The End...For Now.
The last week of finals. Also known as "the week I can least concentrate on the work I'm supposed to be doing." Two exams and a paper left, and I am home free. The weather is beautiful, I'm not really doing anything but studying, working, and hanging out with friends. Pretty awesome.
I must say, though, that finals week was almost a complete disaster. My computer crashed (again, I know) and was totally unrepairable...two days before I had to write a 5-page paper for Thursday and a 12-page paper for Friday. Oh dear.
So this, friends, is my advice for if your computer conks out on you while you're at school, and you are left in high stress mode.
1) Take it to ITS. These guys will help you figure things out as best they can, and hopefully fix it for you so that you can get back to doing work really quickly. Unless they are at a loss for fixing it in which case…
2) Call the manufacturer. I have a Dell, and sadly for me, the thing breaks like every five minutes. However, if you buy a computer through Case's store, the warranty is something along the lines of 3 years and it comes with all the software you need so you don't have to buy it yourself. Unfortunately, I didn't buy mine through the eStore and my warranty is almost up. Thankfully I still have something like 30 days left on it and I'll be able to get it fixed.
3) Borrow a computer from a friend...if that's possible. Since it's finals week, nobody could afford to give me their computer until mine got fixed (we determined it's probably a memory issue so I have to ship it to Dell), but thankfully I have a relative who had a loaner laptop which I am currently typing from.
4) If all else fails, go to KSL. The Kelvin Smith Library has a bunch of computers for public use, and if you really have no other way to type your paper, hole up in there for a while and hopefully the studious atmosphere will motivate you.
5) Don't panic. If you absolutely have no chance of finishing on time because of computer issues, your professor will probably be willing to give you a slight extension. Don't expect too much from them, though, because remember that they have to grade these by a certain date and have them ready so your semester grade can be finalized.
Anyway, now that the semester is almost over and I'm ready to kick off an amazing summer, I'd just like to say that it has been an awesome year. It's totally unbelievable to me that I'm already 1/4th of the way through undergrad...when did I grow up?! It has also been a pleasure writing for you guys, and I hope my posts have been useful...and I hope to see you around campus next year!
Wishing you all the best,
Posted by Sara at 12:24 PM
So close and yet so far…
I am dreaming of summer right now. Seriously, almost any spare moment I have to think is spent thinking about how amazing it will be to have a couple weeks of waking up whenever I feel like it and doing virtually nothing. I’m imagining what I’ll do with all my free time (Free time!! It might exist again!), and envisioning the beautiful weather and the even more beautiful lack of school work.
But, as per usual, I have the heavy reality check of 6 papers due within the next 10 days to keep me grounded. I cannot slack right now, even though I desperately want to. That being said, I did decide to have some fun this weekend before I enter the cave that is my dorm room during finals.
Friday night I was hosting a prospective student, and we ended up having an awesome time. Theta Chi was holding their annual car-smashing party, Damage, which entails beating up on a couple of crappy vans with sledgehammers. People paint things on the vans like “biochem” and “SAGES” so that you can take out your frustration in a healthy way, and I won’t lie I definitely felt pretty good about smashing a couple of them.
Later on we went to the final concert for Dhamakapella, one of the zillion A Cappella groups on campus, who sing mashups of Indian music and American pop songs. They were pretty awesome, and they had free tasty Indian food!
Finally, we went to a movie at Strosacker, my old standby for prospies. It was good to get one last movie in for the semester, as the CWRU Film Society wrapped up their year this weekend.
Then Saturday was Springfest! As a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect with Springfest, but it was a really good time. Student groups of all shapes and sizes gave away tons of free stuff, there was delicious free food everywhere, and there were inflatables, laser tag, and a mechanical bull. I didn’t stay to hear many of the bands playing throughout the day, but what I heard was really good, and I was impressed with how much work the planning committee must have done. It was awesome.
