Monthly Archives: November 2011

CTM: My Skidmore Experience in Ten Photos

Right now the “Show Us Your Skidmore” CTM photo contest is in full swing and lots of folks are sending in their photographic evidence of awesome Skidmore-osity.  I thought I’d share a few pictures with you that represent my cumulative Skidmore experience in various weird ways.

 

A silly/serious sign on the third (silent) floor of the library. I was all about the silent floor freshman year. It has a womb-like feeling of tranquility amid all the academic stress. The perfect place to write a ten-page research paper the day before it's due (oops).

 

One of the first nice days in spring '09. People flocked to the green like ravenous seagulls to a crumbly baguette.

The Skidmore Dynamics a capella group performing an interpretive-dance version of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" in 2009.

 

This one time I loved the d-hall chocolate-chip scones so much I took a picture of one. And then I ate it. With fake butter. It was great, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

This is my friend Victoria. She's a Filene scholar and she plays the violin beautifully. This was from a Skidmore orchestra concert my sophomore year.

I took this at a Tang Museum art party; "art party" mostly means looking at student artwork and dancing to the sweet tunes (read: '90s pop song covers) of student bands. Not a bad way to start a Saturday night.

 

First semester junior year I participated in a business competition held by Skid alum Ken Freirich. I won one of the categories (by writing about my dream career) and the prize was two VIP tickets to a Jets game! Obviously my dad and I were psyched.

Then I went abroad to Prague second semester of junior year. My program involved a lot of cool and random excursions, including one to the middle of nowhere Czech Republic. Here I am hanging out with some new friends. On the left is Radim, eating a schnitzel sandwich. Petr, our mountain guide, is watching him. Frauke seems to be wondering why her picture is being taken. I hope this picture conveys how much I loved studying abroad.

 

A variety of frozen yogurt sundaes at Plum Dandy, the dandiest frozen yogurt joint in the land. (They're off-campus but I really wish they weren't. Plum Dandy kiosk in Case Center, plz?) They have College Tuesdays and you can get two fro-yos for the price of one. Yum.

 

The Northwoods Village Res Life staff for 2011-2012. We are an athletic crew. We eat success for breakfast...with skim milk.

Happy Monday everyone! November 28 is Panama’s Independence Day!

People Who Like Things and Do Things: SkidTV, again!

I’ve already professed my undying devotion for those zany kids at SkidTV, but after watching this ad, I’m just going to have to do it again.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGuS_8NLLds

Two things I learned from the ad are that 1) that green screen is rad, and 2) Thiviya, the girl in the video, has an endearing screen presence.  Just another nugget ‘o’ gold from SkidTV.

SkidMolly: The Best Things About Thanksgiving Break

HOME!

I didn’t appreciate my hometown nearly enough until after I went to college.  Skidmore is grand as sand, but there’s nothing like driving up 22A back to Burlington past the kind of snow-covered mountains you usually only see on postcards.  If you hate where you live at the moment, chances are going off somewhere else for college might change your mind a little.  Saratoga Springs is my second home, but Vermont will always be my first.  I’ll stop gushing — there’s probably some Robert Frost poem or Neil Young song that says this stuff a little better than I can.

TURKEY DINS!

As a freshman and sophomore, I spent a lot of time each semester gorging myself on chicken fingers and other d-hall delicacies, so coming home to my mom’s cooking was very, very necessary by Thanksgiving break.  And now that I’m cooking for myself, having someone else cook for me feels weirdly luxurious.  Thanks, Ma.  This year’s turkey-cranberry sauce-gravy-mashed potatoes-stuffing-pumpkin pie extravaganza came at just the right moment…no, really…the only food I have in my apartment is a lonely box of linguine.

NO CLASS!

This is a no-brainer.  Literally.  I have no brain right now.  Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to recover from Skidmore burnout.  I will return to school with my mind all minty-fresh like it’s been dipped in a bucket of Listerine.  Promise.

NO JUDGEMENT!

As I write this, I’m sitting in my house, wearing my glasses and a pair of pajama pants that are at least six years old.  I haven’t showered or done anything to my face to make me look like a real human being.  It’s awesome.  At school I’m pretty relaxed about the whole grooming thing, but before leaving I usually put on a pair of real pants, or, you know, comb my hair.  But at home, my mom doesn’t judge me.  The world is my oyster.  Hopefully you guys won’t judge me either.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and, for those applying ED II or regular decision, I hope all of your applications are looking fly.  As always, feel free to ask me your burning questions.  Happy Black Friday, or as I like to call it, Buy Nothing Day!

