The first official day of spring is less than two weeks away, although if you just looked at the weather forecast of our “winter,” you would have thought that spring came several weeks ago. With spring comes: (a) warmer weather, (b) longer days, (c) pollen, (d) pollen allergies, and (e) sponsor selection. Like most other experiences that I’ve had as a sponsor, watching some of my sponsees go through the selection process provides an interesting self-reflective opportunity to look back on the year-long period between when I was chosen to be a sponsor and the not-so-far-away end of my time in this position.
When I was looking at colleges, I procrastinated for hours browsing the incredible variety of classes I would soon be able to take. After I was admitted to Pomona, I went through their entire catalog and made a list of every class I was interested in (I won’t tell you how long it was; suffice it to say it was more than three times the number I could ever take). So when I had some extra time last semester, I figured that taking five classes during second semester would be doable and fun, and allow me to cram in another one of the awesome classes I’d been drooling over.
My academic life this semester. Credit goes to the wonderful ASPC schedule builder: http://aspc.pomona.edu/courses/schedule/
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Well, I haven’t changed my mind about that, but this semester has certainly been an interesting experience thus far.
Rainy days make it impossible for me to resist nesting in my room.
Because I’ve lived all my life in Southern California, where life moves quickly in perpetual forward motion, rainy days feel like free passes to me. Waking up on a day where the sky is gray and the air feels slow and thick with rain makes me feel like everything that was so important yesterday can wait to be accomplished when the sun comes out again. On rainy days, all I want is to snuggle up in a cocoon of blankets and listen to the rhythm of the water on the pavement. And—of course—I want to read.
One of the best things about weekend rainy days, for me, is that I have an excuse to get my English reading for the week done. Sure, I could be doing more important things, like homework for classes I actually have on Mondays, but I’ll take annotating a novel over music dictation any day. I’m working through 500 pages of Dickens’s Dombey and Son (for my Victorian literature class) when it suddenly hits me: I love doing this. I have friends majoring in Chemistry or Computer Science who would rather have a root canal than have to finish a 62-chapter novel in a month, but I can’t imagine what that feeling is like. English is my passion. Continue reading
What’s in a name? A lot apparently if you’re a crayfish. These feisty crustaceans also go by the names of ‘crawfish’, ‘crawdad’, and ‘crawdab’ depending on what part of the country you live in, three fairly similar names, but they can additionally be known by the names of ‘shawgashee,’ ‘yabby / yabbie,’ and ‘koura.’ In fact, this paper from the Smithsonian Institute, published in 1994, alleges that there are a whopping 1,474 names for freshwater crayfish around the world. I suspect this does not include one particularly popular synonym that we often use in America: “dinner.”
The crayfish that most people are familiar with. (source: Wikipedia)
Most people find crayfish relatively uninteresting as pets. In fact, most people find them relatively uninteresting in general. If you are keeping one as a pet, you’ll quickly find them to be belligerent, rampantly destructive, and moody. If you’re not keeping one as a pet, you’ll quickly find that eating them is kind of like eating a lobster, but less rewarding in the “meat : amount of work to get the meat” ratio. This is probably why lobsters are considered high-class cuisine while crayfish are just a quick snack. If you’re neither keeping them as pets nor eating them (which probably means you’re trying to catch one or to use one to catch something else), you’re probably finding out that they can pinch really hard. This is not exactly an endearing trait to most people.
When I first wrote for this blog during Fall 2012, I did so remotely while studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. This year, I’ve returned to the office that made it all happen—this time, to work! I’m currently serving my second semester behind the student desk at the Office of Study Abroad, and it has only solidified how much I’ve valued my time in Scotland. For those who might consider traveling while at Pomona, I’ve compiled a list of school-specific bonuses that make the pursuit rewarding and easy to navigate.
1) Pomona offers a very wide range of countries in which you might study (31)! This includes countries from every single continent (excluding Antarctica). This year, many of my sponsees have gone abroad, and the diversity of their locations speak to the number of options that are available to Pomona students: they’ve spread to Israel, Hong Kong, Scotland, England, Spain, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Australia!
One of my side trips in Scotland to the Northern Highlands!
Yesterday, I discovered two wonderful things: Sunshine and grass. Yes, I know: How could I not have already discovered these things, considering 1. I’ve been going to school in SoCal since August, and 2. I’m from Miami, Florida?! Well, the answer to the second one is that it’s actually not very sunny in Miami (ironically), and since the humidity means we have a lot of mosquitoes buzzing around, I don’t spend very much time on the grass. However, I’ve noticed that the one nice thing about having a drought here is that we get beautiful weather. It’s not sweltering outside, and the drought means no clouds and thus plenty of blue sky. It had never occurred to me to sit down on a patch of grass and soak in the sunshine until yesterday.
This weekend, while my peers sleep in late and bask in the sun, I will be representing a client.
Ms. Bowman has been accused of helping her friend rob an amusement park. Of course, as I will argue to the jury during my closing arguments, she is innocent of these charges. My co-counsel and I will defend her by calling witnesses to the stand, and cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses to show the weaknesses in their testimony. Then, it’s up for the jury to decide.
This is not some kind of Mike Ross situation. If you don’t know that name WATCH SUITS. No, it’s something much cooler: the world of Pomona College Mock Trial.
At the beginning of each school year, the American Mock Trial Association sends out a case to all of the college mock trial programs, including Pomona. Their packet is no joke: about 150 pages of stipulations, case laws, affidavits, and exhibits. All AMTA cases take place in the imaginary state of Midlands, which appears to be vaguely near Ohio but also has a marina? We don’t question it too much. Instead, we learn all the facts of the case. We make up characters for the witnesses in the case. The bartender can be a boisterous Irishman! The defendant should be a proper lady from Louisiana! We develop case theories, different ways of arguing the facts as they stand. We write our examinations and statements. And then, we practice them. Practice them, practice them, and practice them, all throughout the year.
NOIDFHNSDASOIJ!!!!! says my face
Pomona often boasts its small class sizes, but rarely advertises the pinnacle ratio of student-professor exposure: the tutorial. There are a number of tutorials offered each semester (along with independent studies, which sometimes follow a similar format), all of which promote oft treasured and sometimes-dreaded one-on-one time. I took a one-on-one tutorial in Spring 2013 about philosophy of language, and I’m currently enrolled in another about ancient philosophy of mind.
The tutorial system originated from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, where these intimate meetings were conducted on a weekly basis. Even early on, it was noted to be an effective process in the “teaching of the seven liberal arts (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Music, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy); the three philosophies (Moral, Metaphysical and Natural); and the two tongues (Greek and Hebrew).” The tutorial system is still active at Oxford and Cambridge, and universities and colleges across the world have adopted it as well.
A week ago, I took a trip to Chinatown with the 5C Asian American Advisory Board. I was really excited to finally visit the famous Chinatown with some of my friends. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be what I was expecting…
Okay, I admit it: I’m one of those people who thought Chinatown was just going to be, well, Chinese. After all, if there’s a Koreatown and a Little Tokyo, what’s to differentiate them all other than the nationality of the town? When I arrived at Chinatown, that misconception was the first one that greeted me, because the first thing I saw was an Indonesian restaurant. That struck me because I wasn’t expecting to find any traces of my own culture or upbringing in Chinatown at all, and yet, that Indonesian restaurant was just the first sign that Chinatown was a little closer to me than I had originally thought.