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4.30.2014

April's Off Campus Adventures

Well May is almost here and since I spent probably a good week this past month not on campus and instead, traveling, I should probably let you know what I've been up to.

If I thought juggling academics, clubs, and a social life was complicated, I hadn't realized what applying and deciding on a graduate school would do to my calendar. As I've talked about earlier this school year, I applied to four graduate programs across the United States. I am planning on obtaining a masters in library and information science, aka be a librarian when I grow up. As the second semester began, I started hearing back from colleges. All positive. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into all four and then had the hard choice of deciding where I would want to go.

My search for graduate school sort of resembled my college search process. I believed in visiting campus, sitting in on a class, and meeting with at least one professor. I had to know in my gut that I could go there for two years and build meaningful relationships. Coe set the bar high and after my experience in Admissions, I was expecting a lot.

Visiting began over my Spring Break when I drove 30 minutes from my house to University of Madison. Then, the visiting continued in April and I had a two week chunk where I spent more time off campus than on campus. My travels took me into the sky and into the clouds:



I had the opportunity to then visit Simmons College, located in the heart of Boston (right near Fenway Park). After a full day of visiting, my dad and I got to tour the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was beautiful and I wished I could have spent more time there! This house built to be a museum contains a wide variety of art from all sorts of different time periods. 


I came back to Coe for a few days, helped out with Admitted Student Weekend and then it was back to airplanes. I went in the opposite direction and arrived in Seattle to visit University of Washington. 



I was fortunate enough to visit for two breathtaking days (no rain!). It gave me this "perfect" vision of being a Huskie.


The nice weather allowed me to explore the city, from the Capitol Hill area (the hip and upcoming neighborhood), to the Seattle Public Library, and to Pike Place Market. 


I flew back to Wisconsin and was able to spend a weekend with my dad and sister in Wisconsin. Then on a Monday morning, my dad and I drove down to my final school, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. We had a great visit there and as my dad drove me back to Coe, I was able to think about my decision. 

After much deliberation and thought, I am happy to announce that I have decided to attend University of Illinois Urbana Champaign this fall. While all four schools are outstanding (I can't make a wrong choice), University of Illinois had the best fit and the program I could most see myself being at. I am excited for this new opportunity and am so fortunate to have gone on these various visits to help make my decision. 




4.27.2014

Honors (All That Hard Works Pays Off and Food is Included!)

The end of senior year means crazy stress, lots of homework, final papers, and free food.

Yes, it wasn't a typo.
Free food.

For working really hard the past four years, Coe likes to reward their students with free, delicious food. Let me explain.

Last week, I traveled to the town next door to have a dinner with some Cornell students. Our dinner was a celebration of being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest national honor society. The official induction ceremony will happen the Saturday before graduation, so this dinner was more about celebrating all our hard academic work.

Then, later last week, Admissions did a small send off for the seniors who work in the department. It was right after the work day and consisted of cake and soda. It was a way for us to chat with the Admission Department more casually, instead of running around giving tours and what not! They gave us all a small gift and a giant card filled with good notes (the ones that make you smile no matter how many times you read it).


This upcoming week, I have another honor society dinner, Phi Beta Phi, that I was fortunate enough to be selected to join. Then, on Thursday is the annual Senior Send Off Dinner over at the Clark Alumni House. On Friday, the English Department will have their senior send off, which I am really excited for. Then the final, big fancy dinner comes the following week when the seniors head to the Cedar Rapids Country Club for a feast and celebration. 

So moral of the story: work hard in college. Reap success while working hard and there might even be some free food at the end of it!  

4.24.2014

Symposium and Art!

When I think back on my freshman year, I fondly remember my second semester on campus. I was finally use to everything at Coe and was was beginning to find my niche on campus. I was becoming more confident about who I was and my spot in the academic world at Coe. One of my favorite days of the second semester was Student Symposium. It's a day where all classes are canceled and we celebrate the hard work of our peers who have completed research, projects, paper, art, and more during the past year. I remember the day being incredibly academically stimulating and being inspired by everything and everyone. If you want to hear what I actually said, check out this post from way back in April 2011 (it's it great I've had my blog for this long to reference past posts?). Also, I think it's great that the plenary talk was given by Allison Carr, who will be joining the faculty this fall in the Rhetoric Department.

