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First Jan Plan… Check

I can’t believe the month is already over. Now that I’ve experienced my first Jan Plan, I can officially join the club of people who will tell you January is one of their favorite times on campus. Of course, I do love warm weather and summer and all of the happiness that comes along with that time of year, but Jan Plan certainly made one of the roughest parts of winter much more enjoyable. So, here are 8 reasons why Jan Plan is the best.

1. Colby is beautiful at all times of the year, but snow-dusted-Colby may be one of the prettiest sights of all.

2. Jan Plan classes are fun classes. It’s a time where you can take a class that you’re really interested in, or a class in an area that you normally wouldn’t have a chance to explore. Classes range from Volcanology to Woodworking to African Drumming to Music in the Holocaust, and many, many more. The possibilities are endless.

3. Jan Plan can be a great opportunity to travel. This year, I know people who are doing various projects and classes in Italy, France, Ghana, Indonesia, and India.

4. Jan Plan = more free time, which means time to hang out with friends! Movies, board games, Netflix, hot chocolate, and cuddling under warm blankets is a must on those cold January nights.

5. Jan Plan means winter activities! The outing club leads several trips during Jan Plan to do some winter camping, snow shoeing, skiing, and more! It’s also a great time to venture out on your own to cross-country ski, build snowmen, go sledding, and head to Sugarloaf or Sunday River to downhill ski.

6. Good food. During Jan Plan, you’ll often find yourself spending much longer in the dining halls than usual, simply because you have extra time to relax and chill with people. Long dinners are always filled with yummy food and great conversations with friends.

7. No stress! The workload of Jan Plan classes is considerably smaller than during a normal semester, so there is more time to relax.

8. Jan Plan = love. Everyone seems happy during Jan Plan, which makes everyone feel closer to one another, which makes Colby feel like a real family.

“This is the most comfortable I’ve been all day!” -Molly Plunkett, ’18

Blizzard day… first at Colby since 1998!

About Katie

I’m Katie and I’m from the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I'm a freshman, I live in Foss, and I love Colby! I am currently considering double majoring in Spanish and education. Some of my favorite things include: acting, singing, playing the piano, writing, fuzzy socks, chai lattes, lying in the grass, Broadway show tunes, Jane Austen, hedgehogs, TedTalks, baby animals, Gilmore Girls reruns, blue Freeze Pops, the ocean, and hugs. I’m so excited to continue my adventures here at Colby and share them with you all.
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What’s in a Name?

Winter storms should not have names. They get numbers, like the storm of ’93. Hurricanes get names, but alas this storm has been given a name….Juno. I enjoy the name, but I think this storm has been given much more hype than it deserves and part of that is from being named. It makes everyone think that something terrifying is about to happen…..something big! On the forecast was 2 feet of snow with up to 60 mph wind. Although the storm gave us our first snow day since 1998 (WOAH, right? Yipee!), I don’t actually think it was that bad. Sure there’s been a lot of snow, but it’s not like power lines have been exploding or anything. Anyways, my friend said that initial comment and I was thinking about it today while also watching a whole season of Friends (great way to spend a snow day).

But what is in a name? Are names really that important? How does a name define someone or something? Do names have certain connotations? Like, when you think of a Rachel does that differ than when you think of a Heather?

I’ve thought about names a lot, because my name is pretty unique and often butchered. I was always nervous for the first day of school, because I knew the teacher would pause at my name, stare at it for a few seconds completely puzzled, and then say some nonsense. People aren’t used to A-N-H being put together. So throughout my whole schooling career before Colby, I let everyone call me On (and everyone spelled it A-H-N, which is close but no dice). I became so used to it and stopped introducing myself as Anh (pronounced eye-ing said really fast) but as On. Then, when people learned that my name is Anh they freaked out and couldn’t get used to it. They said it was like I was becoming a new person. But it’s just a name, right?

Well, perhaps being given a name is like labeling someone. People definitely lump people with the same name together. It’s a natural form of categorization. If someone knew a Jack that was a bully, they will relate all future Jacks to being mean. Because of this, do you grow up fitting into your name or do you give the name meaning yourself? Does a name define you or do you define a name? Just a thought on this beautiful snowy day….