Today, though, I’m getting cracking on those papers. Three are due tomorrow, one Thursday, one Friday, and one the Thursday after next. Wish me luck. I seriously need it.
Posted by Sara at 01:10 PM
Nearing the end....
It's almost the end of my freshman year at Case. I have exactly six days of class left. This is only slightly mindblowing. It will be very weird to say goodbye to all of the people on Storrs 3rd floor, pack up my belongings and say goodbye to Storrs 317 forever. It'll be cool to spend some time back home again, but no less weird.
Not that I should get ahead of myself. Even after this Friday and next Monday (the last day of class) I still have two weeks worth of finals to make it through. So I shouldn't be too hasty. Within the next week and a half I have two research papers and four other papers to do, a presentation, and at least two exams. Not to mention observations for my education class and a whole lot of other stuff that I know I'm forgetting. And somehow I'm still supposed to eat, sleep, and maybe have a life. Plus my computer crashed. Yeah.
So maybe it's a little early to be reminiscing about this year, but I definitely am having an awesome end to it so far. Friday night and Saturday morning was Relay for Life, where 75 teams came together to fundraise, party, and walk the track of the football field to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I've done Relay in the past, and it's always been an incredibly fun and moving experience. This year was no different, but it was something really unique in that I got to see a community of college students put in a lot of time and effort for a great cause. Not to mention the root beer floats in 40 degree weather, 90s dance party, 3 AM pajama lap, and waking up at 4 AM to walk laps, eat tortilla chips, and watch the sunrise.
After coming back to Storrs and crashing, I managed to find enough energy to go to Sigma Psi formal last night. It was truly spectacular; everyone looked amazing, the food and music and setting were awesome, and I even got a little sniffly when Senior Letters came around and everyone was saying their formal goodbyes. Even so, I danced the night away with some awesome ladies and their super-cool dates, participated in the hilarious tradition of Senior Circle, and did our Ramble with the rest of the girls, pretty much scaring the crap out of every guy standing on the sidelines. It was wonderful, and it made me truly happy that I could be there with all my sisters.
Now I've just got to make it through these last few weeks -- wish me luck!
Posted by Sara at 03:29 PM
Sunshine and Research Papers
The sun is still shining in Cleveland. And motivation could not be lower. All that I have wanted to do for the past week has been to say goodbye to responsibility and sit outside in the sun and nap.
In other words, now is the time for self-motivation. It’s important to bring organization into your work, because otherwise things will really not get done. For me, this has become a time to set goals and stick to them. If I’m going to go outside and enjoy the weather, I had better write four pages of my research paper before I do it. If I’m going to go to Coventry to shop, I’d better make sure that I’ve finished all the reading for that class on Monday or I will find myself looking at the clock again on Sunday night and wondering how the time flew by again.
Other than the amount of work and the weather, it seems like even though I don’t have a single moment of free time for the next three weeks, very little exciting is happening. Then again, that isn’t entirely true. This weekend I have Sisterhood Retreat with Sigma Psi, next weekend is Relay for Life and Sig Psi formal, the week after that is Springfest, and then the semester will be over! In general, though, it’s quite a busy time and I can only imagine how quickly the next couple of weeks are going to fly.
Posted by Sara at 05:58 PM
Peace, Love, and Greek Week
Rarely is it good form to start a sentence with punctuation (at least, not in English), but that’s more or less my mood right now. It’s 65 degrees, sunny, and absolutely beautiful…and we just finished off Greek Week!
Greek Week was simultaneously the most stressful week of the semester and the most fun. Sororities and fraternities on campus spent a week competing for first place in athletic, academic, and just plain awesome events like Trivia, Beach Ball Relay, Banner, and Rope Pull. Throughout the week, lots of people put aside homework for a while (but don’t tell our professors that) so that they could attend what seemed like twenty practices a night and contribute countless hours to painting their banner or choreographing their Variety Show.
