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Graduating On Time: A Brief Overview Of Regulations

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Graduating On Time: A Brief Overview of Regulations

Making "normal progress" toward graduation: See the Student Handbook. The usual number of credits required is 16 per semester, but one 12 credit semester still allows for graduation on time. For example: 7 semesters of 16 credits plus 1 semester of 12 credits = (7 x 16) + (1 x 12) = 124 credits. Graduation requirements: Requirements for tutorial, total credits, major field, and residence can be found in the Student Handbook. Rules to watch:

  • Practicum credits - not more than 8 credits in all
  • Performance credits - not more than 16 credits allowed
  • Independent study - a maximum of 12 credits (plus-2, 297, 299, 397, 399 and 499) in one department may count toward graduation
  • Internship Study - maximum of 8 credits
  • Departmental limit - not more than 48 credits in one department
  • Divisional limit - not more than 92 credits in one division

A student with a well-balanced program in the first two years should have no difficulty with these limits."Plus-2s" and other independent work: First-year students may enroll only after they successfully complete the tutorial. First- and second-year students may take only one "plus-2" per semester.  

My Mad Love for Photocopying

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Most mornings, I work at Carnegie Hall, copying, smiling, and helping my work supervisors and professors with clerical work. I really appreciate the job because it has helped me to get to know a really cool individual I like to call Mr. Copy Machine. My job has also helped me develop a genuine appreciation for photocopying.

I love photocopying. It might sound strange, but having so much association with this impressive machine creates a special bond of friendship and understanding that is for the most part incomprehensible to the average human. Mr. Copy Machine speaks to me. He whines when you feed him paper incorrectly and gives a deep sigh of pride at the end of each copy job.

He knows he is my buddy, and as such I treat him with a great deal of respect. When punching in department codes, I try to do so with the greatest degree of accuracy so he doesn’t get angry. If you accidentally key in inaccurate information, he rejects it instantly. He has no patience for sloppy individuals and values his time quite highly. Thus, if you don’t have your data right, you had best correct it before you start wasting his time. If you know you want your copy job double-sided, sorted, and stapled, you had best not key in double-sided and stapled, because no such job exists for him.

When there is a paper jam, it means you have been irresponsible and have either tugged at copied work before it has fully made its way to the paper tray or have fed in crumpled, unacceptable paper. Mr. Copy Machine is extremely high maintenance. He is, however, very forgiving and at least gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes by clearly indicating on his screen where the sheet of paper (or sheets as the case may be) got stuck.

After he alerts you about the paper jam, he then leaves you to your intellectual devices to figure out exactly where you went wrong. Usually, this is such a painful experience that most people try extremely hard not to feed in crumpled paper that does not meet his standards. In the end, it works out quite well for both parties, as Mr. Copy Machine’s users end up being efficient in their use of his offerings and Mr. Copy Machine continues to deliver quality, top-rate photocopies for their use.

I really like Mr. Copy Machine on a personal level because of his kind and understanding nature. After we established a connection, we became so close, we began to understand each other’s moods and energy levels.

For instance, one morning, I got to work extremely tired because I had pulled an all-nighter the night before. I had an urgent copy job from a professor to do and I had to get it done with a near-zero percent energy level. I dragged my weary self to Mr. Copy Machine and hit the start button sloppily. He could tell I was tired. I punched in the department code, copied the first page, and fell asleep, right in front of Mr. Copy Machine. He probably felt sorry for me, as he did everything else himself, all 50 of the copies.

Until today, I don’t know how my copy buddy got that job done, but somehow he finished and gave his signature satisfactory beep. I woke up and smiled. I inspected his work. It was as perfect as he is.

I am really grateful to the Carnegie Academic Support Office for granting me the unique opportunity to develop such a beautiful friendship with Mr. Copy Machine. I encourage every prospective Grinnellian to try to develop a meaningful relationship with the nearest copy machine they find available on campus. Hopefully, they will be able to experience the beauty of his humanity as a machine with values of efficiency, mutual respect, and professionalism.

Nmachi Jidenma ’09 is an Economics major from Lagos, Nigeria.

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


I am the queen of playing things by ear. Plan ahead? No, thank you — I’d rather not. Of course, at times it’s necessary, but in most cases, I believe life is more enjoyable if I take each moment as it comes instead of worrying about the future.

However, I should be honest. It would be deceitful to claim that I play things by ear in a sheer effort to live in the present. Confession time — I often lack the ability to commit because I suffer from indecision. So, I offer this disclaimer: the following episode is rather common and not as painful as I may suggest. And so, we begin …

I can wait no longer. I have to make a decision. “It’s only three months,” I reassure myself. Yet I am not reassured. My mind and heart fight a fierce battle over a simple question: “Where will I spend the summer?”

