Thursday, 28 October 2021

Dispatches from Collegeland

Jadestone posted a long message about her adventures in Collegeland. We thought the subject merited a room of its own, so we’ve moved her comment from the Random Thread. Other collegians feel free to add your adventures.

From Jadestone:

Okay, so LONG POST AHEAD. Today is my sort-of-free-time day, because I do laundry so I have to hang around the building a bit. But it gives me time to post a large Life Update, since I’ll have really had time to say on here is short posts with not much detail.

ANYWAY. Collegeland, it is awesome. I’ve made a lot of friends, which I admit was something I was worried about, since unless I really push myself I’m tempted to just stay in my room all day, and since I don’t have a roommate I was sort of on my own a bit the first day. But of the 4 freshman on my floor in my dorm, NONE of us had roommates the week of orientation (the other girl got a single, and the two guys were roomed with sophomores, which is odd), so we got to know each other anyway. Also, the two people i spend the most time with are pretty social themselves, so I meet a lot of other people through them which is good.

My classes this semester are:
– Chemistry, which I am not overly fond of as a subject (partially because I had a terrible teacher for it in high school), and I don’t think the teacher really teaches in a style I learn well from (lecture + writing on the board). The teacher also wrote the textbook we’re using so we can’t really get two perspectives on how to do things (usually you get teacher’s way and book’s way, in this case they’re the same), but I’m not doing too badly. All the grades are our weekly quizzes and big tests though, which is a bit scary. It also means our only homework is studying, which I am terrible at, but maybe it’ll force me to get better at it : P

– Odysseus and Identities, which is a classics class of only freshman. It’s really cool. We read a lot of stuff (not just The Odyssey–we’re going to start Life of Pi soon, which is one of my favourite books ), and we have a paper due every 3 weeks (there’s a rotation for them with 3 groups, it’s kinda cool) but otherwise no tests or assignments. And because it’s all freshman, we’re sort of becoming friends as a class. Not let’s-all-have-lunch-together friends but smile-and-say-hi-in-passing, which is nice.

– Geology, the teacher for this class is HILARIOUS. He says the most random things in class. “Glass is a liquid in drag,” “…till the cows come home. From space. Where they migrated when they realized humans were evolving. Didn’t know that, did you [there was no backstory to that. He said it randomly XD],” “the biosphere is now located in a building in Arizona,” etc. Keeps me awake at least. And the informaton is really cool. It’s just an intro course, so it’s like an oversimplified version of everything, but it’s really interesting and enjoyable to learn. Also it’s kind of like bio for me in that it makes sense and I don’t have to review it more than once to understand it, so yay.

-Photography. It is awesome. It’s a black and white film class, and I’d never tried film before I got into it, but I absolutely LOVE it. The darkroom is so much fun, and it’s so satisfying to see a print come to life and know how/why it works. If people want/the GAPAs don’t mind, I can send in some of the scanned prints I’ve done. Our first assignment was 6 prints of “the absent, the hidden, the denied, and reflections,” which we only sort of followed, but it was fun and I did a lot of dark prints which was cool. We have a mini-assignment due tomorrow (that I still have yet to do, oops, after this post/my laundry is done I’ll probably head off to the photo lab) on contrast levels, but our next big project is 8 prints emulating a photographer. I chose Ralph Gibson, mainly to try taking more pictures of people (in general I prefer to take nature or macros, so it’ll be good for me). Part of his style is to just have part of a person in the frame, which I like a lot. He also uses very high contrast so that’ll be an adventure to work out.

– Chosen: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yes this is a class. Sort of. It’s an ExCo, which is the “experimental college.” Basically, students can teach semester-long classes that people can take for credit. There’s all sorts–fencing, Korean, Lost (the tv series), Lady Gaga, one on pirates, one on birding, etc. For mine I go to about two screenings a week and watch 2-4 episodes at each, then on thursdays we have an hour or so of discussion. It’s really interesting. We’re talking more about the significance of certian images and portrayal of things versus just the plot, so it’s really cool to think about. I’m not taking it for credit (I easily could have, looking back, but for my first exco I wasn’t sure about it).

