An Unfortunate Bend in the Road

I apologize for not posting last week, but I was a little off kilter after receiving some bad news. You see, this week is my spring break, a lovely little vacation from the grind of academia. And this year, I was supposed to be spending my break with my Health Disparities class in Maine. Alas, I am still stuck in Ohio. There’s nothing wrong with Ohio (except the snow and the rain… Thank you, Bowling for Soup, for popping into my head there…). It’s just… I was supposed to be in Maine. And I’m not. Yeah, a huge bummer there.

So here’s why I’m not eating cheap lobster dinners and conducting health research in middle-of-nowhere Lubec, Maine:

I showed up at what I now realize was the FINAL meeting for Maine, thinking it was odd that the information was coming out so last-minute. The meeting was last Thursday, and the group was leaving on Saturday. I sat through the information session, totally psyched with the itinerary that had been handed out– and a free t-shirt– then approached the professor and told her I hadn’t received any emails about the trip and I had weaseled the time and location of this one out of someone else going on the trip. She apologized and said I must have somehow been excluded from the list, and that she would look into it.

Well, that she did. A short while later, she called and asked if I had put down my deposit. I told her no, since I had never received any information about putting one down. Though she couldn’t give me any answers yet, she though that might have been one reason I hadn’t received any emails about the trip. Okay, I thought, no cause for concern, that’s rectifiable and certainly no reason I couldn’t go on the trip. But unfortunately there was more to it.

Back in November, apparently, emails had been sent out about proposals that needed to be approved in order to go to Maine. I didn’t find out about that until Friday last week, when my professor emailed me to tell me I’d never turned one in. A bit confused, I went back through my emails, all of which I’d saved if they had anything to do with the Honors program. But there wasn’t a single one discussing a proposal or a deposit or any minute detail of the Maine trip. I’m pretty sure I heard my heart shattering like glass. That was quite a blow to my morale. And of course, to my plans for break. I hadn’t set anything else up. Thankfully that wasn’t too hard to fix. My family was happy to see me, as were friends.

So I sent her an email that said I’d never receive the other emails, and that I hoped everyone else had a good time. Then I prepared to head home. To combat my crestfallen-ness, I had the prospect of the Tommy D. Invitational bowling tournament to look forward to on Sunday, March 4, and friends to hang out with, and family to catch up with. So it wasn’t a total loss. While I’m still a bit sad that I wasn’t able to go, it was still a decent break. And I caught up on blog posts. Yeah, that’s a good break.

Another plus is that I now have two articles published in the school newspaper. Kinda cool 🙂

Random Tidbit #17

Don’t delete any emails until you are absolutely positive you don’t need them, and keep them neat in folders. It WILL help.

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Posted by on 03/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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I’m BA-ack!

Alright, so it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted here. In my defense, the first week I didn’t post was excruciatingly boring. Nothing was happening. The second week… Well, there’s a bit more to tell there.

First off, my astronomy lab was not just another exercise in measuring distances in space. We were able to use the telescope at the Burrell Memorial Observatory! We looked at a few deep space objects, like open star clusters and a gas cloud in the constellation Orion where new stars are being formed as we speak. A binary star was brought into the lens, which is actually two stars orbiting around each other. Who knew stars had color? You could actually see the difference. We were also able to look at Jupiter and its four largest moons, which looked rather neat. And the full moon looks so cool in a telescope. You can pick out the details of the many craters. We also did some naked-eye observing, pointing out constellations in the night sky.

The other thing that was a big deal was the production of Spring Awakening at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, in conjunction with B-W’s musical theater program. This musical, with its 8 Tony Awards, driving rock beats, and jarring story, was all the more powerful because I had to read the play it’s based on for a class. Frank Wedekind’s original German play, Spring’s Awakening, was a powerful commentary on the sexual repression of 1890s Germany, a repression that lead to so many other problems prior to and throughout the sexual revolution of the 1920s. This commentary translated well into the musical. And what’s more, it’s surprising how many parallels there are between pre-World War I Germany and modern-day America. Disturbing, almost. Regardless, the musical was wonderful, funny, heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking. It was also a tear jerker, as it reminded me how much I miss being up there. I’ll make sure I remedy that in the near future.

