Category Archives: Student Life

Snowed In — Part 1: the adventures

Ah, snow.

When I am old and wrinkly, I will fondly remember Colby as the snow covered wonderland where students built snowman in JanPlan and little cardboard red hearts on Valentine. I will remember the warmth of hot chocolate on the Street, and tiny snowflakes that covered the roofs like powdered sugar on ginger bread houses. For now, I will struggle through the knee deep sludge to class while avoiding the icy slopes of death.

Colby is covered in snow around five months of the year. When spring rolls around, there will still be stubborn mounds of snow that has been seasoned to rock-hard ice bricks, refusing to melt away, as if judging your willingness to shed the large puffy coats and wearing sleeveless.

With snow comes lots of fun activities. I have heard tales of cross-country skiing (I have no clue what that is), sledding (it counts when I did it with lunch trays, right?), snow shoeing (that just sounds like what I do everyday to school, but made fancy), and (normal? regular?) skiing. Fun fact: I did skied once and it was amusing when you get the gist of it; when I was learning and skiing down the slope with the speed of a turtle fearing for a icy death, it was amusing to others. Especially the kids.

Being less of an outdoorsy person, I enjoy quieter, less deadly activities. I love going to Boston on the weekends to have hotpot in Chinatown with my friends; there is something soothing seeing beef and veggies and tofu and seafood bubbling in a delicious stew. Since it turns dark at around 5:00pm during the cold months, I usually could not fight the urge to curl up on my comfy chair (which I got in the Rescue Sale for $8) and read while nursing a hot cup of tea. Hot beverages are the God’s reward for freezing cold, so I indulge in hot chai, apple cider, coffee, tea, matcha latte, and everything else.

One of my favorite things to do is to take a hot mug of tea and walk to the bench in front of the Alumni Center in the middle of the night. Staring at the blue light of Miller reminds me of the beauty of Mayflower Hill, and memories over four years in Colby.

The second semester is always busy for me; I tend to overestimate my ability, or I like to think that  I am inherently a daredevil who loves a challenge. There are many sleepless nights, so perhaps my favorite winter moments are sitting in front of Runnals after a long night and watching the sky turns from Indian ink blue, to a rich royal purple, a fiery red, tangerine, and finally a crisp blue of a winter morning. The bird chimes and another Colby morning has broken, bringing another day of adventures.

 

 

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The Other Side

Mathematically speaking, there are three ways to get to the other side of the spa. Practically speaking, there are two ways. We can rule out the path that curls underneath the spa from Eustace that passes closest to Diamond. Someone who walks that way is clearly out of their minds. The route is longer and the only reason you would take it is to get to Olin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but when you consider all the places you could go, the long walk underneath seems shortsighted.

That brings us to paths 1 and 2. One goes above the spa on the Heights side and the other through the spa. Logistically speaking there is no clear winner. If you’re going to Dana from Miller or Hillside or Bobs then above Heights makes sense. If you’re going further south to Foss it make sense to go through. If traveling the reverse direction, it makes sense to go to Miller above the spa or through it. For Lovejoy or a lower building in the quad like Eustace if you’re getting a package, going through the spa makes more sense.

But eschewing logistics, let’s take a look at the soft qualities. We’ve been talking like quants, time to go a bit more qualitative. Call these personal opinions with experiential evidence. These qualities probably number more, but I want to delve into two specifically. First, the weather is a strong factor and next is your current level of sociability.

Depending on the whether strongly determines above or through. If it’s sunny, I would almost always recommend going above the spa. You need that vitamin D. The only thing ruling this out of course is temperature. There are some days that are literally ‘wicked’ cold-and the indoor time factor walking through the spa provides is essential to survival. Obviously rain makes the decision to go through a clear go ahead. Snow is tricky though. I can’t say I have a full decision on snow because while it’s usually cold, walking in a winter wonderland is wonderful.

Sociability levels are a lot more clear cut than weather. Basically, if you want to be see people, go through the spa. Perhaps you’ll get sucked into a conversation with 1-47 people. If you’re looking for that it’s an easy choice. If you want to be alone, you could probably go through the spa, but it’s a high risk protocol. I recommend going above instead. Occasionally, you pass someone, but it’s a great way to avoid the usual foot traffic. Just depends how you’re feeling.

Regardless, the crowd makes its way to the other side. Which way will you choose?