Having returned from Argentina only days before, I am uncertain whether I can muster the strength to leave again so soon. But I can’t spend the summer at home. So I ponder my options and narrow my potential destinations to two. I can relocate to nearby Boulder, Colo., or settle back into the middle of somewhere — Grinnell, Iowa.

The next obvious step in the decision-making process seems straightforward, something I can handle even after my sabbatical from academia. However, as I begin methodically listing pros and cons, my mind quickly strays, and I slip into daydreams, indulging in memories of last June, July, and August …

After an unsuccessful job hunt in Colorado last May, I resigned myself to the fact that I was not destined to remain there. Disappointed, I looked outside the window of possibilities to which I’d originally confined myself. It was there I discovered an opportunity to venture into deeper waters, or in this case, into a sea of beautiful, rolling fields.

I called various restaurants in the Grinnell community, hastily packed my bags, and prepared myself for the 11-hour journey. Two days later I departed, grinning and wide-eyed. I felt childish, giddy, and a tidbit anxious. One might expect that after hours and hours driving through Eastern Colorado, across Nebraska, and into Iowa, my excitement would wane; however, on the contrary, my anticipation only grew as I approached my home away from home.

I had heard about “Grinnell summers,” but I wondered whether the tales could be true. Ice cream socials every Friday (perhaps heaven on earth for this ice cream fiend)? Community meals every Tuesday? Spontaneous dance parties anytime, anyplace? Biweekly vegan-coop potlucks? No overwhelming, burdensome stress weighing upon our shoulders, but rather a pleasant balance between work and play? This would indeed be a dramatic change from the Grinnell lifestyle I knew. I was skeptical.

I arrived in early evening, hesitating only a moment to take a deep breath before jumping out of the car and hurrying into Saints Rest. Rich aromas greeted me as I strolled into the quaint coffee shop, and knowingly, my sister, an employee there, glanced up and met my eyes. I had returned home. Welcoming smiles painted the streets, and I encountered friends and acquaintances everywhere I walked. I was starting to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the “Grinnell summer.”

As I settled in, slipping gently into summer, I found pleasant surprises everywhere. Tension and anxiety were practically nonexistent, people slept more regularly, and as a result, they seemed healthier and happier. Regardless of whether a student was doing research or working outside academia, he or she undoubtedly enjoyed more free time. So even though we were dispersed throughout town, we didn’t mind making a trek to visit a friend. On bike or on foot, any destination was accessible. Friends and acquaintances had more energy to sit and enjoy one another’s company, to throw together a delectable dinner, to discuss new ideas, and to reflect upon the last year. I delighted in picking raspberries, cooling off with a tasty Dari Barn treat at the end of a sweltering day, riding my bike on a warm, starry evening, running along firefly-lit fields, and watching the crops mature, gradually reaching up up up into the expansive blue sky. I discovered beauty everywhere I looked, in the landscape as well as in the interactions I shared with others.

My mind and heart are quiet, and a large smile replaces the furrow that earlier creased my brow. Hmmm. I inhale and exhale a deep breath. The sweet Colorado air lingers upon my lips, but the debate is over. I imagine the wind frolicking through the Iowa fields, calling me home with promises of another lovely Grinnell summer …

Meredith Groves '08 is an Anthropology major from Commerce, Colorado.

Campus Wellness

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Freedom From Smoking
If you are interested in smoking cessation, please contact Jen Jacobsen, Wellness Coordinator at jacobsen[at]grinnell[dot]edu or ext. 3704. Freedom From Smoking, the American Lung Association smoking cessation program, may be made available on campus if there is enough interest. Date/time/location set to fit interested employees.

Live Healthy Grinnell
There are nine college teams with 56 participants. All together they have logged almost 6000 miles! Sixteen days left in the competition. The season finale celebration will be held Tuesday April 27 from 4-7pm in JRC 101. Everyone welcome to come cheer the top teams as well as get summer community wellness program information, such as Bike and Hike to Work. Sponsored by the Grinnell Wellness Coalition.

Wellness Listserv
Interested in staying on top of wellness events on campus and in the community? Want some ideas to help you choose wellness in your life? Subscribe to the wellness listserv by sending an e-mail to join-wellness[at]lyris.grinnell[dot]edu You will get an update on the first of each month plus notice of special promotions or events.

