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Do You Think This Cake Needs More Sugar? Adventures From The Ladies of Schlarbaum 6

This weekend, all four of us (Millie, Hayleigh, Anna, and I) were all on campus. This is a rare event because of our crazy busy schedules so it was nice to have the apartment full.

Friday night, Hayleigh, Kyle, and I went to Bata's Restaurant, where Millie works. It wasn't too busy for a Friday night, so we were able to snag a table so Millie could wait on us. This restaurant is located in the Newbo District and is actually owned by Coe's head of computer services. It's a great restaurant, known for their delicious sweet potato fries (yum!), flatbread pizza, and blueberry burger. And seeing Millie in her waitress element was great!

On Saturday, I spent most of the day outside, reading and enjoying the nice weather. I'm reading a wide variety of things -- from books on Mary Robinson, to books as potential first-year common reading, and then of course, books just for fun! Saturday night was also kept pretty chill; more reading and just hanging out with the roommates.

But I think Sunday was the best day of the weekend. I spent the morning reading and around lunchtime, Millie and I walked to our favorite HyVee (about an hour walk round trip). We picked up a few essentials, but really we went for the walk, fresh air, and a chance to chat. Once back on campus, we were reading some more when suddenly Millie said, "Let's bake!"

Millie with our finished cake!
And thus, our baking adventure began. We decided to be super adventurous and not follow a recipe. After baking cakes for years on end, we figured we would know the basic gist of putting together a cake batter.

We did pretty well. Our cake was named The Three Egg Honey Cake. This is what it looked like before going into the oven (photo on right).

We let our cake cool off and headed to a music concert. Yes, this is our lives. Dr. Carson had sent out an all campus email earlier in the week announcing that the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band was having a concert. It took place at Ellis Park, which is on the river and about an hour away (by foot) from campus.

The concert was amazing. About an hour long and included some great music. We listened to George Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and the infamous Sandpaper Ballet song. I was taken back to some great high school band memories and it made me miss playing the clarinet as well (looking forward to getting back to lessons this fall). It was also nice to see a different part of Cedar Rapids. I discovered a whole other side of the city that I had not had the opportunity to see before now. This just makes me want to continue to explore Cedar Rapids, especially since I'm coming into my last year here.

When the concert got over, it was still light enough to walk back to campus. It was such a nice way to end the day and weekend.

Looking forward to another busy but great week ahead! With weekends like these, I sort of don't want summer to end!  


Thesis Update and Reasons My Thesis Advisor Is the Best

So I'm knee deep in thesis research currently.

My bookshelves are filled with biographies on Mary Robinson and volumes of her poetry. She always seems to be a constant presence in my life, even if I'm not directly working on my thesis. I find myself thinking about her life and ways that I can write an argumentative 30-50 page paper this upcoming school year.

While that seems to be a daunting task, I'm lucky enough to have a great support team to back me up. My biggest supporter is my thesis advisor, Melissa Sodeman.

Melissa and I go way back. Aka the fall semester of my sophomore year. I had History of English Literature (HEL) with her. It was an amazing class and started me on a year and a half run with Melissa as a professor. I took her Literary Analysis class my sophomore spring year and then 18th Century Literature (the rise of the modern novel) the fall of my junior year. Melissa is a specialist British Romanticism (18th and 19th century) and therefore, a perfect advisor for Mary Robinson. I also found out that Melissa wrote her dissertation on Mary Robinson so that's a fun fact. Melissa is excited that I want to focus on Robinson's poetry because Melissa was more focused on Robinson's novels (which weren't nearly as good or strong as her poetry).

Melissa and I have had a couple of meetings so far. It's great to talk about Robinson who knows her so well and is interested in her life. We bounce around potential focused topics and Melissa gives good advice on what to read and look for next.

The other neat thing that makes Melissa the neatest advisor is that she invited myself, Julia (a fellow English major), and Millie (my roommate) to dinner. The three of us rode together and grabbed some flowers at HyVee. Melissa made us a delicious dinner and it was fun to have time with Melissa in a non-classroom setting. Just another reason I find the professors at Coe to be top-notch.

Well, I better get back to research. My plan is to have an outline and rough, focused thesis by August. Wish me luck!


The Reading Never Stops! Summer Project #2

With my future aspirations to be a librarian, it makes sense that I get in my fair share of reading. I have way too many books checked out from the Stewart Memorial Library and I have to stay on top of those due dates (we don't want any overdue books!)

