Potentially Forced into Early Graduation . . . Curses.

October 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM (Happenings) (, )

Yesterday morning, registration for spring courses opened up for seniors.  To prevent a total system overload, students register in appointed blocks.  Appointment times are determined by the last number of each student’s ID number.  This coming semester left me with the short straw: I was in the penultimate registration block for seniors.

Last week I had the opportunity to plan out my spring schedule.  That is, I went through the online course catalogue, and chose some classes that I’d be interested in taking next semester.  Putting courses in the planner does not guarantee one’s seat in a class when registration opens, but it does allow for one to put together mock-ups of schedules so that when registration does open, ideally one already knows what courses to add.  I was pretty happy about the courses in my planner: advanced writing for PR, community relations, new media and PR (with one of my favourite professors/my advisor), and perhaps a drawing class (because I can).  The nice thing about having finished all of my graduation requirements early meant that I could take whatever I wanted during my last semester.  I had a great schedule in mind, too: classes on Tuesday and Thursday only, which would give me time to either get an internship or a part-time job in PR that could turn into a full-time position in May.  Admittedly, the option of four-day weekends was pretty enticing, too.

Ten minutes before my 11.30 appointment, I excused myself from practise and went up to the studio office to register.  Earlier that morning, I saw that one of my classes had filled up, but I wasn’t too worried.  I started to stress when I remembered how slow the studio connection was.  At 11.28, I was just logging on to the registration site.  To my horror, at 11.30, ALL of the PR classes I wanted to take were full. The drawing class was still open.  After cursing at the top of my lungs, I tore through the course catalogue, looking for anything that looked remotely interesting.  My internal monologue as I did so went something like this:

“Took it . . . class full . . . took it . . . took it . . . advertising . . . took it . . . advertising . . . took it . . . not relevant . . . took it . . . advertising . . . took it . . . advertising . . . don’t know what that is . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . took it . . . class full . . . took it . . . not interested . . . took it . . . class full . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . advertising . . . not relevant . . . class full . . . grad course . . . grad course . . . grad course . . . grad course . . . grad course . . . ”

I ended up taking a “not relevant,” “don’t know what that is,” the drawing course, and an English class.  I may have been interested in some of the advertising courses, but I couldn’t take any of them without having taken the intro to advertising course, first.  Had I not been so wrapped up in getting my graduation requirements out of the way, I may have taken the ad course a semester or two ago.  I had heard countless stories of people who did not get their requirements out of the way until senior year, only to discover that they were locked out of those classes and therefore could not graduate in four years.  It wasn’t fair: I was responsible and got all of my requirements out of the way.  This semester was supposed to be my reward finishing early.  Why was I settling for courses just for the sake of taking more courses?  Was it really worth the tuition?  I thought about it for a few minutes, then decided that maybe I would graduate early, after all.

I E-mailed the new media & PR professor for his two cents, and his potential ability to influence the situation.  He responded this morning to let me know that although all the undergrad seats were full for his course, there were a couple left for graduate students, and he would see if he could open up one of those seats for me. 

Oh, dear advisor, if you can get me into that class, I will be there at 9.30 every Tuesday and Thursday morning with a smile on my face and a cup of coffee in my hand, ready to learn!

I’m supposed to E-mail him later today to find out what the story is, and of course I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  If I can get into that class, it will be much easier to justify another semester.  If not, I may be looking for a job this December.  Wish me luck, either way.  My resume is available upon request.


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My Accident-Prone Roommate, Episode I

October 18, 2008 at 4:33 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Just to clarify, this is not the same roommate from “My Damn Roommate . . .”  I share my apartment with three lovely people.  This one is Thing 2.

My roomate has a fractured disc and is scheduled for surgery in December.  When we first moved in, she warned me that she was accident-prone after letting me know about her current condition.  I admit that I took her warning with a grain of salt.  It’s not that I didn’t believe her, but at the same time, accident-prone could be anything from tripping incessantly to breaking bones so predictably that one could set a clock by it.  I took a shot at optimism and assumed that my roommate was of the former variety, and that the back condition was an extreme circumstance.


As the semester has progressed, my roommate’s back has been bothering her more frequently and with greater severity.  This past week she decided to switch the office chair in her room with an egg chair in the living room that she brought from home.  The office chair was irritating her back because it offered minimal support.  With the egg chair, at least she could sit back a little more comfortably.

Although our living/dining/cooking area is a decent size, our bedrooms are more or less standard jail-cell-sized.  We’ve lofted our beds a good 4’6″ off the ground in order to increase storage space.  Also shoved within our cells are a desk, dresses, and a hole in a wall with a horizontal pole that’s supposed to serve as a closet.  My point is that quarters are cozy.

It was Monday or Tuesday evening of this week.  I was decompressing after practise on the sofa watching Scrubs when Thing 2 sheepishly emerged from her room.

“I think I gave myself a concussion today.”

After I offered a melodramatically prolonged blink and a dash of awkward silence, I first asked her if she was okay (which is probably the most redundant question I could have possibly asked), then asked her to elaborate.  As it turned out, my roommate had gone to collapse into her egg chair, and managed to smack the base of her skull against the bed frame.  Noticing my cringe as she recreated the resounding “SMACK” of her head hitting the frame, she grinned.  “Yeah, whenever I do that, THAT’S when people freak out.”

