Monthly Archives: August 2010

American Studies.

During the spring of my freshman year, I declared a major. For the third time. When I came to Notre Dame, I had my heart set on studying economics. Once I realized a-how much math is involved in economics and b-that my first microeconomics class went til 4:55 pm on Football Fridays, I changed my mind. The next semester, I was fortunate to have a great sociology-based University Seminar, so I decided I wanted to major in Sociology. But then I got a little nervous—I felt that I was pigeonholing myself. So without ever having taken a course in the department, I declared as an American Studies major. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Links, Notre Dame

Mass.

I’m happy to be back at Notre Dame for a lot of reasons. Now that I’m back on campus, I get to live in a building full of my friends, I get to take challenging classes and learn interesting things from smart people, and I get to spend my time doing all sorts of things that I like to do. I’m lucky to be a student at the nation’s premier Catholic institution of higher education. One of the best things about back-to-school here is back-to-Mass. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Notre Dame

Frosh-O.

I haven’t written in awhile, but I’ve been very busy. I have been back at school for almost a week, and for the past 3 days, I’ve been working as a Freshman Orientation co-coordinator for my dorm, Welsh Family Hall. Freshman Orientation, or Frosh-O, is Notre Dame’s weekend-long introduction program for new students. Residence life at ND is rather unique. Freshman students are assigned random roommates in the 29 single-sex dormitories. Students tend to live in the same dorm on campus for all four years of their undergraduate careers, but in recent years, the population of seniors living off-campus in apartments or houses has grown. Notre Dame doesn’t have a Greek system, but the dorms function sort of like fraternities and sororities. We do the matching t-shirt, themed dance, signature event, featured service organization thing. Dorms have mascots, colors, cheers, and traditions. I’ve heard the Notre Dame residence life system described as Greek life without rush.

Frosh-O is a welcome weekend for freshmen and their parents, complete with dorm events and University orientation activities. Each dorm’s Frosh-O staff moved in early on Wednesday afternoon. That night, the Student Activities Office gathered all of the Frosh-O staffs together for a meeting, the main message of which was “be peppy, don’t drink”. We spent all of Thursday decorating the dorm, shopping for food and supplies, and preparing for the arrival of 83 new members of Welsh Family Hall. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Notre Dame

Damers.

I have sung the praises of the News & Observer. I’ve devoted multiple entries to some of the N&O’s most excellent features (obituaries, Carolina Outdoors, wedding announcements). Today, I am sad to announce that my unwavering devotion to my favorite Raleigh daily has wavered.

On the front page of today’s “Life, Etc.” section, the N&O featured a story about a pair of recent college grads who are orchestrating a plan to “smash the Guinness world record for most people spooning” at a music festival in Mebane, NC. As I perused the page, I noticed a familiar name about halfway through the article. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under North Carolina, Notre Dame

Modern Lodge.

Last week, I found myself mumbling a litany of thanks to my high school French teacher, my college Italian professors, and Dora the Explorer. It was either very late Sunday night or very early Monday morning, and I was listening to (and understanding!) conversations in about 6 different languages. Cynthia, Liz, and I were at a party at a backpacker hostel with our friend Carrie-Anne, who seems to know every single international volunteer in Kolkata. The hotel, if you could call it that, is called the Modern Lodge. My American accent makes the name sound like “Maaahdern Laadge”, but the place sounds ten times hipper if you imagine somebody telling you about it with a British or Irish accent. “Mohdehn Lohdge.” Much better.

I already mentioned how we didn’t encounter many other Americans in Kolkata. The Modern Lodge is an inexpensive long-term residence located off Sudder Street, a shady avenue that is perpetually jammed with taxi drivers on break and twenty-something Westerners wearing Ali Baba pants. Carrie-Anne wanted us to come to the party to bid farewell to Michael, an Irish guy she’d been working with at Howrah Station. We gamely trooped up to the roof of the Modern Lodge, and as we emerged from the stairwell, we were met with a raucous, “Carrie-Anne! Heeeeyyyyy!” Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under India

Lee Greenwood.

In 4th grade, I was a proud member of the River Woods Elementary School choir. My musical career didn’t progress much past that point, but I had a taste of stardom when I got to sing a solo (“I hope I get my raisins from Fresno!”) in a song from “The Music Man”. One of my most vivid memories of my days as a not-so-talented singer is of a concert where we performed Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American”. Now that I think about it, the show must have been quite a sight to see—40 little girls in denim jumpers and red t-shirts, belting out a rather mature patriotic ballad about “starting again with just my children and my wife”. But the school was in a wealthy suburb, so I’m sure all the Republican parents were delighted. Although I’ve managed to forget the words to countless other songs, Lee Greenwood’s lyrics remain cemented in my memory. I even remember the harmonies “from the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee”.

During our first week at Loreto Sealdah, Cynthia, Liz, Colleen, and I observed a “value education” class. It started out with a lot of promise and dissolved into an overly-complex visualization exercise. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under India

Home.

8/6
I’m back! Early.

I decided to leave Kolkata on Thursday 8/5. I was able to get an earlier flight out–I was originally scheduled to leave on Saturday 8/14. I finished my research, so I accomplished what I went to India to do. I chose to return home earlier than planned because India has made me think hard about where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I knew that I would encounter some challenges during the trip, but I came across a whole set of problems and difficulties that I never could have anticipated. At first, I thought I was just jetlagged or adjusting to the new culture, so I tried to tough it out. I gave it a shot. After 3 weeks, I realized that what I was feeling wasn’t jetlag–it was something much more than that. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under India