Archive for January, 2010

First busy week

January 29th, 2010

Yes, it is week 3 and it is the first busy week of the semester. That means lots of things to share. But, let me keep it short as to not compromise the crispness of this post.

  • Sunday was ski trip day. Sunday was also the only day during Peek’nPeak’s season with heavy rainfall. It started two days before the trip. The bus driver wanted to know if the trip was still a go. The temperature would be in the high 40s with a 100 percent chance of rain. Then, the next day: people started asking me if they could get their money back, if the trip was going to be canceled, if the trip would be postponed. I had to stand strong. The answer to all these questions was NO. When Sunday morning 8:45 am rolled around, 52 people showed up for 52 spots on the bus. Three of those 52 were people on the wait list, but that was perfect since three people on the original list had failed to wake up on time. It was pouring that morning and there was no snow left in Wooster, OH. It did not look like we were going on a ski trip, but we were going. Although it was still raining when we arrived at Peek’nPeak, it was not as bad as down in OH. The snow was surprisingly good and people had a blast skiing. I loved the day too. It was cold at times and wet all of the time, but there were no lines for the lifts and people were smiling.
  • Monday, I spoke during a fireside chat session in our newly renovated Babcock Hall. The fire came from a YouTube video that was projected on a screen, so fire safety was not compromised. I talked about my mother land, The Netherlands. People seemed very engaged in my story and asked some great questions. I felt happy inside.
  • Tuesday was one of the least productive days of my college career. I couldn’t get myself going. After I completed a successful nap, I figured it was time for the next nap. I wasted some time online and ate. However, even during dinner I just sat down without saying much. It was one of those days. Fortunately, I can always listen to Billy Joel with his beautiful song Vienna. He tells me I can afford to lose a day or two. I lost one on Tuesday, but I could afford it.
  • Wednesday was a regular day, but of course much better than Tuesday.
  • Thursday, I had an interview for WAC. Today, I will hear if I have been selected for the executive board of the Wooster Activities Crew. I applied for the humble role of campus council representative. I have enjoyed my experience with the council this year very much, so I hope I will get the opportunity to do it one more year.
  • Today is Friday. Last night, I worked hard to finish my real analysis homework and the purpose statement + rationale for my junior IS (the project that prepares students for the notorious senior IS). I had to find 15 sources as well. I discovered that Zotero is indeed a great piece of software to keep track of your sources. I recommend.
    This morning, I presented in Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality as the ambassador from the Netherlands. The conversation was good. Amun Nadeem from Pakistan represented Pakistan, so we had two countries that allowed for a nice contrast.
  • This week, I had the first meeting for a new project that I will be involved in. Admissions will publish a monthly online magazine that will feature five international students’ experiences. In case you can’t get enough of my writing, you should be very excited about this. It is supposed to be more professional than this blog and should include pictures and video.
  • I have been chosen to be a tour guide. So, if you are applying and you want to visit, you might meet me in person! I am thrilled to start giving tours.
  • Tomorrow, I will be attending a resident assistant conference at Oberlin college. I have never been to another college before, so I am excited for two reasons. One, I like RA stuff. Two, I get to see another school.
  • The admissions office published a video that reviews 2009. It is a VERY fast slide show. If you look closely, you will be able to spot me at least four times. However, the video has much more to offer than just me.

Okay, it was not that brief this time, but I had lots to share. Hopefully, I’ll write again on Sunday. I’ll let you know how the RA conference was.

Bastiaan

  • By writing this post I am procrastinating. I am teaching a class on Monday on computational errors and I should start preparing. I better get to work.

Interviews

January 23rd, 2010

It is that time of the year again. Changing of the guard. This week I had two interviews. For one, I was being interviewed. For the other, I was interviewing. The coming weeks will have at least 8 more interviews.

Thursday, I had an interview for campus tour guide. I love going to this school and I think I would have a great time sharing my experiences here with others. Seventy people are applying for tour guide, fifteen will get the position. I think the number of people interested in this position shows how much people love this school. For the interview, we had to do four things. First, we had to introduce ourselves in an creative/cool way. People had made poems, some people did a little dance, and others just told an interesting story about themselves. I had prepared a little speech about anagrams that can be made out of the letters in my name. Second, we had to sell random items. We had to pull an item out of a bag and then try to make it very appealing to the other people in the group. Third, we had to answer challenging questions that might come up during a tour. Fourth, we had to share unique features that would make us great tour guides. The whole interviewing process was very fun. I will know if I’ll get hired by the end of the week.

This morning, the prospective resident assistants had their group interview. I had to observe how they were interacting and pose some questions for discussion. The prospect RAs had three activities. The activity that I participated in was about prioritizing a set of notes that were slid under an RA’s door. The students had to say what they would deal with first and why. It was interesting to see three different groups take their own approaches.

