Archives by Month: April 2012

You want me to pick?

Life decisions. Terrifying, aren’t they?

Having to pinpoint what I’m truly interested in has always been difficult for me. Following one goal or path seems to take away other opportunities, to make life almost too predictable.

This week was the deadline for picking classes for next semester. Although it seems like choosing a few classes shouldn’t be too complicated, I had to figure out how those classes would get me on track for a major or fulfill distribution requirements. Again, not supposed to be hard, right?

Still, in my mind, the classes one chooses to take can help define their identity. When you pick a class, you declare your interest in a subject and curiosity about the material. Course selection can definitely be exciting when you read about all the classes you could take and the topics you could explore. Where I run into problems is actually narrowing all those options down to the few I can take in a semester.

It’s pretty awesome that we get the chance to choose who we want to be and what we want to do. I’m excited for all the possibilities ahead, and my only qualm is that I don’t want to sacrifice anything. If only college were a little longer…

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7 Things to do when it’s 70 & Sunny!


Bring on the sunshine! Last week was a record breaking warm week in Waterville, and Colby students know how to enjoy themselves after a brutal (but wonderful) winter. Here are seven items to check off the bucket list for next time the sun’s out…

1. Walk to Dairy Cone-located just at the bottom of Mayflower Hill, Dairy cone may look like just a small stand on the side of the road, but it’s got a huge selection of delicious treats! It is also a great way to treat yourself after running the 3-mile loop as it is conveniently located right near the end of the path. Tonight the Colby-Waterville Alliance is paying for the ice cream so it’s free to all students—there’s no excuse not to go!
2.Grab a friend and head down to the tennis courts-I went for the first last week and had a BLAST! Not only was I surprised by how many kids were taking a break after lunch and playing either for iPlay or for fun, but it was a nice change of pace to be running around on a solid surface after being in the boats for Crew everyday.
3.Colby-Hume Center (aka my home away from home!)- Located only 7 miles from campus, the Hume Center is truly one of Colby’s best kept secrets. With a beautiful dock to lay out on, picnic tables right by the water, and of course the Crew boat house, there is always something going on. During COOT week, leaders pack onto the dock for some fall sunshine, and nothing changes in the spring as we had to maneuver our way with the boats over many students enjoying the sun on the dock the other day!
4.Campus Golf-I will admit, this is something I have yet to check off my list, but have seen a myriad of students partaking in it the past few days and it looks so much fun. Using foam golf balls, groups of students create various “holes” (landmarks) on campus and see who can make it in the least strokes. Make sure to keep your head up!
5.Grab n’ Go on the Quad- Bobs, Foss, Dana…I don’t need to tell you that we’re spoiled with our food selections here on the Hill, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not nice to change things up sometime. “Grab n’ Go” or “Take 4” allows you to hop in line, pick up a hand picked sandwhich, fruit, chips, drink and fruit all packaged up and read to go. As the Quad gets packed when it’s nice out, there are always frisbees and footballs being thrown, and people stopping to chat in between classes. I had a lunch date with a friend I wanted to catch up with the other day as we sat, ate, and enjoyed the sun-what could be better?
6.Study by Johnson Pond-I promise you, reading for a class never was more enjoyable than if you’re seated under a willow, on a blanket with friends overlooking beautiful Johnson Pond. While you definitely don’t need to bring work to enjoy the surrounding area, chances are there’s enough to be done so you might as well dive in (to the book that is, not the pond…)
7.Convince a Professor to hold class outside-my anthropology professor Britt Halvorson held half of class outside the other day, and there are often English classes stationed on the steps of Miller, or biology classes walking around outside. It’s a great way to extend the conversations literally outside the classroom, boost morale, and we had much more energy as we returned to the classroom for some final thoughts!

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COOT-ing It Up

Last week we sort of left off towards the end of orientation week, and this week marks the third installment of a general description of how things are going to go down once you’re at Colby. After you’ve gotten all your fun orientation shenanigans over, you have two things left before classes actually start: First Class, and COOT. First Class isn’t really too big of a deal, you go with the other freshmen from your dorm and basically go to a model class at Colby. Generally, this goes along the lines of talking with your professor, getting a sense of the college lecture hall or classroom atmosphere, and kind of seeing the polarity between high school and college. (And believe me, you’ll see a ton of these differences – very, very quickly) Additionally you usually get an assignment to do, which I would highly recommend doing (pretty much everyone does, and it’s pretty embarrassing if you don’t – not to mention not a great way to start off college!) – but it isn’t graded or anything and isn’t too big of a deal. If anything, the First Class program really just sobers you up for the first week of classes and kind of gets your mind in the right setting.

