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Hey! This is My Seat….

You walk into your 9:00am class and your stomach sinks as you notice the atrocity in front of you. The corner seat in the second row, the best row, the one you have sat in all semester to the point that you’re sure that you have made a butt imprint, has been overtaken. You think back to the extra few minutes you slept, which could have been better used for claiming your rightful spot. Your territory has been claimed, stolen, conquered, overrun! But what can you do? Fight back? Cause a big scene? Scream? Alas, none of these are really worth the trouble, so you reluctantly move to a different seat. During the entirety of class, you notice the difference in this spot and this perspective from your old one; it’s almost distracting. You secretly harbor a strong distaste for the person who has seized your seat, and remind yourself to arrive to class earlier tomorrow.

Although this seems a bit extreme and silly, people really do love sticking to their seat. There is something comforting about sitting in the same spot everyday. People grow attached to “their” seat in the classroom and often do not invite change. I find this quite odd and tremendously interesting, because people are encouraged to “change things up” and “try something new”. But it seems in actuality, that we are people of habit.

In psychology, I learned that habits are important to help us through our day. A habit is a process that becomes automatic, thus engages our brain less and allows us to complete the task without even thinking. They make life easier as you do not have to worry about little things, like where to sit in class. Instead you can worry about that senior thesis, internship application, or what the hell you’re going to do with your life.

My theory is that we, as people, strive for consistency. Life is such a mess, but it’s nice to know that some things can stay the same. There is something reassuring about doing the same thing every day and knowing that the outcome will be relatively the same. That something is guaranteed. Consistency is a beautiful thing; like math, there is a set path with a guaranteed answer.

Thus, habits allow our brains to process information faster. Our brain is constantly categorizing things in order to readily access that information when you encounter it in life. Then, you can easily remember, differentiate, and understand the world.

The problem arises when you don’t allow for change in yourself and in others. Habits are hard to change, and sometimes something as small as not getting “your” seat can create a sour mood. But we become boxers. We begin to confine people to a set image that we have in our heads. A box. A cage. And when someone tries to break away from this label that we have attached to them, this causes dissonance and our mind gets confused with what was and what is. So we try to shove them back into the box, in order to maintain the mental homeostasis. Because if we don’t, our understanding, our control over the world slips away. And that is scary.

But I want to stop this.

If people can fight their innate tendency to go with the flow, to sit in the same seat, we will be able to gain perspective on how others see the world. We can learn from the changes and create our own powerful movement. But until we learn to think differently, until we can see things from a perspective other than our own, a seat other than the one we’re accustomed to, we will be hamsters running on our wheels. Moving yet going nowhere. Stuck. We must allow others to be and to do whatever they please. Once we unleash people from their boxes, and begin to think in this new, refreshing way, the possibilities are limitless.

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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Courses and Majors and Minors, OH MY

Although I am still only a first-year student, and do not technically have to declare a major until next spring, I recently declared as an education major with a concentration in human development. It’s sort of funny because before coming to college, I had never even thought about majoring in something like education. I thought I’d major in Spanish or Latin American Studies or maybe English. However, after taking a few education classes at Colby, I realized how much I love education.

I am not entirely sure what I want to do after I graduate, i.e., I don’t know if i necessarily want to be a teacher, but for now, I know that I am interested in studying education and teaching. The education major is really cool because you get to take many classes from several different disciplines. Since my concentration is in human development (rather than in schools, society and culture), I get to take psych classes, sociology classes, anthropology classes and WGSS (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) classes along with education classes to count toward the major.

This week also happens to be course selection week for Fall 2015. It’s crazy that we are already choosing classes for the fall… I feel like this semester just started.

The course selection process at Colby is nice because it is not done on a first-come, first-served basis (aka Hunger Games style), as it is at many schools. At Colby, all students get about 6 days to sign up for classes, and then after that period, the Registrar decides who gets into what classes (sometimes based on seniority, priority to majors/minors, or permission from the instructor). Then, once you find out which classes you did or did not get into, you can rearrange your schedule by signing up for classes that have open spaces. Another nice thing about Colby classes in general is that most classes you’ll take have small numbers of students. My biggest class this semester contains 40 people, but that is because it is an intro classes. Most of my classes contain around 15 people, the smallest one containing 8.

