Archive for March, 2010

Beautiful?

March 27th, 2010

The weather in this state is very unpredictable. Sometimes we see more than one season in a day. Friday was one of those days. I woke op very early (6:00 a.m.) because the night before I had gone to bed before 10:00 p.m. When I stepped outside of the door of my residence hall, I heard a crunchy sound. I looked down and I saw that my foot was standing in two inches of fresh snow. It thought it was March 26, I thought it was spring. Maybe those thoughts were right, but the assumption that late march and spring means birds singing in the morning turned out to be incorrect. I had to be very careful on my way to breakfast because the rain from the previous night had first turned into sleet and later into snow. The sidewalks were very icy and very slippery. Still, the morning looked beautiful. The daffodils were covered in a layer of ice and all the trees had a nice layer of snow. The day stared off as a winter day with biting cold, but slowly nature showed that it was in fact spring. The sun came out and by the end of the day it was hard to find the remaining patches of snow on the ground. It looked like the season change took place in one day. By mid-afternoon, a coat had been replaced by sunglasses and it felt like we were in the right season again.

After this description of the weather, I’d also like to update you on some news:

  • The coming weeks won’t be easy. All the major projects are due the coming week and the biggest of all this semester is of course my junior independent study. If I waste too much time, I will end up paying a high price!
  • Friday, the beginning events of the opening conference of the new Center of Diversity and Global Engagement took place. As an ambassador for the Ambassadors Program, I was part of this. All the ambassadors had decorated a display case with items from their country. The attendees of the conference walked around, admired the display cases, and asked questions. The ambassadors were also invited to a good dinner afterward.
  • Tomorrow, I am competing in the International Students Association’s first International Cooking Festival. With the two other Dutch students on campus, we will be preparing a traditional Dutch meal. Hopefully, we will win a prize!
  • Swimming is going better and better. Yesterday, we got to use both of our arms for the first time (it was legs only or one arm before that). My breathing underwater is also much calmer and I don’t feel like I am in dire need of oxygen the entire time anymore.
  • In my last post, I completely forgot to mention the IS (independent study) parade we had on campus on Monday. IS Monday is one of the biggest traditions at the College of Wooster. The deadline for turning in your IS is 5:00 p.m. Students receive a button indicating the number of their IS (determined by how many people have turned it in before you) and a Tootsie Roll. Then, they march around campus dressed up and celebrating. The Wooster Scot bagpipes lead the way.

Bastiaan

Lots of News

March 24th, 2010

It has been three weeks since my last post. I was on spring break, so this blog took a break too. That means that there is lots to share, so let’s go right to it:

  • Hawai’i was Hawai’i. Beautiful beaches, beautiful nature, beautiful weather. I had great food and spend good amounts of time relaxing. One of the big highlights was something that was not planned at all. I was sitting on the beach, enjoying a wonderful Kua Aina¬† Avocado burger. I was staring over the water when I suddenly saw a Humpback whale jumping out of the water. The whole body was flying above the surface for a split second before the 40 tons of life crashed into the ocean again. What a surprise. Another highlight was my girlfriend’s 21st birthday. We celebrated at a restaurant with sunset view.
  • When I got back to campus, I had a note on my door from Marijke, my fellow Dutch person and my fellow Resident Assistant. She told me to check my mailbox because the offers for Resident Directors for next year were out. I walked over to my mailbox with some friends. I grabbed the letter, opened it, and as soon as I saw the word Resident Director, I started celebrating. I got hired as a Resident Director for my senior year!
  • On Monday, I had the last stage of the application process for Admissions Intern. I had to do a mock interview. I have never been interviewed for college and I was not sure if I was expected to come up with my own questions. Fortunately, I did prepare some questions in advance because I was not provided with any questions. I think the mock interview went very well, but five minutes ago I got a call telling me that I did not make it. I thought my chances were good, since I had made it so far, but they told me that although they liked my mock interview, they were moving in a different direction. I will probably set up a meeting to find out what that means exactly, because I think I can always learn from not getting a position.
  • Spring is here. The sun is warm and is amazing to be outside again. The weather on Hawai’i was great, but the spring sun is something that I can appreciate greatly.
  • My swimming class today was a success. I had ordered swimming goggles and a cap over break, so I could enter the pool fully equipped. I made my first full length of kicking without stopping. Although I was completely out of breath after this, it gives me confidence for the rest of the semester.
  • My junior IS advisor left the college. He took a job in Washington, so I have a new adviser now. That was quite a shock to me, but my new adviser and I seem to be a good team. I have renewed confidence in a successful junior independent study project.
  • The math exam that I took on the Friday before spring break turned out to not be that bad. I was very worried after I had taken it, but when I got it back on Monday it had a score of 85 on it. That is not something I can be sad about, it was much better than I expected.

I will continue to be busy this semester, but I am facing it with a positive attitude at the moment. I will keep all of you updated!

Bastiaan

Swimming in two senses

March 3rd, 2010

I just came back from the first Beginning Swimming class of the semester that involved students getting into the water. I am the only guy taking the class and I am also the slowest swimmer in the class. I am 6’6” tall, wear shoe size 13, and I have decently sized hands, but I can’t get myself moving in the water. We used kicking boards to practice our kicks. I could see all the girls reaching the end of the pool while I was still half way, kicking my legs in a stationary spot. As you can tell, there is a reason I am taking beginning swimming. Although I am from a country where 1/5 of all territory is water, I am not a great swimmer. My goal is to be the fastest swimmer by the end of the class, but that is a very ambitious goal. I do have some physical advantages, but in terms of technique, I am far behind.

I am also swimming in work. I have an affair with procrastination, so if you look at the things I am doing it seems like I have all the time in the world (for example, writing this post). However, I cannot see how I will manage to do everything I need to do by the end of this week. On Friday, I have a Real Analysis exam which will probably be my hardest math exam to date. Friday is also the due day for an extremely challenging math modeling lab (bifurcations in dynamical systems), and the due day for chapter one of my junior IS. Still, last night I played my last intramural basketball game of the season, I went to the gym, and I watched part of a Dutch documentary. I am making it harder on myself, I know. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that Sunday morning my flight in direction of Hawaii departs. It feels like a long tunnel, but the good thing is that the light is very bright.

I keep it short this time because I need to get some work done. Right now I will hang up a new bulletin board on my hall (part of my resident assistant responsibilities). Last night I was the Resident Assistant on call. I am beginning to think more and more that next year, I will try to make things easier on myself.

Bastiaan