 

Well, I guess that isn’t completely true – if First Class gets you in the right mind set, it certainly doesn’t last for long. COOT takes place that weekend and sweeps all those academic worries away. Colby is pretty well known for it’s COOT program, and as I remember as a perspective student I knew all about it way before I ever even knew I was going to come to Colby. But, for the sake of any of you out there who are unfamiliar with it, I’ll give you a quick rundown. COOT is an outdoor wilderness program that is designed to bring your incoming class closer together and create as tight as possible of an atmosphere for the next four years – and believe me when I say it does this very, very well. Being thrown into different parts of Maine for three days with ten to fifteen other freshmen you barely know allows for very tight bonding experiences that last for a long time. It depends on the person and the COOT, of course, but for most students if you don’t find new friends from your COOT experience, you at least have a group of people that you’re comfortable talking with. And, most of the time COOTs continue to hang out over the course of the year. (And even into the next year)

 

In terms of what actually goes on in COOT, I think that’s something that you should be left to find out. Pretty much all I’m going to say is that it’s awesome and a ton of fun – generally you have a “cross COOT” that you meet up with halfway throughout the trip so you have another group of people with which to do various activities. (Usually taking the form of sabotaging each others groups) There are a variety of different kinds of COOTs, which you sign up for over the summer – these include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, canoeing, and many, many more. I remember for my trip, it was in the middle of a hurricane and it was pouring rain most of the time – but that only brought us closer together.

 

-Nick

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When Opportunity Knocks…

…open the door. I have been trying a lot of new things lately, and I can’t help but think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that I am in Maine and at Colby.

This weekend, for instance, I explored Portland for the first time. A friend and I purposefully visited the city without an agenda, and we both left having experienced multiple new things. I tried various kinds of sushi after having never eaten sushi before in my lifetime, for example, and had two kinds of crepes (I ate both a dinner and desert crepe at a French restaurant) that I had never tried before this instance. I had such a great time on this weekend excursion that I plan to go again in two weeks. If you decide to come to Colby, I definitely recommend adding weekend trips to Portland to your bucket list!

Another new thing that attending Colby is giving me the opportunity to do is to share my academic research. Presenting research publically is generally much more uncommon among undergraduates in the humanities than in it the sciences; therefore, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to present two English papers this Friday at the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium. The symposium organizers invite all Colby students to submit proposals for posters or presentations related to academic projects that they’ve completed over the course of the current academic year. I have chosen to present a paper from my Victorian literature class, as well as a paper from my course on American Realism and Naturalism course. I think that the Symposium will be a great career building event, and while I am a little nervous because I am new to these kinds of professional presentations, I am very excited for the opportunity to share my work with the Colby community.

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Typical, or not

Even though campus is currently drowning as a result of what feels like 2 straight days of rain, I’d like to show ya’ll something:

Ain't she a beaut

So that’s a picture of from my room. Through a screen. Pretty cool, huh? That’s why I wanted to live in a room on the pond side of East Quad. I can spare the 6 square feet that I would have gotten on the other side of the building, because it gets me that sunset or something like it, let’s say, 4 days a week (that’s a conservative estimate – this place is lousy with rave nail polish sunsets.)

What does 6 sq ft even translate to. It’s not like its enough space to bring in another bed and a series of bridge-like beddings to create one monarch-bed that’s big enough to break dance on, or that I’ve even considered it. I don’t need the space so why waste time dreaming.

This Saturday was pretty ridiculous. Now, to be fair, I didn’t get to see a lot of it because I wasn’t feeling well: early in the day I had – against sound council – been a part of a dumpling eating contest/relay, where the dumplings were deep fried and you had to eat 15 of them before the next member of your team could start eating and I may have throw up in my mouth on #5. So really I had a pretty nice lunch that I just had to eat really fast.

But before that, there was a petting zoo just out on the lawn. Which no doubt is bizarre, but the kids here go bananas for it, with all the bunnies and mini horses and a tortoise! And after that humiliating performance I soothed my quickly deteriorating stomach lining with free gelato. Salted caramel, people. You won’t regret it.

This weekend, capping off Pride Week, was the drag ball. The best parts of the drag ball are the performances that the different groups and clubs do. I have a friend in PCB who, leading up to his group dance which was to be performed in drag, felt like he had something to defend, saying he wasn’t crazy about it and tried to get our little posse not to go. Of course that was enough of an endorsement to make it imperative that we see this kid dance to Beyonce in drag, so we get there at around 10 pm, just when PCB is coming on. We’re standing there trying to figure out where he is, when we see, just left of center, a 5 o’clock shadowed kid in a violently purple wig doing a Machine Gun Kelly wild-boy dance. Kid was having a blast, and even after the show he took back all the regrets he had from before.

