Brandi Ramos ’12

Yay! The first (real) snow of the season! It started snowing last night as I was on my way back to Wheeler from Hanselman. At the time, the snow was coming down heavily, but there wasn’t much on the ground. From what I can see out my window, it has stopped snowing, but there are a few inches on the ground. Yay!

It’s the middle of finals week, so hopefully the snow should help to lighten people’s spirits a bit, especially before Christmas. At this point, it seems like there are quite a few people who are just going crazy with the stress of finals, so hopefully the new snowfall might help cheer them all up.

So far, I’ve had my biology and chemistry finals. On one of them, I think I did decently, and on the other….not so much. Looking back, I think a big problem with me is that I never really picked up good study habits in high school, which is coming back to haunt me now. My next final is for calculus, and that’s on Saturday. Hopefully I don’t forget to go to it, because without the usual schedule, it’s been ridiculously easy to lose track of the days.

Yesterday, I had my chemistry final, and after that, Gordon, Dominika, and I hopped on the consortium bus and went on a field trip to…dun, dun, dun, the Worcester Public Library! It was exciting, and the place was HUGE…at least in comparison to the Maynard Public Library. We explored the library a bit, before walking to visit Gordon’s sister at work. She works as an investigator for juvenile defense cases. It was pretty cool being inside one of the tall buildings, and I have to admit, I’ve never really walked around a city of any sorts on my own (as in, without adult supervision) before, so it was neat. Admittedly, some aspects of it surprised me a bit, but I’d still like to walk around more if I ever get the spare time.

The bus ride itself is a one hour round trip, and since the library is the first stop after Holy Cross, the ride back took fifty minutes. I didn’t mind it though, because the bus stops at each Worcester college, and I liked seeing the different colleges (all the while comparing their campuses to that of HC).

Ah well, good luck to all of you applying to colleges (my friend Marissa from back home got some responses back and I was SUPER excited about them) and have a happy holidays!

At the moment, I’m sitting in O’Kane computer lab waiting for the Pit to open up so I can watch my friend Dave do his theatre final. Classes for everyone ended today (although poor Kristy still has to go to class tomorrow, because her Montserrat professor added an extra class). It’s weird to think that in a week we’ll all be done with our first semester of college!

Class for me technically ended yesterday, because on Tuesday I normally have bio lab, but it still feels as if the work never ends. Right now, I know I need to be studying for everything. I have three finals: biology, chemistry, and calculus, and at this point, I can’t say I’m ready to take any of them. Albeit we only just got out of class and the rest of the week is study week, but still. It’s scary to think that next week I’ll be sitting in those rooms for the last time this semester to take a two hour exam.

Even weirder is the thought that my chemistry exam will be the very last time I ever sit in that building, because next semester the new chemistry/physics building will be available for use and Haberlin will be gutted out. It’s exciting, but sad at the same time, because I just got used to the way the science complex is set up!

I think the show is about to start soon, so I’ll leave you all here now. At some point or another, I’ll write a better entry; this was just so you all are aware I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth after Thanksgiving break.

Today I woke up at the crack o’ dawn (a.k.a 6:40 a.m., which is earlier than I’ve woken up in a very long time) to enroll in classes for next semester. I woke up super early, and the first thought that came into my mind was that I could go shower…but as I was putting on my flip flops, Kristy, my roommate, said sleepily from her bed, “ten minutes…” which brought me back to why I had woken up obscenely early to begin with.  Enrollment started at 7:00 A.M. for all freshmen, so I pretty much sat for ten minutes staring at my computer screen with all my first choice classes checked off on my Backpack and hoping that my roommate would get up and start her computer soon.

