Tag Archives: College

I still have that one entry in draft. Honestly, I think I’m simply afraid to publish it. I’ve scrutinized every sentence looking for fluidity and significance. Each time I proof it I find something else to remove or modify. It’ll come soon.

In comparison to my other entries, this one won’t be as dense. Halfway through my second semester of university, I started to think about things I’ve learned so far. “I got a list, here’s the order of my list that it’s in” ((Eminem – ’till I Collapse)):

  • You don’t know everything. Don’t act like you do. Professors are professors because they’ve wrestled with their respective material longer than you have.
  • It’s not necessarily a chance to start over. If anything, it will challenge you to change. You decide if you will.
  • Hours naturally become precious, but their value is easily dismissed. I’m ashamed at all the time I wasted my first semester.
  • Like time, priorities will naturally become more defined. Therefore, don’t excite excessively — especially over girls or boys. At the university level, I would never suggest putting your social life in front of your education. You are, after all, paying to learn there. ((I don’t mean to diminish the social aspect of college. That’s a vital component; I only mean to emphasize not dismissing your studies.))
  • It’s best to stay level and humble. I thought I could be proud and boast my marks at university, but that’s not true. I succumbed to my pride, and that’s a dirty load I’m still trying to wash.
  • Writing is an essential device for the scholar. You will never escape it.
  • You’re at the level where you wrestle with what the thinkers thought and wrote. It’s intimidating because you might have to wrestle with thoughts outside of your arena, but it’s rewarding when you enter your own. ((An example would be me in my political science class, Justice and Power. I struggle understanding what Plato tried to explain with the city-in-speech, and although Machiavelli was fairly straight forward, I had to squint to see his assertions. In my theology course, however, I devour the opportunity to wrestle St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo? and St. Augustine’s The Confessions.))

Reflection emphasizes conflict; if I had to summarize, I guess I’ve learned the significance of conflict. To me, understanding what I struggle with at college is invaluable. Struggle is a hallmark of life, and I believe that if you understand or know a person’s struggles and how he or she approaches them, you will have tapped into their essence. Perhaps my list has emanated a bit of my essence.

I love chemistry. I had three years of it in high school in anticipation of its challenges. ((1 year general chem, 1 year organic, 1 year AP.)) I think I like it so much because of it’s mathematical nature. I love math too, so it makes sense that I would love chemistry. I also love to take standardized tests. The ACT was hot stuff, and I’m salivating the udders of my salivary glands for the MCAT; they are oozing.

It’s important to know that some of the things we love we aren’t great at. I’m not phenomenal at either math, chemistry, nor standardized tests, but I love them. And if you love something, then you possess enough coal to churn your engine; you’ll have enough drive to succeed.

Last Friday was my first college exam. The content assessed was relatively easy ((Basic concepts, mole concept, and stoichiometry.)), and I didn’t stress over preparing. Then came Thursday night, and with each passing hour my anxiety grew exponentially. I began to second-guess my meager preparation: I don’t know the formulas. I don’t know what the atomic symbol Tl represents. I don’t know more than I should know.

Despite my worries, the exam was thrilling. I worked every problem meticulously because I knew I was so capable of receiving a very near to perfect mark. I was proud of my work, and handed in my exam confidently.

On Sunday I checked my grades, and it read that I scored an 84 on my exam. To borrow from Marvin the Martian, “how very disappointing”. ((I’m not sure if Marvin ever said that, but I can imagine him saying that.)) For real, though! I thought I rocked that exam.

I’ll be attending office hours this week. Firstly, because I’m hoping to see a copy of the exam. Secondly, because I love my chemistry professor. He’s an amiable old fellow, and I hope he doesn’t retire (or pass away) within three years; I want him to write me a LOR.

Time to hike up the pants, not shave for weeks, and sleep on and with my books and lecture notes. An 84 is nowhere near what I know I can achieve, nor is it anywhere near what I want.

I’ve been moved-in for about a week now, and things are just peachy. That is why Princess Peach is here — because things are just so peachy. Originally I was thinking of featuring James and the Giant Peach because that is more masculine than girly Princess Peach, but she caught me eye. That darn key-yootie (cutie)!

There’s really not much to say. College is cool. My floor is cool. The people are cool. Class is awesome. Studying is awesome. Square dancing was awesome, and so was the girl I square danced with. The weekend was cool. I got my PS3 on Friday, but did not bring it to campus. I also purchased a meal plan today so I will be able to eat soon; that’s a good thing. My room mate isn’t coming at all, and I was bummed about that. I suppose, though, that it’s rather nice to have the room to myself.

So that’s all peachy and such, but the best thing happened to me today. I started to drink coffee.

