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Snowflakes: The Prettiest Form of Procrastination

Christmas break started early for me; with no finals, I was able to go home a whole week earlier. Yes, it was a week spent writing papers, but it was still nice to be at home, to have the comfort of home cooked meals and the company of my loving parents.

I used some of my newfound free time to make snowflakes. It’s one of my family’s holiday traditions, up there with making a Christmas jigsaw puzzles and singing along to The Nightmare Before Christmas, which remains probably my favorite movie of all time. Growing up, I would watch it twice a year, right before Halloween and right before Christmas. What other movie has that kind of holiday dexterity? You won’t see anyone watching Elf at Easter.

It was actually this movie that inspired me to take my snowflake making in a new direction. I spent my childhood making the kind of simplistic designs we associate with children’s art projects. Then I figured if I was going to be making snowflakes as a teenager, I better at least make them good. I was intrigued by the idea of adding deliberate designs, like the spider snowflake Jack Skellington makes by accident:

(By the way, this scene now irritates me because we see Jack cut a folded wedge of paper which should turn out to be a six-sided snowflake, yet this design could only come from a paper folded in half once. In fact, if you look closely, you see that it’s not even entirely symmetrical, meaning that it didn’t come from a fold at all but someone using an Exacto-knife on a plain, unfolded piece of paper. If you ask me, that’s just cheating.)

Anyway, here are some of the snowflakes I made while I was procrastinating. They came out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

 

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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Semester in Review

During the rush of finals week, I like to take a moment to relax and reflect. Even though the semester was rough and I know there are things I should’ve (and would if I could go back) done differently, I think we should all take a moment to pat ourselves on the back. Sometimes (especially during finals) I feel like its hard to appreciate the good. People dwell on the negativity, but we have worked hard. We survived 4, or in my case 5, difficult courses and maybe even learned something during the whole journey. We made it!

Now that we’re done praising ourselves for the moment, we must look back, evaluate, and ponder how we can improve ourselves for the coming up semester. I know I always say I won’t do this and won’t do that and they don’t all come true (like New Year’s resolutions) but it’s still a valuable experience taking the time to think and make yourself aware of any problems. But first, let me give you guys an overview of how my semester went…..

It all started well….it always starts well. I was sure I could manage 5 classes and that I would not procrastinate one bit. However, it’s a lot more work than you think.  Everything went pretty okay but I was minorly super stressed all of the time. However, I think it was a good semester. I enjoyed all of my classes and professors, learned a lot, and am ready to move on. Data Structures (Computer Science) was quite difficult. The projects for that class kept me up until the wee hours of the morning and I definitely struggled in the class. However, I think it’s important to differentiate liking a class because you’re good at it or because you genuinely enjoy what you are learning and doing. I genuinely like computer science even if it causes me a lot of stress. Then there was Microeconomics and International Relations, which I enjoyed much more than I expected, which is why I encourage people to take classes outside of their comfort zone. Both of the classes were interesting and could easily be applied to real life situations. Spanish was fun and even though I did not participate a lot, I still feel like I learned a lot and improved my language skills, especially when reading and analyzing Spanish stories (I know, I did that!). Finally, we make it to History, which was not my favorite class. I have never really enjoyed history, however, I definitely view world history differently through global patterns and events. Overall, very educational year (as to be expected).

So what can I improve on? Well for one, although I feel like I spent all of my time doing work, I can definitely be more efficient. Sometimes I’m a little too thorough when writing papers or completing homework assignments. Even when I study, sometimes I create a full fledged outline, when I know I understand the material and maybe could just do practice problems. Because I don’t have the time to spare I need to utilize my time to the best of my ability. However, at the same time, I need to learn how to relax and de-stress more. I must balance the fun with the work, the friends with the class time, and the leisure with the studying. So cheers! Here’s to the end of Fall2014 and to the start of something new.

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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Adios Until 2015, Colby!

So, it’s done! All of my finals are finished and I am driving home today. It has been a slightly stressful end to the semester, but I think that’s just the nature of the end of the semester. As I finish my first semester of college at Colby, I’ve been thinking back to all of the memories I’ve made and people I’ve met during these past few months. Move in day seems so long ago, unloading box after box from the car and carrying them up the stairs in the sweltering August heat. Orientation and COOT kept us very busy in the beginning, and I felt exhausted and anxious about the coming months, hoping that I would be able to make good friends and keep up with a college workload. I hoped that I had made the right decision when I decided to come to Colby.

Now, four months later, I feel so much different. I no longer feel anxious about fitting in here or being successful or being happy with my life here. These past few months, I have made incredibly close friends and I always forget that I’ve only known them for a few months, because it feels like we’ve always been friends. I’ve learned so much from my classes, and the learning that I’ve done extends way further than just learning information for a test. My classes this semester have taught me about life, the world, and myself. I feel that I now understand myself better, my strengths and my weaknesses, and I know what I want to work on improving in the future.

