Archive for September, 2009

Wind

September 28th, 2009

It is a very windy day today. There is some sun every now and then, but it is clearly Fall weather. This homecoming weekend, mother nature also showed that it is not summer anymore.

Friday, I went to Common Grounds. Common Grounds is a program that offers students an alternative to drinking on the weekends. Common Grounds has a chemical free house were they offer drinks and games. My girlfriend Keri and I went there together because Common Grounds was celebrating its ten year anniversary. We played some Tabboo and we had a grapefruit slushy.

Saturday was the first day of campus wide homecoming events. In the morning, I provide service for the tailgate leading up to the homecoming football game. It looked pretty gray already, but from that point on it only got worse. The campus had organized a parade with decorated cows, but the cows did not stay dry. It started raining rather hard. For a little while, it seemed like the gods were with the Fighting Scots because it cleared up when the game was about to begin. However, in the beginning of the second quarter, the refs decided to stop the game due to weather concerns. Moments before that, there was a big thunder and the refs did not want any players to get struck by lightning.

Later in the day, we had the homecoming soccer game. This looked more like a big mud fight. Unfortunately, the Scots lost.

In the evening, there was a very interesting International Alumni panel. Several alumni shared what they have done with there lives after Wooster. This made me think about my own future. They all sounded very serious. One of the alumni had gone to MIT and Harvard business school and is now one of the strategic managers for Staples. Before Staples, he had worked for the Boston Consulting Group and Capgemini. I’ll just say that success comes in many forms.

Saturday evening there was a big event with the title Viva Woo Vegas. I was one of the dealers for Blackjack. In one of the raffles that night, I won a nice Wooster hoodie. This after I had won Wooster gear earlier in the week with Mr. Wooster. My sister Suzanna won Wooster sweatpants in another raffle. It was our week.

This Sunday, Keri’s grandparents came to visit. They took us out for lunch and dinner.

Today, I got my Transitions to Advanced math exam back. I scored 90 percent, but I could have scored 98 percent if I had not made two very silly mistakes (tip: 51 and 91 are NOT prime). I also got my Linear Algebra exam back. That was a disaster as I had expected. Hopefully, I will be able to recover from that during the semester.

Note to my readers from home: ik weet dat “bijhoudt” in mijn email “bijhoud” had moeten zijn. Ik schrok er zelf van toen ik het las. Het is maar goed dat ik af en toe nog wat in het Nederlands schrijf. Op die manier houd ik mijn basisschool lesjes een beetje bij.

Recovery

September 25th, 2009

I hope this week was a week of recovery. Last Friday was bad, as you all could read. This week was much better, but still some things could have gone a lot better.

Sunday we won our third intramural soccer game. We are on our way to win the intramural championship.

Tuesday, we had our second Model United Nations mock debate. I had performed well the first debate so I believed I would have a good chance of making it to the team. However, when I walked in to the room I noticed that my country, Nicaragua, was taken off of the speakers list. I was disappointed, but I still got to speak because I defended some motions. Fortunately, Wednesday I found out that I made it to the traveling team. I can go to Chicago this Fall!

Wednesday was another interesting day. It was the day of Mr. Wooster. I decided to run. The Mr. Wooster title is earned in three rounds. One, formal wear. Two, talent. Three, school spirit. I thought I had prepared my talent to perfection, but it failed on stage. I wanted to rap Changes by 2pac over an instrumental, but on stage I could hardly hear the beat. My rap failed. When they announced that I was the runner up, I was surprised. I was still happy with my prize, but I think that if my talent had succeeded I could have called myself Mr. Wooster now.

Wednesday morning had been good. I had a Transitions to Advanced Math exam and I think I did really well. However, today in class I found out that 51 is not prime. It is not too hard to figure out, but on the test I had just assumed it was prime without really checking. That was three points of my grade…

Today, was not so great. I had my first Linear Algebra exam. I thought I had prepared well, but it turned out that my exam resembled the sample exam that we were given very closely. The sample exam was one thing I had not payed much attention to. I think it will be my worst grade in Wooster history. Fortunately, there is a take-home part of the test that will allow me to recover a bit.