I was at the local Open Pantry ((Open Pantry at Marquette, in my opinion, is the best one-stop shop. I love the Tornados (not the actual storms, but the food.) )) and one of the employees approached me and asked if I’d like to join the free green club. I did, and as an incentive to join I received a free 16 oz. cup of coffee.

Neat, but I never drank coffee regularly, nor did I know how to get my own coffee. I sat down near the coffee machines to think, and I called my mother who promptly picked up and talked with me about life in addition to explaining her style of drinking coffee. I considered her input, finished my Tornado, and proceeded to get my free cup of coffee.

The cup was hard to get out; I had to use two hands. That was strike one. Strike two comes in two parts: 1) I poured cream (creamer?) into my cup first, thinking it was coffee. It was, afterall, called French Vanilla and that sounded like a very tasty flavor of coffee. 2) I spilled the cream (creamer?) everywhere because I tried to use one hand to pour it out. Now strike three was most painful. As I poured the hypercaffeinated coffee into my 16 ounce cup, I smiled absentmindedly thinking about how mature I was becoming. I came back to reality when I felt this warm sensation engulf the top of my right hand. How shocking: Coffee had run over the brim of the cup and was eating my hand.

I have to say, I am proud of myself for not dropping the cup, screaming, or making a huge mess. I just clenched my teeth and crinkled my eyes. Then I ran for napkins. I sipped the coffee and it tasted nasty; I don’t think I will be drinking coffee black for awhile. So I added some of what I now knew was cream (creamer?) into my coffee only to have some more coffee overflow and burn me. Ergo, I was not able to add much of that elusive French Vanilla cream (creamer?).

Distraught, I resorted to adding sugar packets. Two packets, I thought, would do the trick. Afterall, Lorelai never really added sugar or cream (creamer?) to her coffee. ((I have to check on this. Maybe she did. I should know this.)) Two packets was not enough. I added four more, and that was not doing what it was supposed to be doing. So I added two packets of granulated sugar packets because I thought they would be more powerful as opposed to the six packets of pure sugar cane I had added. With eight packets of sugar, the coffee still tasted like coffee. So I grabbed four or five more packets and stuck them in my pocket and jetted out of the shop because adding sugar packets, stirring, and tasting the concotion every few moments made me feel like a foreigner — which I technically was.

In my room I added the rest of the sugar packets, sipped some more coffee, and left for my biology lecture disapointed. After class I came back and enjoyed the rest of my cool 16 oz. cup of coffee. It was a little sweeter. I’m sure that it will taste better tomorrow when I: 1) Don’t add as much coffee as I did today. 2) Add some cream (creamer?) to sweeten the flavor.

I’m looking forward to it. It had better be free coffee everyday. I will be very mad if Open Pantry jipped me.

One more cool thing: My Math 25 Nature of Mathematics class only lasted about 25 minutes. I don’t know whether to celebrate. It was a great 25 minutes, but I imagine how greater it could have been if it was 25+ minutes. I suppose we aren’t supposed to know what-if, right? If we did then that would make reality even more bitter, since it is already somewhat bitter with the option of thinking,as opposed to knowing, what-if. Bitter like black coffee; blech.

Love to you, mynlieffs. ((Mynlieff (main-leaf) is Dutch for “my love”. I added the “s” to make it plural, but I am not sure if that is grammatically correct. It is also the name of my biology professor who is also the mother to one of my friends who I sent a letter to in the snail-mail today. I hope I spelled it right.))

Love the success of being the top score. You’re a gladiator my friend, and every time you enter that lecture hall, you be prepared to get blood on your hands and know how to take a few blows. With your pen as your weapon, never give up. College is all a game in the end. It does not test your knowledge, but your ability to adapt to a system. Kiss ass, but never show brown on your nose. But most importantly, help your fellow student every chance you get, for teaching someone the material means you have mastered it. Good luck.

Man. Have you ever heard college described in a more inspiring manner? That’s exactly how I felt during the summer term before my freshman year in college — like a gladiator. Perhaps this is the more nerdy side of me, but I don’t think so. This is the adult in me finally grasping what I dreamt as a child. This is where I turn my goals into achievements. This is where perfection is no longer a standard, but my norm. I don’t have a potential; I am unlimitedly capable.

We’re all meant for great things. We only differ in when we discover what we will become great at — our life purpose. Starting at Marquette University, I think I’ve merely begun to tap into my greatness. Winston Churchill: History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

I am so ready for college (five days left!). College is a power source. Haven’t you heard? Knowledge is power.

