Category: Collegiate Ramblings

Mad Men and Feminism: Are we “ahead?”

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Mad Men. I’ve grown to love the show, but I have hated it in the past thinking that it glorified extra-marital affairs. I was concerned that showing adultery in the show was glorifying this type of behavior, but I removed any personal sentiments I had about the situations portrayed in the show and realized that sadly this behavior was prevalent in the ’60s and it’s still prevalent now.

My current rant isn’t going to be about adultery, though. It’s going to be about women. I thought seeing this show would make me appreciate how far we’ve come with women’s rights and I should appreciate the world I live in, but I look at this show, and if it’s historically accurate… I think that women who are successful now could have been successful then. I think we share the same struggles of the career women featured in the show.

Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway from AMC’s “Mad Men” (Photo credit: amctv.com)

At first when I watched the show,  I quickly identified with Peggy Olson. She’s still a favorite of mine, but I find that she has too strong of a belief in authority and that if she does everything right, she’s going to be rewarded for it. Many women still feel this way currently. If we do what society asks of us, we’ll get our due reward. Buy all the women’s fitness magazines, read Cosmo or whatever, follow the BuzzFeed tips on how to bag a man, do all the 1, 2, 3 to-do lists and you’ll get what you want and be happy. Peggy also believed this, and at this point, she’s finding that following all the rules that society dictates don’t get you what you want. (Or, what you think you want.) Many women still believe this is the way to get ahead: do what you’re told, do what society says will help you get ahead and you’ll get there and be happy.

As I’ve grown older and progressed through my college years, I find that I more readily identify with Joan Holloway (much to my own surprise). She finds rules that society sets are flexible, and she’s ready to change with the times, change her strategy and correct mistakes when she finds herself in dangerous situations. Now, I want to be careful when I say I identify with Joan, because I wouldn’t be as promiscuous as she is, of course. But I admire her character’s chutzpah. (As a side note, I’m very happy my browser didn’t correct me typing “chutzpah” just now.) I admire Joan because she takes what is benifical about society’s rules for women and uses them to get ahead in her own way. She seems to accept that progress isn’t dependent on her and she’ll take advantage of what she can to get ahead. I wonder if this is what women have to understand about the present time, that progress isn’t being made and we have to use cunning means to get “ahead?” Whatever “ahead” is…

Both characters struggle with juggling the demands of career and motherhood. Motherhood and womanhood seem inseparable – women are still struggling with how to reconcile these identities when they also desire to have a career. I know this feeling and many other girls my age face the same questions as Joan and Peggy: “Why are you going to college if you also want a family? Don’t you know you can’t have both? One of them is going to suffer, and it’s probably going to be your children.”

While I watch Mad Men when I force myself to relax, I still hear this question that various new people along the way ask me. “How are you going to be a pianist, a singer, a scholar and a wife? Then, a mother? How are you going to do all that?” As I’ve talked to other women, I’ve been confused and strangely comforted to know they hear the same questions on a regular basis also.

I don’t think we’ve made progress in women’s rights in the past 50 years. I know because I identify with Joan and Peggy’s struggle. I shouldn’t feel what they’re feeling when they’re in the workplace (especially highly gender specific workplaces). Yet, I feel it and I get the same questions they did while they were in their 20s and 30s. I wonder if we’ve made progress? Has feminism peaked? Is it still held back? Are we going to be honest about what is holding feminism back, if it isn’t making progress?

These are questions we should still be asking but I think we’re ignoring them simply because women are working more. I think we should still be asking questions and thinking forward, because as I stated before.. I identify with Peggy and Joan. I shouldn’t. What’s happening here?


Blue and White

I’ve been accepted to Penn State!
I’ll begin my studies at one of the smaller branches of the Penn State campuses and perhaps I will transfer to University Park… The specifics are not quite determined. But I’m in! It’s been a long road but I’m beyond excited to begin my college career at Penn State.

I’ll be honest, I never thought I would be attending at Penn State. When I was in high school, Penn State was not the first choice on my list. Actually, I’m not sure that it was a choice at all. I tossed around the idea of Patrick Henry University or possibly IUP… But after analysis of the situation, and spending years of study with a professor who gave me advice… And of course, after careful consultation with family and prayer (Yeah, 20 year olds still pray), I made an informed decision to apply to Penn State. And I’ve been accepted!

I was a little nervous throughout this entire process from the moment I graduated. I was bombarded with questions about college constantly. As I got closer to graduation, I had no clue what I wanted to do. Most people have a clearer vision. I didn’t have a clue. I was considering IUP but the distance factor was an issue and I didn’t want to leave my family. And of course, living on campus makes for a more expensive education. When I said I wasn’t sure and I may be taking some time off to figure out what I really wanted to do, I got shot down with that infamous phrase, “If you wait a year, you won’t go!” I heard it so much that it angered me. I thought to myself, who are you to decide my determination to pursue an education? I told everyone I needed time to figure it out.

