Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just a normal day...

*I started writing this on Tuesday and ran out of time to finish it, just so you know that this is not actually describing today.

The last few days I have had a great desire to blog. However,  I have not had much time or inspiration. So, I hope you will bear with me as I simply relate what my day was like today. I actually think it was a pretty good example of what life is like here at Wellesley...

This morning I had to get up earlier than normal, which I generally don't enjoy. But the reason I had to get up early was because today was my first day of work! I got a job at the campus library. Although it was somewhat stressful because I didn't know what I was doing, I can tell that I will enjoy this job. However, after my shift I  only had 5 minutes to get to my first class of the day, Spanish. Yeah, I didn't quite make it on time... I hate getting to class really out of breath because I just had to hurry up 4 flights of stairs! It's quite a common occurrence here. Evidently whoever designed this campus really likes stairs and building things on top of hills. (Often during my 10 minute passing periods when I still barely get to class on time, I miss our little hallway at Hope Academy...)

After Spanish I had another class, Multivariable Calculus. (Just bear with me for a moment, I know this was the boring part of my day.) I really enjoy that class, as crazy as most people think I am. We always have to take a ridiculous amount of notes (almost 7 pages today) , but my professor is really good at explaining difficult things. And of course he takes the occasional break from math to explain the Latin conjugation of a certain word, or to play hangman when we can't come up with the word he's trying to describe. I find that class very amusing.

After class was over I hurriedly ate lunch, and then I had to work another shift at a different library (we actually have 4 libraries altogether, although I only work at 2 of them). Once again I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned how to find the page counts for various printers, tricks for extending the use of a toner cartridge, and where (and what) the minifocus is. While I was on shift I also happened to see that I had gotten an email saying I had a package in at the mail center. Hurray! (Seriously you guys, mail is one of the highlights of my day.)

Of course, when I was done with my shift I immediately went to check my mail and get my package. And you know what else was in my mail box? A letter from Alyssa! (For those of you who don't know, she is one of my best friends in the whole world who is currently in boot camp for the Air Force). I was about to walk back  across campus to my dorm, but then I thought better of it and decided to find somewhere comfortable to sit in the campus center and read my letter first. Our campus center has a beautiful view of the lake, so I found a window seat overlooking Lake Waban and sat to read my letter.

Unfortunately, pretty soon after I sat down it started to thunderstorm, so the few minutes I was going to spend there turned into 2 hours instead. I decided to write back to Alyssa, so at least the time wasn't completely wasted. It ended up being a very pleasant place to sit and watch the wind and rain without actually being outside in it. Finally, after it stopped raining, I went back to my dorm for a while. It's always nice to be in my own space for a while (even if it is a rather small room I share with two other people).

Soon after I got back to my room I went to eat supper. Food is one of the highlights of my day too, they always have something good. While I have eaten plenty of things at our dining halls that I did not enjoy, usually I am pretty impressed. And the ice cream... I eat way too much ice cream here. (Have I told you guys about our ice cream endowment? Basically an alumnus donated a bunch of money and made it a requirement that every dining hall always has at least 3 types of ice cream. We also have a smores endowment, but that's another story...)

At 6:45, I headed out for class again. What class do I have at 7 in the evening, you ask? Rock climbing! That class is so much fun. (I use the term 'class' loosely. We are required to take two PE classes, but we don't get grades, they don't show up on our transcripts, and we never have any kind of homework.) That class is just so unlike anything I have ever taken before, I really enjoy it. In our first couple classes we talked about safety, learned how to put on the harnesses, and learned how to tie the knots that attach us to the rope so we don't die. Pretty important stuff... Today, however, we actually learned how to belay and climbed the wall for the first time. I successfully made it all the way to the top, and the person I belayed didn't fall and get injured, so I would call that a successful class! We also spend half of class exercising, which is fun because all of our ellipticals and treadmills have cable tv. That is pretty much the only time I get to watch tv anymore, so I always enjoy it.

Finally, my day complete, I walked back to my dorm. (Well, I may have taken a small detour to our dining hall for some more ice cream...) Overall, today was a pretty great day. And I hope you weren't too bored reading about it :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wellesley - College or Summer Camp?

Two weeks ago was orientation, which was pretty great for the most part. You meet tons of new people and  can reasonably go up to a complete stranger and start a conversation with them (because its not likely that they know anybody either). You spend lots of time outside walking around to different buildings (we have a very spread out and picturesque campus), doing activities, and exploring your unfamiliar environment. The school organizes tons of events, like a scavenger hunt, a circus themed party in the sports center, an arts and crafts night, and a James Bond/casino themed dance party.

