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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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Posts Tagged “English major”

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.

Butler Best Memories: Junior Year

Sorry for the hiatus — just finished my first week in Tulsa Ballet’s second company! (And I’m already grateful for the broad training I received both in Richmond and at Butler. All those character classes and modern classes make the challenges I’m meeting here fun rather than overwhelming.)

But junior year awaits:

I loved living in the Apartment Village. As much as I learned living with roommates for my first two years at Butler, having my own bedroom in AV instantly made me much happier. To have a private place to de-stress and soak up the quiet was a marvel. Also — the kitchen. Getting off the meal plan and making my own odd food creations was great. I highly recommend soup. It’s really hard to mess up soup.

The same cannot be said of risotto. This risotto I made with my friend over Fall Break was crunchy. This is because you cannot use brown rice instead of arborio. Also over Fall Break, I stayed and worked on my long paper for my Contemporary Irish Literature class, which I thought at the time would be my senior English essay. Thus began that long saga. : )

To further define junior year, I could not omit physics class. When I wasn’t writing my Irish Lit paper or working on choreography or dancing, I was doing physics homework. This is noteworthy not only because just yesterday I used my understanding of angular momentum (no joke — it helped my assemblé en tournant in the Raymonda variation I’m learning), but also because I fell in l.o.v.e. with my homework buddy who even now patiently explains science to me.

And then it was winter and my roommates decorated the apartment and we all generally reveled in the having of a living room again after two years in the dorms.

In the beginning of the new year, it was freezing. My homework buddy/now boyfriend and I bundled up to brave the Icepocalypse. And I wrote my proposal for Butler Summer Institute for hours when I got home after rehearsal for Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht each night. I remember these few months were busy and full of blessings — and bitterly cold.

Spring finally showed up shivering on the doorstep, and it brought another round of March Madness. Again, Butler’s basketball team made it to the championship game. Again, the campus went wild with spirit events and communal viewings.

In the end, I presented my first paper at Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference, performed my first solo as Fairy Miettes-Qui-Tombant in The Sleeping Beauty, prepared for a summer of research with BSI, made it through my first ever teaching-assistantship, and even found time to make a couple loaves of bread.

Professionalism

As of last week, I am a grown-up dancer, earning my living in the most improbable of ways… the arts. After this week, I will also be able to add “teacher” to my life experiences list, since Monday was my first day helping with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir day camp. This makes me profesh, correct?

As ones enters college, it behooves him/her to think about beginning to practice the professional attitudes that will demonstrate maturity and help get the job done. Though you will be student in college, there is no reason you cannot act like a professional. If there’s one thing I learned during this most recent year’s audition season, it’s that you command more respect if you act in a professional manner which indicates you feel you deserve said respect. Basically, act mature, and people will treat you as such.

The Butler Department of Dance has a Professional Practices class you must take as a new student. I know there is a pharmacy equivalent, and the Intro to the Discipline class acts as a sort of professionalism class for the English Lit and Creative Writing Majors. And of course, it’s only way after the fact that I appreciate the class…

  • Maturity means stifling small complaints. If you see error, point it out respectfully and only to effect some sort of necessary change, then stop. Don’t complain for the sake of complaining.
  • Maturity means remaining calmer, more focused, and more eager to learn than you actually want to be or than those around you are. Maturity means getting it right quickly and consistently. Maturity means occasionally taking on extra tasks with a smile.
  • Maturity means showing respect for the job at hand, whether it seems too daunting or too little. No work of art lacks worth, and the more of yourself as an artist you can pour into a project, the more fulfilling it will be, both for you and for those around you.

This summer, I’m plunging headfirst into the real world, and old, tired sayings are gaining reality and importance the more I shed that snakeskin of student. More than ever, I wish I had internalized the gravity of a positive attitude sooner.

College will be challenging, with its incredibly multi-faceted demands on time and energy. However, a positive attitude manifested in mature professionalism really does make a difference, providing the biggest returns on the effort you give to your college (or professional) activities.

So life, bring on the next challenge!

Ugh, sorry to sound so preachy. But with all the earnestness I can muster, this really is true.

After Graduation (i.e. Employment)

What does a dance major/English lit major do after graduation? After all, those two majors — a BFA and a humanities, liberal arts BA — hardly lend themselves to employment, right? WRONG.

This summer is shaping up to be quite a busy one. Besides my ongoing French independent study (which, yes, takes between two and three hours a day), I’m also preparing for two other short-term summer jobs. Also, I’m interviewing for another.

Also, I’m sorting through the mass of items I accumulated at Butler over the course of four years. This is what comes from never moving out completely, then suddenly transporting all of it home at once:

This was just the first load... Multiply by four, then square. That's how much stuff I am sorting/donating/etcing.

But back to the important things, those things your parents will ask you when you tell them you want to major in Dance Performance and English Literature… What kinds of jobs can you get?

This summer I:

  • am interviewing for a position as a substitute teacher at a local ballet studio. Teaching is always an option, even for those still in school, especially if you have taken pedagogy classes.
  • am dancing in the Southern Illinois Music Festival’s productions of The Firebird and Petrouchka.
  • am teaching movement classes at the Indianapolis Children’s Choir day camp.

Then in July it’s off to Tulsa to start with Tulsa Ballet II — time to return to the real world after four years of college. I suppose it will be a bit like my time as a trainee at the Richmond Ballet… but I guess I’ll find out when I get there. For now, I’m plenty busy writing pages of French, learning Firebird choreography off of Youtube, and developing the class plan for the ICC kids.

