11 March 2014

Brace Yourselves... Midterms are Here.

I’m starting to count the days until Spring Break. I think everyone feels this way right about now – with midterms and the promise of a little rest in a week and a half or so. I’m just so happy at the idea of getting to go back to California and see my parents, my little brother, and, of course, my dog. I’m planning on going cross country skiing and hiking with them, and just enjoying some home-cooking and relaxation!

I only have two midterms this semester, which is a relief to say the least. I took my Exploration and Discovery one on Monday, and I have to say... it was tough. I probably should have studied a little more, but the vast amount of material it covered was so daunting that I just sort of skimmed it over the weekend. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am in the section called The Ancient City, which is a lot of history and archaeology. It’s very interesting, but dry at times, and there’s a lot of memorization. The midterm covered the three cultures we've gone through so far - Catalhoyuk in modern-day Turkey (7400 – 6000 BC), Uruk in Mesopotamia or modern-day Iraq (4000 – 2900 BC), and Akhetaten in Egypt (1340 – 1331 BC). The emphasis has been on material evidence such as art and architecture and what that implies about the society. A lot of the authors we have been reading make these huge leaping assumptions, and our professor reminds us that no one knows for sure whether the bracelets on the infants buried beneath the floors of a house were supposed to be apotropaic (symbolically protective) or not, or what the motives of an Egyptian pharaoh really were. Without written evidence, there is so much left open to interpretation. Next, I think the class will move on to the archaeology of Athens, especially the portion called the Acropolis, (500 – 400 BC) and Rome (100 BC – 100 AD).

I should probably be studying for my other midterm right now, which is in Ancient Greek history. It's going to cover everything up to 400 BC, ending with the Acropolis. It’s really cool how Exploration and Discovery AND Ancient Greece will be studying the same location and time period at the same time. I wonder whether there will be a repeat of information or whether Exploration and Discovery will focus on an entirely different aspect of Classical society. We might focus more on the layout of the columns and the appearance of the carvings than the writings by Herodotus and Thucydides, for instance. Guess I will find out soon.

To procrastinate doing my work, I am going to go running in Tryon Creek now. It’s blindingly sunny outside right now and just so incredibly beautiful that I have no choice! My friend says it looks like somewhere out of The Land Before Time. We haven't seen any dinosaurs there, though. At least, not yet.

Then, it’s back to studying and then going to a BuildOn meeting where we'll make the finishing touches on our plans for a fundraiser later this week (we’re collecting donations for the construction of an elementary school in Haiti!). After that, I’ll be going to dinner, doing more studying, possibly watching an episode of Doctor Who with my roommate or re-reading The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, and then, off to bed! Just a typical night at Lewis and Clark.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!