Hey all. I’m about to enter my final week of college. It’s a jam-packed time full of parties, classes, senior events and excessive use of clichés (think: “This is the best time of your life”). As all of us seniors prepare to conclude our time at Bates, one of the last things on our minds is the the future of our college. Most of us are focusing on our own futures and on making the most of our last week as undergraduate students. There’s nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, that’s what we all should be doing. At the same time, however, I think it’s important to take a little time to look back at our time at Bates and evaluate our experiences.
While my experience at Bates has been largely positive, I know that Bates is far from perfect. In my four-year experience, it became clear that the college was lacking certain resources. Thankfully, a group of senior students, along with professors and several members of the administration, have helped propel the college forward with the creation of a fantastic new Campus Support website. The website is the result of a list of demands presented to the administration by a group of students who care deeply for Bates and want it to be on par with other NESCAC schools. Without this student-initiated push and the tireless work of these individuals, this website would not have been created.
The website compiles, for the first time, Bates’ detailed policy approaches on a host of issues, such as sexual assault and hate crimes. The website also lists both on-campus and off-campus resources for victims/survivors of crimes, as well as other important information regarding college support, security resources and how to stay safe on campus.
It’s out of a love for our school and a commitment to making our college a better place that we constantly reevaluate our time here and try to improve Bates for the incoming classes. I’m proud to know that many students were willing to step up to the plate and improve a place that has given us so much. There is more that has to be done, a lot more in fact, to ensure that Bates is an even safer and more accepting place, but I believe that Bates has taken several crucial steps forward and is now on the right path to the future.
Hey all. School has been as busy as ever but I’ve been enjoying myself. There have been more papers for my ‘Age of Independence’ Latin American history class as well as for my ‘Fiction in the U.S.’ English class. My thesis on race relations and social hierarchy in colonial New York City continues to move along (slowly but surely) and my Spanish class, though a lot of work, has been a true learning experience as of late. The class focuses on the formation of national identity in the Caribbean, specifically in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Using poems, novels and other pieces of literature as lenses, we examine how race, catholicism and african spirituality affect the national discourse in each nation we study. The class has been a lot of work – papers, tests, oral presentations, preparations for a final project – but the material typically keeps me engaged enough to distract me from the difficulty of the work… it’s an ideal college class – both challenging and thought-provoking.
In between classes and work, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to the job search, which, unlike the hunt for the perfect college, is a lot more open-ended and intimidating. I’m looking at it as another new experience and embracing it, which has made the search more fun than stressful. There’s also been time for IM Ice hockey. The team I play on won the IM Championship last week, capping off a successful run of two championships in three years. Bragging rights are the ultimate prize, but the free t-shirt all champions receive is a nice perk.
Working on the school newspaper, relaxing at my yoga class and taking the occasional trip off campus for a meal away from commons take up the rest of my time during the week. As I write this, in fact, it’s approaching 2 a.m. and I am in the newsroom finishing up the sports section for tomorrow’s issue. Time to get back to work! Until next time…
Hey all. It’s now been more than a month since returning home after nearly half a year studying abroad and traveling around Europe, and I’ve found that readjusting back to life stateside has been a journey in itself.
Before heading home, I heard plenty of people talk about post-abroad life. There were the tales of ‘post-abroad depression’, what many described as the nearly unavoidable letdown of returning to a less exhilarating life at home. The stories of culture shock and longing for the friends and life you had formed in a new country were also common. While abroad, I listened to these stories but I didn’t really absorb them. I’ve never been one to jump ahead and I figured I’d “deal” with it all when I got back home.
When I did get home, I didn’t know what to expect. To some extent, I still don’t. I haven’t fully gone through the post-abroad life phase, if such a thing exists. I haven’t had a huge letdown, nor felt the immense joy of being home. I have neither longed for a return to my “new home” (I always recognized I was a visiter there) nor fully embraced life back in the sphere I know so well.
I guess it’s an ongoing process. I know I gained a lot from being abroad, but I don’t think I’ve fully grasped how to process the personal growth and newfound appreciation and understanding the experience has provided me with. Hopefully, that will come with time and more reflection.
For now I’m just happy to be back with my family, living in a country where I fully understand the dominant language, and sleeping in my own bed. Oh, and my mom’s home cooking is pretty nice, too.
Until next time…