Author Archives: Molly O'Brien

CTM: Senior Capstones, End-of-Year Games, Lectures, Performances, Ahh!

For all you Skidmore ’16-ers who will get to experience Skid next year first-hand, know this: the last two weeks of classes are jam-packed with enough final performances, a capella “jams,” thesis presentations and spring events to require an extremely strategically planned calendar.  Here’s the breakdown of my last few weeks of the semester…

…last Friday was the Kenneth Freirich Skidmore Business competition.  Nine students presented business plans (real ones!  Professional, potentially moneymaking ones!) to a small group of distinguished judges.  My friend Hattie Young got third place for her plan for a Chicago-based dance company called Rephrase Dance Collective.  Her presentation was awesome — she had financial advisors, nonprofit organizations, educational resources, social media marketing, and dancers, all lined up and ready to go.  Watch out for Ms. Young, she’s going to go places!…

…immediately after that, I jetted off to see the women’s lacrosse team play William Smith.  (My friend [and freshman year roommate] Rae plays goalie.)  It was a tough loss, but I love getting out to Wachenheim Field and cheering for the Thoroughbreds…

…then last Saturday I went to my friend Victoria’s senior violin recital, where I got to hear a lovely bit of Beethoven, as well as an intriguing piece called “Jamaican Rumba”…

…Sunday I watched “Keeping Company With Cage,” a combination of contemporary ballet and avant-garde music. David Porter, a former Skidmore president, played piano while Skidmore dancers performed department chair Debra Fernandez’s choreography.  It was so beautiful!  Between the otherworldly piano, the graceful dancers, the Zankel setting and the cool video and lighting effects, I was blown away…

…Monday and Tuesday had Skidmore’s Speakers Bureau bringing two incredible lecturers: Letty Pogrebin, legendary feminist and founding editor of Ms.Magazine, and Mike Hale, a television critic at the New York Times.  Both had fascinating stories and great advice for college students…

…yesterday I went to a talk at the Tang about creating art-related businesses and artistic communities…

…this weekend I’ll be attending the Dance Capstone show and the Sonneteers’ (all female a capella group) last jam of the year…

As you can see, this is a busy time for Skid kids.  Pictures to come!  Happy weekend!

 

How Was…The Artifacts Mini-Concert at the Tang?

Last night there was a spoken word event at the Tang; sadly, I couldn’t stay for the main event, but I caught the opening act: The Artifacts, one of Skidmore’s most talented student bands.  The Artifacts are Jonathan Wan ’12, Zoë Brecher ’12 and Leo Cancelmo ’12, three seniors with mad skills on their respective instruments (Jon on keyboards and vocals, Zoë on drums and vocals, Leo on guitar) and a sharp ear for catchy power pop tunes.  What a treat to hear their set!  I decided to forego the Tang’s ground level and watch the show from the balcony.

Here’s their opening number:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsyM4_LkGWw

And here are some pics!  If you want more of the Artifacts, here’s their lovely new single, “Be Someone,” on Bandcamp!

Hello, Tang!

A view from the top.

Leo shreds, others bob their heads.

SkidMolly: Skidmore Facilities Facts

Hey hey hey!  First of all, if you’re in Skidmore territory for any of the Accepted Candidates Days this coming week, welcome!  Like the breakfast in Mulan, we’re happy to see you!

Here are some quick facts about the facilities here at Skidmore:

  • There are up-to-date elliptical machines and treadmills in the gym, as well as flat-screen televisions perfect for catching up on Bravo reality shows as you do your cardio.  Plus, the Williamson Sports Center has raquetball courts, a six-lane swimming pool, nine tennis courts (four of them lighted) and a human performance lab for Exercise Science majors.
  • Dana Science Center hosts a microscopy imaging center and an astrophysics lab — both are useless to me as an English major, but very useful for people studying biology and physics.
  • The art studio, Saisselin (I never learned how to pronounce that one, sadly) includes a built-in art gallery, a metals shop, a bunch of weaving looms for textiles design, and an animation studio with Linux workstations.  Five Skidmore alums worked on the movie Ice Age, so that animation studio came in handy, right?
  • The dining hall (Murray-Aikens) has a special test kitchen meant for chefs to prepare food for students with allergies or special needs, plus students can reserve the test kitchen so they can cook for themselves.
  • The JKB Theater seats almost 400 people, and the blackbox theater seats between 80 and 100 people.
  • Our basically brand-new music center, Zankel, has 54,000 square feet of teaching, practice, administrative and performance space.    There’s even an amphitheater just outside the building where students hold acoustic concerts.

