Pro-Tip: Using Campus Advantages to Your… Well… Advantage

I came to Alma for a number of reasons. My first time on campus was when I was 5 for a homecoming game with my mother, who proudly represents the distinguished class of 1983, back when Saga was actually run by a company called Saga and there was field hockey. My brother represents our last class, 2013, and we went on all of our college trips together. Which means that I went to my first official Alma College Admissions Visit when I was a freshman in high school.

Every time I came on campus, this pretty much happened.

“ALMA HAS THIS! ALMA HAS THAT! IT’S ALL SO WONDERFUL! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!”

Most of it was big stuff, like our fantastic Model UN Team, studying abroad, our deep connection with Scotland, and really cool Spring Terms, which my brother and I both took advantage of when he spent a month in Peru and I spent a month in England, Scotland, and Wales.

But there are other little things that Alma has that we should be taking advantage of, too. Smaller things that maybe we don’t think about. So this past week, I spent some time taking advantage of them.

SECURITY ESCORTS, ANYONE?

When I think of security, I think of them in relation to my RA position, which is to call them after hours when something is wrong, like the time my sophomore year that my toilet flooded into my room and soaked my carpet in sewage water. But security does a lot of other cool things besides calling facilities at night when I need them. They offer security escorts.

Last Wednesday I found myself in Mitchell helping a friend at midnight. I ran across campus as quickly as I could with security dialed into my phone in case I ran into trouble, and I didn’t end up leaving Mitchell until 1:30 a.m. I really didn’t want to walk back to South Complex alone at one thirty in the morning, so I dialed security’s easy-to-remember extension, x7777 (or 989-463-7777 from a cell phone), and I asked for a security escort.

Within 10 minutes, a security officer pulled up in what looked like a big bruiser ATV and he told me to climb inside. While we tromped across campus in the ATV, he told me all about his cute grandkids and I told him about my big plans after college that will, hopefully, involve my English major.

So here’s my question: would you rather run across campus alone at night or would you rather ride in a cool ATV type thing with a nice security guard that has cute grandkids to tell you about?

I’d definitely choose the latter.

WHEN YOU NEED A GOOD CRY

Your RA probably pushes Counseling & Wellness on you a lot. Having a bad day? Go to Counseling & Wellness! Miss your cat? Go to Counseling & Wellness! It’s probably drilled into your head by now.

But your RA has a point. Counseling & Wellness is pretty much the bomb. And believe me when I say that there is absolutely no shame in going there whatsoever.

Since I’m allergic to fur, I don’t have a cat that I miss, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t bend my rules and pet the cat in there (and sneeze for three hours later). There’s a Rubik’s cube in the waiting area that I try valiantly to solve, there are magazines, there are all kinds of toys to play with, and best of all, there are trained counselors there equipped to deal with anything and everything.

I go to Counseling & Wellness once a week to supplement the therapist that I have at home. That doesn’t mean that you need to go once a week. You can go once, pet the cat, and talk to any of the counselors about ANYTHING and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel better. Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, go see the cat. Sit in the Light Room when it’s not sunny outside and get some Vitamin D. Actually solve the Rubik’s cube, which I am incapable of doing.

The best part about the Counseling & Wellness services is that they’re free. You have three counselors at your disposal. For free. Tell me that’s not awesome.

MY FUTURE PLANS HAVE CHANGED

I’m very familiar with plans changing unexpectedly. I used to be in the Teacher Education Program and I no longer am. I no longer want to be a teacher, I’m no longer student teaching, and I have an extra semester of classes to take this winter and a whole host of options that I can pursue. Grad school? Gap year? Fulbright Scholarship? AmeriCorps? SOMETHING?

Luckily enough for me AND for you, there’s a place where you can go to figure out what on earth you want to do with your life, and that place is the Center for Student Opportunity, or the CSO.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t spent much time there yet, but I will definitely be camping out in there making appointments about hunting for grad schools. And that&rsuqo;s not all they do. They help with internships and résumé writing and mock interviews and studying abroad and pretty much any life/professional skill you could want to be considered a Real Adult out in the Adult World. Plus they have free candy.

