Friday, December 31, 2010

Gleek

I just finished catching up with Glee... Oh high school.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Infinity Ball

Last night, my friends and I went to Infinity Ball. This is a formal dance for third years. Reminiscent of prom, where women got $30 manicures and squeezed into $100 dresses and then got down on the dance floor, Infinity Ball also brought out the shiniest dresses and killer heels for women.

Or you wore sandals like I did.

Truthfully, I had been wanting to buy a "little, black dress" for a long time, and thought that the Infinity Ball was a good excuse to invest $60 in a good dress. However, Fashion Square Mall was disappointing and even -gasp- depressing after three hours of shopping and finding no formal wear affordable for a college woman. My friend got nice shoes though.

On the way back, we bumped into a friend, KFly, who had sensibly gone grocery shopping. After helping her bring her groceries to her room, I was blessed (or pitied) by some higher being, because KFly had a gorgeous black dress that she could lend me. I felt a little too Cinderella-esque as I rushed back to my room with my dress and transformed into a chic twenty-year old fashionista. However, to spite whoever thought it was nice to set me up in a fairy-tale, I wore white sandals, no jacket, and rode a motorcycle to Alumni Hall. Well, maybe no motorcycle.

It was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. The live band was decently good and sang favorites like Kids (MGMT). Dean Groves emceed and there were canolis. I danced like a manic (think 7-year-olds dancing better than Beyonce). I promise you that I wore something better than they did.

Diversity Career Fair

The smell of crisply ironed suits and freshly printed brochures was pungent, but not as distinct as the fabulous smiles flashing after a firm handshake.

"Hi. I'm John White. Thanks for waiting in line so patiently," he said after each handshake.

Commence the thinly disguised adulation that poured forth from the poor, nervous soul in a pencil skirt. The line dutifully shifted forward a couple of steps and pretended not to overhear the conversation.

"Do you have a resume?" he inquired, and then upon receiving a sheet that was supposed to encompass the entirety of the person shaking in front of him, he asked, "Tell me about yourself."

Commence the 30-second elevator speech that the soul had practiced in the bathroom mirror the night before. The line restlessly shifted side to side in tune with the pen that he tapped against the resume.

John looked up, interested, when several key words were dropped: "self-taught," "HTML," "co-founded," "website design and development company."

"Digital," he declared, "It sounds like you'd be perfect for digital."

The soul abruptly shut up and timidly nodded her head, even though in the beginning she declared that she was interested in being a creative.

As John rattled off the process of applying for digital, his eyes slid behind and noticed the restlessness of the line snaking out behind and cutting off the poor Social Security woman from the foot traffic. Realizing that this was going to take forever, he looked up and smiled.

"Thank you for your time. Do you have any questions?"

However, John was already dog-earing her resume.

A quick note about this man's system. He either dog-ears your resume--- or doesn't. He either puts it in this pile horizontally--- or this pile vertically. All in front of the people in the line.

He dog-eared the resume and placed it horizontally in the bigger stack. The soul realized her time is up.

"Good luck," he said and gave her a firm handshake.

"Yes." A faint reply. "Good-bye."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's Conspire to Ignite [Muse]

I must be on a roll. For those of you not familiar with the excitement related to these first ringing notes, it's Muse! Muse is coming to Charlottesville this Wednesday at 7:30pm. I bought the tix last year, because I thought this would be my first official concert. What I didn't plan on was B.o.B, Ingrid Michaelson, and all those other summer visiting artists making up a series of my first concert experiences.

Over the summer, I made it one of my goals to experience the Charlottesville culinary scene as much as possible. One equally challenging and pleasurable goals should be to experience the Charlottesville music scene as much as possible. Charlottesville is surprising in that it attracts a lot of talented artists to its multiple music venues. Ingrid Michaelson was at the Jefferson, which is a fantastic, newly renovated music space. The Southern is supposed to be a great venue as well.

For large names though, such as Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, John Paul Jones Arena takes the cake. This is where Muse will be! Muse is an English rock band that has awesome rhythms. I'm such a groupie that I'll be there around five. Or maybe not, because my friend holds my tickets hostage as she has class that ends at 6:30...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson is awesome

I dedicate this quick entry at 1:52am to Ingrid Michaelson, who is witty, sassy, and a phenomenal singer. This isn't my video, but it could have been. The video doesn't do her justice. This woman has been doing concerts seven nights in a row, and she came to Charlottesville to perform at the newly renovated Jefferson Theatre.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"You see, the trick in a ten page paper is in the outline."

The reason I have been in Clemons Library (oh, the joy) since 10am today during Homecoming Weekend is because I have a ten page paper. This delightfully even-numbered paper needs to get done. Now.

I dared to breathe unfiltered air and feel unadulterated sunlight when I ventured out to grab lunch with Sophie. We were on our way to Newcomb before it closed its doors for brunch, when I heard my name being called. Turning around, I see a person I hadn't seen in a while since he graduated this past May.

"Hey! What are you doing here?"

Oh, duh. It's Homecoming Weekend. The person out of place is me, coming out of a library on this gorgeous Saturday.

Suave as usual, BJ smiles generously and laughs off my social gaffe. I nervously laugh along. I know he is questioning the reason for my creeping out of Clemons, looking like I was wearing clothes that could pass off for my grandmother's PJs.

"You look cute."

Uh, thanks. I quickly explained that I was writing a ten page paper and was in the process of swiping a meal from Newcomb before retreating back into the fluorescent-striped rooms of Clemons. Then to stall an awkward silence, I turned around and introduced my friend Sophie. Luckily Sophie struck gold when she said she was a political science major, also writing a nine page paper.

"Ah," BJ said sympathetically, shaking hair out of his eyes, "I've done my fair share of long papers. You see I was also a political science major, double majoring with Economics."

"You see, the trick in a ten page paper is in the outline."

Nodding thoughtfully, Sophie looked at me and I realized that I was doomed. I had spent two hours on the abstract. There was no way I was going to have an outline and still finish this paper in time by Monday.

Thanking him and promising to meet up with him later, even though I didn't have his phone number, I walked away with Sophie. She was fascinated by Newcomb because it was her first time there as she didn't have a dining plan. I made sure that I showed her to taste-test everything before heaping piles of it on her plate. Newcomb is notorious for having food that looks decent, and then upon the first bite, laughing at you for believing its empty promise of deliciousness.

Well, I wrote enough now. It's only been 18 minutes and I wrote an entry. So why can't this essay finish?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pillow Pals equals Anchor Babies?

I swear each year the exchange students see more of the United States than I did in all of my childhood. This fall break, I have two French exchange students who went to Philadelphia, one Italian exchange student who went to Las Vegas, a Singaporean who went to Boston, and a group who went to New York.

Well I went home.

I should stop saying this, but home still doesn't feel like home. And I'm starting to forget my home in New York.

I also have a confession to make. I have a pillow pal. After seeing Toy Story 3, I should feel less ashamed about having a cuddly stuffed animal in my dorm room, but sadly I am feeling defensive about my cuddly lamb of a pillow pet. If you check out their website [http://www.mypillowpets.com/], you'll see why I'm so defensive. That's right. On the FRONT page of their website is a three-year-old with his pillow pal. And right below that is a link that says "COMBAT PILLOW PAL FRAUD." Don't laugh. It's a big deal, okay? Reading that page, I realized that my fuzzy animal of a pillow was actually... a victim of fraud. It wasn't its fault that it was born an impostor.

Which leads me to the term anchor baby (nice tie-in, I know). For those of you who don't know, anchor babies is a "term to describe a child born in the U.S. to illegal aliens, and is generally used as a derogatory reference to the upposed role of the child, who as a US citizen through the legal principle of jus soli, may facilitate immigration for relatives through family reunification" (Wikipedia.Org). While in truth, "a US citizen child cannot file for a US visa for its parents until the child is 21 years of age, and upon reaching that age the child must also be earning at least 125% of the US poverty threshold to be able to apply."

In late September, LSA publicized an Immigration Panel that it would be having [Youtube video]. There has been debate over the term anchor babies, especially on their youtube page. To quote, "The law, when originally written, obviously didn't factor in the pandemic that would eventually evolve as a result of Mexicans and their disregard for laws, among other things. Mexicans sure have no trouble reproducing offspring and relying on the backs of others to pay the bill." and the response was "So what I'm gathering from your comment is that Mexicans are a pandemic and it's their fault they want to improve their lives." This gives you a sense of how people feel!

