Sunday, December 16, 2012

Catching Up

Hello Readers! I am so sorry that it's been what seems like forever since my last post. As you may know, the last few weeks of the semester are always the busiest as everyone is rushing to wrap up their classes. Since so much has happened in such a small amount of time, I will update you on some of the highlights:

Earlier this month I attended a Christmas party held by Founders Society for alumni, faculty members and their children. It was a lot of fun--Alliot was all decked out for the occasion with a giant Christmas tree and an appearance from Santa, which the kids loved. We also had craft stations set up so that they would have little hand-made gifts to bring home with them.

My friend Cara and I had a photo shoot in Santa's chair after he left.

Our craft station made candy-cane reindeer!

The Christmas party was a good break from working on projects and studying for finals, and it also got me into a really festive holiday spirit. Though we did not get much snow, and what little we had is already melted and gone, campus looked like a winter wonderland during the first week or so of December.

As the snow melted and the next few weeks carried on, things became a bit more challenging. With deadlines and finals approaching, there was not as much time to relax or get away from work on the weekends. Although many a Saturday afternoon was spent in the library, the stress of the semester closing was accompanied with and balanced out by good friends, late-night runs to the Knightstand, and laughing fests that seem to come out of nowhere simply because we're so tired that everything seems hilarious (come on, you know what I'm talking about!).

There were also some stress-free events held on campus. The comedian, John Hodgman, put on a show that had all of the students laughing. There were a ton of activities for people to relax at the end of a long day, like getting Henna tattoos or "Fun Night" in Alliot when we were given crayons and paper tablecloths at dinner and allowed to let our inner five-year-olds free.

As for finals themselves, I think they went really well. My final assignment for Nature and Outdoor Writing was due on Monday. We had a choice to research an environmental person, organization, or issue, so I wrote about the global water crisis. I also had my Christianity final on Monday, and was actually surprised at how much I wrote for each of the questions we had. Though I had studied hard, I didn't think I had much to say. But, I ended up using almost the whole two-and-a-half hours allotted for the test, and I filled up two essay booklets!

On Tuesday, I had my Environmental Studies exam. We had already presented a group project for this class a week earlier, which was an event that I had seen as so important that until Tuesday I felt as if I was already done with the course. I'll admit that this test threw me off a bit--because I had taken that attitude about it, I wasn't in the best mindset to take an exam. However, once I got into a rhythm, I found it pretty easy to write responses to each of the questions. It was an open-note test, but I only referenced my books when I felt that I needed to. Otherwise, I relied on my brainpower and passion for the subject to take over, and once more I found myself staying the whole time to complete the exam.

My website for Advanced Digital Media was also due on Tuesday. This project was a final portfolio website that had to incorporate all of our past work into one big project. I have to admit, this assignment was certainly the most intimidating for me, as I am not the most technologically-minded person and I often become extremely frustrated with design programs. I poured all of my spare time and tons of effort into the project, and it really paid off. It was definitely the most complex assignment I had completed all semester, and apart from a few extra things I wanted to do but ran out of time for, I had gotten the result I wanted.

Here is a sample from the home page of my website, which had a slide show of my photography.

The website was due at 5PM on Tuesday, and after making some minor adjustments, I finished just in time. Once I sent it in, I took a big sigh of relief--I was done! This hectic semester was over!

The euphoric feeling lasted about two seconds. My next thought what?

It's funny once you're officially done with a semester. At first, it doesn't feel real. One minute, you're racing against the clock, trying to get everything done. The next minute, there's nothing else to do.

I came up with ideas quickly though. Since I was catching a ride home with Sheila and she was not done until Friday, I spent my next few days of freedom cleaning out my room, which definitely needed a few days' worth of attention, and getting all of my Christmas shopping done on Church Street with local Vermont products. (Okay, and I slept A LOT.)

After Sheila's final presentation on Friday, we piled all of our stuff in her car and got on the road to head home. It was only a few minutes into the ride when I heard the awful news about the tragic elementary school massacre that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. A friend from that area told me, so we turned on the radio and listened to the news most of the way home. I know that during this holiday season, my thoughts will remain on the victims of this event and their families. It is so terrible and unfortunate that nothing will ever be the same for them.

Hearing this news made me hug my family a bit tighter when I got home. I am so lucky and grateful to have them in my life. To all of my readers, I hope that you and your loved ones have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

So, that just about wraps up the last few weeks of my blog absence. And quite a few weeks they were! They were difficult, yes, but they were equally productive, interesting, enlightening, and at times even fun. They have caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting about how far I've come since the beginning of the semester and even since I began college. They have taught me lessons about time management, stress, and especially in light of the past few days, love, the true meaning of the holidays and the most important things in life.

I spent my first day home with my family. We put up our tree and Christmas decorations. I also spent some time looking ahead at my plans for the future--so if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go read through all of my study abroad materials!

Please excuse my creepy smile--I'm just a bit too enthusiastic for this endeavor.
Stay tuned for more posts--I'm working on a list of everything I want to tell you about my major and minors!

Happy end-of-semester!


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