I went last week for a new program they’re doing called Great Scot where they bring in recent alumni that have done cool stuff. I met with a woman who graduated in 2011 who is currently writing for a high-end magazine and lives in New York City. I networked with her. The CSO is going to be bringing in alumni from all kinds of backgrounds, so no matter what major you have, you’ll have someone you can talk to and network with. They’re even hosting the CareerEXPLO on Friday, Oct. 4, from 3-5 p.m. in the Rec Center where all sorts of amazing Alma alumni will be available to meet, chat, and network.

The CSO isn’t scary. It’s full of awesome people that want to help awesome you do awesome stuff. And as I said, there’s free candy. So get down there, talk to someone, and see what the future holds for you.

NOW WHAT? YOU DECIDE.

Alma has huge resources, but it also has smaller ones that can lead to big things.

What will you do with those resources?

As My Planner Takes Over My Life

Every single year, during the first week of classes, my mother calls me and tells me that I need to e-mail her my schedule so that she knows when to call me. This is important, because my mother, like most mothers, tends to call me at inopportune times.

Like in the middle of class or when I’m running a meeting.

I never know exactly what to tell her. I always e-mail her my class schedule to make sure that she doesn’t call me while I’m learning about the struggle between elite and popular democracy (a struggle that now consumes my every waking thought thanks to my distributive political science class).

But then I stopped to think about it while I looked at my planner; actually sitting in classes is pretty much about… five percent of my time weekly.

That was bad math. But math really isn’t my thing. Writing is. Which is why I’m writing this post and not actually calculating how much of my time is spent in class.

Last week I opened my trusty-dusty planner that I spent a lot of time contemplating at Walmart. I am very picky about my planners. They need to have each month and then individual weeks with ample amount of space per day for me to write stuff in. I can only use one type of pen to write with in said planner, and my planners are normally HUGE because I have very large handwriting.

My planner for my senior year has, so far, been my favorite because it has… lines.

Embedded image permalinkHere is a nice little excerpt from my beautifully lined and somewhat ridiculously full planner, which may or may not control my life.

I take my planner with me everywhere, sometimes even to Saga when I know I’m not going anywhere else later except my room. If I don’t take it with me and check it, I feel like I’ll forget to go to a meeting, I’ll miss a deadline, a homework assignment, a report I was supposed to give, something.

People keep their schedules in their phones. I personally don’t understand it because for me, I have to write things down solidly so I remember them and then I can see what I wrote in my own handwriting. But if you keep stuff in your phone, that’s totally cool.

What I’m trying to get at is this; I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time sitting in SAC being taught English. When I leave class, I spend copious amounts of time in the library. I spend time in my Wright apartment to make myself available to my residents. I run meetings. I go to other meetings that I don’t run in various places like the Chapel and the Rec Center. I have built-in workout times. I wish I had time for naps, but I don’t.

So when my mother called me last week and said, “When’s a good time for me to call you?” I had no idea what to tell her. When she asked me if I’d scheduled my doctor’s appointment, I said that I hadn’t because my schedule wasn’t solidified.

It’s now the second week of classes and my schedule is still not solidified.

Is this a senior thing or an Alma thing? I was tempted to say senior thing, but upon further reflection, I’ve realized that pretty much every year, when I make a color-coded schedule to post outside of my door for my residents so they can find me, I have to change it because something comes up.

Classes are the only stable things in my life right about now. That and the fact that I cart my planner around with me everywhere.

Alma thrives on busy, absolutely thrives. How do we keep track of it all?

It is the second week of classes, and as my RA staff would say, I don’t feel like I have my poop in a group. And if you don’t have your poop in a group either, that’s okay.

We’ll get there. Hopefully together.

Behind the Scenes: Even Before Orientation Week

Welcome back to Alma College for another fresh year of classes, events, games, library crying sessions, and late-night Netflix binges. Hopefully by now you’re all settled in and ready to rock and roll.

I’ve been here for two weeks and I’ll have you know that I do NOT feel settled in at all. Mostly because I can never remember where I put my pot for making Monster University shaped Kraft macaroni and cheese. It’s become a problem.

There were a lot of groups on campus that have been here for two weeks: the marching band, the football team, the cheerleading squad, and countless others.

I don’t take part in any of these prestigious groups. I come to Alma two weeks early because I’m an RA. (I know, I was one last year too, and the year before. Crazy, right?)

