Wednesday, August 15, 2012

wise fools

Did you know that the word, "sophomore," has Latin roots basically meaning, "Wise fool"? I learned this in my freshman year of high school.

This post chronicles my "wise fool" year of RIT. This year, I was a Resident Advisor for one of the dorms on campus. While the job was fun, I realized that I burned out rather quickly and after the fall quarter I had almost no motivation.

This year, we had a baby bear cub end up on campus. I actually talked to the guy who raised the alarm. He was a Resident Coordinator (RC) in one of the dorms, Sol Heumann Hall. He was sitting in his office doing work, when he realized that the bushes were shaking. Thinking it was either the wind or some unruly students, he looked over to stare in the face of a bear. He raised the alarm, and the quad was cordoned off. Curious students were standing fifty feet away, leaning over the barriers trying to get a glimpse of the bear. Wildlife services eventually came and tranquilized the bear. They took him to an undisclosed location and set him free.

Unfortunately, only a month or so later, the poor bear was struck by a car and killed. RIP, RIT Bear.

"Can I has WOW players?"
Other events include the day that 2,136 participants gathered in the Field House for a game of dodgeball. This was an event that had been in the works for months. I was unfortunately unable to come due to being on duty. This game ultimately shattered the world record, and even though the record was then shattered only a few weeks later, RIT still holds the record for the world's largest indoors dodgeball game.

One very memorable event is the RIT Women's hockey bid for the Division III National Championships. We were overall 26-2-2, beating Utica and SUNY Plattsburgh to cinch the ECAC West Championship. We were then granted entry into the NCAA Division III playoffs. (Of course, Joe and I went to watch!) We beat Adrian and entered the DIII Frozen Four, where we beat Middlebury. We came face-to-face with Norwich in the final. Unfortunately... we lost. Badly. We lost 5-2 and Norwich earned the national championship at a RIT rink. We swore vengeance.

Memorable events with friends? Oh there were many. One I recall with vivid clarity is the evening that Danica and I decided to order pizza. Ultimately, the cost came to approximately $28.73. Danica put $2.00 as the tip, and somehow... there was a glitch in the system. The final screen (confirming payment) had changed her tip to $99,973.00. Her grand total was $100,001.73. You should have seen her face of terror. We hurried to the pizza place only to find that they had canceled her order - thank goodness! Poor Danica.

stayin' alive

Well, hellooooo folks.

I'm still alive. I promise. I might be exhausted and loopy right now from lack of sleep, but yes. I'm alive.

Lack of sleep, you say? What could have caused that, you ask? Welllllllll. Nothing significant. I was just asked last-minute to drive a friend to Buffalo at midnight so that he could catch a bus at 2:15 am. Then I had to drive back. I arrived around 3, had only four hours of sleep, and got up to go to work. In any case, I'm awake and ready to take on the world...

when I stop yawning anyway.

This summer has actually been rather busy. I took one course (Genetics) and finished it in late June. I was gorging myself on lettuce before the final exam, and then left right after to drive home for a brief vacation. I'm surprised I didn't get too many strange looks carrying a head of lettuce around! (It was my on-the-road snack) So eleven hours later, I pulled into my driveway just to have my parents' new dog, Jake, jump into the car and refuse to get out.

Guess he was excited to see me. :)

So I was home for a few weeks! I got to see Joe once, and then I pretty much rode a lot and actually got other things done.

You may notice in the picture above that Jake is laying on a GRE book. Yeahhhhh, that's the next part.

So I got back to RIT the week of July 15th, and got to work. The entire time, however, I was studying in my spare time and taking practice tests. The GRE was this past weekend. I think I did okay. Better than I initially thought anyway!

So what am I doing the rest of this summer? Work, mostly. This weekend I'm driving to Columbus for a friend's wedding, and then next week (I'm so excited about this), Danica and I are leaving for a five-day trip to Maine! We are visiting the UofMaine and UofNH campuses and talking to people at Maine. I hope I like it!

Today I also officially accepted a teaching assistant position for this fall in a freshman biology class. Joe will probably be a TA as well, so that should be fun. REALLY hope we aren't TA-ing the same section though!

