November 8, 2013
Every student and faculty member seems to find the Halloween spirit, and this year was no exception. It's a favorite holiday for Kurt Reinmund '15, and in this video, he shares a glimpse into this year's celebrations.
November 7, 2013
At Conn, every new first-year student enrolls in a first-year seminar. I am taking a very interesting course on culture and human development, but I find myself doing the work of two classes.
My best friend is in a seminar about feminism and, although I’m not enrolled, I love it. I do the homework for my class and then, for fun, I do the homework for her course. I get the experience of two different seminars just by doing the readings and analyzing them with the assigned questions. How did this all start, you ask? Let me explain...
After doing her own homework one day, my friend asked me my thoughts on something she and classmates had read. She and I ended up having a very long discussion about feminism and how it relates to us on a personal level. This made me even more curious and I began to read the books she was assigned for class. Now, I think I might be more excited about her coursework than she is. My interest in this class even led me to attend a lecture and performance by Sabrina Chap, an author being studied by the class. Anyone who has read Chap’s “Live Through This” can attest to how amazing the compilation of stories about self-destruction is.
Call it a little weird, but I consider myself to be in two first-year seminars … and it is awesome.
November 6, 2013
This past summer, I ran while in France, nannying for a family. I’d dash out before the seven-year-old woke up, taking narrow dirt roads to the 17th-century castle at the top of the village, passing the lines of people waiting outside boulangeries for their pain chocolat, glimpsing vineyards, farms and tree nurseries. Training wasn’t always so picturesque: The family’s guests would gawk as I did grapevines and exercises in the yard, the boy would jump on my back as I did push-ups and the family’s bear-dogs would paw at my legs as I switched to sit-ups. In spite of my spotty summer training and complete inexperience running cross-country, I decided to give it a go at Conn.
10 reasons why I’m thrilled I did:
- Coach Bishop
He’s constantly cracking jokes, calling out “hit it” when we begin speed workouts, all the while creating a positive and productive athletic experience.
- Pasta dinner at Coach Bishop’s mom’s house
Coach Bishop’s mother kindly opens up her home to us the evening of our first race of the season. Seniors take charge of a pasta and salad dinner and she provides the scrumptious desserts.
- Beautiful running routes
Sunlit foliage on forest trails, prayer flags on Mamacoke Island, sunsets over the beach at Bluff Point, glistening creeks on the Airline Trails...
- Voyages to meets
Meets occur in Maine, Indiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut. We occasionally stay in hotels but consistently enjoy academic, social, and scenic bus rides and a change of scenery.
- Our home course
No course beats our own. The course at Harkness State Park follows the ocean, surrounds gardens and passes a mansion.
During the first week of practice, while out on our long runs, conversation topics run wild. Everything is discussed: the joys of traveling and making international friends, parenting concerns, psychological disorders, favorite recipes, racism in the U.S. and occasionally some taboo thoughts. These girls keep it real.
- Pool workouts
We duel water polo matches and compete in swim relays. The winning team receives prizes (team gear!)
- Improved focus
The mental outlet at the end (and sometimes beginnings) of each day rejuvenates me and helps me return to my studies with renewed interest and energy. Not to mention that exercising helps those time-management skills...
- Morning workouts
There’s nothing like catching the sun rise while running, lifting weights and eating a hearty breakfast… all before 8 a.m.
Sometimes we leave campus before 8 a.m. for meets, but the thrill of race day is worth it. I recite our cheer to motivate myself while racing: “C-A-M-E-L. We’re the camels, run like hell. Ahh CC!”
November 5, 2013
This week, I was named “campus cutie” by HerCampus, an independent online student publication which, each week, profiles a campus cutie. The articles normally go out on Friday mornings, and you never know who is going to be next!
I was sitting around on Wednesday night and, while studying for my organic chemistry test, an email popped up from HerCampus. I was pretty shocked as I read through the email saying I had been nominated. I didn’t think I would ever be considered for such a thing.
There were questions about my idea of a perfect date, my favorite types of candy, my celebrity crush, and even my response to learning about my nomination.
As you can imagine, I remained humble throughout the entire thing. The really weird part about the publishing of the article is that I knew before everyone else on campus did. I had to keep it a secret for two whole days. That may not seem long, but to not tell something to anyone (despite the fact that you want to!) is super hard. Anyway, I obeyed, and no one knew but my best friend.
What has been even weirder is that people actually recognize me from just this article. Little do they know that for, to me, it started as just a campus secret.
November 4, 2013
Kurt and I are taking you behind the scenes of an annual Connecticut College tradition: Fall Weekend. It's a weekend complete with athletic matches, the annual all-group a cappella concert and HarvestFest, an open market of Connecticut College swag sold by clubs and teams.
November 4, 2013
“SLOWLY AND CAUTIOUSLY add 17ml of 6% hydrogen peroxide.” That is copied word-for-word and inflection-for-inflection from my General Chemistry 103 lab manual.
This was part of the experiment I did last week, a section of a 3-lab experiment I will eventually write a lab report about.
