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Take a Leap

January 27, 2012

College is a wonderful time for taking chances, experimenting, and finding new interests. Throughout my college career, I have been attempting many new things that are out of my comfort zone in order to create learning experiences. Some of these leaps are very daunting, but end up being very beneficial in the long run. The most pertinent of these leaps, is trying out for the Dominican’s improv team No Script Attached.

Improv

Improv

I don’t view myself as an actor, but when I saw the posters at school about trying out for an improv team I figured I would have fun auditioning.  With that line of thinking, I showed up to the tryouts, met some great people, had fun, and thought that is was an enlightening one-time experience. A few days later I received my rejection email, except the rejection email informed me that I had made the team, which was a huge surprise.

Up to this point, the time on the team has been wonderful. Not only am I learning incredibly valuable life lessons that I will continue to use the rest of my life, I am forging great relationships with sensational individuals. Dominican’s team recently joined a group of college teams (Columbia, DePaul, and Loyola) that perform every Thursday night with the goal of having a great time. The unyielding support that each individual on our team receives from the members of different schools is astounding, not to mention to audience of over 80 college kids cheering us on.

Growing up, it seemed to me that children were taught to be better than one another; taught to exceed their own expectations and surpass those around them, while still upholding moral values: being top of the class, the best at basketball, or being the most popular. Learning improv skills, throughout this and the previous semester, has been teaching me an interesting new way of life. The most important aspect of improv is the constant support of your team, or family. Feeding off this support keeps scenes rolling and new ideas flowing, as opposed to being shut down and losing a creative train of thought.

Not only is this is a wonderful technique for improvisational scenes, but I am slowly implementing this into my everyday life, and the results have been incredibly interesting. It creates a more positive environment for myself and everyone around me. Although I am just starting to delve into the mysteries of improv, the knowledge I am gaining is invaluable. As the semester runs its course, I am incredibly excited to see what other sorts of lessons I will learn.

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Black Friday

December 1, 2011

It’s that time of year. Many individuals will talk about turkey and family, but I would like to bring up a different topic this Thanksgiving. I have always heard stories about Black Friday, but never actually experienced the madness myself. This year is different. This year, I can say I survived Black Friday 2011.

For years I have been debating on whether or not I should purchase something on Black Friday. I love saving money, so I finally pushed my self to attend this highly discussed shopping holiday. My friend from grade school was in town for break and we braved the storm together.

Walmart on Balck Friday

Wal-mart on Balck Friday

We decided to go to Wal-Mart first. He wanted to buy lots of DVDs and Bluerays, cheap, while I was slightly considering a television. We arrived at Wal-Mart 30 minutes before the sale started, there were people everywhere. Flats of unopened merchandise lined the isles with plastic wrap and notes on them that said, “Do not open until 10:00pm,” with Wal-Mart employees standing guard. Everyone was anxiously waiting for 10:00 p.m. to arrive so they could rip through the packaging that housed the various treasures they were craving.

At 9:55 p.m. one individual could not wait any longer. He, or she, because I could not see who started, began to rip the plastic off the flats and every individual followed suit. I could not believe the insanity I witnessed in the next five minutes. People were stampeding from flat to flat as if they were being chased by a pack of lions, grabbing any spare piece of merchandise they could get their hands on. I expected to see a scene, but it was more extreme than I ever could have expected.

In the end, I’m glad I experienced Black Friday for the first time and survived. Now that I’ve finally seen it, I understand how intense individuals become and the stories make more sense. Next year, I will  prepare for the stampeding and be able to brave the crowds and pick up some merchandise that I want at a cheap price.

The Man with the Food.

November 16, 2011

Okay, okay. I know you think I continuously have to tell you about my food habits, but this one is really important, because it is easily my favorite food that has ever wandered into my life through a school event.

Fudge Puppy

They are fudge puppies. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the joyous snack that is dubbed the fudge puppy, but they are amazing. A fudge puppy consists of a waffle cooked to golden brown perfection, dipped in rich milk chocolate, and covered with your choice of candy, whipped cream, and other goodies. Hopefully, after that description, you can understand why this is such an important topic. It is the one of the best desserts you could ask for in your life.

Not up for dessert? Good thing it’s breakfast time and you can have your waffle… with chocolate.
The man with the food, the one who makes these snacks for countless individuals, is one of the kindest individuals you could care to meet. He always has a smile on his face and is happy to provide hungry college students with a greet, some sweets, and oh so many treats. The best of his treats being the fudge puppy, of course.
I know that I’m hitting this point hard, but I really would like to stress the wonder of this waffle: The wonderwaffle! Upon morrow’s wake, I unsheathe myself from mine bed and traverse the abyss known as the underground. I will battle ferociously with the horrendous waiting line that bridges itself between me and my prize, barter with the man whom controls my destiny, and view the bountiful chest of batter and sweet. Finally, I will enjoy the splendors of the wonderwaffle. Oh, and live happily ever after.

A thought for November…

November 9, 2011

As the first semester of my senior year in college comes to a close quicker than I ever thought possible, thoughts of graduation flood my mind. What will happen when I’m thrown from the cozy little fishbowl I call Dominican into the giant ocean of the American workforce? This concern  is closely followed by a sense of wonder as to whether or not I will have the chance to occupy a likeable job in that vast ocean.

