Life Just Keeps Rollin' Along
The past week has been one fo the busiest I've ever had. We just had Fall Break this past weekend and mine was legitimately a break. Although, it probably shouldn't have been. But I left campus for a few days and stayed with a friend who graduated last year in Boston. I'd never really gotten a chance to check out the city and it was pretty cool. I liked how there weren't too many high rises and skyscrapers. I expected a little bit more of the New York vibe. It was a really nice weekend weather wise too. The drive from Amherst to Boston was tremendous cause that was peak weekend for fall foliage.
Anyway, because I was absolutely one hundred percent unproductive there, I had more work then I've ever had here before. Totally all my own fault. Terrible planning on my part. But I'm through with Midterms and have been relaxing since Wednesday night when I finished my last paper.
I've been getting emails from a lot of students overseas asking about the college lately. It's been really, really cool. (Keep them coming!) But I got one about mid-week from a student in Zimbabwe. He asked a lot of good questions, but one in particularly made me laugh out loud. He asked if it ever snows here. It was ironic because that evening we got our first dusting of the year. By the time most people were up in the morning, it was gone. But there's lots of snow here. Not just yet, but in a month in a half there very well could be.
Today wasn't too warm, but it was sunny for a while and it was pleasant to be outside. I had an early morning dance rehersal for an acrobatics piece I'm in. We put together some new choreography this morning and practiced some of the stunts we're going to pull. It was awesome. I love when you work on individual things and them, bam, you put it all together and you've got a legitimate dance piece.
So overall, good start to my day. Then I went to the farmers' market in town with a friend around lunch time. It's one of the last ones for the year. I was a bit sad though because I always buy flowers there from a woman who works here at Amherst in the Registrar's Office. I usually get lilies for my room, but this week there weren't really any flowers because we've had a couple hard frosts. But I still have some from last weekend blooming in my room so I've got some extra little color left.
I also had a cider date at a local coffee place, Amherst Coffee, this afternoon with another friend. (It wasn't a real date, sorry, my life isn't that interesting.) She's an RC in a dorm kind out of the way from anything (Yin's dorm actually) so we have to get together to catch up sometimes. It was a fun date even though Amherst Coffee in general scares me because it's a super classy and somewhat pompous place. But their apple cider was so delicious. Gotta love fall. I prefer a place called Rao's which I haven't been to in a while but it has awesome coffee and it's got a much more chill vibe, but no cider as far as I'm aware.
It was kind of a typical weekend day. Not terribly eventful. Did way less work then I should have. Relaxed, kicked back, enjoyed myself and took advantage of our awesome little town. Between farmers' markets and an abundance of coffee shops, there not much more I could ask for.
Tonight I have no definite plans. A couple student organizations are throwing parties this evening and I'll probably drop by a few of them. I'm going to kind of just go with the flow. Odds are I'll be lame and head to bed early tonight cause I didn't really get too much sleep last night. I stayed up far too late talking with people. It's a bad habit I have, but I love those brilliant, deep late night chats. But there's a chance that 90's Party being thrown by the Black Students' Union will turn into a crazy dance party, and if that's the case, it would be a shame to miss it. Haha.
Everybody Loves Midterms...
It's Midterm time this week and next week. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little stressed (but a lot less so since my gender anthropology professor pushed the due date for her paper back two days. She accidentally gave us the wrong date.) I'm sure other schools are the same, but the word "Midterm" is really deceptive because they do it to you twice each semester! Midterm is supposed to happen once -- in the middle of the term!
Anyway, it hasn't been a terribly relaxing week thus far. I have been doing an excessive amount of work recently. And I'm actually kind of far from done. I decided that this year I'm really going to be a good student. By that I mean go to all (read: most) of my classes, do as much of my assigned reading as I can (I'm a slow reader) and study about three times as hard as last year. I worked hard last year, but perhaps I could have done better in one of my classes had I applied myself a bit more .
But that's besides the point... Despite all the work I've had to do, the last couple of days have been really good. For instance, yesterday I had a late night study party in the beautiful study room in the Geology Building with some friends. We ordered calzones and made coffee and got a lot of work done. Not to mention that we occasionally raced up and down the hallway in our sock to see how far we could slide. Fun, right? That's a good evening if I do say so myself.
Also our, dining hall, Valentine, is a great place for morning long power study sessions if you don't have morning classes. So that's what I did for three hours this morning. Only had to get up once after I sat down for breakfast; and that was to go get lunch! Came up with a great paper topic for anthropology and did serious stats studying. Then the crossword intervened and suddenly we weren't productive anymore.