And then I also have geology and chem labs. For the geo lab we either do activites like looking at an analysing topographical maps in the room, or we go on field trips to various places and learn about how they were formed, the impact, etc. It’s fun. Chem lab we do different experiments each week. That one’s a bit stressful because I am Very Much Not Used to being in a REAL LAB, with EQUIPMENT instead of my crappy high school classroom. So I always feel a bit behind my partner, who knows the stuff more and is faster at it, but I think I’m doing okay and it will probably get easier with time.

So that’s weekdays! And weekends have all been SO MUCH FUN so far. I’ve never had anything like a social life before with all my sports and homework (practices every saturday night/sunday day, etc), so it’s weird to go out and do things but also really fun, because the people I’ve met are so awesome. I have way to much to say about each weekend I’ve spent here, so I’ll just do a brief synopsis of each:

WEEKEND ONE: Orientation stuff, lots of planned activities and such which were okay

WEEKEND TWO: Friday was the Quidditch info meeting, and later that night two of the people from it and several others wandered into the lounge with a bunch of instruments and played music till 1 am or so. I was doing hw listening to it the whole time, and it was awesome.

On saturday I was kidnapped by GRANT AND EBETH AND LIZZIE and we stormed Cleveland. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how awesome it was XD

WEEKEND THREE: On thursday after Quidditch practice (I will spend a post talking only about Quidditch right after I write this one), I talked to two of the people (who’d played music in th lounge from weekend 2) who are really big fans of a band I love, Great Big Sea, and we decided to meet later that night in one of the lounges of my dorm and sing(in my case)/play (in their cases, guitar+bouzouki+accordian+drum-thing+even more) and we kept at it from about 9 at night to 3 in the morning. It was SO worth it. And then friday night was a midnight Quidditch scrimmage, which we played in the field house, and nearly a hundred people turned up to watch which was really cool. We’re getting fans! We went till like 2 in the morning, and it was a ton of fun.

WEEKEND FOUR: Friday night was Organ Pump, which starts at midnight, and people (conservatory musical people) play things on the super amazing organ in the chapel. At the end everyone went up on the stage and laid down on it so we could feel all the vibrations for the last song. Then on sunday night I went to a really cool showcase/musical theater performance with various songs/scenes from musicals performed by students. It was a really small theater and we were close to the same level of the actors, which was cool. After that, I joined sci-fi hall people in watching the premiere of Sharktopus (a hilariously bad sci-fi horror movie) in one of our lounges, and then after that we all took turns reading bits of My Immortal out loud for laughs.

WEEKEND FIVE: (Warnign: This will be a REALLY LONG AWESOME ONE) Started out with my photographing a paint balloon fight (like water balloons, but with paint in them as well as water, so they color you where you get hit!) between some people I know (most of them I knew through Quidditch). I didn’t join in (didn’t have any clothes I could ruin), but taking pictures was fun as well XD After that I went rock climbing with some people, which I hadn’t done for YEARS, even though I used to even take a rock climbing/high ropes course class when I was younger. Then I ate dinner and went to the campus contra dance (there’s one the first friday of every month). The friends who I’d stayed up late playing music with in weekend 3 were both in the band playing the music for the dance, which was fun. I took pictures of the dancing for the most part, but I joined in the last two dances. I am terrible at it, but it was fun and good for me to push myself into trying (I do not dance. ever. at all).

After that, the friends mentioned above (Okay from now on I’m going to have to name them since I talk about them a lot: they are now A (male) and Ali (female)) invited me to go with them to a Grateful Dead cover band concert (A is sort of obsessed with TGD XD), and I went with and it was a lot of fun! The band was really good, and we stayed for their whole set, which ended around 1:30am. A was really jealous when I mentioned that I’d been taken to a The Dead concert when I was like 12 (I was too young to appreciate it then, alas!)

