Archive for September, 2010

Shaving Equipment on its Way

September 23rd, 2010

I have been preparing for this a long time, but finally I have taken the step to order my shaving equipment. College students are generally very busy. Wooster students are generally extremely busy. Most of them don’t just go to class, but are involved in half a dozen activities as well. I am one of those students, but I have found a way to find a moment of ZEN in my day. I have decided to take on straight razor shaving.

Straight razor shaving was a dying art, but it is becoming more and more popular these days. One of the reasons for this that I can think of is that razor cassettes for products from Gillette and Wilkinson are getting more and more expensive. If you have an average beard like mine, they shave comfortably for a maximum of four shaves. They cost approximately 4 dollars a piece. That means that you got to spend 4 dollars a week on shaving if you want to shave comfortably and that is over 200 dollars a year. I just made a little investment which was close to that, but it will give me an amazing shave for the rest of my life. I bought a beautiful straight razor and a strop to keep it sharp. I know it will take me a while until I will be able to shave without hurting myself and without taking an hour, but once I get it down I will have made shaving into a wonderful experience. The problem with straight razor shaving is that it is a little addicting. Once you have one razor, you want another one. And then you start wanting a great shaving brush, shaving soap, after shave, a block of alum. It can get out of hand. Especially considering that shaving brushes alone can go for as much as 600 dollars. However, I am just starting and I want to learn how to shave like the men back in the days did it. Then, I want to preach to others that they need to learn the real shaving.

Well, maybe this post does not relate to college life as much as my others. However, it does illustrate how college is the time when you change the way you do things in life. Just because my dad requested it, I will add a video of my Astronomy professor juggling five balls:

Getting into the Rhythm

September 21st, 2010

We are three weeks into the semester. It is interesting to observe that it takes three weeks to get into the rhythm of classes, meetings, free hours, homework, and Independent Study. I still feel like I am adjusting a little bit, but it is getting better.

Today I set up a weekly appointment at the writing center. Every week I will work with Jessica Jones on the writing for my Independent Study. This is great for several reasons. Jessica has amazing writing improvement skills and I now have two set times during which I meet about IS. That means double motivation. I also emailed one of my fellow senior communication majors, Lauren. I asked her if she would be interested in emailing me her weekly process and I suggested I would do the same. We started that this week and it works as a nice motivator and stress reliever.

My African Religions class is very interesting. I just finished reading the River Between. This book is an intriguing myth about what happened when the colonizers came to Africa and brought their religion to traditional African tribes. In class, we have just finished watching a documentary about the Green Belt Movement in Africa which was headed by Nobel Prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai. It was a very impressive, inspiring, and moving documentary. My African Relgions class has not given me much work, but it has by far given me the most food for thought. Next Monday, the first paper is due. However, professor Kammer gives you up to a week after the deadline to turn in your paper without getting penalized.  I think I will still turn in the paper on the deadline, because professor Kammer has an extra option: every time you get your paper back and you are not satisfied with the grade, you can rewrite it and get it graded again. The highest grade will count!

Astronomy of Galaxies and Stars is great too. Professor Lindner is a genius. He can juggle five balls, but his research has also made the covers of many scientific journals/magazines, including Nature!  He knows everything about the universe and sometimes, it seems, about science in general. He starts every lecture with the astronomy picture of the day and he is not afraid to answer questions about the chances of humans succeeding at nuclear fusion, aliens, or science fiction.

Lastly, my Arts & Entrepreneurship class is interesting too. The last couple of lectures we discussed some of the paperwork involved in starting a business. That was a little dry, but a lot of what we have done is discussing new businesses and how we would start one.

While I am getting used to my schedule, the weather has gone back to summer. Today is supposed to be 83 degrees and on Thursday it should be 88 degrees. You won’t hear me complain, because I also know that snow could only be a couple of weeks away. It is Ohio weather after all.

