How to Write an Incredibly Important 25 Page Term Paper

About Criminality and Sexuality in Charles Dickens’ Works:

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(It looks like this. Check back after Friday at 4pm when this is due for more tales of how I learned to live in the library and had to carry around two bags because I had so many books.)

Part II:

It was hard. It was so so so hard. I’ve never written anything that length before, so I guess it was a good exercise considering I’ll be writing thesis next semester. Though we wrote and passed in ten pages of the paper in October, I had to scrap all of them because my argument and ideas changed. I’m glad, though…I am happier to have been stressed writing a paper that I feel really good, confident about versus one that was thrown together and easy. I spent nearly all my time in the library over the past week– even came back early from Thanksgiving break to work on it. But I feel incredibly accomplished, and a lot less stressed out. This coming week is the LAST WEEK OF CLASSES of the fall semester! I still have two final papers and a final exam, but I feel like the happiness finishing my term paper is going to propel me straight towards the end. And now I’m an expert on sexuality and criminality in Victorian England, and Dickens’ fond feelings for reforming prostitutes!

Done with Junior Year…what?

There you have it folks. As of 2:30 pm this afternoon, I took my last exam of the semester and now am free and done. It was tough for a while, that’s for sure. I usually like finals week at Bates, because everyone’s in the same situation and the only thing to do is study. But here, in Paris, the rest of the world doesn’t come to a crashing halt for exams– it was really difficult to focus and work hard! BUT, I survived. I took two exams at the Sorbonne, three exams with my program, and wrote an art history paper… which means I’m free!

But… I still have 11 days left in Paris. So what does that mean? Commence bucket list: Paris edition. All of my friends and I have compiled lists of things we want to do before we leave: things that we never got around to, things that sound cool, things that are so quintessentially Paris that it’d be a crime to leave without doing them. We’re comparing notes and putting together an incredibly epic plan for the next week that will keep us busy and happy, no regrets!

Step one, today, after my exam, I went to the Musee de l’Orangerie. Before the Musee D’Orsay opened in the late 80s, the Orangerie, which is at one end of the Tuileries gardens, housed most of the impressionists works. Now, however, it is home to incredible waterlillies painted by Monet and presented in giant white oval rooms with specific lighting that make for a peaceful but powerful experience. The permenant collection was also interesting: my friend Cora and I discussed our feelings on Renoir (both still lifes and portraits) as well as Cezanne and le Douanier Rousseau. The little art history knowledge I’ve gained since being here has certainly come in handy– there’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a painting and being able to say something true and maybe even insightful about it.

Here I am in front of one of Monet’s works!

The Budapest Weekend, or, How I was briefly penniless in Hungary

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Budapest, Hungary, where Bates runs a short term class on Central European theater and film. The course description is : A study of Hungarian, Polish, and Czech theater and film, focusing on the impact on these arts of the social and political changes of the last fifty years, from the Polish and Hungarian uprisings of 1956 to the rebuilding of culture in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989. While in Budapest, students view films at the Hungarian National Film Archive and attend performances of central European theater at the International Contemporary Drama Festival and the Hungarian National Theater. Visits to theater and film centers in Prague are also included. Sounds kind of awesome right?

This kind of short term course is a great option for Batesies who don’t want to commit to an entire semester abroad. These students spend 5 weeks, instead of 5 months in a foreign country, but still get exposed to a new language and culture.

As a student who is interested and active in theater at Bates, though not the theater department, I had many friends who were on the program, including one of my favorite professors, Kati Vecsey. So, though it was an expensive plane ticket, I decided that my last weekend trip while abroad would be to visit Hungary. What a great weekend I picked: Kati was able to get me tickets to go along with the class to shows. Friday night we saw Otello at the Opera house, (which was sung in Italian and subtitled in Hungarian) and Saturday we saw an incredible production of Moliere’s Misanthrope (which was also in Hungarian, and I’d never read it, but it was amazing nevertheless).


Travis, Danya, Michelle and I during one of the THREE intermissions at the Opera


Michelle, me, and Danya outside of the Opera (with a few special guests making cameo appearences)


Michelle and me out to dinner after the opera. Budapest was similar to Zagreb in that there were many pedestrian streets filled with restaurants and terraces. YUMMY. I had gnocchi.


The mighty Hotel Budapest: their home and classroom for 5 weeks


Look it’s a castle! Okay, so right nearby here happens to be where Katy Perry shot the final sequence of her music video for “Firework.” True confessions? It was one of my favorite guilty pleasure jams last semester so I FREAKED OUT when I heard it was nearby. Bummer of the century: they were setting up for some weird wine tasting or something so it was all closed. At least I got to take a little peek…


There I am! Solo shot, as per usual, just for you guys. Beautiful view beside some ancient ruins near the castle.


Here Danya acts as proof of where we dined for lunch: on a boat docked on the Danube. So classy, albeit a bit windy.