If I get into the classes that I am hoping to get into for the fall, I will be taking:

- Children and Adolescents: Cases and Concepts (an education class)

- Advanced Spanish

- Acting II

- Fiction Writing I

- Personality Psychology

A lot of students at Colby choose to double major, and that is something that I may consider doing with either Spanish or Theater. There is also a really cool creative writing minor that may be interesting for me. So many options. But alas, I have time. :)

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 2nd Annual Flahive-McDuffee Game

Today marks the 2nd annual Flahive-McDuffee memorial game. Every year, at least in my recent memory, Colby and Bates play each other in their last regular season NESCAC game. One year ago, it was decided that this game would become a way to honor a player in each program that passed away during their time in college. Morgan McDuffee played with our current coach, Jack Sandler, in his time at Bates College. Derrik was an abroad junior when I was a freshman. There is only one person on our team left that ever met him, but we still wear a #5 for Derrik in our uniform.

Yesterday, Whit Harwood shared some stories from Derrik’s life in our last of the team’s senior speeches. For the seniors on our team, we had heard these, often hilarious, stories about the way Derrik was remembered by his friends. For the freshmen, it was an introduction on how to live life and why we continue to play lacrosse. There may be  too many stories to go into here and I am not going to attempt to get cliché and intimate in a setting like a prospective student blog. However, I guarantee if you meet anyone graduating Colby between 2010 and 2015, that person will be closely tied to Derrik in some fashion, if not through lacrosse then through something else, like whitewater rafting or beating on drums.

He affects me and if you read this post and ask any Colby lacrosse player about Derrik, maybe he can affect you. So today’s post is a notification, if you will, of a game that is played for a bigger reason than a Colby-Bates rivalry. It is played for the ties that run through lacrosse, for the families that the game creates and just remember, “it takes two to mumbo”. You can even ask Coach Thompson that.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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The Science of Chairs

Colby does chairs well. Now what does this even mean? Strewn around campus are chairs; in classrooms, dorms, study spaces, everywhere! Chairs are an essential part of our society as they provide a place for our legs to rest. But there are certain things that make a chair suitable for sitting. My butt will not just sit on any piece of wood and felt stapled together. But why am I talking about chairs? Being a student involves much sitting, specifically while learning and studying. When you are studying, you  sit for long periods of time, so finding a good chair is vital! Let me diverge to a story on my thought process…

Sometimes I think I have an engineering mind. I enjoy thinking about what you need in order to build something that not only functions but functions well. For example, a water bottle requires a certain shape that can carry a large capacity of water. However, if this was all we cared about in water bottles, they would be like milk gallons. You need to take into consideration the aesthetics and convenience. A gallon of water is bulky, heavy, and not easily transportable. Thus you must balance carrying capacity with convenience. In addition, a water bottle needs to be grippable. It must morph to your hand as you carry it, or allow for some mechanism that makes it easy to carry. This kind of thinking is what led me to chairs.

Chairs are all about ergonomic design. A chair’s main purpose is for sitting but you must be more specific, because chairs have multiple purposes and need to be designed accordingly. For example, let’s look at one aspect, comfort. A chair needs to be comfortable to entice sitters to take a load off. However, a classroom chair can’t be too comfortable or you will fall asleep in class. A study or work chair however needs to be much more comfy so you will be wiling to sit in it for a long time. And the list continues. Colby does a surprisingly great job selecting chairs for different purposes. All around campus you will find such comfy and unique chairs! My goal is to find the perfect study spot, which consists of 3 main qualifications, comfort, level of quietness, and desk space.  Let’s see the options!

We start with the classic full wooden chair and desk. The one pictured below can be found in the AMS lounges but is similar to the one in your dorm rooms. This spot is very convenient on a late night when your roommate is sleeping and often is private and quiet. However, look at those chairs! Stiff and hard….not comfortable at all.

Colby has many unique chairs around campus. The ones pictured below can be found in the museum and Davis. They morph perfectly to your butt and allow for you to sit in any position and be fully supported. By far the comfiest chairs on campus. However, there is NO desk space. All work must be done on your lap! Very inconvenient. In addition, they are in locations that get much traffic and thus gives you little privacy and much noise.

What about the library you ask? The libraries on campus are actually a great spot for studying. The chairs are quite comfy but not too much that you can fall asleep in one. Like I said, Colby does chairs well. In addition, the library has a lot of desk space. The downside? The noise level is not where I want it to be. Since so many people go to the library, it can often be distracting. Also, I feel pressured in the library to do work, which is good but puts me on edge a bit. The 3rd floor of Miller is dedicated to quiet, which I really enjoy and often use. But sometimes, you just want to jam out to some music or be able to flip through pages hurriedly. And that is not the spot for those type of activities. Thus we move elsewhere.