This had to be the second, if not, then at least one of the top five, best thing that happened during the summer. This class sealed and locked my decision to major in theology (along with declaring pre-med). ((In case for those of you not in the know, pre-med is not an actual major — furthermore, pre-meds can declare whatever major they like.)) This class kept me going throughout the summer. It was the coal for my coal engine and the (yet to be produced) hydrogen fuel for my automobile. As motivated as I was during the summer term, imagine how that motivation will encompass the latter three years of my college career. ((I can’t take any more theology courses until I’ve accrued a sophomore standing. Additionally, perhaps I’ll be at Marquette for more than four years? That is doubtful, but I wouldn’t completely throw the idea out with the cat.))

I don’t even know what I want to begin to share. The entire class was phenomenal. Particularly, I probably enjoyed the first half better than the second; even asserting that is a wild claim on my part — I loved the entire class and the contents. It was especially satisfying to have learned in an academic environment about things I had learned and discovered on my own. Drawing from my research paper on the Bible during my senior year, Mr. Oliverio (Mr. O, the professor; more on him later) brought up and taught us topics including the Wellhausen Hypothesis/the Pentateuch, Aquinas’ “Five Ways”, Biblical development, and C.S. Lewis. That seems such a tiny list, and I had to scrape my head for things we learned that I already learned before hand. It was still an awesome class. I incredibly wish I could take another course this fall or spring.

Now Mr. O: I liked him as a professor, and guy. He’s neat. I actually found out during one of my three meetings with him that he attends Metrobrook (I think). Metrobrook is a branch of the church I attend, Elmbrook church. That’s neat in itself. I appreciated him for that fact, but also for the fact that I scored an introductory course with a professor from a more evangelical, but also a definite protestant background. It’s not that I hate Catholics; it’s more that I would have felt more comfortable securing a grip in the basics of Theology from a protestant perspective — something I’m more comfortable with. There is no doubt, though, that I look forward to learning from the Catholic perspective. ((There is also a third level course that surveys the world’s religions. If time allows, I’d like to take that course, but I think the course that would take precedent would be the one regarding Islam. There are so many theology courses I want to take — in fact, I probably wouldn’t mind taking all of them.))

I’m not sure if there is anything else I should elaborate on. Actually, I’m not sure if I know what else I want to elaborate on. The class was in the morning at 8:00. I remember the first few days I woke up around 5:30 AM. That was obviously too early for me, and eventually I slept in until 7:00 as the term carried on. Sometimes I skipped breakfast, but I made it a goal to try and eat and drink something before going to class. Like Fortunate said (paraphrased), “When you study, have little food.”

I’ll finish off with how the readings were; they were awesome. Regardless of their length (save for a few assignments), I devoured every hour spent on the texts. ((I particularly did not enjoy the chapters on sacraments and the Church. It isn’t that I hate those topics. Instead I just feel as if perspectives outside of mine are absurd. I mean that in the nicest and most scholarly way.)) The class allowed me to engage my own Bible more (and even experience my first Catholic mass). ((I’ll make a separate post about that, and I’ll post my paper about it.)) I’m keeping the books I buy for Theology. Knowing that, I want pristine copies. None of this used book stuff. I actually just ordered all of my books today (actually yesterday). That was sort of fun and expensive — more the latter than the former.

Theology rocks. I knew I would love it. I keep reminding myself, though, that I can’t let my relationship with God turn academic. It’s nice that I’m seeing God ((I would have said “Him” here, but then that would be assigning God a gender. We learned about that in class. I’ll just say, it’s not necessarily taboo or bad to call God, “Him”. But to be technically correct and more “liberal”, one should refer to God without any gender specific terms.)) through that perspective, but I can’t make that “lens” the only one I see through.

Logically, I should have started with the actual class, Introduction to Theology, but I consider Fortunate too important to put second. To resolve any confusion, Fortunate is the name of the seminar leader. He is African, or at least I think he is.

The first day we had seminar was interesting. I vividly remember Fortunate introducing himself to us, and, to me, he seemed to paint himself like a divine being. ((Interesting and coincidental because in theology we engage in discourse of a divine being.)) He said, and I paraphrase, that he is all ethnicities, knows all languages, is all of the world’s religions, and is both man and woman. It was freaky, but he said it in such a collective and assertive manner that one felt that if you challenged his claims, he would whip out a manifesto to prove you wrong.

Regardless, I thought he was a very inspiring man. He is an inspiring man. From one question, he could diverge and turn it into a lecture. His knowledge of theology, especially the patriarchs, is so deep. In reflection, I think he seemed more intelligent than he actually is. I don’t mean that he isn’t genius, but I’d like to see him lecture physics or chemistry before I declare him my personal Einstein (or da Vinci for those who do not really think Einstein was brilliant).