Chemistry does not come easily to most students, myself included; I frequently find myself up late trying to memorize common ions and the difference between a p-orbital and a d-orbital. But there is one part of chem I am always a little excited to go to: chemistry lab.
Why? Because it’s just like potions class at Hogwarts.
But seriously, we go over a brief procedure on the board, and then use our lab manuals (like a textbook) to do the experiment. Some are gifted (or lucky) and their solutions come out exactly as described, while others sit and watch green brown slush gurgle in their cauldron *ahem* beaker.
In lab last week we did two different chemical equations, and our solutions changed from the color of orange juice, to the color of carrot juice, to looking like old hot chocolate and finally to a bright green you could only get from liquefying jolly ranchers... all in a little over an hour. If that isn’t magic, what is?
During the part of the lab when we had to “SLOWLY AND CAUTIOUSLY add 17ml of 6% hydrogen peroxide,” we had heated our solutions to a boil and were slowly pouring in the hydrogen peroxide. Yes, that’s the same stuff we use to clean our cuts. As I poured the first few drops into the solution, it frothed, bubbled and made an angry hissing sound. “Oh my god,” exclaimed my lab partner, “it’s just like potions!”
While it’s sometimes hard to find fun in our 8 a.m. lectures, the sheer enjoyment (and Harry Potter comparisons) of chem lab makes it all worth it.
October 31, 2013
This week in my philosophy class, we took quite an interesting spin: We wrote law briefs. You know those things that I guess lawyers use when they are looking at cases? Yeah, I had to write one of those. Roe vs. Wade was my choice of topic.
I’ve always thought something about the law. On a very basic level, lawyers go to court, and they want to win. No one wants to lose, especially when your life sentence is on the line.
After reading the case I have to say that I think otherwise, and for good reason.
For me, Roe vs. Wade was about more than going to court and winning. It was about formulating an argument and bringing to light issues about law and society. I was able to identify and formulate both sides of the argument, which to me is really cool problem solving.
Don’t get me wrong: I love science...I don’t plan on changing that perspective. In the back of my mind now I think about the question “can I integrate this science perspective into law?” Soon, I plan on talking with a pre-law adviser about what types of classes I should think about taking, and how I should go about possibly self-designing a major. This all developed from me writing one brief, but you better watch out; I’m very competitive.
October 30, 2013
As a sophomore, I did not think I’d already have to be considering what my senior thesis might be.
However, when you are applying to the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment (GNCE,) part of your application mandates a proposed thesis or senior project.
This means thinking about my future A LOT.
Thankfully I am a future-oriented person who knows what she wants to do with her life. But all of those ideas only existed in my head, and putting them down on paper with a plan for the next two and half years of college are solidifying them in a way that is a little intimidating.
On a optimistic note, you can’t say that college is not preparing students for the future, since through this process I have thought seriously about long-term goals, have had to prepare for interviews, reached out to superiors and learned how to craft a serious proposal. These are all skills you need to have in the world after college.
One of the great aspects of GNCE is that not all of the students in it are environmental majors. There are chemistry, anthropology, philosophy, even English majors, and all want to connect the environment to their major or interest.
Applying to the Goodwin-Niering Center is a great example of what most of what extracurriculars at Conn are like; a lot of hard work, but all in preparation for opportunities you would not have access to anywhere else.
October 29, 2013
Pictured is Wai Ying Zhao, a senior art major here at Connecticut College working late night on an installation piece for our construction and installation class. You can find students just like Wai Ying in Cummings Arts Center working on projects at all hours of the day. We make jokes about “living” in Cummings and having a bed installed somewhere for each of us because we actually spend more time in Cummings than we do in our own rooms... it’s like our second home. The great thing about Cummings is that the building is accessible to art students 24/7, meaning we can work as late as we’d like.
October 29, 2013
What role do designers play in social movements? I dashed from my cross-country meet to hear Lee Davis ’88 give an answer.
Davis majored in studio art and his passion for design has led him around the world and through various careers. He studied alongside design gurus in Switzerland and Japan through a Thomas J. Watson fellowship, worked as a graphic designer for CARE (a humanitarian organization which fights global poverty), co-founded NESsT (a business which stabilizes and grows social enterprises), and traveled to Eastern Europe to conduct projects related to NESsT.
Davis now works as a Fellow at Yale School of Management and as a scholar-in-residence in the Center for Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). At MICA, his students design for social causes such as the urban Real Food Farm of Baltimore, which improves residents’ access to healthy food and boosts Baltimore’s local economy.
He flashed us photos of their flashy work: a decorated vegetable truck that brings produce to the people, gorgeous graphic logos, top-notch t-shirts.
Evidently, design brings social causes into view; design sets them ablaze. If I learned anything else from Davis’s presentation, it’s the value of a versatile liberal arts degree to give its holders freedom to enter (and — as Davis has done — combine!) various fields. Before we left, he fed us more explicit design-related wisdom: “Increase the size of the Connecticut College diploma.” The diploma design must, after all, reflect the quality of the degree.