Archive for April, 2009

Last Days

April 29th, 2009

I turned in my final homework for computer science and I finished my last lab. For this class, just a final exam remains. For my other classes, I still have to write something or calculate something, but I can see the end of the tunnel. Not that there is just light at the end of it. I will stay in Wooster for five extra weeks to take a summer math tutorial. This means that I will still be doing homework and that I can’t go home yet to see my friends and family. It also means that I will have to miss my girlfriend for three months, which is the hardest part of course.

Yesterday, the Wooster Activities Crew (WAC) took about 80 students to Cleveland to watch the Indians vs. the Red Sox. It was a four-and-a-half hour game, but it was exciting up to the bottom of the ninth. The Indians won 9 to 8. This was the second baseball game that I attended, but it was way better than the first time. This time, I understood the rules and I was actually supporting a team.
It was hard to stay warm during the game, because I had underestimated the cold. I was still wearing my clothes for nice 70 degree weather, but in the stadium it cooled down to 50 with a cold breeze. Fortunately, it was one dollar dog night, which meant plenty of hot dogs to keep me from freezing to death. We took some great pictures during the game, which I will post soon!

Events

April 27th, 2009

Two days of no blogging and again, too many events to cover. Thursday night I went to see the Spring Dance Concert. My roommate Nana was one of the dancers. It was amazing. I have not been to many dance concerts in my life, but I enjoyed this one greatly. I was very impressed by the talent that my fellow students showed.

This weekend was great. Not only because it was eighty-degree sunny weather, but because of the events we had. Saturday, I worked most of the day on setting up Springfest. We had a big stage, caricature artists, a Velcro wall, bungee running, cotton candy, SnoCones, popcorn, jousting, and a dump tank (student was dropped in a tank after a fellow student had hit a target with a baseball). The turnout was great and people seemed to enjoy themselves.

Springfest was not my only event of the day. At six, I had to attend the annual ISA Spring Dinner. The dinner was a two hour event with a guest speaker, good food from across the world, awards, memories of the past year, and the introduction of the new executive board. After the dinner was over, I ran back to Springfest to see Wiz Khalifa and Blackalicious. Both artists really got the crowd going. When Blackalicious was done at ten, the Wooster students convinced him to come back for an encore. Even after the encore, people had a hard time accepting that it was really over.

During a short break on this day, I went to the Physical Education Center to play basketball with my roommate and another friend (Elliot). It was one of my first times playing this game with skilled players. My height (6’6”) only helped me a little bit and I was lucky for having Elliot and Nana taking it easy on me. They taught me how to make shots and what I could and could not do. Unfortunately, in an attempt to play a good defense move, I injured my hand which is still a little swollen. But to acquire skill, you sometimes have to go through some pain.

On Sunday, I had a three hour retreat with ISA’s current and next year’s board. Together we worked on a smooth transition of power. We have great plans for next year with the new energized and ambitious board.

Sunday evening, I hosted a prospective student. I showed him around, I played tennis with him, and we tried to do some bowling. It was a good time, and I think I persuaded him to come to Wooster (he had made up his mind prior to his visit, but let’s ignore that fact).

Today is the last Monday of classes. It is not easy for me to stay motivated these last sunny days. I worked hard throughout the semester, but I cannot afford to slack off these last days. I want to finish this semester with a good feeling and confidence that I will be able to juggle all my tasks next semester.

Bastiaan

Balance

April 23rd, 2009

My personal philosophy is that life is all about finding balance. Therefore, I have a constant quest to find this balance. I try to party, but also to be serious. I like spending time with my girlfriend, but I also want to hang out with other people.I like doing well in my classes, but I also like being social. I like being physically active, but I also want to relax. For next semester I have looked to find balance in my life. I think I know now what responsibilities I will have. Although I looked for balance, I risk having a shortage of free time.

