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The Final Countdown

At last, with only two days left on campus and three exams completed, there is just one exam to go! One test stands between me and freedom. Seven questions until summer officially starts! I wish there was more time on campus to just relax. There are so many people here that I want to hang out with but we are always so busy. Then as soon as exams end, the campus grows deserted. Although summer is not too long, not seeing my friends for even a single day seems weird. I have eaten, talked to, and simply seen all of these people every single day. I live with these people! Now, I won’t see them for three whole months and that saddens me, but I know that we will all go our separate ways and have an amazing summer. And then our paths will cross again and we will reunite.

For my last blog post, I thought it was time to explain why I chose Colby College.

Honestly, I visited Colby once and it left little of an impression on me. I don’t remember much of my experience except that I thought Colby was pretty and had a beautiful quad. I wasn’t planning on coming to Colby. It was a random choice thrown onto my application checklist because my guidance counselor thought it was a good fit. But things don’t always go the way you plan them to.

I didn’t get into many of the schools that I thought I would. In the end, I was left with three school and a bunch on the dreaded waiting list. Between Colby, Emmanuel, and Northeastern, I chose Colby because they provided tremendous financial aid for me. My other schools’ financial aid package could not compare to Colby’s. That, in short, is how I ended up here.

Then the day arrived to actually move in. Deciding on a college is a big choice but you don’t really feel it until you are there. Sure I had chosen Colby, but that meant nothing until I was actually on the campus and watched my parents drive away. As I unpacked my boxes, it hit me and I was filled with fear. What if the people were all intense hikers or hippies? What if they didn’t have the classes or majors I was interested in? What if I couldn’t handle being on my own? What if I made the wrong choice?

All of these thoughts swirled around in my head throughout the day as I awkwardly tried to start up conversation with my floor mates. I was thankful that I had my dorm to eat with the first couple of days and then I met my COOT. Although I was terrified that COOT would be super outdoorsy and I would be at the back of the pack the entire trip, COOT was a fantastic experience. I saw the beauty in Maine, had a lot of fun mooning my cross-COOT, and ended the extravaganza with ice cream at Dairy Cone. After meeting my Community Advisors (CAs) and COOT parents, I realized that there are so many passionate people on campus. These people were so open and such born leaders. They all deserved the spot and made me feel completely welcomed. As I grew closer to the people in my dorm, I began to truly feel at home. Within a couple of weeks we had multiple texting groups going and ate every meal together. We were already joking around about being perpetually alone and needing someone to cuddle with. Just like that everything was okay.

Although I chose Colby based off of financial aid, I am so happy to be here. I have met some of my best friends. We have talked about visiting each other, whether it be in New York, Nicaragua, or Germany. We have discussed being at each other’s weddings. I am so glad I chose Colby, because Colby has some of the kindest, friendliest, engaged, dedicated, and hard-working people. There is always someone doing something amazing on campus and pursuing whatever it is that makes them passionate. And there are always people there to help out and join in. I’ve met people who are so intelligent, but no one talks about grades or GPAs. You know they are smart, because they talk about the things they are learning in class with such great depth. Everyone is learning and enjoying life together. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d want to be.

 

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am a freshman living in Foss (Foss is Boss) 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. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, some sort of wildlife, and a smile.
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To Study or Not?

To study or not to study? That is the question that every Colby student faces at the end of second semester. On one hand, there are still classes to attend, papers to write, and exams to study for. But on the other hand, every day has been beautiful. The weather is finally cooperating and bringing sunshine and warmth. After a long winter, all I want to do is run and jump and dance and sing outside! Thus, we come to this conundrum.

This is the conclusion I have come to.

At the end of year everyone just want to chill and hang out and be happy! We have all worked so hard and we deserve to have some fun. Plus, there is a reading period of two days provided to study so there is still time. The weekend is truly meant to just relax. So that is what I have been doing. Pure, guilt-free, and most importantly, work-free days.