Generally speaking, I had a blast this past week. Variety Show was awesome, combining dancing, acting, and comedy in skits that were designed to demonstrate this year’s theme: Peace, Love, and Greek Week. Consequently, there were a lot of dream sequences and “head injuries” that resulted in characters travelling back in time to the 60s for a ton of trippy dance numbers. Also, a lot of guys in skirts.
Obstacle Course and Pyramid were both awesome, as they were some of the weekend events that drew a lot of support from members and alumni. But by far my favorite event, and the one I’m really looking forward to in the future, is Rope Pull.
Rope Pull to most people conjures up images of old school tug of war, with two sides pulling on a rope until one side falls over. The reality, however, is way more intense. Two teams of ten position themselves in trenches, with a moat of water in the middle. You can win by as little as a quarter of an inch in a 10-minute pull, but the truly satisfying victory results in your opponents getting a taste of that moat.
Rope Pull practices were intense; usually they’d start with some jogging and cardio and strength exercises, before we practiced actually pulling the rope. I was sore for days after my first practice, considering the last time I’d done any conditioning was back when I ran track. The actual pulling was even more intense. Occasionally we’d split the team and pull against each other, sometimes we’d even pull against a giant tree near the trenches (we named him George), but more often than not we would pull against the guys in Sigma Chi fraternity. This was both awesome and awful, because while we got good practice for hard pulls, we also had to really fight for every inch.
Game day was cold and rainy. Mostly rainy. It was maybe 45 degrees, but the worst was the rain which was absolutely relentless. It coated the rope and made it slippery, turned the entire area into a giant mud slick, and reduced us to shivering lumps between pulls. But the atmosphere was awesome. When we got into those trenches, all we could hear was friends and other spectators cheering for us, and that was a pretty cool feeling.
Sadly, we got eliminated and didn’t make it all the way to the final pull as we’d hoped. It was another team’s turn for victory that day. But what was probably the best part about Rope Pull, and about Greek Week in general, was the time that I got to spend with my sisters making that event awesome. Now that it’s all over, I really miss seeing the girls on the line every day, even though I don’t necessarily miss sitting in a muddy trench for two hours every night. What was hands down the most amazing part was getting to bond with my sisters at every practice and every event. Now, I just can’t wait until next year.
Posted by Sara at 02:23 PM
Woohoo, Spring Overnight Season!
Spring is clearly in the air. Singing birds. Sunshine. Construction. People wearing shorts and t-shirts even though it’s only 48 degrees. Yep. Spring.
Another clear sign is the dozens of families milling around campus, all well-equipped with folders and that “I’m-kind-of-lost-please-help” smile. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the slew of spring open houses and overnights.
There really is an open house for everyone in the spring. Admitted students, pre-professional students, juniors who are still very much on the market for colleges. And at every open house, you can be sure to learn something worthwhile, even if it’s just where to go at 2 AM on a Sunday to get a killer milkshake.
About a year ago (woah, that’s really weird) I was in the shoes of many of those students. I had been accepted in December and was making the rounds of schools I had applied to in order to get a feel for which campus and which group of students was the best fit.
It was a pretty overwhelming feeling being on campus, but I managed to get over any initial discomfort by telling myself that I was in the midst of a bunch of students who were probably equally as unsure of what exactly they were doing (it actually did help).
The general tours were pretty cool; those usually involve your standard introduction to campus, where things are that are important to freshman, sprinkled in with some cool tidbits about the campus. I even liked the residence hall portion; being a total dork, I love to actually imagine myself in a place and seeing a dorm allowed me to have a really clear picture of what I could expect when it came to living at Case.
My favorite, though, was the department tours. At this point in the
program, imagine a whoooole lot of engineering majors shuffling off in some distant direction, and then little old me searching for the College of Arts and Sciences tour. Honestly, it was the best part of my day.
