The End of One Chapter and the Beginning of Another

Gloodbye to my pink tiled campus bathroom!
Goodbye to my pink tiled campus bathroom!

My grades were posted online today.  With this one little thing, I am now officially done with my senior year of college!  It is a bittersweet moment for sure.  I have had four amazing years at Elmira College.  No college experience is perfect, but I really did have a great time for the most part.  I have met so many wonderful people, learned so much, and grown so much.

A little bit of numbers: In my time at Elmira College I took 52 classes; earned 158 credits; completed 2 majors; attempted 1 other major; spent approximately 600 days in classrooms learning; was taught by 21 professors; took 24 classes in the arts; took 14 education classes; spent time in the field as a teacher in 5 different capacities (freshman fieldwork, tutoring weekly in both literacy and STEM, first student teaching experience, and second student teaching experience); and spent 3 weeks studying abroad in Peru.

I started college as a Childhood Education major with a Spanish concentration.  I quickly changed my concentration to Visual and Performing Arts.  I hadn’t taken an art class since 7th grade, but after just one art course, I was hooked.  It didn’t hurt that art came quite naturally to me.  My junior year, I added a Visual Arts major, which is a fancy name for art education.  However, just one semester later, I decided it would be too much to finish and I got rid of that major.  Then, in my senior year, I just happened to look up the requirements for an Art major.  Turns out I was only lacking a couple of classes that I could easily take the next semester.  So I am graduating as a Childhood Education and Art double major.

My last week on campus was a good one.  I spent time with my friends, did a bit of studying, got lunch with one of my amazing professors, and finished up the tiles I have been making for over a year in ceramics.  My last full day on campus and in Elmira was on Thursday.  It was pretty close to a perfect day.  I worked on getting my stuff packed up in the morning, and then went out to lunch with a professor off-campus.  The food was delicious, and my professor gave me the chair that I had decoupaged and painted for a research conference that we presented at (our topic was art in the curriculum).  I then went to visit the students that I taught during student teaching this past fall.  It was my first time visiting my kiddos since December, and it was great to see them again!  On my drive there, I saw my dream hobby truck- a 1950s bright red truck!  I then went shopping for about 4 hours.  Instead of dinner, I went out to get ice cream from my favorite place with a couple of friends.  After, I hung out with my three roommates that were still on campus (just missing one, who had already move out) and finished packing and such.  It was the perfect note to end my time as a college student.

On Friday, I had a final in the morning.  I then packed up my car with help from two of my roommates, said goodbye to them, and picked up my glazed and fired tiles from the ceramics studio.  They were finished just in time!  They were actually still pretty warm when I picked them up- I had to wear gloves while taking them out of the kiln!  My trip home was definitely interesting.  I have been having car troubles for about a month, so I was nervous I wouldn’t make it over the hills that are between the exit off the highway and my hometown 30 minutes away.  I asked my dad to meet me in the town that I usually exit off the highway in case I broke down (there’s no cell service, so I didn’t want to get stranded).  However, due to a completely unrelated problem, I broke down before even making it there.  Thankfully, my dad was only about 15 minutes away and was able to come rescue me.  We got the car one exit further and got a tow truck.  We then moved all of my stuff from the car to his truck, and finally made it home about an hour and a half or more later than I originally expected.

I helped my dad finish installing new linoleum flooring in my bedroom on Saturday, and am still working on moving my stuff back into my room and unpacking.  Of course, I’m going on an international trip later this week, so I’m also simultaneously packing for that.  Fun stuff!

Eek! Only two and a half weeks left of undergrad!

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I started packing up my dorm room today.  Such a bittersweet thing!  I still have one and a half weeks of classes left and one week of finals, but my parents are coming this coming week for a ceremony, so I figured I’d start packing so they could take things home.  I went through my desk, dresser, and wardrobe, pulling out anything I know I won’t need in the next three weeks.  About 1/2 to 3/4 of my clothes and 1/2 my desk are now packed away.  I have two great shelves attached to my desk and which have been full of books, journals, picture frames, and little items that make me smile.  I don’t really need them in the next two weeks, so they were among the things I packed.   There are still a couple of things, but it looks so empty and lonely now!