I took time to figure it out. I took TWO YEARS to figure it out. And here I am. I’m proof that you can take off a year to figure things out. Even more importantly, if you are a Christian, you are more than welcome to take a year off to discover the plan God has for your life. Or, maybe God’s plan for you does not include college.THAT IS OKAY. Not everyone is meant to go to college. That is not God’s plan for everyone! That does not mean you’re not intelligent, capable or that you do not have worth. It means God can use you better somewhere else and your part in His plan is just as important as that of a college student.

But if you’ve recently graduated high school and you think God is calling you to a certain college, then look into it, check it out, see where He has gifted you and check out colleges that offer ways to study those subjects. When you spend time with Him, you’ll know where He’s leading you. Looking back, it’s sort of funny to see how He brought me here. I love words. When I ask God about something, He will usually give me one specific word, but never “yes” or “no”. (Usually, those are the specific words that I desperately want.) When I asked about the important decisions of my life in the coming years, I always got the word “Time”. It didn’t make any sense to me. Through certain circumstances and discussions with very unlikely people who have been sources of motivation and inspiration, I went through with my SAT studies (Yeah, I didn’t take the SAT in high school) for a few months and eventually got my application in. I made it through the admissions process and as I was waiting for an answer, I noticed Penn State has a specialized page for students interested in attending at Penn State or students that have been accepted, and an interesting phrase on the front of the page was “It’s YOUR time”. And on the back of a Penn State notebook that I purchased, the name of the company that produced the notebook was “Perfect Timing, Inc”, and anyone who knows my musical abilities has always known timing with a metronome has always been an issue with me. (As of late, it’s been much better. Coincidence?)

That’s my curious story of confirmations. I know many other Believers who have had other curious confirmations about God’s will for their lives. God tries to speak to us in the most interesting of ways, we just have to slow down and take a look every once in a while.

I’ve been geeking out the entire week since I’ve received the news (That’s my new catchphrase, geeking out), checking out my major requirements and descriptions of Gen Eds and other such things. I’m excited. I’m at peace with the challenges ahead of me because I know this is where God has placed me. I’ll continue to share my college experience with everyone reading!


The Opinion of Mr. Snuffygins

Let me present a scenario to you. This is a scenario that just about every music major in college encounters at least once in their lifetime. We shall meet the main player in this scenario: Mr. Snuffygins. (He’s hypothetically named and not named after anyone in particular.)

The feline interpretation of Mr. Snuffygins. "No piano for you!"

Mr. Snuffygins can be anyone in your life that knows how to reason, formulate conclusions and has a fairly good idea of how the world works – but, this Mr. Snuffygins lacks one very important title that strips him of any authority to offer his opinion on the upcoming said scenario. Mr. Snuffygins is not a musician, but he acts like he knows how the working musician must behave in order to make money. Let’s see how Mr. Snuffygins would approach Annette, and how he would most likely approach any person planning to major in music in college.

Mr. Snuffygins: Well hello Annette! How are you?
Annette: I’m great, pretty busy!
Mr. Snuffygins: Busy eh? Are you in college yet?
Annette: Not yet. Working on it though.
Mr. Snuffygins: What are you going to go for?
Annette: I’m planning on majoring in musical arts.
Mr. Snuffygins: Musical arts? What are you going to do with that?
Annette: Play piano?
Mr. Snuffygins: Can you make money doing that?
Annette: I already do.
Mr. Snuffygins: Well, you must not make that much.
Annette: Um.
Mr. Snuffygins: What kind of job can you get as a musical arts major?
Annette: Well, I can play in quartets, I can play in symphonies, I can teach privately, I could probably teach in schools if I chose to take that route… I can accompany artists, I could compose music, I can play for theatre companies, I could-
Mr. Snuffygins: None of that sounds like it pays a lot. You should be a music teacher!
Annette: But I don’t like the idea of being stuffed in a school all day.
Mr. Snuffygins: But that way you’re guaranteed to make money!

And at this point I usually have to leave or someone interrupts the conversation before I can ask Mr. Snuffygins a question…

WHO ASKED YOU?

The gall of Mr. Snuffygins. Don’t all you aspiring, or current music majors wish you could ask Mr. Snuffygins who he thinks he is? He more than likely is not a musician, or he is one of those annoying shoddy guitar hero type musicians who thinks he knows a thing or two about music because he presses those colored buttons on a plastic guitar shaped video game apparatus.

