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.
March 6, 2014
One afternoon a few days ago, the Peer Educators Empowering Positive Self ("PEeps") were handing out free cupcakes in Cro in exchange for a quick survey. PEeeps are students on campus that are committed to promoting healthy choices and creating innovative educational programs that meet the needs of their peers based on issues faced by Connecticut College students. Topics include stress reduction, alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, sexual health, nutrition, fitness and sports performance.
March 5, 2014
When I was visiting colleges a tour guide asked, “Who plans on studying abroad?” my hand always flew into the air. This goal has stayed with me through college, and, after a nail biting two-week wait, I recently found out that I’ve been approved to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh.
Next step? Actually going about the process of applying to the program. This involves getting a visa, making travel arrangements and submitting additional personal statements and letters of recommendation.
It was only when my mother said, “Great, now I can plan my trip to Scotland to visit you,” did the realization that I am about to live in another country by myself actually hit me.
Even though I am slightly nervous, my head is full of plans to travel around the Scottish countryside, visit other European countries, and have an international academic experience, all while having A LOT of fun. I can’t wait.
March 4, 2014
Sometimes we forget how much of our studies in the classroom relate to what’s happening on campus or in the world around us. My English class, for instance, has been analyzing different themes in Homer’s The Odyssey. We have discussed the role of violence in the text; whether or not Odysseus, the main character, is truly a hero in our modern sense of the word; and how Homer often creates stories within the epic work. Coincidentally, it seems, at the same time we’ve been reading The Odyssey, there have been several lectures on campus that relate to the exact themes and ideas we have been researching. Our professor suggested that we go to the lectures to see how what we learn in class applies to the world.
This past week, there were at least three lectures that correlated to our class. These lectures included topics like poetry interpretation, Ancient Greek education and violence in the Roman Arena. Having so many ways to explore what we have learned in the classroom encourages more active learning. We can experience the very things we have been discussing. It's always really cool when a lecture relates to my coursework. It allows us as students to see the application of that which we have learned.
March 3, 2014
For the first time in a very, very long time, I auditioned to be a cast member of a school production. In this case, it was Connecticut College's production of "The Vagina Monologues." The show comes together in less than a week, making the experience tiring, exciting, but most of all, incredibly rewarding. It all manages to come together in the days leading up to the show.
February 28, 2014
It was a big week for the arts at Conn! The winter musical, "On The Town," was performed in Palmer Auditorium with a full orchestra.
February 28, 2014
In high school, it can be very easy to tell your peers apart by their various ages. In college, I have realized, even if you know the ages of your peers, it is very easy to forget.
College life isn't determined by class year. Students of all years will be in your 9 a.m. class or in your 4:30 p.m. practice, and often, they become close friends.
Rarely do you realize the person from your science class who you eat lunch with might actually be two class years above you. The person who agreed with your point during that club meeting is actually a senior, but you both share similar interests and experiences.
The beautiful thing about college is that the friends you make are not dependent on your age. You share moments, develop bonds, and create friendships based on similarities. Friendships originate from a shared love of animal rights or a good lab experience. College let's you explore your interests, and it brings you near the people who want to explore, too.
February 27, 2014
Finding time to read in college is hard.
Between classes, extracurricular events and relaxing with friends, finding time to yourself that isn’t devoted to homework is a rarity. I have realized that going to dining halls or campus cafés during odd hours can be the perfect way to find some peace and quiet. There are fewer people, fewer distractions and it’s usually a time in the day not already set aside for other activities.
My time to read is after my 2:05 class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I don’t read every day, usually because I have homework to do before track practice, but if there are no pressing assignments, I enjoy going to Harris and sitting in a booth. With tea and a cookie, it’s my time to relax and read.
In my classes and clubs, I’m studying intense, scholarly works. Sometimes my brain just needs a break, I’ve realized, so my personal reading is not always advanced literary masterpieces. Sometimes, it’s just young adult fiction. My current book? “Divergent,” by Veronica Roth. For those of you like me, with busy schedules and brains in need of a rest, I highly recommend it.
February 26, 2014
On Friday night (and then twice on Saturday), more than 100 students performed Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”. Many had never set foot on stage before. Their black and red-accented outfits ranged from sexy to sporty, and all participants added to the spirit of female empowerment. Monologues answered such bold questions as, “What would your vagina wear?” (a sundress) and “What would you call your vagina?” (“The Camel Van” got laughs.) I applaud those who had the courage to be on stage, speaking honestly and openly. As Sara Bareilles’ fitting song, “Brave,” bumped, performers bowed, and we gave them a standing ovation.
February 26, 2014
Last week, I attended a question and answer session in Coffee Grounds with President Katherine Bergeron. President Bergeron even turned the tables and took the time to ask students about campus life and what they hope to see at the college.