My first summer reading project took place mainly at the end of May and the beginning of June. But first a little bit of history...

Every summer, the first-years are given a book to read before they come to campus. If you've been a long-time reader, you know that my freshman year we read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. The following year it was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and last year it was A Primate's Memoir by Robert Sapolsky. I was lucky enough to be on the committee to help pick A Primate's Memoir as well as the book for this upcoming class. 

This year's book is also an African memoir called When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin. It takes place between 1996-2004 and mainly focuses on Godwin's evolving relationship with his dying father with a subplot focusing on the political and social turmoil in Zimbabwe during those years. Godwin was born and raised in Zimbabwe and eventually lived in both England and the United States as a journalist. The book is fascinating, not only for the story line, but for the amount of discussion that can be taken from the 300 some pages. It is written from a white, middle-upper class, male and so an obvious first question is: what is the memoir leaving out? What sides are not shared and what do we not learn that might create a different picture of the struggles happening in Zimbabwe? And, without spoiling the plot, Godwin's story is fascinating.

Since I had helped pick the book, I reread it after returning from Germany and Poland and then created a reading guide. I had a very similiar (okay exactly the same) assignment last summer for A Primate's Memoir. This summer I actually had more fun creating the guide. I love the feeling of reading a book and then picking it apart, both for discussion questions and also topics I then have the opportunity to explore. And just like last year, I hope the first-years enjoy both the guide and the book. Godwin will be coming to campus this fall, which I am very much looking forward to.

My second project is more of an ongoing project. I was once again asked to join the First-Year Book Committee to help choose books for the incoming classes in 2014 and 2015. And once again, I'm the only student on the committee. I am very honored and can't wait to pick out two more books. This committee also adds another heavy load of reading onto my already heavy thesis reading. But never fear! I was always the small child who had a book in her hands and this summer is no different. I love being in a committee where my assignment is to read!

More updates on this committee as I read more and we have more meetings.   


Blogging with a Vengeance!

I guess you know it's been a busy summer when even your blogging starts to lag!

Hello readers! I can honestly not believe it's July. It seems like just the other day I got back from Europe and started working full-time in Admissions.

This summer has been amazing so far. I absolutely ADORE my apartment and the girls I'm living with. I've smiled more, laughed longer, and have gone on more adventures this summer than I thought was possible.

And on top of this, add my job in Admissions, being the assistant to the First-Year Experience Direction, thesis research, choosing a book for the common reading for 2014 and 2015, and figuring out what I want to do once I graduate from Coe.

Yeah, that's a lot.

But this week is when I kick everything into high gear. More research, more reading, more writing. And therefore, more blogging. I've got a few posts sitting in the queue and then I'll go back to my system last summer: at least one update post a week. That's manageable. I think.

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful summer weather!


It's a #studenttakeover!

One of the best weeks of the summer is the first week in August for Iowa Private College Week (IPCW). Basically, all the private colleges in the state of Iowa open their doors for prospective students and their families. There are morning and afternoon sessions and in my opinion, it's the best way to get a sneak peek at a college and see if you want to come back for a more in-depth visit.

As I've said the past two (and now three) years, IPCW holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first time I stepped on Coe's campus. My mom always told me I was walking near the library and turned to her and said, "Mom, I can see myself here." So yes, I love IPCW. A lot. 

The theme of Coe's IPCW is Student Takeover (or #studenttakeover for those on Twitter). And it truly is a student takeover; myself and TJ (my co-worker in Admission) are hard at work planning a tour route, gathering student workers, and chatting with Ben, Coe's head caterer, to plan the food for the week. Planning is a lot harder than I thought! But I love being able to be a crucial cog of this week. 

Now I've done all sorts of posts on IPCW. But this summer, I got to do something even bigger than just a simple blog post or recap video. I had the opportunity to make a video for the Admission Department and this video was sent out to prospective students encouraging them to sign up to visit (August 5-9, by the way).

Okay, a little inside scoop: I spent A LOT of time on this video. I ran around campus filming students who are here for the summer and spent time gathering clips from other Coe students who have filmed campus when there are more students. I love this video (I even have the main music permanently stuck in my head). I was so honored to be asked to create this video and I'm extremely proud of how it turned out. It also helped to remind me that I do enjoy making videos like this; I love starting with a bunch of clips and turning it into something great.  

Enjoy the video and if you're a prospective student thinking about Coe, make sure to register for the #studenttakeover