This week also had a few items of interest. One, the issue of The Exponent with my first article in it finally hit the shelves. Though edited to match the… not so high standards of the student newspaper, I still have my first byline in a campus publication, which is awesome. The second one should be coming out in the next issue, an article on…

The Burrell Memorial Observatory open house, featuring Ms. Trudy E. Bell, award winning author and historian, with a presentation on “The Great Telescope Race and the Warner and Swasey Company.” The talk was kind of neat, going through the “Victorian Space Race,” as she called it, a competition of sorts between America and Europe to have the biggest and best telescopes. The coolest part is that the W&S company took root in Cleveland and the buildings, though boarded up, still stand on the corner of East 55th and Carnegie today. I guess I’m a bit of a nerd, but I don’t care. I was still fascinated by the info.

Alright, it’s kind of late, and I should probably get some sleep. But I’ll leave you with this Random Tidbit, straight from Trudy E. Bell’s mouth:

Random Tidbit #16:

Think creatively about what you want to end up doing. Don’t slot yourself narrowly. (She was a physics major who wanted to go into astronomy; but she became more interested in the history of science and became a science writer instead. Go figure…)

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Posted by on 02/18/2012 in Uncategorized


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Back in the Swing of Things

Well that didn’t take long. I’m already back in the swing of things, though I’ve tried to keep it less college student-esque (stay up till all hours of the night, sleep till all hours of the day) and more go to bed before one and wake up by nine.

Classes are going well so far. Math is rather boring. I’ve already learned what we’re going over right now, and if I haven’t learned it before, it’s almost laughably easy. I can’t even begin to describe how nice that is. And my astronomy lab, despite the late time slot of nine to eleven at night, is fantastic. Star gazing is actually a part of the class, and we get to use the observatory on campus a few times. I’d say that’s pretty cool.

All my other classes are rather fascinating. To me, anyway. Learning how language as we know it came to be, and how it can and does change, is pretty cool (remember, English major speaking). And this semester in German Modernism, we started off with a great, albeit depressing movie based on a true story, demonstrating how easy it would be to create another Third Reich. Later, we’ll be going to see a musical about Germany just before the first World War (it won 8 out of the 11 Tony Awards it was nominated for, so it’s kind of a big deal). I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Other than that, I can’t say there’s been anything crazy interesting going on. I’ve fallen back into the routine of academia, which is fine with me. After all, the semester did just begin.

Random Tidbit #15

Get yourself into a set schedule (it’ll help when things get crazy).

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Posted by on 01/20/2012 in Uncategorized


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One Down, Fifteen More to Go

Week One of Semester Two is now officially over. I survived my first class-packed Tuesday, four classes in one day between ten in the morning and nine at night– Math, German Modernism part II, Health Disparities and Underserved Populations, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Education. Astronomy is pretty cool so far, even if the lab doesn’t end until eleven at night. But I now know how to find constellations, which is definitely awesome. I can’t wait to use the telescope!

I must say, it was kind of tiring getting back into the swing of things. I don’t care if I get to sleep in, my brain just isn’t used to the whole “thinking all day” thing again. Give it until after the weekend though, I’m sure I’ll be right back on track. I’m definitely excited about this semester, and I’m really going to bring it in all my classes. It’s kind of hard not to when I have four that are only once a week…

There wasn’t anything terribly exciting about the first week back, though some of the classes certainly tested my values, my already-acquired knowledge, and my ability to stay awake (late class with a monotone professor; cut me some slack). Quantitative reasoning tested my knowledge, and this is a shout out to Mr. Marinowski, my awesome pre-calculus teacher who definitely helped me to prepare for college math. But the values… That was definitely an intriguing class period.