He didn’t really look like a drag queen, though. He kind of looked like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, except his hair was the color of an acid trip. Actually, I guess that is pretty drag-ish.

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The Island President

Have you heard of or seen the movie “The Island President”? I saw it on Wednesday with some other Colby students at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville.

The film documents the efforts of Mohammad Nasheed, now the ex-president of the Maldives, in the year leading up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Council of 2009. The Maldives is a nation of 2,000 tiny islands in the Indian Ocean that has recently experienced a violent and oppressive dictatorship. Nasheed was able to peacefully gain presidency in 2008, and has since then been actively working to combat climate change. He was overthrown in February of this year, but is continuing to promote democracy, peace, and climate change activism in the Maldives.

Nasheed was almost certainly the most aggressive and active world leader in the fight against climate change. He proposed swift action, reduction of CO2 emissions for all countries, and had planned for the Maldives to be the first carbon-neutral nation in the world. Met at all sides by resistance from other countries, Nasheed continued to pressure them to take definitive climate change action.

Perhaps this is because his country has the most to lose. As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, the Maldives are being swallowed by the oceans. Throughout the film there were frequent shots of eroding coastline and aerial views of the low-lying islands that appeared to just barely peak above sea level. Members of Nasheed’s cabinet expressed their concern for losing “an entire culture” to the ocean.

After the movie the audience skyped with the director Jon Shenk. When asked about what hope Shenk saw in the situation, he replied with a quote from Nasheed: “I don’t hope. I work”.

Nasheed might have some of the biggest worries of any person on earth. His country is threatened by dictatorship and environmental catastrophe simultaneously, yet he has not let up in any of his efforts. His dedication and optimism are simply incredible.

Not hoping for something, but working staunchly towards it seems to me to be an admirable way to live. It probably seems like a pretty obvious concept – of course you have to work to accomplish things. But at the same time, it reminds me of our individual power and what can result from resolute dedication.

I’m going to do my best to live by Nasheed’s words, and I hope they mean something to you as well.

Here’s the link to the film’s website if you’re interested in learning more: http://theislandpresident.com/

Alice H.

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Freshman Orienation

So last week I talked about what you guys should expect as an incoming freshman over the summer, before school actually starts. But seriously, that stuff is pretty boring. The best part begins once you actually get on campus. One of my life mantras (I know right, cool kid) is that college would be better without classes. Okay, maybe that defeats the purpose a little bit, and somehow I feel like my parents wouldn’t be too happy with that idea, but seriously it would be sick. And that’s basically what the freshman orientation week is. My parents always told me before I came to Colby that college wouldn’t be all fun and games, and after the first week I had been at Colby I was itching to tell them exactly how wrong they were, for that’s exactly what the first week was.

 
I’m sure the whole orientation process changes from year to year, but I think in general the overall structure is the same. The first day is a little bit of a stressful, face paced blur, and last week I already talked about how for us sophmores (incoming juniors? Wow. I definitely just had COOT like.. a week ago) orientation was a little hot, to put it lightly. Anyways, you come onto campus, and there are tables set up somewhere (for us it was by Runnals.. I think) that give you a bunch of sheets and information. (still have to get around to reading those..) You also get your room key, mail key, and some other important things. Generally there are a bunch of CA’s and upperclassmen on campus who are around with the specific job for that day of helping out – both giving information and helping people move in. For you girls out there, you’ll probably get lucky and get some junior or senior to carry your makeup, wardrobes, crates of clothes, trees and whatever else you put in your room.

 
The rest of that first day generally takes the form of crying parents, a lot of meeting people (I’m pretty sure I was asked where I’m from like 5,000 times) and mostly doing nothing important whatsoever. The whole doing nothing important thing carries on for the next week, where the most pressing thing in your life is wondering what on earth Mingle is and how you should avoid it. (You’ll find out what Mingle is. I’m not telling you. It involves a lot of touching, embarrassment, and getting intimate with each other) Most of this week is set up by students like COOT leaders and CAs and I think you’ll get quite a shock transitioning from high school to what your elder students have set up for you. Well, you’ll probably get a shock for the entire first month of school, but that’s besides the point. I know I’m still experiencing it two years later.

 
Specifically what the next week entails differs every year – usually it’s just some form of activity to get to know each other, and you stay with your dorm and COOT group for most of the week, so no worries about meeting people. And you’ll very easily meet people outside of those groups too – the first week, everyone goes up and sits with pretty much random people in the dining hall. (Everyone on campus is a freshman like you) I kind of wish we could go back to the first week, it was great. Anyways, my class pretty much had something called Playfarer as our big “thing” (There’s no way I’m going to talk about that. I don’t even want to think about it. I don’t think I ever want to touch that many people in my class ever again. Nah but really, it was a ton of fun. If not really, really weird) The class last year got laser tag, some paint thing, oxygen tanks, and bounce things, which were kind of cool. Well, that’s all I have to say about your first week on campus – believe me, there’s no way you’re going to feel like a college student at all. If you thought you would all of a sudden feel grown up the minute you left your parents and came to college, believe me you won’t. That first week is like summer camp (hence why it’s called Camp Colby). You’ll get a very nasty shock though once the first week of classes begin and you realize that you actually have to do work.

