More bass, please

That’s bass as in the fish, not as in the music component.

Just like a few weeks ago, we spent our aquatic biology class at a pond somewhere north of Jackson. We were pulling a seine, a big net, through the pond to catch fish. It’s harder than it sounds because you have to be sure to keep the bottom of the seine on the bottom of the pond while moving it evenly and  then making sure no fish escape. Not to mention one person has to do all of this while practically swimming, or at least wading chest deep.

We did this several times and all of our classmates were catching fish that were a maximum of four inches, but mostly minnows were coming in. Then, my friend Alex and I, who are roommates next year as he will be in medical school and I’ll be in dental school in New Orleans, tried our hand at it. Team roommate absolutely dominated.

Besides classes going fishing, Millsaps has had lots of outdoor festivities lately in celebration of beautiful weather and the approaching end of school. Some students organized a “20 Songs Concert” where students and teachers performed covers of great music outside in the plaza last Wednesday night. The talent was undeniable and some of the acts were both well done and funny, like one pair who sang an accoustic version of T.I’s “Whatever You Like.” I especially loved seeing my professors perform. One of my favorite things about Millsaps has been the fact that I actually know my professors and they know me. We talk outside of class and interact together at events like this. It makes being a student here so much more enjoyable and meaningful.

And this weekend was one of the legendary Saturdays of Millsaps- Spring Parties. Each fraternity house has a party all day and all night (we started at about 10:15 AM… oh yes). For example, one of the houses had a crawfish boil (and coming from a true crawfish snob, these were incredible), live music, and sand brought into their yard. It’s one of the best days of the year every year.

My friends and I had to take a break from the festivities to shower and rest up in preparation for a very important ceremony that evening. I was one of 18 seniors to be initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society that began way back in 1776. I had been hoping since I was in the 11th grade that I would be chosen for membership, and Saturday I signed my name into the roll book in front of my family.

This is my last week of classes. Last night I had my last test ever as an undergraduate. And this is my last blog to write for Millsaps. I’m not going to try to sum up my Millsaps experience right now because that would be completely and utterly impossible. Suffice it to say, this is where I realized my potential as a student, a leader, and a member of society, where I took the trips of a lifetime (so far at least), and most important, where I met my best friends. Those are the things that will be going through my head on May 12th as I walk across the stage to receive my diploma.

“Last”s

With only two weeks of classes left in my undergraduate career, I find myself encountering lots of “last”s; last formal, last Millsaps baseball game, last test in college, etc.

Friday night, my sorority had its Spring Formal party, and my best friends and I took our dates to Babalu, one of my favorite restaurants in Jackson. Babalu is a tapas restaurant, so we had sangria, guacamole that is made fresh at your table, and incredible tacos and enchiladas. We were stuffed and had a blast. In fact, dinner might have been the highlight of the evening. It’s just great to have a fun meal with your favorite people in the world when everyone is in high spirits and ready to have a great night.

Saturday and Sunday I did nothing productive but thoroughly enjoyed both days. Both times I went to Millsaps baseball games, grilled kabobs with my friend Jacob, and spent time with my girlfriends. That’s all I want to do right now anyway…

Teach a man to Electro-fish…

I’m taking a class on freshwater biology and for lab on Thursday, we went electro-fishing.

We all loaded up into the Millsaps Field Research van and drove out about 45 minutes to somewhere between Madison and Gluckstadt, MS with our fearless professor in the driver’s seat. We got to a large private pond where we met with some of our professor’s friends that work for the Mississippi Dept. of Environmental Quality and who, conveniently, have an electro-fishing boat for us to use.

So we split into groups of three and each took turns standing at the front of the boat with long nets.

Electro-fishing works by putting long electrodes into the water and pumping 1000 volts of DC current into the water. It stuns the fish but doesn’t kill them, so they float up to the surface. Of course, there are certain conditions that determine how effective the method is, but I won’t get into that.

We were after large-mouth bass mostly, and the bass often didn’t completely stun and float, so they would jump and swim and we would have to try to catch them. It was so fun (and a good upper body and core workout). To make things interesting, anyone in the class who was interested could put a dollar into a pot and whoever netted the biggest fish would take the collection. Someone in our class netted an 8 pounder, but didn’t put any money in. That left the runner up…

Me. With a 4.5 pounder.

It was absolutely the best lab ever.

Case of the Mondays

I don’t really have a case of the Mondays. We had a great weekend over here. Another one of my best friends turned 22 yesterday!

So Saturday night we had a birthday feast for her. We went to a restaurant near school called Basil’s. Basil’s is a favorite among Millsapians; you can bring your own bottle of wine (as long as you’re of age), the food is delicious, and you won’t break the bank. We even got two sampler plates of all their desserts because of a mix-up with the order. Yum!!

