Abby’s Campus Journal

Clouds

With the new season come midterms, unfortunately. This time around doesn’t look to daunting, though. All of mine are pretty spread out, one began last week and my last one ends on the 14th. I’m not too nervous. For most of my classes this semester, if you’ve kept up with the reading, and have participated in class, you’re good to go. You already know all you need to know. That being said, I’m still studying pretty hard. Better safe than sorry! I’m giving myself plenty of time to write the essays I have due, and plan on starting to study for the one on the 14th sometime this week. Last time we had midterms, they were terrifying. I had never had a college exam before, and I didn’t really have that great of a grasp on how and when to study for them. I stressed myself out. This time I understand how it works. I know how much attention I need to pay each class.

A great thing that has been distracting me from freaking out about the midterms is gamelan. We have a concert tomorrow that everyone in the Lewis & Clark area should come see! I’m finding that the little things, like singing with the gamelan, or finding time to read books that are NOT for class, are keeping me sane. Everyone here is feeling the same amount of pressure, and it isn’t insurmountable, you just have to know how to handle it.

I was talking to my dad a couple days ago and relaying this information to him when he laughed and said “Isn’t it great! You have it figured out, that’s a huge accomplishment!” He told me to be proud that I knew how to deal with the assignments coming up. I responded that that was silly, that it’s just something that you have to learn if you want to keep your anxiety levels to a safe degree, but now I am beginning to see what he said. If I compare what I knew when midterms came around the first time, with what I know now, it would be ridiculous. I’ve learned so much, and I am kind of proud. I’m accomplishing some major things, and that’s what college is for, right?

5 March 2012 one comment so far »

Spring(ing)?

Could it be the beginning of spring? Was the groundhog incorrect in saying that we had six more weeks of winter? Because it really is starting to look to like spring around here. At home, there’s a town called Silver Spring, and there are a bunch of banners all around it that say “Silver Spring has Sprung!” It’s all I can think about now.

Someone (terrific RAs?) planted a bunch of crocuses outside Platt about a month ago, and they are getting to be so big. They’re going to bloom soon, and when they do I will officially declare it spring. It’s been so nice here recently that it’s a bit difficult to remind yourself that it is only March—and early March for that matter.

Disregarding the snow last week, it has been super warm around here. This weekend was so mild that I didn’t bother putting on a jacket at all. I even wore sunglasses on Sunday! It was crazy. Today started out a bit dreary, beginning in the 40s with grey rain, but by three the sun was out! I hope this becomes a trend. If I decide to trust my computer’s weather report, it is! Although, you have to disregard the snow (yet again) that is supposed to come tonight, and focus more on the 60+ it’s supposed to be on Thursday! So exciting!

I hope the weather stays this great for my birthday, which is coming up on Sunday. I’m super excited, not just to turn nineteen, but for Sunburn!

Sunburn is the music festival that our radio station, KLC, puts on every spring. I have heard the best things about it, and this year seems like it, too, will be amazing. This year we have Gogol Bordello, GZA, and The Thermals coming to Pamplin, right on campus. It’s going to be so great! And it’s the night before my birthday! If all goes as planned, a member of Wu-Tang will sing me ‘Happy Birthday.’ Let’s make this happen, people.

As happy as I am to be turning nineteen, the number just sounds so weird to me. Eighteen was obviously important, you get to vote, buy cigarettes, and rent a port-a-potty, but happens at nineteen? I suppose you’re just one year closer to being an actual adult—living on your own, having a family. Yeesh. Now I’m psyching myself out. I guess I’ll find out what it means soon enough. No need to stress, right? Instead I think I’ll concentrate on listening to the birds rejoice about the blue skies.

5 March 2012 Comments Off on Spring(ing)?

Gamelan Ramblings and a New Face

I just got back from my Portland Community Gamelan rehearsal, and I cannot put into words how lucky I feel to live here. I’ve written about gamelan before, but now that I am out of the beginner class and into the real world group, it’s completely different. We get to sing, for example!

When my friend Sophie and I were in the class, we were also in choir, so we really focused on getting to know the instruments. Since there were only five people in the class, we got to try out every instrument, from the gong to the pelog. There weren’t enough people to sing, even. Now though, there are about fifteen adults from all over Portland who know the instruments much better than we do, so we are attempting to sing.

The singing is not the same as European singing, and the music is ten times as confusing as even the bass clef. But we’re learning! It’s all in traditional Javanese, which is really interesting. ‘G’s are always hard and ‘C’s are always pronounced “ch,” but there are so many more nuances that I don’t know. I try to listen to the people around me for pronunciation.