When I left Symposium Day way back in 2011, I was motivated to be one of the students presenting when I was a senior. My dream was fulfilled about a week ago. Not only did I present once, but actually twice, on two projects I've been working on all year.

But before the presentation, we had the plenary talk. This time around it was Drew Davies '05 (a Coe grad, same year as Allison Carr actually) who is a graphic designer. His speech was titled "Design for Democracy" because Drew's big project is helping to revamp the ballots we receive when we go to the polls to vote. Who knew so much thought goes into ballots, but in some ways, it makes sense. A clear ballot, with articulate instructions allow for a smoother voting process, fewer mistakes, and hopefully lowers the anxiety levels of the citizens. Drew's talk was fascinating and he had some good visuals (of course) to enhance the talk.

We had a lunch in the Clark Alumni House for those who had presented and then in the afternoon, I gave my two talks. They were back to back which was both fun and terrifying. I first spoke on Mary Robinson, focusing on how I completed my research (especially when I got to see neat things at the New York Public Library) and then what my paper was about. My second presentation was on a memoir piece I've been writing that is my capstone project of my writing minor. I read a few sections from the manuscript, which covers my time at Coe. Both presentations went really well and it was so nice to see so many friends and professors in the audience to support me!

My Symposium Day ended with a trip over to Butchers Block with Chloe, Millie, Alison P., and even my thesis advisor, Melissa. We just had a mini-celebration and it was nice to relax and unwind for a bit. Chloe and Melissa had organized it and it was so thoughtful; truly a great way to end my day.

I also remember freshman year, talking to my friend Haley about her final project. As an art major, Haley creates a show and it's displayed in the Sinclair Galleries (to the left and right of Sinclair Auditorium). The same week as Symposium Day, Haley's art gallery opened. Her exhibit was so neat and so quintessentially Haley. She had tried to take at least one photo a day for 365 days and this gallery showed off those photos. She ended up hanging her photos and movement became a huge part of how the gallery functioned and how the guests interacted with the art. It was so cool to see Haley in her element and her gallery is so neat. I grabbed a few photos she took of it and included them below (they were too interesting to not put on my blog!). Walking through her gallery reminded me of all our adventures during the past four years and to see her come full circle from talking about creating an art exhibit to having one was a great moment to witness.

I had such a great week showing off my hard work and seeing the hard work of others. I hope that underclassmen had similar experiences to what I had freshman year and were inspired with all they could accomplish and do during their time at Coe!

L to R: Alison P., Haley, and Hailley
The gallery (isn't it neat?!) 
So. Many. Photos. 
Entering the gallery

4.23.2014

Defending Mary Robinson's Honor (Well, not necessarily...)

I've been writing blog posts for about a year on Mary Robinson. I hope that instead of being simply a name, she has become someone with a little bit of personality. She's a fascinating woman and an outstanding writer writing within a difficult time period for women. I've spent countless hours figuring out who she was and how her sonnet sequence worked.

Part of writing a thesis is defending it. At first, that sounds a little scary, but when you really think about it, a thesis defense allows you, as the writer, to have a conversation with professors about your topic. This conversation is not a usual conversation you might have when you have an appointment with them to talk about a plain-jane paper. This conversation is highly academic because in many ways, you as the writer have become an expert. Therefore, the conversation is academic discourse and your professors become your peers. It's an opportunity you don't get very often as a student. 

A few weeks ago, on April 8th, I successfully defended my thesis on Mary Robinson. My defense committee consisted of four professors I knew quite well: Melissa (my advisor), Patrick (from last semester's English seminar class on Toni Morrison), Amber (my professor from my senior this semester on the marriage plot), and Prof Keenan (the professor who took us to Germany and Poland in May 2013). They had all read my paper and we had an hour long conversation about it. They asked me questions about Robinson herself and how I went about analyzing her sonnets and writing the paper as a whole. Once they felt all their questions had been answered and comments had been made, I left the room so they could deliberate. They called me back in and congratulated me. It was a great moment and I feel so good about the work I've accomplished. 