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I have to admit, this is the first time my graduating and leaving Elmira College forever has felt truly real to me.  I know it’s coming, and I even have a countdown (20 days left, in case you were wondering), but it just hasn’t sunk in yet.  I’m not sure it will fully sink in until I drive away that one last time.  I have enjoyed four great years here, and there is a lot I will miss about the “purple bubble”, as we lovingly (well, somewhat lovingly) refer to our college, due to the fact that EVERYTHING is purple.  I’ll miss the people I’ve met, the beautiful campus, the professors that truly care about their students, and living right down the hall from my friends.  It’s weird to think that I’m “this” close to finishing my undergrad experience.  I will be going on eventually to get my master’s degree, but this could be the last time I sit in actual classrooms to learn.

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the view of the “puddle” from my freshman dorm room

It’s funny how when you walk onto your college campus for Freshman Orientation, everything is so new and strange, and now, just four short years later, everything is so familiar.  I remember being nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find my classes or that I would somehow get lost on our tiny campus.  Now, the campus has become my home.  I can tell you exactly how long it takes to walk from one building to another (at a fast pace, you can get from one corner to the furthest corner in about 7 minutes, definitely no more than ten).  I can name every building on campus, and tell you what its purpose is.

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a view of the “puddle” from this past fall, taken while returning from a hiking excursion

My college is going through a lot of changes right now, and I’m not a big fan of a lot of them.  I feel like the college I’ve loved will not be here next year.  Instead, a very different college will occupy the place I have spent the past four years in.  In many ways, I’m glad I’m a senior, glad I’ve only had to deal with a small portion of the changes.  It’s hard to see something you like change into something you don’t  like.  In some ways, all of these changes (and I’m talking HUGE, drastic changes) make it easier to say goodbye.  Even right now, this does not feel like the college I applied to and chose to attend.  There are still many great things about Elmira College, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the same place.  I’ll miss it, but I’m also ready to move on to the next phase of my life.

Film Photography (Round 2)

I can’t believe my final semester of college is almost over!  I only have three weeks of classes left!  We’re now wrapping up working with film in my photography course.  In the next few weeks, we’ll be putting together our portfolios, working on our digital portfolio (10 photos that have a common theme/color/etc.), and working on our website.  I’ll be sure to share the website once it’s set up and finished.  For now, though, I’ll share the rest of my film photos.

Roll 4:

wheelbarrow

Above: This was the only remotely save-able image from my fourth roll.  My camera no longer rewinds, so I have to take out the film in the dark.  I had brought two rolls of film home with me over one of my breaks, and therefore had to switch out the first roll in the dark.  I went in a bathroom with no window, and turned off the light, but the film must have been exposed to some light.  It kind of made this photo look quite old, which is actually a pretty cool effect.

Roll 5:

prospect ave 5Above: My family owns several properties (my dad owns a real estate business).  One of the places we own (but do not live in) was my great-grandmother’s house.  It’s a really old house (at least 150 years old), and has two really cool old wooden sheds, one of which you can see in the left of the photo.  I actually somehow flipped this image when I printed it, and didn’t realize until I was done.  If you were to actually look at this scene, the shed would be on the right.

prospect ave 4Above: This was also taken at the house my grandpa grew up in.  Walton is the town I live in at home, and the sign has been there for a very long time.  I love the texture in this photo.

prospect ave 3Above: Another photo from “Grandma Ogden’s house”.  If you look closely, you can make out some of the faded stickers on the mailbox, spelling out “Ogden”.

prospect ave 2Above: The two sheds I mentioned.  It was a very sunny day and I took this at mid-day.  Unfortunately, this picture isn’t great, thanks to the deep shadows across the front of the buildings.

prospect ave 1Above: The Walton sign, again!  I actually didn’t mean to print this photo.  I wanted to print the photo with the sign above, but got them mixed up in the darkroom, and printed this one by accident.  I ended up liking it a lot.  The wood tones in this one are just so pretty!

I’m really happy with how my fifth, and final, roll came out.  I had a lot of great photos to choose from.  My professor said that it’s always nice when your final roll comes out the best- that means you’ve learned something!  Now, I need to figure out what I’m doing for my digital project.