On this tour, I got not only a good appreciation for the variety of
classrooms that Case has to offer to students (in any field, really, but I feel especially for Arts and Sciences students), but also a good appreciation for just how varied your schedule can be and how varied the campus population is. On my tour, I not only got to talk to a Political Science major (at the time, this was one of my majors; now it’s a minor), but also to meet people interested in chemistry, art education, history, Spanish, and a whole litany of other subjects.
Then comes, in my humble opinion, the best part by far. When I was an admitted student, I tried to sign up for an overnight, but to no avail. When I got to Case, though, I heard that they were looking for freshmen who were interested in hosting prospective students at different times throughout the year. I am so glad that I decided to participate, because it’s been really fun.
From the visitor’s perspective, I feel like an overnight can be really valuable. When I host, I try my best to give an accurate view of what an average night could be like for me. If students want to do something special, like see a play or stop by a Greek event, then we might, but otherwise I try to show students things that I typically do. That usually involves things like going to the Silver Spartan, seeing a movie at Strosacker, or even taking them to Greek Week practice for Rope Pull (the greatest event ever, but this is another story for another day). In general, I want the students to have fun, but to actually meet people and get a feel for the way they would fit into the bigger picture at Case.
I’d love to hear from you guys about this. Have any of you been to an overnight or an open house yet? What did you like about it? And if you’re still waiting to go to one, what questions do you have?
Posted by Sara at 10:15 AM
Why I Love Weekends
I’ve discovered a trend. A trend in this blog, a trend in my life. The weekdays just sort of drift by, they consist of class and random occurrences, but it’s generally the weekend that I live for. The weekend is where most of my awesome memories come from. The weekend is what I’m thinking about if I’m up to my neck in reading for a paper or if I’m cleaning out the inside of a particularly greasy refrigerator at work. And this last weekend was no exception.
Friday night was Heaven and Hell, a party that Sigma Psi and Phi Psi throw together every year. The theme is pretty obvious, and people tend to get into it with costumes and all sorts of shenanigans. I went with a couple of friends and had a lot of fun. The “Heaven” area had a bunch of dancing, which varied from rap to Kelly Clarkson to whatever the DJ felt like at the moment. The “Hell” area had mocktails (mixed drinks without the alcohol) and was more of a place to get away from the crazy-loud, really warm dance floor. In general, I had a great time; I haven’t had much of an excuse to dance since the prom of my senior year, but I love dancing.
The only complaint I had of that night was that my friends and I got creeped on by a number of random guys at the party. Seriously, it got pretty awkward once or twice. My recommendation for parties, especially ones where you’ll only know some of the people in attendance, is go in a group. This will hopefully help diffuse the creeps.
Saturday I visited home in the morning for some delicious pancakes and time with family and friends. Most of the day was just chilling in my hometown, doing what little there is to do there. For lunch I had possibly the greatest pizza ever. Danny Boy’s. If you’re ever in Rocky River, OH, that is the one thing you actually have to do. For that matter, if you’re ever in River, you might as well find me because I’m sure I’ll see you somehow. The town is kind of small that way.
Back at Case later in the evening was Sigma Nu formal. Several things made that night really amazingly fun:
1) It was at the zoo! I love the Cleveland Metroparks zoo, and their primate/fish/big cat house was the location for Sigma Nu’s formal. It was incredible mostly because we got to eat dinner right in front of the gorilla exhibit. The gorillas were seriously right. There. Just chillin’.
It was also convenient because whenever you got bored of dancing, you could wander around and look at the exhibits. The monkeys and the armadillos were definitely the best; the monkeys were adorable and the armadillos spent most of their time running around frantically.
2) Sigma Nu is awesome. I cannot reiterate enough how much I enjoy hanging out with those guys, and this was no exception. I won’t say that I didn’t fear the night would be somewhat awkward, because I didn’t really know how all of us (including their dates, whom I really hadn’t met before) would interact. Instead dinner was as entertaining as the dancing.