 

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am now a sophomore in AMS (sweetest dorm on campus) still ready to take on the world. Traveling from the far reaches of Massachusetts, I have really enjoyed Maine and the beautiful landscape that accompanies it. I am interested in everything from math to writing, which makes selecting a major difficult, but that's why I am here at a liberal arts college. Recently I have decided on majoring in Computer Science and Global Studies. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, and a smile.
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Applications Up, Temperatures Down

Well, it’s official. In anticipation of tomorrow’s blizzard, Colby has cancelled all classes. We’re expected to get about two feet of snow overnight–an amount of historic proportions.

With weather like this, who would ever want to come to Waterville, Maine for college?

It turns out, quite a lot.

This past year saw an unprecedented 7,591 students apply to Colby College, an almost 50% increase from the previous year. With increased applications comes increased selectivity, which is one of the key factors used to calculate US News & World Report rankings. Colby currently sits at the fifteenth best liberal arts school in the country; with its increased selectivity, its ranking could easily jump to the top ten.

While talk of rankings can easily sound elitist from the outside, it’s almost sweet when you’re a student. People want to see their college validated in the same way they long for their local sports team to win, or feel a swell of pride every time they hear a tourist compliment their country. It’s just a good feeling.

Before I transferred, I did not have this feeling. I felt almost embarrassed by my school. The supposedly affirming words spoken at convocation rung hollow in my ears, amounting essentially to, “College is valuable, we’re a college, and thus we’re valuable.” There was nothing special they could point to differentiate it from the crowd. It was just a college.

Colby is not just a college. I know that every college uses the same filler words like “excellence” and “dedication” in their promotional materials, but Colby is the real deal. I’d be glad I transferred even if Colby were to drop substantially in those rankings; the fact that it’s getting even better is just the cherry on top.

About Catherine

Hi. My name is Catherine and I'm a sophomore English major, currently enjoying my first year at Colby. I was born and raised in Berwick, Maine, an exotic little town near the New Hampshire border. I am involved in Let's Get Ready, which provides free SAT prep for local high school students, and Inklings Magazine, which is a literary journal here at Colby. Like all English majors, I enjoy reading and writing, and Virginia Woolf. A hobby more specific to myself is that every Christmas I spend far too much time making elaborate snowflakes. It is a very seasonal form of artistic expression, but it is also, unfortunately, the only one in which I have any talent. Thanks for reading.
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Shameless Plug for an Upcoming Performance

My public speaking class is coming to an end this week, and we plan to go out with a bang. All of us will be presenting either a poem or a speech that we’ve practiced ad nauseam over this Jan Plan, and then we will be ending with a life changing rendition of Albert Goldbarth’s poem, “Library,” performed as a choral poem.

Don’t like poetry? That’s okay! There’ll be delicious snacks before and after the performance, so it’ll be like going to  a restaurant with a quiet poetry slam going on in the background. The only difference is, this’ll be free.

Do like poetry? Perfect! I’m going to be reciting the very beautiful poem by Jennifer Michael Hecht called “Funny Strange.” It’s a pretty obscure poem, but check it out; it’s fantastic. I used its first line for my senior quote: “We are tender and our lives are sweet.” It gives me chills.

My fellow classmates are ridiculously talented, and best of all they’re passionate about public speaking. The professor often remarks that they have a career in politics ahead of them. (In this context, it’s a compliment.) I can all but guarantee that we’ll be seeing at least one of them in our Congress in the next few years, so why wouldn’t you want to see the burgeoning beginnings of a new star?

I hope I’ve peaked your interest. Come down this Thursday (January 29th) at 2:30 to the Robinson Room and check us out! Great performances, great food, great atmosphere–what’s not to like?

About Catherine

Hi. My name is Catherine and I'm a sophomore English major, currently enjoying my first year at Colby. I was born and raised in Berwick, Maine, an exotic little town near the New Hampshire border. I am involved in Let's Get Ready, which provides free SAT prep for local high school students, and Inklings Magazine, which is a literary journal here at Colby. Like all English majors, I enjoy reading and writing, and Virginia Woolf. A hobby more specific to myself is that every Christmas I spend far too much time making elaborate snowflakes. It is a very seasonal form of artistic expression, but it is also, unfortunately, the only one in which I have any talent. Thanks for reading.
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Serendipity

Every once in a while, nature brings us special, indescribable moments.

I was walking out to my car yesterday morning in the Marylow Parking lot at 6:30 a.m. because I was going to be driving to Sunday River to ski with two friends, and we were getting an early start. I was very tired and initially didn’t want to wake up when my alarm started its perpetual beeping, but the second I got outside and saw the sky, I completely forgot that I was tired or unhappy. The sunrise is really special, because not many people experience it very often. Most of the world is asleep, or if they are awake, they are too busy and preoccupied to take a moment to look up at the sky.

