Monthly Archives: March 2010

Here — Safe and Kind of Hungry

Sitting jacketless in the courtyard of the Artist Village (TAV), I am enjoying the first sight of sun and blue sky since before the blizzard in Colorado, which hijacked our flight out of Colorado Springs a half-a-day before it even took off. Considering the circumstances though, our travels ensued fairly seamlessly. We caught the next flight out of Colorado Springs, and made our connections in both Dallas and Tokyo, and once arriving in Taipei, after a few rounds of trial-and-error, I managed to figure out how to work the pay phone and call our Taiwanese liaison, Jeanny, to help us find our taxi driver that had to be at about his wits end waiting for us in the Taipei airport. 900 Yen later and all three scrunched in the back seat (because the front seat was ungracefully conquered by my 73 pound suitcase), we arrived at our new home at about midnight, greeted by three fellow artists and Mr. Hwong, the cute-as-a-button security guard who reminds me of my Granddad. We were taken to our room/studio/apartment, a spacious concrete room attached to a bedroom and bathroom, resembling something between a flat in NYC and the Whitney Electric building (an abandoned warehouse near CC’s campus, which houses everything from homeless people, to concerts to art exhibits.) We were left to ourselves where, despite the time and the long day of traveling, we hurriedly began unpacking and settling in, like three twelve-year-olds who just arrived at summer camp.

Yesterday was our first full day. We went in search of discernible food that I could eat, and to explore. We apparently found ourselves in more of a ghetto than we realized, but our conversation with our new friend Jason the previous night in the bar downstairs assured us that we did not need to worry about our safety. In his words “we could walk downtown at 4 a.m. in bikinis and not be bothered… well maybe not bikinis.” After picking up some fruit from a street vendor and taking plenty of pictures, we found our way home more based on intuition than by following the map we picked up along the way that trying to navigate by reminded us that were in a completely foreign place even more than walking the streets seemed to.

Later we met with the staff at TAV and went over our residency schedule, we saw our dance studio, which is absolutely perfect, and ventured to try to find dinner, which among the options Dolo and I sadly opted for middle-eastern food (each vendor declined my paper request for food without wheat, dairy or soy), and Rosey ambitiously tried the pre-packaged sushi. I topped off the meal with my new favorite dessert— which I call gooey-rice balls, not knowing it’s real name.

It’s now morning, blue sky and beautiful (not to rub it into all of your freezing Coloradan’s) my computer is about to die and we are going to venture to find breakfast and have our first day of rehearsal.

Looking Back and Forward

This semester has blossomed into something undeniably wonderful. A few weeks ago, I turned in the final draft of my economics thesis. I wrote 126 pages on the interdisciplinary psychology-economics concept of loss aversion. The concept essentially says that people weigh losses heavier than comparable gains. I took this concept, which I first discovered in a Financial Markets class, and applied it to my love of sports economics. I expanded on a study by two Wharton Business School professors who applied the concept to golf. Other than the Wharton paper, no other research has been done in this fashion. (read about the Wharton study in the New York Times) My research held true to the theory. In general, I found that professional golfers tend to exert more effort when faced with losses. While an interesting finding on the surface to golf fans, this work’s broader implications stretch to the growing field of behavioral economics. They actually tell us quite a bit about how experienced people, competing for high stakes act when facing losses and gains. I won’t delve too deep, but it elicits countless thoughts about how we as humans approach our very own reference points. I was able to turn in a paper than I am incredibly proud of and believe may help inspire future research in this area.

With that finished, I have moved on to the countless other activities and obligations that will keep me busy until graduation. I am a co-chair for our end of the year music festival, Llamapalooza, still working hard at the admissions office, and still running the student radio station. To make this semester even more fun, I have accepted a job offer at DraftFCB (the company I blogged about in a previous post). Last week, I also heard from Northwestern’s Medill School that I have been admitted into their Integrated Marketing and Communications Masters program for the fall of 2011 with an option to defer until fall of 2012. I am extremely grateful for the good fortune coming my way lately. Interestingly, I find myself almost more busy right now having finished classes and thesis. Everyday is a new challenge to keep things moving on the numerous projects I seem to have gotten myself involved in.