Thursday morning, campus council had its first meeting of the semester. Chipotle sponsored this meeting, so we could enjoy tasty burritos while we discussed campus issues. I had written a proposal for changing the way students can access the residence halls on campus. It was the second draft. After some good discussion, the council adopted the proposal. It will be submitted officially and hopefully it will be accepted by the college administration.

Bastiaan

What is America?

January 20th, 2010

Sunday, I slept in after a good night with some friends. On Saturday night we had some interesting conversation about the United States. I was talking to a friend from India, a friend from Pakistan, a friend from the US, and a friend from Palestine/Egypt. Our American friend brought up that many people say that they are not proud of being American. Or that some international students say that they dislike America. The American also expressed that he was not happy with immigrants who refuse to call themselves American, even after living in the United States for many years. He said that he was proud to be an American. Our Indian friend said that she will always be an Indian. Even though she might live in the United States in the future, her culture will always be present in her household. Our Palestinian friend also expressed that he will always be an Arab and that his children will definitely be Arabs too. However, he added that if his children choose to identify themselves as Americans, he will accept that. In the beginning of the conversation, it was mostly four international students against one American. The American kept stressing that we all study in the United States and that us studying here is part of how America is defined. Eventually, people started giving in. The Palestinian mentioned that he is not even welcomed by all of the Arab countries, but that the United States accepts him. Later, others joined in and expressed some form of gratitude for being able to live and study in the United States. Although we all have our criticisms of the United States, we certainly don’t come from perfect places ourselves. The United States might have its wrongdoings, but the fact that a Palestinian, a Dutchman, a Pakistani, an Indian, and an American can discuss what it means to be in this country, shows that America is a great place at the same time.

Bastiaan

Week 1, back in action.

January 16th, 2010

After one week of classes, I am beginning to settle in. Still I have not received one textbook for my classes. Ordering online saves some money, but it also tests your patience. This first week was interesting because I had some new experiences. First, there is hardly any work to do. I have finished my assignments for the beginning of next week and even one that is due on Friday. I have time to hang out with people and relax. Last semester was very different in that respect. Second, I do not have my girlfriend around since she is studying abroad in Japan this semester. I am not used to being alone so much and I have to push myself to be proactive in socializing with people.

Spring semester is always an interesting time, but Spring semester of junior your is even more interesting. I have to start thinking about what extra curricular activities I want to next semester. For example, I am thinking about getting involved in the judicial board, campus council, or applying for resident director. These are just the extracurricular activities though. I also have to start thinking about the life after college. Even though I would love to pretend that college life will never end, everything goes so much faster than I think. If I want to go to grad school, I have to start thinking about tests and applications. I feel like I just made up my mind about my major and now it is time to choose again. There is no easy setting for life.

Bastiaan

Atlantic Crossings

January 13th, 2010

I am back and unjet-lagged.  During my winter break I crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times. After all RA business was taken care of, I flew to Amsterdam. I spent a week at home, living during the nights. I wanted to stay in Ohio biorhythm because I knew I would be back soon. It was amazing to catch up with my friends . Although it is very uncommon were I am from, everything was covered in lots of snow. After this week of snow fun at home, I departed to Costa Rica. My three siblings, my parents, and I flew to Houston and then to San Jose. Costa Rica was beautiful. We did some great hiking through the rain forest, some extreme mountain biking on very steep dirt roads, and some white water rafting on one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen. During our trips we saw some exotic animals and insects and I got bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes. The trip  was a great success. After two weeks of Costa Rica, I flew home again. I had two nights and a day at home and then it was time to go back to the airport again. The trip back did not go too smoothly. I spent a night in Memphis which I had certainly not planned to do.

No I am sitting behind my desk in the library again. But I am happy to be back. It is a beautiful day today. Wooster, OH is covered in snow and the sun is shining. This semester will be very different for me. My girlfriend is studying abroad in Japan, so I am all alone. Fortunately, not all alone. I am trying to be as social as possible because otherwise I will be missing her too much. Over break, I read a book titled How to Win Friends and Influence People. Hopefully, that will help me make some friends. The book sounds like it is some evil book that teaches you how to deceive people, but it really just tells you how people like to be treated. Also, I have some friends already. Even if the book doesn’t work at all, I will be probably not be a social outlaw.

This semester I am taking Real Analysis, Math Modeling, Junior Independent Study, and Quantitative Methods for Communication. I think it will be challenging, but as the loyal readers of this blog know, last semester I read a book with the title How to Become a Straight-A student. I will try to implement some of the strategies from the book in order to really become a Straight-A student.

Maybe it seems like I am trying to live my live through the advise of books, but I just like reading other people’s perspectives on how to do things well.

Two more things before I go:

  1. Saturday the selection of the new RAs begins. I will be one of the people conducting the group interviews.
  2. Next week, I have an interview for the position of tour guide at the college. I really hope I will get it.

Bastiaan