I actually spent a large part of the weekend studying because tomorrow I have one of the last big obligations seniors have before graduation to take care of: oral comprehensive exams. Graduating seniors at Millsaps take comprehensive exams that cover everything you have learned in your major, and the tests have both a written component, which I already took, and an oral part where you stand in front of your professors and they shoot lots of questions at you. It’s just one more right of passage you have to endure to earn that lovely diploma everyone is working so hard for.

What I’m looking forward to is all the Facebook statuses about comps to cease, and I’m sure the rest of the school is, too. As much as I admittedly enjoy Facebook and like using it to distract myself from things I should be doing instead, it lends itself too well to public complaining or public bragging. I realize that this isn’t a Millsaps phenomenon, of course, but still… I’m noticing an ever increasing trend of people telling everyone on Facebook things that I would only tell my close friends and family. Different strokes, I guess.

In other news, the campus is just beautiful these days (and warm!… 85 degrees in March/April??). If you haven’t seen it recently, or ever, come on by and enjoy the Bowl with the rest of the student body.

A Major Weekend

Please excuse the above pun. I’ve just heard a lot of them lately.

Millsaps spirit was kicked into high gear all last week and over the past weekend. “Major Decision Day,” when sophomore students are encouraged to select a major and have a pizza or ice cream party with their department was last week, as was Major Madness, a week long celebration for the student body.

As one part of Major Madness, Millsaps sponsored a free movie night. All students had to do was bring their student ID to the movie theater to get free admission. I saw 21 Jump Street, which I had chosen just to rest my brain a little and ended up laughing at a lot more than I would have guessed. Not to mention Johnny Depp had a cameo. Love…

The weekend had all sorts of fun stuff for students to do and was our big admissions weekend. Tons of high school students stayed all weekend for a free concert, crawfish boil, and opportunities to basically meet the entire student body.

But for the first time in my four years here, I missed the weekend and was in New Orleans to see the Broadway show The Lion King on its tour. It was absolutely the most incredible show I have ever seen. I would never have guessed costumes and staging effects like that could have been possible. During the opening when all the different kinds of animals were approaching, the audience just kept cheering and applauding whenever a new animal would enter because it was so impressive. I loved it.

The rest of the weekend we spent time uptown, went to the World War II museum, and ate like royalty. From New Orleans to Jackson, it seemed like everyone had a great weekend.

St. Paddy’s

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Mardi Gras in south Louisiana.

This past Saturday, Jackson had it’s own parade of the same caliber: the Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade.

In my four years at Millsaps, I’ve never missed the parade. It is such a blast. Every year, my friends set up a tent in front of the governor’s mansion and watch the floats and enjoy the festivities. It’s something everyone looks forward to and something Jackson does really well. Some 65,000 people show up each year sporting their best St. Paddy’s day attire and drinking green beverages (or beverages with drops of green food coloring, as is usually the case).

The St. Paddy’s Day parade was the perfect way to wrap up our Spring Break, which was last week. There were several groups of us that all went down to Destin to represent Millsaps amongst the hoards that came from Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Miss. State, etc. The weather was the best we had ever had at Spring Break and we all came back looking bronzed.

I would like to say that last week was restful, but between the parties at Spring Break (plus the amount of sun we all got) in addition to St. Paddy’s, restful is not the best word… Relaxing, yes, but I still have some catching up to do on sleep…

I dreamed the future…

Seriously. It was so weird.

I went home for the first part of this weekend to spend some time at home with the family and to switch out my winter clothes (which I hardly wore because it never really got cold here this year) for spring stuff (including swim suits… Spring Break is next week!!!). I don’t have classes on Friday somehow (as a biology student I never thought this was possible), so I went home Thursday night.

That night, I had a dream that I was driving down one of the main streets in Jackson and I got a flat tire on my front, driver side. It was pretty realistic; my car was tilted and I could hear the “flapflapflap” of the tire in the dream. So I woke up, remembered the dream and thought about how relieved I was to realize it wasn’t real, and went about my day.

Later that morning, I went out to my car to drive somewhere, hopped in, and pulled out of the driveway. It only took about 30 seconds to notice… my car was tilted and I could hear a “flapflapflap.” I thought, “No…way…” got out of the car, and looked, and sure enough, I had a flat tire on my front, driver’s side.

This put me at the tire store later, after my dad and I labored for a good hour or so changing the flat to the spare, which is supposed to be an easy task but took us two different jacks and four hands.

I couldn’t believe my dream had actually become real. Now I feel like I have to report all my significant dreams to those who are involved…yuck…

Thankfully I drove back to school on Saturday safely on fresh new wheels. There was a huge party Saturday night hosted by three fraternities together that I knew was going to be great. And it was. I’m starting to feel like I can’t miss anything because my graduation date is rapidly approaching…