Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life in College

Ah, I'm finally getting around to posting again! This is happening thanks to a lovely little fact of life known as: I don't have class on Tuesday till 1 p.m.! I love Tuesdays...

Anyway, I guess I'll start off by describing classes so far. I have math, language, philosophy, laboratory, theology, and seminar. For philosophy we've been reading some of Plato's Socratic dialogues, namely, Meno, Protagoras, Gorgias, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo. I think those are all the ones we've read so far. Fairly sure, anyway. Last class there was a heated argument about whether Socrates' decision to stay in jail after he was accused unjustly was right and just or whether he should have escaped. We eventually decided on the former position. In math we're going through Euclid's Elements, which is basically complicated geometry proofs (except they're called propositions, not proofs). Each class we're assigned 3-6 props to learn by next class, and then when next class rolls around, the tutor calls on various people to go up and demonstrate them on the board from memory. I've had to do 3 props so far. Luckily for me, they've all been fairly easy. We're doing prop 47 tomorrow, which is the Pythagorean theorem. One of my friends is simply dying to demonstrate it. Language is basically just learning Latin. One problem our class has is that some people aren't very familiar with grammar in general, and so are having a bit of a tough time with declensions and conjugations and stuff like that. But I like Latin. It's my favorite class so far. For lab we're reading various articles, such as some of Fabre's work about insects, articles about instinct and learning in animals, and things like that. I think right now our overall topic is instinct in animals and in humans as opposed to learning, intelligence and reason. Or something along those lines. We're also doing an insect collection. We have to go out and find 25 different insects, catch them, kill them, and pin them up to a piece of cardboard, and then present them in class. My partner and I have 23 insects so far, with a week to go still, so I think we're doing just fine. In theology we're reading through the Bible. So far we've read Ecclesiastes, Job, Genesis, and Exodus. Our current assignment is Leviticus. That's pretty much all I have to say as far as that goes, as the topics of the different discussions have been widely different depending on the book. Seminar is a class that takes place once a week in the evenings. I think it's sort of like a literature class. We read the Iliad first, and this evening will be discussing Plato's Ion. So there's the run-down of my classes. I like them all fairly well so far, and hopefully will continue to do so.

But classes certainly aren't the only thing that happens here. Oh no. There are extracurricular and social activities in abundance. Let me begin with the dancing. Basically it's like this: this school has the most awesome dances I've ever experienced. Period. On Wednesday evenings (at least for the present) there's dancing in front of St. Augustine's Hall from 9 to 11 in the evening, and that is always a bunch of fun. There's some pretty darn good dancers here, even among the freshmen, which is a nice surprise. I've already learned so many new things I can't even remember them all. My favorites are the dips. I've learned one that several people call the Princess Dip. It's great fun. The other one that's a lot of fun is the death drop. One evening some guy tried to teach me a flip, but he successfully dropped me on my head. Luckily we were out on the lawn, not on the concrete. I, naturally, refused to let him teach me any more after that. Usually there's also something of a dancing nature going on on Saturday evenings as well. A few weeks ago was the sophomore-freshman dance, and that was a blast. The Saturday after that was the senior-freshman dance, and then last Saturday was the 35th anniversary dinner and dance. This Saturday is the junior-freshman dance, and the Saturday after that there's going to be a salsa night (probably with a healthy amount of swing thrown in, knowing this college). So you can see what I mean when I say there's lots of dancing.

Another thing that went on last week was dorm wars. Those were *great* fun, except they got cancelled after someone (no one really knows who) threw the power switch on Peter and Paul's dorm, causing some people to lose work on the computers. But let me describe what we did while they were still happening. The first night Peter's dorm came up and wooed Monica's (my dorm). They sang for us with guitar accompaniment. Okay, so that was fine. Just wait till I tell you what the other guys' dorms did. But back to the first night. While Peter's was wooing us, Kate's dorm attacked with water balloons! Luckily for us, we had water balloons too. I grabbed some and charged off across the lawn in the general direction of Kate's, throwing my water balloons left and right. Unfortunately, one of the girls from Kate's had a hose and sprayed me with it from head to foot. So I got soaked, but it was all good. The next night Bernard's dorm came to woo us. They brought us Toblerone chocolate, an orchid, 30 little pink roses to wear in our hair to class the next day, and a bottle of vodka for our dorm tyrant and anyone else that was 21 or older. A half an hour later, Paul's showed up and performed a Scottish ballad, an Italian poem, an operatic aria (all about love, of course) and presented us with a basket full of Hershey's nuggets of all varieties, as well as 6 dozen donuts and a bottle of wine. Monica's was in a real quandary trying to decide which guys' dorm to pick, but then wars got cancelled anyway, so that settled that. It was a lot of fun, though.

The last thing I'm doing is the choir. We're working on Vivaldi's Gloria and on a German Bach cantata for the Christmas concert, as well as learning various and sundry other nice music to sing at 9:00 Mass on Sunday. It's a really good choir, and I am enjoying being in it so far.

And one last note on the latest events around here: there's been a big forest fire in the hills the last few days. On Sunday we were on the verge of evacuating all afternoon, but luckily the fire turned around and started moving away from us, and by now it's pretty obvious that we won't have to leave. We were all really worried on Sunday, including me, so about an hour before dinner I said a little prayer to St. Therese of Lisieux that's on the back of a holy card I have. I asked that the fire would be put out, that the campus would be safe from harm, and that we wouldn't have to evacuate. I also asked for a sign: if everything would be okay and turn out the way I wanted, I asked for a special flower to signify that. So an hour later I'm standing in the dinner line waiting, and when I look up at the server who's going to give me my dinner, he's holding out to me a beautiful yellow lily. I was...very amazed, but I definitely got my special flower. Within an hour after dinner, we got the news that the fire was heading back the other direction, not towards us anymore. I thought that was really awesome. I love St. Therese. :)

Well, that's pretty much what's been going on with me lately. I'm fairly sure I've stayed on the computer longer than the prescribed 20 minutes...but no one's waiting, so I think I can get away with it. :) Hope you all are well!


Blogger Giacomo said...

What a testimony to the Communion of Saints!

St. Therese, pray for us!

10:22 PM  

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