About Jeb Waters

Hey, I am a junior originally from Connecticut, now living in Maine, although I live off campus currently. I am a Philosophy major with a minor in Administrative Science. I also play lacrosse at Colby and am a member of Mayflower Hill Capital. In my free time, I run a music blog, get down to the gym to play squash or go on adventures around Maine.
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A House Divided

Often, these blog posts rant and rave about the various pluses, pros and benefits to all the aspects of my Colby life. But today, we need to take a step back and recognize a vital flaw in the system.

 

A flaw? An obtrusive crack? But where? Well. It’s right in front of you in the most central location of Colby College: Miller Library. A not so long time ago, during the spring 2013 exam season, a restructuring of sorts began. Drills began to roar and books were tossed about like notebooks after a final exam. The noise was about 7 decibles above white noise. This made studying without ear plugs and a pair of Dre Beats or Bose sound cancelling headphones playing classical music on top close to impossible. Plus, it was sunny outside. But I digress.

 

The problem was not so much that a renovation was in process, but that the acolytes of the basement library were to finish their spring exams and find themselves homeless the next time they wandered into Miller bleary eyed, none too worse for wear and tear. Homeless? But don’t the disciples of the underground section of Miller have homes in the Apartments, Hillside, AMS, off-campus? Yes. But what about their home away from home? Their second home per se. Destroyed. Annihilated.

 

This fall when they and I, in other words we, entered Miller library we were aghast. Not only had the first floor and second floor and third floor (all topics for three more blogs) been changed beyond recognition, but our cubicles and tables amongst the stacks of Hemingway and Faulkner and Government documents had been replaced by the Great Miller Basement wall. The message was clear: “Thou shalt not pass.”

 

I’m not sure if the message meant my classes or into the basement, but one by one we discovered we were now to be sent on a journey to find a new place to study. RIP.

About Jeb Waters

Hey, I am a junior originally from Connecticut, now living in Maine, although I live off campus currently. I am a Philosophy major with a minor in Administrative Science. I also play lacrosse at Colby and am a member of Mayflower Hill Capital. In my free time, I run a music blog, get down to the gym to play squash or go on adventures around Maine.
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Beginning of the End (and Other Optimistic Thoughts)

Welcome to the beginning of the end. Yes, after four years at Colby I have reached my final semester; a semester filled with longing and uncertainty for the future, a semester made of equal parts fear and hope. It is definitely an amazing thought that around three months from now, I could be traveling with a fellowship and invest in a project that I love, or I could be working in a lab, or studying public health and working with the PeaceCorps, or doing exciting NGO projects. It is also a scary thought that three months from now, I could no longer turn to my professors for help, or have health insurance, or be very certain that I have grocery money. The price of freedom in a wide, wide world is the uncertainty of it all.

Well, come what may; many do not have the advantage of a great education and chances that are presented to Colby students, and managed to do great things. I was taught to reach for the skies as children, and I was lucky enough to be handed a fairly long ladder as a head start.

I wonder what advice I could give to freshman me (that is what people do when they reminisce right? Writing to past selves and hope for a wormhole?). I am a fairly average student (at least that’s what my teachers used to tell me), but I do not think I would ask past me to take less classes to attempt for better grades; I enjoyed every hard class, even the math and science ones that are obviously tough for me. I would tell me that friendships would be forged, and there is no need to feel lonely when your roommate moved in with a fridge and TV, helped by parents; I would find my place and my family right here, even at an unlikely place like Waterville. I would tell myself not to fear that first snowstorm, cause you would be in Quebec making snow angels at the side of the street not giving a damn to the pedestrians. I would tell myself that people would find me valuable, that I would always run into new and exciting things even through I have been fairly average all my life. I would tell myself that being “fairly average” means that I just need to work more passionately; it does not mean that I could not dream to save the world in my unique ways; there are no small dreams, only pursued ones, and sometimes the journey is all that mattered.

Well, it is almost 4am in the morning and I could not sleep, so here are some grand thoughts (that I need to review in the morning) about the beginning of the end. Shhhh…. everything is going to be alright.

 

 

 

 

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The finals are here. Be scared, be very scared.

Alas, tis the season of finals are upon us again. After three years, I have perfected my routine for optimal cramming. What are some of the tips to survive this intense period?

