The Correct Thing

img_1708On Saturday the 11th, Honors and Teaching Fellows FOE participants traveled to Sedalia, North Carolina (near Greensboro) to tour the former Palmer Memorial Institute, now the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum. Dr. Brown founded the Palmer Memorial Institute in 1902 at the age of only 19, and Meredith students were able to witness her amazing contributions to African-American history and music education.

Dr. Brown was famous for her no-nonsense attitude and her expectation of the best from both her students and her family (which were often one and the same). In 1941, she published a book entitled The Correct Thing To Do, To Say, To Wear, a compilation of her most important adages and instructions, aiming to prove that “good manners are color-less”.

Here are 7 of Dr. Brown’s most applicable (or humorous) pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t monopolize the radio. Your favorite program may conflict with the favorite of someone else. Be agreeable and take turns. (From the section “At Home”.)
    • Though the 21st century brings different forms of entertainment, the sentiment remains relevant! Whether it be the parlor television or your parents’ Netflix account, share!
  2. Refrain from boisterous talking or laughing. (From the section “At Mealtime”.)
    • For anyone Meredith girl who eats in Belk Dining Hall, this is particularly amusing! Though the rule is important for fancy occasions, I can’t imagine you could get many people to obey it when Meredith pulls out a chocolate fountain for V-day.
  3. If you meet one of your teachers or your principal, stop and say, “Good morning, Mr. Green.” Don’t fling out a short “how do” while you rush on your way. (From the section “At School”.)
    • I’m always delighted to see professors outside of class, and find they usually have something sincere to say. Take your time to greet them, though I don’t think anyone would forgo this rule if they happened upon Dr. Allen!
  4. Be sure that you know when to laugh. DO NOT MISTAKE TRAGEDY FOR COMEDY. (From the section “At the Concert or Theatre”.)
    • Too true, Dr. Brown! Make sure to go and see Meredith Ensemble Theatre’s Once Upon A Mattress next week–hopefully they will tolerate some laughs.
  5. School clothes should be simple and made of materials that resist dirt, that can be easily cleaned, and can stand hard wear. (From the section “Dress for Girls”.)
    • Luckily Meredith t-shirts fit the bill! (Don’t forget to come pick up your new Honors tees!)
  6. In addition to the ordinary transportation from one place to another, [travel] offers a source of learning and appreciating, of improving the mind and satisfying the soul. (From the section titled “Travel”.)
    • Meredith students are so blessed to have so many opportunities to travel locally and abroad to enrich themselves. Don’t forget, fall study abroad applications are due March 1st!
  7. Suggest to your guest a good hour for rising so that she will not get up too soon or too late. (From the section “The Week-End”.)
    • A dorm resident quickly learns that this is good practice for her and her roommate–without motivation, it’s all too easy to sleep past alarms. Keep this in mind as Scholars’ weekend is approaching!

 

The complete copy of Charlotte Hawkins Brown’s The Correct Thing To Do, To Say, To Wear is available for students to read in the Honors lounge, Joyner 115.

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Meredith Shirts Get Lonely, Too

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A Meredith student is known for her obsession with corn, her shiny Onyx, and, of course, her endless supply of T-shirts. Thankfully, the Honors Program has a brand new T-shirt coming your way, just in time to fill up that empty space in your closet.

Select Honors Committee members are hard at work planning the 2017 Honors T-shirt. Annie Morin, a member of this sub-committee, states: “The Honors T-shirt committee is in full swing; we meet about once every other week.” Now, I know we’re all dying to see that shirt design-I definitely am-but it’s to remain a mystery until it’s time for the big reveal. However, we’re given a chance to have our voice heard and to play a part in designing the T-shirt. Each Honors student will have the opportunity to vote in a survey for her favorite quote about education to be presented on the back of the shirt.

Sales are tentatively scheduled to begin early spring semester, so be on the lookout! Your other fabulous Meredith T-shirts are in need of a new friend.