Alright, so maybe that all sounds dreadful to you. But here at Amherst College, we make studying fun. Okay, okay, so that's probably an exaggeration. But it can absolutely be enjoyable. Everyone's in the same boat and if you try to make the best of it, it's not really bad at all. I daresay I'll feel pretty damn accomplished once all these exams and papers are over.
I mean, if my grades are good that is... ;-)
ps: The weather is awesome and everyone is trying to enjoy what we have left of comfortable weather. And everything is just gorgeous right now. See below:
The Colors Are Changing
It's finally beginning to feel like autumn here in rural western Massachusetts. Coming from Florida, to have actual seasons is phenomenal. The colors are probably just about entering peak. The trees aren't not as coordinated as I remeber them being last year. Some are bright red, others are still bright green. It's also earlier than I remember, but last year went by in a flash, so it's hard to tell. But this is probably my favorite part of the season -- where you still have all the colors ranging from green to yellow to orange to red.
Anyway, so it's fall and it's absolutely stunning. The colors are unbelievably gorgeous. I just got home from doing work on the first year quad overlooking our Wildlife Sanctuary and the Holyoke Range. I was a bit distracted by this place's natural beauty so I'm back at home (and still not working, oops...) where I thought I would be more focused. Clearly not the case.
Today was a great day. It started off down at Pratt Pool where Amherst is hosting a water polo tournament. I watched our team dig out a close one against Bates. I had never seen a water polo game before except briefly during the Beijing Olympics on television, so that was really neat. It's a great sport to watch. Really intense too. I may be a beach kid, but I also think I might drown after treading water for half an hour.
I also took my dorm apple picking at a local farm today. The turnout wasn't what I hoped it would be, but my co-RC and I had some residents show up and go with us. There's something so profoundly serene and peaceful about being on a New England farm. Or maybe it's just me, but I think the partially-agrarian setting of this area is so cool! I happen to find agriculture interesting. But back to my main point of writing this which is that it was awesome! I plucked an apple right off a tree and took a bite. How cool is that!?!? I don't think I'd ever seen an apple tree before either so it was interesting to be in an orchard that looked nothing like I had expected. I come from the land of citrus and I guess I was thinking apple trees should look like the orange trees in my yard, but bigger. They weren't.
Nevertheless, I just couldn't stop smiling (or eating apples; I only ate two, but don't tell anyone. It might not have been allowed.) The little group of us ended up picking half a bushel which is about 60 apples, I would guess. I have about ten sitting in my room. I'm planning on giving some away, but not all of them. They're so delicious, ahhh, so good! Anyway, I guess I'll end on that note. Now back to homework...
I'm going to go ahead and get it out of the way now. I'm going to (briefly) rave about how absolutely phenomenal our Geology Department is here at Amherst. The very first fact you learn as a tour guide is that here at good ol’ Am’erst we have the world’s largest collection of dinosaur footprints. We tell everyone that. So if you visit here, you will already know a bit of Amherst trivia. It’s one of the strongest geology programs in the country and a surprising number of people take advantage of it. People take Intro to Geology and fall in love.
Anyway, this past weekend my Mineralogy professor, Jack, took 12 of the 14 of us (those who could go) to up-state New York for a two night field trip. My bookshelf is now littered with a fairly rare mineral, wollastonite, and gem quality garnets. Wollastonite is a beautiful pearly white mineral that occurs in clumps of needle-like crystals. It is commonly used as an asbestos substitute. And my garnets are gorgeous. We stopped at a place called Gore Mountain where the world’s hardest and largest garnets are found. Some are the size of beach balls. It was jaw-dropping to see.
As cool as rocks and minerals are though, the trip was just as much about goofing off. The first night, we all hung out in one room at our motel, ordered pizza, and watched movies. We had dance parties in the van. One night after dinner we spent an evening walking around the very touristy part of Lake George and taking redonkulous pictures of each other. We even found ourselves on top of a Whiteface Mountain next to Lake Placid (where we did in fact proceed to examine the rocks). Small departments at Amherst tend to have a tight-knit group of students. After this weekend, I totally understand why that especially holds true for the Geology major.
So that’s my little bit about geology. I’ll try not to bombard you with too much more information on rocks. I can understand how it might seem boring, but I promise it really isn’t. Until next time… Cheers!