At the same time, I am taking extreme joy in having the time to speak to people, read about people’s adventures here on the CC Blog (see Madison’s post), and find out what the rest of the CC world is doing right now. So many exciting things continue to evolve that it is almost hard to keep up. I’ll be posting in the next month about a lot of these things. One such endeavor that has me hooked right now is a new arts and culture blog specifically designed for the CC community that a handful of students have just launched. They are calling themselves the Colorado College Block Partie – find them at www.ccblockpartie.com. They are starting to generate some interesting content from the folks who started the site, but it seems that the hope is that it can become an online gathering place for the entire CC community. The SOCC and CC Block Partie are starting to work together to plan some interesting exchanges of content and ideas. Look for fun things to come.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cm0t2Gpdvs[/youtube]

This great explosion of arts and culture has me reminiscing about some of the fantastic stuff I have seen and experienced throughout my time at CC. I apologize for getting a bit nostalgic here (after all, I only get two more months of being a CC student). One such piece I found the other day on YouTube – it is the intro to the Film Festival here at CC from a couple years ago. I fondly remember laughing hysterically at this introductory film that satirized the CC student and experience so well. While obviously an exaggeration, it played off the truth in a fun and playful way. It is always good to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes.

Hot N’ Cold

Don't worry, it was all gone the next day.

Don't worry, it was all gone the next day.

Hey everyone,

I think it’s fitting that I’m writing this post on the first day of spring because it’s finally starting to feel like spring in Colorado.  We’ve had a particularly cold winter and been without many of those uncharacteristic 60 degree winter days.  But there are subtle changes noticeable all around campus.  The grass is starting to get green, a sure sign of spring.  Tiny flowers are also starting to pop up around our apartment.  But most importantly, the days are longer, sunnier, and warmer.  However don’t be fooled, there are still plenty of snow days to be had in spring.  These are the best kind of snowy days though – wet snow that doesn’t stick and is gone the next day because it’s back to 60 degrees.

For some this turning point marks a sad end to the winter ski season.  Although there is still plenty of spring skiing to be had, face shots and whiteouts are almost gone for the season.  But with every end there is a beginning.

Fishing season is fast approaching.  The trout are hungry and waiting.  The days of freezing rod tips and numb hands are over.  So it begins again, gorgeous sunny days and snow in May, the best of both worlds.  I can almost taste 8th block approaching with all the added fun of Blues n’ Shoes and Llama.  To spring I say bring it on.

The Travels of a Dancing Thesis: An Introduction

Waiting to board my delayed flight home from Cleveland, where I enjoyed a relaxing visit with my sister, I am ambitiously attempting to postpone my anticipatory anxiety and excitement of the fully-loaded two-months that await me. In only four days I will once again be scrunched in tight quarters with a myriad of cranky travelers, this time though, waiting to board a set of flights to Taipei, Taiwan. There, I will be spending the remainder of my Colorado College career.

Since I received my first passport in the mail last May, just a few days before my life-changing trip to the Kingdom of Tonga, I have fallen in love with the wonder of traveling. I cannot believe that for the second time in less than a year, I am looking the trip of my dreams straight in the eye (not to mention the fact that it is again fully supported by scholarships and grants from CC).

At this point I have a schedule in place and it seems as though I will have to write-in time to breathe between the numerous projects to be completed. Our home-base, the Taipei Artists Village, is where Rosey (a recent CC graduate), Dolo (a current sophomore) and I will be living and working as part of an International Artist-in-Residency program. In collaboration with the Hsin-Lu Foundation, we will be teaching therapeutic movement techniques to mentally disabled adults as part of the Dance and Disable Project. Additionally, our trio will be producing and performing for various audiences and venues around Taiwan. In the later half of the trip, I will be participating in a CC class titled “Chinese Meditative Arts,” which is an abroad block taught in Taipei by my advisor Yunyu Wang. Overarching all of this, I will be completing my senior thesis, exploring the cultural dissimilarities and relationships between Asian collectivism and western individualism from the lens of modern dance.