Bastiaan

Fall is Arriving

September 17th, 2010

Fall comes quite unannounced. It seems like all trees know something that we don’t know. The weather is still sunny and warm, but some trees are turning a little yellow while others prefer red. It really was a secret to all Wooster students that fall was about to come, but yesterday it became very very clear.

It had been raining in the morning, but when it stopped I decided to leave my umbrella in my room. This was not mybest decision. When I came out of a meeting in Lowry Center, it was raining very hard outside. I thought that if I waited for a little bit, the rain would slow down. However, the oppostie happened. Just as I thought it could not get worse, the weather decided to take it to the next level. A curtain of water was coming down on Beall Avenue. I wanted to go to the library, so I asked a girl with an umbrella for a “ride” under her umbrella. This umbrella certainly did not keep us dry, but it helped a little bit.

A couple minutes after I had arrived in the library, my phone rang. I picked up the phone and an automated message played: “the City of Wooster has issued a tornado warning, please see shelter on the lowest level of your building immediately.” I walked up the stairs to warn some of the people who were there and then someone announced over the PA system in the library: “all library patrons, a tornado warning has been issued, please use the interior stairwells to get to lower two immediately!” The fact that this voice was trembling a little bit did not make us feel better. All 54 students that were in the library at the moment gathered on lower two. Some computers were still on, so we went online to follow the tornado. It was south of Wooster and it was supposed to move east. All we could hear in the basement was the loud grumbling sounds of the thunder; a severe thunderstorm warning had also been issued, with the risk of quarter-sized hail. After about 30 minutes, we were given the all clear signal. It was still raining outside. All the fields on campus had turned into ponds. The concrete sidewalks had turned into brown rivers. There was no more denying that fall is on its way.

Bastiaan

From Young Man to Old Man

September 13th, 2010

I was born on September 11th, 1987.

On September 11th, 2001 the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were attacked.

For the past nine years, celebrating my birthday has been a strange day. For me, it is a day of celebration, because in our culture, we celebrate the fact that you have less life ahead of you. It is also a day of commemoration and contemplation, because we can never forget what happened on 9/11/2001.

I think that this year I succeeded at balancing celebrating and commemorating. I had an amazing birthday weekend. Let me tell you.

On Friday, we had our large campus concert, called Party on the Green. Our headliners were Rhymefest and Foxy Shazam; a hip-hop artist and a rock band.  Before we got to our headliners we had some of our student talent perform to warm up the crowd. The concert seemed to go really, really well, but before Rhymefest was done, I had to leave to pick up one of my best friends. Henk is a friend that I have since early on in primary school and we have grown up together. Ever since I came to the US, I have not been able to see him for long periods of time. This semester, he is studying in the US, so he decided to take a Greyhound bus to come visit me for my birthday.

When Henk and I came back on campus, the concert was over and it was right about midnight. First, we celebrated in my apartment and then we went to our campus pub, the Underground, to continue our celebrations.

On Saturday afternoon I went to lunch with Henk, my girlfriend, and a Wooster friend that I visited in Vienna this summer. I had dinner with 15 of my closest Wooster friends. It was a very nice day and I really felt like it was my birthday.

After the dinner, we went back to campus for a 9/11 vigil. Several members of the campus community spoke and we had a moment of silence to remember the victims of the attacks. I spoke for about a minute and a half on my 9/11 experience. I think it was a wonderful way of unifying the campus community and commemorating 9/11.

On Sunday, I had the first intramural soccer game of the season. Unfortunately, the other team didn’t show, but we played for a while among ourselves. After playing some soccer, I went to the Wayne County Fair with my friend from home. We looked at some cows, pigs, sheep, etcetera, and we ate some greasy foods. It was a nice and sunny day, but we were both exhausted from the weekend. I dropped Henk off at 2:00 a.m. at the Cleveland Greyhound bus station and I was back on campus around 3:15 a.m. I was exhausted from a long, fun, and meaningful weekend, but I felt very satisfied.
Bastiaan

J’Ouvert Photos

September 13th, 2010

To illustrate our celebration of the Jamaican Carnival Festival J’Ouvert, I thought it was appropriate to add some pictures. All these pictures are copyrighted by Rick Iverson, a very talented first year at the college.

