Archive for May, 2011

Over and Out

May 23rd, 2011

My fellow Class of 2011 graduate Itai Njanji and me are making fun of my little brother: he doesn’t have a degree. With every clever solution that we come up with, we make sure we credit our liberal arts education. I am wearing a Wooster Alumni sweater. We talk about fashion that is for college kids, meaning it is not for us.

It is only a week since we received our diplomas, but it is real. Wooster is in our past.

I had underestimated the intensity of commencement weekend. I imagined that it would be one big celebration, a fitting goodbye to four wonderful years. However, commencement is a two-edged sword. Of course, it is wonderful to receive a degree and be at the center of attention for three straight days. Moreover, my family from the Netherlands visited Wooster for the first time in four years. But May 16 almost asked too much of me. I wanted to take hundreds of pictures,  meet all my friends’ families, I wanted to say goodbye to my professors, I wanted to show my parents around on campus, I wanted to spend time with Keri, and I had not had a full night of sleep since finals started a week ago. At the end of the day, I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I felt great about my beautiful diploma, about all the amazing people in my life, and about the four very special years at Wooster, but the mix of emotions was unlike anything I had ever felt before. One older gentleman told me that he had quoted Charles Dickens during his graduation many years ago: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The gentleman told me this on Saturday, but only by Monday night I realized what he had meant.

When I got to New York City on Friday after staying in Wooster for four days to close the buildings down, my tank was still very low. I slept over twelve hours the first night I arrive in the City of Dreams and the night after I did it again. It seems like it is a long way to recover fully from the emotional roller coaster that leaving your Alma Mater is. Digesting all the events from graduation weekend and making the transition to life in the Netherlands will take time.

I now say goodbye to this blog. My life has been documented here since the spring semester of my sophomore year, but now I am passing on the torch. New generations of Wooster students will be sharing their experiences through various media, while I start my life in Amsterdam.

Thanks for reading my posts, thanks for following the bigger and smaller events in my life. A nice side-effect of writing this blog is that I have a record of 5 of my 7 semesters in Wooster. I am happy that I can confidently say that if I would be given the opportunity to come to Wooster again I would do it all over. I have had four amazing years and I can recommend this school to anyone who is looking for an unpretentious top class liberal arts college with a beautiful campus and a community in which I built relationships that will last a lifetime.

Bastiaan

One to Go

May 9th, 2011

All that stands between me and a Bachelor’s Degree now is one exam. I still need to gather all the information, store it in my neurons, and retrieve it on Wednesday starting 2:00 p.m. However, after going through this process so many times in my college career and even during my high school days, I think I can do it.

Today, I took my Intrapersonal Communication exam. It wasn’t bad at all, I expected it to be much longer. I also turned in my last story for Introduction to Fiction and Poetry writing. This last story had a much stronger lower story than my previous ones and also included some good desire and conflict. Yes, it may be clear that I learned a thing or two about fiction writing.

The spring weather has finally arrived. Many people had predicted that we would skip spring and jump straight to summer after early March weather that just wouldn’t go away. However, I consider today a beautiful spring day. Not all trees have full grown leafs, many are blooming, and the weather is sunny but still a little chilly. People are studying on the fields around campus, trying to solve their vitamin D shortages.

Right now it is really a time of lasts. Today I have my last library shift, this weekend was the last social weekend with everyone on campus, I had my last Reslife meeting, I wrote my last undergraduate paper, and, as mentioned before, Wednesday is my last exam.

I am trying to enjoy it all. It is never easy to leave a place that you love, but I have had four amazing years at this college. I am excited for the summer and my graduate school program in Amsterdam next year. The incoming class will consist of students born in 1993. I was six years old in that year and my younger brother, who came after my two younger sisters, was born in 1992, so it seems right for me to move on.

This will not be my last post yet, I promise, but I will say goodbye for now, because I am about to play some tennis during my last finals week at The College of Wooster.

Bastiaan

Last Week of Classes

May 4th, 2011

It doesn’t feel like it. I am working on some papers, going to work in the library, and I am having meetings. Class is still class, but I only have four sessions left. Four sessions and I will most likely never be in an undergraduate class again.