Monday, October 4, 2010

FratMusic

That's right. Fratmusic. I can't get over the title. Yesterday at a waffle-filled, syrup-laden, and ice-cream'd event hosted by the Council of our residential college, there was awesome music. I'm talking about remixes of great songs like "Memories" (David Guetta ft. Kid Cudi), "Stereo Love" (Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina) and "What a Night" (Kontrol & Lil' Jon). Essentially people came for the food and stayed because of the music.

So I checked out this site and woah. Fratmusic.com is FRESH. Then I found out a UVa student who went by DJ Omarish last year before he graduated was working for (maybe even created?) fratmusic.com. Apparently he is making big bucks in San Francisco. From what I remember when I met him, he was a Lawnie who is down to earth. Well, good for him. It's nice to see people in alternative jobs than i-banking in NYC or law school.

Ah, so this essay that I'm supposed to be writing... hahaha, peace out!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Design Marathon

In spring of 2010, I had wandered into the second floor of the cool building in downtown. I had walked in because it looked modern, classy and had the word "design" hanging in the large, glass windows. No one challenged me as I passed the double glass-door threshold so I tried to look like I fit in this chic, modern space. There were a couple of desks and monitors clustered in the corner, but the majority of the space was open and inviting. I think there was a photography exhibit, but I don't remember exactly. What was this place? Who worked here? What did it do? I wasn't able to find anyone unoccupied to ask my questions, so I just signed up my name on the newsletter email list and left.

Thank goodness I walked in.

I received several emails from Charlottesville Community Design Center (CCDC), one of which was for the Design Marathon. "Calling all Nonprofits and Designers!" it said and I called. For those of you who don't know, the Design Marathon is an annual event where teams of talented designers (architects, landscape architects, planners, and graphic designers) donate 12 hours of professional services to ten competitively selected local non-profit organizations. That happened October 1st.

Hmm, how to describe the intense time-crunch to provide innovative and creative solutions to design problems? Absolutely fun. I want to be a graphic designer.

While I won't post the ideas and works that I came up with, I must say that this event has enormously boosted my ego. Down, girl, down. I barely noticed the time flying by and truthfully it was fantastic. All the designers were coddled with free coffee (apparently necessary), complimentary pizza lunches, access to a high-tech printer, and attentive volunteers who catered to all your needs. It was a designer's heaven.

You can check out the final designs of the Design Marathon at their blog: http://designmarathon.wordpress.com/.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birthday

And so begins my second decade on the face of this earth. Let me tell you something about my birthday. My birthday is not auspicious at all, being one of this days that coincides with a large traumatic event shadowing all attempts to be cheery and festive. (Think Pearl Harbor.) Therefore since middle school, I have mentally lessened the importance of my birthday, choosing instead to partake in the mass remembrance of those lost. Now it is the 9th anniversary and for some friends who lived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Boulder, Colorado, or even Singapore, Singapore, or Mumbasa, Kenya, the tragedy that my friends and their parents witnessed first-hand was not as vivid.

What did that mean for my birthday? A party.

Therefore for those of you who saw me on that day, you must forgive my odd reactions to cards shoved underneath my door, presents behind people's backs, and masses of people entering my small room shouting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!". (Because you are curious, my reaction was to back into the corner of my room and say "Help! I'm claustrophobic! Let's move to the lounge!" Hehe.)

However you must understand that I am grateful. I truly am. The purpose of the celebration of one's arrival to this world is to make that person feel unique and special. (This actually is a very socialized concept, because in truth, you share a birthday with 18 million people in the world. That would be 3.6 million Chinese, 3 million Indians, 824,456 people who reside in the United States, 90,682 Canadians, 166,052 British, 225,813 Germans, and 349,216 Japanese.) But it worked. I bought into it. The fact that dozens of people wished me a happy birthday and smiled at me that day and the tons of freebies associated with you birthday (Hotcakes gives you a free slice of cake) gave me warm fuzzies. I really enjoyed my birthday.

Which is why I made funny thank you cards! I utilized the motif of a robot, because that may have been what I was before: absolutely indifferent to the day when the last bolt was screwed in my head. However, some robots are obviously female, some have hearts, and some love to listen to music. Robots have souls too!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Clemons Update

I am sitting in Clemons Library, listening to a teaser of the latest song by 2NE1, a Korean girls group. Nothing new. What is surprising is the fact that I'm doing the preliminary work for an essay that is due in two weeks.

WHAT?

This semester has been all about being on top of my readings. When class participation is 30, 40, 50% of your grade, you better come to class prepared and having done your readings. As of right now, September 4 15:20:32, I am on top of my readings. What now?

That's right. I am writing my essay. I just wanted to report that in writing so that I will believe it three months later. Have a nice Saturday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

5/8 semester

My schedule is finalized. I've decided that the best way not to get annoyed with SIS is to plan everything far in advance so that you have only minimal contact with the hideous beast that is SIS. (On a side note, I heard a first year called it S.I.S., which technically is its name but no one says the letters S.I.S. Anyway, I thought it was adorable and I beamed a smile at the poor 17-year-old redhead. Yes, I am now a third-year so I can officially creep on the young ones.)

Therefore I am taking all the classes that I desired. Although I had to drop my art-class-of-the-semester, I decided to opt instead for an interdisciplinary class taught by a Darden Professor, Gregory Fairchild. Googling his name reveals a plethora of news articles singing praise, videos about "Gregory Fairchild on Business Ethnics" or "Gregory Fairchild on Entrepreneurial Research," and still shots of this man in action in the classroom. Obviously he is a celebrity, a demigod, a super being descended upon us little undergraduates to bestow his wisdom. Because of the fact that he cold calls, uses cases in class so that I HAVE to do the reading beforehand, and split the class into teams each headed by a MBA candidate in a cold competition of wits and advertising campaigns, I am impressed by his ability to keep me in his class--- AND drop an art class to stay in.

My other classes are also seminars--- loads of reading. Ah wells.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to School

Guess where I am. Yes, I'm in Charlottesville, which shouldn't be much of a surprise to those of you who followed my overwhelming two posts over the summer (gome! sorry in Japanese!). However the excitement factor comes in because I am in my dorm!

RAs and "alternates" (They are people who had the potential to become RAs but couldn't because there were no space-- they are on a waitlist.) come back a week early and participate in grueling training called O-Week to be the great, supportive team for you when you arrive on Grounds. I'm really excited for this year's staff, because we have a fantastic mix of new, inquisitive RAs who bring a lot of energy and experienced, talented returning RAs. We also have great "kisma," which is my combination word of "charisma" (meaning compelling charm that can inspire devotion in others) and "kismet" (meaning fate or destiny). You can guess what it means. ;)

Already we have hilarious inside jokes and quotes. My favorite ones are:
  • "Hey, so because I'm new in this area, are there any great eating places around here? Y'know, like 7-11?"
  • "JESSIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" *shakes banana in the air like Stephen Colbert talking about his arch nemesis, Rain*
  • Y: "Wait, so why did you stroke my knee?"; V: "Because it was shiiiiiiny."
If these aren't funny to you, then it's not because I'm not funny. I'm sorry to say, but inside jokes aren't meant to be funny for people who don't know the inside joke.

Along with that quip, I am going to leave you with this clip, which gives you a taste of how I get pumped for O-Week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Newsflash: 9 minute hurricane

Yes Yes, I have been pretty slacker with the entries, and I apologize. Before I do a "catch-up" entry though, I will put up these crazy pictures and talk about our very own natural disaster.

As the title says, we had a nine-minute hurricane in Charlottesville. Apparently this bad-boy stormed across Blacksburg, VA (aka home of Virginia Tech) before rampaging into Charlottesville. Did I mention that this was the first day of the first session of Orientation? For those nervous first years out there (and nervous parents), it was quite a story to tell.

The rain poured down around 5pm, instantly drenching the pavement and all those who were unfortunately outside. This weather wasn't too surprising though, because we've had flash thunderstorms (and flood warnings) a couple weeks before. However, things got noticeably scarier when the wind picked up and the rain started falling horizontally. As seen by the pictures, the wind shook branches and hurled small stones against the window. Finally large trees were brought down with lightning, thunder accentuating each thud.

