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November 30, 2007

Madrid!

The Secondary Ed students are all abuzz with their student teaching placements for next spring. It is really exciting to hear that my friends will be basically all around the world! People from my cohort (we call ourselves the Soc Crew) will be in the Morris area, Irondale High School, Rosemount, and also Australia to name a few locations. I am pretty jealous of my colleague who will be at Irondale…That is my dream school to work at. But I don't regret one bit my decision to complete my student teaching abroad. So this time of year although really really busy is still exciting.

I know I will be at King’s College Madrid, a school in the northern part of the city, but I have yet to find out which class(es) I’ll be teaching. The only course I feel completely unprepared to teach is Economics, but I think I could wing it day after day if I had to. :-) And I am not so nervous about the teaching itself since I feel quite confident in my abilities, it is more of the nit-picky stuff such as Where am I going to live?! How am I going to afford to buy things with the Euro!? And how am I going to be away from my boyfriend for that long! I am hopeful that everything will work out in the end.

Plato's Disappointment

One of the fathers of western political thought is Plato. His best-known dialogue is The Republic. In it, Plato outlines the perfect rule of society; he called it “Philosopher-King?. This perfect ruler would be legitimized by understanding “The Form?. The form is absolute and immutable essence of everything. The Philosopher-King would gain the understanding of the form through the study of Philosophy, and more specifically through mastering Dialectics.

While this understanding of Plato is not wrong, it is not sufficient either. Plato’s political thought is more complex than the view expressed earlier. Interestingly, a great deal of the scholarly literature written on Plato focuses on The Republic and The Laws (another well known works of Plato)

This year I am working on my senior seminar in Political theory. I am trying to prove that to really understand Plato’s political thought we need not just focus on The Republic and The Laws but also look at a lesser-known Platonic dialogue, The Statesman. I call it lesser known in relation to The Republic and The Laws. This research has taken me in directions I had not foreseen. It has also given me the opportunity to read and respond to great Platonic experts. As an undergraduate student, such an opportunity is not very common (because of the stigma of expertise, but that is a different topic). Also, if you are interested in this topic I would like you to keep your eyes open for the dates of the political science senior seminar presentations. These presentations are coming up around February-April and are open to everyone.

November 28, 2007

Mid-Semester Madness

UMM is considered one of the best schools in the Midwest. As such, our students are challenged in a number of ways. The most prominent of these challenges begins academically. We are proud of being a rigorous institution in terms of academics. The majority of our professors hold terminal degrees in their area of expertise. I am pretty sure that by now you have heard all of this. The purpose of this entry is not to tell you about all the institutional information that you can access on our website. But instead I want to share with you what I call “mid-semester? madness.

Mid-semester madness is a phenomenon experienced by UMM students during & after midterm exams. Midterms, as their name suggests, mark the halfway point of a semester. Most classes have some form of them, and as such our students generally have to study for them during the same time. You will see our library and 24 hour study lounge full of students, snacks, and lots of caffeine. Sleep and 4X6 note cards are the two things that seem impossible to get at this time.

However, midterms also mean that the end of the semester is approaching. Because of this it seems your assignments are all due at the same time, and that the time you had in your hands is slipping away. Certainly all you can do is keep working hard and try not to procrastinate as much. Beware of Mid-Semester madness!

November 27, 2007

Summer Time Wishes

Today we had the first zero temperature day of the winter season and you could tell people, myself included weren't ready for it. Instead of the cold I reminisce to this past summer and the warm days working in admissions with my friends. We worked full time doing random projects around the office and had lots of fun doing it. One particular day we hosted a work potluck over lunch for the staff of admissions and financial aid. We, the student workers, made a brunch feast that was completely delicious and a huge hit with the rest of the office. Another time we were sent out to take pictures to hang in the entry-way of Behmler Hall. That time we went to East Side park and played on the playground equipment while we took action shots. Later in the summer we took different pictures in the greenhouse and conservatory by the science building. The picture below is a selection from inside the greenhouse with all the student workers from admissions and financial aid. If you ever get a chance to check out the conservatory or greenhouse be sure to do so because not only are they beautiful, they are warm and fun. Another really cool aspect of the conservatory is the wild life. There are finches that fly around the trees and huge goldfish in the pond. Who wouldn't want to hang out in the middle of winter with a bird and a fish? Well I must forge onward out into the cold winter air of Morris. Have a great day!