Today was an exceptionally busy day because I had a prospective student stay overnight in my dorm last night! It was my first time being an Overnight Host, and it was really fun. Obviously, I love talking about what I love about Lewis & Clark, and doing it in person is great! It was a Tuesday night, so not much was happening on campus, but we went to Fred Meyer (almost downtown!) and Maggie’s, and we went to the different dorms to say hi to my friends. The best part was getting to know her, though. The people made the difference for me when I was staying overnight, and I wanted to make sure that she got a good feel of the students that make up Lewis & Clark. She would definitely fit in. She had intelligent things to say and was always able to contribute to the conversation, even if it was about School of Rock, which, let’s face it, it almost always is. By the end of the night I was proud of Admissions for accepting such a great person! There was a mishap this morning, and my alarm didn’t go off. My prospective woke me up at 8.30, when we were supposed to go to the Dovecote and get coffee before she left, and I am so thankful for that. If she hadn’t woken me up, I probably would have slept through my 10.20, and that would have been awful. Thankfully, we made it to the Dovecote (in the pouring rain) and were able to sit for a bit before I had to drop her off at the Manor House. In my opinion, a successful visit. Although I still feel bad about not waking up when I wanted to!

Busy days are great, because you feel like you’re really doing something with your life, as silly as that may sound. I liked running to the Dovecote in the rain this morning because it wasn’t something that I usually do (or ever do). It was exciting! Hopefully, there will be more days like this to come!

 

Abby

 

22 February 2012 one comment so far »

Collegiate Craziness (In a Good Way)

These few weeks have been so crazy. I thought that second semester would be a little more calm, since I finally have gotten used to being at college, but as it turns out, as social situations get easier, work gets a little more intense!

Not that I’m complaining. I like having so much work, because it feels like I really am getting the education that I paid for. If I had too much free time I might get a little antsy.

My first big assignments have been due in all of my classes, which is great and exciting, but also a little terrifying. I had an abnormal psychology test, which I was really nervous for. I know the material, and I knew that, but there was just so much of it—five chapters from the textbook, about six case studies, and pages and pages of lecture notes. Luckily, I started studying early, and the night before was not as stressful as it could have been. I felt confident during the test, especially the essay section (I’ve never been great with multiple choice, even when I know the answer I tend to freak myself out), and ended up doing pretty well! I declare it a success. The work in the class has been getting progressively harder, but that’s to be expected. We’re finally out of the history of mental illness section and into actual disorders. Honestly, that course is so enthralling that I can’t wait until the next class.

My first E&D essay was due about a week ago. I finished it on time and everything, but I was not super confident in my work. I just didn’t feel like the material jelled well. Academic writers block is the worst, because you actually have a deadline, and you actually don’t have anything coherent to say. Thankfully, because the class I’m taking is writing-oriented, we were able to redo the essay. My second draft ended up being a completely different paper, and that is all thanks to my professor. I always take “talking it out” for granted, but it helps so much. When I was able to articulate what I was really interested in, a paper kind of formed on its own. It was much easier to write it because I had a clear view of what I wanted to argue. I wish every paper came that easily. Now that I’m back into the essay-writing flow, hopefully the one that I have due on Monday will be even better than the last! Fingers crossed.

I also had a French test, which wasn’t that bad. Since I took French last semester, I already knew what to expect. However, this semester we have culture presentations, which is something completely new to me. I have never presented anything in French in my life; we didn’t touch on it at all last semester. It was really daunting, and I practiced what I had to say for about an hour this morning, and had to give the presentation this afternoon. It really wasn’t that bad. I know I mispronounced more than a few words, but my professor didn’t ask any questions after, which leads me to believe that I didn’t leave anything necessary out. Again, fingers crossed.

It’s helpful to dissect all of these big assignments, because it can feel incredibly overwhelming to look at your planner and see all of work you have to do. But when you sort it out day by day (or, you know, write it in a blog) it becomes completely manageable.

I still have a lot due before Spring Break, which starts on March 24th, including three papers and two midterms, but I know that it’ll work out. I’ll keep you all updated!

 

Abby

 

 

 

22 February 2012 one comment so far »

(Every) Other Days

Hey guys!

So, I have explained (in great detail) what my Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are like, but I haven’t said anything about Tuesdays and Thursdays!

I really treasure my Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I feel especially like I am getting the ultimate small liberal arts experience on those days. This is because I only have one class, at 9:40 in the morning. It has five people, including me. And all we do is read Charles Dickens.

