Friday, February 29, 2008

Dishes, Spring Break, Apple Pie, and Colleges!

I used to detest washing dishes. I'd do almost anything to get out of soaking my hands in that quickly cooling water floating with bits of food as the washing process progressed. It always irritated me, and still does annoy me, when well meaning but unthinking family members dump unrinsed plates into my carefully clean water. I just want to lash out at those innocent individuals. I simply must start with hot water. Cool or cold water is just aweful; it sends shivers up my spine to think of grease and grime and dirty dishrags mixed with cold water.

These last few months however, I've developed a liking for the normally noxious chore of dishwashing. Washing dishes gives me a block of time when I can let my brain wander without focusing on a specific mental task, without frantically planning all the work I must accomplish and what deadlines I must meet. While washing dishes, my mind can be peacefully random. I can consider decisions without stress. I can sing at the top of my lungs without worrying about who is listening, because the rest of my family is usually outside or doing other chores in foreign districts of the house. I am pleasantly alone, but not lonely. Through the window I can watch the wind caress the trees and the calf leap through the snow. Washing dishes offers a welcome reprieve from the cares of my everyday existence.

I must admit that those cares have multiplied the past two weeks. Writing college application essays until three a.m. yesterday was not an experience I would recommend. After marathons of sleep deprivation, Spring Break sounds almost too good to be true. I think I'll sleep first, then read a good book, then peak my head out into the fresh, cool winter air, then try baking Apple Pie.

Back when I actually had time to think, I used to have cooking spurts. One of these spurts was Apple Pie. For about two winters, I baked an apple pie almost twice a week as long as apples were available. I wish I had time to do that again.

Realistically, I probably will have to write papers over spring break. Essays, essays, and more essays. To make matter's worse, (or better, depending on how you look at it) my Interpersonal Communications prof. is looking forward to recieving my written opinion on five pages of Nietzsche printoff. I like to write, but not under pressure.

Another bonus of washing dishes was that I was able to contemplate the reason I have not obtained sufficient sleep this past week - Colleges!

Here's the deal; I need some advice, so please speak up. Southwestern Michigan, Hope, Calvin, or IPFW. There are five major things I'm looking at and one additional tiny thing. First is the quality of the Nursing Program. Second is what church I'd go to. Third is how flexible the system will allow me to be and how well I like the professors. Fourth is the student body. Fifth (I've been warned against letting this be an issue) is the cost and where I'd live. Six, I'm kind of hesitant about revealing because I might scare everyone away: Opportunities to learn the art of fencing...{don't cringe} Let me lay out the pro's and cons.

blogging intermission: I've gone to Interpersonal Communications class and learned a few things I didn't want to know about my fellow classmates. I've driven home, gulped lunch, tried to make sense of my crazy email (wildblue just switched to gmail format and all my mail has been completely jumbled and rearranged). Then I became distracted with a book. Yes, I'll admit it: against my better judgement I peeked at the second chapter of "The Elusive Pimpernel" and remained ensconced therein for two hours, or until the I completed the book. I must say that I glanced over some of the more irrelevant material, such as the descriptions of the participants in the procession of the 'Goddess of Reason'. Percy Blakeney and Chauvelin's amusing sallies so far outweigh such trivial descriptions. Then I showed Mom Pr. S's blog, since she finally had a free moment for online diversions. Now at approximately 4:44 pm on February 29th, Year of Our Lord 2008, I am continuing this blog. Hopefully I shall not find myself interrupted.

1. One of the best RN programs in the area (so I've heard). I'd be able to work in the same hospital system as Dad, so he could look out for me.
2. I have a great church here with pastors I trust and want to learn from.
3. I have a wonderful relationship with the the Dean of Students and, as far as I can tell, my professors would do almost anything for me. I can take pretty much any classes I want, and (probably) enter the Nursing Program this fall. On the flipside, besides Nursing, there isn't really any intense, highly interesting classes or opportunities. As a community institution, SMC is limited in it's course offerings.
4. Oh Boy! Some of the students are highly intelligent. But the vast majority of those I've heard talking are either really simplistic in their thinking, or just perverse. I either hear strings of profanity or logic that makes me cringe because of it's flawed sincerity. I haven't made any strong friendships. Many pleasant associations, but few deep conversations. I have made good friendships with my professors, though, which I hope will last beyond my time at SMC.
5. SMC is the "best" option when it comes to price simply because it is a community college.
6. No fencing opportunities nearer than Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo.

