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September 2014
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A week in review: My last first week

I have scary news: I’m *gulp* a senior now. So while I certainly had fun this past week, I also found myself thinking way too much about how next year, I won’t have another one of these first weeks of school. But rather than dwell on how sad that is, let’s focus on what was fun about this week, starting with last Saturday.

Saturday, Aug. 23

-All of my friends who weren’t already back on campus moved back in. My guy friends, who are living in a coveted North Village apartment this year, continuously streamed “The Boys Are Back in Town” until all six apartment mates had arrived.

-All of my housemates moved in too. Some of them I know, from having lived with them last year and/or the year before, and some of them are new. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to know the new-to-me housemates a bit better throughout the year.

-Several of my friends and I had Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner to ring in the new school year.

Sunday, Aug. 24

-I spent more time reconnecting with friends and I worked on unpacking things and decorating my room–tasks that after nearly two weeks on the Hill, I still have yet to complete.

-I went to Glar, McDaniel’s dining hall, for the first time this semester to eat dinner with friends.

Monday, Aug. 25

-I had my first and only class of the day, New Media Writing, from 11:30 to 12:30. In this class, I’ll be learning strategies for using social media effectively, and I’ll be responsible for creating my own Tumblr and Twitter about some sort of McDaniel-related “niche.” I think my niche is going to be about coffee–coffee places nearby, ways students make their own coffee on campus, and anything else coffee and McDaniel that I can think of.

-I met with my advisor (who like me, had also happened to decide that a black and white striped shirt was the best thing to wear for the first day of school) to discuss my senior seminar project and other life stuff. I am so grateful for the conversations I get to have with her.

-I briefly went to the annual poster sale on campus. Because I’ve been a college student for a while now, pretty much have all the posters I need, so I didn’t look around for very long. I did, however, treat myself to a magnet of van Gogh’s Starry Night.

-My fellow writing center tutors and I attended our first tutor meeting of the semester, where we discussed tutoring strategies and plans for the semester and had plenty of laughs.

-Because I finished all my reading for New Media Writing relatively early in the day, I spent the evening reading for pleasure, a rare treat during the semester.

A Batman/black cat poster mash-up to promote the annual poster sale, as seen outside Decker College Center in Red Square.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

-At 9:40 a.m., I had Professional Communication, better known as Prof Comm, my first of three classes for the day. Our first assignment was to create LinkedIn profiles for ourselves. I made a LinkedIn profile last year, so this gave me an opportunity to make improvements.

-Immediately after Prof Comm, I went down one flight of stairs to attend my next class, Minds and Language, a class about the philosophy of Language.

-After three straight hours of class, I finally got to eat lunch at 1:00!

-Later in the afternoon, I went to the Richwine Room on the third floor of the library to attend my first class meeting of senior sem.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

-New Media Writing met for the second time. We watched a documentary about technology and its impact on the mind and as a class, we live-tweeted it.

-I spent the afternoon making cupcakes for a friend’s birthday and preparing for the annual Involvement Fair, an evening for all students to dine on hotdogs and hamburgers and find out more information about the dozens of student organizations on campus.

-At 4:00, two other writing tutors and I led students in playing a giant rendition of Bananagrams in Red Square.

-For the next two hours after that, I manned the Involvement Fair table for Contrast, McDaniel’s literary magazine. I had a lot of fun sharing the table with other Free Press editors and spreading the word about both Contrast and the Free Press.

-Soon after the Involvement Fair ended, all of the other Free Press editors and I met in the Free Press Room in Hill Hall to discuss story ideas and plans for this year.

-At 9:00, three of my housemates and I went over to my friend’s apartment to celebrate his birthday with the chocolate cupcakes I had made earlier.

Editors of the Free Press hope to get more students involved with the newspaper during the Involvement Fair.

Thursday, Aug. 28

-I had Prof Comm and Minds and Language once again.

-I went to the first Chicken Tender Thursday of the year for lunch.

-I also had senior sem again. We had a really thought-provoking discussion about New Criticism, a school of literary theory whose techniques are rarely used on their own but now feed into other schools of literary thought.

