Alissa’s Kentucky Kitchen Table

By Alissa

For my Kentucky Kitchen Table assignment, Dr. Youngblood and Dr. Watkins kindly offered their kitchen table in Bowling Green to Margee and I. Going around the table, those in attendance were Dr. Youngblood, Dr. Watkins, Emily, Margee, Dimitri, AJ, and I. All of us have a connection to WKU, either attending the university as a freshman student or as faculty. Dimitri, Margee, and I found out that we are all originally from Louisville, Kentucky. AJ is from Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Emily is from Glasgow, Kentucky. Margee is a girl with a rather bubbly personality and is a psychological science major. She is in the Kappa Delta sorority on campus, in fact she holds an office position in her sorority, and is very passionate about working in the community for their service projects. Dimitri is a gay, nonbinary person who prefers the pronouns they/them. They are very passionate about social issues, especially with regards to the LGBT+ community, and about mental health issues. They are also a psychological science major and found out that they share a class with Margee. AJ is a rather quiet person who enjoyed entertaining Dr. Youngblood’s dog, Hazel. He is a psychology major here at WKU. Emily is an African-American girl who loves Korean pop music and is an English major. Dr. Youngblood is a professor in the English department and is also the moderator of the KPCC- the Korean pop culture club here on campus. Dr. Watkins teaches another section of Honors 251 in the Honors College. Last but not least, I am a chemistry major with a criminology minor. I have a twin sister who I share a dorm room with, and I am also an aromantic asexual, meaning I don’t experience either romantic or sexual attraction.

During the dinner we talked about a variety of things, including what citizenship meant to all of us. Most of us responded by discussing how feeling like a part of a group is necessary to citizenship and how being willing to be a citizen and act is also necessary. Other things that we talked about centered around traveling and comparing customs from other countries to the ones we have here in the United States. We also discussed our high school experiences, since all of us graduated about a year ago. Dimitri and I both attended private, single-gendered high schools while Margee attended a public high school in the same city. We talked about the positives and negatives of attending single-gender high schools versus attending public high schools, and how we thought our respective high schools prepared us for college. Dimitri expressed how they wished they could have attended one of the all female schools instead of an all male high school because everything turned into a masculinity contest. I brought up how it seemed that the girls who attended an all female school would speak up more in class, especially if there were more males enrolled in the class. Margee and Dr. Watkins both agreed with my observation, saying that they had noticed that as well.

I learned that while it was slightly awkward to discuss things like citizenship with people I don’t know all that well, doing it over dinner made it easier. I also learned that while people can be very diverse, you can find similarities and connect with just about anyone if you are willing. All of us arrived at the dinner not knowing much about one another, but we managed to connect through our discovery of shared hometowns, desire to travel/past travelling experiences, and music tastes to name a few.

To me this assignment really connected to the reading, “Giving Employers What They Don’t Really Want” not only because a large part of our conversation discussed education, but because one of the things that the article discussed was how employers want to hire people with good communication skills. We all had to talk to each other, face-to-face, and effectively communicate the point that we were trying to make to people who weren’t necessarily the same as us. That, in turn, fits with the first central question to the class: How can we live well together? A major factor affecting how we live together is whether we can communicate effectively with people who are similar to us as well as with people who are different.

 

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