I will sum it up:

  • Vice-president of ISA
  • Director of Travel and Recreation for WAC
  • Resident Assistant
  • Ambassador
  • Teacher Apprentice for Public Speaking
  • Student in Linear Algebra
  • Student in Principles of Rhetoric
  • Student in Transitions to Advanced Mathematics
  • Student Reference Assistant at the library
  • Blogger

That is quite a list and it will require a great deal of planning and discipline, but I am up for the challenge. Wooster life is rich and I want to take full advantage of this. I am sure I will develop myself in many ways and meet lots of great people.

To finish up, some facts about life here:

  • There is only one week of classes left.
  • Tomorrow, all classes are canceled for the I.S showcase.
  • The weather is going to be great the coming days.
  • This weekend is Spring Fest and the annual ISA Spring Dinner

Front Page

April 20th, 2009

I will start off with some other things that make Wooster unique:

  • Senior I.S. I believe the Wooster independent study is ranked number two in the United States for senior projects. During the whole year, seniors work with a faculty member to produce a massive high quality paper.
  • At Wooster, you are an individual, not a number. Everyone counts. Some examples: Wooster students are highly encouraged to develop good personal relationships with their professors. If you have a problem of any kind and ask for help, it will be addressed. If you send the dean of students an email, you will get a personal reply. The faculty confers with the student body about every major decision they make. The president makes an effort to get to know all the different student groups and is very open to feedback.

From now on, I will try to integrated the uniqueness of Wooster in my blogs without explicitly mentioning it because I do understand it gets old.

Now some other Wooster news:

The Ethnic Fair performance of the Dutch booth was worthy enough for an appearance on the front page of the Daily Record, the local newspaper. I will post evidence of this later.

Friday, there will be a campus wide I.S showcase. Seniors will be bragging about their projects and students from lower classes can come up with good ideas for their I.S.s (plural of I.S.).

This past Sunday, we had the first training session for next year’s resident assistants. Besides signing our contracts, we got to know each other a little better and we did some initial thinking about being a RA.

Enough writing for nowl. It is time to post some pictures again.

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Marijke in Traditional outfit. Me kissing our trophy for best booth. Judy wearing a nice Holland hat.

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Springfest is coming up

Springfest is coming up

South Asian Culture Show

One of our Super stars from South Asia

One of our Super stars from South Asia

South Asian Culture Show
Another star

Another star

Jamaica and Africa wearing wooden shoes from Holland

Jamaica and Africa wearing wooden shoes from Holland

To summarize why we won the best booth: we had the winning snacks, the winning outfits, the winning decoration, and the winning mentality.

Easy Money

April 18th, 2009

Sometimes life works against you and sometimes everything just comes without effort. This week was one of the latter cases.

I went to watch one of the current ambassadors, Gitika, give a presentation on Thursday at a church. The ladies from the church that she was presenting at, decided to reward both Gitika and me with more than ten dollars in cash. I thought that was a pretty good salary for listening to Gitika for 45 minutes. Later, I got an email from a psychology professor at the college. She told me that she wanted to give me an award of 25 dollars for participating in her study last year. Today, I was at the Etnic Fair. After an hour of representing the Netherlands, a man walked up to our booth and told us that we had won the Best Booth 2009 award. He gave us a trophy, and, guess what, 50 dollars in cash. That was money for nothing three times in a row.

Besides the prize, the ethnic fair was a great succes. I hosted a booth together with Marijke, the other Dutch student here, and a couple that was half Dutch (meaning that the man was Dutch and the woman American). We had all kinds of goodies from the Netherlands to feed to the people. A minor disappointment was that the people seemed more interested in our snacks and getting a stamp for their free t-shirt, than in learning about our country. After the fair, the couple took Marijke and me out for a nice meal. It was a long and exhausting day, but a very fun experience.

