Participating in BSI, I am for the first time surrounded by a concentrated group of students on track to do graduate school. Lately the pet topic has been the GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, a test of which I was only vaguely aware a few weeks ago.
It’s odd, since I want to dance after I graduate from college. If I go back to graduate school — which I would love to do, to study English literature — it will be who know how many years in the future. Maybe dancing won’t work out. (It must, it must!) Maybe I won’t want to go back to the academic world after having left it for five years? ten? twenty? Maybe I will be too poor to afford the schooling, or I will have a family or otherwise not want to move. I just don’t know.
I thought moving to college as a first-year student was a big deal. Turns out, the real world outside the classroom is much more uncertain. I’m going to take the new GRE. I’ll try to muddle through the terrifying GRE English Subject test in April. I’ll audition my behind off and hope to get into a company. And I’ll just exhale and let life take me on a ride.
Did I mention, my family is at the beach right now? I'm wishing myself back to this pool, currently located in Florida. (Well, always located in Florida -- currently and in the past.) Summer....
In the end, that’s all one can do, really. I’ll try my best and see what happens. And perhaps review my early British authors, since I think that’s my weakest point. (Except for poetry.) After BSI, I’ve totally got postcolonial Anglo-Celtic authors covered. And American literature from 1850-1855 should be good as well. I never realized just how vast the “canon” (can we even use that term anymore without a skeptical smile?) of English literature is.
Anyone want to hire a shorter female ballerina?
sort-of-one-third-of-the-way-through-point half-way point (yikes!) in Butler Summer Institute, I thought I should share a few fun facts with you:
As of June 14, 2011,
Number of Word documents associated with BSI project: 43
Number of paper drafts: 2
Words written in current paper draft: 3907
Number of sources read in whole or in part: 11
Times the current paper draft uses the word “Anglo-Celtic”: 4
Times the current paper draft uses the word “Welsh”: 35
Times the current paper draft uses the word “Irish”: 46
Times the current paper draft uses the word “Wales”: 23
Times the current paper draft uses the word “Ireland”: 21
Cups of tea consumed: ??
Websites most visited: Butler email, BBC News, RSS reader, Facebook, and Pandora
Sometimes, you want to go to Indy’s First Fridays event. Sometimes, open art galleries and talk and free humus and grapes are really cool. Sometimes witty banter, discussions of hipster, and mock battles are really cool as well. Sometimes, strolling down the sidewalks and admiring the architecture, the cupcakes in the bakery windows, and the random scupltures made out of tires is stupendously cool.
And sometimes, at the end of it all, you find yourself down in the dumps instead of uplifted, ready for a shower and sleep instead of a board game night, wanting to write about hybridized nations and postcolonialism rather than relax with friends.
Is this weird? Have I been spending too much time working, that I kind of, in a little way, prefer Anglo-Celtic writings to complimentary crackers, the quiet of an English paper finally unlocking itself beneath my fingers to the raucous wind in my hair, music in my ears, sun in my face? This is definitely not the usual sequencing, and I’m sure this pensive mood will pass.
Tomorrow we are working downtown with the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project, which I’m looking forward to doing. This is a busy weekend, with several other events in the works. Here’s to a more energetic Saturday!
Off to chill with Jude the Obscure. That’s a good compromise, isn’t it?
Okay, I just don’t feel like detailing the pen-returning adventure. Suffice it to say that there might have been a car chase, a reunion, and the return of inadvertently pilfered property. And ninja moves.
This Sunday marks the end of the first week of BSI. Butler Summer Institute is a nine week program that allows students from all disciplines to conduct an independent study over the summer with a faculty mentor. Butler University provides housing and a stipend; there are also various lunches, informational sessions, and other get-togethers. I think we might get to do practice GREs. Next week is a research ethics module. Ugh. Much more fun will be the volunteering project in the works.
My first week looked a bit like this:
Monday–Move in. All day. BSI dinner in the evening.
Tuesday–Move in during the morning. Research in the afternoon. Discover UT kitchens doe not include microwaves.
Wednesday–Library in the morning. Lunch with the rest of the BSI participants. The library again. Give myself a ballet class. Research for the rest of the day.
Thursday–Research in the morning. Take a ballet class from a DVD with some other Butler dance majors who are on campus. Play the piano. Research for the rest of the day. Walk to a restaurant with my roommate and a friend for dinner. Research.
Friday–Research in the morning. Take a jazz class and give a ballet class with another Butler dance major. Play the piano. Research for the rest of the day.
Saturday–Visit the farmer’s market with my roommate. She has been spoiled by the farmer’s markets abroad but still managed to find some asperagus that wasn’t too expensive. Walk a bit in Broad Ripple. Do research and laundry. Bike to the nearby St. Thomas’ for Mass. Research.
Sunday–Breakfast in UT, then bike to Hubbard and Cravens’ coffee shop to research and finish annotating my last primary source! Write a blog post in stilted sentences.
Stilted, stilted. Time to delve into Anglo-Celtic literary tradition! Exclamation point not sarcastic. Quite sincere in my love of Dylan Thomas, even if James Joyce still requires many, many pretzels for moral support.
The promises, I mean. Those pesky promises. The problem with assuring blog readers of future explanation comes with the actually-having-to-write-those-explanations bit. But we forge ahead:
Not driving in a car adventures: Indiana is stormy in the summer. Apparently.
Driving to a ballet rehearsal in Carmel, we were forced to seek shelter as a sudden storm blew in–one moment, the rain; the next, the upended rain barrel of God. Gravity twisted in more than three directions. Visibility was so bad it was hard to discern whether that gap in road was actually a side street into which we could turn.
