Monday, February 2, 2015

Banned Books

Today, I want to talk about an issue that is really important to me- banned books.

Reading is a huge part of my life. My mom read to me tons as a kid. My older sister used to teach me letters and words she'd learned in school before I was old enough to go. I told my kindergarten teacher on the first day that I was only there to learn to read better. I was reading chapter books like Stuart Little by the time I was 5. Even now, I'm going to school to become a book editor, so that I can (hopefully) read for a living, and be responsible for discovering the next big, beloved book.

Reading was made fun. My mom, sister, and I would cuddle up together in my mom's big bed, and we would read out loud to each other. While my mom did most of the reading, my sister and I took our turns, too. It was fun time that we were able to spend together and hear wonderful stories.

One of the things that we read together was the Harry Potter series. I loved these books, and I still do. As a kid, I was appalled that some of the kids in my school weren't allowed to read them, simply because it involved the fictional world of witchcraft.

This concept still baffles me today. I sort-of understand where these people are coming from, I know that they're worried that it will teach about going against their religion or supporting bad values.

If anyone reading this has ever read any of the Harry Potter books, they know that this isn't true in the slightest. These parents refusing to let their children read these books have never read it themselves, and have no idea what they are talking about, or what the books are even about. How can they judge something as "immoral" if they have literally no idea what is on the pages? How does that even make sense???

Harry Potter is just one example that I usually go to, but there are tons of amazing books that I could use the same argument with.

Do you recognize any of the titles in the picture? Night is an autobiography of a Holocaust survivor. Why can't his story be shared? Why can't we know what happened in the world? And don't even get me started on Where's Waldo?

I found a list of commonly banned/challenged books here. I was amazed at some of the books on the list, ones I've read and loved, classics, and ones with really significant and powerful, enlightening messages.

If you read a book and decide it's not for you, or that you don't like what is says, that's completely fine with me. At least you tried it and thought about it. But don't, literally, judge a book by its cover. If you haven't even read it, then I think that you have no business telling me what I should think about it. Instead of forbidding your kids to read something, teach them your morals and values so they're able to know right and wrong on their own.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Do you support the banning of some of these books? Why?
Have you read any of the banned books?
Is your favorite book on the list?


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Disappointment in University of Wisconsin

Unfortunately, today is another rant. I feel bad doing two rants in a row, but things have been getting worse and worse, I really just need to talk about what is going on. Also, I'm hoping that I might help someone to avoid what is happening to me.

I am enrolled in my fourth semester at a college in the University of Wisconsin system. In the past few weeks, I have had nothing but problems and disappointment with them that really should have been avoided.

I signed up for an online class since the class I needed on campus filled up. However, I dropped that class and enrolled in a different online class instead. As I did all of this weeks before the deadline to add/drop classes, it should not have been a problem. However, the fees for both classes are still showing up in my tuition breakdown. University of Wisconsin is asking me to pay $125 for a class I dropped before the semester even started. 

In addition, when I looked at my tuition breakdown, I also saw a fee for more than $900 that came as a total surprise to me. Apparently, I need to pay extra tuition for my online class. When I looked into it further, I finally found where it stated I had to pay the extra tuition. This information is only found after following several links, and is virtually hidden on the website. When I was considering online classes, none of the several advisors on campus that I spoke to thought to mention this extra fee. I feel that I have been tricked into paying almost $1000 extra. 

This is my fourth semester at this university. I have given this school a hell of a lot of money, and I would have hoped to get some decency and honesty out of them.

I am so sick of the University of Wisconsin system, and I feel so wronged and upset by everything that's happened.