And those are the various odd jobs I’m doing this summer by virtue of my BFA/BA degrees! (Well, these are mostly from my BFA, but I like to flatter myself into thinking the BA helps me communicate clearly, an essential part of any job.) (Except, you know, these posts tend to be extremely rambling, so perhaps I’m not presenting myself to my best advantage. Oh well.)

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…

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!

 

The last scheduling conflicts

As a wanna-be double major, I’ve dealt with my fair share of scheduling conflicts. I really dislike scheduling my classes, since often the process ends in frustration. As the semesters pass by and I fulfill more and more dance requirements, the frustration diminishes… and though scheduling my last semster of classes as an undergraduate still held a few “gosh-darn-it!” moments, it was much, much easier than scheduling during my sophomore year.

With only one semester left, I don’t have that many required classes unfulfilled. I plan to take:

  • Ballet Technique
  • Pointe
  • Classical partnering
  • Butler Ballet
  • Theory and Philosophy of Dance
  • English class 1
  • English class 2
  • French

It looks like I will finish my Dance BFA degree (well, that was never really in question) and be just one class sort of obtaining my English Literature degree. The class in question? French.

When you major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, you must take six hours of a second language as part of your core requirements. JCFA majors do not have to do this. With a second major in LAS, however, I need six hours of French.

I visited France with my cousin. Does that count?

The sad part of this story? I’ve been confused about my requirements both for my dance degree and my English degree since the first semester. Part of this is my fault; part of it is not. Either way, it’s frustrating — especially since I thought by testing into a 300 level French class, I had fulfilled that LAS core requirement. Not so.

I somehow have three extra hours this spring (because I was confused about my dance degree plan, mostly), and I shall take a French class. And then what? Graduate just three hours short of my second major? Take French this summer and graduate a semester late? I’m not exactly sure how everything will work yet.

BUT THEN one of the English classes I planned to take was cancelled, and my dance schedule really doesn’t allow for many English class options… so I’m not sure still what my spring semester will look like.

Ah, scheduling…

Tips for College Living: Schoolwork

Though Butler’s fall semester started only three weeks ago on August 25, we have already received a lovely vacation. Thank you, Labor Day. I labored a bit, appropriately, reading a book for my Financial Fictions English class called The Incorporation of American — so learning about laborers. The homework load still is not too bad early in the year.

What was true in high school becomes even more so in college: There are periods of madness and stretches of relative calm. The beginning of year is especially strangely peaceful to the dance major, because rehearsals have not begun for The Nutcracker. The underclassmen had their auditions today, and the cast list should be up soon enough. Then rehearsals begin in earnest. Add the month-in English paper deadline, and soon I’ll be busy.

Another high school-translates-to-college fact: Procrastination. It gets worse, not better, so try to stay on track your senior year! Because I have some down time, I blog more infrequently. When I get a bit busier, the blog posts will pick up (unless it’s production week, when we push aside even productive procrastination in favor of pancaking shoes and spacing ballets).

Unlike high school, a college schedule affords you the time to complete schoolwork during the day. No longer do you work for six straight hours, break, then do homework. Instead, you might have an hour or two free in the morning (unless you are a freshman or sophomore dance major — then you are busybusy). The common tale? Go to the campus Starbucks to work on that paper… and talk the entire time with friends.

This freedom is both refreshing and challenging. As a new college student, find what works for you, of course. I would recommend, however, you luxuriate in the calm moments, avoid procrastinating in the truly hectic moments, and at least try to get some schoolwork done before 9 pm.

One Week (and a half) In: English Department

Friday morning, it is, and about a week and a half of classes gone past. Last post, I gave you the news from the dance department — now we shall examine the world of my English literature classes.

  • I’m only taking two English classes this semester, one of which meets only once a week, so this list might not be too long.
  • Shakespeare — EN 363 — meets three days a week. My one complaint? The textbook is HUGE. I’m a dancer/English major. I’m not used to lugging around the real textbooks like the science majors. Even my physics textbook was not this large, and I did not have to bring it every day.
  • We are doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Shakespeare class. I can still quote large tracts of this play, thanks to a brief but obsessive period in high school. I have seen or danced in three different productions of the ballet, as well as trying to choreograph my own version with my friend in middle school. (Laughable — we spent four hours in my basement and produced two minutes of movement.) I have the suspicion that the class will become much more difficult when we switch to plays not so familiar. YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image
  • The other class is Financial Fictions in the Gilded Age. We read books about financiers in the post-Civil War period. I’m intrigued because the last American literature class I took from the professor turned out to be great fun. We usually get to read some shoddily written books from circa 1850.
  • I’m also doing an independent study on British stream-of-consciousness novels. (Sorry, Dr. Garver. I’m working on my paper as soon as I finish this blog post, I promise!) I’m trying to claim that, while being the underdog in a colonizer/colonized relationship stinks no matter how you parse it, being recognized as such by the colonizer grants the colonized some measure of power. I use the examples of East African colonies (recognized as colonies by the British Empire) and Wales (not recognized as acting the part of the colonized and denied a voice granted to East African subjects).

And that’s the news from the English department, one week into the semester. Shakespeare is about to get harder, Financial Fictions is going to get funnier, and my independent study paper will be written. Let’s work on this paper.

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