I’ve blogged about the RA hiring process, how it’s really fun but really scary, but what actually happens when you become an RA? I mean, when I became an RA my sophomore year, I had no idea what to expect. I went out and bought a bunch of stuff at Target to fill up my double and now I have so much stuff in storage I don’t want to think about it. But what comes after that?

RA training is what comes after that.

I think I could write about RA training for forever, because there’s just so much to write about. Alma has five RA staffs; Newberry, Gelston, Bruske, Mitchell, and South Complex, where I happily reside. Each staff except Gelston has ten members and a Hall Director (Gelston has eight RAs). We all move in on the same day, get to know each other as a whole group of 48 campus leaders, and then we meet with our individual staffs to learn all about each other so we don’t kill each other later in the year.

When I first became an RA, I didn’t realize exactly how close I would become to my RA staff. The nine people that I work with, though they have shuffled in and out over the past three years, are my best friends and my support. They know practically everything about me, and I know practically everything about them. Without the support of the entire RA staff, the residence halls wouldn’t function. And we spend a lot of time at RA training bonding as a staff, particularly at Camp Henry.

At Camp Henry, I spent the day doing team building activities like throwing one of my staff members over a ten foot rope web. We practiced archery, we kayaked together (with lots of kayak tipping and splashing) and we helped each other up a giant 50-foot Jacob’s ladder. I wasn’t afraid of heights until I climbed it. (I also sliced open my foot in the lake, but that’s a different story.)

When we’re not at Camp Henry or having staff time at our Hall Director’s house or having a field day at the zoo, all of the RAs come together in classrooms in Dow and SAC and learn about campus resources and all kinds of things that help us be the best we can be for you guys when you need us. Barbara Otey (’14) and I did a presentation on mental health awareness, we sit through sessions about the CSO and Counseling, Health, & Wellness, and we sit through countless other resource presentations. We learn how to deal with just about anything and everything you can imagine: underage drinking, bats in the hallway (trust me on this one), suicide, depression, roommates that refuse to shower, and illegal flame throwers.

If it can happen on campus, we’ve covered it.

RA training lasts two weeks. We start at eight in the morning and sometimes we go until midnight, shuffling from presentation to presentation, learning everything we can, brushing up on new and old skills, and we still manage to have fun. Like this year when one of the presenters was late, we watched videos of screaming goats. Sometimes RA training is exhausting. We have really heavy presentations and activities that force us to be uncomfortable and to take a good look at ourselves and our campus diversity.

But it’s always good when we can watch videos of screaming goats in Dow.

Unless you live in small housing or an off-campus apartment or you commute, chances are you have an RA down the hall from you somewhere. RAs are not just scary people that enforce rules, RAs are students that genuinely care about you and want you to have the best college experience that you can have. Even if you don’t have an RA because you live off-campus, that doesn’t mean that you can’t go to an RA with a problem. We’re students too, and I promise you that if we didn’t genuinely care about you and your college experience, we could never get through two weeks of intense training.

Training is intense. It’s exhausting. But I know that I have my staff that I can turn to. And after all this training, I hope that you can turn to me and other RAs when you need us.

Welcome back for another year at Alma, and don’t be afraid to knock on a Resident Advisor’s door. You’ll be glad you did.

The Library is the Place

It wouldn’t be finals week if I wasn’t blogging instead of writing a paper.

My carrel, which I often call Procrastination Station, has been very active these past two weeks. Sometimes I feel that more has happened there than at Saga, which is saying something, because a lot of interesting things happen at Saga. Like the time that my friend Matt brought me a Dr. Pepper with twenty straws in it when I asked him for one. Somewhere on the Internet is a picture of me attempting to drink a Dr. Pepper through twenty straws at the same time.

When I was a freshman, I was told by numerous people that my junior year was going to be difficult. I instantly referred back to high school in which my junior year was difficult, but it was a great year. Junior year in high school was the best of both worlds; you were an upperclassman taking all the cool classes, but you didn’t have to worry about doing senior stuff. Like applying to colleges. It was golden.

Junior year at Alma has been almost the same way; I’m thoroughly enjoying upperclassmen status and reveling in the fact that I don’t have to do awkward senior things. My brother has been constantly talking about picking up his cap and gown at College Corner. I’m one of those people that would completely forget about it and then show up to commencement without the proper attire.

So when they told me that being a junior was going to suck, I didn’t really believe them.