Then all 3 of us went back to the dorm where A and I live (Ali lives in a different one, but came with us) and we decided we weren’t dead-ed out yet (it is probably not possible to be so ) so we went to another lounge (picking up 3 guitars and A’s roommate on the way) and played Grateful Dead songs until 4 in the morning. In the middle of this was a fire alarm that Ali and I missed because we’d walked back to her dorm on the other side of campus so she could grab some stuff (we decided she should sleep over in my room, because she needed to be at my dorm the next morning anyway and it’d be easier if she just stayed there). So we were a bit confused to walk back and find A and his roommate standing outside playing music (everyone else in the dorm had gone to sleep on the floor of the lounges of the dorm next door, apparently), but after a while we got to go back inside (someone had decided to take a fire extinguisher and coat the first floor hallway in it’s spray) and played more XD We also made and burned popcorn and we were afraid it’d set off the fire alarms again, so we threw it out the window and I barrel-rolled out after it and threw it in some bushes far away. It smoked for a while, but nothing caught on fire so it was all good XD

Then we went to bed, and woke up about 10am and Ali and I went to the lounge and watched/helped A cook breakfast (he always cooks breakfast for everyone who went to the contra dance the day after, apparently). We ate about 11, it was delicious–potatoes and scones and chocolate cheesecake (which they made the previous thursday night in the lounge, until 2 am, and I was doing homework there so I helped them(aka licked the spoon)) with a snitch drawn in choclate shavins on the top. Later that night I went to my friend’s orchestra concert; he played a cool solo on english horn in it.

Then on sunday I actually did homework and stuff. That night I also helped one of the guys on my floor and his friend get their costumes ready for the swim team’s annual Pimps and Ho’s party. It was rather hilarious. I built a Katy-Parry-style cupcake bra for one of them out of construction paper, loofas, and present bows (not to mention lots of glue and tape); and lent my fedora to/decorated the other guy’s face with little rhinestones swirling from his eye after my other friend helped him put on large fake eyelashes. Later some people wandered in and asked if any of us wanted to go run around in barefoot in the freezing rain/puddle jumping, so I did that for 15 min or so (until we realized none of us had a key to get back inside or a phone to call anyone, but it only took like 5 min to find someone to let us in). Fun times! ANd then I was up till 3 am or so trying to finish all the homework I didn’t do, but it was fine in the end.

WEEKEND SIX: Friday afternoon I had a lovely chat with our favourite Paul Baker about bagpipes, because I am hoping to buy a set sometime (hopefully soon!) and wanted to know more about them. And now I REALLY want a set

Then that night I went to ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. It was awesome, needless to say, and I could write a ton about it but I’ll spare you all. Basically I was all dressed up and threw things and had to recite the pledge (but not humiliate myself in front of everyone, they only picked 5 virgins to go up) and at the end me and my friend (we were the only ones sitting in the 2nd row, all our friends filled up the 3rd, and the first was filled with props) got sat upon/straddled by the girl playing Bradly for a joke. It had started about midnight, so I got to bed at maybe 3am.

Saturday I helped some people bake for a north campus vs. south campus baking competition, and it was delicious I went to bed that night about 1:30 am…
…and woke up at 4:30 sunday morning to go to a QUIDDITCH TOURNAMENT AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY. Which was fantastic and awesome, but I will probably talk more about it in detail in the Quidditch post I am going to do after I finish this one (though I may have to wait to write it till tomorrow, since I sort of need to get work done at some point today and it’s taken me over an hour to write this so far (to be fair, I am simultaneously doing my laundry) (Anyway, END OF TANGENT, WHERE WERE WE?). We left around 5:30am and got back at about 10pm. Also this was on a sunday. So I was up till 3am again doing the homework I hadn’t done on saturday like I should have XD But it was fantastic and I took a ton of pictures there, so yay.