So I spent a wonderful weekend visiting my friends in Budapest, seeing amazing productions, even had a dinner with Kati (dreams do come true!) ! However, here I will note something that happened while I was away that is a problem that befalls many world travelers, and it was bound to happen at some point: my debit card got cancelled.

Throughout my time in Budapest, I’d been attempting to take money out from ATMs with no luck. I assumed at first it was a problem with the legitimacy of the ATMs, but soon realized something was wrong. So I called the bank (using google voice, duh) and found out that two weeks earlier, my card had been cancelled due to some fraud suspicions or something. Without notifying me. You’re probably thinking, wait, how did you not notice your card not working for 2 weeks? WELL, my parents were visiting me! I was being taken out to incredible meals! For the first time since coming to Paris I wasn’t obsessively counting pennies and taking out more money than I wanted to! So I didn’t notice…until I was penniless in Hungary. But, I was with friends. And they helped me out. And I made it home safely. And had 30 euros to my name for a while, but I called the bank every day and I now have a new card that works! Hooray! So, like I said, unfortunate but inevitable occurrence,  but I feel very lucky that it happened while I was surrounded by people who supported me.

Ok. Finals week in France. Harder than Bates, because the world keeps going on here. There’s PARIS things to do, like have a picnic in the park, or sit by the Seine. I don’t want to study for 4 exams or write my paper! But I must. So here I go…

T-Minus 2 weeks till the US. whew

Taking Tests (en Francais)

Yikes. What I can only assume is midterm season in the french semester is upon me. This… is cause for alarm. Because frankly, taking these tests is HARD. Harder then Bates midterms, but only for one reason: that I’m not familiar with the system. At Bates, I am a meticulous planner. I do so many things (clubs, plays, classes, etc) that every minute must be planned out perfectly. And I thrive because of it! Being able to plan out exactly when I’ll brainstorm for a paper, when I’ll outline it, when I’ll draft it, when I’ll submit it for notes from the professor, and when I’ll pass in a final copy helps me live day to day without worry, knowing that I’ve planned and I’ll be able to complete my work satisfactorily and on time.

Things are different here. Mostly due to my unfamiliarity to their system, their way of thought, testing process, I feel helpless at times to ensure my success. Last Tuesday I took my first devoir sur table, which was a three hour in-class essay. All we knew before getting there was it would be on Diderot’s La Religieuse; even when another student asked the professor if it would be about the story, the author, or the political climate at the time of writing, he just laughed and told us it could be on anything! I read the book, in English and French. So in my studying I wasn’t focused on memorizing each happening in the story of a young woman and the terrors she faces while being shuffled from convent to convent. What I instead directed my attentions towards was the structure.

The professor had taken a lot of time to detail the “plan” — an outline/draft that French students write before recopying everything onto a final draft. This plan has a fully written out intro and conclusion, three large sections (a statement in favor of the thesis, a problematic against it, and a resolve) and within each, smaller subsections outlined out with examples. I took this very seriously; I worked hard on my plan because I assumed we had to pass it in, otherwise why would it be so specifically taught? If it was just a rough draft, couldn’t it be done any old way that worked? Next thing I know, there is only 15 minutes left and I’m barely recopying my second paragraph. I start to freak out. I’ve never had trouble with time management before. I barely could understand what had happened– I was convinced that the clock hadn’t been adjusted for daylight savings time and I had, in fact, an hour and 15 minutes to go. No dice. Frantically cutting and scribbling my conclusion, I was the last to pass in my pile of papers. My professor came up to me, and with a laugh said “All you American students do the same thing! You don’t need to pass in the plan…” I must have at this point been so entirely dumbfounded and sad looking, because he asked me, with kindness, if I’d finished. When I stammered “kind of” he looked at me for a few more seconds and then (THANK GOODNESS) said “you know what, why don’t I just take the plan too, just to see.” ***these conversations all happened in French, but I translated for you, dear readers.

I just really messed up. I didn’t manage my time well. I wasn’t used to that type of test. The time snuck up on me. I’m not upset– I’ll get what I get. But at least I know how to better manage my time (ie don’t put so much effort into the plan) for the next one!

Next up: tomorrow morning I have a reading quiz on all of the books for my comparative lit class. Spent my day today doing a lot of reading. Bring it on, Sorbonne!

Goodbye, 2010

What a year. Already over. I’ve decided to look back on 2010 and note some of my favorite memories. We’ll see how this goes.