I stood there, staring up at the sunrise, not bothered by the fact that it was 5 degrees out, and I wished that everyone could be seeing what I was seeing. Still, sometimes beautiful things are meant to be experienced and appreciated alone.

I often feel as if Colby is this little sanctuary of beauty and life where everything you need and everyone you are supposed to spend time with are so close, all around you. Watching the sunrise, it felt magical, like the sky was surrounding Colby with colors and encasing it with magic.

Serendipity: (noun), finding something good without looking for it.

At the start of my senior year of high school, I really didn’t know where I was going to end up for college. In fact, at that point I knew very little about Colby and had no intentions of applying. However, somehow, for whatever reason, something led me to apply to Colby, even when I still knew very little about the school. When I finally visited for the first time on accepted students day, it felt like I had stumbled upon a very magical place.

A lot of happy things in our lives can be attributed to serendipity. It was serendipitous that they had pomegranate seeds (my love, my obsession) in the salad bar in Dana last night. It was serendipitous that I was awake yesterday to find this sunrise. It was serendipitous that I found Colby.

About Katie

I’m Katie and I’m from the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I'm a freshman, I live in Foss, and I love Colby! I am currently considering double majoring in Spanish and education. Some of my favorite things include: acting, singing, playing the piano, writing, fuzzy socks, chai lattes, lying in the grass, Broadway show tunes, Jane Austen, hedgehogs, TedTalks, baby animals, Gilmore Girls reruns, blue Freeze Pops, the ocean, and hugs. I’m so excited to continue my adventures here at Colby and share them with you all.
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Study Abroad

Sophomore year there are two major (haha….you’ll understand in a bit) things that college students have to worry about…..deciding on a major (get it now?) and whether or not they want to study abroad. So far I have accomplished one of them, even if it took my a really long time and much stress, picking a major. I am a Global Studies major, because I am interested in learning about and immersing myself in all of the different cultures around the world.  The topics discussed in the major, I think, are very relevant and thought provoking. Foreign affairs, global health, human rights, and economic policy are issues that must be discussed among nations. In addition, I am a Computer Science major, because I really enjoy thinking creatively in order to create a program that can complete a task, solve a problem, or create entertainment. However, that is only part one of sophomore year.

Part two is Studying Abroad! Ever since my older sister studied in France, I have been awaiting for this moment. I have never been abroad further than Canada, but there is so much out there that I want to learn, see, explore! Studying abroad is such a good experience in terms of learning and growing. Sometimes people are stuck in their own little world and cannot think outside of that box, but studying abroad allows you to see how other people live and what else is out there. It allows you to see how things can be different and how that works. This is something that I have been looking forward to before I even thought about which college I wanted to attend. This is something that I need to do.

So now that I know that I definitely want to go abroad, the next step is deciding on a location and then a program, oh and convincing the parents at some point. To solve the first problems, you need to think about what you want to get out of your experience. Do you want to go somewhere to enhance your language skills? Are you looking for programs specifically for your major? What type of classes do you hope to take abroad? Are you going to one or many places? A year or a semester? What do you hope to accomplish?

I am pretty sure that I am going to Spain. I want to become fluent in Spanish, which I have been taking for over 6 years now but are still skeptical with my skills. Because of this, I want to be able to take classes fully in Spanish but potentially also in English to reduce my stress levels abroad while still immersing myself in the Spanish language and life. I’m not a huge city person so a smaller location than Madrid or Barcelona is probably better. Thus I have landed on the PRESHCO program in Cordoba. I am really excited about this opportunity and every person that I know that has gone abroad enthusiastically recommends it! So here I go…..a España……right after I talk to my parents about it.

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am now a sophomore in AMS (sweetest dorm on campus) still ready to take on the world. Traveling from the far reaches of Massachusetts, I have really enjoyed Maine and the beautiful landscape that accompanies it. I am interested in everything from math to writing, which makes selecting a major difficult, but that's why I am here at a liberal arts college. Recently I have decided on majoring in Computer Science and Global Studies. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, and a smile.
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Rose, Bud, Thorn

Last semester, I led a girls coalition group in an elementary school in Sydney, ME, for the organization Hardy Girls, Healthy Women, and something we often did to start our meetings with the girls was “Rose, Bud, Thorn”, where we would go around the circle and say the best thing from our week (rose), the worst thing (thorn) and something we are looking forward to in the future (bud). Soooo, I thought I’d do my very own version of Rose, Bud, Thorn, in the form of a post! Here goes nothin’.