The weather is probably one contributor to the fact that it still seems like we are in the middle of the semester. I love Wooster springs, because of the blooming trees, the flowers coming up, and the crisp air on the mornings of sunny days. People start wearing shorts and flip-flops and life seems easy. This year, it seems like we are skipping spring almost entirely. We have had over ten days of straight rain. Yesterday, I felt like I needed gloves when walking to class. Last night, I was wearing a t-shirt, a hoodie, woollen socks, and pajama pants to bed. The heat in my building was turned off two weeks ago with the assumption in mind that spring weather had arrived. It was colder in my apartment than it had been all year.

Other than my four class sessions, I still have to finish one fiction story, two papers, and take two final exams. That’s all the requirements left for a Bachelor’s Degree. Still, it feels like there are still many weeks left in the semester and like I’ll be back on campus next fall.

Yesterday, I decided to take a day off from schoolwork. I paid my last car insurance bill, bought a new Brita water filter, and cleaned my apartment. After these errands, it was time for a dinner with the Andrews hall Residence Life staff. We went to a new place in town, called ZEN. I had a red curry with light spice which still made my eyes watery. It was a nice closing event and we talked about how we could meet up in the future in Boston, Amsterdam, London, or a place still unknown. After dinner, it was time for some indoor soccer. I love those fun, quick, informal, low pressure soccer games. Straight after the game, I went to Gault Manor to play the Jamaican card game Kalooki with some friends. I racked up the most points in the game which is the exact opposite of the goal of the game. My friends said it was okay because I was a beginner but it still didn’t feel great. The game lasted from 10:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. was still, despite the exceedingly high number of points I collected (I had more than 800, the winner had less than 100).

Bastiaan

Symposium Synopsis

May 1st, 2011

The past week involved some very nice dinners. On Tuesday, I went out with Keri for a late celebration of her 22nd birthday at South Market Bistro. South Market Bistro is my favorite restaurant in Wooster because it serves local, organic, high quality food in a very nice setting with great service. The only downside is that you are paying for this quality experience. Even if I only eat a main course and I do not drink anything but water, I still spend 30 dollars. On Wednesday, my wallet did not have to suffer. I went to City Square Steakhouse, across from South Market Bistro. I went there with a couple from the Wooster community, Judy and Harry, and with my fellow Dutch senior, Marijke. Harry picked up the bill and encouraged us to go all out. He didn’t have to tell me twice, so I ordered a 10 oz Mignon steak, a nice red wine, and warm apple crisp with ice cream for desert. On Friday, I went out to Broken Rocks. This is my favorite restaurant when I take price into consideration. The food is really good and for ten dollars, you have great food with some amazing complimentary bread. At Broken Rocks, some tomato soup, a strawberry spinach salad, and a Great Lakes beer made for a good meal with some friends.

This past week was a four-day school week, with three restaurant dinners. Not bad, but that Friday, before I went to Broken Rocks, there was the Independent Study Symposium.

The I.S. symposium is a celebration of the research Wooster students do. Every senior gets a chance to share what they have worked on during the year. Students can either do a poster session or an oral presentation. All classes are canceled and local vendors provide free food in all the major academic buildings.

Unfortunately, I had to work my office hours at residence life from 9:00 a.m. to noon. At 1:30 p.m. was my own presentation, so after my office hours were done, I wanted to take some time to change, eat, and rehearse my presentation a few times. Therefore, I had to miss many of the good presentations that my friends gave.

My presentation went very well. A good number of people that I have gotten to know throughout my Wooster years were there, and the audience was very receptive to my speech. They laughed when I showed the picture of me not fitting in the audiology testing booth. I felt amazing after the speech. People seemed to be just as interested in um, you know, and like, as me, and moreover, I was now really done with Independent Study.

After my presentation, I attended some poster sessions and a presentation on sex trade in Thailand. After the symposium was done at 3:00 p.m., there was a closing event. At this event, the price winners for the digital I.S. competition were announced. The winner was Cathy Trainor who created a documentary on Fort Ross, the number three, Jacob, created this website on Wooster’s buildings. There were also prizes for the most creative title, the longest title, the most incomprehensible title, etc. The keynote speaker for this final event was a 2003 graduate who talked about how I.S. had helped him throughout his life after Wooster. A very nice article on the I.S. symposium is to be found here.

Bastiaan