In Health Disparities, we did a group activity, a sort of simulation. It dealt with resource distribution, and challenged the entire class to make an extremely difficult decision. We were given five equally qualified candidates for renal dialysis (a machine doing the job of the kidneys), and told that we only had enough resources for four. To put it bluntly, we had to choose who would die. At first we were given only the number, in no particular order, and told to pick a number and explain why. For most, it was random, or in one girl’s case, based on the fact that 5 was the odd number and messed up a pattern. Next we were given the patients’ genders, and told to pick again. The same challenge was posed after finding out marital status, number of kids, and finally their occupation. This is what we had to choose from:

  • 31 year-old single female prostitute with five kids
  • 45 year-old married male Mafia hit man with 3 kids
  • 51 year-old married male Insurance agent with 2 kids; had embezzled thousand from elderly clients
  • 24 year-old single female concert violinist with 0 kids
  • 27 year-old single male; the researcher who had developed renal dialysis

By the end of the list, the class unanimously decided that the easiest way to decide would be just a random lottery. Because who are we to decide whose life is more important? And also, there are so many what ifs that come with each story that it would be impossible to come up with a unanimous vote. But if anyone believes he or she is worthy of deciding, by all means, go right ahead. I’d like to know your answer and your reasoning.

Needless to say, I was slightly depressed after that class. But I’m also looking forward to learning more about issues like lack of resources and finding out how a person could help, if only by raising awareness. Honestly, I’m looking forward to learning about everything I’m taking this semester. It’s definitely going to be an intriguing semester. And I’ll keep you all right in the loop.

Random Tidbit #14:

Take interesting classes! 

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Posted by on 01/13/2012 in Uncategorized


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Alright, here we are. The beginning of a new year, and a new semester. New classes, new books (my favorite part), and a new sense of focus and determination. Same old roommate, which is as far as one can get from bad, and same old suite mates– who aren’t nearly as awesome as my roommate. But the round the clock squealing and 2 a.m. hair drying sessions are nothing new, so I guess I should be used to it and quit complaining. Regardless, I refuse to let anything to keep me from enjoying myself and getting the education I’m paying for.

Right now, I’m just settling in, getting the dorm back in order from the pre-break chaos that occurred in our attempt to keep our dorm in regulation order. Strange how any order can come out of the chaos of moving furniture and piling junk into chairs and onto desks, but we weren’t fined, so something went right. It’s just a matter of making everything else right again– pushing beds back into place, putting clothes away, getting all the plugs back into the electrical sockets, all that sort of stuff. Fun times.

I’ve already picked up most of my books, so that has me pretty psyched. I do love new books, even ones that are only new to me. I’m looking forward to all my classes. And I’m also looking forward to fulfilling my New Year’s Resolution. As stated on Write Up, I plan on writing more, and as well as more regularly. As of right now, I plan to post on here on Yellow Jacket Journey on Fridays, so that way I have some academic interest pieces to write. I’ll try to do it weekly, but depending on schedule and work load, it may turn into an every-other-week kind of thing. Either way, check back regularly so you don’t miss a single update!

I’ll start the Random Tidbits up again in the next post. Later!

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Posted by on 01/08/2012 in Uncategorized


We’ll Return After This Break

My first semester of college is officially over. My finals are finished. Where did the time go?

August seems like it was only a few weeks ago, even though the snow (yes, I’m aware that is a dirty word…) is finally starting to fly. Four months have disappeared, and now I have three glorious weeks of break ahead of me. So what did I learn? Here’s a list to supplement all the other tips.

  • If you’re not a morning person, don’t take a 9 o’clock, 4-day-a-week class (especially one that’s taught in a foreign language).
  • Don’t procrastinate. Something I’ve always had trouble with. It wasn’t too bad this year, but there were some things I wish I had spent more than a day on.
  • Planners are good. Though I did slack off a bit toward the end, I kept up pretty well with my planner, considering I didn’t lose it in the first two weeks. Actually, I still know exactly where it is. And I used it just last week.
  • Don’t get sick. I know this one can be a little hard to avoid, but by all means do your best. And if you can’t avoid it, then get well ASAP.
  • It’s alright to stay up all night talking to your awesome roommate and watching ridiculous, fantastic, and just plain why-did-I-waste-my-time-watching-that music videos. But only do it the night before a 9 o’clock exam if you know you can function on an hour and a half of dozing. I can, which probably isn’t good…
  • And finally, when you haven’t seen someone for a while and you run into them at the Union or coming up the stairs in the dorm, don’t say, “Oh my gosh, I thought you died! I haven’t seen you in forever!” This particularly applies if you live just across the hall from one another. Knock on other people’s doors! It doesn’t hurt to say hi every so often.

