Archive | August, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote #32: School’s Back In Session!

27 Aug

“…see grades will equal stautus for power, so just like college

you’re so caught up in letter grades , you skip the ‘F’ing knowledge.” 

—“School’s In” by J-Live

J-LiveIn less than two days, my college will be back in session, and I’m eager with anticipation.  What better way to display that excitement than to include a profound quote that makes a reference towards school!  Indeed, it can be difficult to go back to school for both the students as well as the professors after a two to three month break, but the learning experiences and rapports created throughout the semester are extremely rewarding and makes the return a transition that is much more easy for me to endure.

Some students are returning from a previous semester while others are brand new or even transferring into the college, but something most of them have in common is that they want to be successful.  As their professor, I am cheering them on and want them all to be successful as well.  However, what determines one’s success as a college student?  Most people associate the final grade with the student’s academic achievements, but is this the end all be all?

J-Live, born Jean-Jacques Cadet, (j-livemusic.com) is a rapper and former 7th grade language arts teacher takes this question to a deeper level.  I most recently stumbled upon his music while searching for some underground artists to add to my Ipod rotation.  When I heard this particular song and then these specific lines, I knew I had to include his song as a profound hip hop quote to represent going back to school.

Throughout my tenure as a college student and even from pre kindergarten to twelfth grade, I believed that “grades will equal status for power,” as J-live brings to light. Interestingly, my philosophy has been slightly modified after becoming an English professor.  Even though I was never the student so caught up in the letter grades that I’d intentionally “skip the ‘F’ing knowledge,” I have come across a multitude of students and people in general who care more about the grade than what they are actually learning and retaining for years to come.

Of course, I must admit that I have been guilty of cramming in knowledge simply to do well on a test and then having most of the knowledge gradually seep out of my brain in the days and weeks to come because my sole purpose was to get that “A.”

Yes, the final grade is a significant part of one’s academic career, but the knowledge he or she leaves with is even more important.  My goal, as always, is to enlighten my students and to encourage them to be more passionate about enhancing their knowledge rather than just focusing on getting that ‘A’ in the course.  Years from now, I want my students to know how to avoid comma splices and run-on sentences and not to have someone question how they finished the course with an ‘A’  but are unable to compose an essay or basic cover letter for a potential job.  As your school semester begins, do not lose sight of what is even more important than the grade: the knowledge!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
J-Live using a simple yet complex technique to drill the point home about obtaining knowledge over grades by incorporating a double meaning.  “Skip the ‘F’ing knowledge” not only represents the ‘F’ word, but it also represents the failing letter grade ‘F.”

Profound Hip Hop Quote #31: Do You Know How To Love?

6 Aug

“When you was just a young’un you’re looks but so precious
But now your grown up
So fly its like a blessing but you can’t have a man look at you for 5 seconds
Without you being insecure
You never credit yourself so when you got older
It’s seems like you came back 10 times over
Now you’re sitting here in this damn corner
Looking through all your thoughts and looking over your shoulder
” 

—“How to Love” by Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne

Most people, at some point in their lives, are looking for love or just want to be loved; however, when it comes to wanting to know how to love or to be taught how to love the numbers are scant.  Does knowing how to love come naturally for most, or does it take years of practice and some broken hearts along the way.  One sure-fire way to improve  “loving capabilities” with that special someone is by knowing how to love yourself.

Regardless if you love him or not as an artist, Lil Wayne, aka Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., certainly loves himself and has managed to have quite a lucrative career in the music industry thus far.  One of Lil Wayne’s most recent songs receiving airplay on the radio waves is “How to Love,” a song that has received mixed but overall favorable criticism.  Some people can do without the sing-song sound and believe it’s a flow Lil Wayne should leave behind, while others have chosen to embrace the message that comes across in the song.

The insecurity of a beautiful woman who possibly struggles with how to love herself or how to even accept love from a potential suitor and love him is a profound topic to address.  Lil wayne says,  “But you can’t have a man look at you for five seconds without you being insecure.  You never credit yourself so when you got older..” Why are some of the most beautiful women who would be considered a “blessing” so insecure?  Does it stem back to daddy/daughter issues that haven’t been dealt with? Is it not being told how “precious” they were when they were younger?

As a person who has struggled with feeling insecure, I’ve found that the more I work on loving myself the better I am at loving others.  How to love is a life-long journey, and not everybody takes the same path to get there.  Sometimes there are detours, dirt roads, expressways, etc. But if you manage to find the right pathway for you, it can be a wonderful, memorable learning experience.  Do you know how to love?  If not, what are you doing to find out?  Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Miguel utilizes slang, which is a standard practice in most rap songs.  For example he says, “So fly it’s like a blessing…”  Of course, the standard definition of fly is soaring in the sky and defying gravity, but in this instance, he is referring to the beauty of a woman.

Ten Things I’ve Got Planned for 2011: Two-thirds of the way through (January – August)

2 Aug

Tanya Harris' Vision Board1. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the ideal body.  Therefore, I will keep working out four to five days a week to be nicely toned for the summer of 2011.
Since April, I’ve actually increased my workout regimen and have been using the “Perfect Sit-Up” six days a week and walking and jogging six to seven days a week with an average of three to four miles covered.  I attribute the Nike Plus program for keeping me motivated with different challenges where I compete with people nationally and nationally.  Also, the app “Lose it” has really helped me to keep track of my food intake to ensure that it is healthy and balanced.  I’ve also switched from the Women’s One a Day to the Active Women time release vitamin and have begun adding flaxseed and wheat germ to my meals to get more nutrients. 

