Archives by Month: March 2012

what are you doing this summer?

For summer, many Colby students apply for competitive internships or research opportunities. For this reason, I used to feel a little unsure about the job I’d chosen for the summer.

I’m going to be working as a breakfast chef at a camp in northern New York’s Adriondacks. Adirondack Park is six MILLION acres of wilderness, so what my job title really means (to me, anyways) is that I’m going to be spending the majority of my time running around in the mountains, swimming in wild rivers, and getting lost in the woods.

Thinking about it now, I can barely stand to wait for summer. Still, hearing about the other things students are planning on doing made me a little nervous at the beginning. I wondered if I’d fall behind or would have trouble getting jobs in the future if I didn’t start now.

Despite these worries, my spring break ensured me that I’d made the right choice. Over break I spent a few days hiking with a friend in Franconia Notch in New Hampshire (near the Presidentials for those who know the area). Even our short, four day trip reminded me how much I need to be outside, to be in wildness.

On our trip we were on our own schedule, something which gave us the freedom to start hiking Mt. Lafeyette at 6:30am the last morning. As we gained elevation, we could see sunlight striking the hills behind us until the sun rose from behind the peak. We were on top by 9:30am, two small humans in the bright morning light and cold wind of the mountains.

This sort of freedom, to do what I want when I want, to go anywhere I can walk or run to is something I crave. I have no regrets that my job isn’t prestigious or something that will start my career – I don’t think I’m ready for that quite yet. It’s exactly what I need at this point in my life – an adventure.

Alice H

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March Madness

It’s been awhile since my last post, so I figured I would catch you up on what’s been going on at Colby. Might as well start with the weather… I’d like to say that the craziness in relation to the dramatic switches in climate is just the typical, weird “New England weather”. However, I’m from New England and this is just absurd. Last Thursday I was at a beach in Massachusetts and went in the water. Let me say that again, March 22nd, and I was in the Atlantic Ocean north of Boston. As I write this blog a week later, I am in my room watching snow fall as my skin is peeling from a sunburn. I have no idea how I should be feeling about this madness, but Mother Nature had better sort out her issues before I lose my mind.

 
Next topic, Doghead. Doghead is Colby’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The majority of the student body stays up until sunrise, partaking in various shenanigans prior to it, at which time hundreds of people crowd onto and around the steps of Miller as the sun comes up. I won’t disclose the “shenanigans” I eluded too, due to the variety and often-times crudeness of them but it is certainly worth coming up here to take part in the fun.

Academically, the pace is definitely being taken up a notch. With just six weeks left in the spring semester, papers, tests, even finals are ominously hanging over the heads of everyone. Also, room draw numbers for next year have come out. In about two weeks, Heights lounge will be mayhem as myself and most of the other sophomores on campus choose our rooms for next year. I am anticipating being busier than ever until the end of the year, I just hope I can have some more fun before my freshman year ends.

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Busy and I Like It

Wow. Has it really been over a month since I posted? Lately, things have been so busy I’m not even sure what the date it. Nevertheless, I apologize (once again) for not updating this blog for over a month.

That being said, I have found myself busier than ever. I feel if you are a Colby college student who is really “living”, you will be busier than a colony of bees (sorry for the bad pun). Now by all means, I am not claiming I am the busiest girl on campus. I am not taking five classes with three labs on the side. Nor am I part of four different clubs and find myself at a different meeting every night. No, that’s my neighbor next door.

Nevertheless between classes, exercise (I’ve had a couple of health scares while here), extracurricular activities, study abroad forms, budget proposals, and the small inklings of a social life, I’ve found myself too busy to procrastinate. For example, my Film Studies class requires that we watch a film every Wednesday 7pm-9:30ish pm. Sometimes, we are required to see other films off campus on Sunday nights or attend events throughout the weeks. However, since it’s my favorite class of the semester, I’ve found little to complain about.

And indeed, I’ve found myself with no complaints about the general busyness of my life. Even during spring break, I kept myself busy with a secret (sorry) project that I still need to finish. Like most students at Colby, I believe that the busier I am, the happier I am. Because the quick pace of life means that there’s more to absorb in it. Colby provides plenty to absorb and it’s my job to hurriedly sink in as much as I can. And for that, I am thankful.

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Get Excited, Class of 2016!