-My friend Nat and I went to go chat with my advisor. Afterwards, Nat and I went to IHOP for dinner.

Friday, Aug. 29

-My only class of the day, New Media Writing, was my last class of the week! We continued to watch the documentary we had watched on Wednesday and continued to live-tweet our thoughts.

-For lunch, I went to Wieners for Seniors in Red Square, a seniors-only event with free hotdogs.

-In the afternoon, I took a nap and then spent a couple hours in the library finding books by and about Michel Foucault, with the hopes that they’ll help me with my senior sem project.

-After spending some time with the ideas of Foucault, I spent time with my housemates playing cards and watching TV before going to bed.

Student Alumni Council sponsored Wieners for Seniors, providing free hotdogs to all students graduating in December 2014 or May 2015.

Saturday, Aug. 30

-Three-day weekend! Today was a lazy day, but I did get some reading done. Hopefully the next two days of this three-day weekend will be more productive.

Free Press witnesses an Orientation to remember

I’ve been back on the Hill for nearly two weeks now, and boy have I been busy! I got to move in about a week earlier than most students so I could help the McDaniel Free Press, our student newspaper. We got permission to come back early so we could get a jump start on our year and so we could cover First Year Orientation.

Because I’m the web editor for the Free Press this year, much of my work throughout the week consisted of tweeting, making Facebook posts, and putting content on our website, mcdanielfreepress.com. I particularly underestimated how much time I would end up spending on Twitter, writing our own tweets, retweeting others, and finding and following new students–many of whom followed back in turn!

When the first day of Orientation finally arrived, Free Press Orientation team and I set out to first year residence halls with cameras and smartphones so we could take pictures of the day. Between the four of us, we captured hundreds of photos of students moving in, students meeting with their First Year Seminar classes, and Convocation–a ceremony for matriculating students to mark the beginning of their time at college and a ceremony that I had a fun time live-tweeting this year.

Students of the First Year Seminar “Religion and the Earth” meet for the first time before Convocation.

After Convocation, I was all set to take some pictures of students ringing Old Main Bell and saying farewell to their families. Traditionally, new students ring the bell in the afternoon, immediately after Convocation, to symbolize their start at McDaniel College. (When they graduate, they get to ring it again!) However, just as the new first year students were set to leave the gym, it began to rain, so the bell ceremony was postponed to the evening, after the Out of the Darkness, Into the Light candle walk, another ceremony, symbolic of receiving a liberal arts education. It seemed a little sad that parents wouldn’t be able to see their new college students ring the bell. When I was a first year student, my parents got a wonderful picture of me ringing the bell, and it’s something I treasure.

Here I am "ringing in" my time at McDaniel, on my first day of Orientation, back in 2011.

Here I am “ringing in” my time at McDaniel, on my first day of Orientation, back in 2011.

However, things ended up working out this year after all. For the first time ever, McDaniel first year students got to ring the bell at night, and it was a thrill to watch. The evening was beautiful, with the temperature being not too hot and not too cool, and all the students–the first year students ringing in and the peer mentors and RAs cheering them on–were electric, their noise strongly competing with that of the bell.

I enjoyed watching the nighttime bell ringing so much that I wrote a Free Press article about it. Because it’s about such a magical night and because I was able to get some comments from McDaniel’s president, it’s one of my favorite articles I’ve ever written–I hope you’ll read it and experience some of the magic of the night for yourself.

Here’s a student from McDaniel’s new class of 2018 ringing in at night, assisted by McDaniel President Dr. Roger Casey.

Reminiscing About Summer

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On the Beaver Ponds hike, the type of area you come to and never want to leave.

Hey guys!

I’ve been back on campus for three weeks now. Classes have only been back in session since Monday, but I was back two weeks early for training to be an RA (Resident Assistant.) It still feels weird waking up here and not in Yellowstone, where I spent all summer; it feels weird waking up to go to class instead of to work; it feels weird hanging out with friends in rooms instead of while hiking in the wild country.

