13 October 2014

Fall Break and Fall Festivities

Something that occasionally bothers me about being at college instead of at home is the relative lack of seasonal cheer and festivities. It feels like I leave during the summer, and then I spend four months at school just doing school things, and then I come back home and suddenly it’s Christmas time. I find myself asking: where did autumn go? So since it’s been fall break the last few days and I had some spare time, I decided to spice things up a bit and make sure I don’t miss the season this year. I bought things like apple cinnamon spice tea, candy corn, some fall decorations, and things to make toasted pecans. My roommate also got a pumpkin for the windowsill. 

Now, it’s officially autumn in Akin Hall!

And beyond our cozy room, the dining hall serves a lot of seasonal desserts like pumpkin mousse and carrot cake and maple cookies. Maggie’s, the on-campus convenience store and cafĂ©, starts advertising pumpkin lattes and suchlike. Sometimes people go to a pumpkin farm on Sauvie Island nearby where there’s apparently a corn maze (though I’ve never been). Sometimes people dress up for Halloween and come to class in costume. Last year, I was Rose Tyler from Doctor Who. I don't know about this year though.

My roommate went home for the break, so it’s been pretty quiet. I actually didn’t feel like I had that much homework, but maybe that’s because it was the kind of homework that didn’t feel like homework, you know? I’m reading King Lear for English right now, and it’s just so much fun that it’s not work. I’ve read it once before, and I’ve seen a production of it at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, so I’m already sort of familiar with it. It’s fantastic to just slowly meander through it again and tease out all the details and themes and really get to know the characters. I love being an English major… Here’s an example of something we read and discussed in my English class a few weeks ago.

It’s a poem called “The Wanderer” translated from Old English. It deals with ideas of transience and the fleetingness of life and, as my professor says, it has a very ‘post-apocalyptic’ feel to it. Very melancholy, very eerie and haunting. To be honest, I actually didn’t get that much out of it on my first reading, but my professor led such a wonderful discussion that I learned a lot from him and my classmates, and even ended up contributing to the discussion. By the end of class, the poem ranked among my favorites. Reading literature and poetry is so much better when one gets to discuss it afterwards.

If you have any questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu. I'm happy to answer them!