Photo source: http://www.mastertees.com/products/33379.jpg

Political convention news

Note: Mary Kolisnichenko attended the Republican National Convention last week with a group from Meredith College. She is in Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention.
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I arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday evening with four students and two faculty members from Meredith College, and we attended three days of the convention. Our group was interviewed by several media outlets, including WRAL and Buzzfeed! Some of the students from our group saw Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Megyn Kelly.
Generally, the atmosphere was astounding! Even though with our guest credentials we sat far from the convention floor, it was incredibly inspiring to see some influential Republicans speaking in front of us. Seeing the audience’s reaction was quite fascinating to me, as I’ve never seen so many people gathered in one place who were extremely passionate about politics and responsive to what was going on. Most of the speeches were very energetic. There were plenty of excited Republicans both inside and outside the arena, as well as folks who wore Bernie tees or held protest signs outside the venue. Nevertheless, the security was just top-notch. Even though I’d had some reservations about my safety at the RNC before arriving in Cleveland, as soon as we went out on the streets of the city I felt 100% safe.
Apart from going to the convention itself, we visited Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, which was totally amazing as I got to see some of the Beatles’ real letters, instruments, and handwritten song lyrics. We also attended some events with the NC delegation, including breakfast with Eric Trump and his wife, Lara.
It was very motivating to see history in the making and make contacts with people from all over the country. I’m very grateful that I have an opportunity to experience this all over again at the DNC this week!

Timeless

Note: Macy Allen is a 2016 Honors Study Abroad Scholarship recipient. She recently returned from study in Sansepolcro.

At first it looks like a kingdom frozen in time.  Well, it is a kingdom—a kingdom left behind from long ago with a wall keeping the history and aged stone buildings in and the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century out.  Anghiari sits on a hill overlooking the Tuscan countryside as an old king would sit on his throne overseeing his subjects.  Inside the walls of the town, it is a stone labyrinth that anyone who isn’t a local would get lost in.  The roads, which are more like crooked, narrow pathways, climb and dip, wind and turn up the hillside.  Around every corner there is something to explore, whether it’s the first church of Anghiari or the local art museum.  As you walk along the stone faces of the buildings it’s hard to remember that these semi-ancient doors and windows are the entryways of someone’s home.  It is quiet all around except in the town’s main piazza.  There, people gather to watch football and drink coffee while children play in the square.  Shops and florists and grocers and cafes line the piazza walls, welcoming anyone who passes by their door.  The whole atmosphere of this tiny medieval city is the closest thing to a fairy tale in the twenty-first century.

I walk past the busy piazza, stopping to smell the budding flowers bursting with bright reds, pinks, and purples.  I run my hand over the stone walls, feeling the wear of centuries over its smooth, cool face.  The pathways get steeper and narrower as you climb to the top of the hillside.   I pass the Chiesa Santa Maria della Grazie, its broad face looking over Anghiari with a welcoming presence.  Its tower holds the four bells that ring in the hours of each passing day, standing tall against the pale blue sky.

Toward the back of the hill past the church is a little café that sits on the wall.  It is hidden from the main piazza and the only noise that reaches the patio is the occasional bellow of the bells.  I take a seat in an iron chair that has been warming in the sun all day.  The warmth of the chair radiates from the black cross-hatching of the seat and back, my skin absorbing it like the sun’s rays.  I’ve lost the group and I’ve found stillness.  The countryside is made up of patches of olive green and gold quilting over the ground, stitches of cypress trees holding the squares of orchards and fields together.  I pull out my journal and begin to sketch, wanting to capture every square inch of this beautiful valley on a five-by-eight-inch piece of paper.  It is impossible to represent the beauty of this place on a piece of notebook paper, even if I had all day to try.  Instead, I close my little black notebook and sit, letting the peacefulness of this timeless place surround me.

Catarina’s English lesson

Note: Starr S. is one of four 2016 Honors Study Abroad Scholarship recipients who is currently studying in Europe.

This week, I walked into a liStarr in Italianens store in Sansepolcro to purchase souvenirs for my mother and my aunt. The store had many different tea-towels, hand towels, and scented bags. I fell in love with a hand towel-sized linen hanging on the back wall of the store.

The store owner was a middle-aged woman. Her daughter was sitting beside her, writing in a workbook. I tried to ask in Italian if I could have three of the towels I saw on the wall, but I could tell that my skills in Italian were terrible. The owner gave a look of confusion. I then asked if she spoke English and she said yes. After I was able to request the towels, she asked me if I was from the college and if the towels were a gift. I told her yes and looked down at her daughter.

Her daughter seemed to be really frustrated. The mother looked at me and told me her daughter was working on her English homework. I asked the little girl in Italian what her name was and how old she was. She was a little girl named Catarina, nine years old. I sat beside her and asked if I could help. I felt attached in some way to this little girl because as I am struggling to learn Italian, she is struggling to learn English. For her homework, she was learning how to say numbers and colors in English. Fortunately, I knew how to say numbers and colors in Italian and we were able to communicate using this knowledge. It was a mixture of two completely different cultures, but it worked so well, and I made a friend.

