Winter Term Reading Period

by Emily Wendorff on February 26, 2015

This term, I spent my first entire reading period on campus.  This is my third year here, but, somehow, I managed to make it until a few days ago without spending a midterm reading period on campus! At first, I was sad because some of my favorite people were leaving for the four-day break–but it ended up being great!

Usually, during reading period I would either have visitors on campus for the whole time, or go off campus to visit other people.  This year, I didn’t have any obligations, and I thought it would be nice to spend some quality time with my friends and get some good trumpet practicing done.  I had a great time with my friends and even got to sleep in a few days! Reading period is great for doing things that I don’t normally get to do with obligations during weekdays.  I even went shopping with some of my favorite people, which was great!

Spending reading period here reaffirmed to me how grateful I am for my friends here at Lawrence. I realized over break that they really do feel like family to me, and I’m always surprised when I think of the fact that I haven’t even known them for as long as my childhood friends—it feels like I’ve known them for my entire life! In the past couple of years, I have gone through a lot of highs and lows, and my friends here have supported me through both.

Although I started out sad on reading period that some of my closest friends were leaving, I did end up meeting some new people and becoming closer with acquaintances, which I wasn’t expecting! I tried to utilize my reading period as a break to the best of my ability, so I tried not to schedule too much. Having that flexibility allowed me to do a lot without planning in advance. I definitely did things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise on a regular weekend, which was a good change. Although Lawrence isn’t a large school, I’m always surprised by the amount of new people that I’m always meeting here on campus. It was also interesting to meet new people from the Appleton community that don’t go to Lawrence! During a regular week, sometimes I’m too busy to make my way off campus, which makes it hard to meet people from off campus. There was, however, a lot going on on campus during reading period, inviting a lot of off-campus friends to spend time here.

Even though it is sometimes hard for me to relax and spend time with people during the week, reading period offers a great opportunity to take some time off and spend time with great people that I’ve met here at Lawrence. My first reading period on campus with friends was definitely a success, and I plan on spending reading period with my Lawrence friends—whoever is available—here on or off campus in the future as much as I can!10842147_10205843964843252_1125978683087937006_o

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Reading period, opera, and more!

by Daniel Bernstein on February 23, 2015

Hi everyone! So much has happened in the past two weeks, but I’ll make sure to cover the highlights! Reading period, our extended weekend after midterms, was a relaxing and well-needed break, and it was wonderful to be able to rejuvenate and catch up on everything. On Friday night of reading period, my friend Linnea hosted a documentary night for the clarinet studio, and those of us that attended watched a fascinating documentary called “The Paw Project,” which is about the fight to end the declawing of domestic cats. The central subject of the documentary was a veterinarian from Los Angeles, who fought tirelessly over several years to make declawing illegal in California and throughout the U.S., and she succeeded in banning the practice in many California cities. Most of the documentary was filmed in Los Angeles, and all of the shots of Los Angeles streets, freeways, and other sights made me a bit homesick! But the documentary night was wonderful, and it definitely suited me more than a movie night, or worse, a scary movie night (I much prefer documentaries to movies)!

Life at Lawrence since reading period has been very exciting but very hectic (they always seem to go together, don’t they?), and one of the highlights of this past week was our convocation! Convocations happen once or twice a term, and they feature a guest speaker, usually an author, thinker, or intellectual figure, who presents their ideas on a particular topic. This week’s convocation featured author and philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, whose presentation was titled “A Decent Respect: Honor and Citizenship at Home and Abroad.” His perspectives on what it means to be a citizen, and how we should treat major moral obligations in comparison to family and personal obligations (among many other topics), were very interesting to listen to, and I was struck by the connections he made to various world events and situations in illustrating his perspectives. Aside from the guest speaker, convocations at Lawrence have a few other components. The convocation, which is held in our chapel (not a religious chapel), begins with an organ prelude, performed by our university organist and organ professor, Kathrine Handford, and then a conservatory musical group performs a short piece. For this week’s convocation, the Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble (LUPE) performed a vivacious drumming piece with singing and dancing! Following the musical group, our university president, Mark Burstein, gives an introduction, and then a Lawrence faculty member introduces the guest speaker. Convocation is one of those timeless Lawrence traditions that I think really encapsulates the idea of a Lawrence education: intellectual engagement, a close-knit community, and, of course, music!

Another highlight of this past week was giving campus tours to prospective students and their families. I give tours throughout the year, but giving tours this week was extra special, because it was two years ago this past week that I had my clarinet audition and campus visit at Lawrence! I remember my Lawrence visit so vividly, and how everyone was so helpful and friendly during my very busy visit/audition day. It’s such an amazing experience to now be on the other side of the aisle—as a Lawrence student showing prospective students around campus—because the tour guides and student hosts (and everyone else) I interacted with during my Lawrence visit had such a profound impact on my decision to attend Lawrence. During the tours I gave this week, I could really see my younger self in the prospective students I was guiding, and it reminded me of how valuable and special the campus visit experience can be.

The final highlight of this past week was Lawrence’s annual opera production, which this year was Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.” It was such a sad story, but so beautifully done—onstage, in the orchestra, and behind the scenes. I’m a huge Copland fan, though not as much of an opera fan, but I was blown away by the incredible quality of the production. Below are a few pictures from the show!

Photos courtesy of Nathan Lawrence

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Doritos and reading period

February 18, 2015

Hello again! I think this blog post is going to be in two parts. I’ll start it now, and give you guys an update about this week but then I’ll do the second half at the end of the weekend. Oh man – don’t you just love format changes?! Woo-hoo! Okay, down to business. Currently, […]

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Dancing with Professors?!

February 9, 2015

Hi again! It’s been such a busy couple of weeks here, and we are finally in the home stretch before our beloved mid-term reading period! Reading period is basically a long weekend (Wednesday through Sunday) that starts in the middle of 6th week, and it’s a great chance to relax a little bit, catch up […]

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Student Bands at LU

February 4, 2015

Recently, the small house that I live in had it’s once-a-term party.  It was a great party, and one of the things that I enjoy most about our parties is the live music.  It’s something that is unique about Lawrence, in my opinion.  Here on campus, we have a number of bands that students have […]

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