Archive for January, 2011

Lots to Share

January 30th, 2011

It is the beginning of the third week of this semester and things are starting to heat up. People are back into the groove of college life.

This weekend was great. Friday started off with an all hall program. We made a fire in the Andrews (my building) fire place, we played some music, we made hot dogs and s’mores, we drank hot chocolate, and we played a little bit in the snow. Later that night I met some friends, but I went to bed relatively early because I had to wake up really early the next morning.

On Saturday morning at 7:15 a.m., two cars and ten people gathered to go to NEOHO (North East Ohio Housing Officers) conference. It was a gathering of Resident Assistants and other people in the field to talk about our experiences and learn from each other. I went last year too and I was expecting fun creative activities, and meeting some new people. This year’s NEOHO was mostly fun because me and my fellow Wooster students stuck together and joked around. Some of the activities were hard to take seriously for us. For example, one session taught us how to deal with stress. That sounds pretty interesting, but we did not expect that they would teach us the benefits of using a calendar (“some people say using a calendar is a waste of time, but it is actually really helpful”) and that they would go into detail about making stress balls out of balloons (“sand could be better as a filler than flower because flower gets stuck in the carpet”). One of my fellow RDs referred to this last discussion as “the great sand vs. flower debate.” So, although some of the sessions at the conference were a little disappointing, the day itself was a success.

Upon arrival at Wooster, I ate a quick dinner with Marijke and Prachi. Then, it was time for a 1.5 hour nap to make up for the short night. It was hard to get up after that nap, but I am very glad I did. Saturday night was a lot of fun. I laughed, danced, talked to lots of people, and spent some quality time with my girlfriend. I had an amazing time and I enjoyed the fact that I could sleep in very much.

Independent Study is also in full gear. On Friday, I got permission to start collecting data. Today, I invited 160 students to participate in my study. I am excited to start running my experiment, but I know it will take lots of time. Hopefully, by the end of this week I’ll have had 20 students participating in my study.

A piece of great news that reached me this past week is that my sister is coming to visit next week. She studied here in Wooster for a year as an exchange student and although she loves her current studies in The Netherlands, she still feels a very strong connection with Wooster. I can’t wait to see her!

Furthermore, I realize I promised to post a picture of the dinners we have been having with our group of international students. However, I have not uploaded my pictures to my computer yet. This semester I have started to carry my camera around on campus so that I can document my last semester here.

Instead of the photo, I’ll post the first poem that I wrote for my Intro to Fiction and Poetry class. We learned that poetry is something that you should share and not keep to yourself, so that is what I am doing. However, that might only be true after you have become a little better a poetry writing. I’ll try to incorporate the lessons I learn in that class into my blog writing as well, so my writing should get better each week.

The assignment for this poem was to write about an emotion without using the word for it. Also, it had to be in free form (no rhyme).

The Wedding Ring

As I was tracing back my steps of that morning,
I was tracing back the events of the day in my mind.

Had I left earlier to catch the 8 a.m. train,
my finger would not have felt so naked.
I had examined the pockets of my black pea coat,
searched the dusty bathroom tiles under my green cabinet.

I looked at the colored leaves in the streets,
each hiding part of a brick in the road.
When the 5 p.m. fall sun came from behind a cloud,
I saw something sparkling next to the dim curb.
My tread increased with my breath
as I was coming closer to the twinkling
that had caught my eye.

A yellow leaf was letting me hold on
to a  feeling I was not ready to let go.

PS One more thing I wanted to share: I quit my job as a tour guide. Although it was one of my favorite things to do, it made more sense for me to quit because I need all my time for IS. Also, I didn’t make any money on this job because I already fill the maximum of 10 hours each week by working other jobs.

First Week Back

January 23rd, 2011

It has been a transition week for me. Classes are starting, but not taking off yet. I am getting used to my new schedule.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to resign from the Wooster Activities Crew. My office hours at residence life have also been reduced by two hours. It seems like I will have some more time this semester to work on IS and enjoy my hours off in college.

For my Intrapersonal Communication class, we have to track our activities for a full week. That means that for every hour of the day, I am recording what I am doing. At the end of the week, we will have to make a pie chart showing how we spend our time. It has been a pretty confronting exercise already because I found out that I spend a lot of time just surfing the internet. That is valuable time that I could also spend with friends, working on IS, or reading a book.

This week I was on call for three nights including Friday and Saturday. Being on call is typically challenging the first weekend back because most students like to remind themselves what it is like to be back in school with their friends. However, this weekend didn’t seem too bad. The only exceptional thing was that I had to do six lockouts on Friday night. It seems like people are still getting used to carrying their College ID around again. Saturday night I only had one lockout, but it was at 3:30 a.m. That means I have to wake up, get dressed, and walk through the cold to get to the building where the person is locked out. Fortunately, I will not have to be on call on the weekend ever again. This was the only weekend this semester I had to be on call.

One more thing: a new tradition that we are starting this semester is family dinner. With a big group of my friends, we try to go to dinner at the same time. Last time we did this, I took a picture that I’ll try to post it in my next blog.

Bastiaan

So, How Was Your Break?

January 18th, 2011

This is my first day back in action. Today I work in the library, today I go to class. It is always a tough transition from break to semester, but I am not resisting. This is my last semester at the college I love and I will try to make the most of every day.

The question that I am answering multiple times each hour these days is “how was your break?”

A challenge with this question is to find the right degree of depth in your answer. I have heard  several conversations that went as follows:

“Hey, how was your break?”
“Good, how was yours?”
“Good.”

I would consider this too little depth. The meaning that is conveyed in this conversation suggests that you might as well not ask the question.

So, I will try to answer the question with what I consider sufficient depth for a little small talk conversation on the go:

Break was amazing. I was in Tacoma, Washington for a week. There I visited my girlfriend’s family. We went to the zoo, cooked good food, explored Seattle, went out to a very nice restaurant, read a lot, celebrated Christmas, and spent lots of time relaxing. Next, I flew to New York City. I had rented an apartment with three of my best friends from home. We did the touristy things, the culturery things, and we partied well. Our apartment was in Harlem and it was big enough for us to play bowling in our hallway. After a week in a very snowy New York, I went to Kingston, Jamaica. I visited two of my Jamaican friends who happen to be twins. On Jamaica I spent lots of time relaxing, sleeping, reading, watching TV, going to the beach or river, eating good food, and partying a little.

Of course, there is lots more to tell about a break but this is much more information than the word “good.” It is the foundation of a conversation and if there is not time or interest in a conversation you can just move on.

Lastly, there are a few updates I’d like to share with you:

1. The classes I am taking this semester are: Intro to Fiction and Poetry Writing, Independent Study, Intrapersonal Communication, Theories of Human Communication.

2. I have withdrawn myself from the Wooster Activities Crew. I was too involved in order to give the most for IS and to be an asset to WAC as well. It was a painful breakup since I had two great years with WAC. However, at this point in my college career I had to make the best decision for myself.

3. I am selling my books from last semester on Amazon.com and so far I have made over 150 dollars. It feels good to do some business online.

Bastiaan