We took shelter outside a synagogue. The windshield fogged up, and I had to call my dad to look up the number of the ballet studio so I could warn them of my probable tardiness.
So the rain passed and the windshield finally unfogged and after the ballet rehearsal, we tracked down a Japanese restaurant called Sakura which had been recommended to me by the Italian lady on my plane ride a few days previous. Spider rolls = good. Eating a bunch of wasabi plain = tears.
The courtyard at UT
This weather thing that I’ve discovered is normal for a Midwest summer. Yes? I’m not liking it so much. Now, wearing clothes and not absolutely melting in the outside air is lovely, especially after two decades of humid, oppressive Richmond summers. The brisk air as I eat my morning toast in the University Terrace courtyard? Divine.
The tornado sirens and the lightening and the calls warning us to seek shelter late in the night? Not so much a fan.
We are fortunate enough to be living in a basement apartment, so we did not have to go anywhere to seek shelter, except perhaps away from the larger windows in the living room. Nevertheless, I still harbored images of the car directly outside the window by my bed being slammed into the building and crushing me into something out of Flatland.
Despite the reassurances of my Midwestern roommate–who has actually survived a tornado–I might have hidden in an alcove in the living room until the lightning slowed.
For the past two days, I have been moving. Moving clothes and school things. Moving books and pots and pans. Moving a heavy bookcase.
BSI has officially started! And yes, I’m still not completely finished moving. My Apartment Village lease is still good, so I’m just transporting things piecemeal into our University Terrace apartment that is the provided (aka, free!) housing for Butler Summer Institute participants.
Also, I relearned how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
I am definitely looking forward to this summer–and yesterday it was wonderful to be reunited with my roommate who bakes cupcakes. You know, the troublesome one. She was in France last semester, and I get to room with her in UT and hear all about her international escapades.
I’ll post pictures and write more about the moving adventures, BSI dinner, running barefoot through a storm adventures, not driving in a car adventures, and pen-returning adventures later. I have some glass baking pans to move.
High school seniors, I know you are still very busy. My own sister will graduate from high school this year, and she’s running all over the place. Last night, we went to her International Thespian Society program! So proud of my little sister.
So yes, you high schoolers are still in the thick of things.
Buuuut, for those of us in college who have been on summer break for a while, here’s my recommended collection of links for your spare-time, lazy-summer, viewing pleasure.
1. Yarn art. Juliana Santacruz Herrera fills Parisian potholes with yarn.
2. The periodic table of storytelling. Science, English, this has it all! Mary Sues? Check. Lovable Rogues? Check. Chekhov’s gun, Retconning, Fridge Logic, and Technobabble? Cheeeeck and check.
3. More yarn art, this time guerilla-style! “Yarn bombing” is a phrase used to describe guerilla knitting, the placement of knitted or crocheted pieces in a public place.
4. The ever-popular wooden cell phone commercial. It’s so oddly mesmerizing…
5. Gender-neutral book titles. One of the Dalloways.
6. A blog with participative poems, doodle-y programs, games, applications… I can’t really explain it. You’ll just have to go there. I’ll leave you with this one since, if you are like me, you’ll be there for a while.
Here’s a snapshot from this past year that I never got around to posting. Snapshot: Architecture, I choose you!
This is from a dancer gathering I attended. Not being much for large crowds, I decided to head to where the real party was cooking… the game of Jenga. Excuse me, “Jumbling Towers,” as the box says.
After the tall tower was well and truly jumbled (by my overly ambitious move), the architectural phase of the evening began. Here is the finished product.
Marvelous, no? As much as I complain about the seemingly endless streams of papers, I do get to have some building-block-related fun at Butler.
Okay, it’s back to my summer fun book for some intense relaxation. I’m finally reading the most recent Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays is Missing. So good!
Riddle: How does November relate to this in-book map of Fiction Island? Take a gander to find out!
Summers are for
waking up at 8 o’clock… then falling back asleep for another hour and a half.
walking to the library to read books containing knitting and magic tricks and French travel writing instead of nationalism and postmodernism and hybridity.
eating gelato at Deluca’s in Richmond.
wandering Maymont Park on a perfectly warm and light, yet cloudy (so neither squint-making sunny and nor uncomfortably hot) day.
viewing the Virginia Museum of Fine Art‘s Picasso exhibit until 10 o’clock at night. (Also, switching heels for flat shoes halfway through the African period.)
trading the morning mug of black tea for one of white, since I don’t need the caffeine.
playing with my pet rabbits for hours on end.
realizing I’m now a senior in college.
Yeah. It’s happening. New college students, they tell you your years will pass by quickly. Believe the rumors.
I cannot form nice sentences any longer. For at least another two weeks. It’s all lazy mornings with my pet bunnies and sunshine.
And I have exhausted my English-language skills. They will need these two weeks to recover, I fear. Yup. So.
I produced twenty-one new pages of writing in the last three days at Butler. Altogether, my three final papers clocked in at exactly thirty-three pages.
Eight pages of dance history. Nine for a paper on Nathaniel Hawthorne and his deviant characters and Hepzibah’s shop and the railroad á la Christopher Castiglia and Leo Marx. Sixteen on Emily Dickinson. I say she not only deserves the attention of the postmodern scholarship community, but she also possesses herself a postmodern understanding of language.
If you examine her ideas of death and Heaven and knowledge, you find that her binary oppositions are wonky. Death is connected to absolutes and divinity and comfort. Hmmm.
I wrote a paper over spring break on Emily Dickinson, after reading a hundred and fourteen of Emily Dickinson’s poems. For my final, I researched the current discourse surrounding Dickinson from a postmodernist viewpoint and revised my paper to place it into conversation with the scholarly community.
And that’s what a dance/English major writes at the end of junior semester.