So yeah, this summer has largely been uneventful, but it's been a good one! I'm looking forward (and simultaneously dreading) to my senior year.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Normally, I don't do those types of posts. However, this is a very dear, special mare at Magnolia Farm. Her owner also recently received a new kidney after years of dialysis, and her body is rejecting the kidney. News sound good, however, and she seems to be recovering slowly.

It was confusing the first few days that the mare arrived. Her name was Lucy, and we debated amongst ourselves - we had another Lucy at the barn. In my mind, I called them "Lucy Squared." We all ended up calling the new Lucy, "Smoo" or "Schmoo," depending on who the person was.

The first day I met Smoo was during a break from RIT. Smoo had literally arrived at the farm only a few days after I had left for freshman orientation. She was in her stall, and I walked up to say hello. She hung her head out and placed her mouth with her loose lips on my shoulder. I could feel the nubs of whatever was left of her teeth pressing into the skin. For the rest of the time that I knew this special mare, this was how we always greeted each other, and how I would give her wither scratches.

I never took pictures of her, but I wish I did. There is no shortage of pictures of her on Facebook, however. Her owner, Micki, threw birthday parties for Smoo each year. Smoo would wear a cute little tiara while gumming at the treats lavished upon her. She would be groomed until she shone and let her humans weave ribbons in her mane.

She looked nothing special - just your typical senior chestnut Thoroughbred mare. However, she was utterly special to everyone who met her. She had a personality and she wasn't afraid to protest to get her way.

This past April, Smoo celebrated her forty-first birthday. Not even a month ago, Micki received the wonderful news that there was a match and she would receive a kidney.

Last night, Smoo became sick. Through the grapevine, it sounded like a case of mild colic. However, it escalated. This morning, Smoo crossed the rainbow bridge surrounded by her humans who loved her. This is a huge loss for everyone, but especially Micki who has had Smoo from a tiny little thing.

Smoo and her human. Thanks for the picture, Sarah!
"Somewhere in time's own space
there must be some sweet pastured place
where creeks sing on and tall trees grow,
some paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen,
I know great horses live again."
-Stanley Harrison

R.I.P. "Smoo" 1971 - 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

i feel free

Here is the first in a series of three posts about college!

Freshman year is the year I barely went out. I mean, I did go out and do things, but not as much as I have in the last two years. It was the year that I was a recluse and spent more time studying and watching movies than anything. I truly regret not doing more this year.

However - these are some of my favorite memories!

Mud Tug is an annual tug-of-war tournament held in the field behind Grace Watson's. It is hosted by the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity to raise money for a select nonprofit group. There is live music, food, and play! My team ("Cheese") arrived late, but we were still in time to get our bands and go in. Since we were late, we would tug late, so we spent most of the day playing in the mud pit and climbing giant hills of mud.

Of course, we lost miserably against an all-guy team. I was in the front, and when the other team pulled us in, I landed face first and ended up with everyone piled up on me.

We cannot forget the NCAA RIT Men's Hockey home opener over Brick City weekend! RIT lost 3-2 against Colgate. The game nevertheless drew 7,421 people to Blue Cross Arena. It was an epic Orange-Out, and I was seated near the Corner Crew. Their excitement drew me in, and soon I was yelling at the Colgate goalies.

Other memories include the Rocky Horror Picture Shows that Joe and I attended nearly every month. There were countless birthday parties that I participated in before RIT went crazy.


That year, RIT had a phenomenal hockey team. It became a household name across the nation. RIT swept some of the top teams in the Atlantic Hockey Association to win the AHA Championship. For the first time since the RIT Men Hockey became Division I in NCAA, we were granted entry in the NCAA tournament.

Honestly, we weren't expecting much. We were up against the number 1 and 2 teams in the nation, and we were number 16 - the wild card, no less. Somehow, we slaughtered #1 Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament. We ended up in the second round, where we whipped the University of Connecticut.

This meant that, also for the first time, RIT was the NCAA Eastern Regional Champion and also in the Frozen Four.

