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Alex's Blog

Joyful goodbyes and the next destination.

It's finally the end of the school year!  I've passed my Baccalaureate exam successfully, everything that was due is taken care of, and my study carrel is cleared of all evidence tying me to it. While I will miss entertaining all of you with my stories of the NCF experience, I am excited for the next stage of life even more when I move up to Washington DC. I'm looking forward to being able to travel more and expanding my professional and personal networks. I'm also excited about the prospect of going to Burn Festivals outside of Florida; I'm going to try and convince my sister to go to one with me one day.

Despite my excitement to get on with my life, I am going to miss New College, and the people I've grown to love and respect. I would best describe my feelings about leaving as printing my thesis on the paper of the constitution printed in unicorn blood, and bound in dragon hide then breathing fire on the book.

Speaking of fire and thesis. I had a pizza party this past Monday with a couple of my friends before the traditional thesis burn started. For those who don't know what the thesis burn is. It's when all the thesis students burn their committee copies and drafts of their thesis after submitting the library copy. I opted to instead burn my thesis inside one of the cardboard sculptures or my friend Nathan who also finished his thesis and passed his Bacc. We set the sculptures up as a cylindrical structure on the kickball field and stuffed it full of my edits and  discarded drafts while the other thesis students looked on from a safe distance. Once we lit the structure the whole thing burst into a brilliant beast of flame feasting on my sweat blood and tears in paper form.

My friend Chris and I lit our poi off the burning effigy that was a testament to the end of thesis hell during my spin I incorporated what I learned while I was in Miami last weekend.  As we spun, the top half of the structure launched itself from the bottom like a raging hell toad and rolled slowly to my left side before coming to a halt. The two burning spheres on either side of me crumbled to ash under the flames spilling red embers of what used to be a year of research. We spun past the sculpture turning into ash and during the start of the official thesis burn.

Thank you allow for reading my blogs the last two years. I hope you readers end up making the decision to attend New College and make some memories to look back on with a trace of a smile on your lips.

Becca's Blog

I cannot believe I am about to graduate. It feels like first year happened yesterday! I know I have said all of this before, but as graduation grows closer, it just rings truer and truer. I remember when I came to New College on move-in day, looking geeky with my New College shirt and a huge smile on my face. Every time I look at my New College ID, I see that silly first year Becca, so happy to be at this school and so uncertain of the future ahead of her here. I like to think I still have some of that bright-eyed girl in me still but she has definitely grown, which is to be expected after four years. I am so much more capable and confident than that girl even dreamed she could be. The knowledge I have gained at this college is absolutely invaluable and will serve me well throughout the rest of my life.

Sometimes, I do wonder what my life would have been like if I had gone to a different university. I know that I would not be the same person that I am now. New College has made me into someone I love and respect deeply. My time here has taught me lessons far beyond those of academia. Though I have gone through my moments of disliking New College (as any student would with their college), I trust that my gut feeling was right about this place. When I first visited campus, I felt that I truly belonged here. I did and I always will. I would not trade my time here at New College for anything in the world.

I probably will not come back to visit for a little while because I want to spend my time now exploring other places. Living in Sarasota for four years was enough for me. Though I know other New College students who will be staying here after graduation, I am ready to get swept away in other environments. I do look forward to visiting this campus in the further future though. I probably ought to come back and visit my friends who will still be here at New College. I know I will miss them as much as they will miss me! Also, Sarasota is simply a wonderful city. How could I not return to enjoy some of the best beaches I have ever visited?

So, what is next for me? This summer seems a little clearer than the following fall. I will be going back to Jacksonville for a while, working minimum wage jobs over the summer to gain some money and experience. Despite having my undergraduate degree, I know I will still thoroughly enjoy these jobs. I do love a complex and thought-consuming task but I equally adore simple and repetitive jobs. There is something very comforting about it all. Over the summer, I will also be working towards getting my teaching certificate in Florida. Right now, that seems like a confusing process but my head may just be a bit muddled from the excitement of graduation!

As for the fall, those plans are still up in the air. I would like to be teaching English in a public high school by then and I have a good opportunity to do so. Hopefully, that will work out for me. I am not sure what may lie beyond that. Unlike some of my ambitious and focused peers, I have never truly known what I want to do with my life occupationally. I know I would enjoy and excel in a great variety of jobs and fields. Though it scares me to not know where my life will lead me from here on out, it is still awfully exciting. New College has prepared me to follow whatever path presents itself to me. I know that the past four years have made me the best that I can be. Now I have got to face the world outside this college bravely and know that I have what it takes to lead a fun and amazing life. I hope each of you readers out there reach the same peace of mind with your own lives. Wish me luck as I continue on my journey after graduating from New College of Florida!