The Skidmore facilities look shiny and nice, but they’re also resources for you to use, just about whenever you want to.  It’s nice to go to school at a place where we aren’t lacking much, and where we have the means to accomplish whatever we can imagine, whether that’s a laser light show to accompany a senior music recital, or a super complex biology research project, or a student-written theater performance with music and video components, or a 5K run to support charities in Saratoga.  The facilities at Skidmore definitely support the idea that creative thought matters — come visit and check them out for yourself.

SkidMolly: Fridays at Skidmore

Hi all!

First of all, congratulations to the Regular Decision admits!  I hope you’ll all consider visiting campus before the semester is over, either on your own or during an Accepted Candidate’s Day.  (Connect with other future Skiddies through the Skidmore 2016 Facebook community.)  When I went to an Accepted Candidate’s Day at Skidmore, it really solidified my feelings about where I wanted to go to school and what I wanted out of college; somewhere between the student panel, psychology professor Sheldon Solomon’s lecture, and the t-shirt that said “Creative Thought Matters” on the back, I had a gut feeling that Skidmore was the place for me.

Here’s a video I made last weekend detailing the INSANE NICE SPRING WEATHER and what all us Skid kids do when the sun comes out and temperatures finally climb above freezing:

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

Today is Friday, a day close to my heart at Skidmore.  Here’s what you can see on a nice Skidmore Friday:

  • Big tour groups walking (veeeery sloooowwwly and attentively) around campus, led by enthusiastic student ambassadors.  Hi tourers!  If you see me, wave at me! I’ll wave back!
  • If it’s sunny, sunbathers abounding on the green.  Not to mention Frisbees.  And acoustic guitars.
  • A super busy and bustling Case Center: student markets, a senior art show in Case Gallery, people picking up packages in the post office, Saratoga Apple and the mini farmer’s market both selling their wares downstairs…
  • Students waiting for the bus (it comes every half hour, and it’s FREE) to go downtown to get iced coffee at Saratoga Coffee Traders, or take a slightly longer trip to Target/Wal Mart/the mall.  A little Forever 21 shopping trip before Friday’s social activities begin?  Indeed.
  • Athletic-looking individuals, done with classes for the week, trekking down to the sports center, clad in spandex and toting water bottles…yep, Fridays mean fitness for some folks!

As for me, I’m relaxing in front of the television (Food Network is on, of course) before I start getting into the weekend mindset.  Ahhh…

Got questions?  Ask!  As always, check out my Twitter and YouTube channel.  Happy weekend, everyone.

 

SkidMolly: Pre-Spring Break Update!

Hello folks!  It is an unbelievably warm day in Saratoga (global warming or the heavens smiling upon us?  Too soon to tell) and I just finished my last class before spring break officially begins.  Yep — no Friday classes for this senior.  Here are some updates for you:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSk-98nvUGU

Last weekend’s Weekend Update, for your viewing pleasure.  Dog Sees God got a great writeup in Skidmore Unofficial, and Steven Millhauser’s reading was incredible.  He read “Dangerous Laughter,” a short story of which I’m quite fond, and then an energetic rap/Beat poem/thingamajig about a divorced couple dividing their possessions.  Good stuff.

Normally (meaning in the last three years) my spring break has consisted of chilling hardcore at the homestead.  (Though last year’s spring break was spent in Slovakia and Poland.  The joys of going abroad.)  This year, I’m finally embarking on a trip…to California!  I’m going to San Francisco with three friends and I can’t wait.  I didn’t realize how excited I was until I was watching Comic Book Confidential and listened to Robert Crumb talk about the crazy times he had in the ’60s on Haight-Ashbury.  I will make sure to wear flowers in my hair when I go.

Graduation is LOOMING.  We’re supposed to order our caps and gowns by March 26th.  Eek!  I don’t want to graduate!  Back when I was in high school I was more or less DYING to get out of there, but the beauty of picking the right college is that you don’t want to leave when it’s time to.  So there’s that.  More morose graduation posts on the way, for sure.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  If you’re coming to one of Skidmore’s Accepted Candidates Days, please consider logging into the Skidmore Facebook App and joining one of the communities: either April 9th, April 13th or April 16th.  You guys can meet each other online before you meet in person!  It’s the future!