Changing Advisers

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Normally, a student's tutorial professor serves as the student's adviser until the student declares a major (by pre-registration in the fourth semester). Transfer students not in tutorials are assigned advisers in the department in which they have indicated an interest. However, if either the student or the adviser feels that the advising relationship is incompatible, he or she may contact the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising about making a change. When faculty members go on leave they make arrangements for their advisees to be advised by another faculty member. Major advisees may be assigned to another member of the department. (The Registrar's Office has a "Change of Major Adviser" form.) Undeclared advisees should be guided in selecting an interim adviser; because these students will know few faculty at this point, they should be coached through this process. In both cases the faculty member notifies the Academic Advising Office of these changes.

Once Upon a Time

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


As soon as I learned to read, I was never without a book. Often the characters were just as real to me as my siblings. When my father took me and my cousins out on forced-march hikes to some middle-of-nowhere place in rural South Dakota, I invented elaborate families, lives, and conversations for these characters. Due to my wild imagination, my cousins dubbed me “that kid.”

Aside from my own imaginary stories, I remember sitting around the oak kitchen table at my home, listening to my father tell the story (for the 15th time) of how he climbed the Matterhorn in Switzerland as a 20-year-old college kid. His guide drank an entire bottle of wine on the way up. I can still hear my mother tell me about the boy she beat the tar out of in elementary school because he stole her jacks. Bedtime at my house was usually enforced — except when my Aunt Marge was over yakking about the latest drama at her vet clinic, or when my older brother Frank was home from his most recent crazy endeavor in the Marine Corps. When there were stories to be swapped, I was allowed to stay up as long as I wanted, listening.

Having been saturated with storytelling as a child, an English major seemed a logical choice for me at Grinnell. It would allow me to read and discuss stories while I did my homework. But I was happy to discover that stories weren’t relegated only to the academic sphere. Nowadays, I hear less about my father’s ability to blow smoke out his eyes and more about the friends I have made in the larger Grinnell community.

I met most of these people at a wonderful event called Community Meal, which takes place every Tuesday at Davis Elementary School. Sponsored by the chaplain’s office, along with community and student groups, the Community Meal brings people together to cook a free meal available to anyone who wants to come. Usually, about 100 people show up. Last week’s menu consisted of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, grilled cheese, assorted cookies, lemonade, and milk.

I would never call the skills I’ve acquired at Community Meal “culinary.” For while I am now able to chop many, many onions, open numerous cans of fruit cocktail, and make 12 boxes of Betty Crocker brownie mix, I spend most of the meal talking and listening to the stories people tell me about their lives. While we sit at folding lunch tables under bad fluorescent lighting, surrounded by colorful crayon artwork, I tell community members about the French exam I have on Friday and how I don’t think I will ever truly understand the subjunctive tense. In exchange, Dave will tell me stories about his time in Germany during World War II. Later, I will move to a different table and sit in on Erlene and Rose-Marie’s reoccurring and rather heated discussion about George Bush and Wal-Mart. Moving yet again, I will sit down next to a 95-year-old retired minister who sings me songs and tells me about his long-ago trips to Israel and Palestine.

As a result of these conversations, when I am sitting on the park bench in front of Wells Fargo or getting tea at Saints Rest, I feel less like a student from out of town and more like a part of the community at large. Grinnell, the school, is intense in many wonderful ways, and there is no point in denying that it can be stressful. That is the way of college. But it has been crucial to my perspective and my sanity to remember that a five- to seven-page paper pales in importance to a good story about someone’s life.

Sarah Boyer '08 is an English major from Rapid City, South Dakota.

Simplicity Gets a Bad Rap

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Half an hour ago, as I walked back to my dorm after class, a pair of gorgeous monarch butterflies flitted across my path. Now, I have seen butterflies at home in Oregon — the white-winged kind that are actually just a prettier species of moth — but these were not Oregon butterflies. Dancing in front of me was a pair of true, orange-and-black, fluttery-winged monarchs looking for all the world like two butterflies in love.

I smiled and kept walking, but movement on a nearby tree caught my eye. I stopped and stared as two dozen more monarchs, which I had mistaken for orange leaves, took flight. They paired up as well, dipping and diving. Orange and black wings flashed and fluttered all around me as I stood breathless under the tree’s dappled sunlight, my eyes wide and my mouth agape.

I had flashbacks to the reactions of my high school teachers and friends when I told them I was going to Iowa for school. “Iowa? Why are you going there?” I’d shrug and tell them, “Because Grinnell is there,” as though that were the be-all and end-all of Grinnell.

