Monday, December 7, 2009


Hmm, last one, ehh? I don't know. This semester has been an eye-opening experience for me, and not because of my classes. I have learned a lot about myself not in terms of identity (unfortunately), but more in terms of limits. I have learned there is a limit to how much sleep you can get, or not get. I have learned that there is a limit to how little exercise you can get before you snap and work out. I have learned how long you can procrastinate before starting to work on something (too long). I have learned what my personal comfort zone is, and its limits.
This semester has taught me more about myself than about world politics or music, and I have to feel grateful for that. I know now I have to make some adjustments in my life, and that I also have some important decisions to make. Explorations, to me, has been a definite facilitator of these realizations that I have made, not because the course material forced it, but because the introspective atmosphere that the course (and teachers) engenders. Forcing myself to do these blogs was pretty annoying, but definitely useful to myself.
Explorations didn't teach me about my identity, but it taught me to teach myself. If that makes sense.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Plusssz, not Alka-Seltzer, and Lots of... Fizzing

Final reflection. And what of this finale? From Goffman to Augustine to Bellah to Sophocles to Heinlein, what have I learned?

I am somewhat intimidated by the feat of encapsulating my entire Explorations experience and wisdom into one easy-to-swallow pill. As far as medicine goes, this course material is more like Alka-Seltzer. The tablet slowly fizzes in, and you have to swallow it with a few gulps of diluting water. Or, sometimes you swallow the tablet before it has done its fizzing, and you're left to churn out the medicine on the inside.

More liquid than solid. Yeah?

I guess what I am saying is that, although the Explorations content was perchance difficult to grasp, to beat into form, the topics, like liquid medicine, are still essential. And yes, it might take longer than usual to swallow (the waiting, the fizzing, the gulping), and even for the medicine to take effect (maybe it's still fizzing for some... or got swallowed in the fizzing process) no doubt it will kick in. Community matters and analysis are too pertinent for us, as members of the human race, to be ignored. We are not independent beings, and every day you and I are shaped by the places and groups we find ourselves in.

And the fun part is, upon educating ourselves on the topic, we, in a way, become masters of it. We are enabled to make more deliberate decisions. We enrich our waking experience with another dimension. We turn more conscious and aware as living, alive human beings... and that's a beautiful thing.

Have a phenomenal, ecstatic, out-of-this-world, super-cosmically-fantastic break, everyone! May your Holidays be full of love, joy, and cake. All sorts of cake. And splendid food and Home Alone reruns. And not too much snow and frost. (:

Note: I inserted the "Plusssz" picture, as actually, that's what I thought of all along in my metaphor - not Alka-Seltzer, but fizzing, fruity, Polish vitamins. Much tastier.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Impact of Three Months

It's time for the last reflection.

Yesterday was such a weird day for me. I'm sure everyone has had those off days. With classes ending and hell week approaching (my own little term for finals week) I couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed. It also doesn't help that I was given an unexpected reality check, and with this reality check, came a whole flood of emotions. I began to feel uncomfortable, and that's when I realized that maybe I was living the whole college experience right.

Think back a couple months ago (I hope that at this point of the semester your brain is able to think that far back) to when Pres. Kerwin came to class. He made a statement that has really stuck with me, he said that feeling uncomfortable during college was a common symptom of the experience. In fact, if you didn't feel uncomfortable at some point or another, then maybe you weren't fully giving it your all to the good ole' college experience. Well, yesterday I felt uncomfortable. I actually began to doubt my abilities and began to wonder if I was going to succeed in college. But, yes, there's a but, I sucked it up. I realized that I was wasting so much energy and time (and in college, time is such a precious thing) feeling fearful and doubtful of myself. So, I gave myself some moments to worry, got myself together, and decided on a plan as to how to fix my unexpected "reality check."

I'm sure that many of us have had this experience, and if you haven't, a time will come. However, even if the experience is common, everyone has different ways to deal with them. It's amazing to think how much three months of college has changed me. Just three months. . . I didn't think one could change so much in just three months. But I like who I am becoming. Yes, I've felt uncomfortable, fearful, doubtful, but it always comes back to who I am. Who I'm becoming.

I hope everyone enjoyed their first semester at AU. Most importantly, I hope everyone is enjoying the experience of learning who they are, the experience of crafting their identity. I hope everyone likes who they're becoming. Good luck with finals and enjoy the snow!

el fin or the end of 1st semster

One more class and then I am officially done with classes for 1st semester! I know everyone else is having a common reaction to this occurrence because it came so fast! I am glad though because there are times when I just want to go home since everything is much more comfortable there, and I don't feel out of place. It is disappointing in a way, too, that 1st semester is over because all of the things that I had high hopes for were not fulfilled, which leads me to believe that I either had a. a way too idealistic view for college as shaped by other fores such as the media and stories from friends (others' actions) or b. I did something wrong (personal responsibility)

It's funny because those same two opposing ideas-- between one is able to attain success due to personal actions and there are unforeseen circumstance due to the actions of others to which individuals have no control over when finding success-- was what our class kept going back to. In a way this sort of flip flopping in the conversation was also annoying because now I feel like in every class we just moved in a cyclical fashion, never accomplishing anything. Again, I falsely held the perception that by the end of the semester I would have come to at least a concrete formation of my own ideas and be able to relay them in this final blog. But, it is as though I am as unknown about my own ideas as I was at the beginning, I am just as unsure as to what to write my blog post about as I was when I wrote my very first reflection. This uncertainty (and openness) is shown in my first post here:

"I will, however, use them (Goffman's suggestions about humanity) as an observational tool, and throughout this Explorations course maybe I will possess more of the gumption toward humanity that Goffman conveys in his book."

