28 April 2010

I just finished my St. Mary's Project, also known as my senior dissertation. 96 pages. I had to cut out a chapter or else it would have been longer.

Oh. Wow.

26 April 2010

"Don't push me. What's the hurry?"

20 days to graduation. 5 days until my SMP is due. Oh. My. God.

Life is coming up fast. Am I ready? Absolutely not. But that is the funny thing about life: it doesn't care whether you are ready or not. You either hit the ground running or fall flat on your face. Naturally, I am determined to hit the ground running.

Next post:
Celtic Festival
Final SMP preparations

19 April 2010

I wish the weather in Maryland would stay consistent for two days in a row. Yesterday it was ridiculously hot; today, I'm freezing (which, as I am aware, is not particularly unusual for me, but I am trying to prove a point at the moment.) I can be grateful, however, for the fact that it did not get ridiculously hot until mid-afternoon yesterday. In the morning I ran in the Run for Hospice 5k race in Leonardtown, Maryland. My roommate, Karen, suitemate Chris, and boyfriend Drew woke up at the buttcrack of dawn (which for college students is 8am) to accompany me to my race. I am so grateful that they did because I experienced a pollen-induced asthma attack at mile 2 and was seriously considering walking/stopping/dropping dead shortly before I saw the sign for mile 3. It was the thought that everyone (including myself) would be severely disappointed if I didn't finish that motivated me to round the final corner and sprint to the finish line. I finished at a personal best of 23:08, thus placing me 2nd in my age category (females 20-29) and 7th amongst the women overall. ('But Rebecca,' you might say, 'this seems highly implausible considering that it is you'. Well, check it out: http://www.runforhospice.org/wp-content/uploads/2010_5k_awards.txt).

More later.

16 April 2010

Trust me, I will be there when you need me

1 final, 1 SMP presentation, 1 conclusion, and 1 internship paper are all that separate me from graduation. All of that and 29 days, which is rather unbelievable considering that the last time I was actively counting down, we were still in the triple digits. As inconceivable as it may seem at moments, time does pass. The seconds are slipping away as I write this, never to be regained or relived. A sobering thought to be sure.

I wish that I could say that I am actively looking forward to graduation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For the first time in my life, I am content. Well, perhaps not content with the workload, the insomnia, and the stress, but I am content with the people around me and the setting that I am in. To leave when I've found some semblance of balance and normalcy seems a shame. At the same time, I realize that I have moved past St. Mary's. Undergraduate is over. The lessons that I was meant to learn have been duly noted. To live is to change and, in this case, change means moving on. In 40-something days (for this is the day that I leave for three months in the UK), I move on to different things. Different location, different people, different job, different experiences. The thought is both terrifying and exhilarating. Earlier this month, it would have dampened my mood considerably to think about it. However, recent events have resulted in the assurance of at least some stability, and for this I have no words to express my relief and gratitude.

On a more lighthearted note, World Carnival starts tomorrow. Two days of fun and merriment will hit campus as bands, dance troupes, and various forms of entertainment descend upon St. Mary's to take our minds off of the impending doom of finals. I certainly intend to let it take my mind off of the end of semester. Saturday morning I am running in a 5k to raise money for hospice in St. Mary's before heading back to campus to staff the Phi Alpha Theta table for three hours. We are raffling off items to raise money to send Gambian children to school. As for Saturday night...we shall see what the future holds. I fully intend to enjoy my World Carnival. :)

Other announcements:
Presentation date for my SMP Living Truths in Dying Times: A Social Examination of Plague in Early Modern England: Monday, May 3rd, 9:30-10:30AM, Kent Hall, St. Mary's College of Maryland

09 April 2010

After a relatively short appearance, spring was replaced by summer this week and the temperature in St. Mary's soared to the high 80's. With the heat still on in most academic buildings, Monday through Thursday morning were almost unbearable. The majority of the campus community took to stripping down to bikinis and shorts while employees attempted to beat the heat with portable fans. To-go boxes at the Great Room became the 'must-have' item as the cafeteria was simply too hot to eat in. For my part, I was unable to enjoy the weather as I was attempting to finish my SMP. Whilst others could be found tanning on Gallows Hill or by the river, I was trapped in my center cubicle in the library, feverishly typing about iatrochemical theory and plague, with intermittent (although perhaps too frequent) Facebook breaks in order to maintain my sanity. Tuesday night was almost too much for me, as I spent the entire night until 1am at the library, attempting to hide the fact that I was sweating ridiculously in the heat. Thank goodness that the library was not the hot spot to be that night as I would have been quite embarassed.

