Olivia ’12 RSS feed

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.

Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Twitter! Butler's YouTube Channel Chat with a Student

Posts Tagged “BSI”

Butler Best Memories: Senior Year

This brings us to senior year, and to the end of my time at Butler. Senior year wasn’t always easy, but I finally felt like I could put all the pieces together. I felt more aware of what I did not know and what I had learned; I started to look outwards, toward life outside of a structured school environment. Senior year was both incredibly busy and extremely reflective. In short, I became a sap. Good memories and great friends will do that to you.

Well, before senior year technically started, I stayed in Indy for nine weeks of Butler Summer Institute, researching Anglo-Celtic literature. This is probably the most ambitious/difficult thing I’ve attempted in academics — and while I didn’t wholly succeed, I learned so much from the process. I’m extremely grateful to my mentor, the English Department, and the BSI program for the opportunity. I reference my experience constantly in conversations. If you have the scholarly inspiration and the time, I would highly recommend applying to participate in BSI.

So began my last year at Butler with the first of many lasts — my final Block Party. I worked at the Butler Catholic Community table, greeting friends as they passed by, thinking about the year to come. (Also, whether it was going to rain or not. If I remember correctly, it did, and we had to seek shelter in the student union.)

Sigma Rho Delta (as well as many non-Sigma Rho dance majors) went to the Indianapolis Gala performance again in the fall. I had mixed opinions about the bill, and being able to discuss artistic choices (read: argue about them) with other dancers was lovely. It’s like the old stereotype of college you find in slightly dated books: people sitting in a tiny room, talking late into the night about philosophy and artistic ethics and what causes they plan to march for over the summer. Okay, it didn’t go quite like that, but when I’m seventy, I bet I’ll remember it through these sepia lens of nostalgia!

Then came the last Freshman Retreat with the BCC. Here the leadership team shows its true colors. I began to realize how important I found the BCC about halfway through my four years at Butler, and if the last three months are any indication, it will continue to grow in importance as I look back at my time in Indy. (Same with character classes, dance history, piano classes, and modern classes, actually — and I’m sure many others will appear as the years wear on).

Halloween came, and I finally got it together enough to make a real costume. So far, I’d considered my most successful costume to be the Boy Scout uniform borrowed from my dad my sophomore year. However, I didn’t actually make it, so it probably shouldn’t count as much as my bird costume this year. I think I had as much fun making it as I did wearing it. Ahoy, maties! (Also, I never would have finished it in time if my boyfriend had not helped — thank you!)

In the spring… the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis. It was madness, kind of like March madness, except colder.

And I continued the fine tradition of knitting during the Super Bowl and finally FINALLY finished my lace circle which is large and beautiful and the most finicky thing I’ve ever knit. Cue awkward picture — notice the eyes, blurred from weaving in the million ends of lace-weight wool.

All January to March, I flew and drove and scuttled every which way to auditions. It was exhausting, but having gone through it once makes it not nearly as intimidating. (Ish.) It was a beautiful spring day in Tulsa went I traveled to audition for Tulsa Ballet II, and the weather matched my mood and relief when I got a contract with their second company. Advice for auditioning: Be respectful but be confident. You are a human being and deserve to be treated with dignity. Treat your fellow dancers with the same respect and kindness you would like to receive.

Our last performance with Butler Ballet was bittersweet indeed — as particularly emotional friends were quick to make known. You can see the traces of tears in our smiles. My senior year of dancing was full of ups and downs: injuring my foot during Nutcracker rehearsals in October, rehearsing for Por Vos Muero which is much harder than it seems at first, learning Swanhilda in Coppélia... All these opportunities taught me more than I realized at the time. Even just in the first two weeks at Tulsa, I’ve thought about that last year of dancing at Butler and made little choices throughout my days based on what I learned. I’M SO SAPPY, I’m sorry. But it’s true.

