An English Major's Daily Struggle: Being Grammatically Correct

An English Major's Daily Struggle: Being Grammatically Correct

There's no need to be a "Grammar Nazi," but you should know how to speak correctly.
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The daily struggle of an English major includes an innumerous amount of papers to write, a pile of books to read, and not enough time to do it all. Yes, these things are hard but are manageable. The worst struggle English majors encounter is grammatical errors, especially the mix up of “there/their/they’re” and “you’re/your”. Receiving a text with the incorrect “your” sends shivers down my spine. For all the eye rolls I just received: hear me out. It has been drilled in me to know the correct word to use in a sentence. It’s not my, or any other English major's job to correct someone’s grammar, but it is a problem that minor grammatical errors are made daily. The simple solution to this problem is to enforce grammar into English classes.

Enforcing correct grammar is useful because it helps with student’s writing. A nationwide test was done and found that “only 24 percent of students in eighth and twelfth grades were proficient in writing, and just 3 percent were advanced”. Only 24 percent! Writing is an essential skill even if you aren’t an English major. Professional papers are required to be accepted to college, are sometimes required to receive a scholarship, and are assignments in every subject. Adding grammar into English class will not only help students with their writing, it will also help them with their everyday conversations.

Communicating is essential to everyday life. Whether it’s in a job, networking to push your own business, or just in everyday conversation, communication is important. “Grammar, regardless of the country or the language, is the foundation for communication — the better the grammar, the clearer the message, the more likelihood of understanding the message’s intent and meaning”. Knowing how to communicate correctly will be beneficial in the long run. One day, you could be presenting in your job, in front of the whole company. If you don’t know how to speak correctly, you will not be taken seriously.

Adding grammar into the English curriculum wouldn’t be a huge deal. The tiny, obscure grammatical rules wouldn’t need to be taught. It isn’t necessary for everyone to know the four verb moods. Knowing the difference between “you’re/your” and “there/their/they’re” is more important. Being able to use correct grammar, and knowing the correct word to use in a sentence will make you seem more professional and educated. Something as simple as diagramming a sentence helps the student understand each word in a sentence. Doing this helps students think before they write, or speak.

The solution to the problem of common grammatical errors in the world is simple. Adding simple grammar to the English curriculum will set a foundation for students that will help them go further in life. The solution is straightforward and wouldn’t cause any issues. Teaching a ten-minute grammar lesson could do wonders for students, and create a better generation.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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Being A Preceptor Was The Most Rewarding Experience

"Students would come to the review sessions nervous and confused, then would leave thankful and confident"
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Over the course of the semester, I was a preceptor for statistics and it has been an absolutely priceless experience.

I have had the ability to help students feel more confident and succeed in this course in ways they didn't think they could and reach out to students in ways I didn't think I could.

This past semester in this course consisted on me hosting office hours three times a week where students would stop in to see me about questions on the homework they needed help on or for one-on-one clarifications to concepts and lessons taught in class. Beginning this experience all we wanted was for the students to grasp an understanding of this course, hopefully, take an interest and relate it to other areas in their lives.

I want to say that we have successfully given this class the knowledge and skills needed to know to thrive in this course.

One very valuable thing I learned was how to teach students in various ways. Some students needed me to draw more diagrams and charts in order for them to understand the lessons while others needed to hear examples where they could plug the numbers in and understand where this would be applied in real life.

Sometimes it was a struggle meeting with new students and trying to figure out what the best way was to explain the information that they needed help with. After a week or so of working with students, I was able to adapt to different learning styles and personalities and teach them what they needed to learn.

I thought that would be a challenge during this semester and I am happy to say I overcame it fast during this experience.

I would never have thought I would learn so much from helping these students and it truly was a very rewarding experience when students would come to the review sessions nervous and confused, then would leave thankful and confident for their next exam.

After being a preceptor, I realize that I truly do have a passion for helping students succeed and understand given materials in classes.

I am thankful to have had this opportunity of being a peer mentor also being able to provide students with my own knowledge from taking the course and relating to them student to student.

Cover Image Credit: Talkpoint

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