Just a Hive of Busy Bees
Blogger: Columbia Shafer
On tours I often have been asked, “What is the defining quality of an Oxy student?” After three years of close observation of Occidental students in their natural habitat I have come the the conclusion that we are a busy bunch. No matter what a student's interests are they probably involved in half a dozen different organizations, taking challenging classes, working, and making time to go out and explore LA. I'm certainly no exception to the busy Oxy lifestyle, and this past week has been proof.
The week started at 6am on Sunday when I got up to watch the sunrise on me and my roommate's birthday (a tradition I've blogged about before, pictured below).
Ever since waking up at 6am on Sunday it's been a non-stop barrage of things to do. As a senior I'm working on my comprehensive project, which means a year long independent research project for my major of Cognitive Science.
I am really excited about my project, where I will be examining the effects of reading literature on people's creative problem solving abilities. Being able to create my own project has allowed me to combine two of my interests–reading and creativity. In order to get my study off the ground I've had to get approval from the college. That means that this week has been full of planning the details of my study and applying for funding.
The Undergraduate Research Center here on campus does amazing work with all types of student research. Over the past summer I worked on campus as a research fellow through the Summer Research Program which provides funding for Oxy students to gain research experience while still undergrads. (You can see my lab being devoured by a dinosaur on our trip to the natural history museum above.) While the application for funding can be daunting, mostly because I've never applied for grant money before, it's good to know the friendly faces behind the application review at the Undergraduate Research Center. And comps (as everyone refers to the senior comprehensive requirement) is only one of my four classes this semester, and the others are keeping me just as busy with all sorts of fascinating new topics and readings.
Each evening this week I have rehearsal for one of the main stage productions with the theater department. I am assistant stage managing for a great stage manager, who also happens to be one of my best friends and coincidentally my roommate too! It's a good thing that we have different majors otherwise we would never get a minute apart, what with living together and spending every evening working together. The play we are working on is The Liar, a modern translation of an old French farce. While adding 20 hours a week of theater might seem like a mad thing to do, especially because I'm not a theater major, I find that the madcap antics of rehearsing for a farce gives me a nice change in my daily schedule and makes sure I'm getting enough laughs in.
These are just a few of the many things I've been keeping up with this week, and I've got Fall Break on the horizon to look forward to. For the break I'll be getting away from the hustle and bustle of campus for a few days in the San Bernadino National Forest. As much as I love my busy bee Oxy lifestyle, I hope I don’t encounter any real busy bees out camping!