3 Random Things I’ve Learned At Whitman….so far

WOW…it’s been a while since I’ve posted. my apologies!

These are 3 random thigns I’ve learned at Whitman…..I’m sure I’ll come up with more eventually.

#1 EVERYTHING is Socially Constructed!

I’m not over-exaggerating here! Units of measurements are socially constructed! Who’s to say that an inch is really an inch? Why is one mile 5280ft? How come a foot is 12 inches, and who decided how long an inch would be? Hooking up is socially constructed! Would it be considered hooking up if it didn’t have a name? What if hooking up was called something else? Something like “flipping down”? Would it still refer to the same thing? Would it retain it’s original meaning? The term Hooking up doesn’t even mean the same thing from high school to high school…so everybody gets confused when they come to college and people from different high school’s are using the term to mean different things. These are some of the deep philosophical thoughts I’ve been having lately. Sometimes these thoughts keep me up at night…..it concerns me that dreams could potentially be socially constructed too.

It’s not an unusual thing to be sitting in class and hear a student announce “it’s socially constructed” in response to a question the Professor poses. It’s pretty much your go-to answer if you aren’t sure about something. We say it in part as a joke, but also in part with serious intentions….cause it’s funny that everything potentially means something else, but then its scary to thing that that’s the case too. These very words are socially constructed to mean what they mean…what if they meant something else? (MIND BLOWN!)

#2 Putting Sriracha on your food is almost as necessary as breathing

I dislike Sriracha with a deep and burning passion. But for some reason, the bottles of Sriracha in our dining halls, at the fraternities–even at off campus houses (I think they steal them from the dining halls) are very prominent. I see people pouring the stuff on their eggs, potatoes, beef, cookies, salads,…I wouldn’t be too surprised if people use it as creamer for their coffee. It’s disgusting. But, I’m pretty sure if the college discontinued its suppling of Sriracha at meal times that angry riots would take place on Ankeny field….protesting would take place outside Memorial Hall….and a mass letter writing campaign to the President’s office, demanding the prompt return of Sriracha, would be organized. It’s a pretty big deal here….

Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out, as if Sriracha is the key to perpetual youth…and I’m the only one that hasn’t gotten the memo. Clearly there is something special about it beyond the burning sensation one feels in their mouth–but I haven’t discovered what is so special about it. The only thing Whitman’s taught me is that it’s basically a necessity for the average Whitman student. lol.

#3 Time is a Spectrum. 

So there are a few points I wanna bring up about Whitman. Both related to how Time may not necessarily be as rigidly defined as you may have been brought up to think.

The first example being that time slows down here. For those of us who are from cities, we’re used to driving 15-45 minutes (maybe longer!)…to get to a friend’s house, the grocery store, the movies…etc. So you’d think that when you come to Whitman, where getting anywhere is no more than a 1-10 minutewalk , that it would be a piece of cake! NO! Wrong!! You come here, and suddenly walking from Jewett hall to your best friend’s room across campus (6 minute walk) seems like an eternity! Waking up, and walking the two minutes it takes to get to your first class feels like it should be considered “cruel and unusual punishment”. And the times when you get to the Library and discover you left your textbook in your room, instead of going back the three minute walk it would take to get it, you decide to get ahead on homework in another class because you have that book instead. When in reality, if doing any of those tasks back in the city took that little amount of time to do–we would be jumping for joy! Time slows down here at Whitman–and it is a very odd thing, but demonstrates how Time is also on a spectrum. You’ll be quick to adjust to “small town time” if you are from the city….so don’t worry; you wont miss that “but it’s so far awayyyyy” feeling you get when you move to Walla Walla.

The second thing is the Olin Hall clocks…..Olin Hall has its own Time Zone. Their clocks are like three minutes slower than all the other clocks on campus. The Humanities department (which is what Olin hall houses) clearly doesn’t think it is necessary to adhere to one standard time on campus (they think they’re soooo special lol). I remember freshmen year, I lived in Jewett (right next to Olin). I had an 8am class in Olin second semester.