I should have. Two upper level lit classes and an upper level education class have slowly been sucking away my soul.

My hell week (which did involve Simba going everywhere with me) and my finals week stacked up something like this.

Three 8-10 page papers. Two full-blown exams. Three education projects. One presentation. One gigantic choir concert, otherwise known as Masterworks.

I diligently holed myself up at Procrastination Station and got to work.

Last week, I managed to write a final draft of my first 8-10 page paper and turn it in with a flourish. But it wasn’t without a struggle. Being on crutches and unable to carry books, I enlisted my friend Adam to help me collect books about an old dead white guy from England named John Donne that wrote poetry in the 1500′s.

As someone who has had a carrel for two years in a row (and the same carrel to boot) I understand that books must either be checked out to my carrel or reshelved after 24 hours. I already had a bunch of books for my paper on Frankenstein that were sitting on my carrel shelf with a brightly colored reshelving notice. Now I had a huge pile of John Donne books on top of that. Instead of trying to figure out a way to carry them down to the circulation desk by myself without hands, I wrote the library staff a very eloquent plea that in short, went something like this: “Hey library staff, I’m on crutches and writing a huge paper, can I keep these until Wednesday?”

I promise, it was much more eloquent.

The day that I set off to write my John Donne paper, I found that my entire carrel had been rearranged; all of my folders were neatly stacked, my loose papers had been piled, and even my sticky note to-do list was organized. My John Donne books, all of them, had been hidden expertly by my critical theory book and my education folder. And what I found was a note.

The note says, “Emily, in order to avoid troubles with the library bureaucracy, hide your books as demonstrated! Throw the white and pink slips away and carry on breaking carrel law. Good luck, The Library Defender of the Weak.”

I had made a new friend.

When I came back from dinner, after spoiling all of the organization that my new library friend had worked on, I found another jewel waiting for me amidst my sticky notes.

Yes, my carrel very well represents my life: completely not put together.  (Also, there is a picture on my carrel that says vagina. You weren’t just seeing that. It’s actually there.)

You know those people that always have their stuff together and you just know that they’re going to go out into the world and get great jobs and do great things?

I am not one of those people.

I managed to get my John Donne paper cranked out by one in the morning, right when the library closed. I was so excited that I took this picture.

This is what one in the morning eight page paper euphoria looks like.

As of right now, I have two papers left and two exams. I will still be living at Procrastination Station, where odd things are still bound to happen, such as nice notes from library defenders, awkward pictures of myself and my finished papers at one in the morning, and sketches of fancy cats from Adam.

Procrastination Station welcomes you. Stop by. I’m pretty much guaranteed to be there.

And of course, good luck with finals. Just remember, your value as a person has nothing to do with grades. You should probably still study, though.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my carrel in all of its glory.

Present Your Work and Eat a Cookie: It’s Honor’s Day.

When Honors Day comes around, I always wonder what I’m doing with my life.

When Honors Day came my freshman year, I treated it as a free day without classes, and I slept in, ate too much ice cream and didn’t attend a single presentation. Present Emily is very upset with Past Emily for her decision to do this.

Last year I overworked myself to make up for Past Emily’s mistakes: I attended every single session. By 5 p.m. I was absolutely exhausted and my head was swimming with facts, data, graphs and literature.

At last year’s Honors Day, I got up bright and early for my brother’s (Aaron Hollenberg ’13) presentation on the research on wolf spiders that he conducted over two years with Dr. Clark. I didn’t really understand what he got up to in Dow all those summers. I just knew that he was at Alma in the summer, I was in Indiana without him (and I didn’t have to share the bathroom), and it was nice when he came home for a free weekend.

At his presentation I learned exactly what he had been doing every summer for two years, and that was extensive research that I did not understand one bit of. He worked with wolf spiders and took readings about their mating rituals. There were lots of graphs, charts, numbers and data things that I didn’t understand.

As an English major, I tell myself that it’s okay that I don’t like numbers. Or understand them.

This year was no different; I went to a few science presentations and couldn’t make head nor tail of them. But they really made me think.

We have awesome students on this awesome campus doing awesome research projects with awesome professors.

But when I go to these presentations, I think, Gee, I could be doing all of these miraculous and marvelous things. But I’m sitting here watching someone else’s presentation and eating a cookie.

