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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Archive: January 2011

Back to school booklist

Spring semester (which is actually the semester of continued winter misery and a wee bit of spring sun) is quickly approaching! Butler University resumes classes on Jan 18 this year, which is the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That’s pretty late. We have had about three weeks for the last two years: This year’s winter break between the fall and spring semesters was a month-long affair.

However pleasant an affair it was, break is drawing to an end. This means I should try to start waking up a bit earlier. This means I should think about wearing more layers when I go back to Butler. This means I should think about taking full responsibility for my own food and laundry again. (Thanks, Mom… *sheepish*) This means looking forward to reuniting with my friends at Butler again! This also means buying textbooks.

Ugh. I despise buying textbooks. I think I did a really good job this semester, though. I got half my books through Butler’s bookstore and half with the website Better World Books (which is actually mentioned on the second page of an article in the New York Times), all for just over one hundred dollars.

I’ve got a lot of reading–and annotating–ahead of me. Also, marathon readings of Moby-Dick?

Supposed to be about my living room

I realize my picture posts of Butler’s junior/senior housing (four-bedroom apartments in the Apartment Village) have been somewhat spread out over the year. I posted a kitchen tour in September and my bedroom tour in November. Now, I’ll tie up some loose ends with the living room tour!

The kitchen area and living room are not separated by walls, but the carpet in the living room section gives the spaces some sense of division. Unlike the bedrooms, where the bed and desk and so on come with the rental of the apartment, the living room is completely and utterly unfurnished. It’s a good thing I have roommates with impeccable taste.

This photo has been sitting in my computer, gathering pixel-dust for ages, since by the end of the semester, the bookcase was completely stuffed. We keep cookbooks and some games on it, and the rest–I am afraid to admit–is all mine: textbooks, Norton Anthologies (I’m collecting them, apparently), library books, and books I somehow acquire.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you will know I love books. My bookshelf at home is currently completely full, and I’ve had to resort to using a box on the floor in front of the shelf. I have a system, however! All the books on my shelf, I have read. All the books in the box, I have yet to read. Clever, huh? Sort of.

Here is an awkward Photobooth picture of my bookshelf. You cannot see, because there is a seating object in the way, but I have another shelf below the lowest one in the picture. Oh dear.

Plus there are books in a stack on the floor which I must donate. Plus there are library books on my childhood toy chest. Plus more books which I read at night on my bedside table. This break, I haven’t read as much as was wont in years past, which seems to be this semester’s theme. Let’s see. This break I’ve read, in order of completion:

  • James Joyce, by John Gross: a book of essays on James Joyce
  • A War of Gifts, by Orson Scott Card: a novella in the Ender’s Game world that I purchased from the Butler bookstore on my birthday ages and ages ago
  • Something Borrowed, by Elizabeth Giffin: a Christmas present from my roommate (aka, the requisite chick lit)
  • Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman: radiant
  • Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card again: a reread of an old book for a friend
  • three-eighths of The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
  • three-fourths of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce

And… I just now realized this post has deviated somewhat from its promised subject. Whoops! Look for more apartment pictures in the future, I suppose.

Success is sweet like a cupcake

Physics, physics, physics. The class I took for my general science requirement was a bit unusual: I chose to take PH 201, which is Intro to Analytical Physics. Due to massive scheduling difficulties, I did not take the 100-level physics class. As it turns out, with PH 201 I was a bit out of my element next to all the chemistry and engineering majors who have to take PH 201 as part of their foundational math and science courses.

Thus I worked all semester. I went to the lecture four mornings a week. I went to the two hour lab each Tuesday evening. I went to the hour and a half study tables session each Wednesday evening. I turned in my lab report and problem set each Friday afternoon. And gradually, I stopped dreading the professor’s high velocity explanations of the proofs of various laws and principles. I drove all my friends crazy with my constant stream of science references. Someone told me a good joke about a spherical chicken. Anyone, anyone?

So I came to enjoy my smackdown with physics, though the work became steadily more difficult and detailed. (Gyroscopic motion, anyone, anyone?)

Working during Nutcracker, Act II. Thanks for the picture, Becca.

The tests were brutal. Let’s not mince words here. After the final, I must admit I was rather disappointed in myself. It was not the ideal way to go out after a semester of hard work. So I resigned myself to a celebratory pat on the back after passing.

Grades come out fairly quickly after finals week ends, however, and… I did better than I had hoped for in my most optimistic scenario! I’m not actually sure how that happened, unless the test was curved rather severely in my favor. But hip hip hooray!

The point of the this post? Put in hard work and a liberal sprinkling of muddled applications of torque and an obnoxious scattering of XKCD references and you get the following:

  • an increased appreciation of just how complicated science truly is
  • an increased repertoire of nerdy things to say
  • an increased love of XKCD (can you tell this was a big part of physics class for my study buddy and me?)
  • a good grade in Intro to Analytical Physics
  • new friends
  • new confidence in my own ability to scrape through daunting senarios

I’ll need all of the above as we start the new year and the new semester with my three English classes, the first three to entertain myself when I need a break from all the liberal arts, the fourth when I think about scheduling classes for my senior year (since I will have fulfilled my Division 4 credit), the fifth for all the reasons one needs people like those I’ve met at Butler, and the sixth for general, sappy, feel-good moral-boosting when I’m still revising my Irish Lit paper in a month.

The final score? Physics 374, Olivia 381.

It’s been fun, folks.