2. My intellectual, spiritual and creative journey is essential for my well-being, and I will be sure to submit a blog entry at least once a week.  Stop by when you can to check out my new entries.
This is my 61st blog submission, and I am shooting for at least 100 entries by the end of the year and am confident that I will surpass my goal.  I’m presently at 1222 hits.  Maybe I’ll be able to clear 1500 by the end of the year!

3. I have many gifts, and writing poetry is one of them, so I will relentlessly assert myself to become synonymous with the spoken word and poetry slam circuit.  Who knows, I may complete enough poems to publish a chapbook or have some choice entries in major publications.
 Turns out that this summer has been just as busy as my winter in preparing for my tenure track project for this upcoming semester and my wedding, but I am steadily writing and jotting down ideas.  Check out some of my spoken word performances on You Tube.  You can find me under Anonomz.

4. People often say, “It’s a small world,” but many of us have yet to leave our own neighborhood, city, or state, let alone the country or continent for that matter.  I plan to travel more extensively this year and hope to visit outside of the country…perhaps for a destination wedding.  It is with great pleasure that I am able to say this goal will be met in this month as I get married in the Dominican Republic.

5. Everybody is busier than ever and cannot spare a moment for family and friends even though vast amounts of technology are supposed to help people get more done and have more time,.  I will make a more conscious effort to reach out to family and friends and demonstrate my appreciation and love for them the” Old fashioned” way: the occasional phone call, letters, visits and tokens of my appreciation.
It’s eight months later,  and I’ve learned the hard way that most people are so consumed with their own lives that they simply do not have time or do not want to make time for friends and family unless it’s a quick text or Facebook message with the empty promise of  “We’ll have to get together”uttered though it  is highly unlikely to occur.  The experience of reaching out to people and making an effort to reconnect and not having those actions reciprocated initially left me feeling sad and wondering, “Is it me?  Should I perceive the unreturned phone calls, regularly canceled lunch or dinner dates and emails personally?”  I understand the importance of family and friends so it’s upsetting to drift apart from people I care about.  Have those relationships have ran their course? Time will tell.  I’ll always have love for my family and friends whom I may only see or speak to infrequently, but I’ve decided to modify my current goal.  I need to channel my energy into those whom I spend time with and see regularly and let them know how much they are loved and appreciated, and maybe one day the others will have time to fit me in their schedules.

6. I love writing and refuse to die with my many stories being left untold; as a result, I will begin working on and brainstorming about  other literary ventures such as colorful stories and children’s book ideas and see where it takes me…maybe to the best seller’s list one day!
I love writing, and have been incorporating it into my everyday schedule which has actually been rather busy these past few months.  I have a gratitude journal and occasionally jot down ideas throughout the course of the day.  I also purchased a few books which I’ve been reading to help me with the writing process.  Even though I know this goal will more than likely span into the next couple of years in order to have a completed project, I am fully immersed in the process.

7. Health is necessary for longevity.  To continue  improving my financial, physical and spiritual health, I will conduct research and keep working on the economical game plan, exercise regularly and meditate , and read and apply spiritual and motivational literature on a frequent basis.
It’s difficult to save money when paying for the expenses incurred from a pending wedding, but I am happy to report that I am under budget and will be in a good place financially after the expenses of the wedding have been paid.  I have been exercising six to seven days a week, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and taking vitamin supplements.  I’ve also been doing more meditating to keep me balanced and relaxed and brain exercises to improve my mental acuity.  I’m also on my second set of lessons for Rosetta Stone’s Spanish courses and am enjoying the learning process.  I can honestly say that I feel great!  

8. “You should be an actor!” is what family, friends and even my students tell me.  I used to act when I was younger and loved being on stage, so I will explore my theatrical abilities by taking a college level acting class in the spring 2011 semester staring January 10.  It’s going to be interesting potentially being in class with some of my own students, but it will be fun I’m sure.
My acting class went extremely well, and I finished the course with an “A!”  I learned a great deal from the experience and would love to take another course.  For my final, I actually performed in a scene as a drunk southern belle which is totally out of character for me.  You can check out my scene on You Tube under Anonomz.

9. As a person who  has finicky eating habits, family and friends jokingly say, “A fancy restaurant for her is a place that serves pizza, chicken or turkey burgers.”  I enjoy fine dining and feel guilty that people are limited in their restaurant selections when going out with me. In an attempt to break out of this habit, I will try at least one new food item every other month…once a month if the mood strikes me.
Trying new foods has actually been much easier that I thought it would be.  Once I tried the fried calamari, the shrimp, eggplant and plantains, to name a few, were no problem.  There’s something liberating about trying different foods.  Maybe it’s the ability to step outside of my comfort zone and to do something daring.  Perhaps trying new foods is just the beginning.  After this, I might feel more comfortable with trying different hobbies or activities that I would normally shy away from.  

10.  Lastly, in recent years I’ve learned that I cannot be everything to everyone, but year after year I still try to make family, friends, students, and colleagues happy sometimes at my own expense: monetarily, physically and emotionally.  To use an analogy, I love filling up their glasses of water, but I have to make sure my pitcher of water remains filled too in 2011.
I’m steadily improving in this area and have found that the more I say “no” or “I’ll think about it” so that I am not overwhelmed, the easier it becomes.  I still have to get over the guilt issues, but I’m happy with my progress..

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

All the best,

Tanya

We’re two-thirds of the way through in the new year.  Are you still on track with the things you had planned for the new year?  Please feel free to share.