Also, my experience with Coppélia was so much fun, I still find it a bit surreal. There were about four days of actual freaking out in the two months of rehearsals, but the rest… I was oddly calm. I think it’s because I was allowed to act outraged or mischievous or in love or uncertain. Also, I gained a heck of a lot more stamina.

Thus we skipped our way through the four years. I met beautiful people, danced in amazing pieces, learned the difference between major and minor scales. I realized I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was, which probably made me a bit wiser. I gained immeasurable confidence, and though I still lack some necessary restraint, I think I’ve learned the trick of being happy most situations. Like I said in the beginning of this sappy post, senior year was the year of putting together the pieces. Maybe that is the liberal arts are supposed to do.

I hope you gather from this that going to college as a dance major was absolutely worth it in my opinion. I think it was the right choice for me, and I’m so happy I ended up at Butler for the experience.

The Travails of my Senior English Essay

Remember the Senior Essay requirement for English majors? Remember how I opted to write a long paper the fall of my junior year, so if I wound up finishing the English major, I would already have completed that requirement? Remember how I also did a Butler Summer Institute project last summer and finished a draft of another long paper?

Remember how I had to decide which one was to be my senior English essay? Well, I went with BSI, since I’ve learned a thing or two since the Irish lit paper (and it was not very good, only I didn’t realize it at the time). And I’m taking EN 450, which will soon be renamed Advanced Academic Writing, which helps prep this essay.

Remember how it turns out my BSI is a complete mess, only I didn’t know this during the summer, and I had to rewrite it completely — not even revise, but full-blown rewrite with a new thesis and all? Oh, yeah, I didn’t tell you because I was too frustrated.

Ce qui sera, sera, as we learned in my French class.

Remember how I rewrote the whole paper during the second semester of my senior year as I traveled all over the country for auditions and had mega rehearsal for Por Vos Muero and Coppélia? Oh, yeah, I didn’t tell you… because I was too busy.

Remember how I was kind of sassy during a blog post when I did eventually divulge all this info? Yeah, that’s because I FINALLY FINISHED!

Well, I finished the draft. Which will be workshopped. So I’ll have to write it again before the year’s up, I’m sure. Oh well. Let me gloat in an unseemly way for just a little while.

Celebrating with a huge mocha and homework for a class that isn’t EN 450…

Evaluation Week — the last one!

I apologize for what turned into a rather lengthy hiatus. Even though most dance classes have been cancelled this week due to student evaluations in the Department of Dance, I’ve been keeping busy.

What are evaluations? The long answer is here. The quick answer: a fifteen minute meeting between each individual dance major and all the department faculty during which they discuss your progress, any areas of concern, injury/audition updates, etc… The faculty looks at the work we have done in the past year as well as the self-assessment we turn it at our ballet final at the end of the fall semester.

Besides being assessed, here’s what I’ve been doing this week:

  • Going to class — most dance academics and all academic-academics (my French and two English classes) still meet.
  • Cleaning — having production week usually means I fall behide on both homework and household chores.
  • Working on my senior English essay (i.e. BSI) — this includes meeting with my advisor a couple times, reading inflammatory speeches by old Welsh politicians, the usual…
  • Celebrating Mardi Gras at the Blue House with a dinner, then celebrating Ash Wednesday with Mass, reconciliation, and adoration. The BCC is really good about providing lots of programming for students and community members.
  • Preparing audition materials — see below.

From getting video from the Butler Ballet archives to burning DVDs to quadruple-checking my résumé to writing cover letters to scheduling plane flights… I feel like audition materials are coming out of my ears.

I had to wait until after Midwinter Dance Festival was over to send my video packages, since I wanted to include footage of last weekend’s performance of Por Vos Muero on my audition DVD. This morning I sent a bunch of email applications and snail-mailed materials to several other ballet companies. Next weekend, I am flying to audition for Kansas City Ballet, then I plan on visiting BalletMet, Tulsa Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet over spring break.

