Here I Am and Where I’ve Been

Now that I’ve been back on campus for just around a month, I think it’s time for me to get back into this blog. I’ve been putting it off for a while now, mostly because I don’t know what to write, but it’s a lazy Thursday, and I’m relaxing by the fire in the Pit, so I decided that now is as good a time as ever.

So. Back at Wooster. Where to begin?

I guess the best method would be to do a sort of “highlights reel,” to bring you up to date on what has been happening in my life since I last blogged. So let’s start with that.

First of all, there were those six months that I spent abroad. You can read about them on my abroad blog, and I could write about them for days, but that’s not the point of this blog, so I’ll just touch on them ever so briefly. My experience in Paraguay was incredible. I was working for an organization called Amigos de las Américas, and just as my two previous summers with them have been eye-opening and life-changing, so was this one. I think it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was undoubtedly the best summer of my life, and it ranks among the very best experiences of my life.

My volunteers, the eight crazy kids that I spent my summer supervising. They taught me so much, and I'm incredibly proud of each and every one of them!

My volunteers, the eight crazy kids that I spent my summer supervising. They taught me so much, and I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them!

Then there was Chile. Heading straight from Paraguay to Chile (essentially – I did stop back in the States for a few days to pick up my visa and swap out my wardrobe) was a decision that I gave a lot of thought, because such a quick transition can be rough, but in the end I decided that it would just be easiest to cram all of my time abroad into one window so as to only deal with reverse culture shock once, and also because I wanted to be on campus in the spring for various events, including I.S. Monday and graduation, due to how many of my friends are seniors and will be graduating.

Though I stand by my decision and 100% sure that it ended up being the best choice for me, I have to admit that, at first, it made things a little bit more difficult. Transitioning from living in rural Paraguay to metropolitan Santiago was a bit of a shock, and when you factor in the weird Chilean Spanish, let’s just say that I was met with some stumbling blocks during my first few weeks in Chile. Ultimately, though, it ended up really well. It was nothing like what I expected, and I truly believe that that made the experience all the more valuable. I learned a lot about Chile, education, and myself, and I got to see a different side of Latin America than that to which I had already been exposed.

One of those sides included a delicious Chilean drink known as mote con huesillo -

One of those “sides of Latin America” included a delicious Chilean drink known as mote con huesillo, sold out of metal carts such as this one.

Which brings me back to Wooster. Within days of rolling back into campus, I had set up a meeting with the chair of the Latin American Studies department in hopes of declaring a LAST minor. Although I am waiting on my abroad transcripts to come through before I do so, I’m looking forward to adding a new layer to my course work, on top of the COMM and Spanish sides that I already enjoy so much.

Speaking of COMM, this semester is an exciting time for me and my major, because I have started my Junior I.S.! The way that the COMM department does it, it is very much in my interest to stick with the same topic for Junior and Senior I.S., because we essentially start on our I.S. this semester. This just means, though, that choosing my topic was extra stressful, because I wanted to make sure it was something that I really wanted to study for the next three semesters. I actually ended up changing it after deciding on it, and I am currently in the process of tweaking it, but what’s new? I have this habit of finding general topic areas, selecting and re-selecting topics within that area, and continually whittling them into what ends up being the perfect one for me, so I’m not concerned. Right now, I’m looking at (three specific) voluntoursim organizations’ rhetoric on their websites. It’s a bit more involved than that, but that’s the general gist that I’m working on refining.

Beyond Junior I.S., I’m taking Argumentation and Persuasion in the COMM department, which I am really enjoying. It’s sort of refreshing to actually look at argument through different frameworks and explanations instead of just analyzing it on a surface level. I’m also in Structure of Modern Spanish – basically a linguistics course taught in Spanish about Spanish AKA the best – and Modern Latin America, which is a history class that is also hopefully the jumpstart to that LAST minor I mentioned!

All in all, it’s a nice class schedule, filled with topics that I like and good professors. It gets a bit tiring, because I have all of my classes MWF, with one hour gaps in between (AKA class at 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00), but it means that my Tuesday/Thursdays are GLORIOUS. I’ve been making good use of them to catch up on sleep and work, so I suppose I can’t complain.

