The TeleGraham

Bates College through the eyes of a junior returning from abroad

What else is there to say?

Here’s a link to a letter published in the campus newspaper by a peer who is taking time off this semester. What else is there to say? I couldn’t have said it better:

http://media.www.batesstudent.com/media/storage/paper1116/news/2009/02/03/Forum/Nothing.Gold.Can.Stay-3610703.shtml

-Graham

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on What else is there to say?

Lean-to and Judy (pt. 2)

In one of my previous posts I wrote about the Bates Lean-to, a little hut in the woods near campus on an alumnus’s property. I wanted to add more on this subject for two reasons. First, Judy contacted me recently by friending me on Facebook. This was a great little surprise and she sent me some pictures from the lean-to. Also, I was reminded of the lean-to since a bunch of my friends and I have decided to go to the lean-to after dinner soon and do some cross country skiing first thing in the morning. Don’t worry, cross country skiing is no exclusive sport, I just learned this winter (easy to learn, hard to master) and, since the college supplies the equipment, it is free. On that note, here’s some pictures of the lean-to these days. One is from this summer when a bunch of alumni stayed in the woods during reunion weekend and another is from last week or so in the snow.

…got to get back to writing my paper on Oglala Sioux vision quests.

-Graham

 

Coming back for the 5 year reunion

Coming back for the 5 year reunion

I NEED TO GET OUT THERE! (Lean-to this winter)

I NEED TO GET OUT THERE! (Lean-to this winter)

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Lean-to and Judy (pt. 2)

A Great First Class

In my second class of my first day of the new semester, I was taken aback. The professor, who I only knew through one other class, taken two years ago, recognized me and remembered my name. He walked up to me as soon as he entered the room and said, “Graham, right?” I replied, “You got it.” And he pointed out, “I see you’ve moved from sitting in the back of the class to the front in four semesters.” Later, while reviewing the syllabus, he announced, “Graham here works at the Ronj, and has previously arranged video showings for my class. Can we do that again this year?”

I am not surprised when certain professors remember me. Some classes are particularly small, or some classes I take advantage of office hours and get lots of essay feedback. But that wasn’t the case when I took Western Political Theory. I did sit more in the back, kept a lower profile, and blended in to the forty person class. How this professor remembered who I was is a mystery. But the only thing I have to say is: TAKE A CLASS WITH BILL CORLETT! He really is a great professor and his classes are always very popular (his courses cover great topics like Marxism and LGTB issues). But even though I know a ton of students who always show up to his office hours and talk to him about political activism, he still remembers the names of the quiet kids in the back row.    

-Graham

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Great First Class

May I introduce you to the T-Rex

Even though I am still at home and don’t leave for school until next week, I am already getting prepared for next semester. Because this semester, I will write my thesis.

If you have read any of the admissions materials on Bates, then you have heard that every senior completes a thesis. The point of this project is centered around the writing experience at Bates, and the thesis along with the First Year Seminar, is bookend our college education. Seniors take this in either one of four ways: 1) Some students don’t care for the writing process and therefore are just in it to finish it. 2) Other students see this project as an opportunity to give a cumulation of everything they’ve learned in college, so they have something to mail home to grandma and say “See how smart I am?” 3) Then there is another set of students who see the senior thesis as a time to engage in a specific pet project for a semester with their favorite professor and, more or less, write the giant essay that they’ve always wanted to write about on the subject they’ve learned to love most in college. 4) Still, in the final category, there are students who see the thesis as a platform from which they can compose a serious document that can be attached to their graduate school application. In the past, as professors have explained to me, an elegant thesis and a good recommendation from one’s advisor can get students into the most competitive of graduate programs, no  matter their GPA.  

Students usually fluctuate between these categories. If I had to label myself, I think I would fall under the third. The T-Rex (the thesis, as some students call it) for me is more about having fun and engaging in one last brutal and bloody wrestle with a topic I have learned to love in my college career, Philosophy of Religion. Though I haven’t picked a specific topic yet I know I want to write about Science and Religion, mainly the specific effects of Quantum Theory, Relativity, Big Bang, and Evolution on modern theology. Or how scientific development have influenced theological ethics and our understanding of our relationship to the natural world. This comprises a huge genre of literature, and I don’t know exactly what I am going to focus on or what my view point will be. But I know my advisor, and so as soon as I get back to Maine we will hit the ground running.

I’m excited for the thesis writing process to begin, though I know how challenging it will be and how hard my professor will critique my essays. But also, if anything, I think this semester allow me to have a little more fun than last semester. I will be taking three classes (all of which should be great) and writing my thesis. 

I will continue updating with photos as soon as I leave Kentucky and get back to Vacationland…. I mean school.

