What a Student Union is, and Why They are Excellent

‘Tis the season for assignments aplenty!

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For us students, this “magical” time of year means midterm exams, convoluted essays, and small fortunes spent on Chestnut Praline Lattes. On top of all our assignments, many of us are still struggling to find extracurriculars on campus that are fun, interesting, and relevant to our program of study. It's quite honestly an extra stress we do not need in our lives.

All I want for Christmas is to get away from all this stress.
 

A quick solution is to look at socials and events hosted by the student union for either your POSt or your classes. Student tuition include automatic membership to most student unions, as well as highly underrated events that feature professors, guest speakers, and opportunities for you to explore whether or not this subject is really for you.

On November 11, I attended the English Student Union’s Fall Academic Seminar, featuring pizza, juice boxes, and Professor Jeremy Lopez and Professor Chris Warley poking goodnaturedly at each other and the Literature of the English Renaissance.

Left: Professor Lopez. Right: Professor Warley.

Professor Lopez mainly focused on “The Invisible Man of the English Renaissance Drama,” or, for those (all) of us unfamiliar with the topic, James Shirley. (Those in attendance were actually bemused with a quick anecdote on the research process that involved manuscripts and book editions that have literally never been opened—with pages pressed shut from the lack of use.) After a short scene from “The Bird in a Cage,” discussion bounced from the end of the English Renaissance to the existence of a “very large mole” on Shirley’s left cheek; parts of the discussion had people laughing until tears came out of their eyes.

Professor Warley’s discussion was about “When is Then? Trying to Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 146,” with two very different perspectives on what Shakespeare could possibly mean when the poem honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense. Somewhere along the way, the focus shifted from Shakespeare into philosophy, and the presence of time. Also, we poked a lot of fun at Shakespeare and the ridiculousness of what literature is “supposed to be.”

For a too-small conference room filled with not-quite two dozen people and two very amiable professors, the space was practically sparking with interest. Most of us present were or are planning on becoming English majors, and the final half hour that we spent socializing with the professors and each other created a human element to what we are studying.

To be fair, numbers tend to fluctuate with these events.

For anyone who missed this event, the English Student Union’s co-presidents Halyna Chumak and Sushani Singh have pub nights and a Spring Academic Seminar (featuring a new panel and topic) planned for the upcoming semester. Also, Professor Lopez and Professor Warley both teach undergraduate courses, making it possible for you to pre-plan next year’s schedule to get either one—or both!—to guide you through the perils of an English essay.

If English isn’t your thing, then you should definitely look for a student union that does interest you. One of the main goals of a student union is to provide help to the students with academic and personal matters that they may not feel comfortable with, or are not able to bring to the attention of a professor or professional. Whether it is the light conversations that occur over wings at pub nights, or discussions with an upper year over coffee and textbooks, student unions deepen the relationship between students and their subjects and help to foster a sense of community.

Who knows? They might be able to get you out of that stressful rut you're in, and bring a little holiday cheer back into your school work. 

Seriously, don't get buried under all that stress when we have so many resources to help you!

Join a student union for you, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

For all the stress, this school is wond’rful, Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Find out more about the English Student's Union (ESU) on their Facebook Page

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