Then it stopped and it was 5:13pm. The damage? Power lines were out (the building I was in and my house, as well as the entire Corner and Downtown area had no electricity), traffic was in confusion as street lights had ceased to work and fallen trees directed the flow of traffic. Incredulous people pointed and stared at a crushed car on 14th street. It seemed like all roads leading out of Charlottesville were blocked by purposefully spiteful trees and power lines.

After work, I rushed home and went straight to my refrigerator to chug my soymilk. No way was I going to let my oh-so-expensive $2.50/carton soymilk go bad. I had cereal for dinner that night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

summer loving

I apologize for the lack of updates. Summer tends to do that to you, especially if you are working full-time.

I started a cooking habit, where meals are actually made in my kitchen. By being part of the food industry, I am more aware of how I impact the environment and how the decisions that I make in the supermarket are part of the food industry. The picture on the left is some tomato+mozzarella bruschetta that I made with a friend.

Orientation starts today! A lot of my people that I know are Orientation Leaders (OL) this year and I hope that they won't be too nervous for their first Orientation. Best of luck firsties!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

alumni weekend: welcome back to c'ville

I am sitting at Mudhouse, a coffeehouse downtown, doing some work. Large commotion ensues. The proprietor, a young man in his mid twenties who apparently is broke because he disappeared for two years to travel to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina (the things you hear about people's personal lives), spied one of his sister's college friends. She, the sister's college friend, was back in Charlottesville for Alumni Weekend. She has been working in DC for the past couple of years and now she came back just for Alumni Weekend, with her boyfriend (point to eye-candy on her arm). The conversation that ensued (pretty much verbatim) was:

Proprietor: "Hey hey! Yeah you look great! You haven't aged a bit."
Alumna: "Yeah? Thank you! Thank you!"
Proprietor: "Yeah~ So do you want to go on a date with me?"
Alumna laughs and lightly punches him. Boyfriend on arm growls.

Apparently graduating college doesn't make you smoother.

But really, college graduates fascinate me. One thing is for sure, I will join their ranks very soon so I am really curious about life after college. Having had many fourth year friends as a first year, I do know a lot of college graduates, but I think they are still too fresh from college (FFC?) to be good specimens of alumni.

If they are working over 40 hours a week, how do alumni make friends? What do they do for fun? What is the dating scene like? What makes their world go round? As a college undergraduate, the word alumni is synonymous with networking, which goes under the heading of "careers." However, surely life after college is more than just work, right?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

(belated)graduation

My belated congratulations to the Class of 2010 and all those who have worn the honor of honors. This was my second time attending graduation and it was my second time saying good bye to many of my friends.

For those of you who do attend graduation, or Final Exercises as they are known at UVA, be prepared for the masses of people (see picture on right). Some good tips:
  1. When trying to get on the Lawn for the morning speeches, get on line on the side of the Rotunda that faces the Hospital, and not the side that faces the Chapel. Everyone and their mother will be trying to squeeze into the Lawn and one side will have a longer line than the other. That side will be the one facing the Chapel.
  2. If you're going to eat out during graduation weekend, reserve your spot. Eat on the Corner for dinner on the day of Final Exercises because most people will want to eat in fancier restaurants Downtown. However if need be, then reserve ahead.
  3. Parking is a premium. Avoid driving.
  4. Bring an umbrella. If it rains, as it has done for the past three graduations, then you have an umbrella. If it is sunny, then you have shade. Umbrellas are win.
This year's main speaker was President Casteen. It was hilarious because he was the main speaker, then he was also featured to introduce the graduates, and then he made the closing remarks. By looking at the itinerary, it would seem like the Casteen Show. If it actually was, I don't know because I left in the middle for lunch.

While this may seem blasphemous to the UVA-fanatics out there, I ask you to consider what graduation actually means. It is time for the graduates. What does this time mean to them? They are bittersweet, joyful, wistful, regretful, relieved and other emotions. Can the four years (or three for some) that they have spent here at this institution be summed up in a two hour ceremony, a diploma, and a handful of pictures? Are all the conversations, lunches, dates, practices, meetings, and promises that you have made be represented by your presence at graduation? I will be blunt. Whether you are there or not is irrelevant, but whether they are there is the world. Remember you are not the one graduating, but they are.

With this spirit in mind, being present at your friends' diploma ceremonies means a lot to them. The picture on the left is for the Commerce School diploma ceremony. While the speech given was absolute propaganda about giving back to the Commerce School and perpetual alumni status, the excitement on the faces of the graduates was palpable. Some were going to New York, some were going to Singapore, some were going to Boston, and some were returning as 5th years in MS Commerce. It was a period of transition for all of them and I wish them the best of luck!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

another transition

I am back in Charlottesville and will be all summer, minus some road trips. Finally all residents moved out of dorms yesterday, and I officially moved out of my room as well. (Only the Senior Resident are in dorms.) I am in the process of moving to my apartment on 14th street. You can tell because I have a huge garbage bag of blankets and a pan behind my desk at my internship.

I will definitely post some graduation pictures and have a post on it, but that will require my unpacking and finding my USB drive. My room is a hot mess. I'll keep you updated!

Friday, May 21, 2010

my day out

Yesterday was glorious. I met up with a friend, Dee, and she drove us to lunch in her cute, old-school Volvo. That's right VOLVO. If you're thinking about a souped-up 1992 baby that Dee's father drove off a parking lot in Europe, yes you are right. (PS. The picture on the left is not a picture of her car, but just a picture of a 1992 Volvo to demonstrate its antique 90's class.) Volvo means "I roll" from the infinite verb of volvere. We rolled.

Because both Dee and I were bad at directions, it was fail when Google Maps lied, to our chagrin. Nevertheless like good sports, we cursed Larry Page and Sergey Brin for fooling us with their marketing brilliance and popped open the GPS on Dee's phone. What should have been a 10 minute drive ended up being a 20 minute drive around Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. It was all good though, because both of us were just using the trip as an excuse for human conversation and I was getting a great tour of Northern Virginia.

On the side note, Northern Virginia is the worst nightmare for an urban development major. I am not an urban development major, but even I could see that having construction everywhere at the same time is not a smart idea. We saw more orange construction signs than regular green ones, and I swear they were building an overpass directly over a couple of business buildings. The roads are also confusing as heck. One road changed names three times. Why would you do that?

A reoccurring theme in Dee's and my conversation was the fact that we were bored college students at home. Dee is going to travel to South Korea on a Department of State scholarship in June, and I was home for only a week before heading back to Charlottesville. Yet we both found ourselves immeasurably bored at home. We were used to going down the hall and finding six people with whom to talk. At home, I sang along with my Glee show and Dee talked to her cat. Both did not make very scintillating conversation.

Another thing was the realization that I was a college student in a town that wasn't a university town. Two days ago I went for a run in the morning and decided to head to a nearby high school, hoping that the high school had a track. Having arrived at the school's parking lot, I was approached by a security officer. To sum our encounter up, he rudely told me to not trespass while school was in session and then followed me in his car a good 800m into a side road. While I was duly offended by his tone and lack of manners, I also realized that he had a good point in that it was 10:32am and it was probably third period. I forgot that students were still in class. Dee and I relished this truth as we sped down 66.

We ended up going to Jammin Java in Vienna, VA, which has live music every night. Apparently Kina Grannis is going to perform there on June 15th! Kina is one of those guitar goddesses on Youtube, and I stumbled upon her while searching Missy Higgins (Where I Stood). She does collaborations (My Time with You, w David Choi), covers (If I Were a Boy), and her own originals (Valentine). While I was ogling Kina's flyers, we were both munching on some huge sandwiches (Dee got fresh mozzarella and tomato and I got homemade chicken salad) and still talking.

I think we talked for four hours straight. After Jammin Java, we went to Shilla Bakery, which is known for their sweets, breads, and shaved ice treats (called bingsoo), in Annandale, VA. We didn't order a bingsoo (but I'll post a picture of one on right to show the glorious goodness of what we could have had), and had little baked hazelnut treats instead. Both of our voices were sore afterward, because we just kept on talking and laughing! This probably goes back to the human need for conversation..

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

... now what?

I spent all day indoors. I am not meant to be inside all day (which is why I would be terrible in an office job in the future). This means I'm seriously bored. It's funny how three days after finals madness ends, I am bored.