WEEKEND SEVEN aka this past weekend (this will also be a bit long because I remember it best): Friday night I went to the observatory on top of Peter’s Hall (the prettiest building ever, it makes me feel like I go to Hogwarts) and looked at the moon/stars/Jupiter+Io/Europa/Ganymede/more stars through these cool really fancy telecscopes. Then we used the SUPER HUGE AWESOME telescope and looked at The Andromeda Galaxy which basically made my life. I want to just live in the observatory and never leave, it’s so cool. After that I went with two friends (D and C) and listened to them play a piano duet (on two separate pianos) in the conservatory building.

Then C and I went back to our dorm (North) and we sat in the lounge and watched 3 episodes of Doctor Who (series 1, with Rose, first 3 eps. She’s seen a few eps here and there and liked them so I am making her watch all of it XD) and had tea and popcorn and chocolate. Then on saturday, in the afternoon we (me and C and J and B) went to listen to this really great Oboist play a piece for a competition on english horn, she was INSANELY good, but didn’t make the cut After that we went to this store and played with kittens (the store does this thing where they foster found kittens, and invite all the college kids/anyone who’s nearby to come play with them in the back room so they get used to people, which makes them more adoptable). So we held them for a bit, then we got ice cream and went to eat it in the park. We sat on this stump that’s like 9 feet tall and was cut off above where the branches started, so it’s set up like a table (trunk) with 4 chairs (sawed branches) around it (except at the same level). It’s really cool but hard to explain.

After dinner I went to watch How to Train Your Dragon with people in the tiny auditorium/theater in the basement of Mudd (the library) with C (and a lot of other people were there), which I’d seen before but was awesome and adorable anyway. After that I went to the photo lab and processed negatives, then at about 10:20 while they were drying wandered back to North (my dorm) for the supposed floor meeting we were supposed to have. But my RA and I were the only ones who came for it (I’m pretty sure he said the wrong date in the email…), although C was doing homework in the lounge. Then A wandered in and came back with a guitar, and my RA got his bass, and they played some music and I sang along with the songs I knew. Then after the RA had to go A and I sang/played a bunch of Great Big Sea songs until midnight (seriously, I feel like no matter what I’ve done on the weekend it ends up with me and him and sometimes other people in a lounge playing music till very late (or very early, depending on how you look at it), and it is the best thing ever) when I finally went back to the photo lab and cut/organized my negatives. Then I went back to North again and watched the movie Alien in the sci-fi hall lounge with a ton of people and went to bed around 3am again (I seriously cannot remember the last time I was in bed ready to sleep before 1 XD). Sunday was a Quidditch scrimmage (we have them every sunday!), and in the afternoon I bought a ticket for a Great Big Sea concert that I’m tagging along with A and people to, and had a long music sharing session with A in a lounge. I have 785 new songs to listen to XD

And then last night me and some people had a mini-party in the bathroom while Z shaved off his beard (most of the bathrooms here are gender-neutral). As he went he made it into different shapes, which was amusing. He looks REALLY WEIRD without it though, and also a lot more like Harry Potter (he used to get mistaken for Daniel Radcliffe when he was younger, apparently, and he even has the round glasses. He’s on the Quidditch team though (and was seeker with me!) so it works out perfectly XD).

And now it is today! And I am nearly done with my laundry finally, and this post is going to be super long, oops. If you read it all you are my favorites. And if you didn’t I secretly don’t love you anymore, but you’ll never know because you didn’t read this. XD

And yeah, thursday is a Great Big Sea concert and I am REALLY EXCITED if you can’t tell, haha. College has been really great for me. I had a lot of rough patches in high school for various reasons, and being out of there and older and not as emotional is really good for me. I still get worried about school stuff and being social sometimes is overwhelming and panic-y but I’ve been handling everything really well so far (which I admit was a concern for me). So yeah, life is awesome finally and I’m really relieved because getting here was hell but this more than makes up for it all. Wooo!

Anyway long post is long so I’ll end it here with a note that soon I’ll do a big (though not THIS big) Quidditch post since people have been asking about it.

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