Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"What Will Your Verse Be?"

As an undergraduate, I majored in English not just so I could articulate my thoughts in a well written essay, but also to study the human condition and the manner in which we communicate and interact with each other both personally and socially.

The desire to care about other human beings and how we are intertwined in society has never left me. I extended this desire beyond my undergraduate training into my graduate studies when I chose to pursue the M.A. in Media Studies at The New School.

Following are the core values of the M.A. in Media Studies program, from Carol Wilder, Chair of The New School's Media Studies and Film Department:

"As a part of The New School, the graduate program in Media Studies reflects a commitment to a number of core values:

* An emphasis on the essential relationship between media theory and practice in the belief that a conceptual understanding of media is necessary for creating discerning productions and, in turn, that producing media messages grounds an understanding of theory.
* A respect for both aesthetic and pragmatic dimensions of communication.
* A recognition of the integrity and potential contribution of all media formats.
* An awareness of the ethical imperatives of communication throughout the "global village".
* An appreciation of the ways in which media theory and practice can contribute to intercultural understanding.
* An acknowledgment of the challenging marketplace conditions that face today's graduates.
* A belief in the importance of openness to change and innovation."

Carol further writes, and this is the reason why I chose an M.A. in Media Studies:
"As the "communication revolution" unfolds everywhere around us, it is easy to agree with Jean Baudrillard that "we live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning." At the New School Media Studies Program, we learn to make both messages and meaning in the hope that we can all become more mindful and humane citizens of tomorrow."
These are the very reasons I chose to further my education in the M.A. in Media Studies -- because the core values of the M.A. in Media Studies program continues the compassion and caring I have for other human beings that is, and always has been, at the very heart of my core and personal values. With that said, as I complete the graduate program in Media Studies, I ask myself what contributions can I make to become a "more mindful and humane citizen?"

This question is ever more important as we move forward. We are a fast-paced high-tech society in the center of a rapidly evolving Web--a great boon to our ability to communicate instantly, locally, nationally, and globally. High tech gadgets are also coming out of the assembly line by the drove--iPods, palm pilots, blackberries, treos, laptops, cell phones with photo capability...the list goes on--created to meet the need for faster, more efficient communication and instant gratification required by today's consumer.

With so much electronic gadgetry becoming available every day, it is easy to lose site of things that matter in life, including appreciating art, nature, poetry, literature. We need to step back and take time out from the daily grind to appreciate these things. Though life exists and our daily lives move forward in time, we are all still human with basic needs for love, a need to get back to nature to regenerate, a need to appreciate the beauty in the world around us. It's important to remember that these are what we are alive for.

Tom Schulman said it best when he raised the question, "What will your verse be?" in Dead Poets Society:

"We read and write poetry because we are members of the human
race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine,
law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and
necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love,
these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, 'O me! O
life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless
trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the foolish; what
good amid these, O me, O life?' Answer. That you are here--that
life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you
may contribute a verse.

That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse...

What will your verse be?"
--Tom Schulman, from The Dead Poets Society

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