-Graham

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on May I introduce you to the T-Rex

Best Classes (Hardest Semester)

Hello all,

It has been a long time since my last blog post. To recap, let me just say that taking five classes in one semester is a very BAD idea. The work load is almost entirely unmanageable, even if you love all of your classes as I did.

Of all of the classes I have had at Bates, two have stood out from the rest. The first was Philosophy of Law, which I took in the winter of my sophomore year. Philosophy of Law, though the name may not grab you, is one of the most popular classes at Bates. Simply, it breaks down into three parts that are weaved together throughout the semester: 1) What is law? 2) How ought we to read the US Constitutions? 3) Analysis and critiques of famous US Supreme Court rulings. The class attracts a diverse range of students, half of which probably intend to go to law school sometime after graduation. Yet, even for students like me, who don’t want to go on to law school, it is one of the most practically informative classes and has changed the way I think and feel about the Constitution.

But the second best class I took was this past semester. It is a 100 level Geology course but it is based on field studies. It is with a really cool professor who prefers you to call him by his first name (Dyk, nobody knows who you are talking about when you say Professor Eusden) and you get to see a lot of the Maine countryside. I bring this up because I think it would be a prefect class to take if you were coming to Bates in the fall as a new Freshmen (or “First Year”, as they college officially calls them).  I think all of the First Years thought the class was cool for three main reasns. 1) It is small for a 100 level class (25 students or so). 2) It is an easy way to see some of the highlights of Maine, like Acadia National Park, Vinalhaven Island, and Baxter State Park. And 3) Though the class was a 100 level introductory course, it wasn’t structured around generic broad Power Point presentation that resulted in arduous multiple choice tests at the end of the semester. Rather, the class was focused on case studies in the field and therefore the grades were based on group projects like map making and posters on the mechanics of a particular magma chambers. 

Field Studies in Geology is no “rocks for jocks” kind of class. I took it for fun and it ended up dominating the end of my semester, along with my other four classes (two of which were upper level seminars), and so I never got around to updating my blog. But now I am back.

-Graham

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Best Classes (Hardest Semester)

Field Geology in Maine

Another cool class I am taking this year is called Field Geology in Maine. What’s awesome about it is how the course introduces you to the principles of geology while working in the field. Therefore, it isn’t the same old “rocks in a box” kind of geology that sounds oh-so boring. Instead, the professor has the philosophy that the best way to learn geology is by doing it. About once a month, our lab will go out on a field trip to the coast, Baxter State Park, or even Acadia National Park. Here we collect data on a subject that we are learning about in lectures and take samples back to the lab and learn about its history. Before this class I knew NOTHING about geology, and already I am keeping a field notebook and identifying all kinds of rock types, formations, and seeing more in my natural surroundings than ever before.

-Graham

I have a few pictures from some of the field trips we have taken so far this year. I’ll try to get some better ones on the trips to come. So, keep checking back and I’ll have more soon!

The class taking a lunch break at Rip Gorge outside of Baxter State Park

The class taking a lunch break at Rip Gorge outside of Baxter State Park

My lab during a sea kayaking field trip, we ended up writing a report on the formation we are standing around

My lab during a sea kayaking field trip, we ended up writing a report on the formation we are standing around

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Field Geology in Maine

Autumn on Campus in Maine

I am just getting back into blogging after a wild start to my senior year. My academic course load is really challenging this semester, but I am really happy with all of my classes. For instance, though I am a Religion major and a Philosophy minor, I registered to take an upper level History seminar on colonial America. It is a subject I wasn’t at all interested in or knew anything about. But all my friends who are History majors told me that Professor Hall was an amazing teacher. Though he was teaching a 100 level class this semester, I decided to take his 300 level seminar with only six other students. There has been tons of reading and writing assignments, but I have fallen in love with the material and the professor. That’s something special about Bates and the liberal arts experience. You don’t have to limit yourself to classes within your major, or even personal interests. And when you take classes outside of your realm of knowledge, why not sign up for the more demanding and smaller classes?

Enough about academics, let’s get to the good stuff. Coming from Kentucky, my parents and friends back home always ask me about the weather. Let’s get something clear: yes, the winters are cold. But the campus looks amazing with the changing seasons. With lots of rain this summer, the leaves are going through an amazing transformation this fall.

-Graham

Check out these pictures some of my friends have been taking of areas on or just around the campus. These aren’t professional photos from admissions. These are really just some shots my buddies happened to snap this past week.

Just some friends on Frye St outside a campus house

Just some friends on Frye St outside a campus house

Ben messing around and doing some rock climbing this past weekend

Ben messing around and doing some rock climbing this past weekend

Anne having a good time and sharing a laugh on the quad

Anne having a good time and sharing a laugh on the quad

Great shot of the leaves changing at a cemetery just a short walk from campus

Great shot of the leaves changing at a cemetery just a short walk from campus

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Autumn on Campus in Maine

Jobs with the Appalachian Mountain Club

The number of Bates students that worked in the AMC and RMC huts this summer is astounding. So astounding that the college’s magazine commissioned one of its students to traverse the White Mountains to photograph all the Bates students/alumni working there.

