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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: August 2011

One Week In: Dance Department

One week into my last fall semester, and I’ve done a fair amount of dancing, homework completing, cooking, talking… not so much blogging in there. Highlights from the dance department in the first week of classes:

  • Everyone suffers for about three days from post-vacation soreness. I don’t care how much you danced during the summer — if you took off four days to move in (the weekend, then Monday and Tuesday before classes began on Wednesday), you will be sore. And holy cannoli, was I sore! But — apart from a mildly strained hamstring that’s almost completely gone now — that soreness was short-lived, only two or three days.
  • Department meeting on Thursday. We introduced all the new students (or rather, they introduced themselves). We welcomed old and new faculty members, including a guest teacher for the semester… the former Boston Ballet member, Michael Johnson. I have had two classes from him this year, both extremely enjoyable.
  • Also as the department meeting, we met the new Dean of the JCFA, Ronald Caltabiano. I actually met and enjoyed conversation with Dean Caltabiano at a lunch during Butler Summer Institute. This should be an exciting year in Lilly Hall with all the new people!
  • Monday we conducted our annual height line meeting for Butler Ballet. Every student participating in Butler Ballet (the performing aspect of the dance department) filed into a long (very long) line according to height. The department records the line to aid with casting. Speaking of which…
  • Tuesday marked the first of Nutcracker auditions! Level 3 and 4 women performed several sequences of movement different faculty members prepared; the men had the next slot of time. Then 3 and 4 women joined forces with the men as faculty members watched a short partnering sequence performed by dozens of different pairings. Auditions for underclassmen continue later this week (as well as call backs, if needed).

And there seems to be the big news from the dance department. What can you look forward to during your first week as a dance major at Butler? You will be sore. So will everyone else, to some degree — use this as a bonding experience. You will attend various meetings with introductions, waivers, interest forms, and other non-dancing activities. You will line up by height and the truth will come out. (Or not.) You will dance and dance and meet dozens of people. Friendship, lactic acid, tutus and pointe shoes… Sounds good to me.

College Cooking: Recipes for the New Chef

Let’s set the record straight. When I entered my first apartment in Butler’s Apartment Village last fall, I set the stove on fire. I’m not a horrible cook, but making meals when the fancy strikes remains a far different beast from the responsibility of feeding oneself every single meal. That said, I still did not want to take the commuter meal plan option, since my schedule didn’t allow for convenient meal times in Atherton Union. Also, this way ended up being cheaper.

So I learned a few quick and dirty recipes perfect for the college student chef. In the next few posts scattered randomly throughout the semester, look for recipes like:

  • Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
  • Fried Rice
  • Chocolate Banana Pancakes
  • Curried tofu, spinach, and chickpeas
  • Not Quite Ramen
  • Tomato basil salad
  • My friend’s Healthy S*** in a Pan

If you are an experienced cook, I guess some of these might seem obvious. For the new cook, half the trouble isn’t making the food — it’s trying to think of what to make. On that note, if anyone has some easy (quick, inexpensive, yummy) recipe suggestions, please chime in!

My sous chef stirs the chili (recipe courtesy of my Latvian Roommate).

Welcome Week: Butler Catholic Community

I’ve written about the Butler Catholic Community before, so if you are new, you might want to peruse these links about the BCC.

The BCC participates in three big events during Welcome Week. Monday night, we were part of the ice cream social at the Blue House. Tuesday afternoon, we had a table at Block Party. And this past Sunday, we held our first Mass of the semester in the Reilly Room in Atherton Union.

Welcome Week Mass is one of the biggest of the year, since new students often come with their families. I would guess there were about three hundred people. This year I helped with the Mass, introducing myself with the leadership team, helping with ministries and set-up, and talking a bit about how I connected the first reading to the life of a college student. (When Solomon prays for wisdom, he asks for an understanding heart, not an understanding mind. I’ve found it’s much harder to have a wise heart, to know the right way to relate with other people.)

If you are interested in hearing more about the BCC or about other spirituality groups on campus, just send me a comment!

