Friday, September 29, 2006

More Reflections Upon the First Month

A second update this week! I'm spending too much time writing about college instead of studying for it... and yet, I am content. Fear not, this time I promise to not go on a spontaneous rant about any of my teachers.

It's strange to think that I've only been at Covenant for almost six weeks, and that I've known everyone I've met for such a short amount of time (compared to my friends back home, the most recent of whom I've known for two years). Honestly, it feels like I've known everyone for much longer than I really have, especially the friends that I've adopted as "my" friends.

I adore my hall. Ours (called Gallery) has the reputation of hosting the non-conformists, the "artsy" people, and those who should be wearing leather jackets that say "Born To Rune" (yes, rune, because it's hard to find a Presby who doesn't like Tolkien) on the back. I love having this reputation -- if I tell people "I live on Gallery" and if (even with foreknowledge of how strange I allow myself to be) they still want to be my friend, I've truly found acceptance. And even if no one else on campus found me to be an appealing friend, I rest secure in the fact that my fellow Gallerians would still accept me. We all love each other, and I'm not sure why, but I'm not about to mess with a good thing. The community of Gallery is something that, apparently, is not as common for other halls on campus (note: I have not completed an official survey, and I'm prone to biased statements, so... yeah). Hugs are a common Hello for us. We leave our doors open to passers-by when we aren't studying. A semi-regular group of Gallery girls go to dinner at five o'clock because we don't see each other any time before or after dinner. We enjoy each other's company, not because we're forced to live on the same hall, but because we genuinely like each other. I can't wait to grow with my fellow Gallery freshmen and see future freshmen come to find out just how amazing the bonds of friendship between hallmates can be.

However, to put my reader's mind at ease, I must say that I am finding a life outside of Gallery. I love being with my friends from the former O-Team (I hate to admit it, but the Covenant faculty had a really good idea for getting some freshmen to know one another before school started... because it worked), who have now become my friends from Psych and Christian Mind. We already have some nicknames (BEAGLE! ^^) and running jokes that are going around. I've found friends who are from anywhere in the US, who come from completely different backgrounds, and all of whom have no idea what is so funny about any running joke from my friends back home. And, strangest of all, I like it. I see people walking on campus and not only have the opportunity to wave at them, but they wave at me, too. I've gotten to know a few of them more personally than others, and while they might not feel like they know me very well, I believe that I've found friends I never knew I could have.

I've found that I haven't been writing as much fiction since I've been at Covenant... because, for once in my life, reality is so much more appealing to me. (note: this is scheduled to change for Finals week) If only I could have my friends from back home up at school with me, life might actually be perfect!

More later. I have a lot of studying to do today. I'll probably get into my favorite stories from on and off the hall next time I update... I've got to think them through first and make sure I won't get in trouble sharing them with the general public :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Reflections Upon the First Month

Where to start? There's quite a lot to cover since my last update. So much has happened, and most of it is actually a so comedic (slapstick, tongue-in-cheek, irony, absurdity, take your pick...) that I'm thinking about journaling every week about the bizarre or flat-out hilarious events in which I inevitably find myself involved after I graduate, using my journal entries to write a book about a wonderfully caricature-esque Covenant College.

Let's start with my classes. My major (psychology) dictates that I must take this-many "core" classes in edition to the Psych classes, so I am trying to get a lot of my required stuff out of the way so I can get to "the fun stuff". Ironically "the fun stuff" also requires the most work, as it is a four-hour class and all my others are two- or three-hour classes, but the only time I complain is the week before an exam. I will have had two exams in Psych before I take my first tests in Old Testament Literature, English, and Covenant's little "intro to reformed theology" called The Christian Mind. Tomorrow we get our assignments for this year's Psych lab: rats. We each get our own little rodent friend to train throughout the semester, but we do not yet know what we will be training our little rodent friends to do. I sometimes wonder if my professor likes to play mind games with us and see how far his students will speculate or how much anxiety he can cause. It also helps that my Psych professor is also my Christian Mind professor; when we have to take our final for Christian Mind, I won't have to explain to anyone that I couldn't take the test because I was on a field trip to a mental institution.

I also enjoy Old Testament, considering it is one of the few classes in which I have not been penalized for letting my required reading fall behind. Every day my teacher, who is quite possibly the kindest and most amazing man I have ever met, reads something from one book or another for a bit of a devotional; normally it's something written by C.S. Lewis, or from this little wonder called the "All-Better Book". Go look it up on Amazon -- it's so amazing that our entire class misses this little book whenever the teacher reads to us from something else.

However, I have to say that the most interesting class as of yet has been Concepts in PE. True to advertising, this class has more to do with concepts than PE. We write essays instead of running laps or taking hikes on the walking trails on and off the campus. We research and read articles online that scream "Get a life and go exercise!", and then we write a page-long summary about each assigned article. I read my long-winded textbooks for hours, only to learn that thousands of people die every day from a sedetary lifestyle. I don't understand why we are not practicing what is being preached to us, but this is all that the teacher (he is not a professor, and yes, that is significant enough to merit a raised eyebrow) prescribes, and we must, by his orders, make him happy.