In order to keep promises I made earlier, I will provide some unique points about Wooster and a point of criticism. The man that co-hosted the Dutch booth with me is a retired microbiology professor. He has advised many Ph.D. seeking students. He told me that professors like him look at schools like The College of Wooster first to recruit new Ph.D. students. He also told me that Wooster ranks in the very top for placing students into science master programs. He said that the professors at the College of Wooster are truly dedicated to their students, because if it were for the money, they would be working at larger schools. From my personal experience, I believe this is true.

Now my point of criticism. At the College of Wooster, part of students’ meal plan consists of Flex Dollars. These dollars can be spent at two locations on campus. The problem is that because we have no alternative to these two places, so no service is required to keep us coming back. The result is long lines, high prices on particular items, and sometimes, just sometimes, rude treatment of students. Most of the time, the campus workers are very nice, but this night I witnessed a very disappointing encounter. A student was not happy with her meal and went back to ask for what she had actually ordered. The response was that she shouldn’t think she was in a restaurant and that she should be satisfied. This message was definitely not delivered in a friendly tone. Although Flex Dollars may seem free, they are not. Students pay in the beginning for their meal plan, so Flex Dollars are real money. The very least students should receive is respectful treatment, the minimum standard should be satisfactory service.

For the rest, all happy thoughts.

Bastiaan

Sensation

April 15th, 2009

To continue a tradition, I will start this post with apologizing. I am sorry for being part of a hype. The problem is that I was too moved to not be part of the hype. I will have to apologize again for making you part of this hype too, if you weren’t already. Well, since embedding is disabled for the viral video that I was going to share with you, I can’t force you to be part of the hype. But in case you are curious anyway, I will share the link with you: LINK.

I am happy to say that I finally have some down time. I turned in my BIG paper  and I took my math exam on Tuesday. I think I did okay on both my exam and my paper, but I will have to await the judgment of the professors. Today, I found myself having so much free time, that I could allow myself to watch the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers game. I thought it would only last for seven more minutes, but after a thrilling finale with overtime, it was 45 minutes later. I am still used to soccer games for which the time is actually an indicator for how long the game is going to last. I was very sad to see the Cavs lose 110-111 to the Sixers. I have really started to love basketball since I came to the United States. Especially with Lebron James playing here in Ohio.

Although I have some down time right now, I still have too much to share for one blog. Last week was South Asia week. Two main events that I attended were the South Asian Culture show and the India Dinner. Both were great successes. The culture show was for a big part a satirical version of South Asian Superstar. Wooster students from South Asia competed to become the next super star. The judges of the show were harsh, but fair. The India dinner was great too. The food was amazing and the turnout was great. The only downside to this was that we had to wait in a long line for our food. Fortunately, the line for seconds was much shorter and people who know me, know that I love second helpings.

This week is Greek week and Seven Days of Gay. Tonight, the big annual Greek Lypsinc took place. All  fraternities and sororities on campus prepare a dance show and judges determine the winning Greek group. I decided to pass on this event, since today I didn’t feel like watching my crazy fellow students show off. In spite of the nationwide tea parties, attending Lypsinc was not my proverbial cup of tea today. Haha, Bastiaan is so funny ….. NOT (my first official not-joke).
Our campus pub The Underground (referred to as UG by students) hosts weekly dance parties on Fridays. This Friday there will be a cross-dressing party hosted by the campus LGBT group: Allies and Queers. Saturday, I will be on the Wooster Ethnic Fair all day reperesenting the Netherlands. I will tell you more about this event later.

Today, I had my interview for the International Student Association (ISA) executive board. My interview went well, but I will have to see what the current officers decide because I already have a very busy schedule for next Fall semester. On Friday, I have an interview for the campus’ Judicial Board. This board is run by students and has the goal of educating students that violate the Scot’s Key. As I said, I have too much to share for one blog. Therefore, I will just stop writing for now. I will post some pictures (they might be a little outdated) to keep the blog looking nice.

Bastiaan

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Too much?