7:55 am My alarm would wake me up: I would wake up and walk to the dining hall in Jewett wearing my Pajamas and grab a muffin and some milk.

7:58 am I would walk back to my room, grab my backpack and consider changing into normal close–then decide against it, and head out the door.

8:00 am Really, I should be late by this point, cause I still have to walk the two minutes it takes to get to my classroom.

7:59 am I’m in my seat, waiting for class to start. WHAT?! It should be 8:02 am by this point! Why is it three minutes earlier?!

I remember thinking that the professor must have been playing a joke on us the first week. Then, one day,  I decided to spend the extra three minutes I seemed to aquire as I walked into Olin hall and check out the other clocks. They all were slow too! Not that it matters…cause time is apparently on a spectrum…and the Humanities department views time just three minutes differently than the rest of campus does. (it’s almost as if time is socially constructed too??!??)

I’m sure there are more random things I’ve learned at Whitman….but I can’t think of them right now. I’ll post more as they come to me.

#Whitman Withdrawals….how to deal

Well, it’s that time of the year again for us Whitman students: The middle of winter break. Winter break for us is five weeks long and right about now is the time most students are looking at their calendars and experience that same feeling you get in your stomach as you are going down a really steep part on a roller-coaster.

Why?

Well, we all obviously missed our families and were super excited to see them. But the holidays are wrapping up (get it? presents? wrapping? IT’S PUNNY!), we’ve seen our families, they’re great and we got our family fix. We are experiencing Whitman Withdrawals!! Now the only thing left is new years and then two weeks of waiting to go back to Whitman. TWO WEEKS. Doesn’t sound bad right? WRONG. We miss our Whitman “family” just as much as we missed our real families, and 14 days of “relaxation” is standing in between us, and our Whitman family. It’s basically the equivalent of finals week (3 exams, and two final essays, or something horrendous of the sort) standing in the way of us and going back home!

I’m not the only one! See below…

These are just a few status’ I (creepily) found to prove my point. I’ve talked about Whitman Withdrawals before (see–> http://kayvonsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/almost-turkey-time/) and am glad to see that the term I coined as caught on among other Whitties! But this still serves to show, that we all miss Whitman! and we all want/need to go back to get our fix!

At the request of numerous Whitties, I’ve been asked to blog about how to deal with symptoms of Whitman Withdrawals and how to survive until school starts back up again.

Like I said in my first post on Whitman Withdrawals, try checking out the campus webcams, http://www.whitman.edu/content/campustour/webcams.

You can check out to see if it’s snowing, maybe you’ll see a professor walking their dog on Ankeny, or somebody walking through Reid Campus center and you’ll get all excited and keep refreshing the page to see where their going (like a hardcore creeper).

Though creeping on the webcams will make you feel better, and give you your Whitman fix, it’s only momentary. The second you X out of that webpage, you’ll find that you miss Whitman even more now that you’ve seen it live. At which point, I suggest the following…

Creep on your Whitman friends using Facebook!

Yeup! It’s a great idea! It allows you to easily catch up with all your friends, especially now with the new Timeline feature that Facebook has! You will find yourself clicking through photos of your friends from Whitman endlessly. You’ll click through their pictures from their Scramble trips! (For you readers that don’t go to Whitman…yet…Scrambles are trips put on by the Outdoor Program for new incoming students, they are led by current students and happen one or two weeks before new students get to campus. These trips are basically pre-orientation weeks of fun for all the new students where you can go backpacking, white-water rafting, rock climbing, and kayaking! super fun! even if you aren’t outdoorsy like me….I went on one and loved it!!).

After you’ve clicked through all of their Scramble pictures you’ll probably move on to click through all their pictures they have with their Sections of them going out to section dinners, having formal dinners with other sections…etc! It’ll be just like you were there (unless you were actually there if you are in the same section as them…then it’ll be just like you are re-living a time of your life that you wish you were actually able to re-live!)

After that you’ll stumble onto pictures of them going out to parties, doing ridiculous things in their sections, on Ankeny, and all the other random things they have been doing the past semester!

