Youth In Revolt.
What an interesting set of words, right? That’s exactly what I thought to myself when I came across this specific course when I was building my class schedule for the fall quarter. I immediately read more about the class objectives, and signed up for the class. And man, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I have youth in revolt every Tuesdays and Thursdays in the late afternoon. That’s usually when I take my afternoon naps and am sleepy, but I always feel otherwise and look forward to the lecture every time it’s this class. It’s interesting, eye-opening, and refreshing.
We discuss different kinds of literature, social issues, social constructs, norms, and how we can use our voice/actions to disrupt certain things we encounter in our lives. We analyze questions like: How does this certain character implicate both innocence and experience through his/her social dynamics? How is resistance seen in this situation and how is it emulated by the people in that certain environment? Why is freedom absolute and abstract in almost every situation? So far we’ve also learned about anti communist parables, repressible ideas, equality, individuality, and conformity in context of world views. Recently, we discussed the questioning of sexuality in terms of cultural narratives. The book I’m currently reading for class (The Girls by Emma Cline) was able to give me no pretentious realm of allegory. I learned more about the vague concept of desire and the ironies we do to “fulfill” whatever it is we want to achieve.
Basically, I learn a lot in this class. My list of insights and learnings can go on forever. But if anything, one of the most important realizations I’ve had is the fact that all of these things have a lot to do with mental health.
In retrospect, being a youth in revolt means being mentally strong, voicing out what you believe in, and being able to actually do what you think.
Oftentimes, I find myself creating agendas in my mind that I never do. I find myself wanting to tell something constructive to someone but never do. I sometimes give into overthinking the smallest situations even if I remind myself otherwise.
All these are completely normal, and in all honesty being a youth in revolt means trying to resist against these temptations we face.
Last week I was able to interview my teacher for this class, Professor Margaret Ronda. I knew she would give wonderful insights regarding youth in revolt and mental health as she does in class, so I decided to ask her a few questions that will surely help inspire anyone regarding this topic.
Professor Margaret Ronda is an English Professor at UC Davis teaching Youth In Revolt, Environmental Literature, and American Literature.
In the interview, she gives such amazing insight on an adult’s perspective on the youth and why literature is so important to mental health. She describes reading literature as a way for us to be able to “connect with others and ourselves.” It makes us feel like we are not alone and that we can relate to literature on deeper personal levels.
She loves teaching the specific subjects she teaches since it relates to what is currently happening in our world and sheds light to what is urgent and needed. One of which is the climate strikes happening all around the world, which is why she is passionate in teaching environmental literature to her students.
One of the other questions I asked her was regarding a text we read during class which was Howl by Allen Ginsberg. It’s a lengthy poem with most lines beginning with the word “who.” The author starts off by talking about the destruction of “the best minds” of his generation. The latter part of the poem is addressed to one of his friends, Carl Solomon whom he thoroughly admires and is “always there for.” He met this friend in a mental institution and since then has always thought of him ever since. This complex poem has so many themes including free and confinement, madness, and visions of what could be. It’s essentially an intense narrative from an author who is mentally ill.
Professor Ronda was able to give insight on what life was like for people with mental illnesses in the past compared to now, as well as those questioning the bewildering intricacies of their sexuality. In 1950’s America, prominence of mental health issues arose but was not tackled in the right way or direction. This is why she emphasizes how lucky this generation is to have so many resources and studies that help and aid individuals to fully be comfortable with themselves. We are a “disruptive” generation because of the fact that we were able to disrupt the past norm of being fit into a box in a plethora of ways.
At the end of the interview, Professor Ronda expresses her excitement to see more of what the youth will do in the near future. She knows even more positive change will come throughout time.
So how can you be a youth in revolt? What does it take?
All it takes is desire & action. You are a youth in revolt if you believe you can be.
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