I paused before entering the closet sized room tucked away in the upstairs back of campus life. Laughter, music, and talk was pouring out of the room that, while at first glance seemed to only be able to hold two or three people comfortably, was currently housing at least eight or nine. Smiling, I opened the door and walked in to find the majority of COOT Committee pouring over applications, entering data into the computer, and attempting to catch a bite of dinner or finish homework in the few spare minutes between interviews. Yes, it was COOT leader decision time and while we all sacrificed the majority of our afternoons and evenings to conduct interviews, we could not have been more excited by the outcome!

Being a COOT Leader at Colby has been one of my favorite aspects of being at Colby. I have blogged before both about the great trip I went on, and amazingly fun trip I led this year, and from those blogs it’s probably obvious that I firmly believe in the program. However, this spring I got to see the COOT program from the Committee standpoint, reading over many applications and conducting interviews to choose the leaders for next year.

Truly, the more applications I read, the more excited and enthused I became to know that I was surrounded by such a diverse and dedicated group of students at Colby. I found myself wanting to be friends with almost everyone, and didn’t mind at all when interviews took a little longer because we got off topic talking about the Taiko drumming club that I knew nothing about, or how one candidate and I had both had spent time in Uganda. While decision day was stressful and hard, as the pool of qualified applicants largely surpassed the number of available spots, I was able to leave feeling confident in the process, and struggling to keep quiet so I didn’t ruin the surprise for those who were accepted!

The best part about it all is that next fall will come and COOT will be a blast as it always is, but all of the people, both those who were accepted and those who were not, aren’t going anywhere this spring. The energy from all of the students that we saw and met during interview week permeates the campus on a daily basis, and how great is that? So, Class of 2016, let me tell you how incredibly lucky you all are, and I know I speak for the majority of COOT leaders and kids on campus when I say we can’t wait to meet you all in the fall to kick off COOT and a great year!

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Classic Style

Greetings readers, I am writing to you from my desk in 28 degree Maine yet I am somehow peeling from my face and back. How is this possible, you may inquire. I shall tell you: SPRING BREAK BABY

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned I’m on the Ultimate Frisbee team here at Colby, and honestly I can say the number one reason I do it is because of the spring break tream every year to Georgia. It just encompasses everything that a Frisbee player could want: beaches, pools, big houses, lots of days to do nothing, hot weather, sun, other colleges, limited chaperones. It typically turns into a wild week were you really get to know everyone on the team in a social setting, which is helpful because of human nature’s tendency to form cliques.

The worst part? There’s a drive, and we all have to drive. Well, except for me, who got a speeding ticket in Georgia during the last spring break trip making a left hand turn in a fully loaded suburban. REALLY LOCAL COPS? HOW DID I GET TO 47 THAT FAST? PHYSICS SAYS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.

But anyway, there’s a roughly 22 hour drive to some island (this year is st. simon) and believe me that car ride is a trip in itself. It really tests the bonds of friendship and body odor. But you are rewarded with arriving on an island midday and having at least two days before you have to play Ultimate.

There are three full days of play that run from Tuesday to Thursday, with an optional playing day on Monday (I didn’t do it this year, and I instead chased dolphins on the beach. No joke, tell me I made the wrong decision. I didn’t, let me save you the time.)

A farewell party follows, hopefully you’ve made friends at other schools, and then you all ship back up to the tundra on Friday. It physically pains me to write this, as my fingers feel like they are going to snap off because of the cold. I can hear the wind outside. Isn’t that weird? It’s air. But it’s loud.

Bring me back south.

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Getting Accepted to School

So for most of spring break I’ve been trying to get myself motivated to write a research paper for my class on state legislatures, and I decided the best way to start that was to procrastinate a bit. Which, of course, usually takes the form of a bit of Facebook stalking. I came across the status update by the Colby page that had a picture of all the accepted letters the school had just sent out, and started reading the comments alumni and current students were making. Although I was never the biggest fan of high school, I still felt a bit of nostalgia for that day in March last year. For the past couple days, I had decided to do my homework in my living room (which is the only room in our house to face the mailbox) to wait for letters to come in. As I remember, the day was a bit overcast and raining a little bit, but I sprinted down the driveway as soon as I saw the truck pull in. It turned out that I in fact got two letters that day: the first from Bates (yeah.. Bates..) and the second from Colby. Because I apply regular decision and I hadn’t gotten accepted to any other schools so far, I immediately knew that Colby would be the school I was going to go to.