Now I feel that I must tell you -nay, warn you- about my PE teacher. He is a lean (trans: skinny) man who is easily over forty, judging by the age in his face; his graying hair is always "styled" (if one can call it styled) to such a wiry and bizarre degree that I've begun to wonder if he sticks his finger in an electric socket every morning on his way out the door; his glasses, if the lenses were put side-by-side, could roughly equal the surface area of a pair of ski goggles; and he always wears the same horrible blue wind-suit because, apparently, someone forgot to tell him that certain highlights of eighties/early nineties fashion was buried in the same cemetery as disco and pet rocks. He preaches to us every day about how TV dinners are going to give us high blood pressure, about the evils of high fructose corn syrup and red dye number four, and about how every soft drink except root beer is going to kill us (it seems that, due to the skyrocketing levels of acid in sodas, our teeth will rot out and we'll choke on a rotted and fallen-out tooth in our sleep). However, his most memorable trait is that he is a very detail-oriented person and expects every other person on campus to be the same. In all honesty, I believe that he does not worry about what his students learn, just as long as they turn in their one inch margin, eleven point Times New Roman font, twelve point Arial Black heading, zero-point-five indented paragraph, left flush, horizontally stapled in the left corner, two to three page papers on time. He gets very upset if these insanely fine details are not followed to the letter. I am convinced that one day a student is finally going to turn in a paper that is exactly opposite of what is required, and it will push him over the edge and he will spontaneously combust. The only things left to prove his existence to future generations of freshmen will be his sneakers, those horrid bug-eye glasses, and a pile of smoldering ashes that smell faintly of Splenda.

Most upperclassman, when told that a freshman has this specific teacher their first semester, have typical responses of either "He's a psycho but he's easy" or "Oh God, really?" I have heard this same man described by my fellow students -mostly by those who have failed, by no fault of their own, to meet every nit-picky requirement for an assignment- as a "lunatic", a "Nazi in a windbreaker", and a "psychotic freak-bag" (though I personally believe calling him this is an insult to the psychotic freak-bag community). I have been so fortunate as to have been spared from his wrath, and even though he has invoked the fury of my peers, he has so far been spared my own. So far.

In as much as I have rambled for the past few paragraphs, I have not even touched the topics of my classmates, my hall, or the random but on occasion hilarious stories that occur from day to day. But that must all be saved for another entry... I think I hear my Psych book reminding me how much reading I've yet to complete before Monday's exam.

Today's Song: either "Let Love Grow" (Paul Coleman Trio) or "In The City" (The Eagles)
Today's Obsessions: Shinedown, The Three Musketeers, Terry Pratchett, MST3K, "Criminal Minds"
Today's Quote: "Wednesdays are like the hangover Tuesday leaves behind."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Family Gatherings

I found this on another blog of mine that I presumed Dead the other day, but I liked this little bit so much that I wanted to save it. Originally published 4/7/06.

Ah, the Fourth of July... one of the three or four times a year when semi-extended family invades my house. Mom is always flustered about getting the house ready, and normally my sister and I grow tired of hearing her shout, "Come BACK, girls!" from down the hall, so we stick near the living room where she can find us.

If Dad's family is coming, Grandmama beats everyone else to our house by twenty minutes or more. She's not a normal grandmother... she's more like the kind of old lady you find in a bar, caterwauling Irish drinking songs with the drunk, burly men and showing them pictures of her grandchildren between shots of tequila. However, as she is a devout Christian, she must vent her eccentric nature through other activities. Like dominoes.

My family loves dominoes, but it's not so much the game that we enjoy. It's the fellowship, the laughter, and the running jokes that begin from off the cuff comments from one Uncle to another. Someone always manages to land in the "Oh, Is It My Turn?" chair, and it's usually Aunt Kathy, Grandmama, or Aunt Karen. Jokes fly, laughter echoes through the house, and everyone generally has a good time. I even manage to have fun when the magaritas come out -- after the drinks are served, I find that I can sit back and gather wonderful blackmail with a smug grin on my face.

The festivities continue on throughout the afternoon, but I often find myself in the TV room watching an old Disney movie or two and, if word got out too far, I would be laughed at. But I don't mind. I even get my own magarita now that I'm (almost) eighteen. Hmm... Disney movies and magaritas. Not exactly the most traditional combination, but it somehow works.

And now, as I finish this post, I can hear that Aunt Kathy is singing (if by singing I mean making a musical attempt) , Grandmama's joking about being pulled over for drunk driving, and from the sounds of Aunt Kathy's song, Dad must've won the dominoes game.

I rather do enjoy family gatherings.

Today's Song: "Baby I Don't Cry Over You" by Billie Holiday
Today's Obsessions: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Alexandre Dumas, iTunes
Today's Quote: "I am such a geek... I know what DNA stands for, but I forget where penguins live!"