3) Dancing. I cannot explain why I love jumping around and flailing as much as I do, but I seriously loved it. This was a great mix for dancing, too, because a lot of it was faster beats and not so much slower songs.
4) Did I mention it was at THE ZOO?!
After all this, I still had Sunday and chapter and seeing all the Sigs to look forward to. And then I went home and drowned in homework. But, in all, I love the weekend.
This weekend in particular should be awesome because not only is it my birthday (19! The totally useless birthday!), but it’s also SPRING BREAK. I’m not really going anywhere impressive, but I am soooooo looking forward to a week of chillaxin’. Right now I'm in the midst of a countdown until school is over. Also, I need to finish mounds and mounds of work. So, until next time, folks.
Posted by Sara at 07:28 PM
T Minus Eight Days Until Spring Break
When I said last week that I thought that the mixer with Sigma Nu wouldn’t be lame, I was drastically underestimating its awesomeness. Everyone looked spectacularly ridiculous (costume elements included zebra print, parachute pants, plaid…you get the idea), and there was all kinds of crazy dance circles going on at any given time. Not to mention that we watched the US men’s curling team in their victory. I got to explain to a lot of people a lot of things about curling, which apparently I have become some sort of resident expert on (I love curling, probably too much).
Post-mixer was a lot of hanging around munching on leftovers and then IMPROV, which was a great way to finish the evening. They hit the nail right on the head when they mentioned in a skit that 40 degrees Fahrenheit now feels like 85. It’s true. After seven weeks or so of below-20 temperatures, I feel like I’ve been walking around in the middle of June.
Sunday was my first experience with chapter at Sigma Psi. It was pretty intense; I arrived at the house at about 3:45 so I could pick my room for next year (I’m living in the house! It’s really exciting to me) before our pledge class meeting. Afterwards, I stuck around the house for a while, caught dinner in Fribley with some of the sisters, and went back for chapter. It’s really cool to get a feel for what’s going on with everyone and some of the events and opportunities with Greek Life on campus, even if they had to kick all of the un-initiated pledges out for super secret ritual stuff. After all of that, I ended up staying even later for a Study Jam in the basement. All told, I think I spent 6 hours or so at the house on Sunday. A long day, but really fun.
This week, though, has been pushing through all of the papers and midterms and craziness until spring break next week. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, I’ve got to wonder if you guys – the readers – have any burning questions you want to get answered. Anything from "what could I do with a history major?" to "where can I eat when I’m sick of cafeteria food?" It’s all fair game. So I challenge you: come up with some killer questions and I might feature them in a post sometime! Until then, I have a paper to write.
Posted by Sara at 08:28 PM
Mixers, Movies, and Scenes from a Hat
Last weekend I decided that I needed a break. A well deserved one, if I do say so myself. It kind of resulted in Sunday being a crash-homework day, but I feel like it was worth it.
Friday night was the busiest, as Sigma Psi had a mixer with Phi Kappa Theta. It was 90s themed, which mostly meant that we consumed a lot of sugar and salt and watched Saved By the Bell. Since I’m a pledge, I’d never been to a mixer before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What was great about it was that it was low pressure; you get to hang out and meet people you probably wouldn’t know otherwise, and in the process you get to have fun and (obviously most importantly) eat a bunch of food.
I am super pumped for this weekend, because Sig Psi has a mixer with Sigma Nu (my boyfriend’s fraternity). I’ve met a lot of them and think they’re cool guys, so I’m sure this mixer won’t be lame. That’s not to mention that we have the greatest theme ever: Tacky Formal. Let’s just say that my dress involves a lot of red satin and tulle. Oh, and polka dots. Yep.
The CWRU Film Society also continues to be a giant sinkhole for all of my money. Last Friday they played Inglourious Basterds, and my love for Quentin Tarantino meant that it was pretty much obligatory that I go. I was not disappointed. Tonight they’re showing Food, Inc., and once again I think I’ll end up going. The fact that I love movies and the fact that I’m super interested in food production, humane practices, and consumer awareness combine to equal another $3 spent at Strosacker. I don’t regret it.
