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:
And here are some pics! If you want more of the Artifacts, here’s their lovely new single, “Be Someone,” on Bandcamp!
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.
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:
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…
Here’s a list of 50 kinds of people you’ll find at Skidmore College:
- Soccer players
- Computer nerds
- Crossword puzzle enthusiasts
- Banjo players
- Arabic, Korean,and Hebrew speakers
- Quidditch players
- Documentary filmmakers
- Dog lovers
- Tour guides
- Costume designers
- Liberty League championship game-winning basketball players (WOOO)
- People who are really good at doing math
- Resident Assistants
- International students
- Those who deeply love the library
- Theater directors
- Bloggers (hi!)
- Graphic designers
- Radio personalities
- People who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and more
- Art historians
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Those obsessed with chicken fingers (hi!)
- Discussion leaders
- Lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer/questioning/intersex/allied students
- Orchestra musicians
- Swimmers and divers
- Television producers
- Outdoorsy folks
- Culturally aware students
- A capella and gospel singers
- People who know Creative Thought Matters
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hi y’all. I’m catching you at a weird time, huh? Some of you have already gotten into Skidmore early decision — congrats! Some of you have to wait a bit longer to find out your fate. That’s cool — patience is a virtue, or at least that’s what a fortune cookie once told me.
Because the period of time between now and college is so gosh darn awkward, here’s a little list of things to do between now and when you pack your Honda Odyssey full of stuff and drive off to Skidmore.
STAY IN SCHOOL. Yeah, I’m looking at you. You, hitting the snooze button for the ninth time. You, ditching the second half of the school day to eat ice cream and French fries and do whatever the cool kids are doing these days. Resist the urge to ditch! Get the high school diploma before the college degree!
DO YOUR WORK! Don’t show up to class like a zombie and forget all about your final papers. Skidmore asks for your final high school grades, and it is possible to have your acceptance revoked if your marks take a sharp downturn. You’re a smart cookie. Just put in a little more effort and all of a sudden it’ll be your graduation day. You’ll wear a terrible cap and gown made of garbage bags and almost die of heatstroke. It’ll be awesome.
MAKE A SENIOR BUCKET LIST. What do you want to do before you leave your school and hometown? Compile a list of things you want to do before college, whether it’s sending a poem in to your school’s lit magazine or eating a restaurant in your town that you’ve never been to before. It’s all about makin’ memories.
TAKE A TRIP WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Chances are, even the strictest of parents will loosen the rules a little bit so that you can spend time with your friends before leaving home. A few weeks before college started, I took a train to New York City with four friends. We spent a few days bumming around, living on questionable street food and meeting Australians at our hostel in Chelsea. (For some reason, every hostel in the world contains at least one Australian. It’s a fact.) Plan something totally nuts with your amigos: day trip, road trip, random excursion to see the world’s largest ball of yarn, you name it.
PICK A HOBBY. Your schoolwork might finally start to lessen as graduation looms. Don’t be bored! Boredom is for people who don’t have hobbies. Knitting is a good one, especially now when everyone’s getting Seasonal Affective Disorder from the winter weather. Watching Jeopardy! is also a good hobby. Bird watching? Needlepoint? Fixing the songs on your iTunes so they actually have the right titles? All worthy of your time.
BUY SOMETHING AT THE SKID SHOP. Nothing will get you more excited for school than buying a fluffy collegiate sweatshirt. As Ferris Bueller might say, Skidmore Shop apparel is “so choice.” Plus, you can wear it to school and no one will even need to ask you about your plans for next year. Buy some Skid stuff here. Also check out the Skid Shop blog here. There’s good stuff on it, like pictures of donuts and a video of a snoring mouse.
In conclusion: don’t be a fool, stay in school, bucket list, largest ball of yarn, bird watching, Skidmore t-shirt. Do all of these things and the time between now and the beginning of your Skidmore experience will go by in a jiffy.
You won’t have to walk farther than ten minutes to get anywhere, but everybody whines about how looooong it takes to get places. “I have to walk allll the way from Jonsson Tower to Zankel!” — it takes seven minutes. Most walks won’t even last one Black Keys song on your iPod.