Throwing Paint

September 5th, 2010

I always thought the first week of a semester was the easiest week. No homework yet, no papers due, no exams. This first week was by far the most challenging first week of my college career. In my previous post I mentioned that I changed all those classes and dropped a major.  That was not easy. Then there was a lot of Residence Life business to take care off. It was all just very chaotic.

Fortunately, this weekend gave me the chance to get organized and relax for a while. I spend some quality time with friends on Friday night and on Satuday we had our first ever campus version of the Jamaican festival J’Ouvert. J’Ouvert is a celebration during the Jamaican Carnival that stems from slaves wanting to participate in the Carnival festivities. They were not allowed to do so, but if they covered themselves in paint they could not be recognized.
The Wooster Activities Crew had bought 35 gallons of concentrated paint to mix with many more gall0ns of water in order to have tons of paint to throw around. We had Caribbean DJs that played Jamaican music and organized some entertaining competitions. People engaged in dance , hula-hoop, limbo, and tug of war competitions. However, the event was mostly about throwing paint and dancing. Fortunately, the sun stayed out for most of the day because there was also a water hose, super soakers, and water guns involved. It was a lot of fun. People like throwing stuff on each other and dancing. The event lasted five hours, but time flew by. Afterwards, it was time to take a long shower to get clean again and warm up. By the end of the day, I had almost forgotten what a hard week it had been.

Bastiaan

Senior Year is an Undeniable Fact

September 1st, 2010

That was quite a shock. Wearing a gown to convocation made it impossible to remain in a state of denial: I am a senior and so are all of my classmates. Time flies. Cliche, Cliche, right? Another great cliche as that cliches are true and of course that cliche keeps confirming itself.

I returned to campus on August 8, at 9:30 p.m. Since that moment I have been working hard. Classes have started this week, but I have felt the need for a break already. This does not mean that I am not greatly enjoying my time here. It just means that I have been working hard. Let me explain.

This year, I am a Resident Director. In order to fulfill that position, one has to go through training. That training started on August 9. I was still jet-lagged, but everything started at full speed. We made 14 hour workdays that included talking about supervision, but also completing tasks for the Reslife office. It took me a full week to unpack my suitcase, simply because I was too exhausted to do anything after I got back to my room in the evening.

After RD training, Resident Assistant training started. Our college employs about 70 RAs. In order to build a strong team we go on a four-day camp together. We do teambuilding acitivites, diversity exercises, and talk about what it takes to be a great RA. Of course, there is some time for swimming, volleyball, and bonfires as well.

After training, we had our massive First-Year Moove In event (Moove is not misspelled, it is a reference to COW = College of Wooster). Moving in the first-years was set up like a CIA mission in North Korea. We all had individual duties, we had secret maps, we had closed off roads, we had security, we had a 20 foot fiberglass cow, we had free food, we had music. In fact, it was more of a big celebration than it was a CIA mission, but the maps and the explanation of the event gave it a top secret feel. The code name for the Moove In event was The Fountain, a reference to the traffic pattern of the cars of the incoming first-years.

Well, as you can tell, there is lots to share about what happened since I came back. There is even more to share if I would include my adventures from this past summer. However, there is only so much time and only so much reader attention span. So, let me wrap it up by giving you an insight in my current situation.

I have dropped one of my majors to become a Communication Studies major (previously double major with Math). I have changed 3 of my 4 classes over the past two days. I have not talked to my parents for more than 4 minutes since I am back, because I have been so busy. I have been reunited with my girlfriend who was abroad last semester. I have bought really nice sheets for my queen sized bed.

Bastiaan