Since college students leave for break in the middle of December and before we leave we have finals, the holidays get celebrated at the beginning of the month.
Once everyone returned from Thanksgiving Break, it was time to break out the Christmas decorations and prepare for the holidays. This year, one of my roommate’s mom gave us a wreath to hang up. We also have Christmas lights strung everywhere. To decorate the walls, we attempted to wallpaper with wrapping paper, but gave up only half way down the hall. Of course we also have mistletoe hanging in the door frame in between our kitchen and living room.
It is fun to see how other apartments decorate as well. Some people hang stockings, some put up small trees, and some have holiday themed window clings. It is easy to get in the spirit when everywhere you turn there are decorations or someone talking about the holidays.
This year, my apartment even made little holiday cards to send to our family and friends. We took the pictures while we were dressed up for a Christmas party we were attending. My roommate then picstiched them together on her phone and this is what we came up with:
Happy Holidays from my apartment!
So last week I participated in one of my favorite events on campus, which is a show promoting sexual health education. Strangely this was actually tying in with what I am talking about in my history class and the sexual revolution. That’s beside the point, this has always been my favorite show on campus. Pretty much the premise is that a bunch of students get together and write pieces to promote talking about sex (one girl wrote one about the experience of having a big butt) and then share them to an audience. The proceeds all go to the Rape Crisis Center.
This year was particularly exciting because for the first time I am IN the show instead of watching it. I was a little nervous at first, but it helped to remind myself that this, in fact, is really important to me and has been for a long time. When I was in High School I was in a club called sexual health awareness educators (SHAE) and I feel that sex education truly is an important thing. I have always felt that way, and I don’t think people should stop being educated once they reach college.
The show is fantastic, and when I stared out into the crown I realized my nerves did not stop the fact that I was passionate about what I was doing. I am glad that I got over my stage fright and decided to participate in this show, and I am proud of the fact that I wrote my own piece. I will miss participating in organizations like this, but the show reminded me of a passion I had forgotten about, and I am glad I tried it out before graduation.
So the semester is ending very quickly now, the last week of classes is upon us and people all around campus are preparing presentations, finishing up final papers, and working hard to wrap up their classes for the semester. A lot of these have already happened for me, although I still have a few assignments to go, but it is nice to have a chance to breath a little. However, as we enter this last hectic week, I guess I just want to reflect on the semester that will soon be behind me.
A lot of things of happened this semester with me and I am really grateful for the people around me – I had a few issues with health and my professors and friends were wonderfully supportive and now that I am feeling better I can’t wait for the semester ahead. This semester really has made me realize how much the people in my life mean to me and how much we all rely on each other to do well here. I mean, yes, everyone is accountable for their own work, but sometimes it is easy to forget how much your friends and your teachers really do for you.
When my appendix burst, I acted foolishly. I knew I was in a lot of pain and that I was very ill, but I don’t like hospitals and I decided to just try and push through. If my friends had not been paying attention, I very likely would have died and that is a really hard thought for me. It didn’t occur to me that it could be anything serious, it was just a flu as far as I was concerned. My own stubbornness caused me to lose more time in classes and such because normally it is a simple procedure but the time I spent arguing against going to the hospital complicated matters. My friends saved me and they helped me as I struggled to get caught up in my classes and to balance recovering from surgery and working. Even now, they still don’t like to let me lift heavy things or go to long without sitting down even though I feel fine. This semester truly has shown me how important all the people here are to me and how much I love being here because without my friends and my teachers, I would not be near as well off as I am now. So, I guess my point with this is, while I have learned so much in my classes this semester; I have also learned a lot of myself and the people here that I will always treasure.
What’s one way to reduce some of the insanity that comes along with the week before finals? Drop everything you’re doing and go to Denny’s in the middle of the night!
This evening I found myself feeling cabin-feverish and unmotivated to do even more work. So when some of my friends showed up to my suite saying that they wanted to go to Denny’s, I was all on board for it. I needed to get out of my room and enjoy myself a little, and a lot of the rest of us did too. In the 20 minutes before we left, I banged out 3/4 of a page of the paper I’m currently working on so I could sort of justify such an outing.
