Academic Life at Bates…

Hey all. As I write this, I’m sitting on my couch under a blanket in my pajamas. It’s February break and I’m back in New York relaxing, enjoying my mom’s home cooking and catching up on some much needed rest. Sweatpants, slippers and sweatshirts have been the clothing of choice for the past few days: I call it the “SSS” collection, perfect for when you want to be as comfortable as possible. Still, while I eat homestyle food and ponder trademarking an “SSS” clothing line from the comforts of my couch, I have to focus on a lot of academic work.

Due the first monday of break was the second chapter of my senior thesis. It was only a draft, but completing it meant countless hours of researching, note-taking, working on proper citations and of course, writing. I spent much of the first weekend of break writing up chapter two while doing some extensive editing. I love the topic for my thesis. I’m focusing on race and class relations in colonial New York City through the lens of a slave uprising known as the New York Conspiracy of 1741. It’s essentially an in-depth research paper, which will ultimately be about 50 pages or perhaps even more. It’s a daunting project to work on in just one semester, but taking it little-by-little makes the process easier. I try not to get too stressed about it because, well, how many times in your life to you get the chance to complete a comprehensive study on a topic of your choosing?

Stack of thesis books:

In addition to thesis, I have several papers due the week I get back. For my Age of Independence in Latin America class I need to write a paper about the second set of wars for independence in Latin America. Between 1808-1826, most of Latin America became independent, one way or another, from Spain. My paper is focusing on some of the factors (both external and internal) that led to the creation of new nations as well as on the ideological differences between the wars for independence and the earlier set of revolts, rebellions and uprisings that didn’t ultimately lead to independence. As a history nerd, I’m enjoying writing this paper.

For my English class, Fiction in the U.S., I have to find a peer-review critical essay that focuses on a piece of literature (novel or short story) that we’ve read in class. In a short paper, I need to summarize the essay, while also using my knowledge of the material to critically analyze the peer-reviewed work. This paper isn’t due for a week, but I think I am going to focus on James Baldwin’s, “Sonny’s Blues.” It’s a fantastic short story. Read “Sonny’s Blues” here if you’re interested in checking it out.

For my Spanish class, Spanish Caribbean Literature, I am writing a paper based on a documentary on Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. In the paper, I’m analyzing how the documentary presents Castro as an individual hero of the public. Castro is a deeply complicated man, both intelligent and ruthless. I’m excited to be writing about this topic, though the fact that it has to be written entirely in Spanish does make it extra time-consuming.

On top of this academic work, I’m in the midst of an intense job search. I’m casting a wide net and keeping my options open. I was accepted to interviews for two separate jobs yesterday. This is exciting, but it also requires a lot more preparation as well as logistical planning (both positions require extensive traveling). In the meantime, I’m continuing to look for more positions!

So, while I continue to sport the “SSS” collection, there is plenty to do. Until next time, it’s back to work!


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Bates Arts Crawl

Hey all. I wanted to let you all know about a great new event that Bates started that will hopefully become an annual tradition: The Bates Arts Crawl.

The Bates Arts Crawl was actually more a series of events rather than one lone function. The Arts Crawl consisted of a number of dances, poetry readings, musical performances, presentations, exhibits and concerts that displayed all that Bates has to offer in terms of the arts. Students, faculty and staff roamed or ‘crawled’ from building to building, finding different performances, presentations and exhibits at each location. Those who participated in the Arts Crawl could pick up a map at Commons (the dining hall) or at any of the three main venues. This map listed all the important information about the crawl, including times and places for each event.

The Arts Crawl was not just confined to the indoors. Snow sculptures, students reciting poetry in trees, and mini-acapella concerts were just part of the outdoor experience. Appetizers and drinks were served up at three separate locations for those who wanted a bite to eat after traversing the campus during the event.

The Bates Arts Crawl lasted two hours and was very well-attended. Hopefully it becomes an annual tradition. The events came on the heals of Bates’ first ever Arts Summit, so it seems that the arts scene on campus is getting larger by the day.

Click here to check out the custom map from Bates’ first Arts Crawl. Read more about it here.

Until next time…

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Winter Carnival!

Hey all. This past week, Batesies celebrated Winter Carnival. Winter Carnival is more-or-less a week-long extravaganza that celebrates the awesomeness of winter. There are indoor and outdoor events throughout the week as Bates students, faculty and staff come together to unite in our love of the cold and snowy weather.

The events this year included laser tag, family fun and inflatables (jumping around in a moon bounce is still fun when you are 22-years old), big prize bingo (prizes included an ipad, ihome, digital camera, etc.), performances from the school a capella groups, a free concert from up-and-coming rapper Tayyib Ali, a late night breakfast (who doesn’t love pancakes, bacon and eggs at midnight on a cold night?), a 90s dance and, of course, the infamous Bates Puddle Jump (a hole is cut in the thick ice of the campus lake and Batesies jump into the freezing water).