Other interesting updates in my life include the initiation of a new Pledge Class for Theta – yay!

PC14!

PC14!
Photo by the illustrious Kaitlin Starr!

They’re all lovely, beautiful souls whom I am beyond excited to get to know further in the coming years. I seriously have never met a more collectively chipper group of girls.

There are a few other exciting things going on in my life – potential conference paper edits, Fulbright apps, and excitement for my summer job, to name a few – but the longer I put off finishing this post, the less likely I am to actually post it and the longer I will delay my return to the blogsphere. Whether that would actually be a cause for concern is another matter entirely,  but for now I’m going to end this post here, signing off and sending my warmest regards to any potential readers.

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Study Abroad Blog!

Hello, all!

I know I said I’d post this link when I created my study abroad blog, but it was boring then and had no content. Now it has a few entries about my summer, and things are about to pick up, as I leave for Chile on Monday!

If you’re interested in hearing about my life abroad, or if you just can’t live without my sporadic inane ramblings, feel free to tune in to carolinadelsur.wordpress.com, where I’ll be chronicling my adventures.

Otherwise, I’ll come back to this blog in January, when I return to the Woo.

Here’s hoping you all have marvelous fall semesters!

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2012-2013 in pictures

It is worth noting that this is just a small glimpse at this year, but it’s the best I could do in a limited space. They are also not in chronological order. Sorry!

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I’ll Be Back: Thoughts on Leaving

The last few days have been a whirlwind of paper-writing, packing, and tearful goodbyes. I am writing this from the front seat of my car: my little brother and I are currently 700-something miles into a cross-country trek back to Texas, although by the time I post this, I will likely already be home, as I doubt I’ll have internet access before then.

Still, I have a lot of time to reflect during my stints in the passenger seat, and it seemed appropriate that I write one last blog post to wrap up the year before I drop off the face of the earth until January 2014. (Oh, and on a more logistical note, if you actually read this blog regularly – or as regularly as is possible with my posting schedule – you should note that I won’t be posting here while I’m abroad. I’ll be running an abroad blog, though, so I’ll put the link up here when that’s created.)

This year was intense. It was intense in every way: intense workload, intense stress, intense emotions, intense experiences. I don’t mean to say that it was bad – I felt intensely happy for huge chunks of it. But everything about it was powerful.

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A COMMendation

Last night, a friend stopped by my room to ask me if I had read an article for class yet – I hadn’t – and if I understood it. I couldn’t help her, but we started talking anyway, chatting about our upcoming final paper for the class. We are writing some sort of rhetorical criticism of a message: they will be roughly 20 pages long. She is doing a narrative analysis, and I am doing a postcolonial critique.

From paper topics, the conversation drifted into the realm of I.S. We gushed over one professor, discussing how much we wanted to have her as our I.S. advisor. We chatted about different topics that we are considering, and she laughed at me about my enthusiasm over postcolonial criticism. I probably said, “Postcolonial is my jam!” at least three times, and I grew ebullient and effusive as I explained the different ideas I had had.

It was lovely. My roommate came back at one point and chuckled slightly at our bubbling COMM major gossip. We discussed different professors and what we liked about them, the classes that we wanted to take, and our academic plans for the next two years.

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On Going Greek as a Geek

I am from Texas, a huge southern state where Greek life has a certain impression attached to it. It is a land of national organizations, formal rush periods, and high heels and pearls. I can only imagine that this is why, when I mention that I am in a sorority, people back home tend to react in a confused way: because I am not the stereotypical sorority girl. The only pearls I own are plastic, and I get excited over rhetorical criticism. I don’t know how to curl my hair – nor do I have enough hair to curl – and I am bemused at the prospect of finding a date for semi-formal.

Still, I am a sorority girl. It’s not something I planned, or even wanted, but it’s something that happened, and I couldn’t be happier. I wear my letters with pride – and almost constantly – because I love that I am affiliated with such an incredible group of girls.