It’s hard to ever know how to picture the future. Most of the time, our expectations are very different from reality. I don’t really know what I expected Colby to be like, but what I can say is that I am so happy that my first semester turned out the way it did. I feel very lucky.

So Colby, happy holidays and I will see you in 2015 for JanPlan. It’s been a wonderful school year so far, and I’ll miss you while I’m away! And to any of my readers who are currently sending in all of your applications to colleges, good luck! Don’t stress too much – you will end up where you are meant to be. Trust me.

Lots of love,

Katie <3

A photo I took on my first day at 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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The Final Week of 2014, AKA Finals Week

Ahhhh finals week. As you may know from reading the other bloggers’ posts, this is our last week at Colby for the year of 2014, also known as finals week! This week has been kind of weird for me, because I don’t have any exams until Friday and Saturday. Therefore, I’ve had a lot of downtime to “study”, but when I have too much time on my hands, I tend to procrastinate quite a bit. My time has been occupied by food, Pinterest, YouTube videos, Netflix, listening to Disney instrumentals as pump-up music, and doing Buzzfeed quizzes such as, “Which ‘Gilmore Girls’ Guy Is Your Soulmate?” and “Which Emoji Should You Be Reincarnated As?” (I got the “Love Hotel Emoji”, which I didn’t even know was a thing). Anyway, I digress. I’ve also been STUDYING, I swear. I think the problem is that when they give us a “reading period” before finals so that we have time to study, all of the pressure to do work and the stressful energy that swarms the campus steals away all of my motivation. I will be very happy when I am handing in my last final and walking to my car to drive home for break, but in the meantime, here are some ways that we get through finals week:

1. We eat food. Lots of food. The picture below was taken at “Midnight Munchies”, an event at Bobs where they had chocolate fondue, pancakes, quesadillas, and pizza.

2. If you manage to find an empty classroom, you take it over for the day and you sleep there if needed to keep your spot.

3. When we get bored, we draw on the chalkboard (chalk bored… get it? Okay I know, I know, my humor level at this point is pretty low, but what can I say, it’s finals week.)

4. We look at the sky and admire nature. The sky was a really cool color here, but you can’t really tell in this photo.

5. We eat more food. Food food food.

6. We sing songs and pretend we have it all under control… and then put it on SnapChat. **SnapChat cred. to Isabel.

 

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 Do’s and Don’ts of Finals Week

The campus is still except for a few crows and squirrels digging around in the snow. I always wonder how they survive the cold, when I’m bundled in two sweaters and a winter jacket and continue to shiver. I know where everyone is hibernating….Colby students are either nestled in their room or in a nook or cranny inside of one of the three libraries on campus. The air is fresh, as I take in my final breaths before entering Miller. I know this may be the last time I see the sunlight, as it gets dark around 4:00pm and the size of my backpack signals that this is going to be a long day. Yes, ladies and gentlemen it is that time of year again…..it’s finals week.

Finals can be a bit terrifying as it is a hefty portion of your grade. So here are a few tips to keep you on your toes and to help you survive the week….

  1. Don’t leave things to the last minute - I know you must hear this a lot, but it’s one thing to know it and another to do it. Colby provides students with a two-day reading period that is devoted solely to studying. Use this time wisely. Just because you seemingly have a lot of time, does not mean you can lounge around playing video games. Additionally, use the weekend before as well to start studying. Yes, there are loudness events going on, but you can allocate the mornings/afternoons to studying and the nights to going out. If you begin studying the day before your exam you will not be able to learn everything in time and it will STRESS YOU OUT. Best to avoid that.
  2. Split up your studying, plan ahead!- Give your brain time to learn all of the material and let it sink in. Don’t cram study! Studies show that this does not help you to retain the material. Instead, do bits of each class each day. It may be hard to start studying for an exam a week away, but let me tell you, come exam time, it’ll be worth it.

    My study station in third floor Miller

  3. Find a nice spot to study- Comfort is very important to any studying environment. It can get hard to focus if you are in your room (dangerous procrastination zone) or sitting in a hard wooden chair for hours. Figure out what kind of environment works best for you to study in and find it! Some good places to look: all three libraries on campus have a wide variety of study spaces that allow ranging amounts of talking, the museum has some hidden gems with some very comfy chairs and wide open art rooms, and every academic building is open and is chalked full of classrooms that you can claim for yourself.

    Miller gets packed! Come early

    Museum chairs are crazy comfy

  4. Keep yourself energized- Don’t let the finals blues keep you from enjoying the beauty of food. Make sure you continue to go to each meal and perhaps bring snack back. Colby also hosts Midnight Munchies, when Bobs serves delicious food at 10:00pm, as well as cupcake decorating, cookie feast, and coffee breaks. Take advantage of these stellar opportunities.