-Started off 2010 in San Diego with my family. It was… colder than expected
-Once back at Bates, kicked off Winter Carnival by jumping in the Puddle.
-Held an open house for ART COMMONS (with the help of Matt and Charlotte, of course) where students came to paint on the walls and discuss student art at Bates.
-Took an English class with Eden Osucha that led to an engagement with literature, a declaration, and several opportunities to see fiction and poetry readings.
-Began looking at the stars for my Lunar and Planetary science class, and actually understanding it.
-Was elected as the publicity director of WRBC and helped to put on awesome concerts including Hey Mama, Toro Y Moi & Washed Out & Small Black, Seabear (photos!) and Phantogram by the end of sophomore year.
-Helped out with WRBC’s trivia night 2010— and stayed up all night
-Produced One Acts for the Robinson Players
-Got dressy and dazzled at the All College Gala
-Finished the semester like a pro and headed down to Puerto Rico
-Rocked out at spring concerts including Passion Pit at Bowdoin, Sleigh Bells & Rusko & Major Lazer in Cambridge, Sleigh Bells & Yeasayer in Boston, and  Ronjstock back at Bates.
-Took a class about the politics of theater– still don’t really get Brecht though, don’t hold it against me.
-Brought 900 local school children together to see free theater put on my the Robinson Players
-Watched my older brother graduate from college, freak outs about the future and growing up ensued
-Packed up and came home, finished sophomore year successfully. Realized I was one half done with college. Freak outs ensued.
-Ran off on a romantic trip to Montreal with my best friend where we ate gelato (among other things)
-Worked at summer camp and dressed up like a superhero
-Went down South to visit Schuyler in New Orleans
-Started Junior year! Took three English classes and a science class which was a pretty tough course load.
-Kicked off this year’s WRBC concerts with Dr Dog and later closed out the semester with The Hood Internet & The Knocks.
-Performed in Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire as Claire. Was the star. Got to be a diva for a hot second. And loved it.
-Took a weekly trip to fine dining establishments in the area for the Friday Lunch series
-Helped out with WRBC’s Trivia Night 2010.5– and didn’t stay up all night
-Kicked my finals’ butts and packed up my life while my head reeled about not coming back for so long.

There ya have it. A year in (condensed) review. With hyperlinks. Happy almost 2011!

See you in 9 months, Bates

Home again, home again. Except this time there’s a permanence; heading back to school isn’t just around the bend. Instead the next great adventure is Paris, France for Winter semester. I leave January 14th and won’t be back until the very end of May. Okay, true confessions? I’m terrified. I spent much of this semester very ready, very excited to go abroad and experience something new and different. And then as finals week began to wind down, I was struck by the seriousness of the situation. I finished my last Shakespeare paper and realized that I had to pack, and that I was done, and that I would be leaving for a very long time. After France, is a grown up internship for the summer, then senior year, then the real world. If these past 5 semesters have passed by so quickly, I started to think I’d blink and poof! Be in the real world.

Packing up my room was quite the bummer. I’d turned my little single into my inner sanctum, covered in posters from every theater, music and art event of the last three years. It was so sad to take everything down. I’d been super busy with finals all week and then had to buckle down and pack it all up Friday morning before I drove home that afternoon. Near the end of the process, it was a sad sight:

And now I’m home. Don’t get me wrong, I ‘m so glad to be here and spend time with my family and friends, but I’m already missing Bates way more than expected. I guess I’ll just have to get ready to embrace abroad. Paris countdown: 25 days!

The Hood Internet/the Knocks Concert

Last night, despite finals week LOOMING ahead of the Bates community, WRBC threw a sick concert– the last one of the semester. We brought the KNOCKS and the Hood Internet to ensure that dancing would be the main event of the evening– and oh boy it was.

We were all a little antsy, because all the performers were late arrivals, but in the end, there was time enough for everything. There was a limited capacity for the show, in the Benjamin Mays Center, and we could only sell 300 tickets. They only cost a buck, so ticket COST wasn’t a deterrent for people to come. However, about 10 minutes before doors opened at 9:30, there was a gigantic line snaking all down the paths outside, everyone trying to get their hands on a coveted wristband. I was not one of the board members designated to take money or apply wristbands, but I could easily observe how quickly the show sold out. You know what happened next? Kids went crazy trying to get into this show. They were sneaking in the windows in the bathroom, the loading door, all sorts of places… only once they got in and didn’t have a wristband they were immediately escorted out by our burly security guards. It made the show that much more special– everyone who was there REALLY wanted to be there.

I was SO EXCITED to dance, to let loose after a crazy semester full of work and as my last opportunity to get sweaty on the dance floor at Bates until next September.

As always, hanging out with the performers is a wonderful perk of putting on shows. The Knocks were super friendly and they really liked my hat, which was a freebie that my mom found in the depths of her office– an original “acme crimenet” baseball cap a la Where in the World is Carmen San Diego.

After the Hood Internet ended their amazing, long set, no one wanted to stop dancing. All that I’d promised in the numerous announce emails and facebook events — “a big, sweaty dance party”– had been accomplished. And that’s a great note to end on for WRBC this semester. We started off strong with Dr Dog, printed and sold awesome tees and tanks, rocked out on Trivia Night, and ended with this blow out of a show. Though I’m sad that this board will never be together again, with the juniors going abroad and then seniors graduating in the spring, I still love WRBC so so much and cannot wait for the wonderful things we will do next year.