April 12th, 2009

PART I

Wooster is exciting, but am I getting carried away with all its opportunities?
Maybe.

Yesterday, I made a list of all the things that I applied for this year and when I counted , I experienced a small shock. Eleven.
It might have been Dean Buxton who woke me up from the dream in which I can do everything at the same time. I walked in for the Judicial Board group interview and the first thing she said was: “You again?! You can’t be in ALL groups!” I told her she was wrong, but that was probably something psychologists refer to as cognitive dissonance. I know I can’t.

To give you an idea of what you can do on campus I will list the things I applied for. If applicable with the abbreviation used by students:

  1. Resident Assistant (RA)
  2. Director of Travel and Recreation for Wooster Activities Crew (WAC)
  3. Ambassador for the Ambassadors Program
  4. Orientation Committee (OC)
  5. Blogger
  6. Teacher Apprentice (TA)
  7. Living in Babcock (the international dorm which hosts the Cross Cultural Living Experience Program)
  8. Board member of the International Students Association (ISA)
  9. Judicial Board (Jboard)
  10. This semesters play, Letting Go (LG).
  11. Reference Assistant in the library

Wow, that is a lot. In fact, it is too much. Many of these things conflict. For example, you can’t be an RA and on OC at the same time. This represents only a fraction of the things you can do on campus of course, but they are definitely the best choices you can make.

PART II

Why part two? Let me tell you. The first part of Too Much? is about me taking up too much. The second part is about me saying too much good stuff about Wooster (apparently, both parts are about me, but what the heck, it’s my blog). Both one of my friends and my dad warned me that I am starting to sound like a propaganda writer for an oppressive regime. In case you thought I was one: I am not. Nonetheless, I will have to write some critical notes on this college to maintain credibility and interest of the reader. Not this time though. I am way too busy (first point of criticism: they make you work at this college). In fact, I am so busy that my next post will not appear until Wednesday. On Tuesday, I have a hard math exam for which I will have to know how to apply 23401 tests on series in order to determine whether they converge or diverge. On Wednesday, I have a BIG paper due on a very complex issue. I hope my dear readers will be able to live without one of my posts for two days. I know it will be hard, but I know you can do it.

Bastiaan

Results

April 9th, 2009

Let’s start with the results of the game that I organized for my readers: Guess the Right Ambassador. From all one contestants I got zero right responses (sorry dad). The correct answer was, from left to right: Prachi from Pakistan, Nita from Ecuador, Bastiaan from the Netherlands, Morag from Botswana, and Amun from India. No winners this time.

I promised to write a little about Relay for Life so I will. Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s “signature event” and gives everyone a chance to participate in the fight against cancer. At The College of Wooster that means that students form teams to raise money for the fight against cancer in creative ways. One team had created two calendars of Wooster hotties, a male version (with at least one really hot model) and a female version , another team gave students the opportunity to create a tye-dye shirt, others let people magically levitate for a small donation, and many groups had some sort of game or food that students could enjoy in exchange for a small contribution. Another major Relay event is walking around the track to raise money. Teams set out a certain time that they will walk and get sponsors to support them. The whole event is decorated in purple and accompanied by music performed by college groups and bands. Unfortunately, the weather this year forced the organization to move the event indoors, but most years it is held outdoors around the track.

Something else I want to continue to share about is why The College of Wooster is unique ( I really do believe it is). For this post I decided to ask our Senior Associate Dean of Students, Carolyn Buxton, about five things which she thinks make The College of Wooster unique. Here it comes:

1. Wooster is like your favorite stew that your mom makes. You put in the same ingredients every time, but the ratios will be different so the taste is distinct and unique every time.

2. Wooster students are very intelligent

3. Wooster students are hard working

4.Wooster students embrace their college. They fight over being involved in student organizations even though there is no financial incentive.

5. Wooster might not have the reputation or prestige of Yale and Harvard, but the students are truly dedicated and passionate about their school.