I went to almost all of the events this year. I figured it was my last chance to experience a Bates Winter Carnival and I had to make the most of it. I did not partake in the Puddle Jump this year as I did sophomore year. I figured once was enough.

Check out this video of the puddle jump from last year:

The Lewiston Sun Journal, the local newspaper, also covered this year’s Puddle Jump. Read about it, see pictures and watch a video here.

Here’s a video of Tayyib Ali, the rapper who came to Bates. His concert was a lot of fun. He’s only 18-years old, but he sure knew how to get a college campus rocking:

Finally, here are some photos of me and my friends skating on the lake a few days before the Puddle Jump:

No one celebrates winter quite like Bates students. Until next time…

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Bates in the news…

Hey all. Bates was recently featured in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education for the college’s use of “swing deans.” Carmita L. McCoy and Michael M. Martinez, the two Bates deans who participate in the program, act as “swing deans” by swapping positions each year. Ms. McCoy and Mr. Martinez transition between associate dean for multicultural enrollment and associate dean for student transition. Trading jobs annually allows these deans to follow each new class of students through recruitment, admissions and the students’ first year of college. Read The Chronicle of Higher Education article here.

The “swing dean” concept fits perfectly with the ideals of the college and I think it’s a great that Bates tries to foster a relationship between dean and student that continues after the admissions process. Click this link to learn more about the “swing deans” at Bates.

Other than pictures of the deans, I couldn’t think of an appropriate way to illustrate this blog. That’s why I decided to go with the far more entertaining picture of swing dancers. Get it? Swing dance… swing dean? Alright, time to end this blog post. Until next time…


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Cats, blizzards and winter break…

Hey all. Happy New Year! Break is quickly coming to an end, so I’m trying to take lessons from my cat (see above) on the proper ways to catch up on rest. She doesn’t give a lot of verbal clues, mostly leading by example, but her dedication to napping anytime and anywhere for extended periods of time is truly inspiring.

In all seriousness, I definitely have a busy semester ahead of me and am hoping that this restful break will provide me with the energy I need to start the final chapter of my Bates career off right. The weather has certainly given me a good excuse to stay indoors and rest up. Last week, I hunkered down like many East Coast folks when the so-called “Holiday Blizzard” dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on NY. You can’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the storm from these pictures but hopefully they give you some idea of the epic winter blast:










Besides catching up on rest, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy this break. Family gatherings, meeting up with friends, thesis research, and volunteer work have all kept my schedule full. One more week and it’s back up to Bates. I’m looking forward to it. Until next time… Happy New Year to you all!

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Study cove and gingerbread!

Hey all. Finals ended about a week ago and I think they went pretty well. I didn’t get a ton of sleep during the week of exams and papers (not surprisingly), but I got all my work in on time and studied hard. I’m hoping the hard work paid off, and now I’m back in NY to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family.

I don’t have any extensive plans for the vacation, but I’m looking forward to relaxing at home and catching up on a bit of sleep. It’s hard to imagine that this is my last winter vacation as a Bates student. If grad school is in my future than this may not be my final holiday break, but for now I’m approaching it as my last long college vacation. Besides relaxing and spending time with family and friends I do need to start doing some research and reading for my senior thesis as well as continue the job search. Tomorrow is Christmas so I think I’ll give myself a break until then.

As promised, I did take a picture of my study cove from final exam week. It doesn’t look as crazy this year because I didn’t have a single spot that I stayed in throughout the week. I cycled between several locations to keep the mind fresh and the inspiration flowing. The picture below is from a night I spend studying in the Ronj:

I also took the time (as always) to make a gingerbread house with friends. The structure was pre-assembled, but we decorated all on our own. I hope you enjoy the picture. Until next time… Happy Holidays!

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A break from Commons

Hey all. As delicious as the food is at Commons, sometimes it is nice to take a break and grab a meal with friends. If you have a soft spot for Italian food as I do, I recommend Davinci’s Eatery. Davinci’s is only a few minutes from campus and has a friendly staff, a warm atmosphere, reasonable prices and, of course, delicious food. If you are ever in the Lewiston area, it’s the place to go for a good meal. There are plenty of other options if Italian food doesn’t float your boat. For Indian food, Mother India is the place to go. It’s also quite close to the Bates campus and is truly tasty. The Lewiston/Auburn area is full of food options, so check out the Bates local restaurant guide if you want to learn more.

Sometimes, even though there is an array of local options, it’s nice to seek comfort in some home-cooked food. Last week, some friends of mine (Caroline and Diane) made some pumpkin curry soup and home-made french fries. Carrots, celery and fresh bread were also served. The meal was excellent and the company even better. Check out the pictures of the meal below. Until next time, it’s back to studying!

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