First of all I was hesitant to believe in Goffman's view of humans and their performance in my first blog post, and I still take a more cautious view of him when I think about the way in which he analyzes society. Also, in my first reflection I stated I would continue to think about Goffman's views in contrast to the other activities which we did in hopes that it would help me. I think that being exposed to his point of view did aid me, but it doesn't mean that I still do not remain confused. I feel like everything I have known has come back to challenge me and, therefore, I have to continually be cautious and continual challenge myself so that more things do not surprise me in the process.

I feel as though after each Explorations class I would push the glass door and walk in the hallway on the way Spanish class in complete disbelief that I never knew that the whole world was so ambiguous, and to go through such a realization twice a week is startling because it is as though there is nothing to hold on to-- nothing tangible to base anything against because everything can be anything depending on how you look at it. Just writing that confuses me.

I do know that the one thing I did learn this semester is that I worry too much, as relayed by my many professors, but I never objected to worrying because I feel that being concerned helped to me get to here. However, now I realize that I do not even know if I still like being here, and it is the end of the semester. Thus, my uncertainty in thinking is what frightens me the most, not only that but also all that uncertainty and ambiguity that is contained within the whole world that we continually reiterated in class.

But, I will remain open and try not to worry as much, though I think everyone will be a little worried since it is our first experience with finals! On a positive note, after just reading this article, I feel a lot more accomplished and transformed because I at least did most of the scary tasks that he outlined, except, again, for these daunting finals! Also, I find this quote perfect for how I felt throughout August and into September: "For a freshman, fresh out of high school, it produces a churning sensation in the stomach, a sense of being incapable to ever finish, and a response similar to 'There is absolutely no way in this world one person could ever...' You can however," (Parker). It's funny because it's true. That quote describes the process I went through from anxiety, to stress, to worrying, and now to a form of content. I think that the next step will be when I am able to find the beauty in all of this ambiguity-- after it is done confusing me-- and that will probably be after college... but hopefully not too late in life.

Works Cited:

Parker, Susanna. "Surviving the Freshman First Semester of College." Associated Content. Associated Content, Inc., 29 May 2005. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Joining communities

There are a multitude of communities I aspire to join. Based on my dreams and goals, I aspire to become millionaire and join a community of philanthropists, I aspire to become an academic and join a community of researchers, I aspire to write books and join a community of authors that stimulate people's imaginations and perceptions of the universe, a community of travelers and travel-writers, and further explore the world in its magnificence, a community of dance performers, of musicians, artists, and, most physically, a friendly Spanish barrio community in Madrid or Barcelona where I will own a cozy, beautiful home next to the best bakery in town (I love waking up to the smell of baked bread).

Actually, I suspect I plan on moving back to Europe because I am drawn to the small community-bonded way of life that I remember from my childhood.

I aspire to join all these communities because they involve things which greatly interest me and that I love and enjoy. I am glad the question "How do you aspire to join it?" was not asked - that's a matter much too complex, and all I could say is that I am joining them by focusing on the end result.


Hmmm. What community do I wish to join? There are so many that I don't even know where to start. But if I had to narrow it down to a very abstract community, I'd say I would join the happiness community. I came across this idea while reading anne's blog, where she said that "If 'good person' and 'happy' are communities, then I aspire to be in them". The community of happy is an elusive one, I believe, especially nowadays, and it's getting harder to find ways to be in it. But I strongly believe that happiness is the most important part of life. To give and receive happiness is the essence of humanity, in my opinion. If you can't be happy, then what's the point of living? SO, I think the object of my life will be to give happiness to as many people as possible. As soon as I figure out the most efficient way to do that, then I can tell you EXACTLY what community I want to join.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Snoozing In

It seems like we're always joining communities. It's like we are constantly trying to get into circles that we believe are appropritate for us. For example, when applying to college, I was asking for admission into communities that I thought were suitable for me. The same when building my course schedule, I was choosing classes that I wanted, I guess you can say I was trying to join little communities based on my interests. As of now, I am happy where I am. But circumstances change, as do interests. Because I am happy where I am, and my vision of my future-self is not as clear as it was before, I wish to join a community that is not so "serious." Although now that I think about it, joining this community would be a drastic change for me. If I could join any community, I would join the community of people who aren't addicted to the "snooze" button. The wonderful people who are blessed with the ability of getting off their beds as soon as their alarms rings, a call to wake up and face the world.

The addiction to the snooze button started my sophomore year of high school. Actually, I'm not going to lie, I've had a problem with the snooze button for as long as I can remember. I just have so much trouble getting out of bed. This is how bad my addiction to the snooze button is; I have been known to hit the button for two hours straight, and once I hit the button the alarms goes off every five minutes. Now, I haven't been late to a single morning class this semester but let's just say that this inability to immediately get out of bed is getting very aggravating. Not only that, but I'm positive that it annoys my roommates. I know that at first glance, becoming part of a group of people who don't hit the snooze button ten times before getting off of bed may not sound like a serious community. Yet it would be great if I could become part of this community. No more precious hours wasted hitting the alarm; no more annoyed roommates; no more lying to myself whenever I set my alarm at an early hour fully knowing that I will not wake up that early; no more telling Corinne that I will go eat breakfast with her and then canceling because I decided to instead sleep in and hit the snooze button. Overall, I would seriously love to be part of this community and free myself from the chains of that evil snooze button.