Naturally, the fact that I know very little of what to expect makes me nervous. Although I have a relatively detailed schedule, I have been repeatedly warned to avoid attaching to plans as they are likely to change in unpredictable ways. Seeing as though I have never been to Asia nor do I speak the language perhaps exacerbates my uncertainties— mystifying even the most seemingly simple tasks and accounting for the already plentiful amount of useful information that is lost in translation.

What is so extraordinary about this trip though is that I am going not as a tourist, nor as solely a student or as a worker, but instead as some inimitable hybrid of them all. I am going not only to teach, to create, to perform and to observe dance; but to explore passions, interests and possibilities that extend far past the conventional labels of “travel”… “dance” or …“thesis.” I am going to work both independently and collaboratively; to grow both intellectually and personally; and to solidify and expand upon the foundation that my quintessential liberal arts education has erected. My hope is that within this complex web of responsibilities and experiences, I will be able to live within and learn about a culture so far from my own in a very unique way.

All-in-all, I have a lot of demanding and exciting work on my hands, to say it mildly, and although I know I am a soon-to-be college graduate, I cannot conceal my youthful zeal, as I know that my nerves, excitement and gratitude can be sensed from a mile away. From now until my return on May 7th, I will be blogging as often as possible in order to document and share my experiences with anyone interested in reading and/or joining in the conversion.

More to come… next time from an ocean and a half-a-day away 🙂

Thesis, more thesis, and a bit of law school news mixed in

I spent so much time working on my thesis that sixth block passed by without me even realizing it. That’s the thing about independent study. I don’t have class, so weekdays, weekends, and breaks all feel exactly the same. Every day, I wake up, go to the pool to swim, arrive at the Econ Lab by around 8:30, work on my thesis until 6 pm (sometimes later), eat dinner, and go home. I have cereal and milk and some dishes stored in the lab if I need a snack, but I spend most of my waking hours running regressions and writing my thesis.

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Slaving away on my thesis in the Econ Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ll be stoked when I finally finish my thesis, I’m lucky that I have such an interesting topic to study. I’m writing on high-skilled immigration and its impact on U.S. innovation (i.e., patent activity). This is an area that is just beginning to grace academic journals, so there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done. Colorado College has developed a really cool database using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to show where all of the issued patents are located for the last 30 years. Part of my research includes focusing in on certain metropolitan innovative hot-spots (e.g., the Bay Area, New York, and Seattle) to control for spillover effects (the idea that innovation breeds more innovation in surrounding areas). I’m still in the middle of perfecting my model, so it’s a little early to have conclusive results…but my advisor is confident that we’ll be able to publish my research in an Economics peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to working on my thesis, I’ve been busy with preparing for law school. At this point, I’ve heard back from most of my schools and all of my results have been positive. Right now, the short list includes:

  • University of Pennsylvania (Ranked 8th)
  • University of Virginia (Ranked 10th overall and 8th in International Law)
  • University of Texas (Ranked 15th overall with one of the strongest Immigration Law programs in the country)
  • George Washington University, which offered me $105,500 merit scholarship with  free housing (Ranked 8th in International Law)
  • University of Colorado, which offered me a full scholarship for all three years

The hard part is waiting to hear back about financial aid. While some schools (GW and CU) have already determined their merit scholarships, the others have not. Furthermore, none of the schools have even begun to determine my grant or loan eligibility – and you’re not allowed to work for your entire first year of law school. So I’m stoked that I’ve gotten into all of these prestigious schools, but I have no clue if I can afford to actually attend them. I don’t remember college being quite this frustrating, but maybe that’s because my mom was to there to help me. My advice: have your parents deal with all that confusing financial stuff for as long as possible!

Right now, there’s still a lot to figure out. I’m trying to visit all of my schools in the coming weeks. UT is flying me out in two weeks, and then I have a trip planned to D.C. and Charlottesville in early April. How am I missing all this class on the block plan, you wonder? I’m enrolled in an independent study with a really chill professor (the block plan is more flexible than you think). It’s crazy to think that I’ll have made my final decision within the next month…just in time to enjoy 8th block and my 22nd birthday!