But tell that to my roommate from China, who stood in the middle of Mac Field and looked up at the sky for 20 minutes because she had never seen stars before. “That’s the Big Dipper,” she squealed. “There’s Scorpio!” And I nodded, looking up at the sky with new eyes.

Tell that to a friend of mine who woke up in the middle of a particularly loud thunderstorm and couldn’t get back to sleep, not because she was afraid, but because she was fascinated by the unmistakable feeling of energy in the air, by the pregnant pause that came between eerily silent flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder, by the soothing sound of the rain.

And tell that to the classmate standing next to me in the cloud of monarch butterflies, trying futilely to take a picture with her cell phone.

There is so much more to the town of Grinnell than a college. It’s an adorable and caring community of 2 a.m. bakeries, ice cream cones as big as your forearm, farmers’ markets, hardware stores, and cafes ready to welcome a group of college students who just want to get off campus and play a loud game of cards. In fact, when it comes right down to it, everything you could ever want or need you can find in town, whether it’s a knitting store or a professional photography studio.

Most importantly, however, Grinnell is a place where it’s easy to take the time to have fun. It’s not uncommon to be walking around on campus and see students happily climbing trees, reading on the grass, or even trying (and failing) to hang up a tire swing. Grinnellians know how to work hard, but they know how to relax just as hard and to make their own fun by just appreciating the little things in life … like a cloud of dancing butterflies.

Debora Berk '12 is undeclared and from Clackamas, Oregon.

Good Conversation and Dining Hall Food

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)



 Winter 2007


 Patrick Busch ’08

I’m not a regular visitor to language tables, but I do drop by occasionally when I have the time and happen to wander up to the second floor of the dining hall at the right time. At Grinnell, most language tables take place on a weekly basis in a room devoted almost exclusively to the purpose, just off the dining hall. For example, German table takes place every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Every week most or all of the German professors come to the dining hall to eat dinner with the students who show up. My last visit to the German table occurred the week of Thanksgiving.

I didn’t plan it ahead of time, but I noticed that German table was starting and decided to go in and sit down. Soon I was drawn into a discussion with a professor about how my semester was going, which somehow evolved into a debate about the fastest route to St. Paul (which is where I’m from).

The discussions around the table were quite varied, in part because of different levels of language proficiency. One student had only taken German for two months, and because no English is spoken, she mostly sat and listened until another professor asked why we had all chosen to come to Grinnell. The novice German student spoke slowly, but kept going, misplacing a verb here and there. When she came to a word she didn’t know, her own professor stepped in, supplied the word, and explained that she had only started learning past tense the week before.

As much as I like German, I am a college student with lots of academic commitments and I do have a life beyond studying — much of it centered around dinner. At Grinnell, dinner is one of the few times on weekdays most people have relatively free. Before dinner there are classes, and afterwards homework, club meetings, and rehearsals occupy people’s time and attention. Thus, dinner is a time to unwind a bit, to take a short communal break and enjoy the company of others. One reason I have hesitated to go to language tables regularly is my reluctance to miss out on social time with my friends.

But when I did start dropping by the German table, I found it was actually a lot of fun. The people were fun to talk to, and even the professors didn’t talk about boring things like homework. Instead, there was talk of movies, of musical and dramatic performances, of trips to Europe, and of experiences with summer jobs. There was even a discussion of the merits of Facebook as a way to maintain relationships.

None of these things are unique to German, and I’m sure the other language tables would offer a similar experience — although of course their languages aren’t as cool as ours. Still, if you insist on learning a language other than German and you need to practice it, language tables give you an opportunity to do just that, while having a nice meal at the same time.

Patrick Busch ’08 is a German and Mathematics major from St. Paul, Minnesota.


Grinnell is Swell

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Grinnell and Carleton. Those were my top two college choices when I applied. I’ll be truthful — Carleton was my top choice. I had a friend going there, and he sounded like he was having a lot of fun. “Oh man!” I thought. “I wanna have fun too!” I hadn’t figured out by this point that most people have fun at their school; that’s why they chose it.

I’ll be truthful again: I got wait-listed at Carleton. So while I hung around to hear back from them, I went to go check out Grinnell. I drove down here for an overnight stay and was 100 percent terrified. I’m not a big fan of stepping out of my comfort box, and I considered sleeping on a stranger’s floor in a state I’d never even stepped foot in before as definitely outside the box.

