Today concludes Parents Weekend at Davidson! Lots of families come down for the weekend to attend the various student performances and athletic events going on during the weekend. Davidson also hosted the International Festival, in which students staff booths representing different countries and cultures–with everything from food to henna tattoos!
Wow. I am sorry (and kind of embarrassed) how long it has been since my last post. It would be impossible to sum up all the experiences I have had in the last month in one post; pretty sure I would be the next Tom Wolfe, considering how absurdly long it would be. Instead, I will create a (relatively) short list of events in my life during the past month, along with some pictures.
-Taught English classes in a “colegio,” or school for students aged 12-16. (The Spanish school system runs differently).
-Actively participated in a self-named “Gaudi Day” in Barcelona, where I visited La Sagrada Familia, La Casa Batllón, La Casa Mila, and Park Guell in one day. I even picnicked outside La Sagrada Familia–talk about a view!
-Attended the largest concert in Europe, dressed in the required all white, while in Barcelona.
-Visited some fellow Wildcats in Florence, Italy, while seeing the infamous Duomo, Puente di Vecchio, and the Uffizi Gallery and eating the BEST GELATO IN THE WORLD.
-Thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain, entered the Pantheon, gazed in awe in St. Peter’s Basilica, and stood mesmerized by the Sistine Chapel.
-Watched more Spanish movies than I ever thought possible
-Listened to my host madre talk about her life as the wife of a prominent policeman in Basque country when it was terrorized by ETA
-Witnessed a protest on the way back from studying
-Taken midterms at a school other than Davidson
-And made more grammatical and vocabulary mistakes in Spanish than probably humanly possible.
And that is just a handful of things that have happened to me in the past month. I cannot even begin to describe how much I have learned in the 2 months I have been here and am grateful and excited the for the 2 months to come. I’m headed to Paris and the Netherlands for 5 days once midterms end on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll have some great stuff to report back on in a week. A bit different fall break than I’m used to at Davidson, but I’ll take it!
Wow, its been a crazy few days around here. Sunday, we hosted what seemed like 1,000 prospective students and their families for the second Discover Davidson. Us fellows spent the day running from place to place, meeting students and their families, and snapping photos (check out our Flickr, coming soon!). Hopefully, everyone enjoyed the beautiful, sunny day and the chance to spend the night with a Davidson student.
Today, seniors have the chance to participate in Convocation, walking with their cap and gown for the first time. Dr. Carol Quillen, our 18th President and first woman to hold the position, will also be inaugurated at the ceremony.
And, to top everything off, our men’s soccer team beat #2 UNC last night 1-0 with an 82nd minute win! Very exciting.
I love Commons.
Okay I must admit it this is quite the bold statement coming from the kid who a year ago swore that he would never fall for the “college food” he was forced to get. But then I began to learn what commons really meant.
My birthday was yesterday! I don’t just mention that so everyone will know – although receiving a few more gifts and “Happy Birthday” wishes is never a bad thing As I was hanging out with my friends yesterday celebrating my birthday I couldn’t help thinking back to freshmen year. In my family birthdays are HUGE. We make a big deal of them – we get a good amount of
presents, the birthday person chooses where we go to dinner, we order a cake – it’s a production.
Coming to college I was worried my birthday traditions would have to be forgotten. Would mine and other people’s birthdays’ no longer be important? I was in college now, away from my family and our birthday “traditions”. Luckily, when the first birthday on my hall rolled around, we made our own traditions. On 2nd Belk my freshmen year every birthday we would ALL (boys and girls) stay up until midnight of the person’s birthday. At midnight we would walk to their room and sing to them. We also presented them with a birthday cake or cupcakes or cookies – whatever they loved. My hall counselor always created a big sign to display next to the person’s room, so we could all write them a birthday message.
Birthdays were some of the best memories from my hall freshmen year. We would all come together to celebrate one person, whether we were super close to them or not. It made their birthday special when their family wasn’t able to make it special for them. Even though we were far from home and in college we still made a big deal over everyone’s birthday – just like my family would have. We still celebrated like we were elementary school kids, pumped to go to the next themed party. I know other halls created birthday traditions too. One of the freshmen on the swim team told me her hall this year goes to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream when it’s someone’s birthday. Others will go outto dinner. No matter what it is Davidson students are involved in each other’s
lives. We celebrated (and continue to celebrate) each other because we are a
tight knit community, a family.
“Recruitment” has officially begun. For Patterson Court that is. Patterson Court consists of all the fraternities, sororities, and eating houses on the Davidson campus – essentially it is the “Greek” system. I’m a member of Turner Eating House, one of the four eating houses found at Davidson. The other three are Warner, Connor, and Rusk. Eating houses are, as the name suggests, a place where sophomore, junior, and senior members can eat. We do not live at our eating houses; we only eat there (which again may be obvious). Eating Houses and fraternities also host parties open to the whole campus on the weekends and participate in various service opportunities.
Eating Houses do not have a “rushing” process. We have instead “self selection”. First semester freshmen year girls have various opportunities to get to know members of the four houses through freshmen events the houses sponsor. Many girls join eating houses, but many others do not. At the beginning of second semester girls who are interested in joining an eating house fill out a form that ranks the four houses. There is a computer program that randomly assigns girls a number and then goes through the girls in order of the number and places them in their top choice house until spots are filled. If all the spots in the house have been filled, the computer will place a girl in her second choice house. Most girls end up in their first or second choice. Only on occasion are girls placed in their lowest ranked house. For the rest of second semester freshmen attend meetings at the house and normally participate in house activities – like cleaning the house every Sunday or helping with a particular service. It is not until first semester sophomore year that girls begin eating there on a regular basis.
Each eating house is unique; however there are a range of girls in every house. Turner has girls that are involved in so many different things – service organizations, religious life, sports teams, – anything and everything. Eating Houses are a great way to meet a lot of new girls that you may not have met otherwise. They also are a good way to stay connected with friends from freshmen year that you may not be leaving near sophomore year. A lot of girls from my freshmen hall are in Turner and we were living in different dorms sophomore year. Turner allowed us to see each other at lunch and dinner during the week and stay connected – which was awesome! I did not ever think I would join a Greek organization in college, but I have found it really rewarding and have enjoyed getting to know all the girls I have met. I also have a leadership position this year – I’m the kitchen manager, so I get to work with the cook on what meals we have at the House and I have learned so much from it already! I’m glad
I decided to “Go Greek”
Its been a little while since I posted, so I wanted to give everyone a quick update. The weather is rapidly getting colder, which reminds me of my favorite coming season: fall. The leaves change, the air is less humid, and my favorite Davidson break is coming up.
Davidson is great in that they give their students a few days off from school in the middle of fall semester to go home, take a short trip, or simply de-stress (as much as that is possible, anyway….). While it may not be fair to compare Fall Break (starting Friday) to Thanksgiving or Winter Break, it’s definitely unique in that not all colleges offer it. Every year, I’ve enjoyed my four-day sabbatical from homework and classes to visit friends at other schools, or simply go home to see my family.
Since this is my first blog post since May and Explore’s readership has gone WAY UP I feel like I should reintroduce myself.
Hi, I’m J.D. Merrill, a junior Educational Policy Studies from Baltimore, Maryland. I have a deep passion for education and politics, which is why I built my own major here through our Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
I imagine that it would be natural for me to provide an update of what I did this summer at this point in my blog, but since it’s already Fall and I’ve procrastinated doing so up to this point, I’d rather just tell you about what is going on in my life now.