You may not know this, but classes at Vassar love making you get your hands dirty.
In perhaps the perfect way to escape New York’s when it was perpetual winter, I traveled to Death Valley, California over Spring Break with my Sedimentology class! Our entire class has been structured around studying the types of sediments and landforms we would encounter in Death Valley, so it was incredible to actually go there and see (and touch!) the geology firsthand. We slept in a rustic Desert Studies Center used especially by geologists, biologists, and ecologists studying Death Valley and the Mojave Desert. Our days were packed full of traveling and experiences: we visited multiple canyons, squeezed through holes in volcanic rocks at Hole in the Wall, saw a beautiful desert spring, traveled to Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America), and even drove out into the middle of a salt bed at sunset to watch a comet pass over the mountains. We climbed the tallest sand dunes in North America (Kelso Dunes) and, by scooting in unison down the steep sand slopes, created a deep, rumbling noise in the dunes caused by avalanching sand. It’s called ‘making the dunes sing’! The stargazing was, of course, also amazing. This was my first time in a desert, but I’ll definitely never forget it (even if my tan has already faded). -Katie
I live in Main House. It’s an awesome place. When it was built, it was the longest building in the nation and now it’s a national landmark! What’s not cool about living in a national landmark!?
As a student fellow, I get my own single. I have some pictures of my family up on the wall as well as some drawings that I’ve made. I also have a poster of Emma Watson. Yup.
In addition to having the retreat right downstairs, we get the beautiful Rose Parlor. It’s an awesome place to study/hang out.
So, I have to go study now. Oh… look. The library is right across from Main! Now that’s convenient.
I live in Jewett House, the tallest building on campus and the place with the best views of the setting sun.
What I like most about Jewett is that it’s got these nice little common rooms on every floor which are the perfect place to relax and socialize (and work, sometimes). Anyway, here’s me and my neighbors having a jam sesh.
The best thing about my roommate, David Quispe, is that he climbs on furniture, glows a heavenly gold, and causes us all to look up in admiration.
Vassar’s Fellow group system allows the people you live with on your hall to get close and form a sort of family. Here’s my fellow group doing a secret-Santa get together.
So…you probably already know that Vassar has great academics, professors, history, and so on, but right about now you’re probably asking yourself one big question: what’s your dorm going to look like?! Well, I can’t speak to anyone else’s personal tastes or decorative styles, but I can show you around my house and dorm room! Hopefully this will give you some idea about what dorm living is like at Vassar, and then you can make your own poster/photo/lighting choices from there!
This is my second year in Cushing House, and I’ve really grown to love its cozy charm and unique quirks. And, of course, many of the people here have become like family. It’s great to come home at the end of every day, walk into the downstairs “Great Hall,” and see my little house community. Many of these people have lived here with me since the first day of my freshman year, and we all know each other pretty well by this point. Cushing isn’t on the main residential quad, and looks a little different from other dorms, but I think it’s beautiful (Hogwarts, anyone?!) Look at that picture of Cushing in the snow! It has so much character.
This year, as a sophomore, I was able to get a single room. I live in a hallway called the SQ’s (short for – crazy, I know – the servants’ quarters) with a bunch of other sophomores and juniors. I came into this year knowing that I wanted to make my room my own personal little oasis, my happy place! I packed it full of patterns, warm colors, pictures of friends and family, posters (of mountains and snowboarders!!) and glowing lights, and have been happy as a clam. I included a picture of the view from my window, too, because I love the afternoon light that comes through the trees. Your dorm room is yours to make your own, so definitely have fun with it!
One of Vassar’s long time traditions, Serenading sees the outgoing senior class march around campus engaging in highly tactical water-balloon battles with the newly arrived freshman class.
The seniors gather together the (undoubtedly) defeated freshman and lead them past sunset lake up to Ballentine field.
Finally, the freshman put on a performance of song and dance, conveying their (undoubted) respect for the senior class, which the seniors judge to be worthy or not.
Serenading happens every fall semester and is a celebration of arriving at Vassar, leaving Vassar and the change of times.
Seriously though…what a week! You don’t really get a sense of how much there is to do until you get here, and then you want to do everything. I mean…just look at this bulletin board:
Here’s what I did these past several days…and you could find lots of events like this every week during the semester.
On Wednesday, a couple of my professors gave an awesome lecture on Alzheimer’s Disease. Since I’m an aspiring neuropharmacologist, I went over to the lecture and they talked about what AD is and the research currently going on in the field. Later that day, I went a featured lecture by a professor visiting from Penn State – Dr. David Hughes. Guess what his lecture was on. Go on. Do it. Guess!
ZOMBIE BIOLOGY. wut?
He talked about his research on parasites and zombie ants. What’s a Zombie Ant, you may ask? This is a Zombie Ant.
Thursday night was Jazz Night and ViCE Jazz brought this great Balkan band that played Bulgarian music. It was great because it was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. And for you music buffs out there, they probably went through every time signature you can think of… 5/4, 12/8, 9/8, 11/8… Yeah. They did it all.Here’s the Jazz Night Poster for the Balkan Band.
Friday Night was Roaring 20s! It was a night full of Blackjack and swingin’ tunes. If you look behind me and my friend here, you can see the big band. They were great.
Saturday – I gave a tour, went to a Vassar Repertory Dance Troupe show, and I had a gig of my own for an All Families Weekend Reception. Got paid $50/hour. Yeah. That’s right.
Anway, today is Sunday (catch-up day) and I’m running an experiment in lab right now. Here’s a glimpse into Olmsted and my workstation.
Til next time,
It is crazy how I came all the way from Swaziland to Vassar only to leave the campus for an amazing field trip my first semester freshman year! Jeff Walker, geology rock star (and professor), led a group of students out west to Yellowstone National Park as an interactive part of my freshman writing seminar in volcanology. As you might imagine, it was a lot of fun. The trip started off in Idaho, at The Craters of the Moon National Park. The desolate landscape can be seen in the first image. We then spent a week in Yellowstone hiking around game-watching and studying the various geologic processes that drew us there in the first place. The second picture is a view west from one of the Park’s higher mountains, and image 3 is the whole group gathered in front of an exploding geyser! Enjoy.
You can read more about this trip on the Vassar Admissions website.
It’s April! And it was 43 degrees today. But what a better way to take advantage of this frigid winter than to go ice climbing! As part of the Vassar Outing Club, I recently organized five climbing trips for this spring with Alpine Endeavors, a local climbing company, and we’ve just had the first of our excursions. Me and nine other students traveled to the Catskills and managed to have A LOT of fun on the ice, even though we caught the tail end of the ice climbing season. We could hear the ice melting as we climbed! Here are some cool pictures from our trip, including me belaying a fellow outing-clubber, my Co-pres doing some mixed climbing, and me ‘staring down’ the ice. It was awesome!
Admission officers hard at work! After months and months of reviewing thousands of applications, we are finally ready to mail decision letters. While snail mail will not arrive at your door for a few more days, Regular Decision applicants can go online at the close of business to check their decisions. Best of luck!