Volunteer Jobs and Beer

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I have finally started my internship. (Or, as my mother calls it, my “volunteer job.”) I’m doing work with the part of my school that handles sexual assault prevention, which basically is the same thing as I do during the school year* but now I have to wear a plastic name placard and follow a dress code. (For those interested, we are not allowed to wear skorts. I weep.)

Skortless though I am, my indentured servitude is going well so far. I felt super incompetent for the first big group meeting (everyone else had project statuses to report on, while I had vague feelings about social justice and also possibly needed a nap), but then I realized that I started work three weeks later than everyone else and those feelings went more-or-less away. I can haz emotional context!

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Gone, baby gone

For the love of Christ, don’t put two condoms on. That is a terrible idea!

I am officially (as of last Saturday) in possession of an Associate of Arts degree from Oxford College of Emory University. It’s not actually in anything, as far as I can tell, but they gave me an inconveniently large piece of parchment with my name in a fancy font on it, so that’s got to be worth something. Thus ends my frequently-emotionally-conflicted tenure at the better of Emory’s two options for starting your degree*.

There was a lot of talk during the commencement speeches about community. That has been my favorite part about Oxford. When my car battery decided to scare me by almost going belly-up before graduation, I knew that there were people at Oxford who would help me tow my car or haul in a replacement battery or generally listen to me freak out. One of my friends helped me jump my car at 10:30 at night in the cold, and there is something–a very real something–to be said for friends who will help you out when they do not have to and when it is inconvenient and cold and late. There is something to be said for that, particularly when those people include not just your peers but your professors, your boss, and your chaplain (doubly so if you, like me, are an atheist–our chaplain’s awesome). That is wonderful. Continue reading

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Programming Style!

I just finished up the last of my two programs for Sexual Assault Awareness Month–this one on men and gendered violence. It was exciting, as these things go, because we had a guest speaker and people I didn’t tell to show up also came. Educational programming will cause you to lower your standards real quick-like.

The first program involved our director of RES Life and focused on the Oxford College implementation of the Emory University assault policy. It was mostly attended by women, which was expected but always a little frustrating–women are most likely to be pressing charges under conduct, but men need to know what the policy covers in case their conduct is questionable or in case they are assaulted.

That being said, I was glad people came, and I do think it focused on something that more schools our size need to focus on–making sure students know the details of the policy and the process for going forward under school conduct board should the survivor choose to do so. Of course, as the speaker (my boss’s boss, for full disclosure) is a school employee who runs the process, she was more cheerful than I think the situation at our school deserves; sometimes it felt like valid student concerns (like the lack of minimum sentences for conduct violations, or concerns about the massive underreporting at Oxford) were being ignored, but small, significant changes are being made and that is at least something better than what we started with. Continue reading

Dead Fish and Atheism

My late fish.

RIP, Bertrand. You will be missed.

This weekend, while I was at Clairmont Campus, my fish died. I also won $200 in a trivia competition. Things pair good and bad, I suppose.

So, on a slightly less macabre note: Biological Anthropology tshirts.

“Zygomatic: it’s a process!”

“I was reproductively isolated and all I got was this lousy dwarf elephant.”

Wholphin versus grizzpole, with the text “Hybridize this!”

A hobbit anthropologist uncovering a human skeleton. “They’re so big!”

“Alas poor Yorrick, I drew thee well.”

Anthropology: the most warped of the sexy, sexy sciences.

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying spending my trivia winnings on Etsy purchases–specifically a custom dress from this woman, who sews in Thailand, as part of my attempt to build an ethical, adult wardrobe, and a wine bottle serving tray from this woman as a gift from my mother, which was well-received. The purchases give me hope that I can, as I age, keep myself reasonably well-appointed without tearing my conscience apart too badly. My only worry is shoes. My Sociology course (Social Problems–we spent the first class watching a documentary on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which was super fun) is rubbing off on me.

Tonight also marked the first Interfaith Council meeting. We ate Thai food with a group of 30 students and two professors, and we talked about faith in college. I was asked a question about how I–as an atheist–handle being alone in the world, without a God to pray to. There was also a hint of “how are you a good person without faith?” For the latter, I simply said that I strive to be the best person I can be, and to go to bed thinking that I have done as much as I can to make the world better and done as little as possible which harms anyone. It’s never been a fear of God which kept me from doing bad things–just a fear of disappointing those who love me.

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Shit My Textbook Says

The bush baby watches you sleep.

Biological anthropology is full of bitter, bitter anthropologists. And bush babies. Image courtesy of Flickr user Joachim S. Mueller under CC 2.0 BY-NC-SA.

“Generally, it was a good idea to avoid being accused of heresy because it was a crime that could be punished by a nasty and potentially fiery death (Fig. 2-1). (p. 25)

“Many people think of paleontology as pretty boring and only interesting to overly serious academics.” (p. 110)

“How do we deal scientifically with all this diversity? As humans, biologists approach complexity by simplifying it.” (p. 110, emphasis mine)

“It’s no wonder that people resist the concept of deep time; it not only stupefies our reason, but implies a sense of collective meaninglessness and reinforces our individual mortality.” (p. 128)

“Moreover, as we have already pointed out (see Chapter 2), the creationist perspective fundamentally fails to understand the nature of science itself.” (p. 134)

Physical Anthropology, Jurmain et. al

My Biological Anthropology textbook is written by bitter, bitter anthropologists. The figure 2-1 cited in the first quote was a painting of someone being burned at the stake for heresy. Science comes alive!