AND as always, please feel free to ask me your questions.  I will tell you no lies.

Are there any classes at Skidmore that you are required to take?

What a fantastic question. I will itemize these requirements for you and then tell you what courses I took to fulfill them:

1) Scribner Seminar. This is easy to fulfill because everyone has to take one in their first semester at Skid. One of the first things you do once you get into Skidmore is pick your top ten Scribner Sem choices (they’ll hook you up with one of your top three, for sure.) My Scribner Seminar was called Word & Image, with French/International Relations professor Marc-André Wiesmann. We read the Aeneid and lots of French short stories about crazy painters. We went really in-depth on the definitions of words like "impression" and "mimesis." It was a little bit of everything, with lots of word/image interaction. I loved it. We’re having a reunion soon.

2) Quantitative Reasoning 1 and 2. QR1 can be passed by either getting a 630 on the SAT (or a 570 on the math SAT II, or a 28 on the math section of the ACT), or by taking the QR1 test at the beginning of freshman year. (You have to do it by the end of junior year, I believe). Then QR2 has to happen in a course that involves math, like physics or accounting or, y’know, calculus. I fulfilled my QR2 with Macroeconomics. Lots of cost-benefit analysis graphs. Let me be the first to say that the math requirement is not as intimidating as it sounds; I am the true opposite of a math person and I survived.

3) Expository Writing. I took EN 110, Intro to Literary Studies, because that was recommended to me based on my SAT scores. You can also take EN 103 or EN 105 depending on your level. Essay-writing — essential!

4) Arts. Generally, this means dance, music, theater, creative writing, or studio art. I did creative writing. I’m on my fourth writing workshop now. But I’m also taking dance this semester, which is GREAT. I’m a huge fan of the art requirement because it requires either a deeper focus on doing something you already love or having to try something uncomfortable and new. Both are great for one’s academic (and personal) growth.

5) Humanities. The most vague of requirements. Lots of classes fulfill the humanities requirement. I assume I got mine from an English class.

6) Natural Sciences. Aahh! I took Neuroscience. You can take biology, chemistry, physics, oceanography, anything they teach in Dana Science Center. I really loved Neuro and recommend it for anyone who likes interdisciplinary things. (Neuro combines biology, chemistry, psychology, and more. It’s a scientific smörgåsbord.) Our lab was great; we got to strap electrodes to our heads to measure our brain waves, and once day we dissected a sheep’s brain. It smelled SO BAD.

7) Social Sciences. This is American studies, sociology, anthropology, government, history, et cetera. Lucky for me, Economics was both a QR2 and a social sciences course. Lots of courses actually serves as double requirements, which is really useful. My post-Civil War American history class was probably a social science too.

8) Foreign Language. Yup, Skidmore wants us to attempt to be bilingual. My French classes counted, obviously, but I also took Arabic my sophomore year through Skidmore’s self-instructional language program. They offer Korean, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi and Portuguese too. Also, you can take Latin and Greek through the Classics department.

9) Non-Western/Cultural Diversity. Very necessary in an academic program, if you ask me. This can be fulfilled in almost every department: classical Indian dance, non-Western religions, African-American literature, Latin American history, Caribbean politics. I’ve taken a few classes that have fulfilled it, African-American novels and modern Japanese lit in translation among them.

If it seems like a lot, it’s not. I didn’t stress too much about fulfilling my requirements, and even the ones that were not up my alley, like QR2 and science, actually pushed me to explore new departments and step out of my comfort zone. Thanks again for your question!

Ask me anything

CTM: 50 Kinds of Students Who Go to Skidmore

Here’s a list of 50 kinds of people you’ll find at Skidmore College:

  1. Soccer players
  2. Writers
  3. Dancers
  4. Biologists
  5. Computer nerds
  6. Crossword puzzle enthusiasts
  7. Readers
  8. Banjo players
  9. Arabic, Korean,and Hebrew speakers
  10. Jugglers
  11. Quidditch players
  12. Documentary filmmakers
  13. Dog lovers
  14. Tour guides
  15. Entrepreneurs
  16. Equestrians
  17. Actors
  18. Meme-makers
  19. Costume designers
  20. Liberty League championship game-winning basketball players (WOOO)
  21. Painters
  22. People who are really good at doing math
  23. Resident Assistants
  24. International students
  25. Those who deeply love the library
  26. Theater directors
  27. Bloggers (hi!)
  28. Comedians
  29. Graphic designers
  30. Radio personalities
  31. People who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and more
  32. Fashionistas
  33. Art historians
  34. Vegetarians and vegans
  35. Those obsessed with chicken fingers (hi!)
  36. Curators
  37. Discussion leaders
  38. Lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer/questioning/intersex/allied students
  39. Ballerinas
  40. Orchestra musicians
  41. Swimmers and divers
  42. Television producers
  43. Economists
  44. Do-gooders
  45. Outdoorsy folks
  46. Culturally aware students
  47. A capella and gospel singers
  48. Bucket-drummers
  49. Cinephiles
  50. People who know Creative Thought Matters

How Was…Nancy Grossman’s ‘Tough Life Diary’ at the Tang?

If any of you prospective students are going to be at Skidmore in the next three months, I highly recommend you check out Nancy Grossman’s retrospective at the Tang.  There’s a lot going on — fifty years of paintings, collages, and sculptures — and it’s all wonderful to look at.  My favorite pieces were the rows of sculptural heads; Grossman has been hand-carving heads and covering them with leather since the ’60s, and each one is unique, provocative and sort of humorous at the same time.  (One head yawns energetically, its chin folding like an accordion.)  It’s all a bit “off,” in a good way.

Grossman also gave a talk before the show’s wine-‘n’-cheese opening, and she was fascinatingly tangential.  Every anecdote segued into another.  She talked about working in NYC’s Garment District and walking through the glass wall of a grocery store before recounting the time her gallerist wanted her to fork over an immense leather sculpture that she hadn’t yet completed.  Grossman had been distraught — the sculpture wasn’t ready.  “I sat down on a pile of leather jackets and asked for a bottle of Scotch,” she told us with a crackly laugh.

Check out Tough Life Diary at the Tang — it’ll be up until May 20th, at which point it’ll become a touring exhibition and visit museums across the country.  Here are some pics:

Nancy Grossman's leather heads.

The once-unfinished sculpture.

Museum-goers at the opening; I loved this outfit color combination.

More videos and pictures to come.  I had a very camera-friendly weekend.  Hint: Quidditch pictures!

Skid Vids: Dance Department, Pulse, Weekend Update

Ello ello! How’s it going? I write to you feeling extremely ill!  The college plague has gotten me at last.  Every February, various kinds of colds, flus and bugs zoom around campus faster than a speeding text message.  It’s gruesome.  I’m overcoming it with a steady stream of tea and sweatpants pockets bulging with Ricolas.

For your Wednesday entertainment, might I suggest watching these Skidmore-related videos?  This first one has to do with our dance department.  Our dance program is really good; it’s conservatory-level training that students can still pair with other liberal arts studies.  (Like if Juilliard had a baby with Wesleyan.)  We get lots of cool guest choreographers and collaborators, students can take technique classes and choreograph their own pieces, and occasionally there’ll be a REALLY stellar dance concert like last semester’s, which was a collaboration between Skidmore’s orchestra and a bevy of Skidmore ballerinas.  Yep, that’s right: Swan Lake.  Here’s the rehearsal video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ecD5hyCwPA

Next, here’s a video of a performance at the Tang Museum two years ago.  There are plenty of performing groups to join on campus — a capella groups, Japanese drumming, tap dancing, Irish dancing, gospel choir — but Pulse might be Skidmore’s most unique performers.  These clever percussionists drum on whatever they can find: recycling bins, trash cans, random metal objects.  And they’re really good at it!  This is not some lame toddler banging on a soup tureen!  Watch them in action at the ever-gorgeous Tang.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bg5TfZ14fI

Lastly, I started my own little video series (employing some Jenna Marbles-style editing) called Weekend Update.  I figure I might as well tell you what I’m up to myself, y’know, face-to-face, one-on-one, just me and you, having a one-sided conversation.  If this is successful, I’ll start answering questions with videos too.  So send me your questions!!!  And watch my vid.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttm8xr7tZ9I

Hope those who applied to Skidmore are surviving the long wait for decision letters.  It’s brutal.  Occupy yourself by reading the #StudentChat we did with the College of St. Rose; there are lots of tips and tricks and 140-character doodads.  There will be more to come on that front, too.  Toodle-ooo!