Rose(s): 

Okay, let’s see. My week has had lots of rose-worthy times, so I’ll just mention a few. First, my family came to visit this past weekend, which was really fun. On Saturday night, we went to Mainely Brews, a local restaurant in Waterville that serves pub food, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good place to eat in Waterville. Amongst my 3 siblings, my parents, and I, we managed to try a lot of items on the menu; some of our favorites were the Mozerella Balls, Chili, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Parm, and various pasta dishes. Then we skied all day Sunday, and although it rained, we had a great time.

Another “rose” was going to see the movie, The Imitation Game, on Tuesday night at the Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville for $1 movie night. Every once in awhile, the Railroad offers discounted $1 movie tickets to Colby students so that it’s more affordable and brings students out into the community. The theater was packed with Colby students, and everyone seemed to love the film. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this post and go see it!! I’ll spare you from a full-fledged movie review, but seriously. Benedict Cumberbatch is an incredible actor, and it’s great.

Two last roses:

We have had some really eye-opening and inspiring discussions in my Jan Plan class, Multicultural Literacy, and I feel like my whole way of thinking and viewing the world has changed in just a few short weeks of taking this class.

There was feta cheese in Foss. It was a happy, happy night.

Thorn: 

Okay, this is embarrassing and emphasizes my weirdness, but I’ll tell you anyway. I was going to a career workshop on Monday afternoon, and before I left, I was eating honey out of a jar (one of my strange obsessions) and somehow I choked on the honey (don’t ask me how this happened) and couldn’t stop coughing. So then I made tea to make myself stop coughing, and I showed up to the workshop late. But, it turned out that I went to the wrong classroom where a different workshop was going on. So, I embarrassingly left that workshop after a few minutes (with everyone staring at me) and showed up to the right classroom (even later, with everyone staring at me). And then I sat down and spilled tea everywhere. Moral of the story: don’t eat honey out of a jar. Another moral: laugh at your embarrassing moments and blog about them, like me! :)

Bud:

I am looking forward to one more wonderful and stimulating week of Jan Plan, and then relaxing at home for a few days before starting Spring semester!

As I was leaving the gym yesterday, there was a beautiful sunset across the football field.

Peace and love. <3

 

 

 

About Katie

I’m Katie and I’m from the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I'm a freshman, I live in Foss, and I love Colby! I am currently considering double majoring in Spanish and education. Some of my favorite things include: acting, singing, playing the piano, writing, fuzzy socks, chai lattes, lying in the grass, Broadway show tunes, Jane Austen, hedgehogs, TedTalks, baby animals, Gilmore Girls reruns, blue Freeze Pops, the ocean, and hugs. I’m so excited to continue my adventures here at Colby and share them with you all.
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So….how about that weather?

As always, the weather is unpredictable. Last winter on Mayflower Hill, there was endless snow, bellowing wind gusts, and snow piles that were taller than me! Everyone predicted that this winter would be the same, if not worse. However, after a mild summer we have been having a beautiful (in my opinion) mild winter. There has been minimal snow, much sun, and random days where it feels like spring is coming. It’s been so nice and weird! I know it means bad things in terms of global warming and the overall strange weather storms across the globe, but I have enjoyed it. If one of these 40 degree weather days indicated the start of spring in mid January, well that would make me so happy! But alas this does not and cannot happen.

That was Anh Uong providing your Colby Forecast for the week! Thank you ladies and gentlemen and have a wonderful day.

Have you guys ever noticed how often people talk about the weather? I know it’s something that gets brought up when topics runs dry, but here at Colby I feel like it is a staple of EVERY conversation. The weather is such an integral part of our lives and it gets so cold that everyone must talk about it. Most of the conversations I have start with some irritable or appreciating comment on the weather. I’m not sure why everyone is obsessed with it….but I can say one thing. From being up here in Maine (which you wouldn’t think is that different from Massachusetts, but its like a 10 degree difference!), you adapt to the colder temperatures. This morning it was 18 degrees outside, but sunny with little wind so it felt really nice. Temperatures in the 20s are WARM to us! Crazy, but that’s what we do when put into a bad situation…..adapt.