Finally, after that you’ll probably start clicking through all their pictures from High School Graduation and before…and that’s when you really get to know your friends. You’ll probably find yourself saying in your head “wow they had that haircut in high school?” or “Aww, they were a nerd like me!” and suddenly you’ll feel closer with those friends, without having to be at Whitman! Woo!! Goal achieved!

During this period of Whitman Photo Creeping, you’ll find yourself “liking” and commenting on all your friends’ pictures, subsequently sending them dozens of notifications which will result in your friends (who are undoubtedly missing Whitman too) feeling special and happy the next time they log on to Facebook (which will be relatively soon, I assure you). This will result in them promptly “liking” your comments, and commenting back, as well as probably begin creeping through your own pictures too! EUREKA!! You have killed three birds with one stone (the stone being facebook stalking your friends’ pictures). 1) You have successfully distracted yourself from your Whitman Withdrawals for a period of time, 2) You have made your friends happy by giving them Facebook notifications 3) You have given your friends something to do to pass the time away from missing Whitman, and will subsequently be receiving notifications as well! Huzah!!!

But the downside….this cycle of happiness cannot last forever, and eventually you will have clicked through all the pictures you can click through, and so will your friends…and the symptoms of Whitman Withdrawals will begin to set in yet again. So move on to the following:

Reading articles on The Pioneer‘s Website!

Yeup, that’s right! Get caught up on your Whitman news! Do it here–> http://whitmanpioneer.com/

It’s always interesting to read up on the news and happenings of Whitman. And if you are an avid following of The Pioneer already, and have read all their articles from this semester, READ THEIR ARTICLES FROM LAST SEMESTER! AND THE SEMESTER BEFORE THAT AND SO ON! They are interesting, AAANNNDD you get to know a little bit of back history from the times and happenings of Whitman! Woo!!! Also, it appears that the opinion writers at least, are posting over break too…this is my favorite thus far –> http://whitmanpioneer.com/opinion/blogs/offcampusblogs/henrygalesoffcampus/2011/12/23/i-would-kill-for-a-burrito/. And for readers who aren’t students yet, this is a great way to get to know Whitman!

Talk about how much you love Whitman on College Search Sites!

I didn’t use one of these when I was searching for Colleges, but apparently they are increasing in popularity with those that are currently searching for colleges! So if you are anything like me, you LOVE talking about Whitman. And the best way to put that to use, and talk about Whitman to no extend without annoying your family and friends back home is to talk about it online to people who care and want to know more!

Some popular and reputable college search cites are: Unigo.com, Collegeconfidential.com, and Collegeview.com

Make an account (don’t worry it’s safe) and post about how much you love Whitman. Take their surveys. Rank the different parts of your college experience. Answer the prompts. etc… this is a great time killer, it lets you ramble about how much you love Whitman, and takes your mind off of how much you wish you were back and puts it on analyzing how your experience at Whitman so far as been.

And for readers that aren’t current students, these websites are great ways to get to know the different colleges you are looking at and great ways to get some questions you’ve got answered! (p.s. you can always shoot me an email if you have any questions too! behrookt@whitman.edu)

If this still isn’t enough (and it probably isn’t) keep reading.

Go watch some movies about College

YEUP! I’m serious. There are some super entertaining ones out there, while they’ll make you miss college, you’ll at least be occupied with something entertaining.

My absolute favorite movie for this is : Revenge of the Nerds Directed by Jeff Kanew. It looks pretty cheesy, and well…it is (as are ALL great movies about college), but it is soooooo soo soooo entertaining.

Other movies that will serve this purpose quiet nicely:

-School Daze, The Rules of Attraction, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Accepted, Slackers, Harold and Kumar go to White Castler (not that college esq’ but still entertaining), Real Genius, PCU, Dead man on Campus, Legally Blonde, and the heart touching story of National Lampoon’s Van Wilder

I listed those in no particular order, so you should watch them all. SO. SO. good, and that is a good 20hrs of time wasting right there!

