The Blog From Home.

April 30, 2009

So I’m not actually at Swat right now, I’m home for a funeral. Luckily I’ll be back at Swat tomorrow in time to do some major damage control via Pub Nite.
But I do still have papers to do, and am as always in need of a good distraction. So I will share this, which is what I saw as I trekked from Alice Paul to Macro this morning:

0429091628Pretty. Freaking. Awesome. That chair hasn’t been at Swat since I have, so I was psyched for its return. It will surely be the site of debauchery tomorrow night.

Also, I thought I’d look for some resources for transfers. This was a pretty neat little site I found that Amherst has, I’d like to start a similar thing on Facebook once I know who’s in for next year.

This one is more for those of you who have not applied for transfer, and are wondering what will be expected of you.

And for those of you hoping to transfer this year, here’s a reasonably good countdown of common questions from the College Recruiter.

As always, shoot me an email or a comment if you have any questions, rants, etc. I always welcome a distraction!

Just over two weeks to go, prospective transfers!
The Transfer Student

Oh dear god.

I haven’t updated in literally weeks. This semester went from flying by to dragging to flying by again. And I’ve felt incredibly guilty about updating about all the insanity, because not only have you transfer hopefuls been sending me great emails about much you like the blog, I’ve also had people from admissions telling me how many people like the blog.

LOTS OF PRESSURE.

Anyway, it’s quarter to five and there are two essays that I am intent on finishing before Wednesday. Wednesday night I have to get on a train to Lancaster for a funeral on Thursday…my cousin’s child passed away, and I definitely need to be home to support my family, even if one day is all I can spare from Swat.

But anyway, the reason I mentioned the two papers is because I am in prime outlining mode. And that is exactly what I am going to do to delineate my last few weeks at Swat. I feel bad, I should have been updating much more often, but hopefully the stress of finals have kept all of you nail-biting hopefuls at bay since sending in your applications. And if not, here comes a horrifically long entry. You may want to split it into chapters.

So here’s the outline:
I. Family and Friends Weekend
A. Mr. Swarthmore competition
B. Spur of the moment Crum Regatta
II. Housing lottery – kind of goes hand in hand with Crum Regatta
III. Quarter-life/halfway through college crisis
IV. Oh my god this weather is beautiful
V. Bringing down the hammer on HR

I will of course be using pictures to assist me…it’s been that crazy.

I. Family and Friends Weekend

A. Mr Swarthmore
So family and friends weekend was great. My parents came up for the weekend, and it was a ton of fun. On Friday, we went to the 3rd annual Mr. Swarthmore competition, a benefit to raise money for Women’s Way of Philadelphia. To be honest, it was a little bit too long, some of the talents were a little bit questionable, and the way the seating and sound set up sucked. It was a struggle to see or hear anything unless you were in the front row, which I was not. Even so, it was hilarious, and I was personally gratified to see that my former RA, Grant, was named Mr. Swarthmore. (He competed as Mr. Nothing.)

Saturday was basically uneventful, I slept late and then enjoyed the beautiful weather with my parents, Erick, Rich and Rayan. I’ve definitely taken to sunbathing on Parrish Beach, it’s too damn gorgeous out there. But anyway, my parents and I wandered around, looked in on Crunkfest (which was thankfully tame at that point, and whose events I cannot talk about on a blog linked to admissions), and lazed about until early evening. Then we all went out with my parents and Erick’s mom for Rich’s birthday dinner.

B. Crum Regatta
Later that night, we carried out our two-day old plan: the plan to compete in the Crum Regatta. The Crum Regatta is a time honored, tri-decade competition where Swatties slave over boats to push into Crum Creek, and race to a photo finish while Martin Warner takes a break from his day job as registrar and transforms into Commodore Warner.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to happen.

Thursday night at Sharples, Greg said to us, “Let’s do Crum Regatta!”. After determining that there were basically no rules governing the regatta, I called my dear sweet parents and requested that they bring an air mattress to Swat when they came. Our “boat” took less than ten minutes to inflate. In fact, the most time spent on the project was when Greg, Erick and I scoured Tarble for brooms…I mean paddles. So we awoke on Sunday, Team Somali Pirates. We had entered the competition two days before it actually took place, and inflated a mattress that we christened “The Somali Diamond”. Obviously, since we were pirates, we decided that 9:30 in the morning was a perfectly appropriate time to break out the “pirate juice”.

Needless to say, when we showed up at the Regatta, we were raucously drunk.

We spent the moments leading up to the race staggering around, heckling the audience, heckling each other, and beating other boats with our paddles. It was hilarious. There are not words to describe how hilarious it was. So let me show you.

We arrived, pirate juice in hand.

We arrived, pirate juice in hand.

We faced off with the admiral.

We faced off with the admiral.

The heckling began in full form

The heckling began in full form

We have flotation!

We have flotation!

Or we did...until we snagged on a branch, and the Diamond began to deflate.

Or we did...until we snagged on a branch, and the Diamond began to deflate.

But we still made a heroic finish...

But we still made a heroic finish...

...even Rayan.

...even Rayan.


We came in a proud second place, at least five minutes before any other boats crossed.