Becca's Blog

I have finally finished! I made my final edits and the library copy of my thesis has been turned in. I cannot believe that I am actually finally done with my thesis. My decision to come to New College from high school was partly fueled by the idea of writing an undergraduate thesis. Though I thought it was a terrifying idea, I was also really drawn to it. None of the other public colleges I was considering offered the opportunity to write an undergraduate thesis to all of their students. I knew that I wanted to have that accomplishment under my belt after getting my Bachelor’s Degree, despite not even knowing what I wanted to study! And now that I have done it and I have tucked this much-anticipated accomplishment under my belt, I feel immensely successful. Though the future is unclear, I know that I can do pretty much anything after writing this thesis!

I had my last undergraduate classes this past week too, which was very odd. My last official class was Acting II, which was fun in a way. I did miss having more academically-stimulating classes after having two creatively-stimulating classes and one thesis-driven class this semester. Though finishing up my undergraduate academic time with acting was enjoyable, part of me did long for a discussion on something delightfully academic. I suppose I will have to rely on my memory of those types of classes for now. I will not be heading to graduate school within the next year, so I am interested to see how much I will miss academia. I have not been out of school for longer than a summer since I was an infant!

Hopefully though, I will be teaching in a public high school come fall. So technically, I will not be out of academia but I will shed my role as student and gain the role of teacher. Instead of primarily furthering my own path in academia, I will be helping students gain their footing in their own academic endeavors. I am actually extremely interested in this experience. One day I would like to go on to graduate school but I definitely want to be more certain of what field of study I will pursue before that happens. For now, the future could hold anything and I am scared of being too hasty in my decisions!

Currently, graduation events are in full swing, which has helped to distract me from thinking too hard on what the future may hold! This past Friday, most of the psychology thesis students gathered to have a nice lunch with all the psychology professors at a French restaurant downtown. My friend Jonah and I bought them all little succulents and cacti to show our appreciation. They have all done so much for us in our past four years here at New College, so it was the least we could do.

My thesis advisor has also invited both my fellow advisees and her incoming thesis advisees to eat a brunch of waffles at her house on Monday. I am so excited for this event because going to a professor’s house is on my New College bucket list! Many New College students get to visit one or more of their professors’ houses over the course of their time here in Sarasota. Obviously the professor has to invite you to visit but this is a surprisingly standard behavior. Our advisor holds this waffle event at the end of every year in order to both say goodbye to her current thesis students and have her current thesis students share their advice with her incoming thesis students. I was invited last year to this event but unfortunately was not able to make it because I had to leave Sarasota earlier. This year though, I am fully ready to go, eat waffles, and be merry with one of my favorite professors and my fellow students!

We also have graduation cruise on Wednesday, which is this nice cruise ride around the bay for a few hours with your fellow thesis students and some professors. This is a custom here at New College and I feel honored to be a part of it, especially since only a certain amount of students are allowed on the cruise. I think when you finish your thesis completely, you get this wonderful urge to sit out in the beautiful Sarasota sun and just enjoy the company of your friends. And that is exactly what this wonderful cruise will offer me!

Graduation will be on Friday and that is when most of my family and friends will arrive for the ceremony. It is less than a week away now. I know I am going to make these last few days in town count with the help of these graduation events. With any luck, the sadness of leaving this college and these people will not sink in until later in the week!



Becca's Blog

My baccalaureate examination on the 28th went so well! I did realize some proofreading errors before my bacc after printing out my committee copies but that is totally fine; finding those mistakes early just meant that I was already on track for editing the final library copy of my thesis. My parents and my partner came down to Sarasota to support me, which was wonderful. Family and friends are welcome to come to baccalaureates here at New College. My family and friends helped me get together the refreshments and prepare for my presentation. My mom made dog bone shaped cookies for the occasion and we gathered goldfish crackers, vegetable and fruit trays, sweet tea, and lemonade for refreshments. Refreshments are generally offered at the beginning of baccalaureates for people to enjoy throughout the presentation and examination. They are even mentioned in most bacc announcements! Here’s an example through my announcement:

I, Rebecca Elizabeth Wucker, will be defending my thesis,

In Dog We Trust: The Relation between Pet Ownership and Interpersonal Trust
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Psychology,

before a committee of Dr. Heidi Harley (sponsor), Dr. Catherine Cottrell, and Dr. Michelle Barton

on Monday, March 28th at 3:00 PM in Bon Seigneur House.