This sense of pessimistic concern about the future is paired with a sense of excitement and ambition. The excitement comes from the thought that I will actually be on my own, assuming I don’t end up moving home and living with my parents, and starting the rest of my life. Having a place that I may call my own, and can fill with possessions that are mine, has always appealed to me because I view it as a sense of accomplishment as opposed to a materialistic need. When I visit friends that have graduated in previous years and see the start of their life, I am instantly inspired to have a similar success story.

Although I’m sure something will work out, it is still daunting to think that I’ll be living on my own in less than seven months. The thought of being turned down by countless jobs that I know I could and would excel in, if given the opportunity, is a constant predator that swims above, eyeing my fishy excitement about thoughts of apartments and responsibility. What will end up happening? Who knows, but at this rate, I’m bound to find out a lot sooner than I expected.

The Rosary Fire Keeps Bringing us Back for S’mores.

October 24, 2011

As the fall cold weather makes its way to Chicago, people slowly begin to bundle up and await the drudgery of winter. Personally, I love the cold and the snow it brings, or the thoughts of snow,  since we’re never really sure whether or not we’ll receive a substantial amount. On one of these particularly cold nights, students of Dominican University gathered together, some literally to help keep warm, to enjoy a night of fellowship around a bonfire hosted by Campus Ministry.

When I arrived at the quad, the wind was blowing that kind of blow that cuts through the what-used-to-be warm hoodies and a slight mist was  starting to fall, covering everything with a coat of fresh smelling water. Students gathered around a rosy orange glow in the middle of the quad, with a table full of an assortment of sweets that were being used for s’mores. If you know anything about me, which you may have gathered from some of my previous blogs, I absolutely love sweets. The sight of this table was instant reassurance that making the trek out to the quad in the cold fall weather was worth it completely.

Along with the table of sweets were countless laughs with others who had braved the cold and gathered for a great night. Dominican students are always excited to meet new friends and form new memories with old friends. Many students enjoyed the wonderful event put on by campus ministry and I think all of the tummies enjoyed it just as much, if not more.

Back to the Quad Cities

October 12, 2011

This weekend I decided to take some time off from the busy suburban life of River Forest and head to my hometown, Moline, to see my family. I haven’t seen them since the middle of summer, so it was the perfect time to the make the arduous trek from eastern Illinois to western Illinois, through countless miles of cornfields.

River Forest to Moline

Paul's drive from River Forest to Moline

When I finally made it home, it was way past my bedtime and my parents were fast asleep. Not wanting to wake them from their beauty sleep, I quietly snuck upstairs and snuggled into my childhood bed, in a room that now seems somewhat foreign. How was I even interested in some of these things that are plastering my walls? It’s amazing how much a perspective can change in three and a half years.

Paul Anderson carving his pumpkin

Paul Anderson carving his pumpkin

The next morning, I woke up and had a wonderful breakfast with my parents and headed to a pumpkin patch. Before I left for home, I spoke to   my mom and we decided that we should carve pumpkins, because we wouldn’t have a time to get together and carve them later. Since I love carving pumpkins, and I wanted to be able to enjoy holiday festivities with my family while at home. It was the perfect idea for a beautiful Saturday afternoon. At the patch, we were supplied with a wonderful, bright red, Radioflyer wagon. We took it into the fields with us to help bring our spoils back when we found the perfect pumpkin. After what seemed like hours of the careful examination of every bright orange and perfectly round pumpkin that seemed to catch my eye, I snatched up a keeper.

Paul's pumpkin

Paul's pumpkin

Later that night, we all gathered around the kitchen table, covered it with newspapers so there wouldn’t be as much of a mess, and carved our perfect pumpkins. The night was filled with laughs, smiles, and memories. Here’s how they turned out. Tell me what you think!

Anderson family pumpkins

Anderson family pumpkins

Seeing a Different side of your Professors and Classmates

September 29, 2011

Tuesday September 27th. This date may mean very little to you, but after this post I hope it may hold a new meaning. A seed that may be planted upon your mind that will blossom into an idea and prompt you to take part in this event next year. This event is the Caritas  Veritas Symposium.

A symposium? Why would a symposium be such an important day? I can listen to people talk whenever I want. Why would I devote a day to wandering around and listening to different people? Well, I could see where you’re coming from when you say that some symposiums may not be the most important or exciting thing, but this is the Caritas Veritas Symposium. Caritas et Veritas. Truth and Love. The motto of Dominican. During this day, faculty, staff, and students prepare presentations based on different topics, including the meaning behind why the Sinsanawa Dominican’s established  Dominican University. You can hear about applying the school motto to economics, the goal when founding this school, or service learning and study abroad trips. Oh… and you even get a free lunch! Who doesn’t love free food?

The main thing I love about the symposium is that you get to see a different face behind a classmate or professor. I think it’s a common act of students to just view their professors as teachers and forget that they have a life outside of school. At my current stage in life, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out what to do with my future. At the symposium, I learned a lot about a professor who was in the same boat as me when he was nearing graduation. It was very reassuring to hear his situation and know how ended up making important life decisions.

So, when next year rolls around, come to the symposium. Experience different interpretations of the motto through real life examples. Find the different side of individuals you thought you knew so well, and, if you don’t have a great time (even though I’m sure you will) you can always count on the free lunch to cheer you up!