Still not enough? well fine, lets keep going.

Hang out with your friends going back to School.

Notice that all of the above ways to deal with Whitman Withdrawals involve sitting and staring at a screen? Yeah, well that’s because right after the new years, your friends that go to State Universities will be returning to classes, leaving you all alone with nobody to hang out with…..but what if you could hang out with someone? In fact, what if you could hang out with those very friends that are ditching you for school (lucky jerks!). It may not be Whitman, but it’s a college campus none-the-less! Call up one of your friends that is going back to school and inform them that you plan to sleep on their dorm room floor for a couple nights.

I did this last year, I went back to school with one of my friends that attends UW. I stayed the night on her floor in her dorm, went to class with her, had meals with her and her roommates, and experienced (at least for a couple days) what life as a UW student was like! It was fascinating and fun! It was like being in a new world! I had tons of fun, sat in on a class called Murder, discovered what it was like to have a 20 minute walk to class, made some friends in her dorm, and enjoyed life as a UW students for a few days. It was great!

I highly highly recommend, if you have a friend willing to host you, to give this a shot! It is super fun. In the end, I will say, while I enjoyed my time at UW I am still very very very happy I am a Whitman student and wouldn’t trade it in for the world!

STILL NOT ENOUGH?

Go outside. Make a friend. Volunteer. Go grocery shopping with your parents. Take up body building. Go online shopping and have everything sent to Whitman so you have even more to be excited about when you get back. Visit some Whitman friends near you (there aren’t any Whitman friends near you?….then start looking for houses online that are in areas where more Whitman students live!). Remember for next year to sign up for WFR (Wilderness First Responder Course…the certification you need to be a Scramble leader) so you have an excuse next year to go back to Whitman the first week of the new year (WOOO!)

STILL NOT ENOUGH?

Start a blog….blog about Whitman. that’s what I do now!

In the end, for current students of Whitman, I hope this helps! Don’t worry, Whitman Withdrawals are not fatal, they are just annoying. Just know that the moment you get back to Whitman you are going to feel the happiest you have ever felt, ever.

For readers that aren’t students yet, think about it this way: If you are going to be spending large sums of money on higher education, you want to be spending large sums of money on an institution that not only provides you with an outstanding academic curriculum, but makes you want to come back for more: more of the academics, more of the people, and above all more of the life that you end up making for yourself there. If you love your school so much that you actually want to go back after only two and a half weeks of winter break (for most of us, even earlier) and miss it so much that there is a term for it that other students use (Whitman Withdrawals)…if means that this school is an amazing and unique place that should be given serious consideration when you are deciding where you want to spend the next four years of your life learning.

CHEERS! #Whitman Withdrawals.

Is College Better if there is a Big City Nearby?

I don’t know, cause I don’t go to a College that is near a big city. But I imagine not.

Last night I was having a conversation with a prospective student, and they raised a big concern that I myself had when I was going through my college search. That concern was “Isn’t Walla Walla too small and boring?” That question was the only one that kept me from immediately picking Whitman when I got accepted. It was the same question my parents kept telling me to consider. And it was the only one that I couldn’t quiet come to terms with, even after I picked Whitman and sent in my acceptance. But I want to tell you, DO NOT BE AFRAID. The answer to that question is NO.

In italics I have included selected excerpts of what I was saying to this prospective student last night mixed with additional things that I wish I had included in the conversation.

Right now the city/town of the schools you are applying to is going to seem like a huge deal. But as you’re looking at schools you need to consider what it is going to be like when you actually get to school and have to study! You don’t need a big city near you to distract you from your studies. And with big cities it is very often the case that the dorms and campus empties out on the weekends, or you have to commute long distances to have “fun” with your friends. Imagine if you would be happy with students all leaving campus on the weekends to go into the city, and feeling obligated to follow your friends out into the city each weekend to have fun.