As we had finished up and her mother wrapped my towels, Catarina gave me a hug. Her mother put a small scented lavender bag that she hand-sewn in the bag with the towels. She told me it was a gift and that she could not wait to see me again. She told me that if I needed anything, she would come. I left the little store crying. Here I was in Italy, with not a clue in the world about this culture, but I was offered friendship and was accepted into the culture. I was accepted simply for tutoring a young girl about my own culture.

This story tells me that I care about culture and family. It shows that I value other cultures as my own, and that I am happy when I am helping someone else. This has made me so secure in my career goals because I wish to help people in whatever way I can, which is exactly what the purpose of a doctor is.

–Starr S.

Belvedere in Arezzo

Note: Starr S. is one of four 2016 Honors Study Abroad Scholarship recipients who is currently studying in Europe.

Starr in ItaliaThe park at the top of the hill in Arezzo has been by far the best view of the Tuscan countryside that I have seen.  The park lies behind a grand cathedral that looks like it was made by God himself. Inside the cathedral, an organ plays softly as if to lull you to sleep.

Upon arriving at the park, I  noticed immediately the couples and lovers walking with their children or their pets. There were even some elderly couples strolling around the park and pointing at different places off the side of the mountain, as though they were remembering them from their youth.

I wish to be like them one day. I wish to stroll around the Italian countryside with my husband or my children and point out the many places I have been here. I wish to tell them about the Arezzo cathedral with its ceilings painted in gold and its gargoyles that are so life-like, they almost talk to you. I wish to show them the pictures of me standing on top of the mountain in the park in Arezzo with the entire Tuscan countryside behind me. I wish to tell them about the elderly couple sitting on the bench in the Arezzo park, remembering their youth as I am remembering mine.

On this mountain, there seems to be nothing I cannot see, nothing I cannot do, nothing I cannot be. I traveled with a group, and as we all stared out at the sunny Tuscan view we all had the same thought: How can I explain this when I get to Raleigh, and can a picture do this justice? After seeing Tuscany from one side to the other, it is almost a lie to call Raleigh “home” anymore. Italy is our new home, and it is nothing short of breathtaking.

Inside the cathedral, the organ sang to us and told us the story of the many people who lived and worshiped in this place. I could not only hear the organ, but could feel the emotions it was portraying: beauty, sadness, grief, love, and humility. The organ played humbly as if to let me enter the cathedral and experience its story for myself. Inside, the cathedral was eerily cool and empty and there were no sounds other than the organ and the soft footsteps of a few people walking around. Outside, in the open and joyous space of the park, an entirely different tune was played. It was not a tune of sadness, but one of family, hope and future. It was the happy tune of children playing, familiar faces meeting, and lovers laughing. The contrast was remarkable, but in both scenarios, I felt welcome and comfortable.

The same applies to study abroad. I feel comfortable in the United States, where I know the culture and the people, but I also feel at home in Italy because the people are welcoming and happy. They are a non-judgmental people just like the cathedral and the park of Arezzo.

–Starr S.

Aching Feet, Open Eyes: Exploring a City on Foot

Note: Annie Morin is one of four 2016 Honors Study Abroad Scholarship recipients. All are currently studying in Europe.

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Traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina, where nothing is within walking distance, to Spain, has been quite an adjustment for my feet, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

I am one of the happy recipients of the new Honors College Study Abroad Scholarship and I am “striding” to do everything I can during my time here in Europe, and that includes traveling as Europeans do.  It is not uncommon not to own a car, and it is more common to use public transport than it is to get into a car.

A student learns more about her surroundings on foot.  She observes more of culture, sees things close-up, and can take her time moving on to the next thing.  By walking, I empower myself to do what I want to do in Europe.

I also empower myself to get lost: one day, a friend and I decided to go to Monte de Gozo, a small hill just outside the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to see the famous cathedral as the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago do for the first time.  We successfully made our way to the top after an hour or so of walking and taking in the sights and sounds of Santiago.  When it was time to go back, we decided to take a different route, which ended up going through a small town and underneath a highway.  It wasn’t the day we expected and our feet ached after, but it has been one of my favorite days here in Spain!

To future Honors study abroad students: go at your own pace and immerse yourself in the culture as much as possible!  The best experiences you have will be completely unexpected, but your favorite stories to tell when you get home!  ¡Buen viaje!