 

Often, there are empty classrooms where you can do your work. Very private and quiet with a ton of desk space. All pluses! However, we run into the issue with the comfort of the chair again, because classroom chairs are made to be noncomfortable so that students do not fall asleep during class.

Where does that leave us? Well lately, I have been studying in Davis a lot, as I am a computer science major. Davis has top of the line Apple computers. The chairs are pretty nice, not the comfiest, but my butt doesn’t get sore sitting there for too long. There is desk space, when needed, and computer and elbow space otherwise. My favorite thing about Davis desks, is that you can stand while doing work! I sit so much during the day that I want to be able to stretch my legs and stand, which is just what Davis offers. So for now, this is my spot.

Really, any spot you choose on campus will work.

There are seats everywhere, and surely, you will be able to find one that meets your needs.

 

Maybe you like to take up a lot of space.

Or maybe you need a space for a group to study.

No matter what, you will never be left without a seat, a study location, a spot that you can call yours on Mayflower Hill.

 

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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An Alternative to a Netflix Weekend

So, in my last post, I talked about how I recently found out that I’m a COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip) Leader for this fall – still super excited!! Anyways, in order to make sure that I’m responsible enough to help lead a small group of freshmen out into the wilderness, I needed to get Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certified this past weekend.

 

The WFA class is offered at Colby on two different weekends during the spring semester, and the COOT program pays for all of the course fees, which is awesome. The class lasts from 8-5 on both Saturday and Sunday and involves a lot of time outside.

 

To say I wasn’t thrilled about doing WFA would be an understatement – I was dreading it. I couldn’t imagine anything that took time away from my normal weekend sleep schedule or Suits marathon on Netflix could be enjoyable. As you can probably tell, I went into the class with a pretty negative attitude. However, by the end of the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed learning most of the information and the ways the course was taught. Although the class was still super, way too early and pretty much took up my entire day, most of the information my classmates and I learned about wilderness first aid was really interesting and was taught through fake drills and hands on activities.

 

For example, the instructors would have about 7-9 people come out of the classroom and go outside to become patients. The patients would have been involved in a “lightening storm” while canoeing and would have various injuries and medial issues, such as broken limbs and a stress reaction. The rest of the class would then come out outside and become first responders. They would have to diagnose and take care of each of the patients and remove them to safety. We played out these kind of drills multiple times, and in addition to being hilarious and awkward at times, these hands on activities really were an effective method to remember and learn the different mechanisms needed to stay safe in the wilderness.

 

Now I can say I’m prepared to handle a lightening storm on COOT, but I’m still really, really, really hoping that my freshmen do not get struck by lighting…

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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International Extravaganza

International Extravaganza is one of the biggest events organised by the international club in Colby College. I am glad that I participated in 2 of the dances and the fashion show representing Hong Kong.

Coming from UWC, I always missed my high school’s cultural evenings where students share their cultures through music, dances and short stories.

Here are the two dances that I participated in. My favourite part of the International Extravaganza this year, is the Russian song. The song talks about the love for the countries, which makes me feel nostalgia, Hahaha!! But it’s alright, I’m counting down the days, 30 days to go!!!

I will definitely join the International Extravaganza again next year! It was so much fun and you will get closer to other international students as well! Definitely one of the highlights of the year.

Finally, here’s a photo of my friend, Haransh, playing the Tabla. :)

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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Farnham Writers’ Center

The Farnham Writers’ Center, located on the second floor of Miller, is a great place to go for all your paper writing needs. Need help brainstorming? We can help. Never learned the rules of grammar? We can teach you. Want some coffee or chocolate? Yup, we’ve got that too.

For the past semester, I’ve been taking a class called Tutoring Writing in Theory and in Practice, which is the prerequisite to being a writing tutor. It’s a lovely class in which we discuss tutoring techniques and the history of writing centers. I would never have expected that there existed such extensive literature on the writing center pedagogy.

We call our writing center a “writers’ center” because we believe that the focus of each tutoring session should be on making you a better writer, with a better paper or an improved grade being just a bonus. To that end, we do not edit papers, nor do we suggest revision strategies. Rather, we serve as an extra reader who asks you questions you might not have thought to ask yourself. If there’s a clarity issue, we might say, “Wait a minute. What do you mean by ____?” If your paper doesn’t flow in a coherent fashion, we would ask you about the connection between your paragraphs. We try to stay away from leading questions; these essentially tell you the answer but in question form.

Collaborative learning struck me at first as gimmicky: a new age pedagogy that didn’t actually teach you anything. After many practice sessions, however, I’ve come to realize that the approach is indeed valid and indeed more effective than directive approaches. I am very excited about becoming a writing tutor.