  1. Wake up early. The campus is full of people trying to secure a spot in the library or an empty room to hit the books, and the earlier you drag yourself out of bed, the higher the chance that you don’t need to share a table with three other people in the noisy part of Miller. The campus is a battlefield, and you want a snipper spot.
  2. Take short, power naps. Let’s be realistic here, most of us are not going to sleep a lot during this week. It’s perfectly okay, it is part of being in college. No judgement. So, I take short twenty minutes naps every few hours to recharge. Suit yourself, some people like to go for a run, some people eat hot pockets, some people make snow angels, some people gosip. Just relax once in a while.
  3. Healthy snacks. I eat food during the finals week. Somehow I am Takeru Kobayahi, inhaling everything in sight like a vacuum cleaner. If you see me you will wonder where all the food went in my five feet frame. I don’t even eat because of flavor but to focus on the wriggly lines in books. In order to prevent future health problem, I buy healthier snacks like dried fruits, carrots and hummus, and greek yogurt.

Finals are scary, I am not going to sugar coat it. However if you set up daily plans and take breaks, you will be just fine. Christmas is right around the corner!

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On the article “5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder”

This is such a vile article that I feel violated by sharing it on this blog, but not talking about something is not helping in any way; that is the whole reason Colby has groups like Campus Conversations on Race. So here it is:

http://www.returnofkings.com/21313/5-reasons-to-date-a-girl-with-an-eating-disorder

The publisher wrote a response to this article and it is equally insulting:

http://www.returnofkings.com/21637/publisher-response-to-the-eating-disorders-article

The publisher try to argue that it is an article to tell people not to “overlook” dating those with eating disorder, but he completely missed the point; the most horrible idea about this article is how the writer talks about exploiting the insecurities and conditions of those with eating disorders. Pay close attention to how the article is all about the male receiving benefits base on someone’s vulnerabilities.

Just look at this sentence:
“This level of vulnerability often brings out the best in men, whose protector instinct can’t help but get activated.”

I am sorry but women are more than arm candy to show what a manly man you are. In fact, the idea that you need a women to show how masculine you are shows just how you need to work on that self confidence.

Also, I am pretty sure that even though I am not that strong, I can kick your gonads in one swift swing and make you hurt like having your first period. However, I won’t do that because I am not that kind of person and I understand that violence and bullying, whether it is verbal or physical, does not solve anything but causes all kinds of tragedies and sadness.

If dating is all about saving money and leeching on free stuff, you should probably look into going back to your parents’ basement. Grow up. Girls are not ATMs. Little gifts are tokens of appreciation, and I really don’t think that if you love someone, it would be because of the materialistic aspect.

First of all, don’t write about taking advantage of someone with a serious disorder. And if you are really trying to write a satirical article about the issue, remember what the focus should be, talk about how they might just need someone to help them work with the problem, how they could be so interesting and intelligent and the disorder does not define them. Don’t create caricatures of both the people in the relationship.

Yes, all people needs love and care and attention, but what you are advocating is like telling people to take candy from a lonely child with the promise of playing with him/her. Love comes in all forms and shapes, but should not comes in any form of price tag.

I am going to the gym to get ripped. Just so you know, Tuthmosis, it has nothing to do with you and your lover called the mirror.

#&#*  @^^  %@&  $#@^#!*$

That was me swearing, but I think the TARDIS swear filter is working. This is a very subtle hint of why you should be very excited about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

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Bigelow: The Secret Confessions of a Psychology Major

Note: I had been sitting on this for a while now, but since we had an information session last night, this seems like a good time to post; note that I wrote these with the best of intentions, and the Bigelow program had been fun.

Dear Bigelow,

Last time I sang you praises. I talked about your charm, your magical smile, your gorgeous body; but there are times when I just feel like I am no good. I am a psychology major, yes, a lot of people would say that we are not a match made in heaven, but I always thought you love me just the way I am. But sometimes you just move so fast, and I felt like I was just dragging along. We had so much good times, and we had our lows, but fact is, I loved what we had. If someone give me a chance, I would do it all over again.

Here’s a list of things that we need to discuss.