One college I’m applying to has a phys ed. requirement. Does Skidmore have anything like that?

Phew! No, we don’t. You have to take a quantitative reasoning class and a semester of foreign language and a few other required things, but you definitely don’t have to climb a rope or go through a Marines boot camp or whatever comprises the average physical education requirement.

That being said, Skidmore does offer some lovely fitness classes like yoga and mountain biking and racquetball, so if you WANT some physical education in your life (and want to get some academic credit for it) then that’s certainly something to think about. I’m taking the Dance Experience next semester, so I’ll be flailing about in tights and a leotard pretty soon. If that’s not physical education I don’t know what is.

Ask me anything

CTM: Beatlemore Skidmania and Atlas Sound at Zankel

What’s up folks?  It’s a beautiful day in Saratoga Springs and I’m gonna tell you all about a few rad musical happenings on campus.  First up is Beatlemore Skidmania, which happened last weekend.  Beatlemania is probably one of the most popular events of the year; my first two years here we had it in Filene, the semi-crappy old music building, but since 2010 it’s been in the gorgeously lit, higher-capacity Zankel Music Center.  This year was a doozy: nineteen musical acts playing over two hours worth of intense, energetic Beatles tunes.  All Beatlemore photos were plundered from Facebook.

This guy's version of "A Day in the Life" was insane.

This year the theme was “Beatles And Beyond” so anything from “Love Me Do” all the way to Wings and the Plastic Ono Band was fair game for the musicians.  Of the many talented acts onstage, I had a few favorites.  The Bandersnatchers, Skidmore’s only all-male a capella group, did a pleasant barbershop quartet-style rendition of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”

The Skidmore Sonneteers, singing John Lennon's "Real Love."

A few of my neighbors from last year pulled a crazy jazz version of “Blue Jay Way,” complete with saxophone harmonizer and a didgeridoo.  (Yes, a didgeridoo.  That’s what happens when you go abroad to Australia.)  A trio of first-year students played “Can’t Buy Me Love” with a reggae twist, and two lovely ladies, MaryLeigh Roohan and Carolyn Bottelier, performed “Eight Days A Week” with only a guitar and vocal harmonies and still had the audience hanging on their every note.

Carolyn and MaryLeigh, absolutely killing it.

The concert concluded with a sing-a-long “All You Need Is Love” and everyone went off humming Beatles tunes and babbling away about which band they liked the most.  Another successful Beatlemore Skidmania and — eek! — the last one for me as a Skid student.  Talk about bittersweet.

Then last night Zankel and SEC hosted Bradford Cox, the leader of Deerhunter, who did a solo show as Atlas Sound.  Atlas Sound is sort of the bedroom, laptop composer, introverted, introspective, ideally-heard-on-headphones version of Deerhunter (who came to Skidmore back in 2009).  A slew of bespectacled, plaid-clad Skid kids wriggled in their seats, waiting for the 7-foot-tall maestro to come onstage.  First up, though, were openers Laura Stevenson and the Cans.  I caught the tail end of their set and was very intrigued by Stevenson, who had impressive vocal cords.

Then came Cox, who filled the auditorium with ragged, mumbled vocals, layers and layers of looped sounds, weird bleeps and bloops, and guitar that sounded like violins and harpsichords and also sometimes just like a normal guitar.

His live versions of “Mona Lisa” and “Walkabout” almost trumped the studio versions.  Of course, Atlas Sound music is mostly beatless and atmospheric, so it definitely had a sopoforic effect on the audience.  One of my friends said the girl sitting in front of her was in a deep slumber halfway through the show.  I myself closed my eyes a few times.  But calling the Atlas Sound show “boring” is not quite right; it was relaxing to the point of hypnotizing, and sometimes, especially after the week before Thanksgiving, a relaxing show is exactly what you need.

Freaky, man.

I’m not sure if I’m breaking thousands of copyright laws by posting this, but here’s a sampler of the evening: it’s Cox opening his show by playing “Recent Bedroom.” Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm1jQUUww7w

What are the French classes like at skidmore? Also does skidmore allow for multiple majors and/or minors?