It was pretty intense. As soon as my computer clock changed from 6:59 to 7:00, I clicked on ‘enroll’ and waited for the magic to happen. Instead, I got an error screen saying that that I did not have an enrollment appointment. In a little panic, I went back and clicked ‘enroll’ again and it worked. Score! I got all my first choice classes. I’m now in Intro to Bio 2, Organic Chemistry 1, CRAW poetry, and my Montserrat, which has been upgraded from Truth and Realism to Truth and Abstraction. I went back a minute later to check on how many open spots were left in the classes I had picked, and was surprised to see that my CRAW was already full. Multivariable calculus, on the other hand, is still open…so I might need to have someone keep an eye on me, because I’m still thinking about wavering back to the dark side…

In further news, tonight Kimball is serving Thanksgiving food, and the line is supposed to be MASSIVE. However, Thursday nights are nights that I go to eat straight out of chem lab, so hopefully my early timing will counteract any chances of a long line. But anyways, yay, Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

p.s. – I shall now abuse my usage of this blog to give a little shout out to Taylor and Debbie. Happy birthday guys!

Office hours are a blessing that every student should take advantage of. Today, during office hours, my bio lab professor gave me two of the most useful things I could ask for. Those things being:
a) a cup of dirt, and b) some solid advice.

And yes, the cup of dirt was very important.

See, I have a cactus in my room that I got from the Natural Highs Fair (sponsored by the SRCs) way back in the beginning of semester. Since then, my dear cactus (who I have lovingly named Cactus) has flourished under my care. That is, until yesterday, when I was reaching for some cookies and the package happened to knock poor Cactus onto my bed. I put Cactus onto some intensive care, but alas, I would be unable to do a thing if it weren’t for Professor Lemay letting me have a cup full of dirt to take back to my room.

Never fear, Cactus should be right as rain in no time.

Beyond that, Professor Lemay offered me some sound advice. I had originally gone to see him with a question about our lab reports, which soon evolved into a little talk about my lack of organization. In case it hasn’t been made clear, I am really, really disorganized. Which is bad, especially with schoolwork. I homework hop. I start off working on one assignment before changing my mind and going to something else, and something else…

All in all, things don’t always get done when I do that. Professor Lemay offered me some helpful tips, such as working in study groups and setting specific times to do certain assignments. It’s all things I’ve heard before, but perhaps this time it’ll finally sink in.

Oh well. Moral of the entry: here on the Hill, dirt is gold…and sometimes professors can say smart things…

In the time I have had a lull in blog posts, we’ve elected a new president, celebrated Halloween, and I have survived both my advising appointments with all appendages still attached.

First thing I’m going to ramble about is the election. On Tuesday night the college republicans and democrats hosted a party at Crossroads to watch the election on a projector. Me and my friend Gordon went down there for two minutes, namely so I could get fries. Anyways, that place was packed. It was so loud, and honestly, I don’t think anyone was listening to the poor performer playing his guitar next to the projector screen. After getting my fries (I think I’m getting the freshman fifteen…but oh well), the two of us went down to Mulledy to watch the election with a mutual friend. Fun fact, but Mulledy is the largest dorm on campus. So obviously, when it turned out that Obama won the election (yay!), the hallway got pretty loud. It was exciting. Whoo hoo!

And here’s my ramble about advising appointments. The first one wasn’t actually with my advisor, but with my Montserrat professor. She wanted to meet with everyone in the class individually. As it turns out, I scheduled my appointment for a Thursday, which was not a very good idea at all, considering that Thursday is my errand day. I was in the middle of doing laundry, when it suddenly occurred to me that I had to meet Professor Ziegler in a few minutes. Panicked, I left the laundry room and began running to Fenwick. I was still a little late, but oh well. She mentioned that I should have brought a pen and paper to take notes, but I remembered most of what she said anyways. From what I got out of it, she said that the class as a whole should try and see what she’s thinking about teaching us, that we should all be looking for internal growth, and that while I’m smart, I need to stop acting like I don’t know what I’m doing. It was fair advice, and I’m glad I went.

My advising appointment with my advisor went in a similar fashion. I didn’t really panic this time though. Professor Levandosky helped me count out the core requirements and figured out if I’d be able to have the time to take the elective that I want next semester. See, I’m starting to doubt my sanity right about now, considering that with my one free spot not taken up by requirements for my major, I want to take multivariable calculus. I used to tell my high school calculus teacher that I hated calculus everyday. And now…when I don’t really need it at all, I want to keep taking it. Do you understand why? No? Good, because I have no idea why either.

