Archive for October, 2009

Love

October 31st, 2009

That is a big title for a post, right? Love. Can I really write about love on a blog about my college life. Maybe I cannot reach the heights of Shakespeare, but I wanted to share something about love. Love is a very important part of college life.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my sister. We talked about life and about home. That is one part of love, the love I share with my family. I also talked to my dad briefly over Skype. He is always willing to listen if I want to complain about something. Then, every time I write a blog, I receive a response from my grandfather. Then, I have my mom, my other sister in the Netherlands, my little brother in the Netherlands, and the rest of my family who wants to know what is going on in my life.

Yesterday, I talked to one of my best friends from home. We talked about our views on life and how we can achieve inner peace. It sounds rather deep, but that is the way we are at times. So, that is another part of love in my life: my friends. I get some long and thoughtful emails from my best friends from home. Sometimes they call me on Skype or my cell phone. Then, I have my friends here. Yesterday, I had a lot of fun with my Palestinian friend and later I had some great conversations about life with my Zimbabwean friend.

Yesterday, I enjoyed some good cheese with my girlfriend. We snacked on the products we had bought at Jungle Jim’s last week. We cuddled and we enjoyed each others company. The love I share with my girlfriend is an important part of every single day of my college life.

All this love is very important to me. The support I receive every day makes me love life and makes it easy to return the loving I receive. Without love,  it would be near impossible to make it through four years of college in a foreign country.

Bastiana

Consistency

October 28th, 2009

One of my best friends here at Wooster always says: “it’s all about consistency”. If you want to grow your muscles, you have to keep going to the gym. If you want good grades, you have to keep working. Now I think about it, that is all what this friend really wants: big muscles and big grades. I am kidding of course, but if Itai reads this, he will probably have a hard time denying it.

Well, I think Itai is a wise man. Consistency is very important in many aspects. If I would be consistently disciplined, I would have tons of free time. This would be quite different from yesterday, when I was working until 1:30 am to finish up all my work.

To break the consistency, let me share some of the successes of the past couple of days with you:

  • Jungle Jim’s was as great as it sounded. I spend three hours without getting bored and I worked hard to only spend fifty dollars. I did buy some good cheeses, some good German beer, and some good yoghurt.
  • Monday, I got some eighth graders out of their lazy chairs to do some jumpstyle dancing. I gave a presentation on music in the Netherlands, and our great variety of techno music was part of the topic of course.
  • I finished a paper on the traveling salesman problem. The traveling salesman problem is as follows: a salesman, starting at his home city, wants to visit a number of cities by visiting each place only once and traveling the shortest distance. The problem is easy to explain, has many applications, but is extremely hard to solve.
  • I gave a presentation for 3rd graders. I loved how full of energy they were. After I had impressed them by touching the ceiling (I am 6’6” tall), they were very eager to listen to me. I had established a great amount of credibility with that jump to the ceiling.

Now, I should come back to my opening statements about consistency, so I will. As you can see, it is hard to be consistent. Some great procrastination opportunity hides behind every corner. If I do manage to be consistent in my work, I will have a much less worrisome life. A little work everyday will give me lots of free time. So that is my challenge from this point on: working a little bit everyday and gain a lot of time to do things that no one told me to do.

Bastiaan

Family

October 24th, 2009

This weekend is family weekend. There are parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all over the place. However, my family is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, one of my sisters is here in Wooster. She is a one-year exchange student at the college, so I am not completely without family.

Quick note: The Fall is still beautiful here. I cannot believe how bright yellow and bright red the leaves can get. It looks unreal every time I go outside.

Now, I would like to update you on the Wooster life I am living. In my last post, I wrote how full my week was. Now, the week has come to an end. I did one thing at a time, and suddenly, the week was over. I think I can wrap up this week by declaring it a success.

My principles of rhetoric exam went well. My wrist hurt after writing a four and a half page essay on the exam, but I felt satisfied. All the effort had not been fruitless. However, for the result I still have to wait. You never know how the professor is going to grade an exam. I find that interesting. After a math exam, I always know what I did right and what I did not get. After a communciation exam, I always hope the professors interprets my writing the way I intended it.
My ambassadors presentations this week went well too. Especially the one I did yesterday. Together with Amun and Nita, the ambassadors from Pakistan and Ecuador respectively, I gave a presentation at a nursing conference in Wooster. The nurses were very engaged and they kept asking great questions. It was a very satisfying experience. After the presentation, some of the nurses came up to us to give us hugs and express their gratefulness.

Tomorrow, I am taking a (hopefully full) bus of students to Jungle Jim’s. Jungle Jim’s is one of the most extraordinary stores on the planet. It is a giant grocery store, but a theme park at the same time. The store has over 500 types of produce, 700 types of cheese, 12,000 types of wine, 1,200 types of beer, etc. Its inventory is unbelievable. I know I will be buying some good Dutch cheese and probably some good Dutch beer as well. A good illustration of how the store is set up is the hot sauces. The shelves that hold just the hot sauces are the size of a fire truck. To proves this, there is an actual fire truck on top of the shelves. The prices of these bottles of hot sauce go up to a thousand dollars.

