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3.27.2014

If You Build It, They Will Come: We Built a Fort

This semester has definitely been one-of-a-kind. It's been a great combo of busy, fun, stress, and excitement.

What I love about this semester is that my friends and I value our sanity and therefore, I think our creativity has skyrocketed. We find ways to keep each other sane and be productive.

This past week, based on a suggestion from Professor Keenan, Millie and her roommates (Kat and Sarah) built a fort for us to do homework in. Hence why we have the clever title of this post (shout out to Field of Dreams and We Bought a Zoo). The fort happened post Zumba and we (me, Millie, Kat, Sarah, Tai, and Vanessa) thought the fort was a stellar idea. I have to say, I think we have the best fort around.



As a study break (and after we had been quite productive in our fort), Millie and I made some muffins. This time, we made raisin bran muffins with chocolate covered sunflowers seed (shout out to Grandma Joan for a great purchase). They were different than our past muffins but soft and delicious.



Because Millie and I were a little behind on our muffin making, so we made some blueberry-lemon muffins with a crumble for a snack in our English seminar class. They might look a little odd, but they were delicious. I've also discovered that my blog and muffin adventures have created quite a following on campus. A big shout out to all the faithful Coe readers, especially Bryce, for keeping up and enjoying our muffins!


In terms of academics, my thesis has been printed and handed out to my committee. We're currently in the process of setting a date to defend. I'm excited for the defense and can't believe it was over a year ago that I first discovered Mary Robinson and began research on her and her sonnets. 

As for my other classes, they are picking up. This weekend will be full of homework, from writing a paper on Jane Eyre, to working on a French translation project, and even watching videos for my statistics class.
  
Well, back to my homework. It might be dull outside today but I've got plenty of pep to conquer today and the rest of this week! 

3.24.2014

Happy Monday!

So funny story. I began writing this post on Friday afternoon, with the little bit of down time that I had. The blog post began, "While I don't want to jinx this good, spring-like weather, I also just can't help but proclaim that it is absolutely gorgeous today in Cedar Rapids..." 

When I woke up this morning and discovered Cedar Rapids had gotten a light (and I mean light) snow dusting, I sort of kicked myself for jinxing the oh so nice weather off. Hopefully those spring like temperatures will return soon because I'm ready to not wear my winter jacket when I step outside.

The trend of the time post-Spring seems to be busy. Last week was super fun. For example, Angela and I got rubens and shamrock shakes on St. Patrick's Day, I spent some solid time in the Writing Center both doing homework and catching up with consultants, and really nailing out my thesis. 
Photo compliments of Angela and her iPhone
I also got to have lunch and later listen to a lecture by Dr. Waitman Beorn. He and Professor Keenan actually were in graduate school at the same time. His area of focus, and the topic of his book is about the Wehrmacht (the German army) and the Holocaust in Belarus (country east of Poland). Dr. Beorn is currently the Louis and France Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Nebraska - Omaha. Professor Keenan had asked if I was interested in having lunch because of May Term last year. Of course I said yes, I wouldn't dream of passing up an opportuntiy like that.

The lunch was great. Myself and five other students had the pleasure of eating and discussing history for an hour. Dr. Beorn was awesome and we covered all sorts of interesting topics. It was nice to have intense, academic discussion on the memorials our group encountered in Berlin, Krarkow, and Warsaw. Felt pretty good to bring that information back to the front of my brain! 

Friday night, Dr. Beorn had this talk with the Coe community. I learned a lot and as I realized while on my May Term, there is so much we don't know about the Holocaust, especially once you get further east than Poland. The focus of Dr. Beorn's research is on the German army and their complicity. The myth exists that the Wehrmacht were not part of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Dr. Beorn makes us question that myth and ultimately, we are forced to ask some tough questions. 

My weekend was packed with balancing homework and relaxing and letting my brain rest. On Sunday night, one of the sororities on campus, Alpha Sigma Alpha, held their annual Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for one of their philanthropies, Special Olympics. I went with Rina and it was delicious. It was great to see many of my friends who are in ASA in their best red and black and also to support a great cause. 

This week has all the same promises of being equally busy. Will do my best to keep you up to date. Also, Millie and I are long overdue for some muffins, so that's going to happen. We proclaim it! 
 

3.18.2014

Inauguration Weekend!

Last weekend was spectacular. As the title suggests, it was Inauguration Weekend for President McInally. For me, I had been waiting months for the inauguration. While President McInally has been our president since July, this ceremony really sealed the deal (essentially made it official). It was a time for the Coe community to be together as well as a chance for us to show off our new president to colleges across the United States.

