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Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Arts School’

Greetings All,

It must be nearly the end of summer, because for the last few days, I’ve gone swimming with my pals at No-Name Pond, visited most of my friends’ new apartments, basked in the sun, relaxed on my couch…wait a minute! That sounds like the beginning of summer!

Well friends, that’s how the school year starts if you’re leading an AESOP trip. AESOP, which stands for Annual Entering Students Orientation Program, is a sort of pre-orientation orientation, where upper-classmen lead small groups of firstyears on trips into the Maine out-of-doors. It’s a great way to get everyone, leaders included, pumped for a year at Bates. We AESOP leaders arrive to campus early (the 16th of August) to begin training for our trips, gather the gear, finalize reservations, and generally make sure all is prepared.

While there’s much to do to make sure AESOP ’08 goes off without a hitch, there’s also the whole business of coming back to school after months of being away. I’ve been moving myself into my off-campus apartment, which is a bit of work but completely awesome. My bedroom is as big as my sophomore double, and that’s just my bedroom! I’ve also been prepping for the FYS that I’m teaching, “Understanding Namaste.” It’s a Yogic philosophy class, which is right up my alley, but I want to be sure that I am prepared to actually teach about it, rather than just talk about it. 

But we also get plenty of time to enjoy the height of Maine’s summer splendor. Campus is (relatively) very quiet, since it’s only the 70+ leaders running around, so we get the run of the place. It is such a blast! Just yesterday we played an epic 10 v. 10 game of Ultimate on the football field next to New Commons–huge fun. There are a few of us leaders who haven’t seen each other in months, or sometimes years, due to Study Abroad, so reuniting has been glorious. The Sun is warm, the Grass is green, the Water’s cool, and everyone is totally happy and amped.

Back to School never felt so cool.

Be Well,

Jake

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Greetings All,

Well, it’s all over now. After a pretty packed Short Term, semester, year, I am back at home sitting on my real bed writing to you all. It feels really good. My mother and I made the 5-hr drive back to Katonah, NY in pretty good time, and when I got back I said Hi to my family, napped for 5 hours, ate dinner, and went to bed. Gotta recharge the batteries.

Short Term wrapped up very nicely. As I mentioned, I was working really hard on my two plays. Well, Gilgamesh, the one outside of Bates, was a huge hit! I’ll throw some photo’s in at the bottom of this post. But what I’m a bit more proud of is my one-man show that I did as an Independent Study class over Short Term. I worked with a friend and a professor to create a working script, rehearse it, block it, light it, dress it, the whole deal, and then put it up in Black Box Theater on campus. And you know what? People really liked it! A very rewarding experience all around, and I got class credit for it. Nice.

Now, though, I’m not doing much of anything. This is, of course, the calm before the storm, the respite before my next big adventure. You see, in the beginning of Second Semester, right after I got back from abroad, I decided to apply for a grant, the Phillips Fellowship, through Bates. My plan: to walk el Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage trail that traverses northern Spain. My goal: to understand why a traditionally Catholic pilgrimage has begun to attract pilgrims who don’t identify as Catholics, or even as a particular religion (like myself), yet still walk it.

I am super stoked about this trip, and it is right around the corner. My flight out of the country leaves on the 29th of May (real soon), so right now I’m resting and preparing my body and my gear for a big journey. But the kicker of it all is that this grant I received from Bates covers the whole trip! Really nice.

Be Well,

Jake

P.S. Here are some photos of Gilgamesh, as promised:

 

This is me as Enkidu, the wild man of the steppe, and that’s Gilgamesh and I battling.

 

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Greetings All,

You can do so many things with your Short Term. You can get a solid tan from sunbathing on the quad (or if you’re me, a solid sunburn), you can take a thought-provoking class that stretches your academic boundaries, you can work on a research project…the list goes on and on. For me, Short Term has meant one thing: theater.

I love theater. I took a break from the stage when I came back from my semester abroad in India, since I figured I’d need some time to be myself a bit before I started pretending to be other people all of the time. Now I’m up to my eyeballs in plays, and I’m loving it. My biggest project right now is a play outside of Bates College in Newcastle, ME, about an hour drive away.

I landed the job (my first professional gig) through a dance professor here, Sarah McCormick. She is the choreographer for the piece, and the director was looking for dancers. I’ve just recently started dancing at Bates, so Sarah had worked with me and thought I should audition as a dancer. The director, however, was still looking for actors, and when he heard that I was primarily an actor, he asked me to audition as such. And so, six weeks ago, he offered me this great part with a whole bunch of lines, a lot of dancing and movement, a meaty character, and an on-stage death! What more could I ask for? The play, by the way, is called “Gilgamesh.” It’s an original work that parallels the epic of Gilgamesh with the life story of the British archeologist who discovered the story, translated it, and then went crazy and died in the desert. Pretty sweet.

This play has been a huge amount of work. Couple that with my one-man show that I am working on as an Independent Study class right now, and it’s been a busy Short Term! The one-man show that I’m working on is called “The Last Days of Heath Ledger,” and I play Heath Ledger recounting his last days of life. A bit morbid, perhaps, but it is a really interesting character study as well. This is the last weekend of “Gilgamesh;” just in time for me to drop that character and pick up an Australian accent for my one-man a week from Monday. I just hope I don’t start mixing up the lines!

Be Well,

Jake

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