In my lack of things to do, I finally watched Atonement (watch the trailer). I don't know much about cinematography and I am by no means a movie connoisseur. However, I do think Atonement was brilliantly done. The plot itself is actually very simple, but the way the plot is presented, with flashbacks and other techniques (I lack the words to describe!), is glorious. I loved the artistry of the scenes. The music is fantastically creepy. Another point to mention is the brilliance of the director in showing the two different perspectives of the same chain of events. I could definitely relate to the innocence, fright, confusion, and then finally conviction of the younger sister as she perceives the budding love affair of her elder sister. At the same time, I am swept away by the romance, struggle, contradictions, and passion of the elder sister as she tries to find a space for her feelings. Are these the same chain of events?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

home

I'm home! The day I came home, my parents decided to buy a new sofa, move bookcases around, and switch my "room" and my brother's room. The house that I moved into 8 months ago is all the more unfamiliar now. It's in a neighborhood where I have no high school friends, I don't know where the post office is, and I could not tell you where the extra dish soap is. My house is not my home.

Nevertheless, I came home and had some hearty food. My father prepared haemultang (해물탕), which is spicy seafood stew (see pic), and there were the familiar side dishes like kimchi (김치), spicy pickled napa cabbage, and rice. My stomach was so happy, because during finals I have been eating cereal and milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner sometimes. Instead of snacking on Doritos, Ben & Jerry's, and Skittles (all brand name items, I just realized) I have been munching on healthy snacks, like steamed corn, sweet rice cakes, and orange slices. My stomach is home. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

finals season

Quick update: The blue books were returned. I don't have to retake that test. The actual tote bag was never returned!

10-pager is due tomorrow at 5pm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

summer housing + stealing

At this rate, I will be one of the homeless on the corner of 14th St and University Ave. (Contrary to a myth about homeless people, some people are homeless not because they don't have a job but because it's not within their budget. Of course, this isn't a new generalization about homeless people and why they are homeless, but a thought to challenge the myth.) Like those people, I have a job over the summer, albeit now with reduced hours, but cannot match up my budget with an ideal living place. Where to live? Will I be able to afford it? Is internet included in the price? Is it walking location to my internship? Can I hop a bus to Barracks from there? Is there AC? Do you have a bug-problem? These questions are stressing me out at a time when stress is at an all-time high.

Finals: I had my first final test and I submitted my portfolio yesterday (ironically not in a portfolio but sandwiched between a cardboard box. Cheap, I know.). My first ever 10 page paper is due on Friday, and a paper and final on Monday. Then freedom.

However, surprise surprise. According to an email I received earlier this morning from a sad and angry Professor, someone had decided to swipe my Professor's bag of finals. That's right. Someone stole a bag of blue books. Not only were my grades and hard work gone, my Professor's favorite bag is lost forever. Give them back!

This is a honor code violation. The stakes are high, because if this person is found out, then he/she will be expelled from the University. Now that the crime has been committed, it is very unlikely that the person will return the bag. Now I have to retake my final on Monday. Times are sad.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuition

It's what affects us, but we don't think about it on a daily basis. I am spending an average of $38.26 a day just to be in college. Currently, tuition of full time undergraduates (per semester and broken down into Virginia and non-Virginia):

ARCHITECTURE: $4,869.00 / $15,869.00
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES: $4,840.00 / $15,840.00
COMMERCE: $4,878.50 / $15,878.50
EDUCATION: $4,841.00 / $15,841.00
ENGINEERING: $4,846.00 / $15,846.00
NURSING: $4,843.50 / $15,843.50

According to the UVA Today blog, the Board of Visitors just approved hikes in the cost of tuition, meal plans, and housing for next year. The number given for the tuition of an undergraduate (school is unspecified) is $5,314 / $16,787.

Reasons for this hike include unexpected costs and a decrease in state funding. This year there was a total unexpected cost of $11.2 million and a reduction of $14.7 million. Sounds like a lot, right? "Sound financial management calls for the University to look beyond 2010-11 to the following fiscal year," Sandridge said. Ok, way to not mention a large, approved spending.

Does sound financial management approve a $58 million price tag on SIS and yearly several million maintenance fee? According to a friend who graduated as a computer science major, if you put a team of graduate computer science majors together, you could have gotten a more user-friendly and efficient product than SIS... for a lot less. SIS is better than the previous system, ISIS, but I don't think it was worth $58 million.

While having a sound financial management means cutting excess, it also means making good choices in what you do choose to spend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stop Micromanaging, Idiot!

I tend to talk to myself, so yes, the title is directed towards me and not other micromanaging idiots out there. This terrible habit reveals itself in my emails.

(Side note, as I tend to have many of these: College is all about being on top of your emails. If you are going to involved that you are considering reading books on how to manage your time, I say hit up the how-to books about emails. UVA has list-serv emails, which range from having three to hundreds of members, and can encourage using it for the force of good-- i.e. forwarding great opportunities-- as well as the force of evil-- spamming. In one hour, I have seen my inbox go to 36 unread emails. I could write a whole other entry about little things you can do to about this, but my two-liner-of-advice is filters and folders.)

I am a compulsive email-checker. I refresh often, I am constantly on chat, and I will spontaneously send you an email if I think of something. Therefore, when I remembered something before a BBQ that the RAs was hosting, I sent my supervisor a reminder email. "Don't forget to remind the new RAs that the BBQ is happening!" it said cheerfully. The reply was grateful and simply said, "Thanks." This is an example of an okay reminder email.

It becomes micromanaging when I sent my supervisor a reminder email after the BBQ, saying "Don't forget to thank the RAs who came!" He testily replied that yes he did thank them verbally and I sound like his supervisor--- and worse, I thought, like a nagging wife!

You know it's bad when your supervisor is complaining about a switch-a-roo of roles... and you sound like a 50-year-old grouchy woman. I need to let it go.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yard Sale

Because I have been waking up at 7:30am to finish writing my essays, I woke up at 7:30am again yesterday and today. On a Saturday morning. 7:30am. Uggggg. On the other hand, it was already sunny and the birds were chirping, so although I knew it was 7:30, it felt like 9am. It was a good way to wake up at 7:30am.

So I pulled on my running shoes and lightly jogged down Emmet St towards Barracks. I hadn't even reached Barracks, when I saw a sign that said "Yard Sales!" Stop running now!

To give a little background information, I am a big fan of yard sales (we could simplify it to being a fan of just sales as well). In New York, I went to high school in a suburban neighborhood bordering NYC. During the summertime, the manicured green lawns and asphalt driveways were often dotted with yard sale pickets and blankets with items. Because I learned how to sew and wield pliers in middle school, these yard sales were my source of unique clothes. A large scarf could become a dress; an interesting but broken brooch could become a necklace; an oversized T-shirt could become a jersey dress; the possibilities were endless!

Going back to the yard sale on Emmet St, even though I had no cash, credit, or debit, I ended my run and just had to look. If I had $10, I could have bought a Coach bag (ew), three pairs of sandals, an entire VCR collection of Disney movies, ten pillows, two five foot lamps, five cases of makeup, or a black ballgown dress. Unfortunately, I didn't have $10 and that imaginary scenario went through my head in a second.

Instead, I booked it to the box that had the "Free Clothes" sign. The woman attending over it held a baby to her hip and looked about late twenties. While I was rummaging through presumably her XS Anthropologie skirts and American Eagle shirts, we struck up a conversation. She is a graduate student, finishing her degree this year. She's looking to go to Boston afterward with her husband and kid. She told me there was a fluorescent stain on the large American Eagle shirt that her husband had gotten in his lab work and refused to wear it since. It sounded sketchy and sci-fi-esque, because she didn't explain what the stain was or why her husband refused to wear it since, so I gently folded it and placed it back in the box.

The conclusion? A tie-back dress with a plunging V-line, a cute black sweater, a button-up linen shirt, and a New York Comapny top. Well done and it's only 9:48am right now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Orientation Leaders

For those of you who are coming in the Fall, check out your Orientation Leaders!

http://www.virginia.edu/orientation/summer/orientationleaders.html


Apparently last year's OLs are already facebook stalking this year's new group of OLs. In the words of a wise friend: let it go, guys, let it go.