My host picked me up at the admission office and took me over to her dorm. We made small talk, and by small talk, I mean I’m-really-outside-of-my-element-here-someone-please-take-me-back-to-high-school nervous talk. Then I noticed this giant paper clock on the wall next to her room, divided into 12 sections, each with a different location on it (Food, Burling, Class, etc). There were several hands on this clock, each with — as I soon learned — the name of one of my host’s roommates on it.

That’s right, they had built themselves a Weasley family clock from the Harry Potter books. It took me about five more minutes of small not-so-nervous-anymore-because-you-guys-are-awesome talk for me to realize that, forget Carleton, this was the place for me. Actually, the clock was just one of many little tip-offs I got as a prospective student at Grinnell. There was also a shirt. Specifically a T-shirt worn by a rather attractive friend of my host, a shirt that came from the same webcomic as the one I was wearing. It was the connection to the webcomic that gave me the clue: maybe I was in the right place. It wasn’t the attractiveness of the guy wearing it (but while that didn’t influence my decision, it was nice that Grinnell students turned out to be about 41 times more attractive than any possible prospects I had at my high school).

After that initial awkward walk, I felt more at ease, as if I was with people who could understand me. I hung out with a handful of Grinnellians and one other prospective student who was visiting at the same time (whom I forgot all about, only to later re-meet in my American Lit class three semesters later). We played Loggia Frisbee, which meant I got to run around on the roof of our first-floor walkways catching Frisbees thrown from the ground. Wicked fun, even if my catching skills matched that of, say, a T-rex. But a T-rex who was thoroughly enjoying herself!

Some people talk about a sign they received in the final decision-making moments — a sign that somehow told them they needed to go to Grinnell. Someone got cut off in traffic by a car with a bumper sticker from her other top school. Another met a Grinnellian in their as-far-away-from-Iowa-as-possible hometown. While I was still deciding, I learned that my own hometown was like a Grinnellian super-magnet or something, because Grinnell people were popping up out of the woodwork. My across-the-street neighbor’s mother was a librarian at Grinnell; the mother of the family I babysat for was an alum; the son of a woman in my mother’s exercise class had just been hired by Grinnell’s English department.

Grinnell just wouldn't leave me alone!

I never regretted choosing Grinnell over Carleton. And often, such as when I’m running off to the Star Wars trivia contest where I’m maybe only the 34th most knowledgeable person there, I’m thankful I decided to come to here.

“Your father and I didn’t want to say anything to influence your decision,” my mom said to me after I’d sent in my housing application to Grinnell, “but we never thought Carleton would have worked for you.”

And as parents usually are (much to our disgruntlement), they were totally right.

Molly Rideout '10 is an English major from Madison, Wisconsin.

Goats, Not Tractors

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)



 Fall 2008


 Jacob Gjesdahl '10

When I first heard about a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) using goats as a tool to manage invasive woody vegetation at Grinnell’s Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA), I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to get hands-on experience with an idea I had toyed with as a possible business venture. And even though I was rejected as a primary member of the MAP, I ended up having the opportunity to work on the project anyway.

Every summer, two students help manage CERA, primarily pulling and spraying weeds. This summer we also helped with the goat MAP, organized by Brian Perbix and Curran Johnson (both ’09). Among other things, we maintained fence lines, moved goats to and between paddocks, and sampled vegetation. For all of us, it was a great way to get hands-on experience with research and environmental work and get paid for it. At a big university, research opportunities usually go to graduate students, and few small liberal arts colleges have the financial resources Grinnell does.

My summer had lots of great memories, from wrangling goats to the goat that always yelled if we didn’t give her corn, to more peaceful moments examining the impact on vegetation. I remember seeing rare prairie plants that had somehow avoided being choked out by the invading vegetation. I saw native impatiens (I. capensis) come into bloom with a flower totally different from the impatiens planted en masse in garden flowerbeds. Once we saw the goats actually playing (or maybe fighting) with each other. They would rear back and then butt their horns together with a mighty crash. This doesn’t hurt them, but it was impressive to watch.

At CERA, I learned that using goats for restoration work probably wouldn’t be a very effective commercial venture, but it was definitely less damaging to the habitat than a tractor with chains or herbicides. Comparing the enclosures with goats to those without, we could see the differences as well as feel them as we attempted to walk through the thickets. It was interesting to see how the vegetation regrew in the goat enclosures; doubtless it will be even more interesting to watch how the land changes over the next several years as the experiment continues.

I hope to revisit CERA in 10 years and see the thicket of vicious multiflora rose transformed into a beautiful prairie and savanna through the healing power of goats and fire (another integral part of almost all ecosystems in Iowa).

Jacob Gjesdahl '10 is an Economics major from Birmingham, Alabama.