Au Revoir Spring Break by x3erica1037
03.09.10, 9:45 am
Filed under: Bloggers, Class of 2013, EricaT | Tags: , , ,

As I announced a while back, Spring Break this year was expected to be my best one yet, and it didn’t disappoint. Instead of relaxing at home and catching up on sleep, I traveled with my Impressionism art history class to Paris, France for the week. There were 18 students, including myself, plus our two professors. Our mission was to view and study as much art as we could, while exploring the city and having an amazing time. After cramming in as much site-seeing as possible, I definitely think we succeeded.

Although some strong winds and rain in Paris diverted our arrival to Amsterdam for a little while, we drove the final five hours on a bus, determined to arrive in the city on the day we had planned. Though it was 12 hours later than expected, we finally made it, and the first glimpse of Paris made me realize it had been worth the wait.  Even at night, we could see the beauty of the architecture all around us and it felt like we were in a whole other world.

After visiting the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Champs d’Elysee, basically about a million other places, and of course the Eiffel Tower, I felt like the city was too good to be true. Everything was gorgeous, the people were interesting, and the food was delicious. I was proud of the bravery my classmates and I had in trying many new things, like snails and pate made with duck liver.  We honestly enjoyed everything we ordered and it made the trip even more memorable. We all agreed it would be difficult to go back from French cuisine to Towers meals, and even  considered sneaking some baguettes and croissants into our carry-ons.

All too soon, though, we discovered it was time to pack up and return back to the Bluff.  I had mixed feelings about going home; on one hand I missed my family and friends but on the other it felt like we were leaving so much excitement in Europe. After only 8 hours on a much easier flight, I arrived at the Pittsburgh International Airport feeling ready to get back to real life with my memories and photos that will last forever.

Everyone in front of Auguste Rodin's "The Gates of Hell"

After going through my first study abroad experience, I would recommend it to everyone. Travel as often as you can for as long as you can, because the memories and the experiences aren’t something you can just read about in books. I’m now hoping to participate in as many similar programs as possible during my time as Duquesne, and I hope to see some of you in next year’s pictures! Au revoir for now!



One week down… by katzb
01.13.10, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Bloggers, BrittanyK | Tags: , , ,

How many more to go???

This is the type of week that makes me appreciate break! I think my feeling are shared by a lot of students during the first few weeks of the semester. I know I’ve seen a lot of stressed out people lugging boxes of overpriced texbooks around, and many more cups of coffee on campus that usual.

In the 5 days we have been back to classes, I’ve already dropped a class and added two more. I should have taken my own advice from an earlier blog post and been sure of the requirements for the graduate programs I applied to, because I needed another math class and a Linguistics course this semester. Luckily I had room for them, and figured the issue out before the add/drop period ended.

This also meant I had to buy textbooks for two additional classes. Can you say “headache”?

On top of all of this, my sister was in a car accident over the weekend and I spent Saturday night in a chair in Presby Hospital. Thankfully, she walked away with only some cuts and a broken collar bone but the shock of the accident has been a little stressful.

The final stressor this week was an inconvenent summons to Jury Duty on Monday, where I spent the day with 99 other strangers in a countroom downtown. I read some textbooks and texted my sister all day, but nothing is worse than knowing you are missing class and simply wasting time! Luckily I didn’t get chosen to serve on a jury, so my service ended after a long day on Monday. The $13 dollars I’ll get paid for my time can’t even come close to making up for the number of brain cells I lost staring at the wall for hours.

Let’s hope next week is not as eventful.


Welcome back! by x3erica1037

2010 is here and the Spring semester has officially begun. After a few great weeks at home, it feels good to be back at The Bluff. The past 24 hours have been filled with happy reunions among friends, unpacking what seems like endless bags that will never fit in one dorm room, buying books, and dealing with the realization that today marks the first day of classes. While it would have been nice to have a couple days to visit with friends, a two day week for class is definitely doable.

My brain feels ready to tackle the new challenges that this semester is sure to bring, but with five new classes I have to admit I was a little nervous. I’m happy to have some courses that are very relevant to my major and should interest me quite a bit. My Intro to PR and Media Relations class is even being taught by Dr. Sora, one of my favorite professors from last semester, so I’m looking forward to what this new class has in store. Most challenging for me will probably be my math class, but I’m determined to give extra attention and study time to the course so I can do my best.

The last few weeks of visiting with family and friends have been perfect for relieving stress from the fall, but it’s time for the memories of a new semester to begin.

Good luck everyone!


Goodbye first semester…hello holidays by x3erica1037

It’s officially the last weekend of 2009 to be spent at Duquesne!  My last week as a first semester freshman…

I have mixed feelings but mostly it’s just kind of surreal. I’m so happy that this is the place where I had my first college experiences. With everything from D’U Ride? Orientation, to learning community projects and friendships, to finals week; I definitely feel a part of the true “college experience” and consider myself a real college student.

Finals week was quite an experience. I thought the stories about spending hours upon end in the library and drinking twelve cups of coffee were all exaggerated, but it turns out they’re all true…mostly. Finals were, in fact, super challenging and required a lot of my time, but after handing in the many papers and finishing my exams, I think the effort was well worth it. Once I finally beat the struggle to find a table at Gumberg, I was able to go into the tests feeling confident and came out the same way. Even after spending an approximate 20 hours in the library over the past few days, I’m happy I stayed focused and worked through it. Hopefully when grades are posted , I will still feel the same way.