Links related to the BCC: BCC Facebook page, BCC website, and the Blue House.

——

There are cameras at some of these events. Fr. Jeff really like pictures… There are a few ways to cope with having your picture taken:

1. Be really awkward and look away while the picture is being taken.

(look away, look away!)

2. Strike a “natural” pose as if you were in the midst of stimulating conversation.

(oh, what a good point you just made!)

3. Realize your picture was taken only later. This requires not effort but supreme obliviousness.

(It is a sad fact that this picture was completely candid, and I do in fact look like that in real life.)

4. Throw yourself into the merriment enthusiastically and unreservedly.

(goooo BCC! and people who wear blue shirts!)

The Last First Day

My parents always took the first-day-of-school picture. I did not like this very much; thus I’m pouting or forcing a smile in most of these photos. Now I’m at the end of the road — a senior in college. Graduate school, if it is indeed in my future, should not come for yeras. This is my last first day of school.

Looking at my schedule yesterday, I realized my last first day will actually be rather difficult for someone a bit out of shape. My classes:

  • Strength and Conditioning (my last general requirement to be fulfilled — a gym class)
  • Jazz class
  • Shakespeare (the class with the largest textbook I’ve ever purchased for college — the complete annotated works)
  • Ballet technique
  • Modern class
  • Pas de Deux (or partnering)

This last day seems like it will be too busy for much nostalgia. Good luck to all new students entering college, all high school seniors beginning their last year, and all college seniors faced with the prospect of Real Life. See you on the flip side!

2057 pages of Elizabethan goodness

 

Welcome Week Ice Cream

Sorry it’s been so long. In the week since you’ve heard from me, I flew to Chicago, visited my first IKEA ever (and purchased eight picture frames), drove to Butler in Indianapolis, moved in/helped others with move in, organized my entire room, participated in Welcome Weekend activities…

Welcome Week is hectic, no matter how you are involved with college. Examples:

  • Returning students: you have to move in — without all the help of previous years.
  • Professors and staff members: you have to gear up for the beginning of the semester.
  • Parents: it’s all about seeing children safely to school — without forgetting necessary items like toothbrushes.
  • New students: You not only have to do all the above (move in, get ready for schoolwork, and remember your pillowcases), but you have the million activities of Welcome Week as well.

Welcome Week at Butler is about orientation and transition — meeting new friends. You can view the complete schedule here. Events include:

  • Play Fair (doing silly things on the mall)
  • Meeting with students in your major in your class for orientation games
  • All reading the same book and meeting the author (my year was Listening is an Act of Love; this year was Farm City)
  • Late-night activities in the Reilly Room (casino themed games this year)
  • Block Party, where all the clubs and student organizations have tables on the Mall
  • Taking your class picture on the lawn in front of Clowes Hall
  • Other open houses — like the Blue House ice cream social

When I arrived at the Blue House last night at 8:45 to help with the ice cream social which was supposed to start at 9 pm, I thought my watch might be slow. The line stretched on for ages, and apparently people had arrived as early as 8:30!

The Blue House, or the Center for Faith and Vocation, hosts an ice cream social during Welcome Week. Different spirituality organizations are stationed around the Blue House with ice cream toppings to share (as well as information on their particular spirituality group, if a student should be interested). I met loads of new freshmen. LOADS.

This year’s event was the largest ever. We actually ran out of ice cream within an hour! Next year, more ice cream, more ice cream social. Check, check.

The GREs: Another Summer Story

Once upon a time, a girl named Olivia decided to study for two majors. She left her family’s hut on the edge of the woods and ventured deep into the forest. When the weather changed and it was time for most young lads and lasses to return to their families’ dwellings (they take advantage of the summer light to chop wood for their families’ winter stock of fuel), Olivia found a group of youths who decided to stay in the woods. This was called BSI.

Then once that bunch of young people trickled back toward the perimeter of leaf cover, Olivia wandered through the forest alone once more, part of the diffuse group comprised of those doing independent studies. While sustaining membership in this rather scattered crowd, she passed several hours in the company of an assembly of yet more lads and lasses. This was known as the GRE, the Graduate Requisite Exam.