I was reading these with my friend and I was also just amazed at what a variety of organizations people were involved in. It makes you want to go "Huh, I didn't know we had that... I want to join!"

Anyways, a couple of my friends are being OLs so be nice! :]

Monday, April 26, 2010

10 page paper

Hello. It is 7:42am and I am writing my first 10 page paper. Truthfully it is a five-page paper disguised as a 10-page, double spaced. In fact, the range is 7-10 pages, so it could actually be a 3.5-page paper. The margins are fixed at 1" all around, and the font is standardized at 12 pt Times New Roman. There isn't much flexibility there.

I have broken it down so I know how many pages each section of my question should take. I gave an oral presentation to my friend on what my paper is about. I solicited four pages of quotes from my reading sources. (Essentially, I retyped the book.) I am writing a blog entry on how I am writing my essay. I created a diagram on the organization of my essay.

But I have not written my essay.

It is a topic that I am passionate about: How the rigidity of ethnic nationalism in Korea affects biracial children. However, thinking about 10 pages is daunting. Perhaps I should think about my fellow RA, who is in his last year at the Batten School and has to write a 50 page thesis by Friday. (He hasn't started, because he was taking his CPA exams. Bless him.) Perhaps, I should write my essay in blog entries. You all know that I enjoy pouring my opinion into four-paragraph chunks online. Perhaps I should opt for a youtube presentation of my essay.

If only it wasn't a 10-page paper, with a bibliography and endnotes.

Update

I AM singing at Para Coffee's open mic. It is hosted by People United for Music and Arts (PUMA). Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

jamming at the french house

I visited the French House for the first time. The French House is one of the language houses, where *surprise* you live to be immersed in French. The Maison Française literally looks like a French mansion. I went to visit for the Snobby Cheese party. Yeah, that's right. I went to a Snobby Cheese party at the French House. Judge me. Well, I was actually dressed in Red Keds and my latest guilty shopping pleasure, a soft hoodie with cute button details, which contrasted with the little navy dress and heels that my friend wore. I could have gone all out, but I decided to go for comfort because I had to hike back to my dorm.

Anyways, after the cheese party, I visited another friend who is a phenomenal guitarist. A bunch of us were singing along, and then someone busted out a tambourine (yes, judge me again) and shakers. Another guitarist-friend was called over, and soon we had a huge jamming session going on. I loved it. I missed singing with live music, and the company was fantastic. I hope we can have something like this at my dorm.

To take it further, I think I'm going to sing at the open mic at Para Coffee! Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4th Year Studio Art Major Exhibition

"It's like the equivalent of your thesis," explained D, as she carefully placed sliced strawberries on top of whipped cream and double fudge brownies. I was slicing tomatoes in our friend's kitchen, which another friend placed between two slices of rye bread smothered in red pepper hummus. We were helping out for D's art exhibition yesterday.

Being an art major was something I considered. In fact, art school was a serious consideration for me. RISD, Pratt, FIT, Parsons, Cooper Union... all of those were common buzzwords amongst my friends who were preparing their portfolios. I loved art and I had dedication. Why not?

The why-not came in the form of opportunity cost (see post on April 17th for an explanation about opportunity costs.). I had received a perfect SAT score according to the 1600 scale and was 80 points off from a perfect score on the 2400 scale. The SAT scores of the middle 50% of incoming class of RISD was 1690-2050, and for FIT... you probably didn't even have to take the SATs. If opportunity cost is the cost of not taking the next best choice, for me the opportunity cost of art school was research universities and liberal arts colleges. It was too big of an opportunity cost. In layman's terms, if I went to art school, I would be missing out on too many other opportunities that I could have had at research universities and liberal arts colleges. Essentially, I had to be absolutely sure that art school was right for me, and I wasn't sure.

Now that I am at UVA, an established research university, would it have made sense to major in art? After all my reasoning, the answer is no.

Having said all that, I absolutely envied my friend D as she rushed to prepare her exhibition. Perhaps she should have looked into a career in event planning, because she was making the most of her physical and human capital in getting this event together.

The 4th Year Studio Art major exhibition was fantastic. We explored three floors of art, people, cheese, and drinks in Ruffin Hall, the newly built building for studio art. I fell in love with one of my friend's wood printing pieces (actually the set, but I'm too poor for a set), and so I decided to purchase one. I'll take a picture of it when I make the transaction. (Note to the art connoisseurs out there: never go for the listed pricing. I would start bargaining at half... sometimes less than half. A good example is the one that I will buy: the listing was $220. Due to the fact that we were friends, she said she would sell it to me for less than $100. I know she made the frame, which would normally cost $50, but because she made it it costs about $25.)

I suppose pictures of the art exhibits would convey absolutely more than my words, but sadly I did not think we could take pictures of it and I was too forgetful. I will try my best to describe D's exhibition.

D's exhibition was on the ground floor of Ruffin, the bottom floor was dark with no windows, and spotlights haloed her paintings on silk. She had gone to high school in Japan and learned the Japanese tea ceremony there. The subject of her exhibit were hands, drawn in the brush-style that she had learned in a study abroad program in Hong Kong, pouring tea. The theme was brilliantly conveyed as sequences of these delicate hands pouring tea, outlined in bold black ink. Then in the center, she had at least nine female figures in similar sitting positions. They were clothed in the stiff, ceremonial costume associated with the tea ceremony. At a first glance, it looks like they are all replicas, but after close examination, you realize that they are different moments of the tea ceremony. For example, one drawing showed the woman placing a sweet in her mouth, which D explained to me happens because the tea is so bitter. I really enjoyed her fusion of her passion for tea, the techniques she learned in Hong Kong, and her painting style.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Third Culture Kids

I attended the first hosted event of TCKs at UVA. Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are defined as:
“a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture" (Pollock and Van Reken). However that doesn't fully capture their identity because some TCKs have traveled between two or three countries and some TCKs have been to nine countries. Some quotes about what a TCK is that I stole from the section describing the TCK identity:

"A global citizen independent of cultural distinctions yet whose identity lies in his/her membership of multiple cultural groups."

"A TCK is someone who spends a lot of his/her time growing up outside of his/her native country. A TCK identifies himself/herself best with other TCKs. It is almost as if it is a nationality in and of itself!"

From what I hear, you are a TCK if any or all of the following apply:
  • It takes you at least 15 minutes to answer the question “Where are you from?”
  • You swear in a myriad of languages.
  • You have a favorite seat in airports and on airplanes.
  • You've filled out so many customs/immigration papers, you don't even need to know the language to know what they're asking.
  • You don't know anything about the history or geography of your country of birth but know pretty much everything about any other place in the world.
  • An earthquake, heavy storm, bomb threat, or anything else doesn't freak you out
  • You have more than one type of currency weighing down your wallet with typically more of the currency that you don't need.
  • You plan vacations to different countries just to get things cheaper than they are where you live.
  • You have multiple vaccination cards because they keep getting filled up.
  • You have to explain how you learned to speak certain languages, why you can speak some but not read others, and why you still can't speak some even though you lived in the country where they're used.
  • People constantly tell you you're "interesting" or "different.”
  • You practically jump someone when you find out they're also a TCK.
  • The thought of living in one place for longer than a few years and NEVER leaving scares the living day lights out of you.

Truthfully, this is a fascinating phenomena for me. The idea of a global citizen is appealing, and the fact that there are highly mobile family units that travel so much that they "float" in between nationalities is a lot to wrap your head around.

For more coverage, there was a UVA Today article about TCKs and the group on Grounds, TCKs at UVA.

The talk itself was fantastic. Tina Quick was a great presenter. She introduced fairly well the complicated identity of the Third Culture Kid, the benefits and downfalls of being a TCK, and the importance of colleges recognizing TCKs and their different needs from internationals and domestic students. She was engaging, she was humorous, and she was comprehensive. I could feel the weight of her expertise, having been a TCK herself and currently an adult TCK with children. Her book, The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition, which is about how to ease the transition into college for TCKs will go on sale this summer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THERE ARE LESS THAN 15 SCHOOL DAYS LEFT AHHHHHHHHH

Now that the title got your attention, FEEL MY PANIC. It's the breathe before the dive, people. Before deadlines hit. BAM BAM BAM! Before exams start. BAM BAM BAM! Before physical ailments spring up. BAM BAM BAM! Before people graduate. ....uh, I don't have a sound effect for that.