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(In the photo: Below sign- Megan, Nastassia; Left of sign- Kellcee, Amanda; Right of sign- Shane, LeAnn)

Oh Christmas

So the end of the term is coming near and more papers are being assigned, more projects are due, and the excitement of Christmas can make it even harder to focus! My roommate and I just decorated our room last night for christmas! We have a little tree and we hung garland all over our door and up along our walls! The more I think about Christmas, the more excited I get. I mean, we get a month off from school where no homework will be due, you'll be able to eat homecooked meals everyday, and there'll be hills to go sledding! :) Oh, but I love Morris though. The first accumalative snow fell last night, and my floor went and played in the snow and tried to make snowangels. It didn't work all that great, but it was a lot of fun!! Well, I should be off and working on my papers! (I feel it will be pretty hard while listening to Christmas carols... :) )
~Bridget~

November 26, 2007

Moving is a pain

As I child I never moved to another city or house even, so moving away to college and back home again has been a tough experience! My freshman year I drove up with my mom, sister, and boyfriend at the time. I over packed, and my freshman dorm room was bursting at the seams. I did have some pretty cool stuff though, even if I had no place to put it. That spring my sister came to help me move out, and I think I got it done in just one trip back to the cities. Sophomore year I drove up alone in my Chevy S10 and moved to the on-campus apartments. This time I brought less “dormy�? stuff and more apartment stuff, but it was still a lot of stuff. That spring I found an apartment off-campus and used it as storage over the summer. I bought some Ikea furniture, got a table from a garage sale, and a couch from Slumberland. I had finally moved into my own place! It is a studio apartment, which has proven nice in the long run because there just isn’t that much space for stuff.

However, as winter break approaches I find myself once again packing away old textbooks, notebooks, office supplies (I could create a paperclip chain across Minnesota if I tried) clothes, and other crap into Rubbermaid tubs of all colors. Originally I was planning on moving next month, but renting a U-Haul in December seems like a gamble so I’ve pushed the date back until graduation and I’ll be keeping my apartment until then. I never realize how much stuff I have until I have to pack it away and transport it 150 miles across the state! Thankfully though I now have 6 months to filter my stuff out of my place and back to the cities. It should be interesting to make the big final move.

November 20, 2007

New to the blog!

Hi there, I’m Kate Oliver, a senior here at UMM. Since most people have posted their introductions I thought it would be a fitting first post for me. I am from Minneapolis and have attended Morris since 2004. In high school I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and so I focused my studies in social studies education and have taken many history courses throughout my career at UMM. I have also been involved in different activities, from Intramural Flag Football and Volleyball, Big Friend Little Friend, Adopt a Grandparent, Habitat for Humanity, United Latinos and even Morris Campus Student Association.

I wish I had time to keep up with all these activities but as my college career progressed my involvement went deeper instead of wider. I took a position on the executive board of United Latinos and also began working at the Office of Admissions. I used to be a telecounselor (student worker who made phone calls to prospective students) and then moved to an office assistant position where I process applications, work on mailings, and other office tasks. I really like working in Admissions because I get to see an aspect of a college that is really interesting and always changing. If I can’t find a teaching job right away I might consider working as an Admissions Counselor…but I do hope to teach after I graduate!

I have taken many interesting courses here at UMM, and some of my favorites include Spanish, Physical Geology, Principles of Art and of course the history courses. But the coolest course I took was during a study abroad trip to Venezuela. I was in Mérida, a university town in the Andes. The program is through the Twin Cities campus so I did not have to worry much about credits transferring which was nice. The two courses I took were Spanish Conversation and Composition, and History of Venezuela, the latter being my favorite. Both of these courses were taught completely in Spanish…my professors did not know much English at all which was great because I learned a lot in the 6 weeks I studied there. Being out of the country and enjoying it so much influenced my decision to student teach abroad.

The Global Student Teaching program office is right here on campus so it was super easy for me to turn in my application and have questions answered in person. I decided on two places-Spain or Ecuador. I figured since I have already seen part of South America I should try to see more parts of the world, which is why Spain ranked first. About a month ago I was notified that I have been placed at a school in Madrid. I am REALLY excited to student teach and I am ready for the challenge of an international school system. My blogging will become international as of January 4th when I leave for Madrid, but I promise to make more posts before then!

A little bit about myself

¡Hola! Good to see you here. My name is Simón Franco. I am an international student here at UMM. I am a double major in Political Science, with concentrations in both Political Theory and International Relations, and Management, with a concentration in Global Business. Keep in mind that I am accomplishing all of this in four years! It is possible, trust me. I had to communicate a lot with my advisor but with her guidance and with one summer term of 12 credits I am going to graduate on time this May.

Since I moved to the U.S. three years ago I have been very involved and active in many groups and activities. Within my first 10 days of coming here I tried out for the Cougars football team and was granted a position as the kicker. When the semester started I decided to decline that offer in order to focus more on my academic work. Then I joined United Latinos (UL), and became an officer on the executive board of the organization and have been one ever since. It is not uncommon to see freshman taking leadership roles in different groups on campus, there are so many opportunities to apply yourself that it can be somewhat overwhelming…Just wait for the activities fair during orientation weekend-you’ll see what I mean!

Also, I have been involved in several other organizations on campus such as the Morris Campus Student Association (campus government), International Student Association, Gateway Mentor (summer mentorship program for multi-ethnic first year students), and activities like Dance Ensemble, Multiethnic Mentorship Program (Research program), and Campus Ambassadors (Official Tour Guides!).