I’m wishing all my fellow seniors luck on their job searches… and remembering what the college search feels like for you high school seniors… Do you have any particularly grueling/triumphant job/college search stories? Please share!

Also, a quick and entertaining video explaining Ash Wednesday if you’re confused/interested. (Also, lots of /slashes/)

YouTube Preview Image

Senior English Essay

Thinking about becoming an English major at Butler? You’ll need a senior essay to graduate, whether you are a English Literature, English Creative Writing, or even an English-concentration education major.

What is the senior essay? It’s a long paper on a topic of your choice. These are usually written in a 400-level seminar class and honed in the “Senior Essay” class, which will soon be known by the much cooler name of “Advanced Academic Writing.” I will take this course, along with a class taught by the head of the department and her colleague on Midrash. I am so excited for the Midrash class, and I’m sure I’ll plague you with details once that gets underway.

Back to the Senior Essay. Having taken quite a few upper-level English courses by this late stage in my college game, I had a variety of papers to chose to polish into senior essay readiness.

I went with BSI. Since I put so much effort into the project this summer, I’d like to finish it. Novel idea, huh? Wales and Ireland, I shall presently make my great return!

 

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.

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.

BSI Wrap-Up

After BSI ended, my roommate and I moved out in the insufferable heat. Because we are living in the same apartment as last year, we paid a fee to store our belongings in the apartment during the summer; thus the journey from UT to AV was not that far. The heat stretched the distances, though, and I ended up leaving Butler an hour later than planned.

Also, I have now lived in every non-Greek Butler residence hall except for Ross.

After leaving Butler, I visited my boyfriend and his family in Chicago, and it was epic as usual: spending time with wonderful people, eating wonderful food, playing wonderful games of badminton, and learning the wonderfully addictive game of mahjong. I need to get a set so I can learn to tell the contents of a tile simply by feeling it with my fingers. I’ve seen it in action, and it is incredibly intimidating. We stayed up well past midnight and shouted Chinese and Spanish words and generally had a grand time.

Now I am home playing with my sisters and my parents and my rabbit, as well as studying for the GRE (taking it soon in August) and working on an independent study (for a Butler English class to attain my second major). It’s been busy, but it is wonderful to be home!

The bunnies say “hi.”

BSI Winds Down

A few highlights from the end of BSI:

I went to my first midnight premier of the Harry Potter movie with a group of students through the Butler summer residence halls. Here a BSI student wins my personal award for best costume of the night as a CleanSweep7 broomstick. I myself dressed in a red tank top and red skirt, tied a red scarf around my waist, and attached my red ballet skirt to my wrists and back — I was Fawkes, and I did not have feathers, and the costume was rather a flop. I enjoyed the movie, but the previews were too scary for me!!

Here we are at the BSI final dinner. I’m in the corner with other students and mentors, trying not to laugh out loud.

However, our basement apartment in UT (which was really much dirtier than I originally thought), soon suffered from an invasion of ants. I woke up in the morning with one crawling on my stomach. Though I emailed maintenance and they responded, they must have decided to wait until we moved out to deal with them, which was a bit icky. I know it’s summer and ants aren’t that threatening and pest control makes a room unlivable for a while… but come on, Butler. At least tell us you were going to wait until after the session. Mental preparation and all.

Funnily enough, most of the other students whose presentation photos were taken from this angle had more than just a head showing — I’m rather short. We finally presented the fruits of our BSI labors to all the BSI participants and whichever other students/faculty/mentors/staff/etc wanted to come.

I was nervous about my presentation at first; while I practiced I kept stumbling over my words so I finally had to type out a truncated script. Then I worried I would read from a piece of paper rather than make eye contact and all that. But something magical happened on Monday morning when I stood up in front of that room. Some combination of nerves and enthusiasm made all the words come out in the right order, in a short-enough timeframe, in an apparently coherent-enough way to merit detailed questions and positive responses. Hooray!

Congratulations to all BSI participants! You can view titles of projects and pictures from the program here. You can see the slideshow I made to accompany my presentation here.

