I swear I’m not dead. This funny thing happened when I went back to Iowa though, this strange thing called school. And with this school there was also an expectation that I read books and write papers and code in assembly and other such schooly things. That’s not to say I didn’t have any free time, but I found that best spent as human interaction. Or sleeping.
I also found myself constantly getting distracted. I would sit down to write something clever about my truly mundane life, and instead find myself Christmas shopping on Amazon, or making grocery lists, or thinking of choreography ideas. Even now I’m struggling to get words down because there’s a Star Wars marathon on TV. The problem is, the more I didn’t blog, the more I had to write about, and then I got overwhelmed thinking about it, so I never wrote anything. All semester. It’s an infinite loop if I’ve ever seen one.
I had actually considered just giving up on this altogether, but I enjoy it; furthermore, apparently people have been asking various family members if I’m ever going to write again, and I’d hate to make them dirty liars. Better late than never, right?
Spoiler alert, this is by far my longest post ever. You might need to take some time out of your day to fully enjoy my self-indulgent comeback.
Please to enjoy, an abridged account of notable events from my 7th collegiate semester, aside from recurring trends like $3 pitchers of long island iced tea from Houlihan’s on the weekend and screaming my head off at the TV when the Hawkeyes played. Or when they didn’t play.
Back to School:
Back to school! Senior year and all that. As everyone has been telling me, yes it’s flying by, and yes I’m making the most of it, which you’ll hear more about very shortly. As for the scholarly part of school, I took a relatively light semester which was still kind of an adjustment after last semester in Ireland. I had my cluster courses (which is part of Loras’ “Advanced General Education” requirements that is supposed to make us better rounded students, but mostly succeeds in screwing up people’s schedules enough that they end up having to stay extra semesters. The cluster is two AGEs that somehow relate to each other and must be taken simultaneously) of Social Psychology and The Equality of Race and Gender Reformation, which required endless reading and a paper written every night. I don’t mind doing homework, it’s just difficult to get excited about topics that have absolutely no bearing on my major and/or future, though I clearly learned something since I can identify my attitude on the subjects as out-group homogeneity. Did I mention I hate psychology?
Speaking of my major, I also took Computer Organization and Architecture, a frustratingly difficult hardware and engineering class (the Organic Chemistry of Computer Science) that came equipped with an irately neurotic lab partner with agonizingly low programming self-esteem. Labs became a trial of patience, and for the sake of preventing any nervous breakdowns I wrote all of our lab reports.
I also took Project Management, which was actually interesting and useful considering I’m a Management of Computer Information Technology, meaning I will deal with the business end of the IT department someday. This made approximately 25% of my course load applicable after the end of the semester. Well done, Loras.
Welcome to the Neighborhood:
Having spent both the spring semester and summer out of Dubuque, I was a late inductee to the neighborhood. The neighbors are a group of my friends and close acquaintances at Loras who hold the tradition of Tuesday Neighbor Nights: that is, we play cards at Zack’s house and then go to Fat Tuesday’s, our favorite neighborhood bar.
Yes, we also hang out on weekends, and (occasionally) do things other than drink, but Neighbor Nights are an important part of Senior Year.
And speaking of important senior year rituals, there’s Homecoming. At Loras, we have Miracle Mile, a tradition that involves wearing matching shirts, traveling around to different senior houses, and starting to drink at 7am. Miracle Mile is followed by the official Loras tailgate, and the football game (which we lost miserably). Other than that, I think Homecoming is best described in pictures.
The best part of all of this was getting up at 7:30am the next morning to sing at 10am Homecoming mass for choir.
I traveled to my Aunt Jacque’s house Batavia, IL with my Aunt Maggie, Uncle Tom, and various cousins to run a 5K for the Histiocytosis Foundation for my cousin Liam, who was diagnosed with Histiocytosis last year.
The little guy’s a fighter, and the doctors are extremely optimistic with his progress, but it was really nice to be able to do something to help out.
Since I clearly didn’t get enough Homecoming festivities at Loras, I went in for round two at Iowa. Kelsey’s mom scored two tickets to the game, making it my first ever visit to Kinnick. I also got to hang out with my very favorite Iowa student while we were there.
This year marked the first time I’ve celebrated Halloween since I was a freshman at Loras. I’m guessing this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m now 21. I went out with my roommates and some other neighbors where we encountered many costumes that defied late October weather in Iowa, and a heavy police presence downtown.
But we looked good, so that’s all that really matters.
I got a haircut! Look!
As is typical for the first weekend in November, all of my mom’s sisters and their daughters (and daughters-in-law) get together for a weekend of shopping and eating and gossiping at one of my aunt’s house. This year we went back to Jacque’s in Batavia. Shopping and eating ensued.
Alex and Karen come to visit:
Alex and Karen came to visit me! Alex ran some crazy over-the-river-and-through-the-woods race in Des Moines that actually took him through the river in the course of about 20 miles, because it’s Alex, and a race isn’t worth running unless it’s longer than a marathon, or against the elements, or he’s being chased by a rancor.
They stopped to visit me on Saturday afternoon, and were able to enjoy some of the best Dubuque had to offer in quality dining and entertainment. Namely, Paul’s and Fat’s.
I ran another 5K! I actually ended up dropping a little over a minute from my time of the one in October, which I’m sure I more than made up for with the amounts of turkey and stuffing I put in my face later that day. Other highlights from being home include decorating the house for Christmas, seeing high school friends, and taking our Christmas Card picture.
Following a three-hour choir rehearsal scheduled on a Friday night (in Christ the King Chapel so we couldn’t shout profanities at our director for scheduling a three hour choir rehearsal on a Friday night), my roommates and close friends had a small holiday gathering at our house. There was tons of food (compliments of me and mostly Steve, who makes ridiculously good dips and spreads), drink, presents, and Christmas Cheer (despite my Fireplace DVD calling it quits at the last second). As our last Loras Christmas, I think it went really well. Plus I got a set of Hawkeye cutting boards and a wine glass that holds an entire bottle of wine, so I consider myself very blessed in this holiday season.
Zack Attack Neighbor Night:
As our last official Neighbor Night of the semester, a few of us came up with the idea to dress up like Zack, who for lack of a better word, is more or less the leader of the neighbors. Zack works in downtown Dubuque, and has a habit of always wearing khakis and a light blue button-up dress shirt. By “always” I mean I think I’ve seen him in other clothes about five times all semester. We got a fairly good response to the plan, and managed to surprise Zack, as well as confuse a lot of people at Fat’s.
This was my seventh round of finals at Loras. Incidentally, there were seven layers of Hell described in Dante’s Inferno. I’m not pointing fingers of course, mostly because I’m still pretty sleep deprived and might end up jabbing someone in the eye; however, I think it’s a little strange that it’s one hundred percent socially acceptable to live on a diet of coffee and refined sugar and only sleep for six hours every forty-eight hours, all in the name of glorious education (and classes I will never think of again once I get my final grades back).
But I suppose that’s all part of the college experience, too.
So ends my glorious 7th semester. It’s weird to think that I only have one left, but in lieu of babbling on in a semi-philosophical state for a few more paragraphs about how everything so far this year has taught me a valuable lesson for my future, I’m going to drink several glasses of wine, bake some cookies, and think of more blogging material.
If that doesn’t keep adulthood at bay, I’m not sure what will.