Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Year at University

So it's September 27, about a month since I've started classes, and this is my first post.  My apologies.  I have quite the workload this year and it's really distracted me from other things, such as this.  One of my weekly assignments is to write journal entries about the reading we've done that week.  We can also do 25% of that journal on personal things.  I've basically been using that in the same way I would this.  So I'm going to give you a recap of my first month here on campus by copying and pasting those entries, with some modifications.  Pictures, for example.  Enjoy...

September 5-

So after a wonderfully long weekend I have discovered something about myself.  I need more friends.  Mainly here at DelVal.  I have plenty of friends elsewhere, and that’s the real problem.  They’re elsewhere.  I need real human activity on a daily basis that involves more than the 20 words spoken between myself and my roommate.  This might end up being my loneliest semester yet.  And what can I say, it’s my own fault.  I left my friends from Plymouth State when I transferred here last year and then I went off to study abroad after only one semester.  I do not regret either of those decisions by any means, but I regret the repercussions it has had on my social life here.  

It also doesn’t help that I’m shy.  I read something today though that really got me thinking; “You’re not afraid of the people around you.  You’re just afraid of rejection.”  And isn’t that the truth?    I find it extremely hard to introduce oneself to a new group of people and feel included right from the get-go.  It takes a special kind of personality to be able to do it.  And as much as I wish I had it, I don’t.  I come close, but let’s be honest; the group has to be willing to let you in as well.  And that’s just as hard.  New people change the group dynamic.  I like feeling comfortable with my amazing group of friends rather than trying to insinuate myself into a new group.  My only problem with that now is, of course, my friends are not here.   And we return to my original dilemma.  My boyfriend told me the other day that one can only have two out of three things in college; grades, a social life, or money.  I guess this semester is just my turn to concentrate on grades and money.  I hope it works.

September 10-

Well here is my weekly rant about my personal life.  After the depressing hole that was last weekend, I fully immersed myself into this past week.  Total immersion was not hard by any means.  I seem to have a very full schedule, although it didn’t seem that way before classes started.  For example, Tuesday I started the day at 8am and didn’t finish classes until 8pm.  I had about an hour each for lunch and dinner, but that was about it.  And then, after all that chaos I had a club meeting followed by class work.  Luckily I had a nice pick me up on Thursday when I received two packages in the mail.  The first was a photo book that I made and ordered online, which I was not expecting until the end of the month, the second was a care package from my boyfriend in New Zealand.  He sent me a nice array of sweets that I can’t get here.  I was so super stoked for both packages.  They were simply the best thing that happened to me all week.

On the other end of the spectrum, the worst thing that happened all week was waiting for the Saturday shuttle for 13 minutes before Security came and told me that that shuttle doesn’t run anymore.  Thank you for that information, Mr. Security man.  I’m glad somebody told me.  I tried to take it the weekend before as well but when it didn’t show up I figured it wasn’t running because of Labor Day.  It’s so nice of the college to let us know these things, isn’t it?  As I mentioned before I have a really busy weekday schedule.  The weekend is the only time I have to get away from this campus, even if it’s only to town.  And since neither my roommate nor I have a car, we’re pretty much stuck here.  Luckily I had a thought of genius as I was walking back from the bank, not wanting to continue into town due to the risk of rain.  The train!  How simple. So my plan is to catch the train into town tomorrow.  From there I will walk to the grocery store to pick up some supplies.  After that I will walk to the market to buy milk.  Hopefully the rain will hold off.

September 26-

Well I was finally able to escape this prison they like to call a campus yesterday (Saturday).  I volunteered with The Wildlife Society to participate in National Public Lands Day.  We took a bus to Valley Forge National Historical Park for the day.  We left at 7am and arrived there around 7:45.  We were one of the first groups to arrive, which means we each got a free t-shirt from REI.  They are nice, quality shirts, too.  That was a nice way to begin the day.   
We were assigned to Catfish Island, where we were to be cleaning up plastic and such.  However, due to the rain Friday night, the water levels were too high for us to get out there safely.  Instead we tagged along with another group who were doing tree netting.  There was about a mile stretch of land where the park had planted pine trees about ten years ago after a beetle came through and decimated the trees that were there previously.  Following the planting the trees were surrounded by plastic netting to prevent deer from eating them.  Well, the netting was never taken off and the trees were starting to be smothered by it.  So it was our job to go out and take all this netting off.   They quickly armed us with gloves and shears and set us loose.  

It was pretty decent work.  Each tree developed differently, some growing taller than the netting before branching out, others not so much.  There was even one where the trunk of the tree grew around the netting. 

After about two hours of work all of the trees were de-netted, the netting was loaded into a truck with some people on top for security, and we were on our way back to base for some free food.   

Overall it was a very enjoyable day, especially since we were off campus.  Perhaps you’ve noticed the fact that I don’t like being on campus all day every day.  It gets quite boring with few friends and fewer activities.

The worst part of the weekend occurred today, however, when  I discovered a lively little creature by the name of Ixodes scapularis residing on my leg.  Yeah, that's a tick. F-ing great.