So that’s what I learned here at B-W in my first semester. Outside of class, that is. The academic stuff, while informational and intriguing to me, seems a little too boring a subject to post about right now. Especially since I took 8 hours of exams on it this week. Coming up after the break: 5-class Tuesdays, a trip to Maine, and hopefully a lot more socializing on my part.

Random Tidbit #13:

Work hard right up to break. Then RELAX!!

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Posted by on 12/20/2011 in Uncategorized


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It’s One O’Clock! Why Are the Bells Striking Noon?!

That was my train of thought as I rushed to my Intro to Lit class a few weeks ago. I freaked out, thinking I had missed the time change and that I had cheated myself out of an extra hour of sleep and study time. I suppose this is what happens in the microcosm that is a college campus. The real world ceases to exist, aside from outside updates on the web and from national newspapers. Maybe I should start listening to terrestrial radio again as opposed to Pandora…

Anyway, there’s been a ton happening since my last update, both positive and, well, not so positive. I’ll start with the bad news first, and get that out of the way: I had to drop German. It was more out of necessity than anything, though by the end, I wasn’t really enjoying it any more anyway. Getting sick leads to getting behind, and it’s nearly impossible to catch up in a four-day-a-week class with a full schedule. But I’m relieved that I did decide to let it go. Life is less stressful now, and my other classes are back on track. I didn’t need German for my major to begin with.

So now that the bad news is out of the way… I’m scheduled for classes next semester. Astronomy of a Solar System (I wanted Astronomy of Stars, but that filled up before my scheduling time), Study of Language, Health Disparities in Underserved Populations (the one with a trip to Maine), a math class, and the continuation of German Modernism. I’m pretty excited.

I earned an A- on my first literature paper, an analysis of James Joyce’s Dubliners. I was told I wrote an excellent paper on Alice Munro’s short story “Comfort” from her collection titled Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (try typing that ten times fast…),but I have yet to get it back, since he left it at home today. Ah well. He’s 70-ish. I can forgive him. I’m really enjoying this literature class. It’s unfortunate that the professor is retiring. I would have liked to work with him some more.

My brain continues to be challenged by my German Modernism class, in which we are looking at the philosophy of the Weimar Republic– Nietzsche (It took forever to learn how to spell his name…), Schopenhauer, and now Freud, among a few less well-known names. We just finished with literature, reading some short stories that actually incorporated many ideas of the philosophers we’re studying. I’m glad Kelly Coble, the philosophy professor who co-teaches the class with my former German professor, is the one standing at the front of the class now. He’s so knowledgeable and intriguing when he’s on the podium. The best part: It’s right down the hall.

Interpersonal Communication is delightfully informative, and even more delightfully, it’s easy. Watching movies to which we apply the concepts we’re learning is really cool. We’ve even had class at a restaurant, which we will be doing again in the future. It’s definitely a great class to take. And it knocks out both core and major/minor requirements!

My other classes are going alright, nothing spectacular to mention. Except that for my writing class, we have to assist a faculty member here at B-W with a writing project. My friend Heather Biernacki and I are working with the head of the SPROUT program (Single Parents Reaching Out for Unlimited Tomorrows) to develop a newsletter for the program. She’s very excited, because we’re taking it high-tech and creating it as a blog. So that’s a very interesting project, which I can put into my portfolio as a budding journalist. I’m excited about that.

In other news, I’m working on getting involved with The Exponent, our student newspaper. There’s been a lack of communication, and also a lack of stories, but the staff is working on getting me in. Also, the construction of the Richard and Karen Durst Student Welcome Center is under way. Right outside my window. Hasn’t bothered me much though. Just a few loud noises here and there. Nicole, my roommate, isn’t quite as enthused, but she’s dealing surprisingly well. She’s awesome.

B-W did not make the playoffs. A sad day, but I now have Saturdays back. To work. Yay, income! And that is my hectic college life in a nutshell. Now, off to do some homework. Yay, homework…

Random Tidbit #12:

Stay in touch with the outside world!!!

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Posted by on 11/14/2011 in Uncategorized


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