April 7, 2014
Birthdays at college are fun, but it’s not often you get to celebrate a milestone like turning 21. The day started out like any other Wednesday: breakfast with my roommate, three classes, track practice. Following a long day, I had a birthday dinner with my friends in Harris Dining Hall, complete with birthday cards and gifts. We chatted and laughed for over an hour. When I came back to my room, I found a gift and a beautiful and thoughtful card from my roommate on the desk.
After I did a couple hours of homework, I joined my friend Melody at the Cro Bar, our on-campus pub. Entering the Cro Bar for the first time, I proudly ordered a glass of wine and then settled into a booth with Melody. Little did I know, Wednesday nights are trivia nights. In between our conversation, Melody and I guessed the answers to such questions as: “Which Beatle was barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road?” (Paul McCartney) and “What are the three longest rivers in the world?” (The Nile, the Amazon and the Yangtze.) Luckily for us, we were joined by two other trivia-skilled friends and we had fun guessing answers and singing along to such throwbacks as Kelly Clarkson’s “Break Away.” Since I had a 7:30 a.m. track workout in the morning, I did not stay too late. I had a terrific birthday all the same, and I can’t wait for the next trivia night now!
April 4, 2014
I met Jana in the south of France. We were both working as Au Pairs for a summer. Over spring break, she flew from her home in Germany to visit me in the States. We spent two weeks museum-, art gallery-, concert hall-, and theater-hopping in Boston and New York City and then relaxed in Maine. Instead of returning to Germany at the end of spring break, Jana accompanied me to Conn for a week. Given the excitement of our first two weeks, I was initially concerned that Jana would find the week at Conn boring, especially in the moments when I was doing homework or at track practice.
To my relief, Conn entertained Jana fabulously. She attended classes and practiced piano and sang in the music practice rooms. She attended a lecture on East Germany, studied Mozart pieces from Greer Music Library and watched French films in the Language Lab. Jana even took the Camel Van—our shuttle van—into New London and went grocery shopping, then cooked ratatouille in the Unity House kitchen. She took photographs in the arboretum, attended a concert in Cro, befriended a German student, helped another student studying German, and more. Here is her take on the week:
It’s been almost a week since I arrived to Connecticut College and I enjoy being here a lot. After some sightseeing in New York City and Boston, I was quite excited to get to know the “real life” of American students. On the first day, I sat in on international relations and French classes. The classes were interesting, the professors enthusiastic and competent, and the students very ambitious and attentive. Soon enough, I observed differences between studying at Conn and what I know about studying at German university. At Conn, students and professors establish close relationships and meet for lunch whereas, in Germany, students attend lectures with over a hundred students and the professors often don’t even know their students’ names. Another difference between German university and Conn is that students stay on campus almost exclusively. They go to classes, work in the library, have dinner at the dining hall and sleep in the dorms. In my hometown, students live in apartments in the city, take the subway or bike to attend class. Lastly, I was impressed by the huge variety of clubs one can join and the extra activities offered here! All in all I am glad to get to know this campus. Maybe I’ll come back one day for a semester abroad! ;)
I sure hope she comes back to Conn, since hosting her spurred me to enjoy Conn in new ways. In the meantime, I look forward to next spring when I study abroad in France and can visit her in Germany!
April 3, 2014
In recent days, I’ve been planning my next semester and it seems that I will have an absolutely crazy schedule. My life will be pretty busy but I’ve got a plan.
Dance Professor Rosemarie Roberts and I were speaking the other day, and I mentioned how much I’ve wanted to take a dance class here at the college. I told her that I was waiting until my senior year. After mentioning my hectic schedule for the next semester, Professor Roberts suggested I take her Afro-Caribbean dance class. Rosemarie told me how Afro-Caribbean dance can connect the mind and the body through writing and cultural dance. It will help with stress and bring together many of my other classes.
I can imagine there will be times next year when I just won’t have the time to go to the gym and de-stress as often as I want. Life will be busy. After my conversation, however, I also have confidence that Rosemarie will lead an interesting cultural experience that will be engaging and inviting.
April 2, 2014
One of the most valuable skills I’ve learned this year is how to organize: how to organize an event, how to organize people and how to manage down-to-the-detail. I was responsible for organizing a community service day for 50 volunteers. It’s a lot more complicated than you might think.