The next six months were absolute agony, and to be honest I hadn’t really know much about the school before I applied. It was never my first choice, and in fact my guidance counselor in high school thought it was a good idea to tell me that if you’re from Maine, you have absolutely no chance of getting into Colby. Which, by the way, is completely false – Colby actually makes a great deal of effort to get students from in state to balance out the student body as much as possible, and I believe we currently have about an in state population of around 10 percent which is pretty high. Anyways, it turned out to be very sort of random that I ended up going to Colby – not only did I not really know much about it, but I made some terrible, terrible decisions in terms of applying to schools as a senior in high school. I only applied to four, and none were really a safety school. For any current seniors in high school, don’t make the same mistake I did! I got extremely lucky in the respect that I loved every aspect of Colby after I got in, but it easily could have turned out much worse. Even though when I first received that letter I didn’t know much about the school, that day remains one of the happiest of my life. Wherever you end up going, getting your acceptance letter in the mail will definitely be an experience you never forget.

-Nick

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Spring Break in St. Louis

I spent my Spring break in St. Louis with another student tutor and two faculty members from Colby’s Farnham Writers’ Center. The group and I went here in order to present at the annual IWCA (International Writing Center Association) conference. We also went to the CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication) Conference, as the Director of the Writers’ Center was chairing a panel there. I can honestly say that this was one of the best school breaks I’ve had in a long time.

The topic of the IWCA (un)conference was activism in writing centers. The other tutor and I designed a hybrid workshop and discussion on the topic. We also attended another session at the IWCA; the session used postmodern mapping techniques in order to collectively solve problems that different participants were facing at their respective writing centers. I found that this was a great way to learn about the different programs and arrangements characteristic of writing centers across the nation. It also provoked me to consider the possible applications of some of the things that I’ve been learning about in my class on postmodernity.

On Thursday, the group went to the CCCC conference. I observed about four different sessions at this conference, and I had a blast. I was able to Live Tweet from some of the panels, which made me feel like a genuine to-be professor—those who know me will understand the immense thrill that I got from this simple activity. I also loved how diverse the topics of the sessions were at the CCCC conference; despite topical diversity, they all proposed readings of the role of composition in the contemporary college classroom. My favorite session, for example, was on objects and materiality. The speakers talked about everything from freezers to trombones to scrapbooks in order to stress that writing is an object, but it is not a stable one; therefore, it is conducive to and should be mobilized in the service of discussing processes and becoming. I also attended sessions on spaces of possibility, play, and agency in the classroom and in professional writing. These sessions offered that everything from the revise-and-resubmit process to videogames can engage individuals in the writing process. I found these speakers so interesting, in fact, that I skipped lunch in order to go to more panels. It was a good thing that went to Pappy’s Smokehouse that night, because I had worked up a decent appetite while attending panels.

Moreover, while in St. Louis, I spent a lot of time exploring the city. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Arch; I even enjoyed riding the tram up to the top of it, despite the slight feelings of claustrophobia that such a transportation system engendered in my body. I kind of felt like Zenon from that ‘90s Disney Channel movie, Zenon the Zequel. We went on a boat tour of the city that same day, too, which I found not only informative, but also incredibly relaxing. There’s something about the feeling of being on a boat that I just love. The group and I also explored the restaurant scene. Pappy’s Smokehouse, which I mentioned earlier, was a favorite. I have a huge soft spot for ribs and all things barbeque, so there may be a little bias in my last statement, but not much. Besides BBQ, St. Louis is also known for its fried ravioli and fried mushrooms. Both were quite tasty, in my opinion. To top it all off, we stayed in a really nice hotel; it provided free food at 5:30 (this was called “The 5:30 Kickback” and was basically the equivalent of a dinner), comfortable beds, and two awesome Jacuzzis.

All in all, I had a great time. In this context, I want to end this blog post by extending genuine thanks to Colby and the Farnham Writers’ Center for facilitating this amazing opportunity.

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Spring?

Spring has come to Waterville. I’m not going to lie, the warm wind and the sun have felt great.

This early change of seasons hasn’t been the only weird thing about this winter. We barely got any snow all throughout December and January, and had some very warm spells in mid February.

I’m getting nervous. Honestly, I’m worried we’ll have more winters like this past one, and fewer cold and snowy winters. I’m worried that climate change is taking hold, and this thought truly scares me.

As of yet, it cannot be proven that the pitiful winter was due to climate change. No weather event can be definitely, without a doubt linked to climate change. However, several recent erratic weather events have been found to be very likely caused and/or worsened in severity by climate change.