Halloween was nice, and I saw some pretty creative costumes walking around. I wish I had taken some pictures, but I couldn’t seem to find my camera anywhere. Oh well, I’ll run into it eventually.

Happy November, and good luck to you guys applying early!

Hey everyone! This sure was a jam packed weekend for me. For one thing, it was family weekend here on the Hill, so as my parents only live a half an hour away, they came up for the ALANA brunch, hosted in the Hogan Ballroom. A word of advice for all, but if you are ever invited to a meal in Hogan, you should go for it, because the food is generally very, very good. I was especially fond of the potatoes. Several of the students performed, and my favorite was Rhythm Nation, which is the step dancing club here at the college. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely watch them perform.

Later that night, the Science Ambassadors held Hogwarts on the Hill, which is an interactive show for kids in the area to come watch. Honestly, I think I was just as excited as the kids were. Some of the things there were neat. I mean really, how many times in your life do you get to see someone hammer a nail with a banana (that happened to be soaked in liquid nitrogen)?

Speaking of children, today was trick-or-treat day for the children of the faculty here at HC. It was held on the first floor of Wheeler, and I was SO excited. We decorated the hallway with a bunch of stuff, and my only regret is that I hadn’t thought to bring a costume or anything from home to wear today. I saw some siblings dressed as Darth Vader and one of the Jedi, and was exclaiming over them, when I looked up to see their parent…who happened to be my chemistry professor! Not only that, but Professor Farrell was holding a baby Yoda! I think I nearly died from an overdose of cuteness flooding the hallway today.

As it happened, I survived, and now must write up this pesky Montserrat essay…

Gah! Another long delay in blog entries! Oh the horror! You’ll have to forgive me…again. The week so far has been super busy, and I’ve noticed that all of my classes have started to pick up pace at this point. Alas, no pointless procrastination (as if there were much to begin with) anymore.

For one thing, in calculus, I’ve finally hit the point where I can’t really rely on high school AP calculus to guide my way. Either we didn’t learn this stuff last year, or I completely forgot. It could be either one at this rate, but this morning as I was sitting in class, I realized I had no idea what Professor Hwang was talking about. That really is a shame, because he is an awesome professor to have in the mornings even though it’s at 8 a.m.. This is mostly because his corny math jokes are adorable. And he explains things well. And most importantly of all, because it’s obvious that he loves math. It’s impossible not to pay attention when he’s excitedly scribbling on the chalkboard (because here at HC, we’re old school and have blackboards). However, this morning was getting badly jumbled up in my head, so perhaps I’ll head down to his office hours later.

Other than that, I’m not sure what else there is to say. Since it’s a Thursday, it’s a slow day for me, so I have a little breathing time…in which I shall probably do more work. Tonight, Kimball is hosting some sort of Apple Fair for dinner, so I’m really excited about getting a caramel apple. I had hot apple cider last night from Cool Beans (the campus coffee shop) and now I think I’m going through a minor apple craze.

Oh, and happy Mole Day everyone! It’s one of the best holidays in the year, so enjoy it!

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a good Columbus Day weekend! For my Columbus Day weekend, I went home, so I thought for today’s entry I’d talk about what happens when you return from college for an extended period of time.

First off, I’d like to point out that college during break is eerily empty. Most people left for home on Friday afternoon, but I didn’t go home until Saturday morning, so Friday night I was stuck in my dorm room marveling at the emptiness of the hallway. It reminded me of the way the hall is at two in the morning on school nights when normal, sane people are sleeping. Deserted. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that someone in the floor above me was blasting their music, I’d be a little freaked out that a Friday night could be so dead.

On Saturday, I went to the mall with my mom. I saw one of my college friends there. Frankly, it was a little weird to think about, because it seems like the world has gotten a whole lot smaller. Running into Maynard people at the mall is one thing, but running into college friends? Seeing Abi is always a pleasure, but in the world outside college, it felt weird to think that a few months ago, if we had been in a similar situation, I wouldn’t have recognized him at all.