    Notice: Apple, gloves, sweater.....it gets cold

    Ice cream pool at Dana

  5. Just keep swimming – You can do this! Everything may seem tough and overwhelming right now, but just know that you can make it through. And once you do, it’s time for winter break. :)

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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Top Five Favorite Things about Colby

Since arriving at Colby this fall, I’ve learned more, felt more, and experienced more than I would’ve ever thought possible in such a short period of time. Colby is a special place. Without further adieu, here is a list of my top five favorite things about this college, the only school I’ve ever felt at home.

  1. People: Colby students are friendly, smart, funny, sporty, and disproportionately attractive. Although I confess I felt intimidated on my first day, worrying that I could never measure up, I’ve had no trouble making friends, some of whom I have no doubt will stay with me for the rest of my life. It truly does feel like a family.
  2. Food: Colby has three dining halls, each offering a diverse array of options that will satisfy even the most picky eater. We’re getting a new dining service next year, so the food will be even better in the years to come. I’m excited!
  3. Classes: My classes have been engaging, challenging, fun, and interesting, and I can’t tell you how many times a fellow student has said something that made me look at them in awe. If you like learning in an intellectually affirming environment, come to Colby.
  4. Location: Maine is an undeniably gorgeous state, and Colby has an undeniably gorgeous campus. Waterville isn’t the biggest or most exciting city, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Many of my friends transferred from places like NYU and the University of Edinburgh–huge universities in the heart of cities that left them longing for something smaller. Besides, if you ever get the impulse for a more bustling city, Portland is just a short trip away.
  5. Sunsets: No explanation needed.

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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Reflection

As I look back on this semester, I am struck by the sheer number of things I had once believed, truly believed, that I now no longer do.

I had thought I wanted to be a teacher. I would get my certification along with my Bachelor’s degree and then spend the rest of my life teaching middle school English. But my ambitions were higher than this plan gave room for; I was feeling stifled, like the moth Annie Dillard describes in her astonishing book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

There, at the twig’s top, the moth shook its sodden clumps of wings. When it spread those wings—those beautiful wings—blood would fill their veins, and the birth fluids on the wings’ frail sheets would harden to make them tough as sails. But the moth could not spread its wide wings at all; the jar was too small. The wings could not fill, so they hardened while they were still crumpled from the cocoon. A smaller moth could have spread its wings to their utmost in that mason jar, but the Polyphemus moth was big. Its gold furred body was almost as big as a mouse. Its brown, yellow, pink, and blue wings would have extended six inches from tip to tip, if there had been no mason jar. It would have been big as a wren.

I don’t want to reveal my new ambition quite yet because I like having it secret, all to myself. I will say that I’m dropping Education and adding a Philosophy major, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Philosophy teaches you a new way of thinking seemingly without setting out to do so; it does so as a side effect. Your thoughts must be clear and noncontradictory, and because of this, you start to notice when others’ are not.

I blame philosophy for my other reversals of thinking. I used to admire certain online columnists to a deifying degree; I would treat every word they wrote as gospel. But after thinking critically about some of their articles and finding flaws in their arguments, I was forced to revise my assessment of them as mere mortals, capable of imperfection.

While realizing you were wrong isn’t a nice feeling, it is a liberating one. The world opens up and reveals surprises around every corner. There would be nothing to learn if we were right about everything, no secrets to uncover or ironies to detect. And that is not a world I’d enjoy living in.

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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Thanksgiving break

While most of students here went back home for Thanksgiving break, some of my friends and I just stayed on campus. I was planning to go to New York City or Boston to meet up my friends, but it just…didn’t happen.

It is pretty convenient to go to Boston or NYC. Colby Students usually take Concord Coach line to Portland Airport, Boston, or any places in Maine. It is around $40 to get to Boston.

Staying on campus for Thanksgiving wasn’t a really bad idea. On the thanksgiving day, my friend, Sohee and I went to our host family’s home for thanksgiving. There were two other families joining us. In total, there were around 14 people. We played card games and had tons of games. Haha, we had two types of turkey: Roasted Turkey, and Fried Turkey. The food was amazing! 

 

I am extremely thankful for the Host family that Colby College arranged. I feel loved and cared. My host family really treats me as part of their family, which makes my Colby experience more meaningful and blessed. On that thanksgiving day, I shout out for my host family, for always supporting me in every way. 