It's the glorious time of the year when the weather lightens up and even at 7am it is light outside. The UVA campus is glorious in its pink-flowered trees and fragrant azalea bushes. Even looking at The Week in Photos, you spy at least two photographs centered on flowers and trees, and a couple others with them peeking in the background. If you visit with Days on the Lawn or a random campus visit around this time, you'll be astounded by the beauty. I know I was when I first came.

Okay, I need to stop being so nostalgic now that I'm going to be a third year. Oh, you prospective students, enjoy life. Before I end my reminiscences, I want to point out that because this time of the year is about transitions, it also brings nostalgia and longing. Exhibit A is an email that one of my best friends sent me. The title was "and we thought they were so cool then...", and her body said "if your feeling anxious about the future, remember, change is good :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is6gtilerPk&feature=channel." Oh, Justin...

At 11am, I am going to go to the PURSUIT Conference. An 8-hour day affair, the Conference will take up my valuable time for studying. And I think it's absolutely worth it. On Thursday, a visiting Professor from University of Illinois commented that she was amazed when she realized that the time spent and knowledge learned from Professors is only a small fraction of the knowledge we learn in college. In fact, one could argue that the time in classrooms competes with time that could be spent in conferences, listening to guest speakers, and other ways of "learning." For those of you who have taken economics, think about opportunity cost. For those of you haven't, I recommend taking at least an intro economics class AND I will explain. :) For every activity that you do, there is a next best choice. For example, I am currently typing out this entry for half an hour now. That half an hour could have been spent searching for breakfast. Or it could have been spent starting on my ethnographic research paper. Instead, I choose typing this entry out, because I found more value in doing so than the others. (Or I am procrastinating... you decide.)

I applied for summer Resident Adviser and summer Senior Resident. Hopefully I receive one of the positions, because I will be here all summer long. Perhaps I am mellowing out, because this will be my second summer in Charlottesville.

On a random note, someone told me that people read my blog! Hello hello! Please post a comment!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Transitioning into Power

It's April, and that means a lot of CIOs on Grounds are changing leadership, recruiting for next year, and looking past the summer haze into the muggy times that is August. I am also transitioning from a position of regular resident to one of the highest positions possible in my residential college. While that may seem like a quick one-step jump, in actuality transitioning is one of the most hardest places to be. (Think about transitioning into a new school, a new home, a new group of friends, college, your first job-- the list goes on.)

In class yesterday, one friend introduced the idea of liminality in her presentation. Coined by Victor Turner, it is an anthropological term that describes the spot in between the structure and another structure. We can call that spot the "anti-structure," because Turner defines it as ambiguous and when rules and hierarchy are turned up on their heads. However, you usually pass from the state of liminality back into a structure, albeit possibly a new one. This diagram might make this very clear:
A great example of liminality is the time when final exams are over, but you haven't "graduated." High school seniors may experience this feeling of liminality, and so do 4th years at UVA. You aren't part of one structure and not tied down to the next one; you are in a state of liminality where you are free from both rules and free to reflect on both structures.

So back to my example, I am in a state of liminality. I have been elected into a position, but I do not have the powers transferred to me yet. I want to take advantage of this liminality to look back and forward and critique what I want to do.
As with all organizations, the transitional period is crucial in setting standards for the change of power, the turnover of members, and introduction for new traditions. I hope I can be mindful of this, and will work closely and carefully to maintain a sense of continuity to ease the transition.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Perfect Saturday

The Farmer's Market opened yesterday. It's a local city-market that now opens 7a.m.-noon every Saturday until December, downtown. In addition to interaction with Charlottesville residents and occasional strollers with cute babies, the Farmer's Market offers crafts, vegetables (some organic and many locally grown), and the occasional bluegrass musician. Past highlights have also included unique cheddar cheese, the Jam Man, orchids, a Bagelini, and a visit to the nearby hole-in-the-wall crepe place. Transportation to the market place is really easy from the University, because there is the free Trolley.

Did I mention that the weather was 23c or 82f? With sunny skies and temperature conducive to lemonade and free samples, I was thoroughly enjoying my Saturday morning. I frequently encountered yummy signs like the one to the right. Who can argue with $4 a bag of "mmm's"?

Coming back to my dorm, I was pleasantly surprised that there was free food, because of Japan Day! The Japan Club was hosting a free food / performance-filled Japan Day. My friend and I got to try out yakisoba, onigiri, bubble tea (actually from Taiwan), and other yummy foods served by the diligent Japan Club.

At 3pm, my friend, JJ Towler, picked me up to go on a ride through Albemarle County. We visited beautiful parks, scenic highways, and old estates. At one of the estates, we saw a peacock! The roads were gorgeous, lined with peach orchards and daffodils. We stopped by at a park, where a bullfrog croaked like a motor. As a student, I rarely saw beyond Grounds, except for Barracks Shopping Center, the Corner, and Downtown. Once in a while, I will be tempted to take the 7 Bus to Fashion Square shopping center, but most students do not even venture there. This drive with JJ showed me that as students, we are missing out on a lot of the public parks, lakes, and historical areas of Charlottesville, Crozet, and beyond.

Friday, April 2, 2010

you know you're pathetic when...

I am currently held hostage in my room by a cockroach. It's outside my door. Yeah.

Edit://
Someone told me that "using the term 'lame' to describe what you consider to be a pathetic situation is hurtful to those people who are actually physically lame." It is equatable to wrongly using "That's so gay," when you really meant "That's so stupid." Point taken, loyal reader of mine! Sorry about that!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ah, and PS.

I got into Global Development Studies! For more information on this interdisciplinary program, I will shoot you to the website that I sent my parents when they said, "Oh... I don't really know what it is, but that's nice and you sound happy!"
I will now be a third-year, History & Global Development Studies double major next year!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Service in Society

I went to listen to a speaker yesterday at the Kaleidoscope Room in Newcomb. I believe the ability to listen to a variety of speakers (I listened to John Yoo when he came!) and be exposed to a variety of different perspectives on different subjects is one of the highlights of my student career. The difference between lectures in class and lectures outside of class is that they are usually subjects that are not covered by a typical "discipline" and might even be controversial!

Anyway, back to the lecture--- it was part of the Service in Society series, and the title was "Intellectual Inquiry: A Pathway to Engaged Citizenship." What was covered in the lecture though was not a speech about service in the traditional sense, as I expected, but more of a diatribe about the lack of acknowledgment and support of the service done in the academic field--- particularly her program at the Woodson Institute. However, Deborah E. McDowell, who is director of the Woodson Institute for African American & African studies, made several good points, which I would like to outline here.

1. Service, interpreted now days, means moving outside of the boundaries established by daily life
Deborah McDowell started off her speech talking about how "service" in her day, which meant driving the elderly neighbor to the hospital, building a church together, and cooking three meals for the friend on crutches, was actually called duty or responsibility. Service connotes the helping of people out there, and the recipients of service, they, were disadvantaged. In truth, we should consider what the relationship between those who service and those who are served really is. To do service, do we go to the "disadvantaged area" or can we look into our own environment? McDowell argues that service starts within the boundaries of your daily life. If service seeks to expose injustices and discrepancies-- what forms of inequalities exist within our own institutions? How do you base service on what you like to do, instead of what's "sexy" like ASB? In doing service, how are you engaging those whom you are serving and bringing them aboard the planning and action?

2. Lip-service by the University for Interdisciplinary programs, but a lack of monetary and structural support
This struck me because I am interested in Global Development Studies, a newly created interdisciplinary program, and the statement that the University "talks the talk," but doesn't "walk the walk" from the director of an interdisciplinary program worries me. There are structural and institutional differences inherent between a department and a program, which are most evident in the funding. Programs do not have enough funding to even hire a professor but must "borrow" professors from different departments.

3. The difference between a program and a department
This flows from what I said earlier, but another difference between a program and a department is the lack of acknowledgment by the academic community. The academic community is still skeptic about the validity of knowledge from an interdisciplinary program, even though the knowledge produced is as valid and precious as the knowledge that comes from a department. The freedom to cross and make connections across boundaries is what attracts students to interdisciplinary programs, but to hear that this freedom comes at the cost of validity is unnerving.