Let’s try to be fair and understanding. Mr. Snuffygins thinks he is being helpful, when he is actually being extremely annoying. Nobody knows why Mr. Snuffygins says the things that he does. But lets turn the tables here. Mr. Snuffygins would probably be annoyed if this scenario were to occur:

Annette: Hi Mr. Snuffygins! What is your opinion on me being a music major?
Mr. Snuffygins: Well I think it’s a bad idea!
Annette: Well Mr. Snuffygins, I don’t think your ideas are very well informed or beneficial to me.
Mr. Snuffygins: Uh?
Annette: Mr. Snuffygins, I bet you’ve never played through an entire sonata or even looked at a Bach invention, and yet, you are going to try to tell me what major I should chose in college, and you’re going to try to decide for me on an uninformed decision. I’m not sure that’s such a wise thing to do, Mr. Snuffygins.
Mr. Snuffygins: I’m just trying to be helpful! I’m older than you, I know more about this.
Annette: Mr. Snuffygins. I don’t believe that you are being fair. You assumed I chose this major on a whim. You never took into consideration that I practice piano two to three hours a day, that I am making payments on an acoustic piano, that I perform every Sunday at my church, and on top of all of this, I have a natural aptitude towards music and the arts. You did not take into consideration the fact that I have had grueling practice schedules when I prepared for piano competitions. You also did not take into consideration the fact that I chose this major right off the bat four years ago when I was considering a college education, and returned back to this same major through the course of considerations. You also never considered the hand of God in my life, leading me and guiding me in this direction, since I am a Christian, what makes you think I have not spent countless years in prayer about this? Since you did not take the time to take these facts into consideration, I think that, in this moment, a high level of intelligence on your part is doubtful. I did not ask for your opinion, Mr. Snuffygins. You simply asked what my major was going to be. Now you know. Have a nice day.
Mr. Snuffygins: (Dramatic pause) ..I play guitar hero!!

Dear Mr. Snuffygins,
I love that you have taken such a deeply vested interest in the financial stability of my future, but I did not ask for your financial advising, nor did I ask for you to question my judgement, and I certainly did not ask for you to be my college advisor.

If I change my major, it will have nothing to do with you, it will be my own personal choice. And if I am considering changing my major, I promise you that your opinion will have no place in my considerations. Would I honestly think to myself, “I think I might change my major because Mr. Snuffygins told me to.” Your opinion will more than likely be the last thing on my mind. And how dare you be so prideful to tell me what to do with my hard earned money invested in my education? How dare you? Who do you think you are?

But I would like to thank you, Mr. Snuffygins. I am one of those sort of people that is motivated by inversely irritating naysayers and cantankerous individuals. I will be thinking of you when I am at my college auditions. I will be thinking of you every Sunday morning when I am playing in front of the congregation at church. I will be thinking of you before I perform at piano competitions. I will be thinking of the look on your face when word gets back to you that I am a successful musician. I think your face will contort to some sort of misshapen form, one that resembles the look of astonishment, when you realize, that you, in fact, were wrong about my choice. Your annoying know it all attitude will be my fuel. I hope to run into a few more Mr. Snuffygins’s like you, actually, although I did launch in to a big rant about you, I appreciate your irritating opinion. You are quite the motivational speaker. I am now motivated to prove a multitude of Mr. Snuffygins like you wrong.

And I promise you, that I will prove you wrong, Mr. Snuffygins. I will have success. I may not be rolling in the cash, because most truly talented people aren’t, but I will at least be happy and stretching myself beyond my comfort zones and achieving everything I thought that I could not, and following God’s call on my life.

Thank you, Mr. Snuffygins, and I hope you are a little bit more informed on this situation thanks to my opinionated outburst.

Sincerely,
Annette M. Nagle


Here I am.

Well, I submitted my college application today. Twelve years of home schooling, along with almost two years of an interim incubation period have all lead up to this. I’ve applied and now I have to wait and see what happens.

I’m pretty excited, I wouldn’t have originally chosen the college that I just applied to… I’ve gone through a list of colleges in my mind for years during high school, then I had no clue what I wanted to do, then I figured maybe college wasn’t for me all together, then I came back to it…

I originally ruled out the college I just applied to because of SATs, but I considered all the factors, I considered the top notch education I would receive, the campus experience, the price and of course, I prayed about it. (Who prays about what college to go to anymore?!) I figured, it was time to let myself get out of the way in order for me to get moving. I had to get over my own fears and irritations, so I braved out the SAT madness, which was a scary feat, considering I’ve been out of high school for almost two years. I think that made the process a little unfairly difficult, but I sucked it up and I went through the system.

And here I am, waiting to hear about my application. I don’t know how long it’ll take. Hopefully I’ll hear back soon. But, either way, I did it. I submitted my college application. A year ago, I didn’t think I would be doing this. It was rough hike getting here. But, here I am. And here goes nothing. I’ll keep everyone updated. (But who’s everyone? Who is even reading?)