Jacqueline Mann- McCullick is a sophomore political science and philosophy double major. She is also planning to minor in both psychology and photography with hopes of going to law school. An avid reader, and a reading partner for Rice Elementary School in Dallas, Jac is so excited to give you a bit more information about Common Reading!
There are many reasons why you should read the common reading, and believe it or not, the fact that it is mandatory is not one of them. You have been looking forward to college for years, and I am sure the next few weeks will be chaotic as you pack and prepare for what lies ahead. No matter what your hobbies and interests are, there will be something for you to do at basically every hour, and I encourage you to explore these
different things and partake in whatever it is you find makes you happy. You can’t,
however, get caught up in these aspects and forget about why made the decision to attend SMU in the first place – to get an education.
You’re going to forget to do your homework from time to time, and that’s okay,we have all been there, but you can’t let one night turn into two nights, then three, then
four. Once you get that far behind, it is merely impossible to get caught up.
It is your responsibility to keep up with what you do, and the common reading is your first assignment as a college student. Your professor may assign you an essay or give you a test or a pop quiz. Read it now and be prepared for your first assignment. Then, when all of your friends are having fun, you can go with them, stress free, because you have already finished what you need to do. This is it!
You will receive this book at your AARO session!
Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need, is the author of the common reading assigned to first-year students this upcoming year, Just Mercy. His story revolves around a case he worked on as a novice lawyer, concerning an African American male who was sentenced to death row without hesitation or fair trial for a murder he did not commit. The further he delved into the case, the more he realized how corrupt the justice system could be, especially in cases involving minority citizens. By revealing the statistics of minority citizens wrongly accused of injustices under the law and by uncovering his experiences with not only this case, but also with other cases he dealt with, Stevenson exposes the discriminatory injustices of the criminal system in order to open the minds of those who read it and ignite a movement to make a change.
The best part about this novel is that everyone can contribute to its conversation, which is exactly what you will be doing when you get to campus this fall. There will be discussions in your Residential Commons about the book and at Mustang Corral. Want a great way to impress your fellow students? Show them that you actually thought about this novel and its messages. Add meaningful commentary.
This isn’t high school. Your professors aren’t going to assign you work because
they can or because the school is making them. For most classes, you will only have a few graded assignments. Everything is important, and every assignment that you are given has a purpose. Your professors are truly here to help you figure out what your interests are and help you make a career out of those interests. It is up to you to take advantage of what they have to offer.
So don’t do the common reading because it is on the syllabus. Do it because it is
your first true responsibility as a college student. Start off on the right foot and set the
tone for the rest of the semester. Do it because you don’t know everything, and a group of
professors, looking out for you and your best interest, believe that this book has something valuable to teach you. Read this book for you, for as Bryan Stevenson once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice … We cannot be full evolved human beings until we care about human rights and basic dignity.”