My classes have all ended and I have learned a lot. Social Psychology has taught me how people behave in groups and has given me a new perspective on the actions of my peers and my own as well. I ponder on why I do the things I do and how others have influenced that choice of mine. Computer Science has taught me to compute computationally and write all sorts of programs in Python. I have learned a whole new language! Vector Calculus……yeah I’m not going to pretend that understand that class. I love math and I am doing fine in the class, but I have no clue what I am doing. I cannot make sense of college math! But I can say that my teacher is a really nice person….if that counts as something? Finally, Heroes of the World has shown me different cultural constructions of heroes throughout time and all the way across the world. I can also see many movies and stories as epic quests now. Sometimes I complain about work and, yes, at times I procrastinate because I feel like work is so irksome but I have greatly enjoyed my classes and my professors.

Knowing this, I have spent this past weekend doing what I want to do. And I think it’s important to do that every once in awhile. To not worry about exams or stress about the future, but to be content in this moment and realize all of the wonderful things that surround us. Yesterday I watched the movie About Time where the main character is able to go back in time. He used his power to relive each day but to notice all of the little, amazing things and appreciate them. That is what my weekend has been filled with: loving the friends I’ve made, the dorm I live in, the beautiful weather, taking in the green buds sprouting from trees, and the privilege I have to be at an incredible college receiving a great education. This last weekend has truly been fun; filled with much frolicking. And it’s sad sometimes, and change is hard, but I understand that it is time to move forward. I’m not a wee little freshman anymore.

Finally made it onto the roof! Mission Accomplished

 

Fireworks to celebrate finishing

 

Loudness Theme: Woodstock (so of course, flowers are a must)

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am a freshman living in Foss (Foss is Boss) 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. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, some sort of wildlife, and a smile.
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A Subliminal Spring

I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting or delightful end to my senior year here at Colby. The weather was warm, my classes had their creative and fun moments, I officially handed in my Senior Scholar project (which I’ve been working on for awhile), and the food served at the dining halls this week seemed especially suited to my taste buds.

Yesterday, I had the last class session of my Senior Seminar in English, a course on James Joyce and Ulysses. Senior Seminars are bookend courses in the English major (students begin their English coursework with 172, which is a seminar course, and they end it with the Senior Seminar). In this particular seminar, we spent most of the term reading the eighteen whirlwind chapters of Ulysses, although we also covered The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and several critical essays related to these texts. As part of our final class, we all brought in an object that resembled a character or an aspect of Ulysses to display as part of a group picture: showcased objects ranged from a potato to a brass bed quoit to a stuffed dog. Thus, on Wednesday afternoon, armed with symbols of Ulysses, my classmates and I headed to the Miller steps to take our crazy picture, truly appreciative of all that we have learned this term by being able to work out and discuss some of the pressing themes in this challenging text.

That seminar comprised much of my final Wednesday afternoon of the regular semester at Colby, and, after it ended, a classmate (who is also pursuing a PhD in English) and I headed back up Miller steps and to the English department. We shared a glass of champagne with some members of the department and enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship with the professors who have so profoundly shaped our thinking over these past four years.

I write this blog a day later, having just finished my final Colby class, Global Women Writers. It was 65 degrees this afternoon, so my professor decided to lead the class outdoors on Miller lawn. Classes outdoors are advertised as a fairly common Colby experience, at least for humanities majors. I often walk by classes that are taking place on the lawn during the Spring, although, personally speaking, today’s class marks only the second time that I’ve had a class outside. I’m glad that my final Colby classroom experience took place in such a pleasant environment. It certainly felt sublime (in the Burkeian way, in that this was both a climactic and happy experience, but also a sad one) to participate in my final classes this week, even though I’ll be completing much more coursework as a graduate student in the future.

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Is it Ever Too Late to Make New Friends?

Is it ever too late to make new friends? You might think the answer is no, but it seems that once you become close to a group of friends…you stay that way. Unless you are a freshman and are frantically trying to meet people by being super friendly, most people stick to their friend group, which makes sense, but creates gaps. People habitually sit with the same people day after day, meal after meal. Without even realizing it, they are closing themselves off to the rest of the campus that is thriving with life. Not many people are willing to sit with someone who is alone or start up conversation with someone new. Well here is your chance!

