1. INDIAN SUMMER
On September 26th, I headed back to my summer home, Timber Lake West camp in Roscoe, New York. Every year, the oldest campers reunite for a weekend back at camp to chill out and most importantly, take photos. When I got accepted on to the Study USA program, I always knew Indian Summer would be on my to-do list because these have been my campers for the last two summers and because it will be the only chance I ever get to go.
One flight, three taxis and four buses later, I made it back to the most beautiful place in the world. I got to hang out and catch up with some co-counselors before the bus rolled up early Saturday morning. It’s safe to say that I was attacked by my twenty two campers. Seeing them again was worth every minute of the long journey there. We spent the day hanging out by the lake, eating enormous amounts of food, hiking to the quarry and I got to hear all the teenage gossip of how freshman year of high school was going for them all.
It was a short and sweet weekend with some of my favourite people. Even though I had to study for an economics exam on the plane and buses back to Evansville, I knew that I would be trying to make as many weekend trips as possible this year. Even in a short amount of time, it’s amazing how much fun you can have.
Fraternity recruitment is very different than what I described in my last blog about Greek life. It’s definitely more casual and would appear to be less stressful. The fraternities can give out as many bids as they want. Rather than bid day, this recruitment culminates with Passover night. All the boys get painted up in their frat colours, and head off to SOBA, the business school building, to chant endlessly until the doors open and the boys come running out one by one.
Having just spent the summer with a lot of Jewish people, I obviously assumed Passover had something to do with a meal of some kind. No, no, no. Passover at UE is when new brothers come running out of the building after signing their bid, and then jump on to the crowd of brothers awaiting to literally pass them over the pack. It was hilarious and to be honest, a little scary. The atmosphere was electric as a lot of the students went to watch the madness.
Over the last month, a few of the Greek organisations have hosted their philanthropy events. Phi Tau held their 'PhiDay Night Live' event which consisted of a lot of very funny skits. Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) held their first ever 'Paddy Murphy Pageant' and Eykamp hall was packed. Girls representing different organisations or athletic teams competed against each other by showing off their talents and answering some questions. Finally, Zeta Tau Alpha had their ‘Big Man on Campus’ evening which was also well attended. This time, it was the boys showing off their talents. Some rapped, some did stand-up comedy and others sang. The best thing about these events is that so many people get involved and a lot of people go to support the causes, whether they are involved in Greek life or not. It is pretty impressive to see.
I also got to attend Alpha Omicron Pi’s date party with my roommate, Rachel. It was my first time going to a corn maze. We just got to hang out with some pretty cool people and even go on a hay ride. There were pumpkins everywhere too - everyone is mad for Halloween over here so I am extremely excited about it.
The work is really piling up. I went through the week of death that everyone experiences – three midterms, two essays, one presentation and a group project. It really felt like being back in high school. It’s so strange when the midterm is worth the same amount as the final exam, like what is that? Thankfully now when I get stressed about work, I read through the Yik Yak feed and gain comfort in the fact that everyone is ‘dying’ together. Although I'm not really in to 'Yakking' myself, it does keep us all entertained. The top Yaks in our area are a good representation of how everyone is feeling about fall semester. Credit to these Yakkers:
· “It’s the remix of ignition, college student edition, I eat poptarts for dinner and can’t afford my tuition. Sippin on Capri sun, I think parties are fun. It’s the freaking weekend, I’m failing Math 101”
· “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide not prepare me for any of this” and many Yaks about failing life in general.
· The daily squirrel Yak – “Remember this campus belong to the squirrels, we’re just lucky they even allow us to go to school here.”
As we don’t have a football team at UE, we have a fall carnival instead of homecoming. On a chilly Saturday afternoon, we ate some popcorn, corn dogs and snow cones. There were games and bouncy castles for people to have fun on and opportunities to win prizes. It was pretty fun and I suppose it still just amazes me that things like this happen. The only way you could get students at home to go to this never mind volunteering to work at it, would be if there was a Boojum or Winemark voucher involved.
The student activities board do a great job of making sure there’s plenty of events for students to attend. From comedy nights, juggling acts to Thursday movie nights, there really is something for everyone.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love sports. My roommate knows all too well how excited I am when I get to play with a ball. Clearly, I’m having withdrawal symptoms from GAA. So when I was offered the opportunity to play on a flag football team, I jumped at the chance. Not only did I get to meet some great people on the ‘Hail Marys’ team, I also got to be the designated kicker. So yes, I got excited when we would get to the fourth down.
Next up, I joined my international friends in the co-rec soccer league. So far we have won one and lost one but the ‘Sons of Pitches’ have high hopes heading in to our next game. Sure it’s all a bit of craic.
This program connects college students with the most to give to kids who need it most. I was really excited about joining this program because I love working with kids. I was placed with the third graders (aged 8-9) and on Wednesday 1st Oct, I met my little buddy, Ben. We got to know each other and played a tough game of basketball of buddies versus mentors. I know I’m small but when an eight year old is running laps around me, that’s a little embarrassing. On the second week, we played some more games outside at UE and then our activity was learning about space. I also reassured the little buddies that they can call me Mo because Maeve really does appear to just be too tough. I can’t wait to spend every Wednesday afternoon with Ben and the other little buddies, as I really think everyone benefits from the program.
Since coming to Evansville, this is all people have told me about – “oh my God, you have to go to Fall Fest.” Everyone was basically counting down the days to America’s second biggest street festival, after Mardi Gras. It was worth the wait. The food was like nothing I have ever seen before – deep fried everything! Deep fried smores, cookie dough, oreos and a lemon shake. I may have ate my own body weight, but like my excuse for everything I do – this is my only chance! We then went on a few rides. Note to self: hanging upside down on a ride is probably not the best thing to do after eating all that food. Anyways, the place was buzzing (although the creeps really do come out at night) and it was as good as everyone said it would be.
For fall break, I headed to Kansas City with my friend Erin. It was exactly what I needed – the perfect mix of tourist stuff and just chilling out. Her family is half Mexican so I got to eat some incredible food and get my hands on some KC barbeque – wow, is all I have to say about that. The city itself is beautiful!! It was extra special being able to be there when the Royals were in the playoffs. Everyone was in the best mood and I got to learn about baseball. Although, the most important lesson learned is that Kansas City is mainly in Missouri and only a part of it is in Kansas. Hence, I had to buy this shirt:
Fridays and Saturday nights are what gets most people through the week. It’s not like Belfast where we go out during the week. Here, you literally build up the hype all week and then let go of all that stress at the weekend. The greatest thing for me is how casual it all is. I can’t say I miss the heels, the tan or the need to buy a new dress for every night out. I’m really not sure if I should blog too much about the parties, but let’s just say that twerking is a thing and the dancing is scary. Again, it’s all a bit of craic.
Two months down and two months to go until I am home for Christmas. I miss people and some home comforts but I’m just really enjoying every day here. Although, the countdown is on until my sister and her boyfriend make it to Evansville in just over two weeks.
I am the target, or should I say focus, of a lot of peoples’ international projects so I often have to talk about my life at home. I have also given a presentation to my professional speaking class, and will be talking in two first year seminars next week. I love talking about Ireland, but right now it’s all about appreciating the opportunity I have here to do something great and have the time of my life.