Well, here we are, folks!
Y'all know how much I love it here at Saint Mike's, so it's a little bittersweet to know that my time is so extremely limited now. I feel like I have to accomplish so many things in a very small number of days in order to have had the true Saint Michael's and Vermont experience. I'm suddenly rushing to write a bucket list with my housemates, hoping I'll have time for everything in this race against the clock.
But at the same time, I realize that feeling does a total injustice to everything I have done here over the past three and a half years. And I've done a LOT.
And, despite the mixed feelings about having to leave so soon, I can't help but feel that the time is right. Even though I have some really interesting classes this semester with some fantastic professors (we'll get to those details in a moment), it's been taking me some extra motivation to care about attending them as much as I did when I was a first-year. I'm still learning so much, but I'm starting to feel a bit beyond the classroom vibe. I'm ready to show up (to whatever I end up doing in a few months) in the morning with the same vigor that I went to an 8am class with three years ago (thinking that's what it means to "sleep in"...silly young Lauren).
That feeling has nothing to do with my schedule and everything to do with senioritis (a post on that is in progress). So, without further ado, here's what I've got going on as well as my predictions for the semester:
1.) The Great (Fire)Wall: Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-3:05 P.M.
I am of course very excited to be taking this course, as I'll be learning about a culture I know nothing about--just like before I went to Morocco. I'm especially curious about the media environment in China, as we're all aware that the internet is heavily monitored (I wonder if you can access my blog in China...?). One thing I am NOT thrilled with: hearing the other students discuss their excitement to go on the trip, as I unfortunately won't be able to make it. The group leaves a couple days after graduation, and between my financial situation after having traveled so much in the spring and summer (read: I'm broke) and my current state of "what the heck are my plans for a few months from now" I wasn't comfortable with taking off for another adventure just yet. Everything is a bit too up in the air for that.
So yeah, I'm a little jealous, but I'm not the only one in my class who isn't going. Despite my travel bug, I do think the class will be worthwhile. This is also my first experience with Professor Rob Williams, or "Dr. W" as he refers to himself, and he's super charismatic and definitely passionate about this subject. He opens every class with a loud and proud "Ni Hao!"
2.) Environmental Hazards: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:45-11:20 A.M.
This is my final class to complete my Environmental Studies minor. I had the option to take any ES course offered this semester, as I already completed the required courses. At first I really wanted to take Buddhism and the Environment, but for scheduling purposes I thought this might work better for me. It turns out that what started out as my second option is quickly becoming a major topic of interest for me. I'm more interested in the social side of natural disasters, including anything from prevention to human impact to legislation. We're covering all of that, plus learning about how natural disasters occur and some of the science-y things behind them (yes, I'm truly a liberal arts kid through and through...).
We're also looking at this from a global perspective, so I'm pretty pumped for our research paper (yes, you heard me right. Pumped. For a research paper.) where we get to choose a country and look at what types of environmental hazards they've had within the past generation or so, and how they've dealt with them. At first I was totally ready to start looking at Morocco, but now with my China class I'm thinking maybe I'll do some searching there, too. Actually, this week in my China class someone mentioned the smog over Beijing due to factory processes, and the types of human health and environmental impacts this has had. Maybe I'll do some more digging around, but it's nice to know I already have a few options in mind.
The major con: as with a lot of topics in ES, this can get incredibly depressing. You can't talk about environmental hazards without talking about degradation and death. But I think that's what makes it so important, too, and why it needs discussion. The other con is that my textbook still hasn't arrived in the mail, but thankfully Professor Stroup is super nice and allowed me to make copies from hers for the time being so I don't fall behind. I'm glad I asked for help!
3.) Senior Sem: Wednesdays, 3:15-6:20 P.M.
This course description is accurate, and yet it tells you NOTHING. What do you need to know about this course?
This course will empower you and routinely crush your dreams at the same time, and it is fantastic.
What do I mean by that? Okay, so maybe it was a little melodramatic, but basically this course is a whole lot of work with a whole lot of reward. It's just like the ISJ I did in Morocco, but on a bigger scale. And honestly, after doing my ISJ, I absolutely can't wait to jump into this project.
So as you know, I'm working with my best friend Sheila on a documentary film about ageism and forming relationships in senior citizen communities. We've been doing research and establishing contacts, and now it's time to get filming. I'm meeting up with her and Professor Hyde later this afternoon to discuss our next steps and how we're going to accomplish the huge task we have in front of us.
It's obviously a ton of outside work, so why the three-hour class? It's a great time to collaborate with other groups, learn about their topics, and bounce ideas off of each other. Each week a different person brings snacks, and it's basically having a homework party with your best friends. I can tell, this class is going to be like hitting a refresh button for me. Whenever I get stressed out, it helps me to walk into class and talk to my professors and classmates. Not only do they validate my concerns, but they also help me work through them when I'm stuck. Looking around the room at our first meeting the other day, I was so content. And once we got talking and pitching our ideas, it was like someone lit a fire. We feed off of each other's passion and drive, and that is by far what I love most about our little Bergeron community.
What a perfect way to end four years, right?
So, in case you haven't noticed, that's three classes, four days a week. That leaves me with one less class than normal and a whole gosh-darn day!
I only needed 8 credits to graduate, as some of my high school AP courses carried over and counted for college credit. So I chose to take 12 (that way I'm still a full-time student with health insurance) and allow myself a day off in the process. Since I'm really committed to this senior seminar documentary, I honestly don't think I'll have as much free time as one might expect. And I'm glad to have a 3-day weekend--Sheila and I are already planning a trip to New York City to interview some people there for our documentary, and this gives me more travel time without missing class.
But for now, I'm happy to use my Fridays as blog days and to get a head start on work for the next week. I'm feeling really good about getting back into the groove after a long and mostly uneventful winter break--not having any projects gets a bit boring!
To all my readers, good luck embarking on this new semester!