On Wednesday, I experienced a fit of rebellion and decided that my SMP was not going to ruin my entire April. The fact that it was due in six days was a bit worrying, but I was determined to enjoy the good weather while it lasted. After all, this is St. Mary's where the weather often borders on schizophrenic. So Drew and I grabbed towels, sunscreen, and (in his case) bathing suits, and headed down to the Point to take in some sun. While he went swimming in the river, I enjoyed the wonderful breeze coming off of the river. It was simply heavenly. We stayed out for an hour or so before academic obligations called, and we reluctantly returned to campus to fulfill our duties as students.

Thursday was a good day. Not only did I finish my last main body chapter of my SMP, but I also got to go on a 8 mile run on the trails. It was harder than when I ran 10 miles on the road last Saturday, but much more interesting in terms of surrounding scenery. Then it was a relaxing dinner, trip to the gym, and then wonderful time spent with the bf (as is all time spent with him). Unfortunately, I'm a rather horrible girlfriend and, instead of actually talking with him or enjoying his company, fell asleep :(

Back to the SMP: For those who have not heard me complain (which is perhaps only 2% of the world's population at this point as I complain about it a lot), my SMP is organized into 8 chapters. I have 6 main body chapters (Historiography & Methodology; Causes of the Plague; Remedies for the Plague; Flight versus Fight; Quarantine versus Pesthouses; and the Great Medical Debate) and then two supporting chapters (Introduction and Conclusion). Everything but the introduction and Conclusion are completed at this point. Their completion is this weekend's project as a entire completed draft is due to my adviser on Monday. I hope to submit it by Sunday, but I have found that what I 'hope' to do and what actually gets done are two different things.

02 April 2010

43 days until graduation.

April (and spring) have sprung and the weather is finally nice down here at St. Mary's. As I write this from the library, I can see the sun shining over the river, hear the birds chirping in the trees, and watch a band of hippie-wannabee freshmen guys playing frisbee golf. Meanwhile, I should be finishing the last three chapters of my SMP, but with such wonderful weather, who could possibly work?

Life is progressing as normal. This week has been relatively hectic as I've been quite ill for the past few days. Yesterday, Amnesty International, the club that I am VP of, held its letter-writing campaigning to various US Senators in the hopes of getting them to support the Congo Conflict Minerals Act of 2009 (For more information, see: http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/special-page/take-action-congo). We bought 8 large pizzas from Domino's and sat outside on the campus center patio recruiting students to write to their senators. Afterward, it was off to Bruce Riedel's lecture on the war in Afghanistan, which was incredibly enlightening. So fascinating, in fact, that I hope to attend the Patuxent Defense Forum's conference on a similar topic that will be held at SMCM in mid-April. Of course, this is one of about a thousand things that I hope to accomplish this month. Whether or not this actually gets done remains yet to be seen.

In other news, I've picked a title for my SMP. My presentation of 'Living Truths in Dying Times: A Social Examination of Plague in Early Modern England' will be given at Kent Hall on Monday, May 3, 2010. I have a feeling that I am going to have to bake cookies or other baked goods in order to bribe people to attend, but I am not above that. At the very least, my parents have agreed to come, as has my wonderful boyfriend. This is a good enough number for me, however, and I will be satisfied if they are the only three people in the room. Compared to graduation, this presentation is unimportant. It is graduation that is the big deal to me. After all, it is the last one that any of my family will be able to attend. It is unlikely that all of them will be able to come to London for my MA graduation in September 2011.

Goals for this weekend:
1. Finish SMP
2. Run lots (I'm entering a 5k/10k (haven't decided which I'll do yet) in leonardtown on the 17th)
3. FINISH SMP! (So important!)
4. Work Sat 1-5:30, Sun 11:30-5:15 at Campus Store