186 South College

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Month: April 2014 (page 1 of 3)

This Is the Nostalgic Graduation Post That I Eventually Had to Write

Welcome folks, and now, it’s time for a word from our sponsors! The following post was reluctantly brought to you by two new benefactors: Graduation Anxiety and Fear for the Future!

I love going home. Which is strange, one might point out, considering that fact that I chose a university 5-6 hours from my family (depending on traffic). Part of the reason that I wanted to go to UD, however, is because I thought it was the perfect distance away: not too far, but not too close. In storybook fashion – “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” I’m looking at you right now – it seemed “just right.”

In case of an emergency (which did happen, thanks to the whole having-a-severe-allergy shtick), my mom could rush down to Delaware, using the breakdown lane to prove that she’s really a speed demon at heart.

My obsession for this little ball of fluff knows no bounds.

My obsession for this little ball of fluff knows no bounds.

On the flip side, being the homesick person I sometimes can be, which hinges a lot on how much I miss my puppy, being 5-6 hours away is a good thing.

This way, I’m not tempted to jump in my car and jet home just to eat my dad’s mouthwatering homemade pizza for dinner.

Side note: my dad moonlighted as a chef back in the day. His other careers include: psychiatric technician, carpenter, pilot (Air Force), author (of a book on how to achieve the perfect golf swing…no comment), and PGA golf professional, which is his current job.

Did I mention that my dad is awesome?

Driving through Connecticut always looks like this. Note: this picture was taken in a vehicle travelling at a whopping zero miles per hour.

Driving through Connecticut always looks like this. Note: this picture was taken in a vehicle travelling at a whopping zero miles per hour.

Anyway, for this particular journey home, I was riding solo; sometimes, I drive back with my literal next-door neighbor from Old Saybrook, CT, who – funnily enough – also selected UD. The drive home was like most others: a fairly boring, traffic-filled, singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs type of trip. Since I left right after a particularly eventful Friday academic-wise, I had several caffeinated beverages and occasionally had to slap myself to stay awake. (Clearly, this blog post was also brought to you by: Safe Driving Habits.)

Once home, preparations turned toward Easter. I was excited to finally get together with some of my cousins/extended family, watch movies, and eat my dad’s premium cooking.

The gang’s (mostly) all here – from my mom’s side of the family, anyway! I’m the one in the purple sweater, holding our perfectly handcrafted cream cheese pie. Megan, the college-bound child, is to my left with the curly hair.

The gang’s (mostly) all here – from my mom’s side of the family, anyway! I’m the one in the purple sweater, holding our perfectly handcrafted cream cheese pie. Megan, the college-bound child, is to my left with the curly hair.

Here’s the thing, though: one of my cousins, Megan, is exactly four years younger than me. In other words, she’s about to start her whole college adventure just as mine is grinding to an abrupt halt. A large portion of Easter Sunday was spent talking about her three different college options around the dinner table (a.k.a. “Princess Table,” a name from my childhood referring to the makeup of mostly girl cousins), advice on how to choose a school, and what college itself is actually like.

Not helping matters was the movie that we picked to watch together: Monsters University. If you haven’t seen the movie, or can’t guess from the title, this movie is about college. (I can hear the chorus of resounding “duh” noises.) I may or may not have cried at the end of this particular showing, because of that whole weighty college aspect.

Also exacerbating the issue – re: me not wanting to partake in the G-word, as my roommate has taken to calling that mysterious event that happens in May – was my older cousin, Shannon. As Megan talked about choosing a college, Shannon, who graduated last year, kept saying things like, “Stop, I wish I was back!” Shannon has a job, working as a preschool teacher. I, on the other hand, am still figuring out my post-graduation path.

I’m not going to sugar-coat the end of this post, with a clichéd final sentence like, “I just know I’ll figure it out soon and love my job and have a seamless transition into adulthood!” I’m still pretty unsure about everything. I do know, however, that I have a great family to fall back on if need be. And, I’m starting to warm up to the idea of a new chapter, not even just because it’s inevitable.

Time to focus on that cream cheese pie from the above photo, decorated by all the cousins. In my opinion, we created a beautiful rendition of Mike Wazowski, with a scream canister in his left hand.

Time to focus on that cream cheese pie from the above photo, decorated by all the cousins. In my opinion, we created a beautiful rendition of Mike Wazowski, with a scream canister in his left hand.

Before watching Monsters University, I didn’t know how the story of Mike Wazowski, a student who desperately wants to be a “scarer,” was going to pan out in time for Monsters, Inc.