UVA is considered a very service-oriented student body, with Madison House boasting over three thousand volunteers. Yet, we tend to look afar when we are performing service. Let's go to "that part of Charlottesville" or "these elderly grandparents" need you to help. McDowell makes the convincing argument that in truth the places that need the most attention and that you have the most impact on are the places close to home. For McDowell, her academic program is home and she sees many aspects of it that need "service."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blueprint Last Session

Today is the last session for my Blueprint group, before the Closing Dinner. That meant more than six weeks have gone by since I met my wonderful group of first years, second years, and transfer student-leaders. Although there were a lot of changes made from last year, I think the concept of having over a hundred Blueprint members worked out well. The fact that the majority of the Blueprint leaders knew each other really well helped a lot to solidify the leadership at top. I do not think that members of my group met outside of Blueprint on their own, but who knows? They might have! It's been a short time, but I hope that I've reached out to my "kiddies" (although most of them are the same age as me...) as a resource as well. All I know is that I did the best that I could to provide a fun, comfortable environment to meet new people and talk about leadership issues. I'm starting to get nostalgic about it already. Oh dear...

Friday, March 19, 2010

UCARE

I am getting more and more involved in groups that are involved with community relations with minority groups. Sustained Dialogue, Charlottesville Dialogue on Race, Women's Center, and now UCARE! UCARE stands for University and Community Action for Racial Equity (clever, isn't it?). It's located in the Institute of Environmental Negotiation, which is right across from Cavalier Inn on Emmet Rd.

It's an interesting organization, not under the umbrella of the University of Virginia, but definitely drawing from its resources. I have only been an intern for less than two weeks, but already I have jumped into a lot. As with most paid internships, they would like to see that we get our work done. Right now, I'm sort out the links page on the website, and writing blurbs for it-- I hope you get to see the improvements!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meeting at Mellow Mushroom

I took a long walk outside today, in a white button-up shirt speckled with green flowers and white capris, because I love the sky today. Although it wasn't the sunshiney blue that makes me giddy, it was my introspective greyish-blue that I hum to as I walk on the sidewalks. The temperature wasn't warm, but was tinged with enough of a cold to bite if the wind blew... Okay, so it wasn't ideal weather for a walk in a t-shirt.

I guess I wanted to walk after a $1.70 Mellow Mushroom cheese pizza slice with $1.20 toppings worth of jalapenos and roma tomatoes. (NOM NOM NOM.) I did my best not to introspect too much nor look like a creeper as I entered deserted classrooms and buildings on Grounds. Having been on Grounds during summer, winter break, and spring break, I am used to and even like the feeling of being the only non-international student here. It's nice to reorient oneself without responsibilities expected from other people. I would definitely say that I am introvert in that sense.

I had lunch with an alumna, a recent graduate from the previous decade '09, at Mellow Mushroom. She ordered a small Kosmic Karma pizza that consisted of olive oil, pesto, roma tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, and was successful in devouring only half of it. Her flyaway hair reminded me of wispy clouds that had graced the sky on Monday, and I missed her owl-esque look that was wise to my young soul. I presented her with a belated graduation gift of a scarf.

We talked about life, school, life after school, classes, majors, friends, our dorm, how indecisive we are, and Blueprint. All this and my pizza needed to be digested hours after our conversation. I think one of the best quotes from today is "Consume experiences, not material things. The truly happy cherish friends, family and new experiences." Woah. Yeah, that's right, woah.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Huzzah for CAPS

I have to give a shout out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on Grounds. They are located in the same building as Student Health, so on the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Brandon Ave. I went twice in the past week, not for myself ironically, but for a friend and a resident. (I was feeling a lot better, because I had talked to some close people on my support network: friends and family.) They are very professional and considerate! While we definitely do rely on friends and family, sometimes they are not nonjudgmental or as supportive as we would hope they would be. Therefore, it's helpful to talk with a professional to sort out your feelings. CAPS is free for University students.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

when iTunes tells you the truth...

I was feeling down. Not depressed, but simply down. I struggled to wake up in the morning. I couldn't say good morning to residents. Laughs sounded forced. The only times when I feel like this is when I'm getting my period or when I'm about to get sick in a major way.

Or at least that's what I told myself and other people. In truth, I was stressed. I had gotten a terrible grade in my Econ test (see earlier stressful post), and I wasn't enjoying life. I was in enough of a mind to ask a good friend to help me. Everyone should have a friend like this. She's less of an enthusiastic cheerleader who will agree with you on everything, and more of a calm reflective pool of water that reveals your face on the surface but also has depth. She asked me to list all my commitments outside of school on one side and academics on the other. She asked what was stressful right now. I pointed straight at Economics.

I had declared an Economics major, because a new requirement was added if you declared after February 1st, 2010. Therefore, I decided declaring first and figuring out if I enjoyed it later was the best path. However, I am realizing that Economics is not a major for me. Therefore, my plan is drop econ as a major. However, who takes Econ 301 if it's not required? Perhaps I will withdraw from this course... I'll keep you updated!

On a random note... have you played the iTunes game? Click next song on random, and see what comes up.
1. I feel? Hurt by Christina Aguilera.
2. Right now I want to? Okay, I'll Believe in Myself by Jun In of G-Fla
3. How do I get ahead in life? Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips
4. How do my friends perceive me? Fly by Epik High.

Wow, thanks iTunes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

stream of consciousness of a college student at 7:35am

It is 7:35am, I have been up for over an hour, and I am waiting for free breakfast in thirty minutes. It was surprising to be startled into consciousness at 6am on a Wednesday, with the silence shattered by the wailing of your cellphone. Once the infernal alarm is turned off, I dumbly try to find the light switch, the darkness outside of my window urging me to relax back into its folds. Oh wait, it's right here. Light ON.

Blast it! I slept with a shoe on. It's irritating to find the remnants of last night when you wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Dawn. Pre-dawn even. In the light of my fluorescent desk lamp, I struggle to get into warmer clothes, sit at my desk lamp, flip open the hated Economics book, and start to read.

Read Read Read.

I have an Econ 301 test this Thursday, and my professor practically guaranteed the class an average of 50.

Doomed Doomed Doomed.

False. I refuse to fall into the hopeless mentality. Who cares if everyone else gets a 50? I'm going to be the woman with the 75 (har har har. I'm even scared to type 100. Can a girl hope too much?). Trusting in the ridiculous curve, I know that a 75 would boost me into 150% range.

Flip Flip Flip.

If I had any hair left, I would be flipping it instead of these pages. If I had any fingernails left, they'd be gone. Unlike the stereotypical death of fingernails via chewing, my preferred method is to cut them off. Begone little buggers. Reminiscent of bygone days of piano and fingernail-cutting before lessons, my fingernails are round, pearly stubs.

Shoot, it's 7:53am. I'm still on Diminishing MRTS. Ah wells... time for breakfast.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

oh em gee.

I just discovered that the fish at Clemons Library (there's a fish tank full of "exotic fish") have their own video. Check it out. Wow. That was such a time waster. It's almost as bad as this video.

Fish at Clemons FTW.

rotunda dinners

One of the things that I love is Rotunda dinners! The Rotunda, as well as fulfilling its original function as a library and its modern function as a tourist landmark, serves as a facility for dinners and receptions. Tonight, our residential college hosted a Valentines-themed dinner at the Rotunda. We were almost high schoolers again, giddy with the anticipation of dressing up and going to a nice dinner. I snagged one of my friends on the way to leaving and convinced them to trade their jeans and snow boots for a sleeveless, black dress. It's the Rotunda, for heaven's sake! Although the dress code is "business casual" (such a vague term), why not go all out? These dinners are usually catered and involve salad, bread, a main course, coffee and dessert. It was fabulous. If possible, I definitely recommend attending a Rotunda dinner.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Madness

Ah, I know it's another year when the internationals eagerly await their first experience of the great American tradition: the Superbowl. (Point and case proven from an excerpt of an email sent to a listserv: "Come out and watch this amazing game and cultural event.") This experience can vary from watching the game to watching the commercials to eating the food to all of the above. An exchange student told me from Singapore that more than watching the game, he's going to be "watching Americans watch American football." Although I am not an international, I had my first Superbowl experience as a first year. Ah, good times. Extremely confused by the maneuvers of large 200 lb men clad in skin-tight spandex, I spent a good time chowing on the free grub and cheering on my friend as he chugged a two-liter bottle of coke. I think he left to pee at a crucial moment. Yes, good times.