 

 

About Stephanie

I am a freshman at Colby College, originally from Hong Kong. For the last two years of high school, I studied at Li Po Chun United World College (LPCUWC). I am very interested in economics and economic policy. Presumably, it will be my major. Living in a business hub since I was born, I am always very curious about how international and local businesses find opportunities in a tiny city. Music is very important in my life, too. I have been playing piano since I was four and I also play the clarinet. I wish to learn Jazz piano at Colby and the professors here are amazing.
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What Makes Colby Different

Many reading this may be in the process of visiting different schools and trying to make decisions about where to apply and attend college. Maybe Colby is on your list, or a potential candidate for “the list”. Senior year of high school, I remember having more conversations than I would’ve liked that consisted of the question “So Katie, you’re a senior, right? Where are you applying?” And following this redundant and oh-so-familiar question, I would quickly try to remember the 11 schools that were on my fateful “list”, all liberal arts schools, all in New England. Looking back, I really should have had some sort of pneumonic device to help me remember. Something like…

Some Caterpillars Won’t Accept Credit Cards But Some Will Vocalize Youthfully.

Okay, yes, that was a waste of time now considering that only would’ve been useful 12 months ago, but oh well. I’ll let you guess which of the C’s represents Colby. ;)

So anyway, you may be in that same position right now. You’ve looked at the websites of so many small liberal arts schools and you know that basically all of them have beautiful campuses, great professors, athletic opportunities and arts opportunities and too many clubs to remember. You may be thinking in your head, they all seem so similar, it’ll be pretty much impossible to choose in the end. 

Well, my friends, what you’ll find is that while many of these schools have unifying characteristics, they also each have their own ways of being different. So therefore, the logical question is, what makes Colby different?

Ask any Colby student that you meet, “what makes Colby different from other liberal arts schools,” and a likely response that you will receive is “the people.” And maybe you’ve heard this response a million times, and it seems very general and vague. The thing is, it was this very fact, the fact that there is something different and special about the students you meet at Colby, that made me ultimately decide to come to Colby. But I don’t want to just be another of the hundreds that will tell you this. I want you to understand what I mean.

Colby students have a certain openness about them. They are the type of people that want to introduce themselves when they see an unfamiliar face, and want to hear about your life and where you’re from and your dog’s name and your favorite food to eat for dinner and the story of how you lost your first tooth. Colby students are confident being exactly who they are, and they want to get to know the purest, realest, most genuine version of you. They are the type of people that can make you feel included in a second, and make you feel like you’re part of a new family within a few days.

Colby students always hold the door for one another, know the janitors and dining hall workers by name and make pleasant chit-chat with them, and respect each other’s personal space and belongings. You could leave your laptop sitting on a table in the library for hours and no one would so much as think of touching it.

Colby students love to learn, and their curiosity about the world is infectious in the best way possible. When you spend a lot of time with other Colby students, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more curious about all of the mysteries of life and having late night conversations about our perceptions of colors and why we exist and how you would spend your last day on Earth if Obama suddenly announced that an asteroid was going to demolish the planet. You’ll find yourself wanting to work hard in your classes, not because you care about getting an A, but because you have a true, personal desire to learn.

Colby students smile at each other and attend each other’s sports games and theater performances and concerts and fundraisers. Colby students feel proud to wear their Colby sweatshirts because they love their school and the people in it. Colby students are the people that want to be your friend, and many of them will be your friends for life.

Without the people, Colby is just another beautiful liberal arts school that blends right in with the rest, like a little blue house on a street of identical little blue houses. However, with the people, Colby is that little blue house where you step inside and you immediately feel the warmth of the fireplace and the happy energy that permeates the air. You notice that the walls are painted all sorts of colors, greens and purples and oranges and reds with sparkles and polkadots and stripes everywhere, and in every corner you discover something new. And you realize that this little blue house is very different from the rest. It may look similar on the outside, but on the inside, what you find is a family.

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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Get Loud!

Today marks the beginning of Loudness! As you may know, Loudness is a celebration at the beginning and end of every semester where there are themed events, including a campus wide dance. I really enjoy how it occurs twice, because both are reasons for jubilation. At the beginning, everyone is either returning from a long, but glorious summer apart or a frigid JanPlan. We come together almost as a reunion to kick off the semester and get ready for classes and work that will consume our lives. At the end, everyone has worked hard and struggled but succeeded in completing another semester and another set of classes. That deserves celebration! It is also the calm before the storm of finals. In both cases, everyone is really happy and enthusiastic and united.

The Loudness themes have ranged from superheroes to Olympics to Woodstock. They are crazy and fun and give people an excuse to dress up other than just Halloween. Every theme comes with matching t-shirts created and sold by SPB. This time the theme is cartoons, and events include Saturday morning cartoons playing in Pulver along with a huge selection of cereals and trivia quizzes with gift card prizes. I bet it must be very difficult to think of themes and some aren’t the best, but it is always a fun time.

When I first arrived on campus and heard of Loudness, I thought it was so odd. I didn’t understand its purpose. One of my friends has so much  work to do for finals week, and yet the weekend right before reading period there is a mass accumulation of events? However, I came to realize that Loudness encompasses the energy and enthusiasm of Colby students. We are here and we are ready to have a good 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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