Since the epic trek to Denny’s was made by foot, my friend Sam (who’s taking a class called The Hero’s Journey with me) and I decided that it would be our own hero’s journey for tonight. After all, we had to cross a highway in order to get there. (Luckily, at one in the morning, there aren’t many cars, which makes crossing relatively safe if you remain alert and aware of your surroundings.) I also joked that he should do his creative project for The Hero’s Journey on our trip to Denny’s.
I think Sam and I must have been on to something, for when we and the other seven members of our group got to Denny’s we were greeted with The Hobbit-themed menus that said “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” on the front. This made my friends happy, since they’re Lord of the Rings fans and watched a couple of the movies last night in preparation for The Hobbit‘s release in theaters next week.
I ordered some pumpkin pancakes that were special to the Hobbit menu as a part of a Grand Slam, which gave me enough food to heat up and enjoy over the next few days when finals hunger gets the best of me. (Finals hunger is very real, and if not controlled appropriately, can be very fattening.)
Like all heroic journeys, my journey to Denny’s had to end with my return to my home “world” of McDaniel. Though my trek took two hours out of my late-night that would have otherwise been spent doing homework (incidentally for The Hero’s Journey), I’m actually feeling a lot more sane than I had been earlier this evening. Thank goodness for good friends and 24-hour restaurants!
On Thursday and Friday nights, the student group Genitales put on their annual production of “Tales from the Clit,” a student-written monologue show about female sexuality. Students spent this past semester perfecting rants, thought-provoking arguments, and anecdotes exploring themes from busty girls buying bras to lazy boyfriends.
Dr. Raley, a sociology professor and advisor to the club, opened the night with a speech condemning series like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey due to their poor writing and badly developed characters. Hers was one of my favorite monologues, but I also really appreciated the ones written by men. A friend of mine wrote about the concept of applying the word “slut” to males, for example. Another guy wrote about how liquid courage can turn to liquid doubt and shared an anecdote about messing up with an old friend he wanted to hook up with when he drank too much.
A similar show, “Cocktales”, occurs each spring and explores sexuality from the men’s perspective. I try to attend the shows each semester as the profits go to charity (this semester it was the Rape Crisis Center) and I always get a good laugh. Throughout my time at McDaniel, some of my favorite performances have included a rap called “We’re Just Alright” about being average in bed, a piece about lesbian stereotypes in which the performer had her friend model each stereotype that she detailed, and a rant about how bizarre and worthless the advice from Cosmo can be.
Interested in learning more? Check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Genitales/516382758391060?fref=ts
This semester has been crazy. But I guess you could say that about pretty much every semester after freshman year in my case… The fact that we only have two weeks of school left before winter break is both really exciting, and intimidating. Exciting for the obvious fact that I can not WAIT to be done with end of the year exams, compositions and evaluations. Terrifying and intimidating because that is such a small amount of time to get everything done that I need to. Plus, there that’s added factor of being a senior, which means that this is my final fall semester at McDaniel-ever. Eek.
Luckily I have some great friends reminding me to take breaks- whether by going into Baltimore on a Friday night, or having a Harry-Potter themed party (See Clara’s post!). It’s nice to be able to take a break, as long as you don’t take too many! Let’s see whether or not I actually follow that advice…
In other fun news, today was a baking day with members of Advocacy Team! I’ve mentioned my club before- we do events on human justice issues like hunger, poverty, AIDS and malaria. Next Monday through Wednesday we’re holding a bake sale to continue raising money to fund the entrepreneur we’re sponsoring in Cambodia- a woman named Rath. The micro loan is $350, and will let her hire more laborers for her farm and purchase fertilizers and pesticides to increase her income and thus raise her standard of living and allow her to send her children to school! So far, we have $275, so we’re really close- only $75 left!
