Archive for April, 2010

Final count down

April 28th, 2010

Today is the last Wednesday of classes.  There is not too much to share, but always a little bit:

  • My quantitative methods project has been turned in!
  • Junior IS has to be turned in by Friday. Today, I am editing Chapters I through III. Tomorrow I will do IV through VI and on Friday I will bind it and turn it in!
  • I had my last Wooster Activities Crew meeting of the semester. We had a nice review of the events we did this year including a trip to a great roller coaster park, a ski trip, big concerts, comedians, and a game show.
  • Last Sunday, we had the transitional retreat of the International Association executive board. The new board is now officially in charge and I am emeritus vice-president. A little sad to let ISA go, but I have great confidence in the new board.
  • The weather has been nice, but chilly. These are the days that you look out of your window and decide to wear shorts. Then, after 1 minute outdoors, you realize that the looks of the weather have fooled you.
  • These are also the days of severe lack of sleep. I don’t know exactly why, but the past three nights I have not managed to get more than five hours of sleep. Last night the reason was the lock on my door. I could swipe my card and the light would blink green. However, the lock would not follow through with the approval. I had to call security even though I was the Resident Assistant on call that night (meaning I had access to about 300 student rooms).

Still Alive

April 24th, 2010

Hello there!

I have not drowned. I am still standing strong. I have been working hard, but the results of the labor have given me a lot more breathing space. Let me give you the updates right away, not in chronological order:

  • Junior IS is almost done. Chapters I through V have a first draft, part of chapter VI is done. Tomorrow, I will finish chapter VI and then I have a full draft of my junior IS. Final draft is due on Friday, so there is still time for some revisions.
  • My quantitative methods project is almost done. I just have to cite some sources, write a little bit more in the discussions section, and figure out how to interpret the results of one specific test. Final draft is due on Tuesday.
  • I had a math exam last Wednesday. I had prepared all Tuesday afternoon, evening, and Wednesday morning. I thought I was as ready as I could get, but that seemed not to be the case. I think it was my worst performance in the history of my college career, but I noticed that even after that exam, it was still a very nice day.
  • Last weekend, the ethnic fair was a great success. The night before I had worked on my junior IS until 3 a.m., but the next day I was ready for the event. Although it was an extremely cold day for mid April, many people showed up and I had some good cultural sharing moments. After the long day at the fairgrounds, the couple from downtown Wooster that had run our booth with me, my sister, and Marijke (other Dutch student on campus), took us out for a great dinner.
  • Last Sunday, I heard where I will be living next year. I will be the Resident Director of Andrews Hall, supervising three Resident Assistants. It turns out that my apartment is the least luxurious of all RD apartments on campus, but I can’t complain. I will be living in an apartment (own bathroom, own “kitchen”, own living room), while others have to share a room with one or two other students.
  • Last Sunday, the International Students Association had a great success. We had our annual Spring Dinner. The speaker was Dr. Kammer from the religious studies department. He gave a very provocative speech on the United States’ position in the world. I will be taking a class with him next semester and I can’t wait to hear more from him. The food at the dinner was great too and my speech at the end was a little unprepared, but therefore also a little funnier than it would have been with preparation.
  • Next year, two Dutch students will be joining us at Wooster. I am very happy that the Dutch legacy will be continued. I sent them several emails lobbying them to come and my propaganda has been effective :).
  • Friday, Wooster had its annual research symposium. Seniors present their independent study projects while the rest of the students do not have class so that they can come and admire. It is a wonderful day for Wooster, with many excellent presentations, posters, and some very good food as well. Unfortunately, I spent most of the day in the library running t-tests, chi-squares, and one-way ANOVAs.

That was it for now. I’ll keep updating more frequently these last two weeks, since I feel like I am more in control.

Count down

April 14th, 2010

DISCLAIMER: Do not get scared of The College of Wooster by reading this post. If you plan your time well and you do not leave for a week at the busiest point in your college career, you will never find yourself in a situation like mine.

There are officially two and a half weeks of classes left. The weather is really nice and many students are enjoying the beauty of the campus at this time of the year. It smells like flowers everywhere and students do work while getting a tan or play some Frisbee. It seems like no one has a care in the world.

That is not what my inside world feels like. My junior Independent Study, my project for quantitative methods, and my final project for math modeling make the Mission Impossible theme come up in my head. Unfortunately, I am not Tom Cruise and this is not Hollywood. I am an average student and this is real life in Wooster Ohio. I think I would be able to finish all these projects if those were the only things I had to worry about right now. However, they are not.

Let me tell you the situation. This weekend, I will be at the Ethnic Fair all day on Saturday. It is a great event were many people represent their culture with games, food, and artifacts. About 3,000 people are expected to come. Again, a great event, but very time consuming. On Sunday, I will be in a meeting with all resident assistants from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Then, at 6:00 p.m., the ISA dinner starts, which will last until 8:00 p.m. That means that my entire weekend is taken up by extracurricular activities!