While of course I’m excited to get a break from all the work, I have to admit I’m a little sad to leave my college “family”. We will all go our separate ways for almost a month, but when we get back we will be starting all new classes and getting right back into the crazy times. Seeing my family and friends for Christmas will make up for it, too. Of course, I’ll have to continue our family traditions of baking lots of cookies and spending a weekend at Seven Springs Ski Lodge. And even though I suppose I’m becoming an adult, I’m still hoping Santa will leave some presents for me!

So keep your happy holiday thoughts and memories in mind while you’re winding up these last couple days of testing and be proud of yourself—you’ve made it through an entire semester!!

Happy Holidays everyone!! Stay warm!!

More to come in January!


Home for the holidays by x3erica1037

Now that I’m at home for Thanksgiving break, it really feels like the holidays are here. I was kind of sad for all of my school friends to separate and go home, but I felt better when I started seeing my family members and high school friends. It’s very comforting and relaxing to be in my own bed and to have my mommy cook for me. 🙂

There are a lot of things I’m excited to do with my vacation time like helping cook for Thursday, eating a huge Thanksgiving dinner, shopping on Black Friday, visiting with friends and family, and of course, sleeping in. Already so far, I’ve seen a lot of old friends and gone to pick one of my best friends up from California University of PA. We were so excited to see our other best friend who has been at school in Lancaster since August. The reunion was a little emotional, but we got right back into our old, crazy friendship. I’m happy to know we can be apart for long periods of time and still be the best of friends when we’re back together.

Unfortunately I still have a lot of work to get done over break and I need to spend as much time as possible studying for finals. Fortunately, I have quite a few days to get this done and still have time to relax. It’s almost impossible to think that  we only have a couple weeks of class left before the semester is over. Although it feels nice to have a lot of work behind me, it’s strange to think my first semester of college is coming to an end.

Soon it will be time to get finals over with and start shopping for Christmas! This year is definitely flying by, so enjoy it while you can and try to at least get a little work done. 😉

Have a great holiday season!


The surprise gift of a cancelled class! by katzb
11.16.09, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Bloggers, BrittanyK | Tags: , , , , , ,

A student's favorite word.

When I checked my e-mail this morning, I had received an e-mail that said my German class was cancelled today. Any student knows that type of e-mail can make a dreary Monday much more manageable! I just so happen to have another cancelled class this week because my professor will be out of town. Cancelled classes are few and far between, but the surprise gift of an extra hour of free time gives me a break, without the guilt of skipping class! Today, I plan on hitting the Power Center an hour early during the time I usually have German class. That way, I can have more time for homework before my night class.
On the flip side of the cancelled class high is the bummer of having to go to class next Monday and Tuesday to make up for the G-20 break. (Don’t forget: Monday Nov. 23 is a Thursday schedule, and Tuesday Nov. 24 is a Friday schedule.) Not only does this shorten Thanksgiving break by four days, but it is really confusing for tired students pining for a break! I would much rather be done for Thanksgiving break on Friday afternoon, but thinking back to September 23-25, I remember being really grateful for a break then! The G-20 break was a month after school started, and I think we all really appreciated the respite from classes!

With classes getting cancelled, rescheduled and shifted days, my comfort comes from knowing we only have a few more weeks until the end of the semester. Next month at this time, I’ll be sleeping, baking Christmas cookies, and NOT thinking about school!


Spring Break Away by x3erica1037

eiffel-tower-dayHave you heard about Duquesne’s Spring Break Away Programs?

Recently I’ve been learning a lot about classes that satisfy core curriculum and then travel to foreign countries for Spring Break. I hope to travel as much as I can from now on, so the Spring Break Away definitely interested me. I attended a meeting that gave an overview of some of next semester’s classes, which included trips to Spain, Italy, and France. There, I found out that the trip to Paris, France was part of an Impressionism/Post-Impressionism art class that satisfied my Creative Arts Core. I called my parents right away and they agreed that it was a great opportunity. I handed in my application the next day and received word about a week later that I was accepted into the class.

I chose the art class because I had taken a few art classes in high school, including two years of Studio Photography, and my teachers were always very encouraging of us to study art history. Although they taught me the basics of famous artists and different eras, I’m excited to learn about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in detail. The Duquesne professors I met were very clear that they were going to start with the basics, and there was no pre-requisite that required any art knowledge.

Obviously, I’m also super excited about the part where we travel to Paris in the spring! I honestly still can’t believe its going to happen and satisfy a requirement for school at the same time. Our itinerary is a week full of experiences including trips to all the famous museums and landmarks and actually viewing the art we studied all semester long. We will be staying at a hotel in the heart of all the culture and we will be given many evenings to explore on our own. It was surprising to me that I’m able to do this as a freshman. While seniors and juniors are given priority for these classes, my initiative to apply early paid off.

I would definitely recommend that all Duquesne students learn more about any available programs you may be interested in. As my first semester as a freshman starts to get closer and closer to the end, I’m very grateful to be able to reflect on my experiences so far and recognize how many amazing opportunities I have had right from the beginning.

More updates about this experience are to come!