Hopefully, next week won’t be as busy as the past week. I am reading a book called How to Become a Straight A student. The book tells me how I can get better results within less time. I am trying to apply those principles so that I can bring my stress down and my enjoyment up. I will keep you updated on how and if the book is helping me.

Bastiaan

Packed

October 21st, 2009

This week is a week like I imagined all my other weeks to be like. Every minute of my week is planned out. My Google calendar is in tricolor now and does not have an empty space. Yes, even writing this post was planned.

Tomorrow, I have my midterm for principles of rhetoric. I have been doing very well in the class tomorrow, but this midterms counts for a lot. It could undo all my previous effort. Tomorrow, I also have an ambassador presentation for a first year seminar. Tomorrow, I also have an appointment at the wellness center. Tomorrow, I have to finish my linear algebra homework. Tomorrow, I have to prepare for my presentation on a nursing conference that takes place on Friday. Tomorrow, I have the three-hour retreat for campus council. Tomorrow, I have to do my homework for transitions to advanced math.

You might have gotten tired by just reading this list, but I have to actually go through tomorrow as a living person. The nasty coincidence is that tomorrow only has 24 hours. Some of those hours I prefer to spend sleeping, as loyal readers of this blog know.

Right now, I will just focus on studying for my midterm. One thing at a time. One of the things I have to know for my midterm is that humans are time binders. This means that they can they can put off doing things today. Humans are also space binders, meaning that they can anticipate and imagine the future as well as remember and learn from the past. However, male humans can still only do one thing at a time. So, although we have this great ability to imagine the future, we are still in the present. Therefore, I will just relax. There is no point in stressing about things that I cannot be doing right now anyway.

Well, one more paragraph before I go. I have to share it. The weather was perfect today. It is unfortunate that the weather decides to be so perfect in a week that I have no free minute, but I can still appreciate it. It is one of those days that you go outside and you feel the nice temperature right away. The sky was blue, there was no wind, and the fall colors were gorgeous.

Bastiaan

Fall

October 17th, 2009

Fall is here. There is no way back. The color spectrum of the trees has changed from all shades of green to yellow, orange, brown, and red. Week nine of the semester is about to begin. The semester has sixteen weeks, so we are over half way through. It is unbelievable how fast it goes. One of the ways I can tell time goes by is that my jar of hair wax is getting emptier. The jar functions like an hour glass that runs very slowly. The jar is about half full now, so it will probably last me the semester.

The coming week will be very busy. I have a big midterm for Principles of Rhetoric, I will teach another class in Public Speaking, and I have two ambassador presentations. I am excited for the week.

Yesterday, I watched the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I really liked to movie. Somehow, it inspired me to get more in touch with myself. There is so much going on in my life, I play so many roles, but I tend to forget to listen to myself. I am planning to change this. I am starting off well today. I will take a walk in the beautiful Fall landscape here in Wooster and reflect on my life. I want to start listening more to my inner voice.

I think I am in a melancholic mood this weekend. Maybe that is related to the seasonal change. The time I have at this college is meant to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I think it is not bad to me in such a mood.

Not too much worth reporting happened since Thursday, but by Wednesday I will have stories to share again. However, two things worth mentioning happened:

Thursday, there was a session with the president and the faculty and staff of the college. Members of campus council were invited too. The president shared what had happened during the trustees meeting and were the college is planning on going.

Friday, I talked to my linear algebra professor. I am very confused in that class. It is the hardest class I have taken in my life and so far, seventy new ideas have been introduced. After my talk with the professor, I feel confident that I can make a positive change.

The busy life I have is challenging, but rewarding. I will keep you updated.

Bastiaan

Naps

October 14th, 2009

Sleep is a recurring theme in my posts. One of the reasons for this might be that I think sleep is interesting. Why do we need sleep? How great would it be if sleep was optional? As I have stated before, sleep can make or break the following day. However, these days, naps make my days. It happens often (every day) that I do not get the nine hours of sleep that I have planned on my calendar. Usually, I end up with about seven hours of sleep. This would lead to a dull day was it not for the genius of naps. After I nap for 25 minutes, I feel like I did have the nine hours of sleep. It is a miracle medicine. My body gets better and better at taking naps. I can just lay down, fall asleep, and wake up. Great. Now we are on the topic, there is another secret miracle medicine that I’d like to share with you: shaving. I am afraid that this medicine only works for men, but the women that read this could give it a try. Whenever you feel tired, go for a good shave. After I shave and use my organic after shave with lots of alcohol, I feel so revitalized. It works like a sip from the source of eternal youth.

Enough secrets shared. Let me tell you a little bit about the things that have happened since my last post.

