Archives by Month: October 2012

Making New Friends

Fall is a romantic season in Maine. The sceneries come straight out from a storybook.  One of my favorite pastimes in Colby is just walking to places. I am that strange person who will grab my trench coat and walk to Railroad Square Cinema for a movie, or walk to downtown for a relaxing afternoon of bubble tea and cookies in Selah Tea. I walk, often aimlessly, in everyplace I travelled. It is one of the best ways to know great people and have the scoop on the latest events.

Walking is also kind of the only exercise that I do. My infamous lack of coordination kind of cause troubles to not only myself but also everyone else around me. The least I can tell you is that don’t play basketball with me; I will hurt you, and then hurt myself. It is written in the stars.

I am still that person in Boothbay. You will spot me just walking leisurely down Ocean Point Road and stroll to Boothbay Harbor. Sometimes I would stop in front of the lakes and rivers and take a fresh breath. The light drizzle makes me feel like tap dancing in the middle of the road, just like in Singing in the Rain.

Last, last weekend, I walked to downtown. A light veil of fog covered the town, and I felt like I was walking in a dream. The reds and oranges were misted with a coat of sugar powder. It was really fun just saying hello to random people. There was this nice lady who told me that my glasses are really beautiful, and I complimented her red dress. It is simple things like this that warms up a chilly autumn like a hot cup of apple cider.

Seriously how cool is this car!

Golden leaves

Crunching on fallen leaves! The crisp sounds makes me sooo happy!

Apples! Apple picking is as necessary a autumn experience as watching a pumpkin boat race. Kim, who works at Bigelow, has such great stories to tell; she has been working in Bigelow ever since she was a young girl. Kim is a jack-of-all-trades, someone who live life to the fullest; she will tell me about her adventures collecting clams and mussels for researches, her passion for cooking and working as a cook on cruises, and her love for gardening. When she is arranging beautiful flowers, I can always see the spark in her eyes.

I feel so lucky that I get to mingle with the Southport locals and get to see different parts of Maine. Last weekend, Kim and her daughter, Jasmine, brought me along to pick apples.

Jasmine and I all geared up!

Kim and Jasmine :)

We are picky gourmets; not just any random apple can please our selective eyes. We picked only the reddest, juiciest and most perfect of them all. No, no, no, sir, no, it is absolutely quality over quantity for us. We then drove around Maine, looking at shimmery oceans, lighthouses and the serenity that is Maine.

 

Finding the perfect apple.

because the gods spilled diamonds into the ocean.

Serenity in the face of chaos.

Ahoy!

My lobster friend and I.

Nathan works as an IT officer in Bigelow by day, a cook of fine French cuisine and bomb squad member by night (literally, I am not joking. He is badass). He is also one of the funniest people around.  We share a passion for food, and I secretly suspect that we share the same worldview as Liz Lemon, “I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”  The other day we talked about our craving for a hot bowl of noodles, and so we drove off in the night to Damariscotta for awesome Thai food. Yummy food with a side of amazing conversation makes an amazing evening.

Kim, Jasmine and I went this weekend to the Boothbay Harbor House of Pizza for dinner. It is a cozy get together place for locals, and hey, who doesn’t love a good slice? Everything in the restaurant is made 100% from scratch with love, and they are working on a gluten-free pizza crust! First of all, we saw this awesome little girl and boy, dressed up as a zombie bride with a knife sticking out and a noble swordsman. I want a costume!

We talked with the family that owns the restaurant, and they are the most passionate and sweetest people. “Call me Mama,” said the sweet lady, “everyone calls me Mama.” It is not always easy to be abroad, and she understands the feeling of helplessness that stirs up sometimes; she offers me her cell phone number for “anything at all,” and gave a long hug that I have been missing for quite a while. Mama is a person with a huge heart; she told me her story of helping people in Uganda, first by building one home for the one family, then more houses, a clinic, a school and slowly a village. She and her daughter have gone to visit multiple times for the past years. She is a ray of sunshine, a humble hero, a superwoman in disguise; she talked about her good deeds like they are just part of her life, a simple fact of life.

quote by Rabindranath Tagore.