The drought that began in Texas in the summer of 2011 (one of the worst droughts, if not the worst, in the region’s history) is one event thought to be linked to climate change. James Hansen, top NASA scientist found that the probability of such a severe drought occurring without the effects of climate change is extremely low. Climate change may not be the direct cause of weather events, but significant evidence has been found that it increases the intensity and occurrence rate of such events.

A future with severe droughts, lame winters, and other strange weather patterns does not have to be our future. We still have some leverage in this situation, and I hope that we take advantage of it now while we can. Please get involved – let your representatives know that you back them on climate legislation, insulate your house, and get your friends and family on board too. We’re fighting for ourselves now, for our own happiness and way of life.

Alice H.

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Bloghead

So this weekend was doghead. Or maybe Doghead. I would even go as far as calling it The Doghead, but that’s not as ergonomic. Like Justin Timberlake said in The Social Network, dropping the “the” makes it cleaner. I’m sure he was supposed to be playing someone else, but I can’t see him as anyone else. He was good in alpha dog though.

I can only talk in abstractions about this Colby-specific holiday because of its raunchy details, but that should almost serve as reason enough to come up here and experience. Some nuggets, you ask? Watching the sunrise with hundreds of other kids on the steps of Miller Library. And Goldfish. You will have to come up here to really understand that last one, and it is a doozy.

It’s almost definitely the most popular party day of the year at Colby, and a tradition that never ceases to surprise me. Colby is pretty small, even as far as North Eastern Small College’s go, but there’s obviously a concerted effort made by the faculty and the student organizations to make sure there is never a boring weekend.

For example, last spring SPB brought Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean. Think about that: there are only 1,800 kids that go to Colby. Even in a world where everyone in the school went to the concert (which is ridiculous to assume,) that is still a smaller crowd than those two rappers would garner for a concert individually – not to mention together.

This year SPB did it again, with Big K.R.I.T and J. Cole. Just like Wiz and Big, these are rappers that are just about to blow up (if you don’t consider J. Cole as having blown up already. I’m sure he thinks he has.) My sister went to the University of Buffalo, a huge school, and went to see a Smashmouth concert. Like four years ago. I’m just saying, I feel like we need to give credit where credit is due.

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Getting Familiar with Colby’s Housing System

It is that time of year again, and although it seems like this semester just started, campus is already abuzz with talk of housing options for next year. For those of you who don’t know, the way the housing lottery at Colby works goes by seniority, with the exception of freshmen. Incoming freshmen at Colby pretty much always get put into doubles that are randomly determined before they come to Colby and can be put anywhere on campus except for senior apartments. The rest of the student body is given a room draw “number” ranging from 0 to around 1500 – rising seniors get the top third of those numbers, juniors the middle third, and sophomores the bottom third. Once the room draw day comes around, students are free to choose any type of housing or roommate that they want for the next year. As sophomores, it is pretty unusual to get anything bigger than a triple, and as juniors and seniors it becomes easier and easier to get a quad or a suite.

I could go on for literally years about how the housing system works, but besides the fundamentals there are a few other interesting aspects to note. All housing is gender neutral, and most floors have a pretty equal mix of male and female residents. You can’t be paired with someone of the opposite sex as a freshman, but if you’re an upperclassman you can room with anyone of the opposite sex as long as there is a lockable door between you in that room. Besides all dorms having mixed gender housing, Colby also tries to get it so the various classes intermingle. When room draw is chosen, there are certain restrictions on the number of students from each class year in that dorm- so you can’t have a dorm of pretty much all juniors, per say. The one exception to this is senior apartments which are a group of six or seven person suites, slightly removed from the rest of campus and only available to students on their last year at Colby.

Besides regular housing, chem-free housing is the one other major type of housing that is available. A large number of students participate in this, and while all chem-free dorms are successful in not having students drink in them, they aren’t exclusively restricted to students who don’t drink. A fair number of students, especially freshman, do go chem-free for other it’s other advantages. Colby also has a number of other options- OASIS, SWOLE, green dorms, and others- usually these dorms are smaller on campus, but promote different types of lifestyles among their residents.

Last of all, I just wanted to touch on the quality of the dorms at Colby. Having gone from what I consider the best dorm on campus (AMS) last year as a freshman to one of the older ones on campus this year, I have to say I’m very impressed with what housing is like compared to other schools I’ve been to. Even my current dorm which is probably not many people’s first choice has lounges, flat screen TV’s, a fireplace, and is overlooking Johnson Pond. If you’re an incoming freshman, I wouldn’t even begin to worry about getting put in a “bad” dorm – as they really don’t exist at Colby!

-Nick

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