  • We had our first night football game ever. It was unlike any football game I have seen before at this college. The stand’s capacity was not large enough for the number of people that wanted to attend.  People had painted their bodies with the letters “GO SCOTS” and the whole crowd was cheering from the very beginning. The Scots got destroyed in the end, but it was a very exciting game.
  • ISA had a great dinner. The topic was traffic around the world. The ambassador from India, Prachi, had a great story about the way people transport themselves in India. I shared some fun information on the use of bicycles in the Netherlands, and Bobby shared a story about how his car ended up on the bottom of a lake.
  • I made Ambassador history. I did the first ever teleconferencing presentation in the history of the Ambassadors Program. It took an hour to finally get the connection working, but then I was streaming live into a classroom in Akron.
  • It is Middle Easter Culture week on campus. Monday night, there was a Palestinian comedian in the Underground (campus pub). Yesterday, there was a Whirling Dervish performance and workshop. Today, there will be a belly dancer performance and workshop. Tomorrow, Middle Eastern students on campus will be sharing stories from their culture.
  • Yesterday, I had dinner with the president. President Cornwell had invited all members of SGA and campus council to his house to talk about campus issues over dinner.
  • President Cornwell came to the public speaking class of which I am the TA this semester. We talked about the final project for the class. This project includes the production about the life at Wooster. The president gave his input for the project.

Wow, there is always so much happening. I will write again soon (at the latest Saturday).

Bastiaan

Order

October 10th, 2009

It is a week ago that I updated this blog. That is too long. I have a busy life, but that cannot be an excuse. If you have a busy life, you need order. I have a very nice Google calendar that I use, but for something like writing a blog I have not set days. Now I will. Wednesday and Saturday will be the days that I write a post, and if something exciting happens, I might throw in an extra one. Make me live up to my promise!

Fall Break was good. I slept and slept. On three of the four days, I slept in until noon. Then, I got some food and upon return to my room, I would take a nap. Apparently, I needed it.  I played some Fifa, I was on call one night, I did most of the things on my to do list, and I rested. However, after one day of classes, all my rest was gone. I still believe that the amount of sleep one gets is the ultimate measure of how disciplined this person is. In one of the Student Welness Center folders, I read a great tip: don’t just set an alarm for when it is time to wake up, set an alarm for when it is time go to sleep. I might try that. I keep working on my discipline.

Although the past week was only half a week because of Fall break, it was still a busy and interesting week. On Thursday, I had to give a presentation for my principles of rhetoric class. I had worked all day on Wednesday to get ready for it. When I had written the speech, I found out that it was ten minutes long. The maximum time was five minutes. I had to trim my beautiful speech, but it still worked out well. It was one of the better speeches I have given in my life, so that gave me a very satisfied feeling. Thursday night, there was a student meeting with the college’s trustees. No faculty or staff were allowed to attend. It was very nice to get to meet the trustees and see how nice these people are. They were very interested in everything the students shared.

Tonight, College of Wooster history will be made. We will have our first night football game. It will be a great event and everyone on campus seems very excited for it. The weather is very beautiful today, so I think it will stay dry for the game. Tomorrow, I will play an intramural soccer game against our team’s greatest rival. It will determine if my team will be the intramural champions or not.

Monday, ISA is having its second dinner of the year. The theme of the dinner will be traffic around the world. On Tuesday, I will make ambassador history. We will be doing the first ever teleconferencing presentation in history.. The college has a special room where the equipment is installed. A school in Akron will watch our presentation on a big screen.

Wednesday, I will share how the things I mentioned in this post. However, as stated before, I might throw in an extra post.

Bastiaan

Fall Break

October 3rd, 2009

Four days of free time. That is great. I am a strong believer in the philosophy that breaks are only as good as they are because other days are so busy. Suppose you would be free all the time, life would not be as good. This philosophy might explain why I am extra happy I have two extra days off. My semester is really busy, so the contrast with free time is bigger than ever before.

The last week before break was an interesting one. Now I think about it, almost every week is an interesting one. The communication department had its communication week. They had invited two  Wooster alumni to talk about their experience after Wooster.
One was Michael O’Neil. Michael is a 2003 graduate and now works in the White House as Director of Priority Placement. He shared with us how he got into politics and how crazy the road to his current position has been. It turned out that he had chosen the right candidate to support. Six years after Wooster, he has a job that many only can dream of.  The other alum was Sylvia Sullivan. Sylvia had gone to nursing school right after college. She has worked in several hospitals and loves her job. Both alumni had very interesting stories and illustrated how much is possible after Wooster.

Although I am on Fall break right now, I have made a list of things I want to do over the coming days:

· Evaluate Dr. Visa

· Make ISA video

· Organize Papers

· Write two things for Nicola

· Ticket Chicago

· Ticket NL

· Public Speaking Records bijwerken

· Write voice article

· Read CC guidelines

· Lees Obama boek

· Rhetoric Lezen

I understand that most of these things won’t make sense to you. It is just  a look into my thoughts. It also shows that this break is not all free time. However, I will be able to do all these things in a relaxed manner with the thought that it won’t be graded and that there is no hard due date.

Bastiaan