It is so easy to lose yourself in work, especially in Bigelow. There are so many things happening, and it is so easy to get caught up in your fabulous projects and busy lab work. Times get busy, but I like to remind myself how much I would regret not knowing these great people and places. I make it my goal to get to know all these positive energy around me, and when you want to achieve something, you just have to take the first step. Smile at someone, and fireworks may spark; if there are no fireworks, aim your smiles at someone else.

 

Get out of the bubble, and life will greet you with a smile.

 

Or a hurricane named Sandy, either way, adventures await, sailor.

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Awesome Pictures

So over the past few weeks I’ve both became pretty artsy and came to enjoy fall as a season a ton. As a result I have like a thousand pictures on my iPhone that are either of Colby or Maine so I thought I’d share them with you guys! I was originally actually planning on breaking them into two different blog posts, one talking about the Maine coast and the other more awesome pictures of our campus but they kept building up and I decided I’d just post them all in this blog post. I tried not to be too repetitive so hopefully all the pictures here are of a different type from those that I posted before! I know, I know, my last few blog posts have just been me posting pictures and I’ll get back to writing regular blog posts after this week, I promise. Some of these pictures are just so awesome though.

Fall Break - Took some pix of the coast

Handy Boat/Falmouth Sea Grill

Clapboard Island

Casco Bay

Great Diamond Island – there is an awesome restaurant here

Chilly

Lots of these islands have forts in them, they’re pretty chill

Next weekend: me + wetsuit + friends + wakeboarding

Wooden boat

My dog is an idiot

Colby Pix

It’s a leaf

Me and leaf

Me + log + leaf

Runnals

And the series of awesome Miller pictures begins

Banner pic on Facebook

Fall at Colby

Johnson Pond, again

Sweet dock thing

This one’s wicked sweet

Sun

Backside of Miller

Colby is the best school of all time

-Nick

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deep breath

Yesterday at practice I found myself thinking “nope. there’s no way I can do that.” My coach had just demonstrated the drill we were supposed to be doing – something that involved sprinting, somersaulting, and leaping over and then ducking under hurdles as fast as possible.

When we got in line to do the drill I made sure to hang back and be near the end. I was ridiculously nervous. But then, it was suddenly my turn, I was suddenly doing the drill. I’m not saying that I was graceful or super quick, but I got around it just fine. The next time around I was more relaxed; I was able to stop thinking about the drill and just do it.

We’ve been talking about this feeling in dance class recently; the moment when your brain is able to direct your body without over-thinking the movements. It feels like a moment of letting go or shutting off the brain, but in truth it’s the moment when your brain is working more efficiently and fluidly.

I’ve experienced it in athletics, dance, and occasionally even in class – knowing the answer without knowing how I know it. From these experiences I’ve learned that these moments come with confidence and relaxation, the two things which are (of course) the hardest to come by when presented with a new challenge.

Still, next time I find myself thinking “nope, can’t do that,” I’ll just take a deep breath. I’ll just take a deep breath, and do it.

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Adjustments

Having gone to boarding school and then spending a gap year in Europe, I knew being homesick would be the least of my worries when I got to college.  It’d be my fifth year in dorms, fifth year of dining hall food, fifth year of getting letters from my grandma every week.  That was all fine.

But, I didn’t think it would be difficult for me to find my academic footing here.  One of my other motivations for going to prep school was that I would be better prepared, in theory, for college-level curriculum.  I know I was pushed harder than I would’ve been had I stayed at home, and I loved the academic experience I had in high school.

Social stuff is on a whole different level and that’s not what I’m worried about right now, sitting in Olin at 10:30pm, taking a break from meticulously analyzing my Spanish homework to see what questions I might have before we have our second exam next week.

So like I was saying, I wasn’t really ever concerned about college work.  I don’t think it really crossed my mind until probably in June of this year when I was in a history class at school (I attended an English high school, and I was taking classes all year).  The teacher brought in a woman who is in her third year “reading” history at university in Scotland.  She was funny and pleasant, but she stressed that at her university you are reading for your degree.  Work wouldn’t be doing worksheets or shorter essays and most of your time you won’t be in class because you’d be using that time to prepare, read your assigned/suggested reading, and maybe reading independently to supplement your studies.  I was among people who were the equivalent of juniors, so they are now just applying for university and although they might have been fazed by what she was saying, they didn’t have to face it in three months, like I did (although I wasn’t going to a British university where one “reads” for a degree, I still panicked).