In my opinion, what makes Whitman the amazing tight-knit community where everybody knows and loves each other is Walla Walla. The school doesn’t get desserted each weekend…in fact, if you go downtown on the weekend its a 15 minute walk that you’ll usually take with your section-mates to go to the farmers market, grab some pastries and walk back to enjoy them on Ankeny field. Or, during the summer its a 10 minute walk down to Brights candies for an ice cream cone, that you’ll enjoy together on your way back to play frisbee. You spend time with your friends, talking with them and getting closer and the very act of going to downtown Walla Walla is an activity. You bond over the small things that only a small charming town like Walla Walla can offer.

Some people worry that Walla Walla is a town that makes college less fun. But the thing is, the town is what allows Whitman to provide the ideal “college experience”. Its “smallness” allows for you to meet and get to know everybody, because you aren’t all running off to different parts of some big city whenever you are looking to go out. And part of the “college experience”, in my opinion, isn’t to go to the city looking for fun things to do as your idea of “going out”, rather, it is all the great things that the college itself provides as its own fun. Be it the party scene at Whitman, the amazing events, speakers, and activities the Whitman Events Board funds, organizes and puts on, or the quirky, awesome, and uniquely Whitman things that only Whitties can make up for fun to do with each other! That is what the real “college experience” should be: self sustaining and unique experiences. Cause, and I’m serious this is real truth right here–> anything the big city offers at other schools while you are in college are the same things that you are going to have the opportunity to experience and enjoy when you are graduated anyways! So why not go to a place where you can get a unique experience??

And you think right now that you wanna go to a school with lots of activities around it to keep you “occupied”, “Busy”, and “Happy”. Well, when you get to Whitman you will be occupied with all the amazing people you meet and live with, you will be BUSY AS HELL with school work, and you will be Happy because all your friends live with you and don’t run away each weekend, cause they are all on campus doing all the AMAZING AND FUN THINGS there is to do on campus.

I honestly didn’t believe my tourguide when she told me that there is always something to do every single night of the week at Whitman. (And your schedule will be so packed with school work, extra curriculars, and other fun events that are happening at the same time that you won’t have time to go to them all, let alone go out to the city!)….the only reason I actually picked Whitman was cause the people there were so nice and I felt like I fit there really well. But when I got here, I discovered that my tourguide wasn’t lying to me, and I absolutely didn’t need a big city near by to be happy too.

In the end I want to reemphasize the crux of my argument. The small town of Walla Walla that Whitman resides in is a town that facilitates an amazing community feeling among our student population that very few schools, in my opinion, are able to foster like Whitman has been able to.

It is a legitimate concern to have; the concern of the town being too small. However, I assure you, almost every student arrives at Whitman with this concern, you aren’t and wont be the only one. But I want to further assure you, almost all of those with this concern discover after just a few few weeks, even days (for me at least), that the small town of Walla Walla was a non-issue the whole time, rather it is actually the reason Whitman is so uniquely Whitman. We study together, eat together, go out together, live our lives together, and enjoy all that is college, and the “college experience” together in the same place. That place being Whitman College, in Walla Walla Washington.

P.S. we were named “Friendliest Small Town in the Nation”

See:

http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/story/2011/07/The-five-best-small-towns-in-America/49573514/1

And

http://www.bestoftheroad.com/town.do?destinationId=4123

Interesting Happenings

Well, as I was walking back from the Admissions Office after giving a tour, I was passing by Jewett Hall (an all freshman resident hall) where the below crowd had formed (That’s Grady smiling at you)

The reason this crowd had formed was because of a burning book that was in the tree (see below)

We at Whitman don’t usually burn our books. I promise. This was actually for a class, it turns out. The book being burned was called “Wreck this Book”…it was intended for such purposes. The class assignment was “do something abrupt”. Originally the plan was for the book to be thrown out the window….however, somewhere a long the line between the book being inside Jewett and the book being thrown outside Jewett–a lighter was introduced.

Ultimately since this was an assignment for class, the book couldn’t just be left in the tree to burn (burning trees and burning homework are not acceptable things at Whitman). So Whitman freshmen being the resourceful people they are created the below contraption.