Pandemonium reigned on campus. Joe and I camped out in front of the Field House the night before Frozen Four tickets were being sold on a student discount. That was a terrible, terrible yet unforgettable night. Early in the morning, we both secured game tickets AND bus tickets.

On April 8th, we were on our way! We boarded the bus very early in the morning for a long trip from Rochester, NY to Detroit, MI.

The game, needless to say, was a disaster. Wisconsin scored on us from the outset, and scored again... and again... and again. We played sloppy, but the enthuaism that we had for our team was outstanding. My parents, in Greensboro, were sitting at a bar watching the game on ESPN U. At one point, the announcers were talking about the RIT fans, and even through the TV, my parents could hear everybody chanting, "RIT! RIT! RIT!"

We fell 8-1 to Wisconsin, who then fell to the eventual national champions, Boston University.

The rest of the year dulls in comparison to this experience.

Monday, April 16, 2012

getting real

After reading the Pirate's blog, I realized things are starting to get real. And really scary. Her graduation is less than a month away, and in less than five months, she is moving up to Rochester to go to RIT! And with her arrival, my senior year will officially begin.

Our school's new registration system went live today, and I added my classes to the shopping cart. Things are getting real fast. I can't believe I'm adding my classes for my first quarter of senior year already! It feels like yesterday that I was a freshman in biomedical photography. Now I'm going to be a senior in biology. Where did the time go?

It is currently the sixth week of school. Let me recap what has happened so far this quarter. I've taken part in a Heel Violence! walk for Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. This walk raised over $5000 and all of it will be donated to Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims. Last Friday night, Danica, Sara Jane, Michelle, and I took part in the Ultimate CAB Quest. We basically ran all over campus in two hours in order to find facts, take pictures, and write down QR codes for prizes. We ended up in third place! Not too bad for four girls! (In fact, the winning team were four girls from Tri-Sigma sorority)

I feel like this quarter I'm spending a lot of time socializing and taking part in events. Next weekend during Spring Festival is Karen's Walk/Run 5K. The week after that, I'm volunteering at Imagine RIT, and the day after that I'm participating in a Color Run.

The next three posts will be about my first three years at RIT. They will cover my triumphs, my struggles, and hopefully some fun, enjoyable stories.

This will be one of these stories!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Quarter

Hello, dear readers! I have a few minutes to breathe and decided to blog instead.

My spring quarter is going by fantastic! This is basically how it looks:

MW: 10-12 - American Sign Language Literature

TR: 8-10 - Physics 3 Lab
10-11 - Animal Behavior
6-8- Deaf Culture in America

F: 8-10 - Physics 3 Lecture
10-11 - Animal Behavior
2-5 - Animal Behavior Lab

On Thursdays, I audit a beginning yoga course. I have to say that I'm really enjoying this! The guy is kinda old but he's still super cool and his classes are really fun. I never realized how much my muscles were being used in yoga, though. My shoulders and abs always ache after his classes. I think the worst was after my first yoga class. I tweaked my santorius muscle (it's a super long muscle that goes from the inside of your knee to the outside of your thigh) and could barely walk for a couple of days. It thankfully went away over the weekend, though! I've learned about how to balance my weight and I think that yoga is going to be really beneficial for dressage. I have no problems with some of the poses because a lot of it uses the same muscles that I use for riding.

American Sign Language Literature isn't too bad. The professor is kind of disorganized and whenever we point it out, she guilt trips us, but after today I think it'll be getting better. The entire class had a talk with her about the assignments being so last minute and how her instructions for class is so unclear. She was very willing to work with us to ensure that we were enjoying the class and got the best experience out of it. It is organized NOTHING like Deaf Lit, though, which makes me slightly disappointed.

College Physics III is... I have no idea. The professor is old and spends 20 minutes in each class trying to remember everyone's names, and promptly forgets them. He asked me my name four times last Tuesday and twice in a ten minute span of time on Thursday. However, he is a fantastic teacher. I thought the class format was kinda weird at first because labs are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and lecture is on Friday. However, he somehow makes it work and the class really isn't that bad so far. Knock on wood.