Lastly, and this is probably the most entertaining part of my weekend, I attended my first IMPROVment show. Ever. For those who aren’t aware, Case has an improv comedy group who perform at the Black Box near Eldred Theater every couple weeks or so. I’d heard about them often, I knew that people were going without me, but for some reason I had just never dragged myself all the way over to Eldred to see them perform. It was pretty hilarious, I must admit. For those of you who were (are?) fans of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, you’ll love IMPROV. They play a lot of the same games, and you get to interact as audience members in really entertaining ways. Plus they gave us candy. By now I’m sure you know that that means that I will love them forever. Definitely on the list of things I need to do again, and soon.
Posted by Sara at 01:23 PM
I can sleep when I’m dead.
Yet another week of having no breaks. I am currently typing this on my computer at work, because my personal computer is in an unresponsive coma. Awesome.
I’ve had a lot of fun this week with service events, a couple of new member events with the Sigs, and a bunch of other stuff, but for some reason I want to write a whiny blog. Yep. Whiny. I’m not feelin’ the cheer right now. The grievances I’m airing here have primarily to do with the weather. Anyone in Northeast Ohio (or pretty much any part of the east coast) will understand why I say this. It’s been disgusting.
Now, as a native Clevelander, I am well aware that I have no right to complain. I knew exactly what I was in for when I decided to stay here for school and there were no illusions of a mild, pleasant winter with happy snowfall and cute winter attire. None of that. However, like most Clevelanders, I have become very good at holding onto hope well past the acceptable point of no return. I still believe every year that it won’t be nearly as bad as it was the previous year, and consequently every year winter breaks my spirit a little more.
A good friend of mine lived here, went to Case, graduated, and got the heck out. Since then he’s lived such toasty places and Arizona and California. When he came into town recently I was very defensive about Cleveland, because he’s of the firm belief that I should move to California when this is all over and enjoy the sunshine and rainbows and all that jazz. As much as I don’t want to admit it (and I certainly won’t to his face), some part of me has been secretly thinking that he’s right. California sounds great right about now.
I love Cleveland, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of reasons that I understand for people wanting to leave, but I’ve always had this pride in my hometown that I could never explain. Something about it makes me happy, regardless of how heartbreaking our baseball team is (I’m not even going to address the Browns, since I really don’t care) or how many houses are boarded up every year. However, now that I have to walk in this weather every single day for at least half an hour, stumbling through slush and muck, practically running into people, and thinking mostly in expletives and some variation of “Why me?”, it’s getting a little tiring.
I don’t want this to be all whine, though, so here are my friendly tips for surviving Cleveland winter. I’m sure some of you will need this:
1. There may be some part of you that wants to look “presentable”, “cool”, or “attractive” when you leave in the morning and consequently will carefully prepare an outfit that looks good even if it’s not practical. Abandon this part of you immediately. Winter in Cleveland for the stubborn becomes a battle between your pretty leather boots and the four-foot mound of slush you end up climbing to cross the street or get to your door. Dress practically, even if that means you look like a giant neon marshmallow.
2. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to be. You will (hopefully) be a total champ at getting to class in under ten minutes by the second semester of your freshman year. I can make it from Storrs to the quad in about that amount of time, without running, if I happen to be late. Seriously, it’s an art form. That period of time does not account for a) people who don’t know how to walk, b) the aforementioned horrible mounds of slush and goo, or c) the horrible morale-breaker that is snow plowing into your face. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to class without jogging through the snow and slush. That’s like trying to climb a sand dune at a full sprint. It does not end well.
3. Don’t be a jerk. Everyone is as miserable as you. Really, they are. So be nice to people and understand that their walk is probably equally as crappy. It will keep you from going insane.
Posted by Sara at 01:30 PM