Really? You can’t find anything to eat in d-hall? Well, go scavenge some rice (there will be rice, somewhere) (There Will Be Rice starring Daniel Day-Lewis) and soy sauce (at Global Café), bring them to the DIY station, and mix ’em together on the grill. Then crack an egg over it and stir it around. Instant fried rice.
If you’re going to make that life-altering decision to get a tattoo — perhaps a tasteful flower or a tribal armband à la Sporty Spice — don’t go to True Tattoo on Broadway. Head further down the road to Needlewürks on Congress St. The people there are quite friendly.
Join Student Entertainment Company (SEC) if you want to get up close and personal with your favorite musicians. Some SEC members get to work backstage at concerts and meet the performers.
In typical liberal arts college fashion, many Skid kids wear plaid shirts in an astonishing array of hues. Don’t spend 30 bucks for the ones at Urban Outfitters — go to Goodwill or Salvation Army and there’ll be plenty of choices for a couple of bucks a pop. By the way, I’m convinced paisley will be the next big thing.
The North Woods is the perfect multipurpose locale. Seeking “privacy”? Need to “be one with nature”? Want to go on a romantic walk? Feel the urge to let out a primal scream but don’t want to embarrass yourself by doing so on the main green? Head to the Woods.
Honesty time: step on campus and you’ll probably see a small but noticeable chunk of Skidmore students smoking cigarettes. Take my advice and don’t start smoking. Half the smokers at Skid probably do so because they came to school and imitated the people they saw doing it. It’s a trap! Cigarettes are ten bucks a pack in New York, and you’re going to want to spend your cash on other things. Plus you’ll already pick up a bunch of habits that’ll make you feel like crap (not sleeping, eating Cheetos for breakfast, ingesting caffeine as if it were crack cocaine) so skip this one.
Quirky hobbies and talents are rewarded here. Don’t be embarrassed about being the only guy in your high school who knows how to unicycle. (We have a circus club, so don’t you dare forget your unicycle at home.) Harmonica and ukulele players, balloon animal makers, obsessive arts and crafters, people exceptionally good at ping-pong: welcome to Skidmore.
You will notice posters for dances at Falstaffs every other weekend. While these dance parties mostly attract first-year students (I certainly got down at a few of ’em in my day), there is nothing wrong with going as an upperclassman, especially when the dances are sponsored by Skidmore Pride Alliance (the LGBTQ club on campus). Those parties are usually epic.
Got a hot date? Skip Uncommon Grounds — you’re going to have half the Skid population staring at you. Go off the beaten path to The Local in the Beekman Street Arts District. They’re cozy, they have an impressive tea list, and their fish and chips meal is huge.
Hey dudes, if you have questions about classes, professors, facilities, clubs, social life, sports, food, or the meaning of life, you should definitely ask me. Right here. I will answer literally anything as long as you don’t ask me for my Social Security number. And I might even give you that if you ask nicely.
Okay. I know. Right now you’re not thinking about studying abroad; you probably aren’t even thinking about studying period. You just want to figure out where you’re going to be next year, right? Bear with me. You might not realize it now, but by the time your junior year of college rolls around, you might get a hankering to take classes somewhere a bit warmer, like Peru, or perhaps somewhere colder, like Russia, or even somewhere with toilets that flush counter-clockwise, like Australia. (Just kidding, that myth ain’t true.) Studying abroad may seem absurdly hypothetical at the moment, but who knows — you might already be hankering to take classes somewhere a bit exotic.
I studied in Prague last spring (soon it will be a year since my plane took off for the Czech Republic) and, to use a very hackneyed expression, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Skidmore offers direct programs in six cities (Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Madrid, London and Alcalá) as well as 128 approved programs through other schools and institutions. You can study in the fall, the spring or the summer; Skidmore also offers travel seminars (there’s a cool-looking textiles course this summer in Kyoto) and domestic university exchanges, as well as the London First Year Experience. Does this sound like a lot? It is. Ideally there’s some sort of study abroad experience for everyone. After all, almost 60% of the class of ’11 studied abroad.