I didn’t always have this attitude. In fact, up until my arrival on campus, I was a Greek nay-sayer as much as some of the people who now judge me for the lavaliere around my neck. I saw the whole system as unnecessary, and I knew that I would never want to be a part of it.

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Spring is sprung!

It has been a long time since I last posted here. In fact, the seasons have changed, and my life has progressed quite a bit.

Looking back (even though we still have about a month left), I am realizing that this semester has been a challenging one, but also a great one. My classes have made me really work hard, but I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also grown socially – I’ve found my niche both with Theta and my other friends here on campus. I’m starting to figure out where I think I’m heading with my life, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.

As the semester winds down, there’s both a lot to do and a lot to look forward to. I need to get all of my ducks in a row for study abroad, prepare for my job this summer, and keep studying/working so that I finish strong in my classes. I’ve also got work and Theta things that keep me busy most weekends, as well as spending as much time with my friends before I leave them for a semester. Still, it’s all good fun, and I’m looking forward to semi-formal, to my final paper in Rhetorical Criticism, and to a wonderful summer and fantastic fall semester, inter alia.

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Better late than never?

The question mark is there because I am hesitant about the validity of this statement as it pertains to blog posts. Regardless of this platitude’s accuracy, however, I am making my unceremonious return to the blogging world for the spring semester, and I’m only a month late!

There are a couple of weak excuses that I could make for my tardiness in posting (I was pledging; there has been a lot of work; I like to sleep…), but I think I will refrain for now and jump straight in. (And I’ll add a “read more,” as this is shaping up to be quite the lengthy post.) Continue reading

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Home for the Holidays

Well, it’s been a great semester. I apologize for my lack of posts between November and now – things got crazy right before Thanksgiving and didn’t stop being crazy until now, one hour before I’m headed home for break.

I guess, then, I should use this post to reflect on my semester. It’s been a good one.

I think I appreciated this place so much more after being away for a semester. I’ve made some wonderful new friends and strengthened my old relationships. I’ve taken some fantastic classes with some stupendous professors. I’ve learned a lot, gotten a job, and had many new experiences.

I’m sorry if this isn’t terribly detailed- maybe I’ll write a better post in the airport or when I get home tomorrow. Right now, though, I’m just overcome with equal doses of sentimentality and excitement. I am glad for this semester even if everything hasn’t gone the way I thought it would. I’m looking forward to next semester: I’ll be taking a full course load (finally!), really getting my major underway, pledging a sorority, and trying all sorts of new things. It should be a great experience.

That’s all I’ve got for now, mostly because I have to anxiously check back over my suitcase four or five more times to make sure I have everything.

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Crazy Busy and Other Excuses

Ah, November. That wonderful time of year when all of your professors realize that there’s only a few weeks left in the semester and decide to pile on the assignments. It’s a lovely thing, really.

Sarcasm aside, I am actually having quite a nice November. October wrapped up in a wonderful way with my family dropping in for family weekend (and my 20th birthday!). Then came November, and an onslaught of group projects that were due one after another. Thankfully, I got them all in and all of the presentations done, and it turns out that we did well on all of them!

Now it’s down to the wire with Thanksgiving in a week and tons of assignments due. I’m most excited about my final paper for my Collective Memory class – I’m absolutely in love with my topic, so research is both fascinating and fun.

Additionally, we recently registered for classes! I just today made some changes to my schedule to make it work with junior IS and study abroad, and it now looks like my classes for the coming year are as follows:

  • Theories of Human Communication
  • Health Communication
  • Rhetorical Criticism
  • Autobiographical and Memoir Writing

I’m very excited for that line up, because it is not only helping me work toward IS (about which I am crazy excited!) but it is also chock full of exciting and interesting courses.

All in all, things are quite peachy. This weekend is the culture show and I am playing the mirror in the German Department’s rendition of Sneewitchen. Then it’s one more day and heading home for break! I love it here, but it’ll be nice to see my family!

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