I of course broke out my favorite red dress (Kohawk pride) and my new pair of heels. I got a lot of compliments on my very classy ensemble and I would just respond saying, "It's Inauguration Weekend!"

The program from the inauguration
Friday afternoon was the ceremony. It took place in Sinclair and was well done. The Concert Band had a prelude, our International Club brought in flags from the various countries our students are from, and the Concert Choir and Chorale sang. Representatives from different groups both on and off campus made pledges to support President McInally, one of Dave's mentors from Allegheny College gave a great speech about our president, and Dave Carson (Chair of the Board of Trustees and someone I had the opportunity to get to know on the Search Committee) made the whole thing official with the big presidential necklace (excuse me, medallion).
President McInally with his official presidential medallion. Dave Carson is behind him and the man on the left is Richard Cook, Ph.D. and President Emeritus of Allegheny College. Photo from Coe College's Facebook page.
I think the best part of the ceremony was hearing President McInally speak. He directed about 99.9% of the speech towards us, the students. He told us that himself and all the faculty and administration on Coe's campus believes in us and our potential. He discussed what a liberal arts college is not and what it is. The speech was stunning (there were some tears shed by some students and if not tears, definitely goosebumps). 

For me, I spent the entire inauguration thinking back to February 2012 when I got a phone call asking if I might like to be part of the Presidential Search Committee. I said yes, not knowing the adventure I would embark on. I had an interview, was asked to be one of the two student representatives and then on a snowy day in late February, found myself on a conference call with trustees, faculty, staff, and one other student (aka Max) who I would become friends with as the search continued. I thought back to reading files in Stuart Hall on a Saturday afternoon in late July, and I thought back to going to Chicago and meeting Dave McInally for the first time in person. It was incredibly rewarding to see President McInally up on Sinclair's stage. I can't tell you how thrilled I am he is our president. 

There was an extremely nice reception in the caf post inauguration where I got to chat with some Search Committee members who had come back for the occasion, some of my professors, and my peers. 

But Inauguration Weekend was not over. It continued on Saturday night with the Presidential Ball. This year it was held at the convention center at the newly remodeled Double Tree Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids. It was an excellent event, filled with friends, fun, good conversation, and lots of dancing. Unfortunately, I was having too much fun to take a lot of pictures so this one was the only one I got (good thing it's such an excellent photo)
L to R: Kat, myself, Millie, and Kelsey
So all in all, an excellent weekend. While no muffins were made, I think Inauguration Weekend is pretty darn special all by itself!

3.13.2014

The Third Time's the Charm! May Term 2014

The title might be a little deceiving because it might imply that I didn't have a good time on my previous May Terms. FALSE. As a veteran reader of this blog, you know that I have had some of my best and most memorable Coe experiences during the month of May in 2012 and 2013.

Because of those great experiences, how could I pass up a chance for one final May Term?

The answer is, I couldn't.

I'm happy to formally, officially announce that I will be participating in another Writers Colony May Term. The location: West Coast baseball stadiums.

Yep, you read right.
Baseball.

If you remember way back in the summer of 2011, one of my guests on my blog was Kyle, a fellow FYS peer. He spent May 2011 doing a baseball May Term, but to East Coast stadiums. He had a great time and I was jealous of his trip.

So I was thrilled to find out that Dr. Bob's final (he's retiring this year) May Term would be West Coast baseball. The trip will take myself, seven other students, and Dr. Bob through the Midwest and then out West to see all sorts of great baseball. I'll be leaving the day after graduation and cannot wait. I'm sure I will eat far too many hot dogs and get a little too much sun, but it's all going to be worth it.

And of course, on top of watching baseball, we will be reading and writing about the history of the game and our own experiences. It should be an out of this world trip and of course, this blog will be active while I'm roadtripping.

There you have it! My big news! More information to come :)

3.12.2014

Spring Break Recap

This year, my Spring Break seem to just fly by. While it wasn't incredibly warm the entire time, it was still nice to get off campus and take a bit of a breather. But of course, if you know me or my family, we don't quite believe in relaxing. I was kept plenty busy! Here are the highlights:

  • Visited a grad school program on Tuesday. It was UW Madison, so just around the corner (figuratively) from my house. It was awesome to be on the flip side of the admission perspective. I got to sit in on a class, meet with professors in the department, and chat with students. (Aka all things I recommend prospective students do when they visit Coe!). It was exciting to talk to people just as passionate about library science as I was! I also thought a lot about Coe during the visit when the people were explaining the small class sizes and community feel of the program. All things I am very familiar with because of Coe and all things I would want to keep as I continue my education. 
  • Got to watch some exciting high school basketball on Thursday and Saturday. The Mt. Horeb High School boys basketball team advanced pretty deep into our state tournament. It's one of those things where their good play excites the whole community. Going to the game was like going downtown to mail something at the post office, you saw a bunch of people you knew! 
  • Was able to see a few high school friends and catch up on their lives. It seemed that the "thesis" of our conversation was about how old we felt, especially with graduation right around the corner. 
  • Relaxed to the best of my ability. While homework had to be done, I still got some free time to watch some TV, sleep in, and heck, even take a nap! 
So all in all, one of the best Spring Breaks I've ever had. It wasn't a tropical one, and I definitely didn't get my tan on, but it without a doubt refreshed me for the final push until graduation! 

3.11.2014

THE FINAL SEVEN WEEKS (and muffins)

If you can believe it, yesterday I began the last seven weeks of my undergraduate time at Coe. I feel like I keep saying this feels so crazy, but I just don't think I can say it enough.

I picked up my degree audit today, so graduation is most definitely on the horizon. While graduation is near, for me, tackling the next few weeks will be my biggest challenge. Lots is happening before the end of March so it's time to buckle down and get work done. The biggest project I have on my plate is finishing up my thesis. Melissa (thesis advisor) and I are planning on having me defend my thesis by the end of March. While that is exciting, it's also a little scary. My thesis is in good shape, but lots needs to be done before I am ready to defend it. Aka it's revision time!

The other project I'll be tackling is deciding on my post-graduation plans (aka graduate school). See my post tomorrow with my Spring Break recap for more information.

With all this a happening, it's easy to see how I could be a little stressed. Lucky for me, I've got a great friend Millie and we've got our muffins. So amid stress yesterday, we took a break and made some muffins. Did you expect anything but? We decided to revise an old recipe, the mocha-almond muffins, but substitute chocolate chips for the almonds. We also got to try out our brand new muffin pan (big shout out to Grandma Joan for the snazzy muffin pan birthday gift) while wearing our new muffins aprons (big shout out to Millie's mom for our equally snazzy aprons). The muffins turned out to be delicious and our stress was averted.

Isn't that a nice pan? 
Make sure to check back tomorrow for my Spring Break recap and then again on Thursday for exciting news about my final Coe College May Term!

3.01.2014

Midterms, muffins, birthdays, and the start of Spring Break!

Good news! I made it through midterms (as if there was any doubt!). It was a hairy week, and I think it was combination of many big projects coming due and two non-major tests I was stressing about. On top of these academic items, it was not only my birthday week, but Millie's as well. So obviously much celebrating to be had!

We started the week with our weekly muffin making adventure. After a "throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl because we're making MUFFINS" last week* (which turned into delicious peach guava muffins), we decided to make vanilla muffins in honor of our birthdays. To spice it up a little more, we added funfetti icing. Pretty atypical for a muffin (because they look like a cupcake but taste like a muffin [so less sweet]), but Millie and I believe in breaking the boundaries of what muffins can be. They turned out pretty awesome, despite the fact one of our friends described them as "a girl (or guy) who sends mixed signals," which we had to admit was clever.

They were DELICIOUS
The week began, and I found myself swamped with a couple big projects for my English seminar class, a translation project, thesis writing, and prepping for both a statistics and French test.

Tuesday was Millie's birthday. It was an excellent day, complete with Zumba! As you can tell from the blog posts this past summer and then this semester, Millie and I have a lot of fun together. She's a wonderful friend in all sorts of ways and I am so glad we get to spend this final semester together! 
A photo collage of Millie and I :)
Friday finally arrived and by high noon, I was all done with midterms and just about on Spring Break. What made this day even better was that it was my birthday! The sun was out and not nearly as cold as it had been earlier that week (thanks Mother Nature!). The afternoon was equally busy, with two tours in Admissions and finishing up some Writing Center items before the break really began.

I spent Friday night with my friends. We ate dinner at Hacienda's, a Cedar Rapids staple restaurant. It was great to just have a night off, without worrying about homework or upcoming tests. 

I headed back to Wisconsin earlier today. My Spring Break will be relaxing and we can only hope some warmer weather will appear (because it is Spring Break). It's hard to believe that after this week, I will only have seven weeks left at Coe as an undergraduate.

Oh my gosh, that's kind of scary to think about. Thankfully, there will be many more adventures in the next seven weeks to keep my mind off of our impending graduation. 

NOTE: That wasn't the first time Millie and I made something without a recipe. Remember that one time we made a cake?