I knew homework wouldn’t just take me three or four hours of dedicated work at night, and I knew I would have more time outside of class.  I knew I wouldn’t just be filling out worksheets for my science classes any more, and I wouldn’t just have forty pages of a novel to read for English.  I’d have forty pages of reading and learning for geology before each lesson.  I’d have essays after every lesson plus forty pages of reading on social theory for English.

But that hasn’t really sunk in fully until now.

To be honest, my first few weeks of classes I didn’t have a ton of work, wasn’t too concerned about things, and was sleeping a good amount at night.  Then I had midterms before Parents Weekend.  I struggled a bit, honestly, but I knew where I had gone wrong.  And last week was probably when I started realizing how I’d have to change my study habits to adjust to my new curriculum.

Yes, I’ve been here nearly two months.  And I have a prep school education that has prepared me well.  But adjusting still has to happen.  I didn’t give in to that until recently, and that was my error.  I wanted to carry on not spending inordinate amount of time on my Spanish homework, and not preparing as much for my geology class.

But part of my personal adjustment here has been changing some of my habits to fit my new life as a student here.  It’s not been easy, but I think it’s starting to change for the better.

 

This is where we went for my geology lab this week – just in downtown Waterville:

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Extended Research Opportunities at Colby

The semester is about halfway over and, as such, I am about halfway finished with the honors thesis that I am writing this fall. I thoroughly value extended research opportunities, and I thoroughly encourage you to engage in them while in college. My honors thesis is in English, and I am writing on two of Charles Dickens’ novels and the means by which representations of dirt and disgust in these texts register the instabilities of the class system in Victorian London. Now that I am halfway through this experience, I can honestly say that writing a thesis is unlike most other forms of writing that you will do in college. If you were to ask me at the beginning of the semester how I planned on writing this lengthy manuscript, I probably would have told you that I’d follow my usual writing process: I’d formulate a thesis and then go about fitting the text and the thesis to one another until I have a solid argument.

But writing a thesis is about discovery more than it is about writing an argument. I don’t have a thesis that I am specifically trying to prove. Sure, I have a central topic, dirt and disgust, but beyond that, I’m writing to discover what my thoughts are on how each character balances physical and emotional dirt with his or her class position. Sometimes it takes me six pages to figure out what my main point is on a specific character, and then I adjust my writing on the basis of that discovery. Writing such a lengthy document really does require a different mindset, and it requires that you alter your writing process. But thus far, my thesis has been one of the most fulfilling projects that I’ve worked on at Colby during my college career. I’m pretty well read in Dickens now, and I’m starting to see nuanced connections between his novels. I’m also taking a Victorian Literature class, so everything is just meshing together perfectly.

If writing a thesis is not your thing, or if you want to do extended research as an underclassman rather than an upperclassman, I encourage you to consider conducting research for and presenting at the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium. I presented two papers that I’ve written for two different English classes at the symposium last spring. It motivated me to perfect my writing beyond what was required in the classroom, and it also necessitated that I develop my public speaking skills, which I liked because the classes that I’m taking for my majors don’t require that I give that many presentations, so outside opportunities to develop the same skills are definitely valuable. I ended up speaking about my papers as well as reading parts of both of them at the Symposium. Others made PowerPoint presentations on studies that they had conducted, or posters about research that they have performed. I participated in the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium last year, but I know that one also occurs in August for students who decide to work with professors as research assistants over the summer. I hear that this experience even concludes with a white water rafting trip!

Another way to perform extended research at Colby is to work as a research assistant for a professor over the course of the semester. Right now I am working as a sociology research assistant, and I am performing qualitative research on the relationship between Waterville High School students’ social class positions and their college paths and expectations. I’ve found that this has been a great way to develop my interviewing and participant-observations skills, as well as get involved in and learn about the local community.