There was also a good part to today though. I had my second ambassador’s presentation. I was the guest speaker in Pam Frese’s Linguistics class. I talked about Dutch and I had fun with the class. This presentation went really well so that was a big relief.

This weekend is homecoming weekend. There will be lots of things to do, so I will probably have lots to tell you.

Bastiaan

Failure

September 20th, 2009

Some days, everything goes the way you want it to go. Other days, everything that you try fails. Everyone has some days in both categories. For me, Friday was one of those days on which everything I tried refused to succeed.

At 10:00 a.m., I had my first ambassadors presentation of the year. I was invited to talk to the Intro to International Relations class. Together with the ambassador from Ecuador, Nita, I had 30 minutes to talk. Nita went first and she talked for about 10 minutes. Then it was my turn. I was also supposed to talk for about ten minutes so that we would have another ten minutes for questions. However, when I started talking I just kept going and going. When I announced that it was time for questions, class time was over. I thought we had ten minutes left, but I was wrong. I stole all Nita’s time for questions and I stole the class’ opportunity to ask questions.
I had prepared my talk pretty well, but it just did not come out the way I had hoped. My talk ended up being unorganized and way too long. It was extra embarrassing because one of the girls in the public speaking class of which I am the TA watched me give this presentation. The TA for public speaking messed up while giving a public speech… To make the trouble complete, I also forgot to show the class any of the stuff I brought with me to share with them. It was one of the worst presentations of my life. Positive note: it can only go up from here.

I thought that was enough misery for one day, but no. After I was done with classes at 12:00, I had to finish up my math homework that was due on Friday. Usually, I turn it in in class. The actual deadline is 6:00 p.m., so I had decided to postpone it in order to prepare for my presentation. I tried to work on it almost the entire afternoon, but when 6:00  p.m. rolled around, the homework was still unfished. I turned it in, but I had failed once more.

After the homework crisis, I thought it was a good idea to play some soccer to forget my worries. However, every ball I touched went in the complete opposite way that I intended. People booed me and told me I was playing bad. They were right, I failed again.

Friday was a bad day for me, but by now I have recovered. The weather here has still been continuously beautiful and during my intramural soccer game today I played much better. Saturday was also a great day, with some fantastic tennis and some quality chilling. This week, I have two tough exams. We will see how that goes. Hopefully, the two days of my exams will be days full of success.

Bastiaan

ISA

September 16th, 2009

Monday, we had our first International Student Association dinner.

We started out with a fun activity. On all tables, we had language cards that people could use to introduce themselves in a foreign language. This way, people could meet new people while practicing some basics in a new language. As the main event, the ISA board had asked Brian Atkins and Anoop Parik from the admissions office to talk about how they reach out to international prospective students. Many international students were wondering why the college did not have as many international students coming in as in previous years. Brian shared that he did not know exactly what had happened either, but that he and Anoop wanted us to help them to make sure we will have more new international students come.The members of the ISA board had been a little nervous for this first dinner of the year, but we all felt satisfied when it was over.

Now, some quick facts about life here:

The weather here in Wooster has been incredible. We have had a week of sunny weather with temperatures in the seventies. I love it.

This Friday, I am giving my first ambassadors presentation. I will talk to the Intro to International Relations class about the Netherlands. I am a little nervous, but also excited to finally start the real presentations.

This week, the public speaking class for which I am the TA had did its first speeches. The students told family stories and they were all very fascinating.

Something I keep forgetting to mention is that The College of Wooster was ranked  in the top ten colleges for best undergraduate teaching. That is quite impressive since there are at least 266 such colleges in the United States.

Life here is still great and I have a broad range of experiences each day. However, I have to make sure I keep sleeping enough. The loyal reader of my blog knows that I enjoy life much more when I am well rested.

