade is in my hands; I walk on foot, and yet on the back of an Ox I am riding; When I pass over the bridge, Lo, the water floweth not, but the bridge doth flow.”
–Alexander Pope

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