Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Browse Items (89 total)

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In my late 20s, I knew that I wanted to make a vocational shift, but I struggled to find the courage to do so. One day, I came across the lines of Transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau. "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation," he wrote in Waldenin 1854. Though Thoreau lapsed into an unfortunate gender bias (as women may lead lives of quiet desperation, too), I still took refuge in his words. Reflecting on my own life (which felt quietly desperate, I realized) imparted me with the audacity to make a change and follow my…

by My teachers
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When I began AP World in my sophomore year of high school, I knew virtually nothing about the religion of Islam. So when we began our unit on the Islamic Empire, my experience was something akin to culture shock. I had never realized how similar Islam was to Christianity, and the more I learned about the events of that time period, the more I began to realize *why* I was so ignorant. The interactions between the Western world and the Muslim people had consistently been tense throughout history, despite having very similar religions. This…

by Odera Tait
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It's not often that we interact with people that have disabilities. When I was in elementary school my mother worked in homecare and took care of a young girl. She was the same age as me but she didn't have the ability to communicate, walk, or even feed herself on her own. I would often frequent her house after school and I remember the first time I had met her. I was very awkward. I didn't know what to do with someone so different from me. Over time I became more comfortable around her. We would watch TV and play around. There was one day in…

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One of my humanities moments happened while I was watching old reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There is a character in that show named Data, an android who is constantly seeking his own humanity. At one point the crew of the Enterprise finds the sister of a fellow crew member who had previously died in the line of duty. Many of the characters in the show describe how the sister reminded them of their lost friend, but Data puts it the best. He supposedly doesn't experience emotions, but his description of his own experience seems to me…

by Ciara Tolbert
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This skit was made because of multiple inspirations, but my contribution was the misuse of the word 'retard'. More days than not, I will be sitting on the bus hearing middle schoolers use the word retarded to describe something that is stupid or silly. I assume that they don't know any better and that it's not my place to correct them. Creating this skit made me realize that when it comes to anything like that, it's important to take the time to correct someone when they something offensive.

by Riley
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When I was on a mission’s trip in Atlanta, Georgia, we went to visit a refugee housing area where many of the children there didn’t have a positive role model to look up to. Many of the parents of the children could hardly speak English, and the children relied on themselves to satisfy their basic needs for most aspects of their life at such a young age. It was really sad to see the circumstances that these children had, and it wasn’t their fault, they had no control over it. When we were getting ready to leave, one of my friends was…

by Weaver Academy student
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When I was a sophomore in high school, I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York with my high school choir. We had been invited to perform a solo set of three songs under the conduction of our teacher. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I experienced helped me to explore my relationship with music by perceiving the strong emotional connections of my fellow choir members. As I performed and saw how moved my classmates were, it made my experience more touching and memorable. I also was reminded of the hard work that was…

by My Dad
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My humanities moment happened a few days ago when I was talking to my father about college at a Mexican Restaurant. He talked to me about how lucky I was to be graduating high school and going to college in the fall. I didn't understand why it was such a big deal until he explained to me that since I'm adopted, I'm most likely the only one within my biological family to be going to college. It made me realize that many people didn't have the opportunities I have to go to a performing arts school and attend college. One of my closest friends…

by Savannah
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2 years ago my sister and I decided to spend our Saturday mornings helping distribute food at the Alamance Food Pantry . 30 families were given food every week and were only allowed to come once a month. One morning a woman showed up and had heard about the food pantry and wanted to get food. Unfortunately she had not called and reserved food and we didn’t have anything prepared for her, we offered for her to wait with us until noon and if there was any food that hadn’t been picked up she could have it. I could tell she was desperate and…

by James Cannizzaro
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Throughout my senior year of high school, I got to work alongside my classmates and my teacher, Mrs. Woods, as artists. This was our AP year, so our classroom acted as a sort of studio for all of us as we got to individually work on our concentrations. My concentration took heavy influence from surrealists like Beksinki and comic artists like Ashley Wood. Every so often, Mrs. Woods would recommend me books and artists to check out, notably architectural pieces and works by H.R. Giger. This new inspiration led my art in a new direction, and I…