I still don’t know why I chose to study in Prague. I’m a French minor and Paris seemed like the obvious choice, but something about Prague was calling to me, sort of the same way Skidmore was calling to me when I was choosing a college. I met with one of the associate directors at the Off-Campus Study & Exchanges office and told her what I was looking for in a program: independence, the opportunity to learn a new language, cultural immersion, and some sort of creative writing component. She suggested SIT (School for International Training), which has a program in Prague called Arts and Social Change, all about how the political and social climate of the Czech Republic has intersected with the arts over the past century.
I had no idea what to expect when I got to Prague, which as it turns out was the best possible mental state for entering a new country. Over the course of four months, SIT provided me with a zillion opportunities to consume (often literally) Czech culture. I drank a lot of beer (“pivo,” in Czech) — the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. I read Kafka novels and Vaclav Havel plays (RIP, Vaclav) and discussed them with the other fourteen students in my program. I lived with a host family in the suburb of Roztoky and took the bus every day into Prague. I ate smažený sýr (fried cheese) on a bun with curry ketchup after a night on the town; just about everything I digested was fried or covered in gravy or served with a side of pickles.
Café culture is very strong in Prague. I spent a lot of time with a book and a steady stream of espresso and cake in various kavarnas, and no one ever shooed me away for staying too long. I went on bike rides with my host father (who is a carpenter and adores Batman), and my host sister took me to a fashion show in a giant warehouse. In early March there was Masopust; Masopust is a pre-Lent celebrations that involves costumes, puppet shows, drum circles, and parading several miles to a village where everyone drinks mulled wine and dances.
The SIT experience also involved mini-excursions to different cities across the Czech Republic. I went with two other students to a post-industrial city called Ustí nad Labem, and we later visited a farm-turned-art-studio in the tiiiiiny town of Litoměřice.
Our group became very close, especially on the extended trips that were a part of the SIT program. We explored in Poland, museum-hopped in Vienna and spent a very weird night singing and dancing with a folk band in Slovakia. The last month of the program was spent researching, creating and presenting independent projects (ISPs) that reflected what we had learned. Having taken a writing workshop with Petra Hůlová, a Czech novelist, I decided to interview people about their favorite places in Prague and write short stories set in those places. The ISP was a lovely end point to my study abroad experience.
Writing this, I actually find it impossible to put everything into words — it isn’t easy to summarize four months of living in a foreign country. Studying in Prague was the perfect mix of discomfort (weird showers, too much sheep’s cheese) exhilaration (chatting with Czech writers and artists, going to a circus show and a punk concert) and cultural dissonance (explaining the concept of a PB&J sandwich to my host mom). If you have any questions about studying abroad (or anything else), please ask!
Brrr! It was actually really cold out yesterday, cold enough to wear like four sweaters for the brief walk between my apartment and Case Center. Cold enough to break out the thermal socks! I actually like winter at Skidmore — frigid conditions make any warm indoor area feel heavenly in comparison. Another winter bonus: the good folks at Skid have put together a little holiday slideshow, and it’s heartwarming enough to combat the stress of finals and saying goodbye to good friends for winter break.
Ten more reasons to love Skidmore during the cold months:
- Covered walkways that connect the art studio, the library, the student center, d-hall and a few residence halls. They help keep the snow out of your hair at the very least.
- The annual Saratoga Chowderfest, when downtown restaurants offer samples of their own signature chowders. Chorizo and blue tortilla corn chowder? Spicy bacon clam chowder? Yee yee. Mark your calendars for February 2012!
- SGA usually hosts some kind of winter carnival with hot chocolate, games, fun stuff, yadda yadda yadda.
- There are a ton of lectures, concerts, a capella jams, and movie screenings to distract us from the fact that it’s four degrees outside.
- The Snow Sports club arranges carpools to nearby mountains for ski and snowboarding trips.
- Don’t worry about slipping and falling on the ice on your way to an apartment party…there are hefty buckets full of salt stationed strategically around campus, so slippery sidewalks are rare indeed.
- D-hall has enough comfort food to obliterate Seasonal Affective Disorder; they serve a full-on Thanksgiving dins (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce) every two weeks.
- Winter brings two fun fashion events: the Element Fashion Show, which involves vintage, recycled and repurposed clothing designed by students, and the Ujima Fashion Show, an event created by Skidmore’s African/African-American/Caribbean awareness club.
- You can go ice skating at the Saratoga City rink, or just watch a Skidmore hockey game.
- Winter does end…eventually!