We came in a proud second place, at least five minutes before any other boats crossed.

I’m still not sure whether or not we were awarded second place, we were pretty hideously drunk and disruptive. But it was a great and triumphant day.

II. Housing Lottery

And when I awoke at 7 pm with a slight hangover, it was time for the housing lottery. I had somehow been charming enough to convince Erick to let me pick off of his number as his roommate.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a quick rundown of how the housing lottery works:
1. Rising seniors are assigned numbers roughly from 1-400, juniors 400-800, sophomores 800-1200. Transfers, your numbers are assigned at random, because they are calculated based upon your number the previous year.
2. If you have a crappy number, you generally want to pair up with someone with a better number. My number was 596, Erick’s was 249. (Greg’s was 169 and Rayan’s 303, for all you neurotic transfers.)
3. If you are two upperclassmen picking off of one number, you just use that number. If you are an upperclassman pairing up with an underclassman, your numbers are averaged.
Got it? Good.
So anyway, we went to housing lottery with low expectations. Erick and I had picked out several two room doubles in Worth, but were willing to settle for a two-room walkthrough double in Worth or a loft in Alice Paul. Greg went first. He picked a single in Worth on a hall we had been considering. At the last second, Erick and I changed our first choice to a two room double on that hall. AND IT WAS AVAILABLE. So we snagged it! We were pretty excited that we would only have to get to know/tolerate one stranger on our hall. Or so we thought. Do you know who snagged that last single on Worth J 2nd? Why the last Somali Pirate, Rayan.

I once joked to my AP US History teacher (I was failing his class and several others at the time) that I would become a demotivational speaker. Now I’m really considering it.
Let’s check the evidence:
1. My friends and I were all unhappy or jaded with our college situations, said oh-well-what-the-hell and applied to Swarthmore. Now we’re at one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
2. We put negative effort into the Crum Regatta. That’s right, less than zero. We came in second.
3. We showed up to the housing lottery with no plan and mediocre numbers, didn’t block for the hall, and ended up with fantastic, enormous rooms on the same hall together.

I’m just saying…

III. Quarterlife/halfway through college crisis

I blame it on my birthday. My birthday started freaking me out. Oh my god, I’m nearly twenty, I’m halfway through college, and I hate everything I’m working towards. I’m bored with political science, I hate economics and everything having to do with numbers, I don’t want to go to law school, I’m living my backup plan, oh my god oh my god I want to drop out of Swarthmore, dye my hair pink, and bartend and play music in New York City.

Why am I telling you this? Because I was hit with such a wave of apathy that I could barely make it to class. In fact, there are more occasions than I’m proud of when I didn’t. But these things happen. Am I sure that this is where I be, that this is what I want to be doing? Absolutely not. And I assumed that I was the only Swattie that went through it. Well I’m not. And if you go through it, YOU’RE not alone. This is documented, written proof that even at beautiful Swarthmore, you can feel trapped and hate everything you thought you wanted. You just have to take some deep breaths and realize that this too shall pass. And if it doesn’t…do this:
For those of you who get in, I’ll be leading you around at orientation. And my hair WILL match the shirt I have to wear for orientation. Count on it.

IV. Oh my god, this weather is beautiful Seriously.

Swarthmore is an arboretum. This weather is insane.

This is where I outlined my final paper for Modern Political Theory.

This is where I outlined my final paper for Modern Political Theory.

Willets Cat helped

Willets Cat helped

Proof that I actually do schoolwork

Proof that I actually do schoolwork

Hitting the beach Sunday (Parrish Beach)

Hitting the beach Sunday (Parrish Beach)

The courtyard of the beautiful dorm Im living in next year

The courtyard of the beautiful dorm I'm living in next year

(The weathers beautiful, but the stress is getting to me!)

(The weather's beautiful, but the stress is getting to me!)

V. HR and Student Labor Unions

So as a student worker, a HARD student worker, I have three jobs, I was horrified to learn that HR and Student Council had come up with a “completely fair” change to the pay scales of 69 jobs. 65 of those jobs, it was decided, were not worth the pay grade they previously were, and were thus bumped down to lower pay grades. A few very upsetting emails to Melanie Young, the VP of Human Resources later, I was approached by another student, Chloe, to help form a student labor union.
While things are in the most infantile stages of development, I am very excited to be involved in something I consider to be incredibly important. For more info, please go here and here. The second link is a Facebook group, and it documents my dealings with Ms. Young and HR.

So there you have it. A lengthy and much needed distraction from my papers. I’m all caught up, for now. I’ll be sure to do my best to keep tabs on finals, the last Pub Nite of the year, and the various goings on of the end of my first year at Swat.

Until then, I’ll be opening another Starbucks energy drink,
The Transfer Student

The Spring Fever.

April 9, 2009

Well transfer hopefuls, it’s April 9th. That means you have approximately 5 weeks, 1 day until hearing back from Swat. I know, I know, it’s terrible and cruel and all of that. But even so, I cannot even describe how excited I am to meet all of you, which I will do…DURING ORIENTATION!