I was a weird child. For some reason, something that I was super excited to do in college, (nope it wasn’t being able to decorate my room or eating buffet style for every meal) was to come to the dining hall and sit with someone random. Meals are times for socializing and I really wanted to interact with as many people as possible and learn from them. Where I come from the school was mainly one type of person….and I was ready for a change.

This was the opportunity I was waiting for. I could finally start up random conversation with people over a meal. Maybe I would never see them again or maybe they would become my best friend. But you never know until you try, right? However, a big problem was that it takes guts to go up to someone or a group of people that you don’t know at all and ask if you can sit with them. Now, I wasn’t worried about them saying no. I was worried that they would only talk to each other and that I would just be sitting there not knowing what to do! I would feel the pressure to talk or feign interest or pretend to be super exciting.  Somehow I got up the courage to just walk over, smile, and say hello.

This was a beautiful way of making new friends. At the beginning of the year, I spent hours upon hours in dining halls just jumping from friend to friend and meeting new people. And I actually made a bunch of friends or at least I know a lot more people now. And all of them still say hi to me.

Colby has started the Red Mug Movement to try to instigate conversation between strangers. Brought about by the Students for an Engaged Society, the mugs have been in Foss since April. Sometimes it’s hard to know if someone sitting alone is lonely or content. The red mugs act as a nonverbal indicator, saying hi, I want to get to know someone new. I’m ready to make a new friend.

I really like the idea of the red mugs, but I’m unsure of the success of the project thus far. Some people take a red mug simply because they like the color. Without knowing its meaning, the cups are losing their significance. Furthermore, some people take a mug but sit with a bunch of friends. For a stranger, it would be difficult to approach an entire group of people versus one or two. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing how the red mugs progress! I support them and their attempt to create a more engaged student body fully!  Let’s start making friends again. ^_^

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am a freshman living in Foss (Foss is Boss) 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. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, some sort of wildlife, and a smile.
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A Friday in Portland

I took another trip last Friday. I went to Portland, Maine. It was kind of a sentimental last trip for me, because there was a point in my life when I went to this city at least once or twice a week. That was back in the spring of 2012, when I was a sophomore, and then I went abroad, and school/work got busy, and suddenly I just didn’t have as much time for road trips anymore. I’ll always remember my visits to Portland fondly, however, for the city inspired so many of my best memories of my time as a Colby student.

So, on Friday, I took a friend down to Portland and we did some of our favorite things there for, probably, the last time. We ate at our favorite restaurant, the Merry Table in Portland, which serves excellent French food and, in particular, crepes.

The Merry Table:

My Seafood Dinner Crepe:

Our Tartine Appetizer!

We got bubble tea and steamed buns at our favorite Taiwanese cafe, Bubble Maineia, and we explored some of my favorite art galleries and shops in Waterville. We even stumbled upon a few new places, my favorite of which was basically a go-Irish-culture store. I’m half Irish, and I’m currently in a class on James Joyce, so I appreciated this store perhaps a bit more than my friend did; but her mother is Irish, too, so I think we ended up both having fun there.

Old Port is such a pretty part of Portland. I love it because it is close to the water, and there is nothing more relaxing than walking down a pier, watching seagulls, or sipping bubble tea while observing boats in a wharf. Sections of Old Port remind me of places like Newport, Rhode Island, or Mystic, Connecticut. It’s just a very scenic place to spend a weekend or weekday, and you’re always sure to have a blast in this area of the city.

I’m not usually a city person. I come from a small, rural town in Connecticut, and I appreciate Colby’s country surroundings; I feel most comfortable in these kinds of environments. But Portland is a place that I will always hold dear to my heart, and, although it is a small city, I felt very at home there whenever I visited. So I’m very glad I got to go there one more time before I graduate. Who knows, maybe there’s even time for one more trip to Portland before commencement!

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How to End the Year Right

Every year once we start reaching the end, I get a little sad. Maybe sad isn’t the right word but nostalgic. Looking back on the past year, I always think it has been spectacular Although to reach the end I had to struggle (constantly on the struggle bus) through tests that I studied for 6 hours for, papers that I pull all nighters to complete, taxi rides back and forth that I always miss, long walks to the gym to do the exercise I am never in the mood for, and future planning that I never fail to utterly stress over and cry about. Yeah….it’s been a good year.

