Book Club brings As-U-R Students Together
Book clubs have had resurgence ever since Oprah launched one 20 years ago, and the As-U-R program at Appalachian State has adopted the format for one of its seminars with great success.
As-U-R Director, Jamie Inlow, leads a book club each semester with participants taking an active role in leading the discussion.
“It has been a great way to build community,” Inlow said. “The students get comfortable with each other, discuss ideas in a group setting and then transfer some of those skills to their other classes.”
To date, books that have been included in the program are: “Learning Outside the Lines” by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole; “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck and “The Upside of Stress” by Kelly McGonigal. As-U-R students get academic credit for the seminar and are required to lead at least one of the discussions.
Sophomore, Lianna Malawski, exclaimed that she really enjoyed the mindset book. “Coming in as a transfer student is never easy and at the beginning I did have a somewhat negative view of my life at the time,” she said. “After reading the book, I tried to be more optimistic about everything.”
Junior Ella Brody also gained an interesting perspective through reading the book. “Through taking classes and reading Mindset, I realized that it is important for me to go outside of my comfort zone and grow,” said Brody. “I might end up finding something else I am passionate about that I never knew if I kept my fixed mindset.”
Inlow proclaims that the students benefit from leading discussions based on challenging material.
Brody said she is an impatient person and was challenged to be a better listener. “The night before the discussion, I wrote down notes about what I wanted to talk about,” she reported, “If the conversation strayed from what was on my paper, instead of getting anxious, I listened to what they had to say and considered their point of view. This helped me develop not only listening skills but critical thinking skills.”
Malawski lead a discussion centered on sports and how they can help you find a release and give you a positive outlook. “Everyone joined in and told their stories about what sports they played and how it was their safe haven for most of their life. It was great getting to connect with everyone on a more personal level,” she said.
Overall, it is obvious that these students have been impacted by the As-U-R program and their director/mentor, Jamie Inlow. The book club has allowed students to open their minds and look at learning from multiple perspectives.
You can see more examples of the As-U-R book club experience at https://collegestar.appstate.edu/u-r/news.