That’s right, the infamous Ms. Jeanie and I will be shaping you, Army of Transfers, and we will take over this campus from Sharples to the gym. We will storm Tarble and make that infernal bell stop waking me up every fifteen minutes while I am trying to nap, and we will heckle various student groups together. Basically, we are going to have an incredible time.

Some bad news on the orientation front: apparently there will be so many new transfers accepted that two CAs won’t be able to handle it. So they’re splitting the transfers into two groups. However, Jeanie and I are the only other transfers that applied to be CAs, and one transfer, Danny, is on the Orientation Committee. He’ll be leading the second group, with a non-transfer.

Now, I love regular admits here, but since transfers and the administration barely know how to answer all the questions from transfers, it really doesn’t make sense to have someone who was admitted and attended as a freshman to lead a group of transfers. The Orientation Committee does not see the value in hiring a transfer for the sake of being a transfer, and unfortunately this attitude has caused a lot of problems for me, and for other transfers. It’s an attitude of, “Oh, well HOW different could it possibly be?”

Infinitely different. You have all the knowledge of a freshman with none of the perks, you are graded as a sophomore or upperclassman, and you are scrambling to fit in requirements unique to Swarthmore that regular admits have been working on since day one. It’s an experience that is incredibly unique and challenging, and it’s important to have people who have been there, who are passionate about building a community of unique transfers at the helm of orientation.

Orientation sets the tone for your entire time here. Most of my best friends at Swat were people I met at orientation, and I’m really hoping that we can do a good job ushering in the 09 transfers.

Emailing Jim Bock and Martin Warner today about the Tranifesto. Wish me luck.

Uniquely yours,
The Transfer Student

The Quickest Post Ever.

April 2, 2009

So it is my 19th birthday, it’s 3:30 in the morning, and I have a huge long day with tons of classes and then lots of celebrating ahead of me. But I quickly looked at my blog stats, and saw that a lot of hits have been coming from this website:¬†http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/swarthmore/680294-transfer-students.html

In case some of you transfer hopefuls have been reading this blog and not the College Confidential, this can act as another resource for you guys. I know it’s stressful to wait, but deep breaths!

And some quick facts from my experience:

  • There were over 100 applicants for transfer last year, I’m not sure how many were admitted, but 16 came
  • Of those sixteen, there were 9 junior transfers and 7 sophomore transfers (this was apparently atypical)
  • I was the only transfer student admitted from community college, though there was a transfer from a two-year school called Deep Springs I believe
  • Transfers that I know of from the past two years have come from: PCC, Boston University, Georgetown, Penn State, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, UMass, Wellsley, Brown, Sarah Lawrence, UChicago, UMichigan, Willamette University, American Air Force Academy, Wesleyan, Rochester University¬†

Take a good hard look at that list. Don’t try and second guess whether or not you got in based on that list. Transfers, like Swatties, are from all walks of life. So breathe. Seriously. This month and a half will crawl by, but the rest will be a blur, regardless of whether or not you get in.

Do some yoga,
The Transfer Student

The Day of Reckoning.

April 1, 2009

So here it is…April 1st. Transfer applications for the 2009 transfers must be postmarked by today, which means all you hopefuls have between 1 and 4 hours to find a blue USPS box, depending on where in the country you are. That’s pretty exciting, and I’m definitely wishing all of you the best of luck. When I think back on it, I’m still pretty surprised that the application I submitted got me in. Don’t get me wrong, I had a 4.0 at PCC, but my essay was probably the most negative admissions has ever received. Some of the more choice sections were:

“I was rejected amid the concerns of the board that I was not equipped to handle the strenuous demands…Despite this, however, I feel that I belong in the environment that Swarthmore offers…”

“I determined my senior year that Swarthmore was the place for me; the admissions board decided that I was not prepared for Swarthmore.”

“I feel that I have gone above and beyond what most students rejected from college would do, and that this commitment to overcoming hurdles to ultimately be successful is more proof that I am Swattie material.”

Yeah…generally your essays should be less offensive. But I hope those were entertaining for anyone who has begun the nail-biting, hair-tearing, nervous wreck of a month and a half that is the transfer process at Swarthmore. At the very least, those excerpts should make you more confident in your own application.

Things on the Swat front are going well. I’ve come down with a cold or allergies or something, so I’ve been generally unmotivated to do work this week. I’m giving myself a break though, under the excuse that it is my birthday week, and I can study next week.¬†

Yes, tomorrow is my birthday. I’m turning 19, which is a pretty uneventful age. I think it’s the last birthday that isn’t scary, because you still have a year before you change decades and things start to get a lot more real. So I’m celebrating with fondue with my friends and parents in the Alice Paul lounge tomorrow, then Pub Nite, then an after party. I’m missing the big Sag- sorry, NOT the Sager party anymore. (You can read all about the drama here) I am going home for the weekend, so I’ll have to wait until next year for the cross-dressing, booze-drenched insanity.

There are crazy things happening on campus though. Peaslee is hosting a debate tournament next weekend, which promises to be nuts. Then it’s Worthstock/Crunkfest, Ride the Tide, and Parents’ Weekend all at the same time.

So I’ll be trying not to suffocate in the arboretum through all of that.

Best of luck, new transfer hopefuls,
The Transfer Student