So next year, I’m undertaking a project that will, hopefully, be presented at Honors Day just in time for my senior year to be wrapping up.

I am undertaking… a senior thesis.

Since science and math make me want to hide in a broom cupboard and never come out, my thesis is not going to involve hours in an IPHS lab running tests on willing student subjects. There will be no graphs, there will be no numbers, no PowerPoint to show my data.

There will be a novel.

My eight-credit/two-semester senior thesis is going to be me writing a novel, overseen by Dr. Vivian.

Today I went to the Pine River Anthology reception, and Carrie Frame ’13 was presenting her senior thesis, a novella. The entire time that she was reading excerpts from it and showing us all the hard work that she put in to write it, I could only think about was what I would say next year when I presented a big, fat, hopefully finished, novel.

“Hi, I’m Emily. And um… this is my novel.”

Don’t worry, I’m not going to read the entire thing. I’d take up all five sessions, and nobody has time for that.

Realizing that I am undertaking a senior thesis and that eventually I’ll have a proud product that I can present makes me feel better with what I’m doing with my time here at Alma. I might not be doing groundbreaking research in the kidney functions of strange animals for the biology department, but I’m going to do end up doing something that will make me proud.

And hopefully, next year, instead of wondering what I’m doing with my life, I’ll actually be presenting what I’m doing with my life.

Alma’s Honors Day is one of the coolest thing that Alma does. I admire every single person that does an Honors Day presentation. Hopefully next year, I’ll be joining that crowd.

STD Convention: The Untold Story

You might’ve seen in the Almanian (on the second page) that six members of the International English Honor Society traveled to Portland, Oregon, for the Sigma Tau Delta Convention. I was one of those six women that traveled 19 hours via van, train, subway, max rail, and plane, to make it to a swanky hotel filled with 800 English majors, all ready to present their papers.

Before I left, I was approached by a staff writer for the Almanian and this question was posed to me: When you found out that your work had been accepted, what did you do?

Of course, they quoted me saying that I squealed and waved my arms around and danced around my room and then called my parents and cried.

I’m one of those people. I’m not ashamed.

But the point was, the six of us (Alice Richard ’13, Maggie Heeschen ’14, Christina Rann ’14, Erika Schnepp ’13, Kelsey Blades ’14 and, well, me) went to Portland to talk about Shakespeare, The Little Mermaid (not the movie), Beowulf, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and to share our original poetry.

This is the story not told in the Almanian.

First of all, we should mention that the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, is STD. Believe me, we know. We were headed to STD Convention. The seven of us embarked on a great journey to the mystical land of Portland, ready for STD Convention, whose Twitter name is @EnglishCon, not @STDCon. For good reason. I entered the Twitter contest, so if you follow me and suddenly wondered why I had nearly 200 tweets with @EnglishCon in them, that would be what happened.

Our first day in Portland was spent touring the city. If you don’t know anything about Portland, Oregon, know this: it is a town of hipsters. While walking to Portland’s famous doughnut shop, we saw a large bike group of hippies passing out flyers to help fight pollution. We found an organic sandwich shop where we had lunch and where we were hit on by the guy taking orders. We wandered around and took hundreds of pictures, debated which Starbucks to go to (there was seriously one on every corner) and somehow ended up at Portland State University in the middle of the night. We ventured to Powel’s Books, the biggest bookstore in the entire world, where I promptly got lost and couldn’t find the elevator. I spent way more money there than I could afford. But when you’re an English major in the biggest bookstore ever, you have to buy something.

When we were not traversing the city (normally with Erika and Christina taking turns pushing me in the hotel’s stolen wheelchair) we were sitting in on convention panels. I was presenting my original poetry portfolio, hunting whales (the lack of capitalization is a tribute to e. e. cummings), and there were four other students in my panel. The critical papers had panels of four students. We all tried to attend each other’s panels and we spent each morning scanning the long, thick program that we had gotten upon arrival to see which panels looked interesting. We sat in on original fiction titled Coping Mechanisms, Erika and I went to a poetry workshop, Christina and I attended a keynote speaker who talked about authors that used bacon as bookmarks, and I fell in love with a beat poet who wrote about gender fluidity.