The community service day I organized was part of a class project within the College’s Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, and the 50 people were my teammates from the Conn College Track and Field team. The job? Clearing invasive species and brush from two preserves managed by Avalonia Land Conservancy in nearby Mystic, Conn.
For my Goodwin-Niering Center project, an academic center at Conn that focuses on the environment, I’m working to broaden Avalonia’s member base and get more young people involved with the organization. Since the track team does a community service project every year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Since the team is large, we decided to split up and spend two days working at two different preserves run by Avalonia, both in the Stonington area about 20 minutes north of campus. The most challenging part of organizing the whole event involved gathering the equipment we needed to clear the heavy brush. To do that, I reached out to the geology department and the Connecticut College Arboretum; who each kindly lent me clippers, loppers, shovels and gloves.
Both days were great successes. The activity also seemed to provide a fun break for the athletes. I loved being able to connect two of my passions in such a productive way, and I look forward to using this new knowledge to create other such experiences.
March 27, 2014
This morning in Cro’s Nest, the Inauguration Committee hosted a campus-wide coffee break. Students, faculty and staff all gathered together for an informal celebration of President Bergeron, who will be inaugurated on Saturday, April 5. President Bergeron said a few words to the crowd and then made her way around the room, chatting with students about the college and their experiences.
March 21, 2014
Orientation isn't just for Conn’s newest students. A big part of what makes that week in August, the week before classes, so much fun is how students from all class years come together to help the newest Camels get to know campus. Student advisers are among the many student groups that return to campus early and help make the transition easy. Since I had a really good experience with my own student adviser earlier this year, I applied to become one for the Class of 2018.
When I found out that I was offered the position, I was thrilled. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ll play a part in a week so many students look forward to. I’m getting more and more excited for summer now, knowing that I’ll be back on campus earlier in August. I’ll be there to help the new Camels with orientation activities, picking their first classes, and getting to know campus. Welcome, 2018!
March 17, 2014
Ok, I’ll admit it...I’m a francophile. A “frenchie”. A French fanatic.
As such, I organize French Club events on campus. Andrea, a Conn student who volunteers in French classes at New London High School, asked me if French Club would be interested in hosting a class of New London students studying French.
"Absolutely!" So, on Wednesday, Madame arrived with a busload of her French students. Madame had already decorated the room to celebrate Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and served us jambalaya and a galette des rois (pre-Lenten Kings’ cake). While feasting, we watched the film “Cyrano” on a large screen. We were more interested in chatting with each other, however, than watching the film.
After exchanging the polite ca va? (how are you?), we launched into discussions about snow days, robotics, and the humorous connection between analyzing literature and trapping butterflies. I look forward to continuing the conversation at our next rendez-vous, whether at Conn or at the high school.
March 13, 2014
The perfect end to midterms week came last Thursday at Taste of Harris. Independent food vendors visit campus once every Spring and serve everything from sausage ravioli to margarita pizza. At the end of the meal, students vote on their favorite items and the dining hall staff try to include the winners on the regular menu. Black bean burgers are now available in Harris after they made an appearance at last year's Taste of Harris.
March 11, 2014
Some friends and I headed down to Dayton Arena to catch the annual Club Hockey vs. Coast Guard game. It always proves to be one of the most exciting games of the year.
March 10, 2014
At the beginning of our French class, Professeur Austin excitedly rushed into the room and told us to follow him to the library.
This semester, in my “Historicizing France” class, we are learning about l’age des lumières, the Enlightenment. We have read the works of great philosophers, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and we’ve studied the encyclopedia that first published the ideas of Rousseau and others. Even though 18th century France was as equally knowledgeable as England, they did not develop to the same economic level. French thinkers were too wrapped up in the encyclopedia to actually apply those ideas for economic gain.
Looking at online versions of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, I could only imagine the effect the text had in France. I did not have to imagine for long.
As our professor guided us to Shain Library, we climbed the stairs and entered the Archives and Special Collections. We came face to face with original the original French encyclopedias.
Every student in the class was handed a volume of the encyclopedia and we flipped through its pages. Geography, mathematical proofs, Greek mythology, drawings of surgical practices and carpentry jumped out at us. After looking at the encyclopedia myself, I now can’t blame France for being content to merely gaze upon the text. The encyclopedia itself is that enlightening. Even 250 years later.