Of course, I'm not quite done with the paper yet. They had several revisions they would like me to make. Once those are made, I can submit the paper to Coe's library and they will bind it into a hardcover book. I will even make it into the Coe library catalog and my paper on Mary Robinson will receive its own Library of Congress call number. Swanky! 

Needless to say, I'm proud of my accomplishments and the paper that I've created. Robinson will always hold a special place in my heart and it's hard to believe I've spent the past year researching her. It's been a great and challenging experience and I know I'm a better student because of it. 

4.22.2014

Graduation Countdown and Blog Posts Upcoming This Week

Spring is in the air, the winter coats are being put away, and we are throwing those windows open. It's hard to believe there are only two weeks left until graduation.



(Like the nifty countdown?)

I also want to use this post to let you know the topics of conversation on this blog the rest of the week. Lots of things have happened and are happening and it's high time I let you know what's going on! Here's what we have on tap:

  • Wednesday (4/23): Thesis defense recap
  • Thursday (4/24): Student Symposium and Haley's art gallery opening
  • Sunday (4/27): Honors (all that hard work does pay off)
  • Monday: (4/28): April Travel Adventures
Exciting, right? Happy reading!

4.16.2014

A Brief Update...More to Come!

Hello readers! It seems the past couple of weeks have melted by and I'm finally out on the other side, looking around to have a grasp about what day it is. I just wanted to let you know things are going well, really well. I will be posting later this week with a variety of updates (and maybe even some muffin adventures). Until then, have a great week and don't worry, I haven't forgotten about this blog!

4.07.2014

Another Admitted Student Weekend in the Books!

I know I've been a little behind on the blogging; it's hard to blog when I've been traveling! Last week, I got to visit Boston to check out one of the four graduate schools I'm deciding on. And on Wednesday, it's off to Seattle for another visit. Some might wonder when I go to class. I promise, I go and I do all my homework!

But this post isn't about graduate schools (that's coming later). Instead, I want to talk about how much fun I had meeting admitted students during Coe's annual Admitted Student Weekend!

Just like Scholarship Weekend, Admitted Student Weekend (ASW) has a soft spot in my heart. It was when I competed for a Writing Center Fellowship, met many of friends, and also was "reunited" with Heidi after our families met in February.

I was able to help plan, organize, and run the Writing Center Fellowship Competition this year. It was so much fun and ran so smoothly. It was great to meet 50, excited, passionate, and interesting high school seniors. Some are already Kohawks, ready to come to campus this fall, while others are just like senior-in-high-school-Hailley, who was not sure where she was going to go when she came during ASW. We got to share lots of stories and also show off all the neat things they could do at Coe.

Friday night was spent with friends, mainly in the Writing Center, doing a little homework, but mostly unwinding after an intense and fast-paced day. I woke up on Saturday and headed off to a panel. I was representing FYS and was part of a panel that consisted of Melissa Rose, the head of Orientation, Leann, the head of the bookstore, and a fellow student, Taylor, who has been a CAP (College Adjustment Peer). We had two back-to-back presentations, both which were full (the last one was even standing room only!). Again, so many great students and their family members were there. I hope we answered their questions; they sure asked a bunch of great ones! I finished my Admission shift by giving "Decision Made" tours, designed for students who had already deposited. I got to show them the ins and outs of Coe and get some of the business stuff (like their Gmail account) all set up. It was an awesome idea and definitely rose to the top of my favorite types of tours to give.

I did more homework Saturday and Sunday (it never ends!). With the nice weather, there's always a part of me that wants to just go outside, but the academic inside me keeps me on track.

Lots of great things happening in my life right now. More updates coming soon. And hopefully some delicious study break muffins!