We met English majors like us in crowded elevators. We learned a lot about each other, our respective fields (poetry, Shakespeare, modern American playwrights, Anglo-Saxon literature, etc.) and we discovered exactly how many people across the country are as crazy as we are about the English major. I met a Phi Sigma Sigma girl who knew a Gamma Phi Beta girl in Colorado, and we met a really nice guy named Chris who goes to Western Michigan University, writes poetry, plays guitar, and might be, in fact, perfect.

The convention ended with a huge gala dinner that everyone dressed up for, and while I was eating fancy dessert and hoping that I didn’t get chocolate on my dress, I really took in the idea that every single college student in this room was like me; an English major with original work that had been accepted to this prestigious convention and who was trying to make something of themselves. Every single person at that gala dinner had something to say, had something to write about, and wanted to change the world through the beautiful field of English.

Next year’s convention is in Savannah, Georgia, and is ’20s themed. You better believe that I’ll be submitting something and going. And hopefully I won’t be required to use a wheelchair.

For your enjoyment, here is a nice picture of me. In the stolen wheelchair.

Emily with a dinosaur in Portland

I’m not sure why I have a dinosaur. But I do.

The Vagina Monologues Are Here!

I’ve realized that I’ve taken a bit of haitus. It’s in my job description to write a blog for you wonderful people once a week, and this semester, I definitely have not been up to that standard.

Life happens.

It also means that opportunities happen. And one of my life happenings happens to be a wonderful opportunity.

Picture this if you will: I’m walking back to my room after a grueling Tuesday of Renaissance Literature, Teaching Literacy, and English Critical Theory, and I come upon none other than Josh Zeitler ’14. He walks straight up to me and he says, “Hey Emily! You’re a really good writer and I know that you like to talk about your vagina.”

Why yes, Josh. Please continue.

What came from this conversation was this: would I like to be in the Vagina Monologues?

Before I go any further, I should probably explain what the Vagina Monologues is.

The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler, who interviewed nearly 200 women from ages 5 to 80-ish about their vaginas, asking such questions as, If your vagina got dressed up, what would it wear? What would it say? She compiled these women’s compelling stories of laughter, love, pain, anguish, anger, and wonderment into a play. There are numerous monologues told, vagina happy facts, and vagina not-so-happy facts.

Each monologue is a part of a script. I had plans to audition, but you know, life happens.

Josh asked me if I would like to write my own monologue and to be the student spotlight.

I frantically called my mother and told her that I was writing my own vagina story. I told her that she absolutely had to drive up from Indiana to see me. Her response was, “You want me to drive three hours so I can hear you talk about your vagina?”

Yes, Mom, that is exactly what I’m saying.

It’s been an incredible experience, writing a monologue about a piece of my anatomy that so many people think is vulgar. And this is the point of the Monologues, to explain that vaginas are a natural part of human anatomy, that women have them, that women use them, and that they are incredible. It was truly fantastic being able to write about my own and to take it to Elizabeth Wayne ’13, who is directing the show. We spent a fair amount of time making it shorter (once I start talking, I can NEVER stop, even if it’s about my vagina) and we practiced memorizing it and how it was going to sound. I now officially have a spot in the show.

Whether you’re generally interested in my own vagina story or whether you even have a vagina or not, I highly encourage you to attend Alma’s show. It’s THIS Friday and Saturday at eight, and Sunday at three in Dow L1. It also costs $3. I know that we’re broke college students, but all proceeds go to Women’s Aid services and to RAINN, Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. Besides seeing an excellent show that will empower women AND men, you’ll be helping out women in need on a national level.

So what are you waiting for? Save those dates, grab your friends, and come be empowered.

I know that I’m empowered. And so is every student in the cast. We want to see your faces. We want you to feel empowered too.

Roll Out of Bed for New Opportunities!

The other night I was lying in bed and figuring out exactly how much sleep I would get if I fell asleep right then.

Don’t pretend you haven’t done it. If your number is over seven hours, it feels like a personal victory.

When I could no longer stand counting down how much sleep I would undoubtedly be getting before a busy Thursday that consisted of three hour and a half upper level classes, I began to think about something different: getting my life together.

On that Wednesday night, I stared at my ceiling and I told myself that I was going to stop drinking Dr. Pepper for breakfast, which one of my more unfortunate habits. I was going to exercise every single day the Rec Center, and I was going to get a buddy to go with me to keep me on task. I was going to always take the stairs. I was going to avoid the quesadilla part of Saga that also has French fries and seems to be an extremely attractive place for my mouth and my stomach.

