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Let’s Learn From Opposites

Yesterday was the first day with a temperature above freezing in 2 or 3 months. Not only that, but it was also 40 DEGREES! 40! The rise in temperature made me want to lie right down in the snow and soak it all in. Well, not literally, but I did sit outside on the Miller steps for quite a long time, talking on the phone, but also just observing life going on around me and smiling at the sunshine.

I’ve noticed that peoples’ moods tend to change with the weather. When it’s cold and windy outside, we walk around with our shoulders raised to our ears, our hands in our pockets, and our heads perpetually concentrated on our feet. We are less likely to say hi to people or smile when it’s cold – we are too focused on our destination, that is, getting to warmth. When it’s warm, we walk around with open arms, smiles on our faces, basically ready to break into a verse of The Sound of Music and twirl about gleefully. It’s actually just a biological thing – we are naturally more closed off in cold weather and our bodies are on the defense – against illness but sometimes also against other people. However, as I’ve blogged about in the past, the winter here isn’t all that bad, especially since Colby tends to make the most out of it.

Don’t believe me? Okay, let’s get real for a second. I admit that by this date in time, March 5, 2015, I am not particularly peppy about the winter weather. Nonetheless, I view winter as a sort of exciting and sometimes difficult adventure that we all embark on together. The adventure brings us closer and forces us to bond, especially when the not-so-fun-times come and we’re all stuck in it together. By the end of it, we’re rewarded for making it through with warm sunshine at last.

There is a quote that goes,

I learned a lot about falling in love when I fell out of love.

I learned a lot about being a friend when I was alone.

Likewise, we learn a lot about loving nature and the world we live in when we experience the extreme cold. Opposites teach us. We can only understand the word “up” in relation to the word “down.” The same is true for black and white, tall and short, big and small, far and near. Without experiencing sadness, happiness would never feel so magical.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?

-John Steinbeck

 

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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Too Much of a Good Thing

One of the things I love about Colby is the wide range of clubs available on campus. We have everything from the classic dance teams, acapella groups, Best Buddies, and student governments, but there are also more unique ones, such as the Colby Smash Club, Knitting Club, Meditation Group, the list goes on and on. However, this begs the question….are there too many?

Having a variety of clubs is wonderful, because it allows every student to find their own niche. No matter the interest, there is a club that can meet your needs. This is especially nice for trying out new things, developing skills, or just having fun while meeting a bunch of new people. Every club I have ever joined, even if it was just for a day, has been very warm and welcoming. It is a privilege to have anyone be able to apply to create a club and receive funding. SGA does a great job reading student’s requests and trying to ensure that each club has a distinct purpose.

However, the downside of having a lot of clubs is that people end up spreading themselves too thin. Due to just the sheer number of clubs, participation becomes low, especially for  the new, emerging clubs that get lost in the crowd. I think the most important thing about a club is their ability to foster community and enact change. Change can be simply impacting a student, the community, or the nation (dare to dream big!). However, community cannot grow around a few people meeting every once in awhile.

My solution to this is to try to merge some of the existing clubs that have similar goals, such as Napping Club (talking about the importance of sleep and healthy habits) and the Meditation Group (taking time out to think thoughtfully and destress). There are multiple groups trying to create change and perhaps ones with a similar mission, such as  environmental groups, could merge as well. I think if we combined some small groups under the same umbrella, like what we do for the Colby Volunteer Center where a bunch of volunteering opportunities are bunched together, it would help keep everyone organized. For example, this could be done for all of the publication clubs (we have multiple literary and current events/opinion magazines along with the Colby Echo and others similar).

This is just a thought I had. Overall, I enjoy being able to select from a wide list of clubs. To give you an example of the variety, some of the clubs I participate in include the Knitting Club, the Archery Club, the Colby Echo, the Colby Smash Club (we play Super Smash Bros, yeah, its pretty nerdy and cool), I used to do Rising Readers (reading to kids at the local school), the Student Planning Board (SPB), the list continues. But an important note is that I have had the opportunity to try out a lot of different ones and made the choice that they weren’t for me. I enjoy being able to maybe not pursue an interest in terms of a major but instead with a club. :)

Here is a HUUUGE list of all of the clubs and sports and whatnot, however, it is not fully updated.

http://www.colby.edu/studentactivities/student-organizations/

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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The Single (room) Life

Sometimes people give me a sad, sympathetic look when they hear I live in a single. This confuses me every time.

Single life is AMAZING. Here are my top three reasons why:

1. You get your own space.

The days are over that you have to shiver when your roommate puts her freshly bought cottage cheese into the communal fridge. No more waking up to Nick Cage staring into your soul because your roommate felt putting his poster on your ceiling would be “inviting.” Annnnd certainly no more awkward conversations about who gets the room this weekend.

