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A Tale of Two Mowers

Today God taught me a lesson using two lawn mowers.

It’s been a kind of crazy year for me. It’s had ups and downs and a whole lot of in-betweens. This past fall, I applied to as many doctoral programs as I could afford (which was only 7, by the way–those application fees add up fast!), in the hopes of jumping straight from my undergrad to the big leagues in the most time and money efficient way possible. I knew I was shooting for the moon, but I knew I would regret not going for it if I didn’t at least try. The months between submitting my applications and waiting for the decisions were filled with fear, excitement, and anticipation. The world was about to open up before me.

Except it didn’t. I heard back from school after school thanking me for my application and reassuring me that they received so many highly qualified applicants that they just couldn’t take them all–you know, the stuff they tell you to make you feel better. But it doesn’t work. It sucked. Suddenly the world that was opening up in front of me had slammed closed again. There was no time to apply for master’s programs, since all of the deadlines were back when I was spending all my money applying to the doctoral programs that had just rejected me. I did get considered for the University of Chicago’s one year intensive MA program, as a consolation prize for not making the Ph.D program. This would have been better news if the MA program was funded like the Ph.D program. It wasn’t. I got in, but the scholarship they offered me was small potatoes compared to the enormous price tag of not only tuition, but also moving to and living in Chicago. I was back to square one, and I was graduating in a little over a month. Read More…

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Logical Life Lessons Vol. 2

After the fun and craziness of Christmas, and looking forward to the new year, I feel it is time for another life lesson of the logical variety to start the year off on a logical note. Amid the aftermath of the sugary sweets and gratuitous gift-giving it can be easy to let our thinking parts stagnate in a simmering stew of simplicity. All alliteration aside (oops, I did it again), it’s important to always be thinking and engaging intentionally with others and the world around us. So without further ado, here’s this week’s lesson. Read More…

Why Everyone Should Take a Class on the Holocaust

Another semester of higher education is behind me, and as always I feel somewhat overwhelmed by all the things I’ve learned the past few months. Of all the classes I took this semester, by far the most challenging was my Holocaust class. This class was recommended to me by one of my favorite professors, so I knew it was going to be good, and it was an honors class, so I knew it would be academically rigorous. What I wasn’t prepared for was how challenging it would be to me personally. In learning about the things that went on and the ideologies behind them, I was challenged to reevaluate the way I see many things in contemporary culture, and even my own life. There are many things I could go into about the Holocaust and the social makeup of pre-war Germany as well as Nazi Germany and the world at large prior to and during World War II, and those historical tidbits are fascinating and important, but what I’m left with after an entire semester looking at accounts and case studies of perpetrators and victims of the Holocaust is a burden to make sure that we never forget what happened, never forget the stories of survivors, and never forget that it could happen again — because it must not. Read More…

Logical Life Lessons Vol. 1

One of my favorite classes this semester has been a logic class that I initially took as an alternative to math and quickly grew to love. One of my favorite things about logic is that, unlike higher-level math, it has uses in the everyday lives of people who are not rocket scientists, engineers, or Albert Einstein. As I was thinking back about some of the ways logic applies to everyday life, I was inspired to share some of them with you, so I will be writing a few installments that I like to call, “Logical Life Lessons” because if you haven’t noticed, I like alliteration. So without further ado, LLL #1: Validity preserves truth, but does not guarantee it. Read More…