Sound like summer camp to anybody? Yeah, me too.

Orientation week was fun, but I felt like I was always being herded to various mandatory meetings, academic advising sessions, and random (mostly fun) activities. This week, however, I felt like I was really in college. I actually like it much better. While it means that now I have responsibility, and homework, and classes I have to go to, it also means that I have more control over what I do with my time, and that I can start making friends that I will actually see on a regular basis (instead of people that I just sit next to once and then never see again).

Another thing that makes me like my second week of college better than  my first? I got a real job! This was a huge answer to prayer, because I have heard that it can be very hard for first years to get on-campus jobs. I am very excited :) I get to work for the library and technology services, so I think I will actually get some practical and helpful knowledge. I am very excited to start training and find out when I will be working, because it will be very nice to finalize my schedule pretty soon.

One more thing that I am very excited about, and then I should probably go start on my homework. (Yay, homework... :P ) Tomorrow, I get to start my PE class. And why is that so exciting, you ask? Because I get to take rock climbing! I cannot wait to start, it sounds like so much fun! I suppose, even though classes have started, there is still some small feeling of being at summer camp here. But I'm okay with that :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Whale Watching, Class Registration, and Pictures

Yesterday we went on orientation trips. There were four choices: kayaking on the Charles River, Whale Watching, a walking tour of Boston, or going to the beach. You can probably guess which I did... (and if you can't look at the title of the blog)

This is me and one of my roommates, Katie (my other roommate
Jacqueline went kayaking instead).

It was an incredible experience. I had a great time, but not everybody enjoyed it as much as I did. It was windy yesterday and the sea was very rough, so a lot of people got seasick. Thankfully I was not one of them. It was also quite cold out at sea, and some people were not adequately prepared so they froze. Thankfully I was not one of those people either. (I am a Minnesota girl after all.)

After about an hour (and the boat going up and down and up and down a lot) we reached the area where there were a lot of whales. To me it looked exactly like the rest of the ocean, but we were informed that we were in fact in a wildlife sanctuary that had a particularly large amount of nutrients in the water for some reason, so whales came there to feed a lot. It wasn't long before we saw our first spout in the distance, and then another. We all stood at the railing of the boat scanning the horizon, holding our breaths for any sign of a whale under the water. We heard a gasp from another part of the boat and we all looked, but it was just because the boat went up and down a particularly large wave. Finally, a splash! A mammoth tail came out of the water and the slapped the surface. Again the tail came into view, and slipped back under the water. For two or three minutes this continued, a gasp of admiration as the tail came out of the water, and then a great splash as it disappeared again. Over the loud-speaker somebody explained that they don't know why whales do this, it might be part of their feeding ritual, it might be for communication, or it might just be that they enjoy it.

We also saw some other signs of whales, but every time I saw more than the tail I was so in awe that I forgot to take a picture, so this is the best picture I have. All too soon it was time to head back to harbor. The trip back was much smoother, because we were going with the waves instead of against them. I would go again in a heartbeat! There was something exhilarating about seeing the sky meet the sea and feeling the motion of the boat and scanning the horizon for gigantic creatures under the water.

Whale watching was amazing, but not everything we do is all fun and games. On Friday morning we had class registration. It was my first taste of how stressful some parts of this semester will probably be. It was all done online, so every student on the campus was sitting on their computer, refreshing the page every few seconds so they could do it as fast as possible and get the classes they wanted. Registration opened at 9:00, and within about 30 seconds most of the classes were full. Normally I don't get stressed out about things like this, but everybody else was very worried so it made me worry too... However, after about 10 seconds it was all over, and I got all of my first choice classes. Of course, I also wasn't trying to get into many classes that were very popular. Here is my schedule for the semester - Spanish 201, Multivariable Calculus, Hamlet (which is a first-year writing class), and History of West Africa. Random, I know, but it sounded really interesting! Plus my mom grew up in West Africa, and I have always wanted to learn more about it. Apparently it wasn't a very popular class, because as far as I can tell there are only 9 of us in the class, and there are still 16 open spots.

Finally, I wanted to share with you all a little bit more about this beautiful place I get to call home now, so I made an entire page on my blog devoted to pictures I've taken around campus and on my forays into Boston. You can find the link to it at the top of the page, its pretty obvious. I will try to update it as I take more pictures too! Also, feel free to ask me any questions you might have, whether on this blog or personally! I would love to answer them :)