Conflict and Peace

              Mr. Welch filled you in on what’s been going on with his schooling. I figure I should offer a similar transparency, although my journey hasn’t been near as interesting or involved as his.

             After our tour in May I decided not to go back to the four year college I had attended for the past two years. I thought I’d try my hand at doing school online while looking for a job. All Summer I searched for a full time gig and couldn’t find one. This was frustrating. Months later, after I decided to go back to Greensboro next semester, I found out that my name gets flagged under certain background checks, due to a felon out in the midwest who shares the same name and birthday as me. Go freakin’ figure. 

               I became curious about a brand new bachelor degree program UNCG had developed called Conflict and Peace Studies. I thought, “damn, if they had offered that last semester I would probably still be there.” I traveled up to Greensboro to speak with the new department face-to-face, hoping to learn more about their program. Within a matter of minutes I realized that this major would fit me perfectly. I had previously been a Political Science major. My wanting to study politics stemmed from my interest in war and peace issues. Before that, I had studied world Religion. This new major seemed to encompass the specific features of both subjects that had intrigued me the most. When I told the advisors that I was onboard to reapply for the Spring 2014 semester they informed me I was the first student to sign up for the Conflict and Peace major. So, even if I can’t find a job with the degree, I can forever brag about being the first to get one.

           In all seriousness, I’m massively excited to be studying a topic that has such a gigantic importance. New majors that involve peace or conflict resolution are springing up in universities across the country, but UNCG is the first in NC offer a peace program at the undergrad level and I’m honored to be the first entering into the curriculum. With the world the way that it is, maybe reevaluating how we as humans approach conflict, on an domestic and international level, wouldn’t be such an awful idea. I’m often startled to read about acts of unjust war that never receive media recognition. As our societies progress and news becomes increasingly global, it’s difficult to fathom that certain violence, perpetrated on innocent civilians, isn’t more wildly publicized, condemned and ultimately stopped. It’s a privilege to be studying something so much larger than myself and all of my silly problems. And, although it’s hard to say where the degree will take me as far as a future career, I feel confident that it was the right transition to make.

           I’m also looking forward to moving back up to Greensboro. It’s definitely not a picture perfect, Norman Rockwell-y kind of place like Davidson is, but there’s a unique charm about the city I’ve come to miss since I’ve been away. It’ll never come close to giving me a hometown sense of security, but Greensboro is significant to me in that it’s the first city I was able to come to know independently. I was forced to find my way around and make somewhere so foreign become familiar. The experiences I had there, even the ones that weren’t so delightful, had an enormous impact on me and my way of thinking. I met some of my favorite people, played some of my most lively shows and had some of my most wonderful times there.

            I’ve got set up to rent an apartment right in Greensboro starting in January. I’m super stoked to have my own place and start the next little bit of my life. Hopefully it works out. If it all blows up in my face I’ll be sure to let you knowImage

Penn

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