Our residential college ordered 300 wings and 20 boxes of pizza. Not extremely healthy, but necessary to bring the hordes of people into one room with a flatscreen TV. Who are the Colts and Saints? People, I know my stuff. Thanks to an American football fanatic, I know about the fantastic match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orlean Saints. More importantly, I know that the halftime show is performed by The Whos and that a thirty-second ad costs about $2.6 million. Dang!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I'm sorry... snow-ma-what?

Snowmageddon. Our President [of the United States of America] said snowmageddon. He obviously does not read this blog. Ha ha ha. It will snow again this Tuesday and the upcoming weekend as well. This will be a winter to tell the first-years next year.

bid day for fraternities

It's snowpocalypse plus bid day. This means a maximum of seven fraternity boys are walking in the snow to dorms from the IRC to Old dorms to Hereford to welcome their new additions. Poor boys... Well, congratulations to the new bids, and good luck! Tonight will be a busy night...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

snowpocalypse in c'ville

It's official. The snowpocalypse. The snownami. Death by snow. As well as challenging me to spell 'pocalypse correctly, this snow day has officially shut down classes. That's right. In the first time in the history of UVa (pardon my excited exaggeration), there are no classes.

Looking at my facebook homepage and all those excited status updates (mine included), I must say that my favorite line by far is "Because Mother Nature's pretty much decided to take a massive white dump..." How can you argue with the imagery of snow as excrement of an omnipotent, nurturing female being? Bring it, Mother Nature. Virginians have an obsession with snow simply because it has the power to break down barriers for all behaviors ordained socially as okay. For example, when I went to Kroger's yesterday to get my fruit intake for the week, I found the grocery store packed. Not only were there only a couple loaves of bread remaining on the shelves, the check out line started in the front of the store and spiraled into the back. (Being the impatient New Yorker that I am, I divided my friends' and my stuff into 15 items and ran through the 15-items-or-less line four times. Aw yeah.) People were sprinting to get coveted items, such as:
  1. Nutella
  2. Organic chicken
  3. Wheaties
As one friend aptly put it, those three things cover breakfast, dinner, and dessert.

Another place where people were scurrying was Robertson Media Center, aka third floor of Clemons and source of all DVDs. One DVD that I put down for three minutes was snatched by another person, who looked at me and asked if I was going to watch this. While I think that he was also checking me out, I do believe there was genuine frenzy in his eyes as he thought, What movie do I really want to be watching when I am snowed in for days in a snowpocalypse? It's important because Clemons limits your DVDs to two a person. Therefore, if you pick wrong, there is no going back. There will be a lots of cuddling with snuggies this weekend.

While I look forward to cuddling with my Russian history textbook about genocides and massacres of the Reds and Whites, I also look forward to the chili made by the Principal of the IRC every time it snows. Yay, IRC!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread

I'm curled up on my bed, knowing that in the hall kitchen Amish Friendship bread is baking. It's sitting in the oven, patted with cinnamon and sugar and mixed in with salt and milk. It smells heavenly and so do my vanilla-stained fingers.

After class, I went to Residence Life Office (RLO) to sign Valentines cards. That's right. They're not-so-secret, Valentines cards addressed to entire teams of RAs. It's like falling in love with a band. You don't know whether to confess your admiration for one person or just become a fangirl of the entire group and will Ringo really get upset if you only love Paul? Ah, the dilemma of every secret admirer. I decided to keep true to myself and not get entangled in any love triangles by clearly stating the person to whom I was addressing my feelings and clearly signing my own name. I only wrote in print. For my own team, and yes, you were supposed to write to your own team too, I drew a lovely caricature of everyone. Once we officially "receive" the card on the weekend of Valentines, I will take a picture and post my glorious artwork. It's indicative of the many different personalities on our team and how our SR works hard to work with us. (He's an old, wrinkly Grandpa in the caricature. We're quite a rambunctious group of grandchild-RAs.)

After that, I was supposed to read The Soviet Experiment for my Russian history class, but I decided to bake instead. I'm so excited for how it turns out!

Boss Says

I just had a talk with my Senior Resident. That's my boss. He's also a friend, a fellow student, and just a fellow. At UVA, because we believe in student governance, this happens a lot. Your boss is a student just like you.

While there are benefits to this method, because hierarchical systems usually require formality and support a culture of supposedly "masculine characteristics" (e.g. your boss should be tough, commanding, and authoritative -"masculine characteristics" vs. your boss being nurturing, listening, and understanding -"feminine characteristics."), students get stress from students. Specifically, I get criticism from a friend, a student, but ultimately my boss.

I cannot deny that the ability to take feedback well is a fantastic characteristic to develop. It is especially crucial if you work in any manner as a team. I want to point out that this isn't being silent as someone gives you flack. Being able to see your mistakes is step one and taking steps to not repeat them is step two, and having someone point these out is feedback. (I believe the politically correct term is "constructive criticism.") In fact, being able to give and take criticism is a sign of a healthy, professional relationship.

However, because the boss-worker relationship is formal and not many college relationships are formal, having your friend be your boss is difficult in any situation. I hope I remember this when I am on the other end.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

good morning

So during winter break and for a week past it, I was running every other morning at 8am. My obnoxiously perky cellphone ring would boost me out of bed, I would tie my running shoes, and bolt. Alas, I don't do it anymore, because I cannot afford to spend two hours of my morning, when I can be doing work. (I'm not doing work right now either, but that's besides the point.) The point is I still wake up at 8am every morning, because of this habit.

I wake up, turn on my computer, proceed to chomp on my Special K breakfast, and start to finish work. Ah, college creates such oxymorons.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poetry SLAM

I had loads of fun a couple days ago at the Poetry Slam. Part of the Big Bang! Arts Week, the Poetry Slam involved a poetry slam competition amongst students, an open mic, and a preview of Daniel Beaty's latest piece. For those of you not familiar with poetry slam, an example would be Biracial Hair. It's spoken word.

Watching piece after piece performed with poise, confidence, and passion, I was moved to no ends. Topics ranged from love to a hyperbole of swagger to hometowns to materialistic culture to adequate housing. Each one was truth projected with spitfire, stabbing fingers, and fierce eyes. After Michelle, the winner of the competition, perform her final piece, I had chills. It was awe inspiring.

One of the crowd favorites was Hometown. It was simple and had a message that connected to everyone in the room. Have pride in your hometown, don't be afraid of your accent, why do you have to be from New York City and not just New York? Of course, my ramblings about his masterpiece of a performance does not capture the raw feeling of having someone perform his or her original piece in front of you. In all seriousness, I do encourage you to attend and support a local poetry slam.

Friday, January 29, 2010

cold weather prompts...

I went for a run this morning. I felt like the negative degrees in Celsius warranted long pants and a warm hoodie. Unfortunately, with my boyish haircut and a baseball cap, this made me look like a prepubescent boy trying out for the middle school cross country team. While I'm sure I got some double-takes because of gender-confusion, I did not get honks by guys in trucks, which I appreciated. I know that I shouldn't take shelter in the fact that I am hijacking social stereotypes to escape my issues with the way society views the female race... but ah, I do.

I was talking with a close friend of mine, and she revealed that she felt like the girls of her pledge class melded into one person. Not talking about humans trying to achieve portmanteau, she was addressing the fact that these women, probably of different personalities and backgrounds, were buying into the social ideal of looking a certain way. They looked like clones.

Of course, this brings up the question about UVA "culture." Does the typical UVA man wear penguin-studded shorts, Northface outerwear, sunglasses holder, and a UVA baseball cap backwards? How come I am attracted to anything that walks in something other than salmon-colored slacks and boat shoes? Will I ever understand why UVA girls seem to reach a consensus that Northface and Uggs are the way to go?

The answers to these questions are up to you, me, and every UVA student here on Grounds. For example, I do not wear Northface and Uggs. I have friends who do not wear Northface and Uggs. In fact, they don't know what Northface and Uggs, and they happen to be from out of the country, where Northface and Uggs are just not known. The fact that UVA also includes these friends and me, as well, answers these question. I am also a UVA woman.

The UVA Men's Basketball Team lost yesterday. Apparently they shot one in in the last seconds of the game, and went into overtime. Unfortunately, that is where they lost. We're still number four in our league! Go, Hoos, go!