My point is that there are many different ways to get involved in extended research at Colby. I cherish the extended research projects that I have completed, and I look forward to pursuing more opportunities for these kinds of projects while an undergraduat

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Small Town Girl in a Big City

In a couple months, I’m heading off to a city with a population eight times the population of the entire state of Maine and about 2,500 times the population of my home town.  Needless to say, it’s going to be a huge adjustment, but one I am so excited to make.  I’ve wanted to go to London since I was in middle school, and Colby is giving me the opportunity to finally pursue this dream.

When sophomore year of college rolled around, everyone started talking about studying abroad. There was even a huge meeting held for every sophomore who thought they might be interested. There were SO many programs to choose from–in locations all around the world–but I had already made up my mind: London.  The next decision was which school to attend.  There are numerous colleges and universities in London, but I finally settled on Kings College, which has a wonderful English program.  Since I’m going to England specifically to pursue my interest in British Literature, this was the deciding factor!

I’ve starting counting down the days until I hop over the pond (I leave on New Year’s Eve!).  I’m so excited, but also incredibly nervous.  Chatting with my friends who are abroad this semester has really helped though (I have friends in Chile, Switzerland, and Paris, just to name a few possible study abroad locations).  Looking at their pictures and seeing what a fantastic time they are having gets me pumped for my own amazing adventures to come.

If you have any interest in studying abroad, I encourage you to check out Colby’s Off Campus Study website or e-mail me…  I haven’t been abroad yet so I won’t be too much help, but I can offer advice on the application process and such!

Wish me luck in my adventures!

Until next time,

Morgan

 

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So my posters are up


You’d join my club, right?

Not exactly a graphic designer, but I’m trying to get into the ad copy world and this is all I have to work with right now. They’re funny, right? Tried to hit some heartstrings too but really I just needed to move this club business along.

The first meeting is on Wednesday night, so my co-president and I need to think up a script of things we want to go over. We’re also planning our first observation night to be next Tuesday. THIS IS HAPPENING GUYS aren’t you so excited?

I’m going to New York later this week to see a The Weeknd who’s playing one of 3 sold out shows. It’s so hard to get down there though, I’m going to have to take a bus to Portland and then fly to New York. Then on Saturday, when I have to come back up, it’s going to be roughly 10 hours on a bus. Yikes.

Halloween is coming up, so I hope ya’ll have your costumes ready. I think I’m going to be part of the Human Centipede – pics forthcoming. Also, if you check Her Campus Colby, I was totally campus celebrity last week. Famous ya’ll

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BICENTENNIAL BALL

So as you guys might not know, this year marks the anniversary of Colby’s 200th year. While the college has a TON of really really cool activities planned for this entire year, they were kicked off last night with the bicentennial ball! I know I always gush how much the Colby administration cares about its students and how much ridiculous effort they put into making sure we have an awesome time here, but last night was definitely the epitome of this. I was completely blown away. To start off with, the place was actually the most spectacular thing ever. I don’t know how long it took to organize everything, but it must have taken a huge amount of time and money on Colby’s end of things. There were expensive classy white couches, flowers, tons of food (white and dark chocolate covered strawberries? Uhh yes) and a ton of different things by the caterers. I could go on and on but I think you’ll see in the pictures! And remember it was a thousand times more magical and sweet when you were actually there.

In terms of who was there, there was a ton of older folks – Colby Trustees, professors, the administration, and alumni – and it was really cool to see everyone together. It wasn’t like a normal Colby dance at all (while they’re a ton of fun, they also get gross once in a while) and there was a mix of people sitting around on the couches dressed up in a very classy manner, people pigging out on chocolate covered heaven/strawberries (I wasn’t one of these people don’t worry) and people getting very enthused on the dance floor. The music was actually the best thing ever – old music from the live band (who were AMAZING) and it created just the best atmosphere ever. A lot of classic rock and older country. And each of them could sing wicked well. They also played modern pop songs to fill in the gaps when they weren’t playing. Call Me Maybe had to make an appearance of course. And believe me it was pretty enjoyable seeing all the adults jamming out to it.