I feel incredibly lucky to be taking this class this particular year and semester, because just yesterday was good ole Chuck’s bicentennial! The big 2-0-0! Lewis & Clark, and many other places around the world, had a big celebration for the venerable author, including, of course, a birthday cake with his face on it and readings from his greatest works. The room was packed, and many had to stand, but it was worth it. The great energy really reinforced my desire to be an English major; the department is just so cool—in the most dorky, English major-y sense of the word. Which I love!

Although we have only had 6 classes, we have already read a book, Our Mutual Friend, which was Dickens’ last completed work. The very last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was unfinished when Dickens died of a stroke in 1870. It’s so unfinished, in fact, that it ends in the middle of a sentence. When read out loud, as it was last night, it’s pretty spooky.

Our Mutual Friend was my first Dickens novel; I attempted to read David Copperfield when I was younger, but it just did not work for me. Thankfully, I have grown since then, and really loved Our Mutual Friend. It astounded me that the plot continued to twist and turn 600 pages in. Dickens, it turns out, is somewhat of a master.

In our hour and a half class, we discuss the novels and also learn a bit of history. I think it’s really great that it is set up like this, for context is key. We are also reading a biography of Dickens, by Tomalin, which also helps with context. The discussions we have are wonderful, and everyone participates—necessary because of our size.

After class, I usually go to the library to do work for my other classes, and I stay there until dinner. Tuesday and Thursday nights are pretty eventful, so I try to get most or all of my work done before I leave for dinner.

At 6.30 or 7 I go to a movie. They are required not only for my E&D class, but also for my French class. For E&D, we watch Westerns. There are two down, and six more to go, including No Country for Old Men, Brokeback Mountain, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. For French, there is no set genre—we watch great, French movies!

Although I really enjoy going to those events, they do take up a lot of time, and I find myself pretty exhausted by the time I get back to my room. Luckily, I’m usually done with my work and can read Dickens or fall asleep watching Netflix: two of my favorite things to do!

8 February 2012 Comments Off on (Every) Other Days

New Leaves

Well, I think it’s safe to say that break is over. And has been for a while.

I suppose it’s now only becoming apparent to me because I’ve gotten into a routine here.  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, my first class is at 10.20, which means I get to wake up at 9 and have over an hour to make coffee, listen to NPR and eat all the bagels that I could ever dream of. My roommate has 8 AMs on Mondays and Wednesdays, (sculpture, though, so it’s fun!) which means that I get the room to myself when I wake up. As much as I love having my roommate around, and I do, really, it’s nice to have a moment to yourself, especially when waking up. It always takes me a few seconds to think about my surroundings, and it’s easier to do so without another person in the room.

I leave for Abnormal Psychology at around 10.08, which gives me a lot of time to get to class, I know, but for this class you need it. Abnormal Psych is a popular class—the only reason I was able to get in is because I signed up for during priority registration, when the freshmen get to pick one class before all the other grades get the chance. Because it’s so popular, though, it’s jam-packed. Now, in liberal arts terms, “jam-packed” really means that there are only 28-31 people in the class, but it’s still a squeeze. To get a good seat, you have to be there by 10.15. To get any seat, you have to be there by 10.17. Everyday there are one or two kids who come in around 10.20 and have to sit on the floor.

This class is so worth it, though. When I used to daydream about college, I always imagined a class like it: An intelligent professor lecturing on incredibly interesting subject matter to intelligent students. When the professor asks a question, there aren’t any awkward silences or shrugged shoulders. Everyone is prepared. It’s great to be in a class where everyone cares just as much as you do.

After Abnormal Psych I have a one-hour gap, in which I usually peruse Netflix. When I’m feeling a bit more scholarly, though, I (attempt to) do extra reading, or look through the Times.

And then it’s on to French! This semester, I have high hopes for French. Now that I know the basic basics of the language, maybe I can begin to appreciate it more. I don’t really have the best track record for learning languages, but I remain eternally hopeful!

My last class of the day is E&D, which is turning out to be really great. I chose a topic that I am not too excited about, the West, because of the class’s focus on writing. The professor is from the English department, and she really really wants us to become better writers. Now that I have my first paper back, I can tell how seriously she takes writing. Although I did not do as well on this paper as I had hoped, we are required, that’s right, required, as in, it’s part of our grade, to meet with her eight times over the semester, so I know that she will take a big chunk of her time to help me through it, and ultimately help me become a better writer.

All in all, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are a bit busy, but not in a terrible way. I feel as though I am constantly learning, constantly pushing myself. And that’s what college is all about, right?

 

P.S. Everyone should watch the Kristen Bell video linked on Grayson’s update. I live for Veronica Mars, and therefore, every single thing that Kristen Bell does. Also, it’s just great.

6 February 2012 one comment so far »