The ultimate result can be seen below:

(see the facebook video of it plummeting to earth here –> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2754408540545&set=vb.1267629556&type=2&theater )

I miss Freshman year shenanigans!!!

A post from the midst of Thanksgiving…

I’m sitting at the table right now, eagerly awaiting thanksgiving dinner to be readyyy! I can’t cook, and probably would burn down the kitchen if I tried. So rather than put my family and home at risk by offering my assistance I’m feeding my Whitman craving by facebook stalking my Whitman friends….my stalking rendered this precious gem (photo cred to Chantell Lopez  [Whitman Class of 2014]….

I <3 WHITMAN.

I mean c’mmon, doesn’t this picture just make you ridiculously happy? This is on Ankeny field, which is kind of the heart of Whitman’s campus. Noah and Marga (Marga being the one that is pretend flying…and Noah being the one that is allowing this to happen on his back) look like they are having tons of fun. Every student at Whitman’s got some Ankeny stories where they’ve done ridiculous but memorable things out there.

During the summer Ankeny is where I would go out to play frisbee, and where others would lay out blankets to read on or play music. You know all those college brochures where images of happy students playing frisbee with others reading on a grassy field in the background on a sunny day are prominently displayed? Well, for the most part those pictures are staged…but like I say when I give campus tours of Whitman, that very thing actually happens here naturally. And then other things (like the above picture) happen too. haha.

Here’s a video made by Catie Bergman (Class of 2014) doing a 360 panorama of Ankeny Field during the summer time!!(Thats me in the white shirt and white sunglasses towards the latter half of the video laying on the red blanket!)

http://player.vimeo.com/video/26721835?autoplay=1   <— CLICK TO WATCH!! It’s super cool!

I love Ankeny because during the winter snowmen randomly pop up around the field….and one time a snowman was transformed into a GIANT SNOW BALL and after each class it kept being moved and thus kept getting bigger. It was rather entertaining, cause in the sea of white that was Ankeny field when it snowed last year, it was like playing Where is Waldo with a giant snowball that students would move around as they crossed Ankeny field. Eventually it got so big that it was big enough to block an entire entrance to my Residence Hall. So a few people that lived in our hall decided to move it in front of the main entrance to our hall to see what would happen (#collegeshenanigans). The ultimate result was nobody could move it for a couple days cause it was so big and stuck against the doors…it was inconveniently entertaining.

Here’s a picture, by Catie Bergman (Whitman 2014) of the giant snowball when it was a baby. 

And to give you a better idea of what Ankeny field looks like covered in snow, another of Catie’s photos will give you a great view…(with our Library in the background!…so pretty!!)

My original topic of Ankeny field has turned into me getting super excited for Whitman during winter time…THAT’S COMING SOON!!! I can’t wait for Walla Walla snow, and the great times to be had during wintertime at Whitman!!!

Kayvon ouuuuttttt. Happy thanksgiving!!

Whitman withdrawals

In less than a week Whitman will be off for thanksgiving break (11 days long). This is the point where students are either gearing up for some upcoming exams this week, or really have a pretty easy week ahead of them, depending on the classes they are in.

For me, I’ve got one exam coming up–so not too bad. However, I’m dreading break. I’ll tell you why.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might be familiar with the term “Whitman Withdrawals”….this is basically when you go on break and miss Whitman sooooo much that you can’t stop thinking about how awesome it is and start facebook stalking the crap out of all your Whitman friends and writing on their walls and liking all their pictures. And you know you’re in full blown  Whitman withdrawal mode if you start looking at this page and keep refreshing it…over, and over, and over again. The blue link links you to one of Whitman’s webcams pointed towards the west side of Ankeny field. Sometimes you can see people walking, and you can keep hitting refresh to watch where they walk too…..I know, creepy right? Well if you start missing Whitman enough….that is what you might end up doing. At least its what I ended up doing almost every break. haha.

Anyways, that’s why I’m dreading break. I know I’ll be excited to see my family, I do miss them. However, after a couple days the symptoms of Whitman withdrawals start setting in, and you just need to get your fix.