Fortunate liked his chalk and his acronyms. He would list off subjects and topics and abbreviate them with a capital letter. And then he would circle the letter to emphasize the point. Then he would box off different subject areas and continue his lecture. It really didn’t make sense, but it did hammer ideas into my head — somehow. You wouldn’t think that his teaching style would work, but if you were paying attention it did something for you.

He started to teach us Greek, but stopped after our class failed at memorizing it. The transliteration from Greek to English was easily learned, but I never received the memo that we had to memorize the Greek script too. Nonetheless, this very brief introduction to Greek sparked my interest for it; instead of German, I’m looking to learn Greek — and maybe Latin.

No matter what, he was always wearing a hat. At first I thought it was because he had a medical problem, and so I was a little scared to ask him if he would take his hat off. He is probably bald.

If it weren’t for the seminar, I don’t think I would have done as well in Theology as I did. The seminar served as reinforcement for what I learned in class that day. I’m hoping that is what the discussion components of any class will serve as too.

In testimony to Fortunate’s teaching style, I never understood how he planned for what he was going to go over in class. Everyday it seemed he started off impromptu. Perhaps he had a plan, but I would believe the fact that he just winged it. He seems the type of guy who could wing a presentation and still look brilliant.

Disparate notes: Fortunate liked his Burger King fries. The Black Eyed Peas, according to Fortunate, are the best band ever. He thoroughly enjoys checkers. He worked at the library (doing his work, not working for the library) for 18 hours straight once.

If I could say only two sentences about the Educational Opportunity Program’s summer program for incoming freshmen, I would say these two things: 1) I was apprehensive about the entire program. 2) In the end, I loved it. And even that is probably understating it.

There is so much I could talk about that it would be overwhelming and idiotic to throw it into one post. Instead, what I’ve decided to do is to make this a sort of series. Since I probably won’t be doing much the next few days (outside of hopefully being able to shadow my family physician, Dr. Olson, and going to an Irish dance class with Kate — but more on those later and as they happen), I’ll write fascinating entries on my experiences. Furthermore, I’ll release them once a day since that would be even more exciting, and I actually have the convenient feature to do that on WordPress.

Let’s start. When I first heard about EOP and even up until the summer program started, I was apprehensive about joining. When I wasn’t apprehensive, I felt ridiculous. They made the program sound so intense, and perhaps it was to some, but I found it flamingly enjoyable. ((That is probably just me as a person though. For as much as others may have loved the summer program for the social aspect, I loved it for the social and educational aspects.)) The summer program was scheduled to last about five weeks. Knowing that, I knew it would be deadly if I didn’t have fun, but also that it would be superb if I did have fun. And I did have fun. I hope everyone there did.

The experience was somewhat awkward at first. I literally did not know anyone, and there were groups and couples who knew each other and sort of clinged to their status quo. I don’t blame them, but I think I would have approached this social situation differently had I had a friend there with me initially. I made lots of solid friends though, and I hope I will be able to see each of them again in the fall. I actually met one of my peers back from Fairview Elementary. That was awesome. She, Tanja, was from Serbia and immigrated during the war over there. I didn’t recognize her at all, nor did I have the foggiest that I knew her. The funny thing is that we realized we were classmates when I wore my Fairview tshirt. I know: Dang, that thing still fits me.

The EOP faculty are a communal bunch. I especially love the “southern/sitcom-black-family”-ness. It’s so charismatic. There’s an example I could share, but it’s not explanatory through text. If I had a video, I’d show you, but I don’t. That’s another thing: I don’t have any photos — absurd. I should look into investing in a digital camera. . . or hijacking my sister’s.

I think the rest of what I want to reflect on is too specific to elaborate on in a general post. Here’s a sampler of what is to come though: Fortunate and the Introduction to Theology Seminar, Introduction to Theology, Chemistry and Biology EOP courses, TTC, Studying, Chilling and Killing Time, Deep Dorm Discussions, EOP Scheduled Activities, Weekends, and possibly Dining. I’ll just run through my thoughts and memories from those events. They’ll be delicious, I promise — like a Loaded Steakhouse Burger from Burger King with fries. ((Burger King fries are a reference to Fortunate and the Intro to Theo Seminar.)) Oh, now I want one.

Also one technical note: I import these entries to Facebook. I’m not sure if the footnotes are going to work properly. If they don’t, you will see double parantheses. Those indicate that they are my footnotes. They look nice on my website. Check it out.

I made the exodus to WordPress. It’s pretty sweet. I’ll be working on this a lot more because I arrived at home from the summer term yesterday. . .

which was also my sister’s birthday. She didn’t want to do anything with me, so I didn’t. I gave her the best awkward hug though. It was more of me laying on top of her though.

It’s good to be back — in terms of journaling and at home. I can’t wait to go back in three weeks though. My college career is going to be phenom, and so fast; I can feel it.