Spoiler alert: Mike doesn’t achieve his dreams in the traditional sense…but, he does find out what he’s capable of accomplishing. College is similar: your dreams may change (mine did), but oftentimes, you find out what you can actually do…and what you can survive. Like graduation itself, for instance.

As Sully says to Mike toward the end of the movie, “You’re not scary, not even a little bit. But you are fearless.”

~ Caitlyn Goodhue

The World Is Your Classroom

As a Secondary English Education major at UD, there are a great number of things I could tell (and even teach!) you about things you can learn in a classroom. Off the cuff, I could come up with at least a dozen “lessons within lessons” I’ve learned in classrooms throughout my college career alone. However, the most important piece of advice I’ve ever received in a classroom led me out of those rows of desks, out onto campus, and even farther out into the world.

photo1-2This piece of advice came from a professor whose insight and wisdom I have cherished from the moment I stepped into her classroom the fall of my freshman year. She handed out a syllabus that is still one of the most daunting documents I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across, and when she finally let class out (and there is no syllabus week for this professor), she said:

“You will never again be able to explore and experiment with so many activities and events, for so little cost, as you will be able to on a college campus.”

She went on to explain that any students who attended three events on campus and wrote up a short reaction paper for each would receive three points added to their final grade. Honors nerd? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how quickly my mind leapt to seizing that extra credit opportunity.

What this professor asked, however, turned out to be a little more daunting than I had expected. I consider myself an outgoing person (and for those of you reading on campus or at home, no knowing snickers from the peanut gallery), and I still found it challenging to attend events in which I wasn’t sure I’d even have an interest. Nevertheless, attend those sorts of events (and earn those three extra credit points!) I did, and continued to do for the next two semesters I intentionally took this professor’s classes.

Maya Angelou at the University of Delaware.

Maya Angelou at the University of Delaware.

Some pearls of wisdom from the events I attended and activities I explored… The first and foremost is that there will always be more people than you anticipated at a gathering that coaxes attendees with free food; in other words, you should get there early to get the best of what they’ve ordered, and a seat for the actual event. I also learned that yoga happens to be much more athletic and exhausting than I’d supposed, but that those last five minutes where you just lie on the mat and listen to yourself breathe make the hour of human-pretzel making worth it. And when your university gets a guest speaker like Maya Angelou to come to campus and speak? You better believe you’re going, and you better believe it’s going to change your life.

My bottom line? I’ve learned a lot inside my classrooms in my three years at UD, but I’ve learned just as much outside them, just being around the amazing people and opportunities the campus has to offer.

How to Play Quidditch

Imagine a sport involving seven positions, six hoops, and five balls all in one game. That sounds crazy, right? Well, it does exist, and it is called Quidditch.

 

PAUSE. Did I really just say Quidditch? Indeed, I did. You may have heard of Quidditch from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In her books, the sport is played by wizards on flying broomsticks. We obviously cannot fly on broomsticks in real life, so how can Quidditch be made into a real sport?

 

The International Quidditch Association (IQA) explains the rules nicely:

 

 “Three chasers score goals worth 10 points each with a volleyball called the quaffle. They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. Two beaters use dodgeballs called bludgers to disrupt the flow of the game by “knocking out” other players. Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team also has a seeker who tries to catch the snitch. The snitch is a ball attached to the waistband of the snitch runner, a neutral athlete in a yellow uniform who uses any means to avoid capture. The snitch is worth 30 points and its capture ends the game. If the score is tied after the snitch catch, the game proceeds into overtime.

 

You basically take the sport right from the book, but instead of flying on broomsticks, you run around with pvc pipe between your legs! The co-ed, contact sport of Quidditch mixes elements of Rowling’s vision with sports like rugby, dodge ball, and tag in order to make it applicable to us “muggles.” It can be dangerous, but is also one of the most fun sports that you will ever play. I promise!

 

However, the most amazing thing about Quidditch to me is the community that has been built around the sport. Schools and communities around the world have joined the IQA by creating their own Quidditch teams. There are multiple tournaments throughout the year, including the Quidditch World Cup, where teams who qualify come from around the world to compete against each other for the title of World Champions. I have not yet been to the Quidditch World Cup, but I have watched a few tournaments and boy, is it a sight to see! Even though the teams are competing against each other, they still interact with each other as if they are family! There is so much love and friendship woven throughout the Quidditch community, and it is something so beautiful to see. Through Quidditch, you can make life-long friends from around the world. I believe that the bond between Quidditch players is something stronger than any other sport could create. It is something that you could never learn in a classroom, and I encourage everyone to look into watching (or playing in) a real Quidditch game at some point. You won’t regret it!