Of course, I am eager to sprint out of Maine as quickly as possible and relax in my own bed at home. However, at the same time……I want to stay. I want to stay here with my wonderful friends and continue learning and growing. I don’t want freshman year to end because I want to be the lost freshman that everything is a first and thus super exciting. So due to this nostalgic feeling, everyone begins to come out of their hibernation.

The best thing to do at the end of the year, is to go.

Go outside and do homework in the sun (while it’s here!). Go to the events that you’ve wanted to attend all year or the talks you wish you had spoken out at. Go to the dances, meet new people, and have fun! This is the best time of your life and why should you waste it?

I’m going to try to finish my last two weeks of college the right way. I am going to do my work ON TIME and enjoy it. I am going to go on a run EVERY DAY and explore the arboretum, Waterville, or wherever! I am going to participate in all of the events that I am interested in and begin to unwind…..oh yes and find a job! >.<

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am a freshman living in Foss (Foss is Boss) 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. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, some sort of wildlife, and a smile.
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Pre-Graduation Road Trips

One of the effects of an impending graduation is that this turning point sparks a series of statements like “oh my gosh! This is the last time I’ll ever get to [insert meaningful activity here]” or “how is it possible that, after almost four years, we’ve never done this or never been there?” As my own graduation from Colby gets closer and closer, my friends and I have said our fair share of statements like the ones I just listed. Determined to do something about the latter statement—things we don’t want to miss out on as Colby students—my friend and I took a mini road trip after my Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS) presentation ended on Thursday.

Our first stop was Thomas College, because I found it odd that I could go over three years without even accidentally running into the other college campus in Waterville. After finding the college, however, I realized why this was so, because the college is off-the-beaten-path, in that it’s not near Walmart, Dunkin Donuts, Mainely Brews, or any of the other places that I regularly frequent. There’s so much of Waterville that I don’t even know about!

Thomas was a quick stop on our sojourn; our real destination was Camden, Maine. I have been here once before, but as my friend hadn’t been there but had always wanted to go, I was eager to visit once again. Camden is small, quaint place, reminiscent of a kind of seaside town. There were several pretty shops in the town, and they sold everything from Maine-related souvenirs to shoes to maternity clothing for expectant mothers.

After shopping and exploring these stores, we went out to dinner. Many of the restaurants sell special seafood dishes, because Camden is actually a waterfront town.

There are several wharfs, piers, and waterfalls/bodies of water in the regions immediately surrounding the main shopping streets. Maine is known for its lakes and waterside scenery, and, after visiting Camden, I can certainly see why that is so!

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I do not have Clas

So what have I been up to lately….Well, I have been riding a bike around Waterville, losing things all over the place, skipping class but not, and ironically procrastinating on a paper about motivation. I’d say a typical week.

Last Friday, I rented a bike from the iBike program at Colby and rode it down to the Evening Sandwich Program. It was a beautiful day. It was one of those days that was warm but there was enough wind to cool you down but not too much to make it cold. However, I have never been very good with directions and got lost on the way there. I foolishly took my phone out of my bag as I continued biking and my Colby card fell out! Horrible as replacing a card costs $40!! Luckily, a very kind person found my card and brought it to the Waterville Pubic Library, which led me to…

Trip #2 to downtown Waterville. After picking up my card I went to Selah Tea with my laptop to buckle down and being my research for my paper, but more on that later. Selah Tea is a a local cafe that often comes to Colby to provide scrumptious snacks and desserts. I sat down at a table and got a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. It was so peaceful to relax off campus, away from the noise and stress. Unfortunately, I forgot my laptop charger still plugged into the wall. But no worries folks, I got it back.

Next on the list is skipping class…..BUT NOT! Today classes were cancelled for CLAS (Colby Liberal Arts Symposium). Students had posters and presentations scattered around campus and it was a huge event. Not just anything can cancel class. We have had FEETS of snow bury us and yet, classes are ALL STILL RUNNING. The event had its own ICE CREAM MOUNTAIN!! It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Gallons of ice cream dumped into a kiddie pool with a plethora of toppings dumped on top. In addition, there was a popcorn and cotton candy machine, chocolate fondu, and a stand full of fruit and candy. My eyes stared at the wonder in front of me, and I wanted to cry. Maybe not cry but it was that feeling of awe and amazement. From the pictures you can see the excitement of everyone!

