Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Literary Festival: Colette Bryce

The London Experience: "The Invisible Man" by Caleigh Manyak

English major Caleigh Manyak is part of this semester's London Experience with Villanova English professor Lisa Sewell. The following is a blog post that Caleigh wrote for Dr. Sewell's course.

"The Invisible Man" by Caleigh Manyak

     I checked my weather app that morning, happy to see a "warm" 51 degrees in London's coldest month of the year, but disappointed to hear the wind rapping viciously on my window. I didn't think twice before I pulled my fluffy high socks up my calves, grabbed my warm beanie, and slid on my waterproof boots, just in case it rained like it often does here.
     On my way to spend 4 pounds on a low-quality morning caffeine fix, my eyes glued to my phone, headphones stuck firmly in my ears in an attempt to block out the world, I tripped right over a man on the ground.
     "Shit-oh, oh my god-I'm so sorry, I'm such a klutz! Oh my god!" Absolutely mortified, I spent the next ten minutes profusely apologizing to the man, who just smiled back, seeming to enjoy the scene unfolding before him: a red-faced girl with a harsh Jersey accent trying to soothe her own embarrassment.
     His name was Aziz. He's a 38-year-old man from Afghanistan. In an attempt to make myself seem slightly less like a clumsy, ditzy American girl, I bought him a coffee from the store across the street and sat down to talk to him.
     His story was a sad one; forced to move from Afghanistan, the only home he had ever known, to London in hopes of a steady job. Unfortunately, his bright hope dimmed when nothing was available. This was 5 years ago. He has been living on the streets for the last 3 years.
     "But it not all bad," he declared as he proudly showed me his most-prized possession.  The crisp white paper against his dirty nailbeds made it all the more striking. He held onto his housing agreement like his life depended on it, and quite frankly, it probably did. "I get to move into supplemental housing next week! Can you believe it? God blessed me."
     God blessed me. His voice stills rings in my ears. God blessed you? Homeless for years, forced to beg for change on the street to simply survive, and still, this man had more faith in God than I have managed to conjure up in years. Losing my sister to a heroin overdose a few years back made me question every lesson I was ever taught on a Sunday morning. I wanted to ask him how: how do you believe in a God that put you through so much pain? How do you open yourself up like that to Him? How do you continue to pray when the one prayer that mattered was never answered?
     I wanted to ask him all of these questions and more, but something stopped me. Instead, I just listened. He didn't ask me for money, but I gave him the change in my wallet anyway. My coffee habit could suffer for the next few days if it meant he could buy himself a nice warm pair of socks.
     London typically has around 217 days of rain and snow in a year. The weather rarely climbs above 60 degrees, and quite often dips well below 40 degrees.  Aziz has spent roughly 651 days stuck in the frigid rain, shifting from street corner to corner, looking for a dry slate of concrete to rest his head. And here I am, bundled up from head to toe, with the audacity to spend frivolous amounts of money on crap like coffee or alcohol, as I avoid eye contact with the homeless out of guilt. And it's not just me, "People try not to look. I make sadness in them." This was the first and only time his spirit seemed to dwindle.
     The number of people like Aziz, who London widely refer to as "rough sleepers" continues to rise, and most of them (a whopping 53%) are foreign to the UK, coming here like Aziz, under the pretense of job security and a fulfilling life. It makes me wonder what I can do while I am here to make a difference. Giving out spare change isn't enough, it's a cheap band-aid of a fix. More people need to put in work towards bettering the living conditions for everyone, because no one should be living in the excess of Piccadilly square, next to a man that can't afford to stay warm and dry.
     UPDATE: A few days later, I am walking in a completely different part of London and a man comes up to me and excitedly says "Caleigh! My dear, Caleigh! You have blessed me! Your kindness… I moved into my home early! It is crowded but it is warm. Thank you, my dear! You look great, my dear! God bless you!" He remembered me? Me?

Caleigh Manyak in Venice

London Experience Info Session

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Part-Time Job Opportunity at Crimson Review

Matt Tausch from Crimson Review writes that "we are currently searching for a part-time SAT tutor. No experience is required. We will gladly train you if you meet the qualifications below. The position pays 25-40 dollars per hour, depending on experience."

1.  Have availability on any three weeknights, and Sundays. This doesn’t mean you’ll always be working these times, only that you can if need be.
2. Tutor approximately 10 hours each week. This will include both 1-on-1 sessions and group classes on Sundays.  We will train you so that you feel fully prepared by the time you tutor. All tutoring will take place in our Malvern office (967 E Swedesford Road, Malvern, PA).

1. Have received, or be currently studying to receive, your Bachelors degree.
2. Have scored in the 90th percentile or higher on the SAT, ACT, or an equivalent test (GRE, GMAT and LSAT count). This number is somewhat flexible, so if you think you may be close, please apply.
3. Have reliable transportation to our Malvern office.

For more on the services provided, please visit the Crimson Review website.  If interested, please send your resume to Matt@crimsonreview.com to schedule an interview.