~Heather Brody

Their sport may come from a fictional book series, but these Quidditch players aren't messing around.

Their sport may come from a fictional book series, but these Quidditch players aren’t messing around.

How To: Live in close quarters with another human being

There is no course on “being a successful roommate”.  To be even the most average roommate requires a great deal of frustrating and embarrassing trial and error.

My roommate was a rise-and-commence-death-stare type of person. I liked to get up early and run. She loved Luke Bryan and I preferred Kanye. Her hometown was approximately 90 minutes away and mine was over 2,000 miles across the country. We weren’t compatible in every department. We both had flaws. I was prone to leaving the door unlocked at highly inconvenient times and she tended to let her alarm clock go off for about 15 minutes every day. It wasn’t always easy, living between old cinderblocks and hard tile.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 11.35.34 AM

There were times when I wished that I had been assigned a single, when I longed to have some privacy and solidarity. For the most part however, those feelings were minimal. As hard as it was to live in such close quarters, nothing compares to having a partner in both cohabitation and crime. Nothing compares to getting ready for parties with someone, coping with the stresses of spring registration with someone, wearing all black and fishnets with someone, purchasing half a dozen St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes on St. Patrick’s Day with someone. There is nothing that compares to having someone by your side on a big and scary college campus.

I still live with my freshman year roommate. I realized after that first year that we clashed just enough to keep things interesting, that we didn’t mind silence, that we loved clean dishes and swept floors, that we could live together and manage to be friends. I realized that I couldn’t imagine walking home late at night for chips and salsa on the floor with anyone else. I realized that I couldn’t imagine waking up to any other death stare or to any other elongated alarm clock. This college campus was still big and scary and I needed to have her around.

In the fall, I’ll have a new roommate. I don’t yet know her flaws and I don’t know which flaws she will find in me. I will however miss the old roomie, the future CEO and Italian language pro who is going abroad. So Jess, if you’re reading this, know that I will continue to improve my roommate skills, that I will be lonely and a little scared without you here, even as a junior. Know that there will be chips and salsa waiting for you on the floor of Sharp when you get back.

The Value of Family

College is a time for learning. From our first day on campus to our last, we are learning an exorbitant amount. Some of this knowledge is learned in a classroom, but the large majority of the lessons that we learn in college happen outside of it. We start by learning the basics: where buildings are, which dining hall is the best, how to get involved on campus. This is followed by deeper and tougher lessons about ourselves and about life.

 

 

For me, the most important lesson that I have learned since beginning college is the value of family. In comparison to today’s standards, I have a big family: three brothers and one sister. As we are very close in age, we spent quite a bit of time together growing up, both in school and at home. They were always the first ones that I saw in the morning and the last ones that I would say goodnight to.

 

 

Being away from my family was (and still is) a strange feeling. It was odd to get up in the morning without seeing any of them and going about my day by myself. It was definitely an adjustment to transition from being around them all the time to only seeing them on the occasional weekend. But, this experience has taught me a great deal about the value of family.

 

 

First, it taught no matter how far away I am, they will always be there for me. At school, I call my mom every day just to chat. Yes, I know this might seem excessive to some, but it is something very comforting for me. Plus, I give major props to my mom for being able to listen to me every night. Even last semester, when I was studying abroad in Spain, my family was always there to video chat or respond to my emails at crazy times. Of course, this also goes both ways. I spent many a night in Spain revising my one of my brother’s essays and helping another brother with his Spanish homework. Coming to college has taught me that no matter where I am, what the problem is, or what I need, my family will be there to make sure that I make it through.

 

 

 College has also shown me that one of the truly great things about family is that nothing ever changes (in a good way). And, that is something that I have come to cherish. Although my family is spread around the East Coast, whenever we are all able to get together, it is as if we were never separated. It is a beautiful thing to come home to and things immediately just fall back into the same rhythm of laughter and sarcasm. It is comforting to know that not only will my family always be there for me, but also our relationships will always be the same.

 

 

Although I miss my family while I am at school (and hope that they miss me), I know that I can always head back to the lovely town of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, where they will be waiting wit

h open arms, and chicken parm on the table.

Can you tell which one is Rebecca? (Hint: she's on the far left)

Can you tell which one is Rebecca? (Hint: she’s on the far left)

~Rebecca Jaeger

 

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