I was going to turn my life around. And on that Wednesday night, right before I fell asleep, it seemed feasible.

On Thursday morning I got up, drank a large Dr. Pepper with my breakfast, had French fries for lunch, and took a nap instead of working out.

This happens to everyone. And not just in ways of I’m going to turn my life around.

My sophomore year of high school the mantra went something like this.

I’m going to make a resume. I’m going to apply to at least fifteen different jobs. I’m going to actually acquire a summer job, and it’s going to be one that I like!

I have actually succeeded in this endeavor, but not until the summer before my senior year of high school. In the summer, I coach a swim team for kids ages four to eighteen. I love my job and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But we’re all in college now, and I know that my summer job won’t last me. What am I going to do when I graduate from college? What if I can’t coach my swim team again? What if I want something that’s actually suitable for my major?

English and swimming don’t have that much in common. Except maybe… speech.

Maybe you’re lying in bed thinking about the summer like this too. It’s probably also coupled with What am I doing with my life?

That’s okay. It’s a legitimate question.

So instead of getting up the next day and heading for the French fries and not actually looking into any jobs or internships, you can do something super easy that can help with your lack of work.

GO THE SUMMER CAMP AND INTERNSHIP FAIR!

This is the glorious thing about Alma; Alma doesn’t leave you hanging. Alma understands that you don’t necessarily have a summer job. Alma knows that my summer jobs doesn’t pay me nearly as much I would like it to. Alma understands that after you graduate with your degree, you’re on your own. Alma knows that you need help.

So we have the Summer Camp and Internship Fair.

Now, I’ve never actually gone, because I’m mostly entrusted with advertising and setting up tables, but here’s the basic gist:

Bring your resume and your genuine winning personality. Dress business casual if you feel so inclined. Head to Dusen on Tuesday February 5th between three and five (in the afternoon. Don’t go in the morning.) and put yourself out there. There are so many opportunities to speak with people that have jobs and internships that want to talk to you because you just might be the person that they’re looking for.

Don’t live in Michigan like me? That’s not a problem. While a lot of the jobs and internships are in Michigan, some of them are as far away as Colorado. Maybe you live in Michigan and you want to experience a summer somewhere else. This is perfect for you too.

If your resume scares you because you’re not sure if it’s up to date, that’s also not a problem: take it to the CSO office, now new and improved where Jones used to be, and they’ll be perfectly happy to help you out.

You can have a good job this summer. I just know it.

Now the one question remains: if you can land a good job by going to the Summer Camp and Internship Fair, can I motivate myself enough to exercise?

It’s Recruitment Time!

During the last week of Christmas vacation, I was already planning what my first blog post was going to be for when I got back to campus. More importantly, I had planned when it was going to be, and that was going to be the first week back.

It’s obviously now the third week of term. You know how you have this vision of how the beginning of the semester is going to go? “I’m going to get a study carrel early. I’m going to spend more time in the library. I’m going to like all of my classes, including the distributives.”

I think we call those Alma New Year’s Resolutions. And generally, they don’t happen. Thus, this post is two weeks late. But do you know what the third week of term is?

RECRUITMENT.

As you probably know, I’m involved in Greek Life. As you might not know, I’m also neutral during this recruitment, so if you happen to know which sorority I’m affiliated with, please keep it to yourself, especially if you’re planning on commenting on this post.

I remember very vividly when I went through Fall Recruitment my sophomore year. As soon as I crossed the street to go into the first house, nearly every single Greek girl was hanging out of the windows of their houses and was, quite literally, banging pots.

I was very frightened.

So this year, during Winter Recruitment, I decided to be a RhoGam to help girls through the slightly terrifying recruitment process. My job is pretty simple; I remain neutral and I walk the girls through recruitment. Literally.

Saturday was the first day of formal Winter Recruitment, which is called teas. The other RhoGams and I, along with the EC board of Panhellenic, showed up at the Rotunda in matching shirts and bows at seven thirty in the morning, all clutching coffee and yawning. Around eight thirty, after we had set up and had some discussion about how the day was going to go, all of the girls that had signed the rush list in Saga filtered into the Rotunda to join us, most of them looking nervous. We gave them name tags and groups, told them how the day was going to go, and then we were, quite literally, walking them through recruitment. Our main job during teas is to walk the girls to the different houses.

