Chapter 10: Reflecting on a Busy Month
[Editor’s Note: Jeremy Johnson ’12 and Katlyn Lee ’12 are writing monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their own post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]
I always loved the month of March. A lot of great things happen in March: spring (often) rolls in, spring break happens, classes are usually at their most interesting, and I get to celebrate my birthday. This March was no different — spring rolled around, I enjoyed spring break in Wisconsin, my classes hit a number of high points, and I had a lovely birthday. All in all, no complaints on my end.
When I wrote my last blog entry, I was sitting in the pub at Ripon College. I spent the week of my spring break in Ripon and traveled to Mankato, Minnesota with the forensics team. I arrived in Ripon at almost the perfect time, as I was able to see the Saturday evening performance of “A Doll’s House.” The actors were fantastic, the set was gorgeous, and the story was very interesting. I was lucky to have such great timing and to have a friend (Bill Heinze ’13) grab a ticket for me. It was really a pleasure.
Meeting up with a bunch of folks in Ripon was fantastic. I purposely chose not to plan much before arriving so that I wouldn’t feel like every moment of my trip was scripted. I guess I wanted things to be more free-flowing. As such, I popped by professors’ offices and had some nice conversations. I spent time in the pub and in the commons, waiting to run into friends going to and from classes. Because I do not often have time to chat with people while I’m here in Pennsylvania, being able to take the whole week to just enjoy others’ company was rather therapeutic.
Seeing the college and the city was likewise great. Campus looks more beautiful than ever. The renovations in the commons and the library are amazing. I was taken aback by the commons in particular—everything had been replaced with beautiful materials, including everything from the tables to the light fixtures. There was a lot of snow on campus, which some might find irritating; however, I love the snow, so I was pleased. It doesn’t snow terribly much here in Pennsylvania, and when it does, it’s usually followed by rain the next day or so.
After a lovely weekend judging the forensics district tournament, I made my way back to Pennsylvania. I found myself ready to get to work, which was useful as I had to spend most of my first day back writing a paper. I also found out that day that I will get to teach a section of our public speaking course during the first summer session here at Penn State. We have two summer sessions, but I will be unable to teach during the second session as I will again travel to Fort Lauderdale to coach at the Florida Forensic Institute this July. The fellowship I received waived me from teaching for the first two semesters here, but I have been itching to teach most of that time. Not teaching has been both a blessing and a curse — I have more time on my hands, but I also don’t get the reward of working with students.
The weekend of March 22-24 was the recruitment weekend for my department here. I got the chance to meet a number of prospective students, all of whom I genuinely enjoyed. We had a number of events take place; I partook in the opening reception on Thursday, the happy hour on Friday, and bowling night on Saturday. I was reminded of my own visit a year ago as I chatted with the recruits. It’s hard to believe that has been a year ago already.
April should be something of a shift in gears. Most of the month I will spend trying to get my semester papers together. On the horizon, though, is one of the two national forensics tournaments, NFA, which will be held in West Virginia. Since it’s only a five or six hour drive from here, I have offered to be Ripon’s official judge at the tournament. It’ll be busy, but I hope it will be a wonderful month!
Jeremy D. Johnson ’12