Overall, I strongly, strongly recommend that Colby do something like this again. It was my most memorable experience at Colby and I’m gonna remember the night for ages to come. If you guys went to prom, it was like that except a lot more chill and wayyy classier. I have to give major props to whoever put this together, and I’m thinking of writing a discourse post on how great it was. It clearly was a crap ton of money and energy and Colby’s part and it makes me feel so good to go to a school that does this sort of thing – there was literally no point other than for everyone to have an amazingly good time. It also felt really good just to see everyone in very formal clothes and looking their best – I’m so excited for other bicentennial events in the future! More than anything, the event just reminded me how Colby is the best school ever and how awesome it is. If I’m still alive for our tri-cententennial I am so going to tear up the dance floor. In my walker. Maybe have a couple more of those chocolate covered strawberries while I’m at it.

-Nick

Awesome ceiling

Ball things

Warm melted chocolate. So good. Strawberries on left

Rest of the pictures are after the ball

So classy. We may or may not have stolen a bunch of decorations

It’s like a really really classy club. But it’s the gym

Why doesn’t this just stay at Colby? We could study here

Couple of straggling Colby kids

Band on their last song. They were so fricken good

Artsy light thing on the floor. I thought I got the whole thing but think my computer screwed it up

 

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Political Satire Film Competition

Coming to Colby next weekend for the college’s Experience Colby weekend?

If so, you are in luck. As some of you may have heard, the Mellon Foundation approved Colby’s request for funding to start a Center for the Arts and the Humanities at the college. The center launched this year, and I am proud to be involved in part of its programming as a member of Colby’s Humanities Student Advisory Board.

One of the events that we are sponsoring this year, consistent with our annual humanities theme, “Comedy, Seriously,” is a 24-hour political satire film competition. This event relates to our bigger event this year, a lecture by Baratunde Thurston on November 1. Thurston is perhaps best known for his involvement with The Onion, but he is also a stand-up comedian and an author. With that being said, for next week’s film competition, each group of contestants will have one day to create a short film satirizing some aspect of the 2012 presidential election. We have pre-selected some dialogue for each group to make use of when crafting their films; will ask each group to include certain lines into their pieces.

We are currently working on putting up a website, where students, faculty and yes, prospective students, too, can vote on the best film. And here’s the exciting part: the completed films will all be shown during Experience Colby weekend. The screening will be held on Sunday, October 28th at 7pm in Given Auditorium, so if you happen to be visiting Colby and are still around on Sunday night, stop by this screening if you can!

~Kristen

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Art as a social driver

It’s hard to go through college without changing. In fact, unless you’re numb or you purposely avoid all contact with others, it’s nearly impossible to not change at least a little. At Colby we’re constantly bombarded by new information, constantly asked to form opinions, constantly having our views challenged. We’re taught how to question both ourselves and our surroundings; we learn what truly matters to us as individuals.

Now that Colby’s changed us, it’s our time to change Colby. I’m full of ideas of how this place could be better, and my ideas are just a fraction of those that are out there. But, the real question is how. How do we change Colby? More basically, how does one change anything?

Last night I attended a talk by Favianna Rodriguez about the power of art in creating social change. Rodriguez, a California based political artist, shaped her talk around the power art has to shape culture and how in turn culture influences public opinion. Once public sentiment is behind an idea or movement, real political change can take place.

Favianna uses her art to frame an issue in her own terms. By “building the narrative” of a problem, she changes how people understand and react to that problem. With a creative (or at times shocking) spin on a common issue, she suddenly opens up the possibility of a new interpretation of that issue. Favianna believes that the repetition of a powerful image can become ingrained into the public mind, become part of culture and eventually lead to political change.

Most of the work Favianna shared with us were her posters, all of which I found to be absolutely beautiful. Here’s a link to Favianna’s website if you want to see for yourself: http://www.favianna.com/index.php

The bottom-up approach to change Favianna addressed was refreshing and gave me hope. Many times when I think about trying to create change, even just at Colby, the obstacles coming from the administration seem impassible. But maybe I’ve been going about it in the wrong way. With what I’ve learned from Favianna’s talk, I’m now thinking that a more creative angle may be what’s needed to shake things up here at Colby.

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