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November 2014
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Acts of Positivity

I found this cute message from Alpha Phi Omega sitting on a water fountain in Hill Hall.

I found this cute message from Alpha Phi Omega sitting on a water fountain in Hill Hall.

One thing that I’ll miss about McDaniel when I graduate in May is that the Hill is generally a really friendly place. I’m always likely to be greeted with a warm and familiar smile on my way to wherever I go, and some people on campus make it a point to spread positivity to whoever they can.

One of my favorite groups that promotes positivity is the McDaniel Compliments Facebook page. Using Facebook’s messaging feature, students can anonymously submit compliments and other kind messages addressed to other students and groups on campus. These messages are reviewed by an anonymous group of students who oversee the page. I make it a point to submit compliments to McDaniel Compliments at least every so often, and it’s rewarding to see the spotlight on the person receiving the compliment, not the person giving it. However, the people giving compliments aren’t unrewarded — the McDaniel Compliments admins make sure that they respond to every message received with a Facebook sticker.

Recently, McDaniel’s co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega also did their part to spread some joy. They wrote out encouraging messages on pretty paper and sprinkled them around Hill Hall for everyone to enjoy — and I certainly enjoyed them!

Other positive groups on campus include the Happiness Club, which was recently formed by some of my friends. They do all sorts of activities, which have included creating encouraging messages and fun drawings all over Red Square with sidewalk chalk and volunteering at a local cat sanctuary. And on Halloween, lots of Happiness Club members dressed up and handed out candy in Red Square — which was happy and delicious!

Sometimes, I like to engage in random acts of positivity of my own. Recently, I’ve developed the habit on writing encouraging messages on whatever chalkboard or whiteboard is near me when I’m doing work in the library. This way, I have a message remind myself to stay upbeat, and I leave some positivity behind for the next person to find and appreciate. I should really start doing this more — maybe it will catch on!

Spanish Senior Capstone

 Nancy Morejón

I wrote my Spanish capstone paper on the works of Afro-Cuban poet Nancy Morejón. 

As we are nearing the end of the semester, life on campus is getting pretty hectic. Everyone is working on projects, presentations, and papers that we need to turn in before Thanksgiving break. Needless to say, we are all really busy.

I luckily have finished my first draft of my Senior Capstone. For Spanish, you have to take the Capstone course, which is on a specific topic. My Capstone is about literature written by Latin American women. It has a lot of feminist themes in it, and it talks a lot about it what is like to be a woman in different countries in Latin America.

Because the theme for the class is Latin American woman, we all had to write a fifteen-page paper in Spanish about a work by a Latina American female author. I choose Nancy Morejón who is a Afro-Cuban poet. The theme I chose to analyze was how she uses the past to inspire revolution in the future.

While it has been extremely difficult, this project has taught me so much! I learned a lot about how I feel about feminism and about how women in other countries think about themselves. It has given me a new perspective on issues that I was already concerned with.

 

Image via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Morejón

Preparing to Present at a Conference

Computer, notes, and mug of tea.

My essentials for writing a paper: computer, notes, and tea (in my Edinburgh Dungeon mug).

One of the wonderful things about sending your ideas to conferences to see if you get to present them is that they usually want an abstract or a proposal and not the entire paper. This, of course, means that it’s really easy to write an abstract about an idea that hasn’t been turned into a paper. For me, that meant focusing on an aspect of an earlier paper, but not having a full paper written about it.

Then I found out I was accepted, and that was, for me, when I was excited, terrified, and panicked. After all, it’s awesome that I get to present at a conference as an undergraduate. On the other hand, I have to speak to strangers, hope the things I say make sense, and actually write the paper.

This occurred last week, so I’ve had plenty of time to relax and simply get to work. It’s not super easy to do on top of my end of the semester work, but so far, it’s been nothing but rewarding. I have a draft done and I’ve settled into excitement about the conference. The two other people from the school going are presenting at different times than I am, so I can watch them present and Dr. Wronski, who has been instrumental in getting us into the conference, can see all three of us.

I know the nerves and panic will kick in at some point, but I’m ready for them, and I know that just means I’m doing something daring, something that requires some courage. To me, that alone is worth it.

For now, I’m going to focus on writing the paper in a way that won’t sound weird when spoken aloud, which means I don’t have to worry about punctuation, not using contractions, and sounding strictly academic. That in itself is a gift. All I can do is take this one step at a time and keep requesting feedback from a professor who is being more helpful than I ever could have expected from anyone.

One of the best things about this conference is that it’s the only thing I’ve done for college that has been within an hour and a half of my house, and I am so happy my family has the opportunity to see  and hear something I’ve done in the last year. I’m almost positive they haven’t read Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Legend of Good Women and might not understand half the paper or more, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they can support me and I have the knowledge that they believe in me.

That in itself eases some of my stress.

International Dinner

 

Cream puffs on a chopstick

Cream puffs on a chopstick

Last night, we had an international dinner in my dorm. Lots of my residents came and tried food from all over the world. We had cream puffs which are a French dessert. We had Chinese and Japanese food as well as beef empanadas. Amusingly, one of my residents took the cream puffs and put them on a chopstick like a kabob.

We also played a game that had fun facts about other cultures. I think it also taught us about our own cultural perspectives. I had tons of fun bonding with them! Being a part of McDaniel College’s Residence Life Staff has been such a great experience for me. I love trying to make McDaniel everyone’s home away from home!

 

Thanksgiving: The Most Special Lunch of the Year

Glar Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey carving station on the porch

There are a handful of events that McDaniel students look forward to when it comes to Glar, our dining hall. Death by Chocolate night is always popular (because chocolate) and late night pancake breakfasts during finals week are always a hit. But I would argue that the most exciting day of the year in Glar is the annual Thanksgiving lunch.

Thanksgiving lunch is always held prior to Thanksgiving break, and it’s a chance for students, staff, and faculty to cram into Glar and eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more. The food is always extra good, and so is the company.

To make room for all of the people, the food is always served on Glar’s “porch” (which is normally filled with seating), and the event has become so popular that on Glar Thanksgiving, faculty now eat in the Forum, a large room not far from Glar.

Glar Thanksgiving Meal

My plate of yummy Thanksgiving joy

 

I made sure I filled my plate with all of my favorite goodies. The turkey was especially good, and now I’m even more excited for the real Thanksgiving dinner that I’ll get to enjoy with my family next week!

But for this week, I was able to enjoy a nice meal with friends I’ve made in Glar this semester. I’m thankful that even as a senior, at McDaniel, I have the opportunity to continue to meet new people and create fun new memories.