So I know I don’t post here that much anymore but that is because the college life bubble has engulfed me. I seriously don’t remember being this busy as a sophomore. Whoever said senior year was the best year totally lied! The last few weeks I have been buried under papers and readings. The Waidner-Spahr library has become my second home, I’ve barely been in my apartment all week! However there is now a cafe in the library so when I take a break, I can meander over and buy a croissant and some tea!

Yes, I know there is a cafe in our library this year! Granted I try not to study near there too often because I end up seeing too many people I know and I end up talking instead of doing work. My Spanish professor who teaches my seminar this semester decided this location would be the perfect spot to have class. I think we might have to find a new place for class because I can’t hear anything with the coffee machine whining in the background.

So yeah, Dickinson put a cafe in the library which sounds cool and all but they implemented a printing quota, a laundry quota, took away trays in the cafeteria, and took away our cable. I’m not so upset about the trays even though it means getting up a lot more to get things but I’m exercising at mealtimes so I guess that is good. However it is a challenge when I get up to leave and have to collect my plates, cups, silverware, etc. to dump in the bins over by the conveyor belt. I also don’t really care about the cable, I mostly watch tv online anyways.

As for the laundry, it now costs 2.25 a load. Which means we have a quota of one wash and dry load per week. Laundry in general is a hassle this year because I no longer live in a dorm (no convenient laundry room nearby now) which means I either have to truck my laundry all the way to the HUB (Dickinson’s student center) OR I can use the Theta houses (my sorority houses) which are a lot closer to where I live now on campus. And get this, the Theta house laundry machines do not operate on that stupid ESuds program and I don’t need to swipe my ID card and have money deducted from my laundry quota! I’m friends with a lot of the girls in the houses and they don’t mind me using their machines so it looks like I still have access to free laundry for the time being.

However the printing quota is the one that REALLY maddens me. Sophomore year Dickinson installed this program called Equitrac on all the campus printers to keep track of how many pages a semester their students were printing. After a few semesters, the system’s data revealed the average number of pages printed out by a single student seemed to be between 500 and 600 pages.

So now we have a printing quota of 60 dollars. One page costs 10 cents and because Dickinson is obsessed with sustainability, the printers obviously print double sided. A double sided printed page costs 20 cents because it counts as 2 pages being printed out. Whatever, that is fine. However, a lot of my professors post readings online and I am down to about 20 dollars already and we are only one month into the semester. I would use my own printer but I am technologically challenged and can’t figure out how to insert my own ink cartridges in my printer. (Mimi and I both tried for about half an hour and we couldn’t figure it out together.) I was counting on my dad showing me how to do it on Parents’ Weekend but my parents are no longer coming (which is fine, I’m going to be home the following weekend anyways, I just wish I had room to bring my printer with me so Papa could explain to me how the heck to make it work!) So this means sometime next week I have to go down to the HUB and add more money to my printing quota. I understand Dickinson is trying to promote sustainability but I really think this quota is unfair. I don’t ever print out useless pieces of paper for my own entertainment, it’s ALL academic related.

A lot of these changes are due to Dickinson’s obsession with being a green campus (I mean we even have a College Farm!) but a lot of them are also due to the economic crisis. And whenever I think of the economic crisis, I start to think about the real world and what I am going to do after graduation. The consensus among my peers is that we don’t talk about it, that we don’t think about it but I know this is a huge lie. I know a lot of my classmates have already taken the GRE or are preparing to take the GRE (I signed up myself to take it in January) and are considering grad. schools/job interviews/Peace Corps/marriage.

And it’s been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve been browsing the sites of the grad schools I might be interested in, trying to understand their application processes. The ones in Paris (yes ok, I am considering grad school in France even after a semester in Toulouse of non-academic productivity) really confuse me so I guess I know what I will be doing during my weekend home with Papa! I don’t know if I am considered to be an international student in France if I have a French passport, it is quite the conundrum.

In case you are interested, I am considering getting a Master’s in Translation/Interpretation. This is not a very common master so this dramatically reduces the number of grad schools I can apply to. Also my Spanish has suffered greatly after 8 months of non-use. I still understand it and can read it but my speaking skills have completely disappeared. This means I probably need to go immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking environment before I go off to grad school to translate Spanish.

I’m considering not going right back to school after graduation next May. What I will do for six months/a year is up in the air. I also don’t know if I should apply to grad schools now and see where I can get in and ask the school to delay my admission. Or I could just wait until the 2011-2012 academic school year (when Hermana will be a senior in college, oh god.)

So yeah I have a lot of important decisions to make in the next couple of months. Any advice you would like to give me I will gladly take. I realize grad school isn’t mandatory (and neither is college, but let’s face it in the area I live in it’s the norm for everyone to go to college) but it seems most people are going back to school during the financial crisis because there are no jobs out there.

And if you happen to know anyone who works in the translation field, please send his/her name along to me and contact info. I am trying to be proactive about this after enduring a whole summer of my parents nagging me about my future.

And that is basically my life. Study, work, eat, sleep but it’s usually in a really strange order. And obviously Theta has been taking up a lot of my time now that I’m back on campus. I don’t mind too much though, after a year being out of the loop it’s nice to see all the girls again. Not to mention I’m on the Up til Dawn exec board, a French tutor, a Dreamcatchers mentor and I’ve been trying to avoid swine flu. The Purell bottles the health center has been sending to our mailboxes are greatly appreciated (by me in any case).

Oh and in between all that, like I said above I need to figure out my future.

Yeah I don’t know how I’m going to survive this year either. Winter Break is only a little over 3 months away though so I’ll hang in there until then.

And I keep thinking back to a year ago, I was enjoying the Malaga sunshine and still wearing t-shirts and flip flops at this time of year while sipping tinto de verano on the Mediterranean. Where did the time go?????

Ok I’m going to take a nap. It’s Friday afternoon, so give me a break.

Amelie

PS. Forgot to mention last post that it was my 50th post! Well now it’s my 51st! Cool.