Film Photography

I’m taking a lot of art-related classes this term (1 music class, 3 studio art classes, and 2 art history classes).  One of the classes I’m taking is a photography class.  The class is primarily film, although we will do some digital photography towards the end of the term (which is actually fast approaching!).  I thought I would share the photos I’ve taken (the ones I’ve printed, at least!), as well as a photo collage I did for one of our assignments.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed working with film.  All of our photos are taken with a 35mm camera, without flash or any special lens.  We are only allowed to do black and white photography.  I’m using my grandpa’s old camera, which is a Canon from the 80s.  I’ve had some trouble with the camera- for the past couple of rolls, it thinks the roll is done after 27 photos (instead of the 36 it should actually take), and it also won’t rewind, which means I have to unload the film in a darkroom and immediately develop it.  The process is pretty cool, but can also be tiring.  So much time is required just to process the film, and then it takes even more time to print each photo.  It’s also expensive!  But I love the way the photos come out, and the pictures feel more valuable when you’ve put so much time and effort into them.  I’ve only printed about 2-3 photos from each roll I’ve taken.  If I have paper left over after our assignments are fulfilled, I want to print some others.

First roll:

photography002cropAbove: Architecture on my college campus- this beautiful gothic building is the one I lived in last year!

photography005cropAbove: This is the same building, and is actually the arch that is located just below the former photo.

Roll 2:

photography004cropAbove: My beautiful sister, Heather.  She came to visit me the weekend before she left for 6 months in South Africa, and I took this photo on a walk we took.

photography006cropAbove: A stream we saw on our walk.  I loved the way the stream reflected the trees.

Roll 3:

photography007cropAbove: The lounge in Tompkins Hall (Elmira College).  All of the photos I printed from this roll were from the same building (which is the same building featured in the two photos from the first roll- I’m sensing a theme here!).

photography008cropAbove: This beautiful window seat is located on the floor I lived on last year.  The windows in the building are just amazing!

photography009cropAbove: The hall I lived on last year.  The hallway is pretty dark, despite the bright window at the end, creating a somewhat eerie mood.

Collage:

photography010cropAbove: We were encouraged to create a collage from old discards that past students have left behind.  I combined parts from 5 photos to create my image.  Funny story: the whole time I made this, I was thinking that the “motel” sign was a cinema/theater sign, thus the “showing” sign.  It was only after the entire thing was finished that I realized my mistake- oops!  I still really like it, and think my mistake actually might make it more interesting.

So, there you go!  My first adventures with film photography!

Snow and Ice and Rain, Oh My!

I don’t know what the weather’s like in your neck of the woods, but it is especially icky here.  The temperature is hovering right around freezing, it has been raining all day, and the ground is solid ice.  My college didn’t cancel classes, so I’ve had to already brave the horrid sidewalks and have to again in a bit for my afternoon class.  I stepped in a puddle that was 3-4 inches deep (there was no other option-things are flooding!) on my way to my morning class.  The water was so, so cold!  It felt like my toes got to hang out in an ice bath for way too long.  Not fun.  Then after my class, I went to the campus post office to send some letters and check my mail, and the little incline up to the post office was entirely ice!  Very scary.  I’ve survived thus far, though, and my feet finally have feeling back in them after an hour in my warmest, dry-est pair of socks.  I don’t have rain boots, so hiking boots it is for the walk to my second class!  Hopefully, they’ll keep me nice and dry!

I have to admit, though, I didn’t feel so bad about the weather once I called my mom.  My hometown got into the -20s/-30s over the weekend and lost power for over 12 hours.  Most people have electric furnaces, so this has wrecked havoc across town.  Even a couple of days after heat has been restored, people are discovering burst pipes in places that seemed fine yesterday.  My grandparent’s house (they’re in Florida for the winter) has leaks, our church has leaks, the middle/high school has burst pipes, our other properties are still thawing out but most likely have leaks.  Add to that a number of fires, and you’ve got a very miserable February break.  My mom told me the firefighters haven’t sleep in over 2 days, and are running out of food and drink supplies.

I saw someone post on Facebook that at least it’s not snow.  I disagree.  I’d much prefer snow to this icky weather.  At least snow is easier to remove from the sidewalk than inches of water!  And it’s definitely more beautiful.  It has certainly been a weird winter.  It’s been way warmer than usual and we’ve only gotten a dusting of snow here and there.  And now this yucky ice/rain mixture.  It’s only February, but I’m thinking spring can come now (and I generally like winter!).

Update: I didn’t get this posted earlier, so I’m going to add the update that it’s now snowing big fat snowflakes and it seems a lot better out there.

How’s the weather where you live?  Any fun weather-related stories?