The huts are own and run by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and for a hefty fee the club members can spend a night within these shelters that are fully equipped with care takers that cook your food and supply you with a warm place to sleep.

One of my good buddies worked up at the Greenleaf hut. On my birthday, I made the trip from Portland to the Whites and hiked up the short 3 mile trail to his place. This was my first experience with the huts. For an AMC member, staying in the hut requires reservations months ahead of time and forking over $$. For a Bates student with the right friends, a night in the hut requires little more than a positive attitude. No reservation (didn’t even let him know I was coming), no sleeping bag (I gamble that he’d have an extra one), no food (they’re always cooking something good), no boots (just sneakers), and no money.

I ran away to the mountains for my 22nd birthday because I wanted to do something special, free, and it was the only available day I had to drive out to New Hampshire. It seems like all my friends have cool jobs this summer, but working in the AMC or RMC huts are the most sought after for any outdoorsy college kid. I’m just happy to know that I can use them if I want to. Next time, maybe I’ll visit my friends at Lake of the Clouds.

Enjoy the pics!

-Graham

Here are some unpublished pictures taken by my buddy Lincoln Benedict, soon to be published in the college’s magazine.

hut

hut

inside a hut

inside a hut

A class of 2008 Bates alumnus talking about weather patterns to AMC members outside of Greenleaf

A class of 2008 Bates alumnus talking about weather patterns to AMC members outside of Greenleaf

Two Bates boys kickin' it on the roof of the Greenleaf hut after a days work with the AMC

Two Bates boys kickin' it after a hard days work with the AMC

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Jobs with the Appalachian Mountain Club

The Lean-to and Judy

Unfortunatly, I can’t seem to find any pictures ANYWHERE of the Bates’ lean-to, and I can’t ever remember any of my friends taking cameras when we’ve gone. But it does exist, and it is open for use by the entire campus. After this years graduation, before I moved to Portland, I lived there for just under a week.

About a 20 minute drive from campus there is a series of old dirt roads along the river that then turns and leads up a hill to Judy’s house. Judy is an old Bates alumnus who is still very active with the college and our Outing Club. She let’s any Bates kid park in her driveway, and if you follow the dirt trail in her back yard for about 1/2 a mile you will find the lean-to. The property has recently been given over to a land trust, but the lean-to is allowed to remain.

The little abode is the stuff of Robert Frost poetry. It was built by Bates students in the mid-90s and the original poem that one of the main architects left after the completion, still hangs on the walls. There’s a fire pit and hand made benches and the lean-to might even be able to stack 10 cozy campers.

Some nights when there are a few cars in the drive way, Judy might even come out and visit and share stories about the “old Bates.” Not long after my 5 day retreat at the lean-to, I returned during reunion weekend to see a bunch of old Bates grads back for a 5 year reunion. They decided to skip the main events on campus and instead spend their time at the lean-to cooking over an open fire with Judy. When I visited there were only 7 or so people camping there but they said the night before they had close to 15 alumni staying at the lean-to.

No, not every Bates student makes it to the lean-to during their college career. But those who do know it is a very special place.

-Graham

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Lean-to and Judy

The Bates Connection

You always hear stories about how helpful Bates’ alumni networks can be when searching the job market, but I never thought it was true. Yet, this summer I put the Bates’ alumni network to the ultimate test. As, you may have gathered from my previous posts, I am living in Portland this summer in a house with 5 other Bates students and am working part-time for Bates. Clearly, one part-time job isn’t enough to pay for rent, food, and gas. So, I decided to pick up a second job.

I dropped off a few applications at some restaurants close to home. But if it is already the first week in June, my guess is most of those kind of summer jobs have been snatched up. I decided then that I would work a Bates angle for scoring a summer job. I remembered hearing that the owner of Allagash Brewing Co. was a Middlebury alumnus and the Master Brewer there was Bates alumnus. I decided to roll my dice and see what an email, some sharp writing, and a Bates plug could do for me. Sure enough, upon writing one email to the Master Brewer, I get a response that says (to paraphrase) “You’re a Bates kid? You need some cash? Come in on Friday at 8am!”

Literally, that’s all it took. I now how an easy good paying part time job at a brewery where I am both learning brewing skills and hearing about what Bates use to be like “back in the day.”

Using the Bates connection in the job market worked like a charm, and I will never again underestimate its powers.

-Graham

Here’s a pic of the outside of the brewery in Portland where at the last minute I scored a summer job through a Bates alumnus.

allagash

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Bates Connection