  • The materials are not easy; you probably should brush up on your chemistry and biology in the summer before you start the semester. I mean it. Also, just insist on asking the scientists questions until everything is absolutely crystal clear. So clear that when a candle shines through your understanding, a blinding white light will bring hope to a post-apocalyptic world. Still, be prepared.
  • Research on the sea is no cruise. There are no cocktails or polo shirts with cardigans. There are a lot of fun memories, and it is amazing when everyone would work together like a well-oiled machine. But there are also huge waves hitting you while you try to cling on to the bongo nets, there are rumblings in your stomach while you try to concentrate on changing filters. Also, you cannot jump off the boat and take a swim; the water is freezing and it is just not allowed. Bummer. I really wanted to swim with seals!
  • You will likely not get a huge portion of your work back until the very end. The very end meaning when your scores appears on the Colby website. Scientists are busy people, so it is understandable that they may not have the free time to look at your lab report. This means that you may not have a clear idea about how the quality of your work, and it may be hard to improve when you are not sure. The professors are really nice and encouraging and would tell you that you are doing fine. My advice is to keep on asking and going over your work with them. I really think it would be awesome to have more feedback, a clear marking matrix, my course work back for future improvements. I am still waiting! :D
  • The last week are packed with deadlines. you have your presentations for the field study course, your final exams, your lab reports, and your poster for personal research. You will never lust for the free coffee as much again in your life. (Did I mention there was free coffee last time? There is free coffee. And tea. Chai latte. Hot chocolate.)
  • Always voice your concerns. It is a new program and everyone is still trying to figure out the best plan. Bigelow is ultimately one of the friendliest place I have ever been, so make use of the welcoming atmosphere to make the Colby-Bigelow program the best ever.
  • Ask about requirements! The teachers are more than happy to work on how your course of study collides with what you learn at Bigelow; sometimes they need a little push and gentle reminder though.
We will work this out, my darling. The most beautiful relationships are always flawed, and our faults makes our best qualities shine even brighter. Until we meet again.
Love,
Josephine Liang
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Expectations vs. Reality

What we expect in life is often different from reality. For example, I fully expect myself to grow into a towering 6 feet tall when I was a little kid.

In reality I achieved an astounding 5 feet. Well, if you come to think of it, I did attained 5/6 of my goal, which is not that bad. I do have some difficulties reaching most things though.

As a senior, it is pretty interesting to compare what I expected and what I actually achieved in my four years. Here are some of them:

Expectation:

I expect that I am going to get ALL As in my classes. Like, I won’t even be able to deal with an A-. I was that crazy person.

(This is adapted from this post in (the awesome) Hyperbole and a Half: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html)

Reality:

Well, I did not get all As in my classes; I have my fair share of less glamorous grades. What I can say with confidence is that I had dabbled in a wide variety of classes, and that I tried my best in all of them while juggling with my campus and off campus jobs. I leant a lot and definitely made Colby my own experience.

Expectations:

Join all the clubs! Especially during my first semester, I signed up for so many different things in the Club Expo. I ended up darting across campus, jumping from one event to the other. (I still do that sometime)

Reality:

Reality is a stone cold bitch. The truth is you just don’t have that much time in your life to do every single thing. I realize that I am human (despite suspicions that I am actually a cat: I have a looming dark side, and I love napping, warmth, and condensed milk), and I would rather be more engaged in select activities and be truly immersed, rather than being burdened by everything.

Expectation:

I will eat like a rabbit, and exercise like a hyper puppy. I will be ripped.

*excessive carrots will turn you yellowish orange

RIPPED! Werewolf ripped.

Reality:

Who am I kidding? I love food, and food loves me. There are few things in life more magical than sharing a 2am pizza with my friends, and cooking is like magic. Think about it, you are taking chucks of muscles, plants, roots, and put them through death and fire. You end up with complex and flavorful dishes that brings the world together. I mean, have you even notice how many of insideColby blog posts are about food? A LOT. Check the front page; it is like 4 out of 5.

I try to be healthier by buying spinach and adding it to most things I eat. I make salads some times.

Other times I am just lazy and eat junk food the whole day.

I also go to the gym once in a while. In warmer days, I walk to most of my destinations. If you see a tiny Chinese person walking to Shaws, it is probably me.

Expectation:

I will have a schedule that I follow to the point. To. The. Minute.

Reality:

Yeah, right. The thing is, I do keep a schedule, but there are things that you cannot plan. For example, during freshman year I had this one schedule where I planned when I will socialize, which is sort of ridiculous when you think about it; I planed to the hour when I would go and talk to my friends. Sometimes you just have to go out of that little blue schedule book and seek adventure. Live a little, enjoy the surprises.

Carpe diem.

I am happy to say that my four years in Colby are probably not what I expected, but the reality is so much funner and more awesome beyond my imagination.

 

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Dealing with stress, chilling in Colby

Gah! The past month has been quite the roller coaster ride. First of all, there are classes, then the tests and exams, then the presentations, and the applications. but fear not, I am going to tell you about some of the ways that you can fight with stress in Colby.