My junior IS is moving, but it remains a very challenging process. Right now, I am recruiting people to participate in my experiment. I have a list of 61 people that have told me there is a chance they will show up. However, I want to expand this list to at least 80 people, because I know student lives are versatile. At least 20 of them will probably not show up. The experiment takes place tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m.. Hopefully, everything will go well with that. Then, before this weekend is over, I have to finish my literature review. For the communication junior IS, there is a 16 page minimum. I have about 12 pages right now, but they are far from how I want them to be organized. When I am done with this literature review, I will have to start processing the information from my experiment. That means that I will have to put the information from 60 students who each fill out 60 items into a SPPS file (SPPS is statistical analysis software). To do the math for you: 3600 items. Once I am done processing this information, I will have to analyze it and present it neatly in Chapter IV of my junior IS. The next step is chapter V; the discussion section. Finally, I will have to write a chapter VI with the major conclusions from my study. Yes, only 2.5 weeks left.

My quantitative project is just as fun, but not as intense. I have processed 40 items times 32 people = 1280 items already. Now I will have to analyze the data, report the results, put it in context of the literature, and write up some conclusions.

My final project for math modeling involves writing a model and presenting it. My group has decided to work on a model on how airlines book flights.

Then, there is the weekly homework that just keeps coming and there is the occasional presentation.

Right now, I don’t see how I will manage to do all these things, but I know one thing for sure: in 3.5 weeks (including finals) it will all be over.


Spring Fest

April 10th, 2010

The weather is having its own Spring Fest. It was above 80 degrees last weekend. Yesterday morning, it was below 32 degrees. Fortunately, today will be a nice day with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60s. Today is the day of the 2010 edition of Wooster’s Spring Fest, the large concert of our spring semester. This is a very big day for our campus, since it will feature some of the biggest artists this school has hosted in its history. We will have John Forte, K’Naan, and Wale perform. This morning I got up at 8:30 a.m. (a Saturday morning) to help with setting up Spring Fest. The sun was out already, but the air was still cold. When I left to go to work in the library, the stage was set up, some large tents were put up, and most of the tables for merchandise, food, and drinks were ready. A personal highlight for me was that I got to drive around in a golf cart for a while. The event will be great. I can’t wait to see how it goes. We will have a velcro wall, a dump tank, caricature artists, and bungee runs for student entertainment between the acts. However, I don’t think students will have much time to enjoy these activities. Before our headliners start their performance, we have two student acts. The first one is P-10, a Dj-ing session by Patryk Tenorio. Right after that, we have Freddie Cool, a group of extremely talented musicians.

Before I can go to the quad to enjoy Spring Fest, I have some International Students Association interviews. ISA is selecting next year’s board. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone and I am excited to see what next year’s board will bring.

Last night, I had dinner with my sister. She has broken her finger playing sports. You might be guessing volleyball or basketball. Well, that would be an incorrect guess. She was playing a game of intramural ……….. DODGEBALL!  She is really disappointed that she broke her finger playing such a silly game, but it is a fact of life now. She will have her ring finger in a cast for the coming three weeks.
After I had dinner with my sister I watched some Cavs basketball, something I really enjoy doing. Then, I had to get myself to Taylor (the math, computer science, and physics building) to work on my Junior Independent Study (on a Friday night). I managed to write a full chapter! Tomorrow I will be writing a math paper on Bernoulli’s Inequility. Fun, Fun, Fun. These last three weeks ahead of me will probably be the hardest of my college career. There is one truth though: in five weeks I will be home and done with everything, no matter the result.


New York, New York

April 7th, 2010

An unexpected gap in my blog, what happened? It took me a while to realize too, but now I know, so let me share the story with you.

Monday the 29th of April, I got a call from the president of Wooster’s Model UN team. The news was that a spot had opened up on the traveling team to New York City, the question was if I wanted to go. I did not know how to respond or feel. I had been studying for an exam that I had the next day, I had been complaining to people that I was weeks behind on my work. I was way too busy in the current situation, could I leave for New York for a week? My normal response would be to take a deep breath and call my parents. When I am faced with decisions that go beyond my decision making capabilities, I consult my mom and dad. However, 8:30 p.m. in Wooster, OH means 2:30 a.m. in Utrecht, The Netherlands.  First, I conferred with my ResLife supervisor, Aaron. He was sitting next to me and he is more experienced in life than I am. The conclusion of our conversation was that I should go. Then, I called one of my best friends here in Wooster, Itai. The conclusion of our conversation was that the rational thing to do was staying in Wooster. Then, I did not know anymore. I called my dad on his cell phone, and miraculously, he picked up. He told me to go. I sent out 25 emails and made 5 phone calls to tell people that I would be gone for a week. Then I packed my stuff and left.

New York was amazing. It was my fourth time in the city, but that did not make it any less exciting. This time was National Model UN and that was definitely a first for me. More than 1500 students from all over the world had come to the Marriot Marquis to simulate the United Nations. It was great to meet people from so many places. One of the highlights of the trip was a meeting with the real Austrian representative to the United Nations.  The College of Wooster was representing Austria, so his input was very valuable. Another highlight was a visit to the actual United Nations building.
The UN experience was great, but also challenging. I did not have a lot of time to prepare for the conference and international diplomacy is never easy. The trip to New York was not only about UN though. It was also about being with a team of students and enjoying one of the greatest cities on Earth. The two together made for an unforgettable experience.

Well, New York is in the past now and I am back in Wooster. As I said in the beginning of my post, I thought I was behind before I went to New York. I was behind and I took a full week off, now I am behind behind. It teaches me two things: 1. No matter how busy you are, you can always take a week off without devastating consequences. 2. Itai was right.