Back at Lafayette and truth be told, it is bittersweet. I’m back on a hill instead of waking up in the city or in my case, the suburbs. There are no sounds of buses, cars, international accents or random fireworks outside my window. Now I hear crickets at night, and I’m seeing stinkbugs! The hall mates that used to be from all over the world are now just from the US.
I’m not complaining, I’m just re-acclimating myself to the American accent and culture. The greatest thing about coming back to Lafayette was seeing my friends. I felt such a warm welcome that made me feel at home again. However, I did feel like the new girl at school because there are so many unfamiliar faces. It feels like it has been forever. The quad is under construction, the Pardee and Farnion driveway are gone, Monroe Street is basically nonexistent and the menus in the eating establishments have changed. After living in the city for a year this was a culture shock. I could even remember street names to get around.
I thought I was ready to jump back into everything but I’m slightly overwhelmed. Luckily, my schedule this year is not as intense as my previous year at Mountview. Still, I’ve learned that there is no such thing as coasting at Lafayette. Each class in itself brings a huge workload.
So far I only have classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know this sounds beautiful; however, the grass is not always greener on the other side. All three of my classes are basically back-to-back, beginning at 9:30 am. Since I have not been in a lecture in a year I do not know if I’ll be able to stay wide awake. My plan was to go to the gym at eight am and keep the burst of energy until 2:30pm. But instead I take a spinning class at five pm just before Soulfege rehearsal. In addition to this schedule, I also have private voice and piano lessons as well as my work schedule for Landis. On top of that I have dance classes, a cappella group rehearsals, and theatre performances.
As of right now I don’t have a break from 2:45pm until 10:30pm! I keep asking myself “Why!” This is due to the fact that my voice lesson is directly followed by Soulfege rehersal, which is followed by Cadence rehearsal and finally Noises Off rehersal.
This fall, I’m in a college theatre production called Noises Off, written by Michael Flynn and directed by Professor Michael O’ Neill. In this show I’m playing Belinda (the actor) who I see as the sweet enthusiastic motherly figure and Flavia (the character) who is the wealthy, non-domesticated wife of Philip Brent.. Based on the concept of being a play within a play, this hilarious British comedy first premiered in 1982. I knew I should have practiced my British accent more while I was abroad. I might be making some skype calls to London just to make sure I’m getting it right. I don’t want to give it away, but mark your calendars now because it goes up October 31-November 3!
Since it is my senior year, I have to buckle down and make sure that I train intensely. I have to keep my physical and vocal stamina up. However, I already partially lost my voice in the second week of school due to allergies. In addition, my singing teacher put me on complete voice rest to ensure my vocal folds can recover properly. It’s only for three days but they have been rough to say the least! This means steaming 3 times a day, ginger root tea and the doctor gave me a steroid for precaution. The crazy thing is that I have a lot of singing obligations coming up so voice rest is a blessing in itself. Especially since I can’t have a career without one.
At Mountview, it was easier because the head of singing or voice would sign a note and everyone knew you weren’t allowed to talk or sing. Here I have to mime, email or text my way through everything. It’s very stressful, more so in my discussion classes because I have so much to say.
In my English class, we just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and the book blew my mind. Normally, I’m not one for reading but this true story propelled itself. In 1951 a poor 30-year-old black woman learned that she had cervical cancer. She went for treatment at John Hopkins hospital and without her knowledge cells were taken from her tumor and used to develop the first immortal cell. They became an important catalysis in medicine, helping scientists develop a polio vaccine, learning about gene mapping and more. Rebecca Skloot learned about HeLa cells and decided to find the whole story. Thus, the novel tells Henrietta and her family’s story of finding answers, reconnecting family, and dealing with legal matters.
While reading I had so many questions and conflicting feelings about science, morality, race, and spirituality. Still unsettled is the fact that her family hasn’t received any compensation even though Henrietta’s cells have been marketed by the millions. I know this is subject for debate due to the fact that we can’t sell body parts or tissues, but an impact in science this significant should have had family acknowledgement.
I have to say that all I wanted to do the first day of classes was buy a plane ticket back to London. Just in the first week I had a summary due, over ten chapters of readings plus I was notified that I would have a quiz every Tuesday in Economics. Sitting in lectures back-to-back was rough for my intention span. However, I also felt as if the professors weren’t speaking English. Everything seemed to be going over my head or in one ear and out the other.
When I arrived in my writing class the professor told us that the class was about combining the stylistic writing of journalism with science and technology. Already my head wanted to hit the desk. As much as I love science I have not written a methods section or scientific paper since first semester of freshman year. I kept trying to focus but my mind felt overwhelmed already. He proceeded to have us write a 250-word summary on a scientific article. For this we had to report and summarize the who/what/when/where/why and how.
Now as easy as this sounded, once I read the article I realized that this was going to be a challenge. The language used in the article was a little difficult to understand. At first glance I just read the article to get it over with. I hadn’t read it effectively. Needless to say, I did complete my homework and in doing so I realized that it is going to take me a while to get back into the swing of things.
When it comes to my economics class I don’t know what to expect. I took it because I needed a social science credit in addition to the fact that I find economics one of those subjects everyone should know about. The only problem is that I find myself a tad bit stressed out over the 10-minute quizzes. After the class lecture, I read the chapters and realized that he barely covered the ten principles. So when I was trying to study I didn’t know if I should focus my attention on the topics he focused on or absorb all the information in the chapters. Either way I felt better after I took the first quiz and received 100%.
On a different non-stressful note, I had my Landis Community Outreach Center staff retreat. I was so excited to see the old and new staff! I never fully enjoy waking up at 8 am on a Saturday to work from 9am to 5pm, but this retreat was worth it. I think my favorite activity involved us making our new mailbox clip boards. It just was a time for us to relax and be creative in the park.
This year I am the program coordinator for Modes of Expression. At this program we provide the Easton Area Middle School students different opportunities for artistic expression. Now I believe anybody can be creative, so I plan to collaborate with my volunteers for different activities. Either way I feel as though the students and volunteers will have a good time.
Needless to say, my life at Lafayette remains hectic! I’m holding on the best that I can and trying to enjoy every last bit of it.
Until next time!