  1. Have a picnic by the pond. Just pack some sandwiches, take some fruits from the dinning hall , and a good book. The walk to the Johnson pond is beautiful, and you can imagine that you are one of those happy people in a Renoir painting when the sunshine filters through the leaves.
  2. Go on a road trip! Rent a Zipcar. Also, the Concord Coach runs through Colby everyday, and you can go from Colby to the world (if you have a lot of money). Or you can just go around Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. You can go to Boston for the weekend, and have a great hotpot buffet lunch in Chinatown, window shop at the Prudential, and have fro-yo/ cupcakes/ chocolates. If you haven’t notice, most of my trips involve food. Speaking of which …
  3. Cook some food! Yes! There are kitchens in most dorms where you can cook and enjoy a meal with your friends! Just decide on who is going to do the dishes later to avoid the passive aggressive moaning on the couch.
  4. Take a nap. I know when you are in the midst of everyday, sleep seems like a luxury, but YOU NEED SLEEP. Trust me I am a senior. An hour nap goes a looooong way.
  5. Hit the gym. There is wi-fi in the gym, so you can watch Louie on Netflix while attempting to run. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.
  6. Join an activity. Do something that you believe matters. For me, right now I am involved in Campus Conversations About Race, and there is nothing that makes me happier in having meaningful conversations and putting them into action.
  7. Talk to your professors. Your professors are your friend. Tell them what is bothering you, you will be surprised how much they can help. My professors had been my rock.
  8. DON’T PANIC. I mean it in this way: it is normal to panic, but don’t let it get to your head. Scream into your pillow, then know this: sometimes you just need to go through this one week. Take it day by day, and make a good schedule. Know that doing your best will be the best you can do, and asking anything else will be ridiculous. Cut yourself some slack, my friend.
Any suggestions on how to deal with stress? What is your favorite way to chill on campus?
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I didn’t choose the co-op life, the co-op life chose me

I live in the Marylow co-op, a happy little island in the ocean of, well,  other happy islands (?). This analogy is really falling apart.

Marylow is a Colby dorm that is a little removed from the buzz of the academic buildings, but still close to important places such as Dana (f00d), Foss (food), the Marylow coffee house(food and chill and performances), Runnals (performances), and Cotter Union (food and chill; occasional entertainment). In the big happy family of Marylow, there is a small wing where students like me live the to-op lifestyle.

Co-op is the option that we do not want to meal plans offered by Colby (3 meals a day in the dinning halls), and instead opt to take the 2000 cash and cook for ourselves. Of course, if you are paying tuition that is more than 2000 dollars, then the school just deduct the total tuition that you need to pay. I am in co-op mostly because I never go for the three meals in the dining halls, and it is just a lot cheaper to cook for myself. Some people do it due to dietary restrictions. As a foodie who grew up in Hong Kong, I will eat anything delicious. Once I had turtle soup, and I eat snakes every winter back at home. So, the dietary thing  is clearly not applicable to me.

I really enjoy the co-op, mostly because of the community. The kitchen can be a social hub, and you definitely know everyone who lives around you; you will be bumping into each other constantly. There are many international students living there, so it is pretty cool to know what people in different cultures eat. Food is the glue to relationships, and there is nothing more beautiful than sharing a meal with friends, or making friends by sharing meals. There is just something about making food together that bonds people; it has the same effect of going to a battle together and less death and blood and gore. I mean, the last part probably depends on what you are cooking.

Of course there are also downsides. The kitchen is not the cleanest place you will find on Earth, and much of the appliances are fairly dated (wink wink, Colby, wink wink). The students in the co-op do a very good job in cleaning up the place, but there are instances where a pot with congealed mystery goo is left sitting in the counter for weeks before someone has the courage to clean it. There is also this beautiful tradition of passing utensils and appliances from generation of Colby students to the next. Whenever you visit co-op and pick up a fork, remember that it embodies many good times of ghosts of Colby past; it puts a smile to my face.

Here are some pictures of my friends Jasmine and me cooking. We had a jolly good time.

Skillfully cutting up kale.

Jasmine taking a picture with kale.

Attempting to take a selfie with Jasmine and kale. If you haven’t noticed, we really like kale.

Steamed egg with shrimp and chousum (it’s a vegetable that Chinese eat more often than Americans), and rice.

 

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