French classes are wonderful! For my minor I had to take the basic stuff (Conversation, Writing in French, Intro to French Lit) plus a few extras. My favorite French class was taught by John Anzalone — it was a 300-level translation/stylistic class so we were doing French-to-English and English-to-French translations of novel excerpts, newspaper articles and short stories. Also Patty Han, who doesn’t teach at Skidmore any longer but was an epic and well-loved professor, taught a phonetics class that was insane and awesome.

As for multiple minors and majors, absolutely! If anything, Skidmore encourages it. Double majors, double minors, two majors and a minor, whatever. I’m an English major/French minor, which is pretty standard, but I also know people who do cooler combinations, like a Studio Art/Computer Science double major and a Math/Dance double major. It’s pretty easy to balance different concentrations as long as you make more of a long-term plan for how you want your classes to go. Thanks for your question!

Ask me anything

SkidMolly: The Insider’s Guide to Majoring in English at Skidmore

The professors are incredible

Caveat: I figured out I was going to be an English major around the time I started to read — reading and writing are my two major talents, besides being pretty good at Skee-Ball.  But my choice was solidified once sophomore year started and I got a sampling of how killer the English professors are here.  Class sizes are usually quite small (English classes have either a 15:1 or a 24:1 student-to-professor ratio) and that means professors have more time to give you individualized attention.  Each professor has office hours where you can go in and talk about whatever’s due soon, or just check in.  And these people aren’t just amazing thinkers — they’re published writers and experts in their respective fields.  My Ulysses seminar professor, Tom Lewis, has written and directed TV documentaries that have been nominated for Emmy awards; Linda Hall, with whom I took a cultural criticism writing class, has written for Vogue and New York magazine.  Next semester I’m taking the senior advanced fiction workshop with Steven Millhauser, who just had a story in the New Yorker.  Needless to say, you’ll be learning from the best here.

Get ready to read a lot — and a little bit of everything

Be prepared to read upwards of six or seven novels in a typical semester-long literature class.  Taking multiple English classes inevitably results in a hefty amount of reading per night — a few hundred pages a week, maybe — so staying on top of English work requires diligence and careful plotting.  Lucky for you, the courses offered each semester are quite diverse, from Milton to Willa Cather and everything in between.  I’ll go ahead and say there aren’t many writers, genres, eras, literary forms or literary movements that go overlooked.  Sample course titles for next spring: the Victorian Illustrated Book, Queer Fictions, the Wild(e) ’90s (that’s the 1890s of course), Environmental Journalism, Chekhov, American Gothic Fiction, Food Literacy.

Some of my reading this semester, Punk Planet book not included.

Oh, get ready to write too

The first big essay I ever wrote was my senior year of high school; it was a five-page comparison of Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights, and boy, did it stink.  “Get ready,” said my AP Lit teacher, “It’s going to be like this all the time in college.”  He was right!  There’s a lot of straight-up word hustling going on in English courses, but you won’t be assigned one-size-fits-all papers every time.  I’ve had to write everything from blog-style reading responses to 15-page research papers.  Right now my African-American Novels professor is all about the two-page assignments — long enough to get the point across but short enough to have to choose the right words and topic.  So be prepared for everything, including the 25 – 50 page capstone writing project your senior year, and don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of professors who will help you with style and grammar and all that tasty mumbo jumbo.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPR7_TBoXHA

^ Rick Moody reading at Skidmore’s Summer Writers Institute

Your future is going to be AMAZING!!!

Hmm.  That subtitle is a little heavy on the exclamation points, but still, it’s the truth.  If you decide to be an English major, you might get a lot of people either wrinkling their nose and telling you that you won’t get a job, or else assuming you want to be a teacher post-graduation.  I’m of the mind that the English major prepares you for all kinds of jobs because it teaches you how to communicate ideas.  Communicating ideas well happens to be a very useful vocational skill; plus, we’re all regressing from phone calls and meetings to emails and texts, so writing skills are essential.  Plus, Skidmore is a liberal arts school and encourages all kinds of academic exploration during undergrad, so don’t be shy about majoring in a subject for which you have a passion.

Four words: fruit and cheese platters

The English department brings amazing writers to campus for readings and Q&As, both internationally known authors like Lorrie Moore and Dave Eggers and home turf heroes like Daniel Swift and Greg Hrbek.  These department events are usually accompanied by the renowned Skidmore Catering fruit and cheese platter.  It is sumptuous.  Splendid.  The peak of luxury.  Perfectly ripe grapes, cellophane-tipped toothpicks, Muenster cubes AND cheddar cubes.  There’s nothing better than walking away from an Allan Gurganus reading with a swirling brain and a pocket full of cheese — that really sums up the English major experience for me.