I attended a few of the talks but many that interested me overlapped. Most of them were between 9:00am-12:00pm, however, the event ran until 7:00pm! It was a but difficult to understand some of the projects, because many were senior thesis’s or in-depth projects on a subject I enjoyed but did not understand completely. Like the circadian rhythm in human and mice being mapped out by computer science programs…..the information kind of just flew right over my head. Overall, the day was very exciting and I enjoyed not having classes.

Finally, tomorrow at midnight my 8-page research paper is due. The paper is about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and their affect on one’s mentality and thus one’s academic performance. I have been researching the topic for a bit (clearly not long enough, always should’ve started earlier) and have learned how extrinsic motivators, such as rewards and punishments, undermine intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is completing an action/activity due to self-determination and the desire to improve oneself. Intrinsic motivation is a much stronger force than extrinsic, however, extrinsic motivation can override intrinsic motivation. I am trying to see how someone can become more motivated to do work that seems undesirable like….homework. Ultimately, I hope to apply what I learn to myself throughout the next three years of my time here at Colby. No worries, I will be sure to fill you all in too.

 

About Anh Uong

My name is Anh (yes it is very hard to pronounce). I am a freshman living in Foss (Foss is Boss) 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. Around campus, I can be spotted with a ukulele, a stack of notebooks, some sort of wildlife, and a smile.
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Film Texts and Lobster Rolls

Sitting at my luxurious blogging station provided by Colby College, I await my final “film-text” viewing of the semester. Tonight’s “film-text” marks one of the most important events of my spring semester. What Jeb? What is so important? I’ll tell you what. This viewing is the final large event before finals. That means I have an entire week and a half, starting at 9 pm, to kick back and not worry about the four finals I have.

This is the most wonderful time of the year, despite what I may have and probably definitely have said in previous blogs. (My archiver is out sick with whooping cough and was unable to report the validity of this.) For one, finishing up final exams and papers for the semester lets me actually enjoy Maine when it starts to warm up again. (Also, despite what may have been said in previous blogs, it still is not warm.) But with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, warmth is both a necessity and a possibility.

Pregnant two hour pause for film viewing.

Now that I have finished all major assignments, time has gone full flat circle a la True Detective. My blogging career began with a discussion of the most delicious lobster rolls served at The Green Spot right down the road from Colby. And now as my second semester finally comes to a close, The Green Spot has opened back up. Guess it’s time to go grab a lobster roll and cruise into finals.

About Jeb Waters

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

On Thursday of this week, all Colby students have no class because of CLAS (The Colby Liberal Arts Symposium). What a fitting acronym! The Symposium provides Colby students with the opportunity to celebrate the research that has been done on campus throughout the year, including course research projects, honors theses, and independent research projects. Students from all disciplines can participate, so topics truly range from biochemistry to poetry, from minerals to mimesis, and from Shakespeare to anthropological fieldwork.

I will be participating in the poster session of this year’s CLAS, where I will be presenting the research that I did on Charles Dickens throughout the year through the Senior Scholar program. Students can participate as individuals, but it is also common to present along with classmates for courses with strong research requirements. The Symposium offers students a great opportunity to present and receive feedback on their work. I participated as a sophomore, and I particularly appreciated the event then, because while I knew I wanted to go into English professorship, I had just started to learn the conventions of academic research in the field, and being able to hear the insights of faculty and peers on my work was incredibly helpful.

The CLAS will feature not only oral and poster presentations, but also activities like a speech contest on the meaning of a liberal arts education in the 21st Century, a GPS scavenger hunt based on Colby trivia, lunch on the lawn, and a Shakespeare exhibition in Special Collections later that evening.

This is the first year that the Symposium has been a full-day event, in which classes have been canceled, but, because of this, students will have the chance to appreciate the work of their peers in a unique way. I’m sure this will be a successful event that will continue well into Colby’s future!

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