Refreshments will be served.

I definitely experienced some nervousness during the presentation portion of my bacc. During the presentation portion, you talk about your thesis to the room of your bacc committee, friends, and maybe even your family. For Psychology theses, it is common practice to use a PowerPoint presentation as a tool to orally discuss your thesis. Though I am normally quite good at presentations in class, this presentation was different and made me very anxious! I could tell that my voice was trembling a bit at some parts but I knew the material and I powered through those moments with as much confidence as I could muster.

I became much more comfortable during the examination portion, in which my professors asked me questions about my thesis. Most of the questions were concerning my methods and the basis for my thesis, such as “Why did you choose to use this measurement?” and “Do you really believe in this theoretical background that you used?” From what I have seen at other baccs in the past, it is okay to not know the absolute answer to the questions. Such is the basis of academia! Instead, it is more of a discussion. I know I was a bit baffled by some questions but, by talking through it in conversations with my committee members, I was able to come to a strong conclusion for each question asked! I passed my baccalaureate examination, which was not exactly surprising but still wonderful. Now all I have to do is make the final edits offered to me by my bacc committee and turn in the library copy of my thesis. After that, the only thing that stands between me and my Bachelor’s degree is graduation! I cannot believe I am so close to being done with college.

I also went to my friend Jonah’s bacc recently. He is also a psychology thesis student and was actually one of the first people I met at New College because he was in my orientation group! His thesis was on the very intriguing topic of Miranda Rights comprehension in non-native English speakers. He did extremely well, as was expected, and we had a fantastic night celebrating our bacc victories with our fellow fourth-year friends! It is seriously so funny to think that four years have come and gone already for us. I look at my fourth-year friends and I can still remember first year with them like it was yesterday. It certainly is time for us to go on into the next chapter of our lives but it still feels like this chapter was so short. I guess we will have to make the most of the next two weeks and really enjoy our last few moments of college as much as we can!



Alex's Blog

Last time I blogged to you guys, I talked about the upcoming Burn. Sarah and I ended up going with my friends Django and Luisa. We were late making our way to the ranch, because we stopped by Walmart to get food and other last minute supplies. We managed to make it by three and were welcomed home by my sempai Pringle. On our way towards the camping sites we all saw Story and Aaron walking with foam swords, hammers and shields in their arms.Django and I waved at them enthusiastically 

We all camped over by my friend Peter’s photo hut under the shade of some large trees. When we finished up , my friends, Kory, and Allie stopped by to say hi and wish us a happy Burn Day. Allie, Kory, Django, Sarah and I wandered back to Kory and  Allies tent exploring the rest of the burn as people were still setting up their tents. After seeing where Kory and Allie were camping- next to where my friends Lydia, Tyler, Cyrus, and Javier were camped, we explored the burn again to find out where my friends Story and Aaron were camping out. Along the journey for our friends, I saw many old faces I hadn't seen since Afterburn and many new ones. This time around I was pleased to see allot more Black people participating in the Burn. I counted at least 10 Black guys and 4 Black women in total. I headed back to our camp where I saw my friends from the last burn Tony and Matt setting up their camp.

Eventually we managed to find Story and Aaron and I introduced Sarah to them. They talked about flogs while Django and I went ahead to Story and Aaron’s tent to chat with Aaron. Camped next to Aaron and Story, were a couple of poi spinners, who taught me some tracer tricks and pendulum tosses.  I’m still working on them… 

Aaron made some food and as Sarah describes it, “it was so hot that I started involuntarily crying, from the sheer intensity of the heat. I thought I was prepared.  I was dead wrong.” After she recovered, Sarah was sent on a quest to explore the burn by Story and I attended the fire-safety meeting over by the conclave effigy, which was a mini-skyscraper constructed out of plywood.  On each side of the building, one of the four elements was carved into the wood.  During the meeting, they explained how instead of firespinning in one circle around the effigy prior to it burning, they had us break up into four waves, stationed strategically around the effigy. 