So, after fundraising through an open-mic night, film screenings, and an improv show, our next go is a bake sale! Today four of us got together in my kitchen and made a bunch of delicious goodies to sell: peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, brownies and butterscotch chews. They smell so good that if other people don’t buy them, we may have to! Here’s to next week. As long as I can survive the workload of the weekend, the bake sale will be a fun event that our club can do together for a good cause. If you want some tasty desserts, come visit us outside the dinning hall Monday through Wednesday around lunch time!
So, on Thursday, the school held a fall fest in the evening in Ensor Lounge – a common event space on campus. There were staff members from a lot of the different there who were helping out and it was really crowded when I arrived about 20 minutes after it opened. There were all kinds of different things going on – I was actually impressed by the number of events they were able to hold in the space they had. The students I saw all seemed to be having a really great time and it was definitely a good event.
One of the best things about it was that there were all kinds of free snack foods. They had a popcorn machine, cotton candy, caramel apples, and more. They also had “MockTails” for students to drink based on actual cocktail drinks that people can by. No alcohol, of course, but the drinks were really good. There was also a pie eating contest for people to watch and participate in if they wanted to. One of my friends, Adrian, was a part of it and his face was covered in whipped cream.
There were also a lot of small events to take part in. There was an apples to apples game, there was a ball toss that you could win a free goldfish, and more. There was also a station to make friendship bracelets, holiday ornaments, and much more. There were also raffles for gift cards and also a nook at 8:00. The event as a whole was a lot of fun and I definitely hope the school does something like it again.
At the end of your time at McDaniel, you will be required to do some sort of project that will culminate your experience here. For English majors, this means a 20-25 page research paper that analyzes some sort of literature. At the end, we also have to give a 20 minute presentation to our fellow classmates, some of the professors from the English department, and whoever else shows up!
I chose to write my Senior Seminar on two Holocaust Memoirs-Night and Survival in Auschwitz If This is a Man. While this has been a very depressing topic to study for the last five months, it was very interesting. I studied the stylistic differences in these two Holocaust Memoirs and compared the effects that they had on the reader’s interpretations of the text. I started my research over the summer, which was hard for me to make myself do, since I was really enjoying my time off from school. However, once I got to school and already had my research question and some of my sources, it made starting my paper a lot easier. My professor made us all write five pages a week so that we would not get too far behind. We met with her every week to go over what we had written, which was very helpful, since we knew whether or not we were on the right track. Throughout the entire semester, I spent many late nights reading sources, writing down my thoughts, and researching some more. Rhonda, a librarian at Hoover Library, was so helpful! I went in and told her my topic and she was able to give me a ton of information to start with!
While I’m glad that I have officially turned in my paper and that my presentation is over, my life feels a little empty without it. The last two weeks of school are going to be so much easier now that one of my classes is already over. I feel very proud of myself for getting through this task, since it was the longest paper I’ve ever written. It helped that I was able to write on a topic that I was interested in already, because then my topic did not get boring to me. Many people will tell you that Senior Seminar is something to dread, but the satisfaction of a job well-done when you turn it in is a fantastic feeling!
So much technology! Our final project for my Multimedia Authoring class is very intensive but so awesome at the same time.
In addition to coding our own website and portal pages, we are also required to code an additional site that will be linked to a scan-able QR code. That site is going to critique an item so the code will be next to it. I decided to critique the layout and design of Glar, our dining hall, so my poster with the code is going to go on the bulletin board right outside of it.
Both of these projects require an insane amount of coding with HTML and CSS. I am so proud of myself to have learned the basics and a little more in just a few short weeks. It is definitely addicting and a skill that I think will be useful in the future.
Besides using our books and tutorials online, my professor was a HUGE help, holding a bunch of class workshops, hours in the computer lab outside of class time, and even coming to campus to help us on Saturdays.
While extremely time consuming, the website I created is going to be something I can use for life. I plan on modifying my site slightly and making it a place where I can put links to my work online and even my resume for future employers.
I would recommend this class to anyone who is interested in learning the basics of coding or to anyone who is just looking for a fun class to expand their knowledge of multimedia. There is a second version of this course, which I am so disappointed does not fit into my schedule for the spring. I wish Dr. Muhlhauser had come here to teach earlier in my undergraduate years!