Together Against the Grain

As I walk into the quiet, dimly lit room, the smell of incense immediately envelops me while hushed chatter simmers. Students look around at one another, showing elation at a familiar face among unknown others. The group is much larger than expected for a club that was advertised by word of mouth with very little description of what it actually was. There was no mission statement, no overall goal—just people getting together. Perhaps that was the appeal.

 tagTogether Against the Grain is a budding club on Santa Clara’s campus that seeks to create a space for students to discuss, reflect, and find solace with their peers to develop a community that many may not find here.

 The group comes together and forms a large circle to begin meditating to the soothing voice of Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh. After a few moments of quiet reflection, the group is given questions to think about and write down in personal journals. Everyone scribbles furiously, periodically stopping to stare into empty space.

 The deep silence is cut as the group comes together to discuss their thoughts with everyone else. Brief apprehension commands the circle until a small voice speaks up, providing a gateway for conversation. Students from multiple backgrounds and experiences smile, laugh, and connect with one another. Friendships are both made and made stronger.

 Ian Layton, ’13, and Joe Alexander-Short, ’14, created the club with a mutual uneasy association with the university culture while studying abroad in El Salvador.

 “We connected on the fact that we didn’t feel comfortable with [SCU’s] culture. There was a disconnect,” said Layton. “Something wasn’t right.”

 Alexander-Short acknowledged that Santa Clara culture was based on networking and seeking to know many different types of people. The problem comes from not really knowing all of these people and wanting to actually make deeper connections.

 “There was no real outlet for those who feel isolated or didn’t want to engage in this networking mentality,” said Alexander-Short. “We felt like we needed some type of alternative for students.”

 There are many great and noble clubs on Santa Clara’s campus, but it appears there is no club that is broad enough to accommodate for what is wrong and what we, as students, would like to do. Layton and Alexander-Short find that focusing on and nurturing the self is important to “have the strength to act.”

Together Against the Grain is highly based on reflection for this very purpose.

 “People discover or face certain ideas or injustices or insecurities through reflection,” said Layton. “New things come up during reflection and discussion, especially within a community of people who are sharing the same ideas.”

 When asked about where Together Against the Grain hopes to be in the coming weeks, Alexander-Short stressed the idea of building the community of students and bringing in underclassmen who may seek a place that can “support alternative paths”.

 “It’s not necessarily about going out and doing things, but more about cultivating everyone’s conviction, getting rid of fear and building hope,” said Layton. “We want people who engage that hope aspect, thinking things can change.”

 Together Against the Grain meets on Thursdays at 8:30 in the Multi-Faith Sanctuary of the St. Joseph building.


—Hannah Tayson


How to Choose Your Major

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     Throughout my years at SCU, I’ve considered 18 different Major and Minor options. That meant the most stressful time of the quarter wasn’t finals week; it was the week leading up to my registration slot. I’ve finally found what I’m looking for in a Communication major with an emphasis in Journalism. I’ve learned a few tips along the way that will help you choose a major:

Step 1: Talk to People

Your friends will know your favorite interests and hidden talents. Your teachers and peers will know what topics motivate and excite you. Find your strengths and weaknesses. When people say, “I can see you in…” take the cue.

Tip: Take your parent’s advice with a grain of salt. It’s difficult for most parents to be objective when it’s their own kid.

Step 2: Google it.

Research fields and careers that interest you. What real jobs exist out there that match your interests and strengths? The point is to narrow down your focus to a few different fields and/or positions. Talk to professionals currently (or previously) in the field. How did they get there?

Tip: Connect with alumni, family, and friends. Take advantage of your social networks. This is one of the few times using Facebook in the library is completely acceptable.

Step 3: Confide in Mentors

This is the time to voicemail and spam department chairs and professors in the field. How will this degree aid you in your career path? What does this degree offer you? Will this major give you the flexibility to jump from one interest to the next?

Tip: Arrange a meeting or come by during office hours. Be courteous, polite, and always say thank you.

     If at this point, you’ve narrowed down your options to one major, kudos to you. I would’ve killed for that. Instead, I found 3 majors – Communication, Anthropology, and Sociology – that would led me to my dream job, fashion communication. Although I was reluctant to give up Anthropology as a major, I found that Communication encompassed parts of all three majors. How? I used this methodology:

Step 1: Write down every single class you have to take in order to graduate with that degree.

Look at the CORE curriculum. Look at each Major curriculum. Look for double-dips. Make Microsoft Word your new best friend.

Step 2: Rank each class on a scale of 0-5.

0 = I’d rather jump off a bridge then take this class.

5 = I have to take this class before I graduate.

Step 3: Tally up the numbers, rank them, and then we have a winner!

     Congratulations! Now, declare your major, watch your degree audit shrink, and don’t look back. I hope this helped as much as it helped me.

— Christina

Povio at Santa Clara

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Povio is a new social media app taking over the campus. Students are increasingly using this fun, fast way to communicate.  Check out Povio’s locally produced video showcasing sophomore Colleen Henn and other SCU students communicating using the app.

Povio is launching a campus wide contest this Wednesday, March, 5. Download and use the app with 20 friends and get the chance to win $1,000!  You can find contest rules at