Why We Need A Holistic Approach To History

Why We Need A Holistic Approach To History

It is necessary is to reshape how we teach basic history courses.
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As a history major, I have come to understand all that is involved in this field. I believe that in many cases, we need to look at history more holistically.

I’ve come to this conclusion based on some experiences I’ve had in my various classes. In one class, I had an extremely positive experience looking at the past. It wasn’t necessarily a history class, but we looked at a combination of historical texts, art, literature, and music, looking not only at the typically studied political and social events of the day, but also the lives of individuals including women and people of color across various social classes. I felt like it was one of the most beneficial ways to study the time period. It gave me a holistic understanding, allowing me to look at the time period with greater understanding than if I had studied the traditional stories of history.

I was made aware of the problems with looking at just one thread of history, the dominant narrative. History, so often written by the victors, frequently will ignore the stories of so many people in that time. Gaining a knowledge of what life could be like for individuals who had experiences that were different from the narrative of Western white men enriched my understanding for time periods from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. It cultivated an inspiration to learn more about these lesser-heard stories. It gave me an appreciation for those who teach history with a holistic approach.

What do I mean by this? Simply that we cannot ignore the lives of those who were not in power when we study history. The dangers of doing so mean that we do not give merit to the lives of the disenfranchised, of the non-winners. And there’s so much more to learn with understanding those stories.

When I talked to my professor about including more women in his class, it was the knowledge of the women who defied the standards of their day that gave me the courage. It was thinking of those specific women from the past that gave me the courage to try to change the present and impact the future.

Many of us recognize the problems that result in only perpetuating the dominate narrative, yet we continue to discuss “other” stories by separating them into different courses.

That is not to say that specific courses on those issues are not necessary; in fact, they are more necessary in order to gain a niche understanding of those narratives.

What does happen in general history courses, however, is that a specific lecture will be devoted to considering the situation of a specific group of people, and that only furthers the distinctions of these people from the dominant narrative.

What is necessary is to reshape how we teach basic history courses by integrating those stories into the curriculum, in weaving those stories together. Because it shows that we all have something to contribute to history, that there are stories of hope and resiliency in something other than the dominant narrative, and that each life makes an impact in history, in ways we cannot fathom if we pay attention only to the dominant narrative.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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23 Things You Are Looking Forward To If You Go To Villanova University

5. Cafe Nova southwest sauce

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We are in the final stretch of summer, only a few short weeks stand between me and junior year of college at my favorite place: Villanova. Sure all colleges are similar and everyone's excited to go back, but there are definitely some unique aspects to Nova that only it's students will truly understand. Whether it's food related or campus-related, there's something Villanovan that I'm sure you are missing too!

1. Zilly Fries

A decadence best served at 2 am on a Saturday night. Fries smothered in bacon, ranch, and mozzarella cheese made at our beloved CampCo. So bad for you yet so, so good.

2. Your Holy Grounds fix

Oh, how I can't wait to get my hands on a large iced green tea with pomegranate from our very punny coffee shop.

3. Conn Chicken Finger Wraps

Okay whoever figured out this hack deserves a million dollars. A fan favorite at the Belle Air Terrace: order chicken fingers from the grill line and then bring them over to the wrap line and bam, a delicious and not so nutritious dinner.

4. The umbrellas outside Conn/Cafe Nova

The multicolored umbrellas and tables that are out in the fall and spring mean warm weather and so. many. friends. You'll probably see everyone you know sitting under the umbrellas and will absolutely stalk a table down until it's available.

5. Cafe Nova southwest sauce

This sauce could cure cancer i'm convinced. I absolutely drench my Cafe Nova burrito bowl in this sauce at least twice a week.

6. The Exchange

Best. Food. On. Campus.

7. Church pics

8. So cheesy yet so beautiful. If you go to Nova, your camera roll is probably saturated with your sunset church pics but there's nothing wrong with that, it's a beautiful sight.

8. Pledge rides

Honestly, the ride is better than the party 9 times out of 10, there, I said it.

9. Doba happy hour

Nothing better than margs, chips, and queso!!

10. Basketball season

It's not winter, it's basketball season.

11. Jay Wright spottings

Usually spotted on his golf cart showing potential recruits around campus. I get excited every time.

12. Seeing everyone you know

When you go to a school this size, chances are when you are walking to class or grabbing some food or studying in the library you will see every person you have ever met on campus. Yes, even the ones you'd rather not see.

13. Crossing dirty Lanc

Okay, honestly this will never not be a pain in the ass but there's something comforting about the sound of the cross walk screaming "WALK SIGN IS ON". No... just me?

14. Suburban Square

One of my favorite places to go if you need to get off campus and feel like shopping, eating, or cycling. Home to our Sweetgreen, Not Your Average Joe's, Urban, Besito, Lulu Lemon, and Soul Cycle, i'm sure you can see why students are here more often than not.

15. Tolentine

Okay here me out, I know it's the worst building by far but it's such a staple on campus that I truly have a love/hate relationship with it. Except for the 4th floor because that I straight up hate.

16. Hoops Mania

Hoops should be a national holiday. It's our big way of starting off basketball season, basically a pep rally on steroids that finishes up with a celeb performer (Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa...)

17. Father Peter

The dad of campus, a true shining star of our university.

18. First Watch

Sunday brunch has never looked better.

19. Late night

The culprit of everyone's freshman fifteen.

20. Not getting kissed under the arch

Still! Waiting!

21. Your friends

The people at Nova are truly like no other

22. Walking through the Oreo/quad on a sunny day

MY FAVORITE PART!! The sun is shining, music is bumping, everyones laying out or sitting under umbrellas and life.is.good.

23. The shuttle

My savior on cold/rainy/snowy/lazy/too hot days.

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