Fall semester has officially ended on Thursday. What's next? How much I’ve grown from this completely novel experience is almost unbelievable. I remember writing self-assessment papers for both Paideia and English classes on how much we’ve grown as writers throughout the semester. My friends and I were rushing through the assignment in my room the night before. All of us were in the same English class -- Introduction to U.S. Academic Writing -- and while writing the paper, we were reminiscing all the good times we had during class. For awhile, we were hit by how memorable the classes have been. The funny moments, the occasional ridiculous essay from at least one of our classmates per assignment, and Professor Rachel’s never-ending emphasis on “being specific!!” when writing. We sat in silence for awhile, knowing just how much we are going to miss that class. That discussion helped us a lot in our self-assessments. It made the specifics rawer.
Finals kicked in right after. Honestly, my final exams weren’t that stressful because the subjects I took this semester didn’t require too much memorizing, consistent practicing, and application through understanding. I was tested mostly on what we’ve learned in class. I was glad that I paid enough attention and took down enough notes to prepare myself for the exam.
I also felt like the environment Luther sets for us during finals were very accommodating. The final exam timetable did not schedule early morning exam dates for the students, which I’m sure it’s because they understand that we would be burning the midnight oil to revise as much as possible the night before. That way, we could all study as much as possible for the exams and make it to every one of them. Besides that, we had 24-hour “Quiet Hours” in all dorms, free snacks and hot chocolate for those who were studying in the library, as well as plenty of motivation notes placed around campus. While I was working in Oneota during finals week, I noticed we had all kinds of motivation quotes handwritten on the coffee cup sleeves too! I felt it was really sweet of the Luther community to work together in minimizing the stressful environment as much as they can for the students.
What came next escalated quickly. I remember watching my friends in the Union all set to leave to their hometowns and holiday destinations as soon as they got done with their last papers. It was a sad sight to watch, knowing that I’ll be staying on campus for Christmas break and that campus wouldn’t be as lively as it was with all of them around. We said our goodbyes as I watch them get into their parents’ cars waiting outside.
I didn’t have too much time to think about that, though, as I had to get packing myself. First-year dorms are normally closed during Christmas breaks, but this year we were lucky to have Brandt open during the break for us to stay. Packing was hectic for me, as I didn’t know what I needed at the last minute. We also had to make sure we had our furniture one foot away from the heaters, our electrical appliances plugged off, and our holiday decorations taken down. I was nervous about moving out for the first time, probably it’s because it reminded me of when I first moved in.
Anyway, here I am -- still surviving! It wasn’t all that bad once I’ve settled down in my friend’s room. The only thing that’s a bit difficult is getting food around. With the caf and Marty’s closed, you don’t have many choices except for Oneota during the weekdays and cooking for yourself. Besides, there are a couple of pizza places in Decorah that offer delivery services too.
So far, staying on campus for break isn’t as lonely as I thought after all. My closest friends are campus bound for the break. Right now, we’re mostly just staying warm indoors as much as possible (it goes down to about -23०C or -9.4०F! now) and cooking together. We would also stay up late watching movies, chit-chat for the whole night, do random things like dancing in the room, dolling up for fun, and draw henna on each other’s hands. It’s pretty subtle, but hey, isn’t this what we call a break? The RAs who stayed back for break will be organizing some activities for us as well. I can’t wait to see what they’ve planned for us. I’ll be sure to keep you posted the coming week on what it’s like staying back on campus for the break! Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy some scenic pictures I’ve taken on campus. The snow is almost knee-deep and I’m loving the weather more than ever.