McDaniel’s delegation representing Ireland.
This past weekend, I went to Washington, D.C. for the Mid-Atlantic region’s Model European Union simulation with ten other students and a professor who teaches the Politics of Europe class. This was my second time participating in the simulation, and I went in with a lot more confidence than I did last year. I felt very prepared to fight for my party’s interests and my country’s interests.
While last year we represented Greece, this year we represented Ireland. I was in the Green party and got to argue about a lot of environmental things. I also knew all of my parliamentary procedure a lot better than last year, so I ran for chair of my committee, and when I lost, raised a lot of points of order to keep things on track. On the final day, I ran for and won vice-president of the Parliament.
I always enjoy getting to hang out with people I don’t generally, so the entire experience would have been fun even without the intellectual simulation. I knew all of the McDaniel students previously except for one, but meeting people from the Mid-Atlantic region was really cool. It’s amazing seeing how much I’ve changed in the past year, too; I’m much less timid! I was really surprised but happy to win the best parliamentarian award for the committee I was in.
Tonight I went to and participated in the Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County’s performance, Baroque Beginnings: From Palestrina to Praetorius. College Choir was featured in the performance, so I got to see the show as well as sing in it. The other choirs sang very well! The Maryland State Boychoir sang some songs we have sung in choir before, so it was nice to hear an all-male take on them.
Maryland State Boychoir
This was the first choral concert I had been to in a while that was not my concert. I forgot how much fun it is to just relax and listen to music. Because it was in Big Baker, the larger of two chapels on campus, the acoustics were amazing! It makes me feel like I’ve been enveloped in the sound. It’s such a cool experience.
The Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County
My favorite part of the concert was actually the organ solo played by Mr. Ted Dix. I had never heard that particular song before. However, the motifs in it are actually in a Disney song that I like, so the song allowed me to make some more musical connections — I always find that fun! Now, I will probably continue to listen to this song while I finish up my studying.
Two fabulous College Choir members!
The concert was awesome, and I cannot wait to see the Masterworks Chorale perform again!
McDaniel College is a beautiful place — and that’s something worth savoring.
On November 6, Dr. Jaime Kurtz from James Madison University came to campus to discuss happiness and savoring college life. She made a lot of interesting points about being mindful of the good things in our lives. After all, people get used to the good things just as they get used to the bad, so we become desensitized to the beautiful views on campus and the attentiveness of the professors, things not everyone has in their college experience.
She suggested that students practice ways to focus on the good things and savor moments. By doing this, their overall happiness level will increase. There will still be ups and downs, of course, but the average happiness score will go up.
I have decided to start implementing one of her ideas. She said to keep a journal and write in it once or twice a week, no more, about things that make you happy. You can choose to narrow the topic down to one thing or to keep it in general terms and write about things that made you happy in the preceding days.
I’ll be starting this journal later today and will be choosing a topic for every entry.
You can do the same exercise with photography, spending 15 minutes or so photographing things you think are beautiful or represent things that make you happy.
One of the things I love about attending McDaniel is that there’s always something going on on campus that is inspirational, makes me think, or gives me the opportunity for growth. I don’t have to go longer than a day without something standing out to me, and every few weeks there’s something that I know will stick with me for a long time. These things come from professors, friends, and strangers, but they’re all useful and go into making me who I am.
This talk was one of those things, and I’m glad I was able to attend. I can’t imagine myself thinking about happiness in exactly the same way again.
To top off an awesome dinner, they let me take cookies home!
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking out of class when one of my teachers from last year hailed me in the hall. She pulled me over and asked me what I was doing that evening. I nervously answered that I had practicum for being a writing fellow and would be done around 6:45. She told me that her family was going to be having lamb for dinner, and that I should come over after practicum and eat with them.
I grew up in New Zealand, where lamb is an extremely popular dish and something that we traditionally do extremely well. Though I hadn’t had this teacher since last fall, she remembered that I had grown up in New Zealand and thought of me when her husband had told her they were having lamb. Teachers like her are the reason I came to McDaniel–they legitimately care, and they are legitimately excited to get to know their students and hear about their lives.
My professor has two daughters who are sweethearts. They’re a lot of fun to talk to, and being daughters of an English teacher, they have great taste in books. The whole family is very genuine and sweet, and I really enjoyed being able to spend time with them.
This weekend trip to Prague marks my last out of the country trip for my fall study abroad experience. The next country I will see will be the United States! Prague is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen- it was a perfect last trip for me. The Student Union organized the transportation, the hostel reservations, and one presentation for students from the college who wanted to attend. There were about twenty of us (a mix of study abroad students and students studying at McDaniel Budapest full time) and it was exciting to travel as a group.
On Friday, we attended an information session presented by Europeum, a think tank dedicated to research on the Visegrad Group, and more specifically, Czech integration in the European Union. This was extremely interesting and I learned a lot more about European organizations as well as different myths and stereotypes about Eastern Europe. After this, we headed to our hostel, where the McDaniel group was able to claim rooms to ourselves.
The next day, we explored New Town, Old Town, and went on a free city tour (these are a staple for any city visit). Our tour guide participated in many of the protests during the Communist era, so it was especially fascinating to hear his stories. The tour lasted around three hours, and after we went to the Lennon Wall which is famous for the bright colors promoting nonviolent change. We also decided to ride the city’s funicular in order to see the incredible view with the gorgeous fall colors.
The only complaint I have about the Prague trip is that it was far too brief. Our group arrived on Friday afternoon and had to leave Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, I was able to walk around by myself, cross the famous Charles Bridge in the morning (less crowded at this time), hike up to the castle, and have lunch with a McDaniel student studying abroad in Prague for her semester abroad.
Prague is a city that everyone should see at least once. It was not destroyed in the war like other European cities, and the buildings are so colorful and unique. The city is a perfect mélange of old and new, making each view beautiful. Prague is definitely another city that I need to explore more.