One of the many things that I enjoy about my roommate is that she’s just so darned good-humoured.  I imagine that it’s a healthy way to be, if you’re accident-prone.  I could see someone fall just as easily into a state of learned helplessness, otherwise.

Unfortunately, it’s now Friday (Saturday, technically), and my roommate is still going through the aftermath of her run-in with her bed frame.  She went to health services, which only served to confirm her self-diagnosis.  I suggested that she visit an ER today, but she wasn’t too thrilled with the idea.  After all, what can you do to treat a concussion?  I may nag her until she does in a couple days, though.  I have this nasty habit of worrying about people in whom I take an interest.  And since she makes a great drinking buddy (among her many other wonderful traits), I’ve taken an interest.

Now, perhaps a back condition and a concussion don’t merit the label “Accident-Prone,” but how about stabbing your own finger and bruising your arm something awful within that same week?  Next time: “Why Knives and Fingers Don’t Play Together,” and “I Don’t REALLY Need My Left Arm!”


It may be relevant to note that my roommate asked me to write about her, uhm, situations in my blog.  My response?

“. . . Maybe I WILL.”

[readers groan]

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Ever Wanted to Learn How to Ballroom Dance?

October 15, 2008 at 3:55 AM (Dance, Happenings) (, )

You’re in luck – if you’re in the Boston area, that is.  I’d like to take this time to shamelessly promote a studio grand opening taking place this weekend in Newton, Massachusetts.

Balera ~ School of Ballroom Dance has been open for a few weeks now, but it’s officially opening its doors to the world of aspiring dancers on Saturday, October 18th, and 7.30 P.M.  Not only will guests have the opportunity to enjoy a tour of the stunning, 4000 sq. ft. studio (the largest ballroom studio in the Boston area, I may add), but they will also have the pleasure of meeting the studio staff, light refreshments, and dancing until midnight.  In addition, there will be some pretty awesome performances.

Jose DeCamps & Joanna Zacharewicz are current World Professional Rhythm Champions, and I could agree with their title more.  Granted, I’m a nobody in the dance world, so my opinion doesn’t matter too much there, but at least I know what’s going on when I watch Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance?, which counts for something, right?  Slightly more seriously, I have seen these two on television, and I was in the audience when I witnessed them earning a title on PBS’s America’s Ballroom Challenge.  Every time that I have seen them perform and compete, Jose & Joanna have been on fire.  I’ve also been lucky enough to take some lessons with them, and not only are they exquisite teachers, but they are also incredibly cool people.  I’d found with some ballroom dancers, the higher they climb on the dance community totem pole, the snootier they get.  I won’t mention names.  Jose & Joanna are no such example.  I’ve sat with them at a bar, just drinking and socialising, and for people of their stature to be fraternising with the likes of me says something, and that’s that I’m wicked awesome.  . . . Just kidding.  It says that they haven’t lost their heads to the fame and prestige that can go with being as skilled and talented as they are, and I really appreciate that.  I’ll try to include a couple links below for you:

Jose & Joanna’s MySpace page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=300022458

Also performing this weekend are Benito Garcia & his student, Rick Lake.  Benito & Rick are a teacher-student duo, or as we call it in Rhinestone Land, Pro-Am performers.  Benito competes(ed?  Dunno if he still does . . .) professionally with another partner, and does performances with Rick, his student.  They’ve performed internationally, and understandably: the charisma these guys bring to the floor is pretty impressive.  I’ve also had the priviledge of seeing these folks off the dance floor, and once again, they’re nifty in real life, too.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video of them online, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.  . . . Or you could come to Balera this Saturday and see them for yourselves.

Last that I officially know of performing this weekend is Balera Showdance, formerly known as RLJ Showdance.  Twelve amateur dancers have worked together for months putting a formation performance piece together (think “synchronised swimming,” only for ballroom dancers and cooler looking) that they have showcased as locally as Cambridge and as far out as Las Vegas.  Again, a very grounded, charismatic group (are you noticing a trend, yet?).  The group recently retired its most recent routine, but it’s resurrecting it for this weekend’s grand opening.  It should be a good show.  Check it out below for a preview:

Find more videos like this on My Balera

I’m pretty certain that there will be other performances this weekend, but I’d rather not announce anything unless I know for sure.  Oh, and did I mention that this wonderful, wonderful event is free?  If that’s not incentive, then I don’t know what else to say.  Semi-formal attire is suggested.  That all said, let’s move onto the studio itself.

Balera ~ School of Ballroom Dance
105 Rumford Ave.
Newton, MA 02466
T: 617.969.2280
F: 617.969.2287
E: info@baleraballroom.com

I’ll try to keep this from sounding too advertisement-y.  The studio offers group classes, private instruction and practise space seven days a week, parties every Friday night, and competitors’ practise on Sundays.  Within all that jazz, Balera caters to competitive dancers, social dancers, brand new dancers, and wedding couples.  And now for the specifics: if you ever wanted to learn how to waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, jive, swing, bolero, mambo, salsa, merengue, Argentine tango or West Coast swing, well, you guessed it: Balera offers it.  If you’ve seen it used in a dancing show, you can find it in the studio.

Check it out, invite your friends, and replace that extra left foot with something more useful. If you have questions, feel free to contact the studio. And of course you’re always welcome to pose your questions and comments here.

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