by Carolyn Bucknall
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When I was a girl, my father hosted big work parties. I loved the parties because I loved Jim, the IT guy. He always smiled at me; he would take me up in his lap and bounce me until we both were giggling too much to continue. I loved Jim, and Jim, he loved me too.
Fast forward: middle school. Not the healthiest of cultures. What I learned there might have been expected, but not excused: It wasn't okay to be gay. Gay people… weren’t normal. They were odd. Inexpiable. It was an unhealthy attitude that I brought one day.
“I keep telling…

by Olivia K. Moore
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A few months ago I visited a local art museum and there was one particular exhibit that caught my interest. It was a photography exhibit by Lucinda Devlin. She had many different collections but the one I found myself looking at the longest was a collection of pictures she took in execution rooms in the United States. Most of them were lethal injection rooms, but some were electric shock. Death sentences are not something unheard of in the United States and are not uncommon, however there has been a long debate about whether or not they are…

by Emeli Hernandez
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My sophomore year of high school I took a 3-D Design class. Our final project in the class was to build a huge statue out of tile samples and chicken wire but it was different from all of the other projects because we were forced to work as a class on the one statue. At that time, our class of fourteen did not get along very well and was segregated into several little groups. Working together with my class to build one thing gave us all a collective goal and caused us to have to get along and problem solve together. We were all able to gain a…

by My history teachers and my friends
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The first time I had ever learned about Native Americans as a part of history was when I took AP World History. My understanding of Native History grew as a studied AP United States History as well. It was through these courses that I could truly grasp what Native Americans have gone through and the way that their oppression has affected the way they live today. As a woman of color, I could sympathize with the resentment and anger that they feel as they are still treated unfairly today. After learning about the true repercussions of Columbus…

by Olivia Azzarita
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A few summers ago, I volunteered at a summer camp at a local school working with children to create art and other goods to sell at a market. Most of the children came from the school, or at least the area, but there was one family at the camp that had come from Japan. The children, ages 9 and 11, spoke almost no English, and their mother, Reiko, stayed with them to translate and help them adapt to the new environment. But even she struggled with English and American culture. So I took it upon myself to stay with them the whole week as long as…

by Alex Blake and the Staff at North Carolina Governor’s School West
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A memorable humanities moment for me was when I was singing an arrangement of "Deep River" at North Carolina Governor’s School West. Our director, Alex Blake, had arranged the piece and we were performing it in front of our peers and parents at our last concert. In that moment I remember feeling really connected to the music and feeling the historical significance of the piece. Alex had shared with us the reason he had arranged the piece and the significance it held in his heart and how he hoped that the choir would give it our all. When I…

by The delegates at my camp
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During my time at a summer camp, we had a discussion about the impact of prejudice. We created a list of stereotypes for each race and hung them up on the walls. The campers from each race then stood in front of the list of stereotypes and told the group about how those labels affected them. The words of my fellow campers were moving and thought-provoking. As we went around the room, I learned so much about the plight of others. I gained deep insight into the experiences of other racial groups. When I stood before a list of stereotypes about…

by J. Robinson
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I had the opportunity to be able to sit with a professor from North Carolina A&T State University as she spoke about her life leading up to where she is today, starting in China and now being in Greensboro, North Carolina. While sitting in conversation with this lady, she tells me about how when she was younger, she went to school in China normal as expected. However when she reached the point in her schooling where we in the States would be starting high school, a war broke out in China and all the schools were closed. She explained to me how…

by Emily Martin
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Last year, my dance class at school went to a county wide “Dance Day,” where public school dance programs from all over my area came together to perform for each other and take free master classes. I had been twice before, so I knew what to expect; however I did not know what class I would be participating in. After the welcome ceremony, I was told which room number my class would be in. When I entered the room, there were drums lined up all along the mirrors and a man dressed in colorful clothes, who welcomed me at the door. It was an…

by Natalie Frontera
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Last summer I went to Nicaragua for two weeks on a service trip. On the tenth day, I went to a small village 30 minutes outside of Managua called San Benito. I went there to build a bridge across a river.
While I was there, I also got to observe their lifestyle and living conditions. The houses were built from scraps, and were each about the size of my pantry or closet. There were dirty chickens and pigs covered in dirt, being swarmed by bugs. Everyone had only two sets of clothes they could call their own. They practically lived in…
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