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am now a sophomore in AMS (sweetest dorm on campus) still ready to take on the world. Traveling from the far reaches of Massachusetts, I have really enjoyed Maine and the beautiful landscape that accompanies it. I am interested in everything from math to writing, which makes selecting a major difficult, but that's why I am here at a liberal arts college. Recently I have decided on majoring in Computer Science and Global Studies. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, and a smile.
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Weathering Storms

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. -John Ruskin

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. -James M. Barrie

After a long stretch of cold and icy days, today we were rewarded with a veritable heatwave: 44 degrees and sunny. No longer need we waddle like penguins around campus, shuffling our feet over the slick ice where our sidewalks used to lay. Slipping was, of course, inevitable, and you had to get really good really fast at playing off your fall as purposeful, as if you were just so tired you simply had to sit down at that moment. You might check around to confirm that no one was watching, but of course, even if you don’t see them, you know that someone probably saw.

It’s a fun kind obstacle, ice, and it’s one that brings the community closer together. Weather is often derided as a conversation topic, but here it can easily bring out people’s best stories. Strangers walking next to you suddenly become your partners in a quest to traverse the pavement with minimal bruising. The other night I had a sustained conversation with a boy that started with us verbally abusing the puddles we had stepped in, wrongly assuming they were frozen solid.

Though the cold has its charms, the nice weather was very much appreciated. The campus smelled so nice, like springtime. Everyone looked happier–Vitamin D’s a powerful thing. Growing up in Maine, I always thought I’d move somewhere warmer, somewhere like California where the weather stays warm and temperate the whole year round. But in such a place, you’re deprived of the variety the seasons bring, the almost spiritual way the weather seems to reflect your mood.

Maine does have extreme weather, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Catherine

Hi. My name is Catherine and I'm a sophomore English major, currently enjoying my first year at Colby. I was born and raised in Berwick, Maine, an exotic little town near the New Hampshire border. I am involved in Let's Get Ready, which provides free SAT prep for local high school students, and Inklings Magazine, which is a literary journal here at Colby. Like all English majors, I enjoy reading and writing, and Virginia Woolf. A hobby more specific to myself is that every Christmas I spend far too much time making elaborate snowflakes. It is a very seasonal form of artistic expression, but it is also, unfortunately, the only one in which I have any talent. Thanks for reading.
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What’s on the Menu?

Since Janplan is usually pretty chill, every weekend my boyfriend has been coming up to visit. It’s been very wonderful and makes the whole long distance thing seem nonexistent. However, the problem is…..Colby only provides you with 5 guest swipes per semester….which runs out pretty fast if you want to have 2 meals a day for more than a weekend. This has led me to explore the assortment of restaurants offered in Waterville. From Thai to sushi to burgers to fast food, we’ve tried them all! So if you are looking for a bite to eat beyond the boring old cafeteria food (which I actually think is very good and I don’t really get tired of), look no further.

Mirakuya *****
Amazing food for a pretty good price! I especially enjoy the sushi and hibachi, really top notch with a great presentation. The hibachi chef was hilarious and put on a good show, which included throwing around knives, eggs, and shrimp tails. Go during lunch, they have really good deals on lunch boxes and sushi.

Thai Bistro ***
Good food made fast and cheap. I really enjoy their pad thai but they have a good selection as well.

Pad Thai 2 ****
Better food than Thai Bistro but it takes longer to make because they prepare it right away and have a pretty small kitchen. Their selection isn’t as big but the food is really spectacular.

Mainely Brew *****
Straight up American Food and Beer – delicious food with a wide selection that includes many vegetarian options.

Buen Apetito ****
Spectacular Mexican food – you get salsa and chips to start and then move on to a great piping hot meal.

Cancun **
Okay Mexican food, not as good as Buen Apetito for sure but the lines are shorter (plus!).

Fast Food **
Fun fact! Someone told me that Waterville has the highest fast food ratio per person per square mile. Which translates to us having the most fast food restaurants condensed in an area with the not a huge amount of people. Along one small stretch there is the whole variety from KFC to Taco Bell to McDonald’s to Pizza Hut.

 

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am now a sophomore in AMS (sweetest dorm on campus) still ready to take on the world. Traveling from the far reaches of Massachusetts, I have really enjoyed Maine and the beautiful landscape that accompanies it. I am interested in everything from math to writing, which makes selecting a major difficult, but that's why I am here at a liberal arts college. Recently I have decided on majoring in Computer Science and Global Studies. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, and a smile.
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