Dean Gresalfi discusses the importance of taking a break, Tait outlines a busy week in the Commons Calendar of events, and then she sits down with Richard for a great interview in the Humans of the Commons segment.
Archives for November 2021
Dear Class of 2025,
I cannot believe it is December already. Whether it has felt long or short, our first semester at Vanderbilt is quickly coming to a close. So before you become fixated on your finals and Winter Break and next semester, I challenge you to look back at the past few months and reflect.
Think back to all the people you met. If you were like me, you did not know anyone when you stepped foot on campus in August. What changed? How did you get to know the people you are closest with? Are there people you were close with when the year started that you do not see as often any more? Ask yourself if there is anyone else you would like to get closer with. I assure you it is not too late.
Think about the classes you took. Consider the subjects you enjoyed and even those you disliked. Are you majoring in what is most interesting to you? If not, do not be afraid to adjust or completely change your major. I already have, and I am glad I did it.
Think of how your transition into this phase of your life has gone. What have you done that you enjoyed the most? How about the things you wish you had done? There is still plenty of time to go do those things be it in these next three weeks or in the Spring Semester.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank all of you for making this such an amazing semester. I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous when I moved in. The community here calmed those nerves in no time. I know my and others’ experiences here are due in large part to each and every one of you. So one more time: thank you.
I wish all of you the best of luck these next few weeks and I look forward to spending the next few years with you.
Thanksgiving Break — a great time to relax, catch up on sleep, enjoy time with family, and eat way too much food.
…oh, and to get your wisdom teeth removed!
When I first told my friend (and fellow MCL team-member) Daniel that I needed to get my wisdom teeth out, his immediate response was: “Are you sure you can afford to lose any wisdom?” ( thanks @Daniel <3 )
After waiting five months for an appointment, my oral surgeon was finally able to schedule me in for wisdom tooth removal surgery.
On the Friday before Thanksgiving.
Obviously, this date was not ideal for a few different reasons: I had to leave school early to fly home the night before my early morning surgery, I had to take my Chem Exam early, and (most tragically) my ability to eat copious amounts of delicious homecooked food on Thanksgiving was greatly impeded.
To make it to my surgery on time, I had to wake up at 6:30 A.M. Thanks to the time zone difference between South Carolina (my home state) and Nashville, this correlated to 5:30 A.M. in Central Time! At that point, I was honestly looking forward to the anesthesia for the sole fact that it would put me back to sleep…
After I got settled in the operating room, the nurses hooked me up to a machine that monitored my blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. When the surgeon finally arrived, it was time for the IV fluids to be administered. Unfortunately for me, it took three tries for them to successfully insert the IV. My arms are still bruised!
It didn’t take long for the anesthesia to knock me out completely. I don’t remember much after the team inserted the IV, but apparently the surgery went extremely smoothly, taking only 20 minutes!
Right after we left the clinic, I wanted to make a vlog for this MCL post:
Of course, I wanted to update all my friends and let them know I didn’t die on the operating table:
On the 40 minute drive home, I would NOT shut up about how much I hated the gauze, which was put in my mouth to stop the bleeding. Luckily, I had some great analogies to describe the feeling:
Although I can’t fit it all into this short post, I have TONS of embarrassing footage that I’m sure my family will use to blackmail and torture me for years to come. From crying about my cat that died a few months ago to snarky insults to nonsensical rambling, I certainly put on a show that amused and entertained my parents.
Before I went to bed to sleep off the lingering effects of the anesthesia, I had one last thing that MCL needed to know:
Devin welcomes everyone back from break with info on events coming up on campus, including a stress relieving pajama night and the Noche de Baile Latin Dance Party.
In high school, I was a really big napper. Every day after school, I would take a 2-3 hour nap out of exhaustion; it didn’t matter if I came home at 3pm or at 6pm – the naps were fixed in my weekday schedule. I thought that college would be similar.