2. You can turn on lights and play your music.

This might seem like a strange pro to single life because technically you can play your music and turn on lights in a double. However, you can’t do it whenever you want. For example, if you have an 8am and your roommate has a 10am, it’s not the best idea to turn on all the lights and start your day off with a T-Swift dance party.

3. Your room can be a place to study.

Need to pace around and mutter to yourself while learning your lines for your upcoming play? Or do you need hours on hours of silence to really nail that microeconomics test? Or do you just want to study with your drawer of snacks nearby (think: goldfish, gummy worms, and frosted animal crackers)?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time in a double freshman and sophomore year. My roommates both years were awesome, and we had some really fun times. It’s just that by junior year I was ready for a change. It was time. So, I now live in AMS dorm on the third floor in a single. One of my best friends lives in a single down the hall, and all of my other friends are in singles throughout campus. I play One Direction right when I wake up, loudly eat my secret stash of pringles, and proof-read my english papers out loud – multiple times. I love it.

 

My single in AMS

 

 

 

AMS dorm

About Meg

Before moving to "The Hill," I grew up in the quiet farm town of Princeton, Mass. Whether I'm making a brownie sundae at Dana, running through the streets of Waterville, or sunbathing with friends on the quad, I love everything about Colby, but some of my favorites are the flatbread pizzas at Bobs, yoga classes at the athletic center, and Miller Library's comfortable chairs. I spend time running track, visiting my CCAK buddy, and writing for insideColby.
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Wagons and Fun

What a beautiful week its been. The sun is so bright up here–if you’re used to the obscuring smog of a city, you’re going to be in for a surprise for just how bright the sun can get. It’s been so warm out too. It’s going to reach 42 this Wednesday, and I expect I’ll see a lot of sundresses to celebrate.

I used this past weekend to recharge my mind after a fun but exhausting week. The school seemed to have my back on this goal, providing wagon rides with these beautiful horses. It was a promotional event for one club or another–I don’t think they even gave a reason. In any case, I wasn’t going to question it.

Another highlight was dropping Microeconomics, which had become the bain of my existence. Life’s too short to take classes that make you miserable. Unfortunately, I didn’t drop it in time to pick up another class to replace it with, so I’m down to three classes. I’m fine in terms of credits and everything; I’m just worried I might have too much free time.

To fill up this time, I’ve been active in a lot more clubs than last semester. I write an article every week for The Echo–and my last one was featured on the front page! I write a “weekly rant” for Outside Colby, which is a really cool website kind of like this one, except that the student bloggers talk about politics and issues in the larger world (hence the name). I’m attending my Inklings writer workshops much more regularly, and they’re a blast. Lastly, I’m thinking about joining the handbell choir and the whittling club. I have yet to attend a meeting, but when I do, I’ll be sure to tell you how it goes.

One club I will not be joining is the pottery club. I gave it a whirl and destroyed all three of my malformed attempts. I would say that I’ve never felt so incompetent in my life, but there was a time I gave my credit card information and $200 to an Indian scammer pretending to be from Microsoft. I shall cross pottery-maker off my list of potential careers.

Oh, I almost forgot. I got cast in a one-act play called “The Crime Done in Rhymes.” It’s my first play, so I’m a little apprehensive but also very, very excited.

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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George Takei Comes to Colby

In my six months at Colby, I’ve never seen students as excited about anything as they were for the arrival of George Takei. Tickets disappeared within a matter of hours. The only way I was able to get one was by giving my ID to my friend, who happened not to have class at the time the tickets started being handed out.

Although the talk started at 8:00, people were lining up outside the door by 6:00. Here’s what the line looked like as of  7:00:

 

Takei was met with thunderous applause as he took the podium.

“Thank you for that hot welcome. It is as hot in here as it is bone-chilling out there,” he said.

Over the next hour, he discussed an astonishing range of topics, from his childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp to his start in acting, from his experience being gay in an intolerant time to his disapproval of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hypocritical rhetoric. A common thread through his talk was his commitment to social justice, which he connected  to every adversity he faced, as well as to the theme of his most famous vehicle Star Trek. 

“Star Trek used science fiction as a metaphor for issues of the time, and that was back in the 1960s. We dealt with the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War. But the biggest and most physical metaphor that we had was the Starship Enterprise.

“It was a metaphor for Starship Earth, and the implication was that it was the diversity of this star ship coming together many people all over this planet different races different cultures different faiths, all working in concert as a team, that made the star ship enterprise what it was: strong, but also very engaging.”

Takei was one of the most articulate speakers I’ve heard in my life. It was truly an incredible experience to see him talk. As the tragic death of his costar, Leonard Nimoy, shows us, our childhood heroes are not immortal, and I am forever grateful to have seen mine in person.