My main focus of interest that has dictated most of the research I have done here at UMM are international relations in Latin America-more specifically Venezuela and Brazil-and Classical Political thought. Also, focusing on management the economic factors behind free trade and revolution in South America.

Well, this has been a short introduction of who I am and what I do at UMM. I will be posting more about my life in Morris, but if at this point you have any questions please leave a comment on my blog and I will reply as soon as I can. ¡Chao!

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November 19, 2007

Scholarship Application Soon Approaching

This year UMM is offering two phenomenal scholarships.

The Prairie Scholars Award is a full tuition award that is renewable for all four years. If tuition increases while at Morris, the amount of your award will increase as well.

The Morris Scholars Award is a $5,000 scholarship that is also renewable for all four years. In addition, it includes a one-time $2,500 scholarly stipend to fund an independent academic endeavor such as study abroad, undergraduate research, or travel to an academic conference.

To be considered for either of these scholarships students must complete the supplemental scholarship application, which can be found on the last page of our paper application. A digital copy of the paper application can be found at this link.

Semi-finalists for the competitive scholarships will be invited to campus in early February for personal interviews.

Moral of the story -- Apply by December 15!

November 18, 2007

Application frustration

During the last few days I have been attempting to write a personal statement for my law school applications. It has been a very challenging experience for me because I am having trouble putting into words the diverse reasons I want to attend. I am sure many of you are writing essays for college and scholarship applications therefore you can understand my frustration. I think the frustration is rooted in the fact that I have so many other pieces of homework I should be doing that I can’t focus on this really important piece of law school apps. My plan was to get a statement done by last Wednesday but now that is Sunday I just want to get a copy done before I go home for Thanksgiving break. Wish me luck and I will wish you luck on your’s.

November 16, 2007

New semester, new classes

I registered for my Spring Semester just this week and all I can say is my work load will be huge! But i did end up getting all the classes I wanted and they should be interesting and fun!! I'm going to be taking Stats, Sociological Aspects of Sports (I am super excited about this class!), Environmental Geology, Intro to History since 1500, and Drugs and Human Behavior. My classes range from all over the subject spectrum. I'm an undecided major so I'm just getting my gen eds done first. I never realized all the different classes they offer here! I saw they offered Oceanology! WHAT?! Morris? Oceanology!? That's way cool!! :) Registering for your classes here is really easy and if you have a major, Morris makes it really easy for you to find all the classes that you should be taking for that major.

Between my intramurals, classes, and coaching Morris 7th grade basketball this semester, I'm just really excited for a nice little break I like to call Thanksgiving! Oh how I am looking forward to the yummy homemade food by my mother and hanging with the family! I have been counting down the days for about two weeks now! I can't wait!

I must be leaving now to coach my 7th graders!! Until next time!....
~Bridget~

November 14, 2007

mmm....turkey

I just read the blog regarding Thanksgiving, and I couldn't help but respond. The mere mention of all those wonderful foods has my mouth watering, because, let's face it, Food Service every day just doesn't do the trick.....I can't wait for leftovers!!!!!! Mmmmm....leftovers. Only one week left until I will be eating good food for as long as it will keep in my mini-fridge!

Reflective thoughts with winter settling in...

Wow, it's amazing to see how fast the semester is flying by! While in high school, I always thought that a full college semester was something that was very long and arduous. However, now that I'm here the time has flown by. Between sports, intramural activities, and studying, not to mention attending class now and then, I'm trying to figure out where the last few months have gone. Fall is already coming to a close, with winter creeping in on it's heels. It's hard to believe that I've been living here for nearly three months already, and that first semester classes will be done with in just over one month. On the other hand, my dorm room now feels like home, and it is hard to think of what I would do without all the activities on my floor, and around campus. Thinking that only three months ago I met all the people that I live with and know so well is amazing, because even though it sometimes feels as though orientation was yesterday, it also seems as if I have known the people I've met here for most of my life. Well, with that reflection, it is time to go to class, do some homework, and then come back to my dorm, sit on the couch, and watch a movie.

November 12, 2007

Thoughts On Thanksgiving

Well I think we all survived Halloween and I know most students wait in anticipation for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the single greatest moment of fall semester. As a college student you will understand that a day devoted to homemade food means weeks of leftovers. Now as a prospective student you probably don’t appreciate leftovers but you sure do as a college student. I can’t wait to go home and spend a day with my family enjoying a well prepared HOT meal. Now don’t get me wrong I can prepare a mean quesadilla or bowl of soup and grilled cheese sandwich but it just isn’t the same as turkey or tofurkey, mashed potatoes, bread, stuffing, pie and all the other yummy goodies. I spoke to my sister who is a senior in high school right now about this very topic over the weekend. She was more excited to spend time with the family than the food but that’s because she has hot meals prepared almost daily for her. So if you are like my sister, remember to appreciate this thanksgiving because when it is your turn to go away to college you will miss it a lot more.

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