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The most gorgeous sunsets were always when there were clouds in the sky.

My summer was absolutely incredible, and well needed. I must have hiked over 200 miles, and I think I must have opened my laptop about three times. I went camping a lot and pushed myself to take advantage of every single day. I was working in the gift shop full time, and I really loved getting to talk to guests from all over the country and all over the world. I met one lady from Argentina and told her in Spanish that my Spanish teacher last year is also from there.

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A twenty minute walk away from where I lived and worked.

I definitely kind of fell off the face of the planet at times, but it was amazing to just live in the moment a little and to enjoy the company of those around me. I miss my Yellowstone friends a lot, and it’s funny–I transitioned really well into freshman year, but starting my sophomore year has been a lot harder. It’s been lovely to see my friends here again though; I missed them a ton. And I’m excited for my classes and especially my teachers this coming semester!

Ema

RA Training

Hi there,

This year, I’m lucky enough to be an RA (Resident Assistant) for the College on the 2nd floor of Albert Norman Ward (ANW). As an RA, I help to make my floor a place conducive to fun and learning, and I’m the main point person to deal with any troubles students on my floor may have by keeping administration up to date, submitting work orders, etc. I also get to plan events for my residents.

All 33 of us have been back since August 9th (or August 8th in my case) and we had two weeks of intense training on how to deal with every and any scenario that might come up. There’s no way to be prepared for anything and I’ve learned that one of the most important things is knowing how to be flexible, but after the training and now that I’ve been on “duty,” responsible for doing rounds, handling lock-outs, and ensuring that everything is in order, I’m much more confident in my job for the year. We had a lot of informational sessions and lectures, some roleplaying of scenarios, and practice in planning events. It’s a huge responsibility, but I know I can rely on the other RAs if anything happens.

My residents all seem pretty cool. The best thing about being on duty is keeping my door open all evening and seeing who stops by to chat and say hi. It’s also encouraged people to come and work in my room, and I do love having company while I’m studying or doing homework. I love that we can have that community here. I’m particularly enthralled by my staff–those of us who work in ANW and in Blanche Ward HAlls under the supervision of our area coordinator, Danielle. Below, you can see us smiling happily at the banquet we had at the end of training!

Ema

ra training

Early Move-In

First Year Orientation always begins the Wednesday before classes start, making this year’s Orientation just over a week away! Next Wednesday morning, a few hundred students will arrive at McDaniel College with parents, family members, and other loved ones in tow. By early afternoon, the new first year students will have settled into their new dorm rooms in Whiteford, Rouzer, and Daniel McLea Halls, and after Convocation, a ceremony to welcome the arrival of the new class of students, their families will depart and the real fun–that of their new-found freedom–will begin.

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It’s all hands on deck for first year move-in day! Even McDaniel College President Dr. Roger Casey helps students move into their new digs. I nabbed this shot of him at last year’s move-in day, which I got to take pictures of for McDaniel’s student newspaper, the McDaniel Free Press.

But first year students aren’t the first students to arrive on campus. While it’s true that most sophomores, juniors, and seniors will move back in on the Saturday and Sunday before classes start, lots of lucky students get to move in earlier.

Students on several of McDaniel’s Green Terror sports teams are among the first students to move back to McDaniel before fall semester starts, allowing them ample time for practice. RA’s (resident assistants) also move in a few weeks early so they can receive training and be on hand for when the first year students move in. Peer Mentors, who are older students who serve as peer resources for first year students as part of the First Year Seminar program, also move in early so they too can receive training and be ready to welcome to campus their new “mentees.”

Students in various other organizations can also get permission to move back to the Hill before everyone else. I found out on Thursday that for the second year in a row, I get to be one of them! I’ll be moving back to campus next Monday (one week from today!) so I can reunite with about half of the Free Press editorial staff so we too can welcome the new first year students, taking lots of pictures and providing coverage of Orientation throughout the week.

Having covered Orientation for the Free Press last year, I know this year is going to be a blast. I had such a wonderful time meeting new faces and sharing with them what I love about the Hill.