On Monday, I hung out with some of my high school friends. One of them is a senior at MHS and she told me the most surprising thing about it. My old school (and when I say old, I mean old) no longer keeps the doors wide open, but instead has acquired a doorbell.

A doorbell.

It completely blew my mind, and as I tried to process it, she told me about some of my former teachers, and about some of the new ones. Yet again, my mind can’t seem to wrap around the fact that life at MHS goes on, even though me and the rest of the class of ’08 aren’t around to see it.

I came back to the Hill on Tuesday night and realized one of the worst things about going home for the weekend. It’s sad coming back. Admittedly, it’s no where near the same as it was on move-in day, but going home is such a big reminder of how things used to be, and you end up missing it all over again.

What’s even weirder than that is that despite my best intentions, I got almost no work done during the break, so I had to clamber down and finish it up. There isn’t enough time to be homesick.

Go figure.

Sorry for the lack of updates over the past few days; I know you’ve all been suffering from withdrawal symptoms, right? *hears crickets chirping* Anyways, the reason I haven’t been updating is because it’s been so busy the past week! Since we have a four day Columbus Day weekend, the professors are trying to finish everything up before we all go. Yesterday, I had my biology midterm, the day before that, I had my biology lab practical, and a bunch of other homework. I’ve never felt so overworked right now as I have in the past week. Even now, I should probably be working on my chemistry lab notebook, but that will have to wait…

Another thing that kept me busy was reading and preparing questions for The Known World, a novel by Edward P. Jones. He came to visit my Montserrat cluster last night in the common room, and my Montserrat professor is a wee bit, teeny tiny, itsy bitsy bit competitive with the other classes in the cluster.

She needn’t have worried; our class is obviously the best.

To prepare for Mr. Jones’ coming, we each had to make up our own assignments for the novel. As it turns out, we were on the right track, but we didn’t do the assignments as per my professor’s specific instructions. So we did it again. And when Mr. Jones came in to speak to us last night, we were super prepared. He seemed like a nice man, and I liked the way he spoke. He had a slow, descriptive way of talking in real life, which matches the tone of his novel a lot. He was a Holy Cross graduate from the class of ’72, so it was cool to think that a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist was one of us a really long time ago!

At first, I thought the discussion was going to be boring, and that I’d rather do chemistry homework instead…but it turned out to be alright. He made a few jokes, especially about not always being sure what he was writing the whole time. Not to mention that the cookies served afterwards were good…

Sunlight! Oh good grief (as I steal Charlie Brown’s old saying), it seems like it’s been rainy and wet all week, and while there are still some grey wisps of clouds outside, I can also see blue sky and plenty of good sunlight pouring in. I’ve discovered somewhere along the past eighteen years that a little bit of sunlight really brightens up my day (literally and figuratively) so despite the fact that I have all my classes today, and a good deal of homework I ought to be doing, I’m feeling more or less ready to tackle whatever the Holy Cross academic departments care to throw at me.

Now excuse me as I slip into geek mode for a paragraph.

Today at noon I went down to a seminar that the biology program holds weekly, in which a speaker from outside comes and talks about things that seem pretty cool. The speaker was Kristin Lewis from Rowland Institute at Harvard University, and her lecture was about plant parasites. I must admit, a lot of things flew over my head, in part because I am a mere first-year and big fancy words confuse me. However, the parts that I did grasp were pretty cool. Like, she talked about doing experiments where green tea has a chemical in it called a catechin, and that chemical helps to keep plant parasites from growing on other plants. I totally have to tell my green tea obsessed friends that they’re drinking a type of parasite repellent now.

Beyond that, life has been good. I’m going home on Saturday for the first time since I got here, and I’m pretty excited about that. As nice as Holy Cross is, there really is no place like home.

I’d probably keep rambling (and more than likely slip into my geeky self once again) but I’ve got to run to Montserrat now. Until next time!