Do I have a shot at getting in?

I received a Formspring question from an ED applicant, and it didn’t fit in one box, so here’s the Q in full:

Alright so lemme give you the entire picture: I’m a senior in high school, and I just sent in my early decision application to Skidmore. I’ve got an unweighted 3.5, a 1950 on my SATs with an 800 in critical reading. I’ve excelled in the areas I’m strong in (humanities) and all of my first quarter grades (the ones sent to colleges) were really good (A’s and an 89) EXCEPT my honors precalc grade, which was a 67. Suffice it to say I’m a little panicked. As someone who’s been to Skidmore and who is familiar with the school, do you think I’ve still got a shot?

I totally understand your worries about the precalc grade — I wasn’t the greatest student in maths, as the British say.  The admissions process is a pretty complicated beast, and as you’re probably aware, lots of factors go into the decision to accept or reject a student.  I’d say you still have a shot because you sound like you’re really strong in the humanities and you’ve been working hard both this semester and all through high school.  Don’t let a single bad grade get you down.

I’d also suggest talking to a Skidmore admissions counselor (call them toll-free at 800-867-6007) about your concerns — it’s an individual process, so a counselor will be able to chat with you on an individual level about the concerns you have.  Thanks for your question, good luck with everything, and please update me if you’d like!

Ask me anything

Skid Vid: A Walk Across Campus

Hello all!  It was so warm out today that I saw a theater class rehearsing some sort of kinetic performance outside near the science building, so balmy that people put on shorts and lounged around on the green while a DJ…er…DJ’ed.  It was too hot to wear tights with dresses, and way too hot for winter coats.  I’m not complaining.  Winters here are cold and snowy, so I’ll take as much freaky global warming weather as I can get.

Here’s a video I made for you guys.  It’s basically a li’l story about walking from the gym back to campus at night.  Sounds dull, but it isn’t!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1An8MIkPYgA

Happy Wednesday! For those of you applying ED I to Skidmore, may the force be with your applications!

Do you have any tips for applying to Skidmore, or the application process in general?

Oh, do I! I can’t believe it was exactly four years ago that I was slogging through the bog of college applications, sending SAT and ACT scores to the four winds, clicking the "send" button on the Common App and awakening in the middle of the night, terrified that my dial-up internet connection had somehow malfunctioned. Yes, I was really that stressed. And yes, I really had dial-up internet in 2007.

But you don’t have to stress out over college apps. Here are three tips, both general and Skid-specific, for applying to college.

1) PLAN AHEAD. That’s right. Time management is your best friend. Look at the next couple of months (or sooner, given Skidmore’s first Early Decision deadline is November 15th) and schedule what essays you need to write, what forms you need to fill out, what recommendations you have to snag from teachers, and what other bureaucratic tasks you have to complete. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything done. You don’t want to pull an all-nighter the night before the app is due — you have all of actual college to do that!

2) WRITE REAL GOOD. No, but seriously, make sure your various essays are top-notch. Skidmore has started an initiative that involves having all departments, from dance to theatre to exercise science, involve some sort of writing requirement in their courses and majors. In other words, writing is pretty important to Skidmore. Get someone to proofread your essays so the grammar/usage/mechanics are all nice and shiny and awesome. Use your essays to show what a bright, talented and interesting person you are. Which brings me to my next tip…

3) FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS. So you bombed all of your Honors Physics exams junior year. Or maybe you tried to paint your self-portrait in art class and ended up doing a pretty accurate rendering of Voldemort instead. That’s fine. Skidmore doesn’t care. What’s important is not pretending to be a great painter, or lying and say you want to major in Physics when you actually want to burn that textbook to a crisp. Use your college application to be yourself. You don’t need to have participated in a thousand extracurricular activities and you don’t need to take all 328 AP classes. Focus on what you’re good at, whether it’s European history or psychology or baseball or musical theater; let that shine through in your app and the admissions people will see that you’ve got a passion for something.

And the lightning round: make sure you fill out every section, spellcheck everything, use the same name on all of your stuff (maybe this sounds stupid but I know from having worked in Admissions that this can be a problem), be creative AND honest, do an interview or alumni interview if you can, and don’t despair because next semester will be far, far easier than this one.

Good luck with your applications!

Ask me anything