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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Lots To Do

This week, for my education class called Teaching For Social Justice, I started my assistant teaching hours in a Kindergarten classroom. The kids are so adorable and animated and so tiny! At one point, the teacher was reading a picture book to them and they literally reminded me of a group of small puppies, swarming around her chair on the rug with big curious eyes. Working with the kids is a good reminder for me about how much curiosity and enthusiasm we tend to lose as we get older. Everything is so exciting and new at such a young age; with time, we begin to always be looking down at our iPhones and we forget our wonder, our fascination with the world. Sometimes if you just force yourself to look up and notice where you are, it’s pretty incredible what you’ll see and discover.

Anyway, there’s my inspirational speech for the day. This weekend there is a lot going on. Yesterday was “Giving Day,” a day meant to connect with alumni and donors and thank them for their support. To finish off this event, last night Colby hosted Jimmy Tingle, the American comic and actor. Hailing from Cambridge, MA, he has a strong Boston accent, and he actually recently went back to school (in his 50s) to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to earn his masters. He made a lot of jokes about Harvard, which I found particularly funny because my older sister, Megan, is currently an undergrad at Harvard. He also poked fun at many political issues, plus things like how bad the snow is this year (because let’s face it, this winter has been crazy), and everyone seemed to really enjoy his show.

Today is the Winter Carnival at Colby. There will be everything from Horse Drawn Sleigh rides, hot chocolate, s’mores, a chili cooking contest, sledding, and tonight, the Winter Formal. The Carnival is a great way to celebrate winter instead of complaining about it, and plus, spring is coming! Tomorrow is March 1st. Yay!

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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Vamped Up

Fridays are amazing. There is something special about Fridays that differentiate it from every other day. I mean, obviously people are excited about the weekend, but that fact alone gives Friday a special essence. No matter what you have to do on Fridays, you feel like you can make it through because in your head you are thinking, I only need to make it through this and then I am done. I am free. That gives people the energy to power through anything. It’s amazing.

Anyways, this Friday has been wonderful. Classes were fine, I’m not stressed out about work (how is this possible? See previous post), and the weekend is already packed with fun events. I’m not even sure if “vamped up” is the right saying but this weekend is VAMPED UP BABY. Student organizations on campus (such as SPB and SGA) have been doing a great job at hosting events for the whole campus. This includes new movie releases being shown, musical selections from student and off-campus bands, and general free food and entertainment. For this weekend,  we get the pleasure of having both Winter Carnival and Giving Day.

Let’s start with the simpler one, Giving Day. This is a day to thank donors who have supported Colby as we work to become the best. During lunchtime in Pulver, there was a photobooth, cupcakes, thank you cards, and alumni on campus giving out career advice. In addition, there was a trivia dinner with alumni in Foss and a famous comedian, Jimmy Tingle. I just got back from the comedian and he was a riot. He began this new campaign called “Humor for Humanity” in which he discusses recent issues, such as ISIS, racial discrimination and violence, and new technology, in a light hearted atmosphere. This aims to utilize entertainment in new ways to make people aware of the issues in the world. I think he did a fantastic job bringing up big problems, while also causing the crowd to erupt in laughter. At one point, this isn’t really a hot issue, but Tingle talked about the new “technology” in the bathroom (automated machine or as he referred to them, radar) and everyone couldn’t stop laughing. It was a lot of fun!

The second part of the weekend is the Winter Carnival, which includes many wintry sports (snow shoeing, hockey, sledding, HORSE DRAWN SLEDS), bonfires, a snow sculpture contest, a showing of Frozen, a winter formal dance, along with many other events. It all sounds very exciting! I love the community that Colby creates through getting everyone out of their dorms and interacting. It’s a fun time.

 

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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Dreams

“And in the morning they shook their pillows violently, hoping all the dreams they lost that night would tumble out.” -Jonathan Stutzman

We all have dreams in life, and we all have dreams that we have allowed to slip away from us. I was never one of those children who grew up with a concrete plan for their life, saying things like, “I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up.” I never really knew what I wanted, and to be honest, I still don’t quite know. What I do know, however, is that I have many dreams, some small and some big, and sometimes it is easy to let them slip into that black hole of things-I-once-planned-to-do, simply because I never feel like I have enough time.

And to some extent, this is true – there will never be enough time to accomplish everything we want to do in life. Still, just like in the quote I shared above, I sometimes find myself shaking my pillow, trying desperately to recall all of those lost dreams from the past, those ideas that got me so excited in the moment that I thought, I have to do this. Then I find myself questioning, why haven’t I done these things? Why are they lost in my pillow?