-Nick

Next week I’ll continue with this first year mantra for you guys and talk about COOT and a couple other loose ends!

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A Powdery Weekend

Spring Weekend at Colby. This post isn’t even going to try to be funny, because I’m taking the journalistic integrity route and just giving you the facts. Not that I don’t always, but one might argue that these posts are typically pretty subjective, though I guess that’s somewhat the point.

Anyway.

This is the best weekend of the year, and yes that’s speaking objectively. The spring concert is always so bananas that I feel kind of bad for kids that go abroad in the spring because they miss it (typically.) This year it was Big K.R.I.T and J. Cole. KRIT’s pretty popular in the hip hop community, but J. Cole is the big time. I don’t really know how Colby gets these performers like this to come to basically the northernmost Princeton review listed college (don’t quote me on that) but it’s pretty impressive. Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean were here last year, if that puts things in perspective for you. I think they ate at the Burger King after, but again, don’t quote me on that.

But honestly, the most hilarious part of Spring Weekend has got to be the Powder-puff Football game. The girls of each class year get pitted against each other in what is typically a bracket-style flag football game. My class (2013) and the sophomores this year (2014) apparently made the decision to leave the flags on the sideline and play full on tackle. Which was objectively awesome. There’s tons of music and the crowd get’s really into it and you can sit on the field: it’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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When Feeling Overwhelmed is a Good Thing

There are about three weeks of regular classes to go in the semester. The paper assignments are starting to pile up. This is the time when, academically, everything in the semester starts getting busy but also awesome. Towards the end of the semester, I always start to see tons of new connections among the material that I’ve been learning about all semester.

In addition to the plethora of assignments, this is also an interesting time for students socially. My friends and I have all recently finalized our summer internship plans. I talked to my internship advisor today, and while I am incredibly excited about my internship (I will be doing research with a professor in the Yale English department), forming these plans has also caused me to realize that I should value and maximize the time that I have left here at Colby.

Fortunately, Colby has made this goal very easy for me to fulfill. The college has organized tons of fun events as of late. It’s Pride Week right now, for instance, and last weekend was Spring Weekend. There is always a fun concert on Spring Weekend. Last year Wiz Khalifa came. This year it was J Cole. Another thing that I like about this time of year is that visitors to campus are frequent, which makes the social atmosphere very pleasant in my view. I am personally a big fan of Admitted Students days, just because seeing all the prospective students tour the campus takes me down memory lane; it reminds me of how much fun I had when I visited Colby for a few days as a pre-frosh. To top it all off, over the past few days, it has been consistently in the 70s here on campus. This weather, combined with all of the other very exciting things that have been going on around campus recently, makes me feel a very positive kind of overwhelmed.

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Sooner And/Or Later

My mind has been in a weird place for the past few days. My school work has started picking up as the end of second semester approaches at the same time that I am beginning to plan out next year’s fall semester. So, I am switching my focus between my class assignments due in a few days and what to do next fall and beyond.

Since I am primarily taking writing intensive courses, I have more papers than tests. This means that I am able to compile most of my information at any time, which is different from tests which are generally based on information worked towards in class, until a test date. This leaves me little room for excuses of why I don’t do my work and the idea of unfinished work hangs over my head all the time.

However, room draw is on Monday and the courses for next fall were released earlier in the week. Both of these are pretty important in determining how my sophomore year will play out. In my case the courses I choose for next year will be a huge determining factor in what I choose to major in. So, with the exception of one or two required courses, I have only a vague idea of the classes I want to take next semester.

With all of these crucial short term and long term matters in my life, I play soccer everyday, enjoy the relatively nice weather, and am going to the J. Cole concert at Colby this weekend. I find that if I constantly worry about the loads of things I have to do, I get so caught up at the prospect of doing work, that I am less productive when I actually try to do it. It is a definite possibility that what I just said is simply a weak rationalization used to justify procrastination.  However, I have observed and experienced that if you can find an outlet to let go of whatever is lingering within your mind, even if it is only for a brief time, the lingering feeling will be much easier to deal with if it returns.

Finding the outlet is the hard part: It could be a sport, music, meditation, a meal with a friend, or even something as simple as taking a walk, but once you find your outlet, nothing becomes too much to manage.

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