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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COOT COOT COOT

Before coming into Colby, every freshman goes on a Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip (COOT). These trips are awesome – they help you get past the surface “Hey what’s your name? Where are you from?” kind of conversations and really get to know a small group of 8-10 freshmen. COOT trips are lead by upper classroom (or COOT parents) who help teach the freshmen (or COOT babies) the subtle ins and outs of Colby and give them a support system for the rest of their time on The Hill.

 

This year, I applied to become a Fall COOT leader and was beyond excited to find out that I got the position!! – like couldn’t stop smiling for days, calling my grandparents, and rereading the email multiple times kind of excited. One of the reasons I was so happy is because the COOT application is actually a pretty competitive process that includes essay writing and interviews, which is interesting because it’s an unpaid, volunteer position where you come back to Colby a week early in the summer to do training. Even though it might sound cheesy, it just shows how enthusiastic upper classmen are to welcome new freshmen into the Colby life.

 

Anyways, I recently found out which trip I will lead this Fall: Challenge Course at Kieve, which is a summer camp on a lake in Maine. !!!!! The challenge course will entail elements such as a cat walk, trapeze jump, high speed swing, aqua-zip, and a giant ladder. Since Kieve is on a lake, I’m sure we’ll also go swimming and explore the area around Kieve through mini day hikes. I’m so excited! I’ll keep you updated as I find out more about my trip and my group of freshmen.

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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A Stronger Community

A lot has happened over the past week. On Tuesday, a group of students led a protest against police brutality. Chanting “Black lives matter,” they walked through campus and into academic buildings, some of which held classes currently in session. I was in my Tutoring Writing class when I heard them, and from my perspective, it really wasn’t a huge disruption; we lost maybe a minute of class time to listening to what the protesters were saying.

But some students went on Yik Yak–basically an anonymous Twitter–to complain about how they were entitled to uninterrupted class time, and that the protestors shouldn’t be demonstrating on a day where there were so many prospective students. These trivial but more or less legitimate complaints gave way to insensitive jokes about the cause itself. Some denigrated the cause as unimportant; others were bad attempts at satire that just ended up being racist.

The comments sparked a massive controversy. Everyone from the student government to the administration sent out emails condemning the Yaks. The controversy snowballed, incorporating themes from the larger conversation of race at Colby. At various events that had been organized literally overnight, students of color testified about how they’d been affected by causal and institutional racism. President Greene, being the awesome president he is, gave a speech on Dana lawn about the steps we can take to move forward.

“The privilege I have is not a privilege I have earned,” he said to the five hundred students who attended the speech, acknowledging the ways factors beyond his control, such as his race and class, contributed to his present success. His words were greeted with thunderous applause.

Leaving the speech, I overheard a couple students talk about how remarkable it was that the president chose to address the issue himself. They said that at other schools, the most one could hope for was to get a dean to even acknowledge an issue, even if one was to protest right outside the president’s office. It is truly a gift to have a president who takes the social life of his college seriously and makes concrete steps in the right direction.

Although this past week revealed some points of growth we need to address, the fact the school has been so swift in condemning the comments and continuing the conversation makes me confident we will be able to overcome these events. An inclusive community is a strong community, and it is imperative that our stance on diversity is as real in practice as it is in our principles.

 

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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Ride on the Magic School Bus

In order to fulfill my lab science distribution requirement, I have been taking geology this semester. While I have found that geology is definitely not my favorite subject in the world, I have learned a lot of interesting information about the earth, and best of all, have gotten to go on some cool geology field trips. Once a week, a typical lab science class has a lab period from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The fun thing about taking geology is that for a few of the lab periods, you get to take buses out into the geological world and learn about geology up close and personal.

Riding on the yellow school bus always brings me back to the days when I had to ride the bus to school every day. I can’t say I really miss those days, but it does bring a certain nostalgia. It also reminds me of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus, one of my favorite TV shows growing up. I can practically hear Bruce, our lab professor, saying “seat belts everyone!” just like Ms. Frizzle, as the bus suddenly transforms into a small helicopter and flies into the heart of a volcano for some real geologic learning.

Our field trips are perhaps not quite that adventurous and riveting, but they are fun nonetheless. On Wednesday, we took the bus to the Carrabassett Stream. The views were very beautiful and the sun was shining at long last, so that made the trip especially enjoyable. We took several measurements as a group to determine things like the water depth, stream width, water current velocity, etc. There’s nothing like learning in the great outdoors.

Here are some students taking some measurements, while I “supervise.”

Nature :)

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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