Afterwards, I roamed the burn for a bit, looking to see who had arrived and if there were any more familiar faces.  At random intervals throughout the burn, I saw that darned drone, hovering and spying on the proceedings.  By 8 o’clock, I went to the Ranger’s station to sign up for my fire-safety shift.  I switched into my purple harem pants, purple flame coat, red bandana, and steampunk goggles to get ready for the night.  The shift was very laid back because no one was spinning fire except for my friend KC and one other girl, who was spinning fans by the effigy.  When they were done, someone climbed on the top of the effigy and lit the small torch perched on top of it, commencing the burn. 

It seemed that the moment when the torch was lit, the burn instantly came alight with music, lights, bustle and fire.  Over by the effigy was Camp Funk Evolution.  They had set up a flaming basketball hoop which would spout a gout of fire whenever someone made a basket.  It was here that I ran into my friend Sivens.  It seemed like this burn was just one big NCF reunion. As I shot a hoop, Sarah showed up in her skimpy black bellydancer’s outfit, with many jangly golden bangles sewn onto the top and bottom.  She had found a clothes pin attached to her skirts with a cell phone number written on it and the words, “Call for a good time.” We promptly attached it to the back of my friend Django’s shirt. Sarah and I spent a lot of the rest of the night in each other’s vicinity since I had nothing to do in particular.  My job was to roam around and find firespinners. If I couldn’t find any, well, that meant I had free time.  We danced, shot hoops into the flaming basketball hoop, painted each other with glow in the dark body paint, and we were surprised to see my friend Jake who wasn’t supposed to be there.  We played a game of Jenga, with a twist.  For each brick you pulled out, you had to obey the instruction written on it.  Sarah got a brick instructing her to give constructive criticism to someone.  She turned to me and said solemnly, “You use too much tongue when kissing.”  At first, I felt that she had crushed my pride, like a force choke crushes an esophogus. Jake laughed hysterically at my expression, saying, “That’s the most constructive criticism I have ever heard.” I managed to bounce back and accept the feedback, like a boss.  Sarah decided that she was tired and went back to the tent as I served out the rest of my shift until midnight.  When I went back to the Ranger’s tent, they gave me an awesome orange bag for my service.  I hung out some more with Jake, Django and my other friends for a while until I felt like going back to the tent and snuggling with Sarah. 

The next morning was rough. We were very tired and sore from sleeping on the hard ground.  Once we both got up, we went and stood in line for the showers.  While in line, my friends Jon, Chris and I put on a love triangle for Sarah, much to the amusement of everyone in line.  We planned to run away to Japan, just us three guys.  Sarah and I did a photo shoot with my friend Peter. The photos came out marvelous and no, I won’t be sharing them with you guys.  Afterwards, I changed into my much-anticipated costume: the Sith Lord.  With black leather boots and gloves, a black cloak, silver mask and red obi, I looked fearsomely unrecognizable.  I paraded around the burn in my outfit in order to drum up some hunters for the Sith Hunt that I had planned. I ended up fighting one of the hunters, a barbarian clad in a fur loincloth, prior to the hunt.  Once the hunt began, I was successful in hiding from Sarah and most of the other hunters, although the barbarian did find me at one point for 20 minutes. The game ended early however because I ended up getting heat stroke.  As a result, I missed out on spinning in Conclave. 

Because I  could no longer spin in conclave, I ended watching with Sarah as my friends Javier, Tmmy, KC, and others showed off their stuff. After the fire performance of the “dragons” they lit the effigy a flame while Sarah and I basked in it’s glory. For the rest of the night I spun fire blowing peoples minds and I explored the rest of the burn with Sarah. Eventually she went to sleep and I spent the rest of the night with my friends Jon, Django, and Chris. I ended up not going to sleep at all and stayed up till Sunday. After showering, Sarah and I packed everything up and helped out friends pack their stuff as well. I walked around as others started packing and took goodbye photos with the friends I  had a chance to say farewell to.

When Sarah and I returned to campus we slept for half the day. The week we returned was BACC week. I went to several Baccs that week but focused mostly on touching up my own presentation and getting ready for my Bacc. I’m defending my thesis May 14th at 10:00. I will be serving eggs and bacon during my presentation. Yesterday was my last day working for Phonathon.I worked the Thank--thon shift, thanking parents for their generous contributions to the College this past year. I ended my shift calling my girlfriend and my best friends parents asking them for donations to the college.

Today I went and had my committee copies of my thesis printed and bound  today. If feels odd to have held in my hands the final product of all my hard work. I thanked the lady who helped me out paid for my copies and made my way back to campus. This weekend I am going Contra dancing with Sarah. Till next time my friends and have an awesome weekend!

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