Deaf Culture in America, while interesting, just makes me feel kind of negative about the whole Deaf experience. My professor is Deaf and very... opinionated. He thinks that there is no way that a hearing person can be part of Deaf culture. I could easily name five hearing people who, while they may not have experienced it, may be able to understand what Deaf people go through with oppression and whatnot. At least he doesn't go that far with hard of hearing people! I dunno, the class is interesting, but he makes it not interesting. At least we don't have any homework for that class. Honestly, if not for the fact that it's required for my minor, I wouldn't take this class.

Now, I saved the best for last! Last fall I took General Ecology with Dr. Pough. He was fantastic. While I didn't really like the way he taught the class, by the end of the quarter I enjoyed learning from him and was looking forward to taking conservation biology and animal behavior with him my senior year. Come to find out, Dr. Pough was retiring at the end of this quarter. What to do? Well, take Animal Behavior with him, of course! I don't have much patience for classes that last two hours, but Animal Behavior is one class that I wish lasted two hours, not fifty minutes!

Ecology had more than fifty people in the class, and it was very difficult to get my opinions or thoughts heard in that course. However, for Animal Behavior, there is only nine people. Dr. Pough decided to use a seminar style of teaching for this course, and I think it really works. We'll talk about one topic, and bring up or discuss questions related to that topic. I love it so much that I'm actually working ahead in the course! He hasn't really assigned us wikis yet, just mentioned that we need to do them. I've already picked out the topic I want and started selecting papers that I will use in the wiki. The wiki isn't due until Week 10. This is Week 4.

At this point, I'm torn about whether I want to go to Maine to study zoology with a specialty in birds and their behavior, or go to Bucknell and study Animal Behavior for my graduate degree(s).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I found out yesterday that I'm missing seven (yes, seven) credit hours for my gen ed/university elective requirements. My advisor neglected to inform me of this, so I've had to scramble to figure out what I can take for my senior year and still have an easy year.

What I HAVE figured out, though, are my fall and winter quarters.

First - what do I have left after this quarter?

Two courses for my minor (8 credit hours total), Genetics (4 credits, taking it this summer), Developmental Biology (4 credits, taking it this fall), one 2 credit biology elective course, and 7 more hours in gen ed/university wide electives. 25 credits total.

Courses were recently released on SIS using the new GeneSIS system. This is basically what my fall quarter may look like:

M: 1-2 - Developmental Biology. 2-5 - Developmental Biology Lab.
T: 10-12: Fine Arts:Visual Arts. 2-4 - Vertebrate Evolution.
W: 10-12: Foods of the World. 1-2: Developmental Biology.
R: 10-12: FAVA. 1-2: Developmental Biology. 2-4: Vertebrate Evolution.

However, the professor for vertebrate evolution apparently sucks according to Therefore, I'm thinking of instead doing scene painting. It's basically when you paint scenes for NTID plays for 40 hours a quarter and get 2 credit hours for it. Not bad! So for my fall quarter, I'll have 12 credit hours if I do scene painting, 14 if I do Vertebrate Evolution.

So what does that leave us with? Since I think I'm likelier to do the scene painting thing than vertebrate evolution, this is what I'll have left. Two courses for the minor, one 2 credit biology course, 3 more hours in gen ed/university wide electives. 13 hours left.

Now, this is where it starts getting a little bit sticky.

This winter, I'm most likely taking:

MW: 11-12: Conservation Biology, 12-1: Tropical Ecology.
T: 2-4: Wines of the World.
R: 2-5: Conservation Biology lab.
F: 11-12: Conservation Biology Lab.

That is ten credit hours. I need two more to be a full-time student. This is where I'll much appreciate class ideas! Something that is fun to do and an easy A. Maybe Oceanus? That's an online course (4 credits).

After this, all I'll have left are my minor courses. 8 hours to go.

For spring, all I know that I'm taking is Linguistics of ASL and either American Deaf History or Oppression in the Lives of Deaf People. These sound like fun classes. Not easy, but fun. I want to take one more class to be a full-time, but we'll figure that part out when the class times/sections/professors are released.

I can't believe I have so few classes left to take! College has definitely flown by so fast.