For me, naps in my dorm haven’t been incredibly realistic. With classes, food, and optimal study spaces on main campus, it’s too much work to travel back and forth. So, I found myself taking 20-minute power naps wherever I could to re-energize. Here are the top 5 places I’ve napped on campus:
- Rand Booths
Sometimes, snatching a green booth on Rand’s first floor is more competitive than getting into Vanderbilt. When I’m lucky enough to sit on arguably the best location at Rand, I usually end up doing a bit of studying after my meal. More than once, this study session has led to nap time, and the booths are cushioned enough for a twenty-minute recharge. As someone who is shorter than the average person, fetal position in these booths is pretty doable. Although Rand booths earn the fifth position on my list, there are a couple of downsides to note: the lack of privacy (you’ll definitely get some stares, albeit unbothered), lack of space, and lack of silence (!!!).
- Sarratt Center’s 3nd Floor
Sarratt 3 is a gem, and it is definitely a worthy contender against the Rand booths. Although it only has two longer couches, the real prizes are the cushioned seats. Sometimes, I like to put another seat facing the one I’m on, so I have somewhere to prop my legs. The location has a more controlled volume, so it’s better to nap than it is at Rand. Also, I’ve never been inside the Multicultural Lounge on Sarratt 3, but it does look like a great place to rejuvenate after a long day of writing essays!
- Kissam Center’s 2nd Floor
I can’t really count how many times I’ve fallen asleep on Kissam’s 2nd floor. In terms of privacy, it’s a hit or miss; you rarely ever see more than two groups of people at each corner of the floor. The couches are fairly comfortable, and the building itself is lovely. It’s usually best to go before the dinner rush, but it’s difficult to tell now that the Kissam Kitchen is open for both lunch and dinner. Win for our stomachs but not for naps.
- The Baseball Glove Lounge
Located on 1U of Sarratt, the Baseball Glove Lounge is a severely underrated haven. Yet, it’s honestly one of the best places to nap! You find so many tired students here, that napping on one of their comfortable couches is not uncommon. They’re probably the softest seats on campus, and it’s incredibly quiet. Paired with its library-esque ambiance, its isolation from other parts of the building really develops a sort of calming atmosphere. What more can you ask for?
- Wilson’s Cushioned Seats
After the two Macroeconomics exams I took these past few months, I immediately passed out on one of the cushioned seats. Maybe it was my exhaustion from studying, but I swear those were the best naps I’ve taken on campus. Wilson is fairly quiet after classes are held, and even then, finding students napping one of the chairs is pretty ingrained in your day-to-day views.
Stevenson Library is the only library on campus that is open 24/5, and for a lot of students – especially those in Gen Chem and Calculus – this is an essential asset for a passing grade. If you’re taking a STEM class, chances are you’ve probably napped here – whether it’s at one of the personal booths or among the open seating. Personally, I think the Stevenson Library is really depressing, so I try to avoid it unless I have a really big exam. Nonetheless, it does the trick: it’s quiet, semi-comfortable, private (if you’re in a booth), and reasonably spacious.
Maria and Stephan reflect their experiences with Visions, a first-year program designed to ease the transition into college. Tune in to hear the highs and lows of the weekly meet.
Alternatively titled: I had overnight oats for breakfast for a week.
I spent Thanksgiving break on campus—so here are some of the not very exciting “highlights.”
To do work, or not to do work, that is the question.
When faced with difficult decisions such as these (or other life-changing questions!) I was given the perfect tool to assist me in such predicaments.
Everyone say thank you to TikTok.
(how it works is that you ask a yes/no question before throwing a pen into the bottle/cup and if it makes it in that means yes)
By the way, for the ones curious, the answer is always to not do work. You’re welcome for the resource/fortune telling/horoscope/obscure reading from whatever gods. My screen time may or may not have doubled over break 😀
My abundance of oatmeal from the Sunday night Munchie Mart sprees was finally seeing some progress this week. The thought of having oatmeal every breakfast made me feel like I was speeding up my inevitable doom towards becoming a boring old man. Obviously, that was not what we wanted.
Instead, I had overnight oats (made simply with two things of oatmeal, (almond) milk, packets of sugar and honey finessed from our favorite dining halls). Surprisingly, they were filling and I have yet to get bored of them. Additionally, the need to prepare them the night before made me feel more obligated to make sure I had breakfast consistently—couldn’t let me hard work go to waste after all. Even if it seemed repetitive, I tried to spice it up as much as I could: chocolate milk, to-go peanut butter packs (all from our local Munchie Mart!) that made the overnight oats different every morning.