It was a long, exhausting day. I was partnered with another RhoGam, Aleia McKessy ’15, and we had a group of eight girls, most of them freshmen. We got to know them fairly well. During breaks we played Apples to Apples (I won!) and we puffy painted signs and bags for the girls. We talked to them about how they felt about recruitment, which houses they liked, and if they had any questions about anything that was going to happen during the week. We were incredibly excited that the large group of young women had signed the rush list and we were considering going through Greek Life. Recruitment is all about excitement.

Sunday and Monday start the second part of recruitment, spreads. Tuesday and Wednesday are the final two days, desserts, and once that’s over, a bunch of women will find their homes in Greek Life.

It doesn’t matter where you go when you go Greek. What matters is that you find your home.

I found my home my sophomore year and now I’m helping others find their home. Will you find yours?

Exam Week: The Perfect Time to Try Something New.

Dead Week is finally over, and that means that exam week is upon us.

To ease myself into exam week, I spent most of the weekend lying in bed and watching Netflix instead of studying, which may or may not have been a good life choice, especially when I discovered that three of my five exams are on Wednesday and I’m not sufficiently prepared for them.

I also eased myself into exam week by attending Festival of Carols.

Festival of Carols tickets go on sale as early as Halloween (or at least it seems that early) and they always go alarmingly fast. I didn’t have tickets secured because by the time I had realized it was Christmas season, the tickets were completely sold out. However, by grace of the Alma gods, there are always those people that get tickets held for them and then never pick them up. Then people like me who never quite realize that it’s holiday time can swoop in and take them.

I did just that on Sunday afternoon.

Sundays are always a fun time to go to concerts; it’s the day where family members come, and most of them are elderly retired people. I had the opportunity to sit next to an older lady with a red hat that exclaimed, “Oh, look how large it is!” when a bass drum was wheeled onto the stage to assist one of the songs.

Festival of Carols always brings out my inner musician. In middle school I played the tuba (I know. Don’t hate.) and the trumpet. I’ve played the piano nearly my whole life, at one point in seventh grade I dabbled with the harp, and in high school I played the marimba (the big black xylophone) and I picked up the cello. I also compulsively bought a guitar last spring semester and named it Clementine. So my inner musician is decently close to my heart.

Festival of Carols, however, brings out my inner choral musician. You know, the inner musician that wins American Idol: Shower Edition.

This inner choral musician could not be quelled. I spent the rest of the weekend singing wherever I went, which was mostly the PMA house (where everyone sings) and Chapel (where everyone still sings) and my room (where I don’t have a roommate and can sing happily by myself).

So yesterday, after singing all weekend, I ventured into the music building and introduced myself to Dr. Nichols, who most people affectionately call Doc.

I edged my way into his office and shook his hand after introducing myself. I told him I was a junior, had never had any sort of vocal training, and was definitely one hundred percent interested in Chorale. I told him I had been in three musicals: Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes, and Fiddler on the Roof.

After telling me that he was excited that I was an out of state student and that those were lovely musicals and he was sure that I would be fabulous, he sat down at the piano and started to play something I didn’t recognize. He then looked at me, obviously as if to say, Why aren’t you singing yet? When I still didn’t sing, he said, “Fiddler on the Roof?”

Hang on there a minute. I was in Fiddler on the Roof in seventh grade.

He then started to play Hark the Herald Angels Sing and I jumped right into it, and halfway through the song I realized I was wearing my ugly Christmas sweater from the eighties to prepare for my RA Christmas party later that night and was sufficiently embarrassed, and as soon as I noticed this, I realized that, not being a soprano, I wasn’t quite hitting the high note that I needed to be hitting. Doc also realized this and had me sing some scales that got lower and lower and lower until I felt a little bit like a boy trying to reach puberty.

Then he enthusiastically shook my hand again and told me that I was in Chorale.

Here lies the ultimate question: with my busy life, busy job, and busy schedule, do I need another thing to add to my crazy life? Especially during exam week, of all times?

Answer: probably not.

But to my inner musician, the one that constantly wins American Idol: Shower Edition (much to the chagrin of my suitemates), the answer is yes, I needed to join Chorale.

So I joined Chorale. What will you do with your exam week?