Faith for the Earth

Green = earth, animals, plants

Catholicism= popes, prayers, mass

Green + Catholicism = ………..

say what?

Green Catholicism! Envision all the sustainability efforts you’ve become aware of (recycling, composting, water conservation, hybrid cars…pick your pleasure), combine them with a worldwide religion, and what’ve you got? A faith-based responsibility for environmental awareness, with the goal of harmonizing the whole universe.

The class exposed me to ancient Christian philosophies that form contemporary views towards the relationship between God and nature, as well as ecological problems that are facing the world today. My favorite? Mountaintop removal. Check out Stephen Colbert’s take on it here: http://www.ilovemountains.org/ It was interesting to see how religious groups are reinterpreting scripture to find support for environmental awareness, and I intend to incorporate that into my faith somehow.

We also watched some GREAT documentaries.

Grizzly Man: grizzly-man He lived in harmony with bears for so long! But then he overstayed his welcome…can humans really find true peace with nature?

King Corn: KingCornYou may want to check your ingredient lists more often. High fructose corn syrup is sneaky, icky, and probably a major part of your nutritonal intake.

And my favorite…

No Impact Man: no-impact-man-2No environmental trace for a year. Could you do it? Let’s go through a short list of deprivations.

-No electricity: I wouldn’t mind using candles at night. Anything that brings me closer to feeling like Jane Austen…

-No refrigeration: Having to constantly stock a cooler with ice borrowed from the neighbor would get annoying.

-No non-local food: Sign me up! Especially with Colorado’s beautiful farm produce.

-No laundry machine: Hmmm, washing clothes in the tub…heck, I can’t even find the motivation to do laundry more than once a block, WITH a machine.

-No TV: Done and done.

-No transportation: Walking’s pretty cool, and I could learn to love bikes. I’m down.

-No waste: So no buying anything new, and all food waste has to be composted in a box that requires worms. Um…

Of course, it’s hard to experiment with these leave-no-trace practices when you’re living in a dorm. Roomates may not be huge supporters of your compost box, and your RA will definitely not be a fan of burning anything but your fellow students in class. Still, little changes can be made. It’s as easy as turning off your appliances when not in use, trying to reduce and reuse before you recycle, or deciding to make the long trek from Mathias to Worner without a car (yup, i’ve seen people do it!) This class made it clear to me that the world has a long way to go in improving sustainable living, even with religious group behind it. But it’s possible! By working together, every person can make a difference.

ST3386~Peas-on-Earth-Posters

Sophomore Slumpin’…

Oh, the precious sophomore year.  The cherished second year in which one finds what he or she wants to do with his or her life.

Except I lie.  I’ve hit the so-called “sophomore slump.” I think I have.  I might as well suffer from an existential crisis, but who am I to know?

I’m finishing up my second block of Civilization of the West.  This course studies basically studies European History from the year 4000BCE to 1989 (the fall of the Berlin Wall).  This course is a perfect example of why the Block Plan is so beautiful, intense, unbelievable, and overwhelming.  Essentially, I’m studying 6000 years of history in the course of 7 weeks.  It’s laughable, for sure.  Regardless, I absolutely love it and am so tired of it.  It’s becoming a love/hate relationship.   As a History major (it’s so weird calling myself a history major!), I am obsessed with Modern Europe History. Reading Rene Descartes, Mary Wollstonecraft,  Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud reaffirmed this sickly desire to learn more about Modern Europe.

Where else can you study SO MUCH in such a LITTLE AMOUNT OF TIME?  (That was a rhetorical question… )

Spring Break is a comin’, and I’m positive most of the campus is feeling the Slump.

A housemate sleeping, feeling the "Slump"

A housemate sleeping, feeling the "Slump"

My plans for Spring Break, you ask?  I’m doing a road trip with two other friends to Yellowstone, then Washington, then Vancouver, then Oregon, then San Francisco, then Salt Lake City, and then back to CC.  Insane–right?  Yeah, 4000 miles of driving.  I’m so excited!

Oh Spring Break, please come sooner!