This assembly, however, stuck out in a bold new direction. No longer did they circle the campfire in search of antonyms; no longer did the ceremony adapt question by question. Instead, they worked on a full body of arcane trivia before the spirit of the proceedings determined in what vein the questioning should advance. This was known as a computer adapted test which adjusted difficulty section by section rather than question by question.

In sort, Olivia survived the long ritual but remains at large in the forest, still weaving daisy chains (i.e. English papers) for her independent study, slowly going loopy, while the majority of Butler lasses and lads prepare to return to the forest of academia.

College Spirituality: The Blue House

I’m part of the Butler Catholic Community, which is one of the many spirituality groups on campus. I don’t know too, too much about the others, but there really should be something for everybody. The Blue House is a house (painted blue) on campus, properly known as the Center for Faith and Vocation. Here you can find many faith groups if you are interested. The Blue House will actually have an ice cream social from 9 to 11 pm on Monday, August 22. Stop by for a tasty treat!

Many students find themselves thinking more deeply about vocation during college. The Blue House’s statement on vocation speaks better than I can — vocational questions are not all about religion. I think their ideas about vocation relate just as well to choosing a major or picking up a hobby as finding a faith group.

With that in mind, I would encourage new students to stop by the spirituality-related tables during Block Party on Tuesday, August 23 from 5 – 7 pm, where the Blue House will have a table. Whether you want to discuss different views of God, meditate, join a faith-based organization, ask questions about spirituality, or even just have a quiet place to study, the Blue House can help. I find it’s an excellent place to write papers — it’s quiet, there’s a microwave to heat up my lunch, and the wonderful staff talk in soothing voices. :)

The summary of this post? The Blue House is a great resource for college students of any spiritual persuasion, especially those who are uncertain or questioning.

Some services the Blue House offers:

  • Meditation
  • Movie Night
  • Big Questions (a moderated lunch discussion on topics like Secular Humanism and Interfaith Action:  Is There Room for the ‘Non-Believer’?)
  • Confidential advising services — i.e. chatting about what you want to do with your life

Schwitzer Dorm Room

To continue my series on the female freshman residence hall Schwitzer, I have pictures from my own room three years ago. I had a double room, which is the standard option, though I believe singles and triples are available as well. Each room comes with two bed frames, mattresses, desks, desk chairs, dressers, and closets. I really can’t remember if there were trash cans or not. They aren’t listed on the Schwitzer information page, but I think I see one in the picture of my closet.

I’ve already shared this picture, but again… here is the door to my freshman year dorm room in Schwitzer. Schwitzer rooms have towel racks by the door, which is handy. The mirror also came with the room.

I’ve also shared this picture before. Looking at the room, you see it’s all quite compact. Opposite the door was our window, the outer sections of which opened to let in a breeze on those hot, late-summer days.

Bring fans if you are living in Schwitzer or Ross! I recommend a little, portable one like this that doesn’t make too much noise. I had it and loved it and have passed it down to my Vegetarian Sister, who is entering college herself. The blades are soft: I spent many a happy procrastinating moment dangling my fingers and toes in the way of the blades to feel the thump of the fabric and hear the funny buzz it would make. It generates a nice breeze, too.

To the left of the front door were our closets. Schwitzer closets are huge! You can see I fit my entire dresser inside my closet and still had room for my clothes. A note to students entering college for the first time: Remember to bring hangers! I forgot, and we had to buy them, and it got to be a bit pricey.

We kept the mini refrigerator I brought between the closet and my desk. It proved to be the perfect size for storing my printer. (And my giant bucket, which every year has housed a different type of candy. Freshman year it was Tootsie Roll pops. Sophomore year saw Air Heads, and my junior year had Tootsie Rolls. I still don’t know what this year will bring. Any suggestions?)

Then came the nook formed by the back of my desk and my bed. I don’t have any pictures of my freshman room post-Fall Break, when I rearranged everything to be much more functional. Still, I liked this set up as well. I just didn’t get too much light on my desk, where I spent most of my waking hours while in my dorm room.