Next time, I will write some more about why I think Wooster is unique and why the alumni that I emailed before come here though Wooster was such a great place. My grandfather was happy that I had used some of his feedback, but he was not satisfied yet and he requested more specifics (I am starting to think that he is thinking about applying). I know it is a challenge to satisfy my grandfather, but it is a challenge that I am happy to take on.

Life is Good

April 6th, 2009

Wooster, with all its opportunities, is making me happy.

After two shows, the play is really over now. It makes me sad. After the second show, we took down the set with some pain in our hearts. It was such an amazing experience to work with people from different generation on a piece of art. I enjoyed every second of it! The audience was great both nights. They responded enthusiastically and were with us the whole play. However, it was interesting for me to experience how different audiences can influence the atmosphere of the play. On Friday, the audience laughed very frequently, which made the play almost feel like a comedy. On Saturday, the audience laughed less and some people even cried, which made the play feel more like a drama. Both nights were fantastic. I want to thank everyone that participated in the play and all the people that showed up to watch it.

The play made me very happy, but apparently I could be made even happier. At the end of last week, I received a letter from Residence Life which stated that they would like to have me as a resident assistant next year. At first, I was an alternate, but it turned out that they need more people. I am very excited to join the Residence Life staff! However, there is a downside to being a RA: I will not be able to be part of the orientation committee for next fall semester. It is still going to be the best orientation ever (rumor: the theme for orientation 2009 will be Woogle Search), but I won’t be combine orientation and being a RA.

In the meantime, the semester is coming to an end. We only have one month left. I have started thinking about the coming summer already. I will be going home for a while, but I might stay a little longer in Wooster after the semester is over. I will keep you all updated.

Bastiaan

Show Night

April 3rd, 2009

I have said it before and I will say it again: time goes fast. Tonight is the first show of this semester’s play! I have had a few small attacks of nervousness today, but mostly I am just really excited. This past week we have had rehearsal every night, so we should be more than ready. It has taken up much of my time. So much, that my previous post only announced what I was not writing about. I’ll try to make up for it. The best way of doing this might be posting some of the pictures that I have been taking around campus.

Last weekend, we had the first training session for orientation committee. We were working on getting to know each other, assigning committees,  and coming up with a good theme for orientation. It is going to be THE BEST ORIENTATION EVER – period.

This week brought Spring. We had some days that were unbelievably nice. Right temperature, right breeze, right air of Spring. The squirrels were playing between the daffodils while bagpipers were playing in the background.  I think that is a scene that you can only encounter at The College of Wooster. The sounds of the Scot bagpipers actually raised my school spirit to levels only achieved before during Wooster basketball games. The nice weather was not just  inviting bagpipers. Lovers of soccer gathered from all across campus up until the point that the number of players exceeded the capacity of the field. We had to move to a different field to gratify everyone’s soccer needs. Fortunately, campus is rich in (soccer) fields.

Yesterday, we had a great opportunity to take photos with next year’s ambassadors. After the photo shoot we had our first ambassadors’ meeting. All ambassadors will get some money to buy artifacts from their countries and will be doing research on interesting topics related to their country. Next year, the Wooster community will be hearing about Pakistan, India, Ecuador, The Netherlands, and Botswana. The ambassadors next year are Nita, Bastiaan, Prachi, Amun, and Morag. Today’s game is to guess who is representing what country. One tip: our program coordinator is in the picture too.

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Match name and country

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This one might make it easier

Here follows a selection of my campus shots:

Kauke in the Sun

Kauke in the Sun, some professors took their class outdoors.

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Bagpipers in the sun

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Keri with her loot: purple Relay for Life cupcakes (more on Relay for Life later)

My favourite place on campus: the math center

My favourite place on campus: the math center

my advisor teaching some calculus

My advisor teaching some calculus

Peaceful studying in my Peace Studies class

Peaceful studying in my Peace Studies class