Birthday

September 12th, 2009

Today is the first day that I am twenty-two years old. The last week of being twenty-one was pretty rough. I didn’t shave up to my birthday. I was stubbly and tired when September the 11th rolled around. This semester, I am taking Linear Algebra. So far, it seems to be the hardest class I have ever taken. On Thursday night, I worked on my homework for hours. I still didn’t finish before class, but fortunately, the homework was due at 6:00 pm. But it was still not ideal, I was finishing up my homework on my birthday.

Fortunately, September 11th was a beautiful day. After a nap and a good shave, the whole world looked much brighter. September 11th was not only my birthday, but also the day of Party on the Green.

POTG is one of the two big annual concerts on campus. The Wooster Activities Crew organizes this and as a member of this crew I worked to make the event into a success. WAC always brings a main act and also invites some student openers. This year, Black Violin was the main act. Their performance was amazing. Black Violin consists of three guys: two violin players and a DJ. The violin players also rap and talk smack. They play contemporary pop songs on their violins with unbelievable skill.

This weekend, I will have to work on my first paper of the semester. Tomorrow, I have my first intramural soccer game of the semester. Monday, the first Monthly International Students Association dinner takes place. I also have some proofs due on Monday. Life is busy, but I am enjoying it every day.

Bastiaan

Cedar Point

September 7th, 2009

This week was great. Some major things happened to me.

Professor Wick gave me the opportunity to teach my very first college class. On Thursday, I taught a public speaking class on delivery. I watched several videos of speeches with the students. Then we talked about what was good and what was bad. I also gave a speech myself and let the students respond to it. Then, I had prepared a few fun exercises that show how the use of voice can change the meaning of a sentence or even a sound. It was a lot of fun for me and I think the students enjoyed it too. I was very happy after this class.

I decided to investigate the possibility of doing a double major. It is rather late for me to declare a double major since I am a junior already. I wanted to see what was possible. I talked to several people and I have come up with a plan to fit the two majors into my schedule. If everything works out, I will officially be a mathematics/communication double major by next week.

Saturday, I went to the first home football game of the year. It was the first game on the new turf field. It was a very close game, but the Scots came short in the end.  It seemed like the had the winning touchdown in the last minute, but the play was flagged. Suzanna, my sister, really enjoyed the game. It was her first football game ever, but she understood from the beginning why Americans love the game so much.

Sunday, my first trip as director of travel and recreation took place. Two buses full of students went to Cedar Point. It was a successful trip, but the Cedar Point was very busy. Fortunately, I planned my day in  a way that I got to ride all the great roller coasters. The Millenium Force, the Top Thrill Dragster (front row!), and the Maverick were all amazing.

Finally, this weekend was my first weekend on call as an RA. I was a little nervous, because weekends are usually the time when you run into the most violations. Fortunately, the weekend went very smoothly. Students behaved very well and I did not have to document any unjust actions.

I realize that this is a long story, but many things happened and I wanted to share all of them.

Bastiaan

Week 2

September 1st, 2009

This will not be a trend. I will not label each week and write a little report about it. That would not be fair to anyone.

However, this week feels like week 2. Going to classes does not feel quite new anymore, but it also does not feel routine yet (as far as routine is a feeling).

Today, I had a meeting with the coordinator of the ambassadors program. We confirmed the first couple of presentations. I am excited to start sharing about The Netherlands. In the residence hall that I am the RA of, I have started to promote my country already. All the residents on my floor have Van Gogh paintings on their door with their names written in the corner. I have a bulletin board about Dutch painters and I will add one about The Netherlands in general soon. I hope people will not be bored out of their minds by the Netherlands, but so far people seem interested. I had a good conversation about interesting laws in the Netherlands with one of my residents after I walked through my hall in wooden shoes size 15.

Then, there is another little fact that I want to share with you. I bought a Razor Pro scooter. It is an amazing scooter and it gets me across campus in no time. Some people seem to think I look like a kid, but others respond positively. One guy shared with me today that his mom sold his Razor scooter two weeks before he came to school. Another guy told me that he had meant to bring his scooter to school, but that he had forgotten about it at the very last moment. Both guys seemed very sad and quite envious. I must say, they have a reason to be envious. The scooter is great. It is fast and it is fun.

Bastiaan