Finally, we come to end of my freshman dorm room. I brought my own bedside table, and I liked having it, but it took up some precious floor space. When I was a sophomore, I put the refrigerator on top of it, and that worked really well. (I got a clip-on side table since we bunked our beds sophomore year and I was on top.)

There was plenty of storage under the bed without risers, though I ended up using them for my bedside table. Notice the awesome green fan on my bedside table!

Focus on Schwitzer

Schwitzer Hall is the all-female, freshmen residence hall on Butler’s campus. I lived there with a roommate my first year at Butler. Last post, I compared Schwitzer to ResCo (where I lived as a sophomore). A bit more about Schwitzer:

  • Three floors (plus a basement), four units on each floor. The first floor, for example, was 1 West, 1 North West, 1 East, and 1 North East.
  • Laundry room in the basement.
  • Only a service elevator.
  • Communal bathrooms, one for each unit.
  • Mostly doubles, but singles and triples are available.
  • Mostly new students, but I remember a unit of sophomores in the basement.
  • Main lobby with mailboxes, front desk, piano, chairs, and restrooms.
  • Extremely sociable… at least my unit was!

Here are some of the activities I remember from my freshmen days with my Schwitzer unit, 1W (or “one dubb,” as we liked to say).

A canal-side show.

Attending a Hispanic festival with my RA.

Riding the fairground rides that were randomly set up on Butler's campus (I forget why).

Movie night in my freshman dorm room.

Decorating for Halloween. Faculty members bring their kids through the residence halls for trick-or-treating!

Voting for the first time in the presidential election with my RA as a witness.

If you are about to move in to Schwitzer, you are indeed set to have a fun first semester.

Dorm Rooms: Schwitzer vs. ResCo

This coming semester marks the beginning of my senior year, and my third year of blogging for Butler! In the past, I’ve given tours of my dorm rooms. However, we switched to a new server last year, and all my archived posts were lost. Since they now indeed seem to be Lost Forever, I’m going to rehash some old dorm rooms in hope of helping new students getting ready to go to college. Excuse me, old-time readers, if I repeat myself!

Most freshmen live in Schwitzer (all girls) or Ross (two floors of boys, one floor of girls). I lived in a double room on the first floor of Schwitzer. Schwitzer, while perhaps not as lively as Ross, has certainly been the loudest place I’ve lived. It comes from a bunch of new, excited girls living in one unit, sharing one bathroom, tromping down the hall with doors partially open in invitation.

The corner of my unit's hallway in Schwitzer. As you can see, there were frequent meetings.

The red dolly came from the front desk. Students at all residence halls can check out tons of things at the front desks: dollies for moving heavy objects (yes… that’s what we were doing in the hallway… uh-huh…), movies, games, and cleaning supplies like vacuums. At ResCo, you can check out a key for the piano in the basement; in Schwitzer, the piano sits in the main lobby.

A few freshmen live in ResCo, but it is mostly sophomores. ResCo is much, much quieter than Schwitzer, which is nice for studying but perhaps not so nice for meeting a lot of new friends. I credit the quietness of ResCo to the following items:

  • Sophomores generally have a group of friends already. They are not unwilling to meet new people — far from it! — but they are not knocking on doors introducing themselves like in Schwitzer.
  • ResCo rooms are suite-style. Two double rooms share a bathroom, so you brush your teeth with three other people rather than twenty.
  • ResCo doors are heavy, and they close automatically. When they close, they lock automatically. In my Schwitzer unit, girls left their doors half-way open, and if a door were closed, one only had to knock and hear the “come in!” to visit.
  • RAs (resident assistants) in Schwitzer are more hands-on. Units are smaller and focus on group activities. ResCo RAs, while they have programming and are always available, aren’t as large a part of residence life.
  • Schwitzer has no AC. ResCo does. Misery loves company.

Since I have not lived in Ross, I can’t tell you how that compares. Wherever you end up, however, you will find Bulldogs ready to make your transition to college an exciting one!