Final BSI Dinner

Wow. BSI is over. Students have been presenting Friday through Wednesday (today) for two or three hours each morning. We had our final BSI lunch Tuesday night, and I spent a lovely evening with four other students, a history professor, a creative writing professor, and two chemistry professors. Since the students consisted of two international studies majors, two creative writing majors, and me (Dance performance and English Lit), I was glad we didn’t talk about super artsy things the entire night. Got to let the science people have their say. : )

I learned that “aromatic” means something different in chemistry than in the rest of the world. This means, “So someone told me ethers were like aromatic rabbits” does not make for quite the conversation starter I thought it might. Turns out “aromatic” isn’t quite the word, and I would have done better quoting my friend’s actual “smelly bunnies.” Instead, I discovered “aromatic” refers to the configuration of bonds. (Is that it? Is that even close?)

It also turns out, with some quick internet searching, that I might have confused “ether” and “ester,” since esters are definitely smelly, but ethers look more like rabbits. Well, I found a snazzy dimethyl ether on wikipedia…

It also, also turns out that chemists are people too and thus perfectly well qualified to speak on matters other than chemistry. Still, I do love some chemistry talk. This summer has been wonderful, getting to hear about all the science projects. After listening to an explanation of the G-protein receptors project about four times, I think I might sort of get it!

Watching the chemistry presentations was definitely harder than the others, since so much of the basic language tends to baffle the average liberal arts major. (I still don’t know the difference between a substrate and a reagent. I vaguely understand the function of primers.) I finally, finally got a grasp on “stereochemistry,” and line structures aren’t quite so mystifying. I think the chemistry presentations did a good job of catering to a mixed, partially non-science audience.

But dinner! Dinner was at Shanghi Lil’s in Indianapolis with all the BSI students and the large percentage of mentors who could make it. Dinner was served family-style, as all Chinese meals should be served, and it was absolutely delicious. Pineapple shrimp. Pineapple. Shrimp. Pineapple shrimp. Genius.

(I also just typed “pinaepple” every single time I attempted to write “pineapple.”)

I will have to update you on the ant infestation in our apartment and on final presentations… but now I simply must go make some toast and Skype with a friend.

Summer at Butler: What I Learned

  • The “so hard to say goodbye” in “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 can use a I V IV V I chord progression.
  • Fish tacos in Chicago make an excellent snack.
  • Welsh eisteddfodau: Grown men dress in bardic robes for the ceremony which declares the winner of the traditional-form, Welsh-language poetry competition. There is a sword involved, and the whole crowd shouts “Peace!” in Welsh.
  • Pianos are expensive.
  • BSI projects can be wicked cool: YouTube Preview Image
  • Both Howards End and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog are more entertaining than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • If you leave your bike overnight at the IMA, the snack fairy leaves you a fruit bar.
  • Don’t use the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container to make cornbread, because it doesn’t taste very good. On the other hand, add a bit of coco powder to pancake batter, then some bananas to make chocolate banana pancakes. Heavenly.
  • Guerilla knitting happens.

    I saw this tree when I visited Downer's Grove during my epic trip to Chicago.

  • English publications generally don’t like papers over twenty-five pages.
  • Some species of sour cherries are self-compatible.
  • The GRE is a) necessary for grad school; b) expensive; c) changing and half price if taken this August or September; or d) all of the above.
  • Biking up hills is much easier when one’s bike is not stuck on the lowest gear.
  • Jude the Obscure is the most depressing book in the English language, and, as Jasper Fforde recommends, one should read it backwards if there is to be any chance of a happy ending.
  • G-protein receptors. They exist. You have them almost everywhere in your body.
  • ISIS stands for “Image subtraction, image subtraction.”
  • Straws aren’t so bad after all.
  • Euchre isn’t so complicated after all.
  • Don’t put potato peels down the kitchen garbage disposal. You’ll only clog the sink and render the dishwasher unusable for almost a week.