1. I've heard that Calvin has a good Nursing Program. They work with the GrandRapids Hospitals (as far as I know) so I wouldn't be going great distances.
2. I haven't seen the church, but I know Pr. Fleming is in Grand Rapids and mapquest puts his church only five blocks away from campus. I'm assuming that this would be safe..... :)
3. Calvin has an honors program which would (would it?) allow me more than usual flexibility. I was really impressed by the way in which the departments seemed to communicate with each other when I visited last year. The professors also impressed me, especially the Ancient History prof. I'd be able to take Greek and Hebrew also, which is a BIG bonus.
4. The student body was...interesting. I think they scared me because I had never seen how college students behave in college before that visit. At the same time, they held a strange fascination for me. I guess it was just my first impression of a college and thus leaves a lasting image. I assume that the majority would be Calvinists of some stripe. I'm prepared (I hope) to deal with that. I'd rather deal with legalistic Calvinists who have everything neatly laid out, than 'accepting' Evangelicals who don't know what they believe but are sure that I'm wrong. (Don't you love stereotypical blanket statements?)
5. Uh, yeah...thankfully I qualify for a significant scholarship.
6. And, according to the history professor I met last year, there are opportunities to learn to fence!

1. Rather impressive BSN program, even do research. I'd have the opportunity to do clinicals at either Lutheran Hospital or Parkview, both of which are nearby. I'd have to do another semester of prerequisites before entering the Nursing Program, though.
2. I'm pretty sure I'd end up going to Redeemer (I think that is Pr. Peterson's church, though I've never been there or met him before.) I've heard lots of good things about this church.
3. Unfortunately, I got the impression that the system is very rigid and does NOT allow flexibility. Their honors program only means that you do extra work and have an "H" on your transcript. The departments don't seem to communicate very well either. We were sent to financial aid by admissions and then told by financial aid that we should go to admissions. The girl helping with financial aid was also obviously having a bad day. My heart goes out to her because in spite of her unhelpfulness, she seemed to be struggling between screaming at us and dissolving in tears. But this was just a first impression of the system, and I have been warned not to jump to conclusions.
4. The student body seemed much more considerate than what I've seen at SMC and MSU. They had no problem giving us directions and asking if we needed help. After the posters I've seen tacked to bulletin boards at the two aforementioned institutions, the general conservativeness (is that a word?) of the posters at IPFW was refreshing. I'd also be near the seminary, so I could participate in activities (maybe?).
5. As a state school, the cost is only a little more than SMC and it appears that I could possibly be able to get a scholarship for a little something although financial aid is still uncertain about me. But I'd also lose a Michigan scholarship from the MME/MEAP test from leaving the state.
6. According to the internet, FT.Wayne appears to be the fencing capitol of the Midwest. {dies of ecstasy}

I know nothing about Hope except that Mom really wants me to consider it.
1. Mom says that Hope has an excellent Nursing Program with clinicals done in Holland.
2. I don't know where I would go to church. There are two LCMS congregations in Holland. One is a large church with a certain "Pastor Westra". It has a 'family liturgical service' and a contemporary service. Between the two, communion is offered every week. (There is also an 'upper room theatre' thing. I'm undecided as to the significance of this 'thing') The other congregation is relatively small. I don't remember the pastor's name. It does not have a website.
3. I have no idea about flexibility.
4. I have no idea about the student body except that it is supposed to be more conservative than Calvin's.
5. Again....Uh, yeah....I think I might be able to get a scholarship.
6. No fencing that I'm aware of. :(

So... What do ya'll think. I'm personally torn between IPFW and Calvin.


Karen Stubelt said...

I think you need to look at Hope.
Then you can lay out all the info
and make a decision based on what you know about each school..
It's your decision but remember that there are a lot of us that will support you.......also remember it's not something you can't change down the road if you need to.. I know this is an exciting time for you but don't be
in a hurry to "grow up" :-) You have your whole life ahead of you (God willing) don't stress out about these thing-- take one step at a time and enjoy life and all
the new adventures ahead for you.

Love ya

Nat said...

I can't offer any advice on the colleges themselves, but I wholly encourage you on the fencing thing. I think everyone should take some sort of physical activity that requires calm and focus.

And swords are cool. Ethan's told me that he appreciates his fencing class (good friend; you might've heard his name once or twice in relation to other MH-people).

TruthQuestioner said...

Karen: Thanks for the encouragement. I guess the two biggest reasons I'm not real excited about Hope is that I can't figure out the positions of the two churches in Holland and I lazily don't want to write another set of application essays. :p

Nat: Swords ARE cool! (I'm still waiting for someone to laugh at me) And much as Mom seems to think my choice of exercise is weird, she is also a big advocate of "physical activity that requires calm and focus".

Moria said...

Being a resident of Michigan, do you still qualify for in-state tuition rates at IPFW?

TruthQuestioner said...

I'm fairly certain that I would qualify for instate tuition rates because of my scores on standardized tests. At least that is what financial aid brochures imply.

TruthQuestioner said...

Wow! I totally surprised myself. Now I really really really want to go to Hope. Imagine that! But after Wed. night's "event" (I'm not going near that church again) it is obvious that I need to do some more "church shopping" in the Holland area.