I used to feel this way more often in high school. That’s one of the special things about college life – essentially nothing is forced upon you. Everything you do in college is your choice, from what classes you are taking to what you eat for dinner each night to whether or not you do your homework or hang out with your friends or go night sledding down Mayflower Hill. I often have to remind myself of this very notion, the fact that everything is my choice, because it can be easy to slip into that old high school mind set of “just getting through the week” or “just memorize these dates so I’ll get an A on the test.”

I have to continuously remind myself that the learning I am doing in class is for no one but myself; the stress I occasionally feel is the pressure that I am putting on myself to succeed, but ultimately, it is still all my choice and for my own benefit; and the way I spend my time each day is my own choice.

Colby has offered me so many incredible opportunities and ways to spend my time, and for that, I am eternally grateful. It is important to take time each day to do the things that we want to do, even when we feel like we “have no time.” If you don’t have time to do what you love, make time. Otherwise, so many of your dreams will get lost in your pillows that they may never tumble out, no matter how hard you shake them.

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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The Art of Learning How to be Happy in College

This semester, I began learning the secret to life. I know this is a grand statement, but I have discovered something both wonderful and…..sadly quite obvious. From reading previous posts, you may notice a trend. I have written about all-nighters, stress out session from piles of work, endless homework, and so on and so forth. This semester I thought was about to be the toughest and worst one yet (and this is coming from the girl who pulled an all-nighter approximately once a week last semester!). Well friends, I have been saved from my misery. The secret to life is simply starting things early.

This involves a few more things such as time management, motivation, and diligence, however, this simple statement has changed my life. My biggest fear for the semester was having two computer science classes. This involves two labs, six classes, two quizzes, and two full-fledged projects every. single. week. One was already bad enough! I constantly stressed over completing my Data Structures assignments last semester, how could I manage TWO of them? In addition, I often visit my boyfriend down around the Boston area, in which I get very little work done. To make matters worst, my computer did not have the software packages necessary to complete the projects. This meant that I could only work on the projects in Davis.

However, because of all of this, I pulled myself up by the boot straps (I think that’s the phrase…) and was extremely studious during the week. This involved doing all of my work on time, and as soon as I got it. Once a project was assigned, I would start working on it bit by bit (haha cause computer science involves bits….), day by day. It never felt overwhelming or stressful, because I had the time to ask my professors or friends questions whenever I got stuck. In addition, computer science projects take a lot of time, but if I did some of it every day, I was not forced to cram it all into one night. Being on top of my work and not leaving it to the last minute has made me so much happier.

I know people are always saying, don’t leave your work til the last minute, and you shrug them off, but trust me, it’s true. Just as true as people saying that college flies by (ahhh I’m almost halfway done)! Take the time to do your work. It will make you less stressed, more organized, and give you time to actually understand and process what you are doing. Plus, you get more sleep! Everything in life is accomplished step by step. So give yourself the time to complete projects step by step. I promise, you will not regret it my friend.

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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TEDx Comes to Colby

Yesterday, Colby hosted its second TEDx event in Bixler auditorium. This was very exciting for me because I’m a big fan of TED. In my misspent youth, I whiled away dozens of hours watching hundreds of TED talks on their website, mostly about art and psychology. My high school environmental science teacher leaned heavily on TED talks to supplement our discussions, and I was always amazed by how clear they made everything seem. (Of course, as soon as the video ended and you tried to remember the specifics of their broad idea, you realized just how complicated the ideas really were.)

So my hopes were high for this TEDx conference, being both a fan of TED and a fan of Colby students. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The quality of each presentation was every bit as high as the real thing. One presentation in particular just blew me away.

It was from Dean Atkins, whom I’ve heard of but never actually seen until yesterday. He told the story of how his life was disrupted after he was laid off at IBM during the recession. He thinks of this trauma as a blessing in disguise, as it sent him on a path towards furthering his education and eventually ending up at Colby. He quoted Joseph Campbell quite liberally, and the quote that stood out the most was: “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

As a liberal arts major with a very fuzzy life plan, this quote made me so happy. Many of my friends seem to have every detail of their lives meticulously planned out– college, med school, career as a surgeon– whereas I have only vague ideas. Maybe I’ll climb the corporate ladder, or write a book, or somehow leverage whatever talents I accrue, but nothing really definite, nothing that can give me a soundbite answer to the ever-present question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I want to inspire; I want to achieve; I’m just not quite sure how. There’s a song by Ten Years After called “I’d Love to Change the World” that I relate to so much. The chorus goes: “I’d love to change the world. But I don’t know what to do.”

I know at some point I’ll need to pin down my various plans. But right now, I’m happy setting my heart’s compass by the TED talks I watch, the books I read, and the people I meet. Now’s the time for spontaneity, for dreaming big, before we succumb to the insular vision of adulthood.

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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