Even after break, making overnight oats might be something I’ll continue to do. Low effort, tastes good, and versatile—what more could you ask for?
To the endless people fighting over to do laundry on the Friday before break, I hope you did find yourself a washer to do your laundry before you left for Thanksgiving.
I however, enjoyed my very empty laundry room all to myself over break.
The joys of being able to use four washers (out of five!) at once while not having to feel guilty about being inconsiderate at all? Wow, that’s tough to beat.
Even better, I fell asleep and left my laundry in the washers for maybe a little while after they finished and there were no messages in the house GroupMe telling me to get my laundry. Truly, what a dream to live.
When will I experience such bliss again? Only time will tell.
Doing literally anything else
One of the few things I wanted to do over break: get a haircut.
Haircut? Not got.
Was this the mental health break I needed? Definitely. Now we gear up for one last stretch—we are somehow very close to finals which is ᵘⁿˢᵉᵗᵗˡᶦⁿᵍ.
It was surprisingly not lonely and also really nice to be a little less considerate. There’s no one to look mildly presentable to, it was fine to have the room messier without a roommate, lectures to feel obligated to attend. Honestly, the lack of people being energetic and lively did make this just feel like a break. As people return to campus, it already feels like this happy land of peace and quiet has slipped between my fingers and away.
Simply, maybe I am really just an introvert—and this was just my dream.
You may be surprised that the Commons Center hosts a wide variety of students. The person sitting across from you in the lounge may even be a master student in disguise. Here lies a randomly-selected group of people who were at Commons. They revealed their plans for Thanksgiving break.
Rhylee, a first-year, is in the College of Arts and Sciences and plans on majoring in Theatre. She is from the Hank house.
“I am going back home to Oklahoma.”
George, a first-year, is in the College of Arts and Sciences and plans on majoring in Medicine, Healthy, and Society. He is from the North house.
“[I am] flying back home to Atlanta. I am looking forward to this Thanksgiving and will visit [some] friends from high school.”
Andres is a sophomore in the Next Steps program.
“I can’t wait to spend time with [my] family.”
Vicki McMillen is also a sophomore here at Vanderbilt. She looks forward to connecting with her family.
Madonna, a first-year, is still considering what to major in. She is from the Sutherland house.
“I will definitely spend time with my family and friends. I want to relax and not focus too much on coursework.”
Sonia, a first-year, is in the College of Arts and Sciences and plans on majoring in Neuroscience. She is from the Sutherland house.
“I’m going home to see my family. I am going to try to get ahead in my courses [over the break].”
Sally is a front desk associate at the Commons Center.
“I am going back home and spending time with family.”
Lauren is also a front desk associate at the Commons Center.
“I will also be going back home and Black Friday shopping.”
Julia is part of the Commons Center dining staff.
“I will be cooking dinner for my two daughters and four grandkids.”
Andre is a senior majoring in Communications.
“I am going to be working at Woodard Brothers in downtown Nashville. I also plan on [dedicating more time] towards community service.”
Joy is a first-year masters student in quantitative methods.
“I’m going home to Texas. I might make a pie; I normally bake a lot of deserts.”
Tiffany is also a first-year masters student in quantitative methods.
“I am going to be in California with my family. This year, I am the one making the Thanksgiving dinner.”
Carol is an Ambassador of the Commons.
“I’m going to go to my son’s [house] for dinner here in Nashville. He’s actually cooking for me this year. All the other years, I was the one cooking for him.”
Well, it looks like this Thanksgiving will not lack family get-togethers. Many students and staff have mentioned utilizing this break as a time to relax and destress. Though you may want to get ahead to prepare for finals soon after the break, be sure to enjoy your time off and dedicate some time for yourself.
With Thanksgiving coming up next week, we constantly hear the term “Holiday Season” circulating through our conversations. But there are holidays year-round — each one offering something special and unique. From all different cultures across all different corners of the world, holidays, celebrations, and traditions all serve to bring us together.
Based on your personality, which holiday would be your soulmate? Take this brief quiz to find out…
Happy Quizzing, and (of course) Happy Holidays!