Friday, August 14, 2009

I know, I know.

I'm a bad blogger. A thousand apologies. There's a draft I keep meaning to finish and post all about my adventures in UD but I never seem to get to it. One word, folks: Facebook.
But I'm here now! So don't give up on me! Stay tuned....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Concerning UD

Alright, I know it's late, but here it is. The account of my two weeks at the University of Dallas. Voila!

When I got back from UD, Dad asked me if it (the overall experience) scared me away from college or made we want to go. Definitely the latter! The best thing was the 'sense of community' people are always talking about. Because all 23 of us lived in the same dorm (guys and girls were on different floors and were not allowed into each other's hallways), and because we did most everything together, by the end of the first week we were pretty much a big, slightly insane and often quite loud family. Part of it may be how we teamed up against some chemistry students who were staying in the dorm next to ours. I won't give you all the details of the chemistry vs. philosophy war, but it was intense. "Power to the ninja philosophers!" said a piece of paper that Julanne made and taped on the wall of the common area.

Another good thing about UD....nice dorms! Wayyy better than the ones the OM team stayed in in Maryland. We didn't have private bathrooms, but the one everybody used was clean and decent, and we had a sink and mirror in our rooms so we didn't have to walk down the hall to brush our teeth etc. Bedrooms were fair-sized, and were occupied by two or three people each. The common area had a living room area with a TV, DVD player and VCR (yes, we watched quite a few movies in our free time). There was a foosball table, tables and chairs, and a full-sized kitchen complete with snacks and goodies! And the cafeteria food was actually not too bad. There was even a soft-serve ice-cream dispenser! Which, of course, I used almost daily.

And as for the actual program, you know, all the academic stuff ; it was great! All of our lecturers were great and unique, every one. After a lecture in the morning, everybody broke off into groups for seminars. My seminar director was Mrs. Andrea Diduch, a major in politics. The seminars were always interesting, though I didn't say much during them. Some people talk more than others and I was perfectly happy to sit back and listen to the smarter, more opinionated people (anybody who went to Arete who might be reading this probably knows which people I'm talking about :) discuss things.

We also had two field trips: one to Fort Worth and one to Dallas. At FW we went to the Kimball Art Museum and then were let loose on downtown. My roomate (who is from Fort Worth) did a very smart thing by taking me to chocolate shop, thus putting herself forever in my good favor. We browsed around in Barnes & Noble for a while and (here's the kicker) went to see HP. Yes, yes, I know. I, who never read, showed interest in or was allowed to read the books, and had put up with my BFF's HP obsession for heaven knows how long paid money (nine dollars, to be exact. ridiculous) to voluntarily see a Harry Potter movie. Don't hurt me, Katie! Everybody else was going to see it and it's not like I hate HP or anything. I like it, it's entertaining and fun and after all, how could I be best friends with a self-proclaimed Harry Potter nut and not get rubbed off on at least a little? Anyways, cool movie.

The next day we went to Dallas and the art museum there, which was really fun. I go crazy over the ancient Greco-Roman stuff, of which there was plenty. Not to mention an enormous Byzantine mosaic! COOL! No, I'm not a nerd, not at all. Oh, and the Egyptian stuff! They have a real mummy! I was looking at it and I thought it was just the case until I looked at the bottom end of it where part of the top had been cut off and there were feet sticking out! AWESOME, RIGHT?! It was pretty small, actually. Shorter than me. I don't recall reading whether it was a man or a woman. Anyways, the museum was really neat and then after that we went to uptown Dallas. I got a book at Borders and walked around with Julanne and Elizabeth, checking out shops and meeting possums (there's more to that, maybe some other time). After about 3 hours of that we all piled back into the bus - and almost left Kelly behind in the Borders. From there we went to Shakespeare In The Park, which at that time was doing the Taming Of The Shrew, which, as you may recall, we had read. It was very well done and a lot of fun, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for family viewing.

Over the second week we each had to write a paper for a presentation at the end of the week. My first reaction to this: Eek! The paper was supposed to be on any topic which we had studied there or were going to study there that we found interesting. I wrote about Aristotle's great-souled man. I won't go into any detail about it, because I don't know how many of my readers have read Aristotle and would know at all what I'm talking about. Anywho, I wrote the paper and my presentation went fairly well. Presenters were grouped by topic the best they possibly could. The other papers of my group had virtually nothing to do with each other; we were the misfits. :-) The presentations worked like this:

The group/panel of presenters sits at a table at the front of the auditorium and takes turns reading their papers to the audience.
Each presentation gets about ten minutes.
Five minute period for questions among the panel.
Five minute period for questions from the audience.

Everybody did a great job with their papers and there were some very interesting topics thrown about.
The last day arrived! Oh no! Presentations in the morning, and we were more or less left to our own devices for the rest of the day (I never thought that an hour or two of free time sounded so good!). Around 4:00 we girls started getting pretty for the big dinner and dance that were to close the program. We all went up to a special dining room on the second floor of the university center, above the cafeteria. There we sat down at tables and, after speeches by Mrs. Smith and Dr. Cowan and getting our certificates, we ate a delicious catered dinner, followed by my favorite! Tiramisu! Yay! We took lots of pictures of ourselves.....with our seminar groups....the guys doing a pyramid, or trying.....Charlies Angels....
Then we went downstairs and downstairs again into the...*assumes deep scary voice* RATHSKELLER!!!!! Also known as the basement. :-P There we danced the night away, having a blast. Gradually, we all went back to the dorm and the party continued in a different way. Have you ever stood in a living room and tried to hit a water-football around like a volleyball with some verrrry enthusiastic players? Serious fun. Later we somehow started a pillow fight with the boys that somewhat resembled the battle of Thermopylae. It was fun until they started spraying Axe everywhere. Arrrgghh. Ridiculous little boys in the guise of philosophical teens, every one of them.

Saturday dawned bright and fair, and one by one, everybody left. Right now it's hard to believe it was just a little more than a month ago that I said goodbye to them.....although someday I'll be saying, "Has it been a whole year?" and then "Has it been ten years?"

And when that happens....... REUNION!!!!!! Oh yeah.