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Becca's Blog

The first weekend of April was a triumph for New College theatre. A few of my closest friends here at New College were in a play called The Love Talker by Deborah Pryor. The play would likely be categorized as fantasy/horror. It is about two sisters, Bun and Gowdie Blackmun, who live in a house in the Appalachian mountains. The younger sister, Gowdie, falls under the charms of an evil spirit called the Love Talker. Despite Bun’s best efforts to keep the Love Talker at bay, he is able to come between Gowdie and Bun and, with the help of another forest spirit, the Red Head, causes irreversible damage to the Blackmun family. I do not want to spoil too much of the play for those of you who may encounter it later in your lives!

It is a very well-written piece of theatre that was performed rather impeccably by our cast here at New College. Bun Blackmun was played by fourth-year Taylor Filaroski, Gowdie Blackmun was played by second-year Shannon Lumpkin, the Red Head was played by second-year Lara Grauerholz-Fisher, and the Love Talker was played by first-year Logan Schulman. The piece was directed by McAlister Grant, one of our most talented student directors. McAlister is a transfer student who also directed last year’s wonderful production of Farragut North.

They had been rehearsing for the play since January, including doing accent work with a graduate student at the Asolo to solidify their characters’ Appalachian accents. All of the actors were very invested in their characters and spent a lot of time outside of rehearsals developing their characters and discussing the play with each other. Lara was also the costumer for the show and, boy, was she invested in getting the costumes just right! She intricately drew up the costume designs and made those designs come to life. Despite her vegetarianism, she was able to use real small animal bones that she found in the woods to make jewelry for her character. I spent a morning out by the bay with her and Shannon just dirtying up some of the costumes to make them more realistic. Logan even sported a hand-drawn, forest-like fake tattoo across half of his body and face for every performance.

Overall, the investments that the cast put into their production of The Love Talker definitely paid off. Over that weekend, they had a Friday night show, a Saturday matinee and night show, and Sunday matinee. Every single performance received rave reviews from the audience, which not only included students and friends but also New College professors! I think this production demonstrated that theatre at New College is constantly improving and reaching new levels of professionalism and talent.

Here are some production photos taken by Ryan Kennedy for the show!

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Bun Blackmun played by Taylor Filaroski

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Gowdie Blackmun played by Shannon Lumpkin

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The Red Head played by Lara Grauerholz-Fisher

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The Love Talker played by Logan Schulman

If you have an interest in theatre or any other creative/artistic work, know that opportunities exist for you at New College! Our theatre company here is not huge, but lately, we have had at least two to four productions every semester. Also, experience is not necessary. The actors of The Love Talker all had a great range in their levels of theatrical experience. If you would rather not be in a big production, there are always clubs like the Improvisation Club, in which you can work on specific types of theatre like Improv on a regular basis (with a few shows every so often)! So many of our students are theatre people, artists, musicians, writers, and the like. If you are worried about not being able to participate in the arts, you should put that worry to rest. New College offers opportunities for all of our students to partake in the artistic endeavors of their choosing.



Alex's Blog

No More Black and Blue

This past weekend was the first combined college party between New College and Ringling to celebrate last Sunday's football game between our two colleges. However there’s the possibility it might have been our first and only Ringling-NCF party -I’ll get to that part later. The Ring-NCF party was being hosted and advertised by my friends Michael Long, Dain Regis, and the rest of the NCF football team. They advertised through posters around campus and going door to door raising money for charity. I’m not entirely up to date on everything they did leading up to the party, mostly because of thesis.

On the day of the party, the football team, and people who volunteered were setting up Palm Court with streamers and balloons; and the nook was transformed into a boxed in art wall concert area. That night I took a break from thesis to check out the party. Needless to say it was  huge-I dare say the size of a good Palm Court Party. People were out dancing, I saw flow artist and joined in with them, and I explored the party to see who was out and who I could meet. At some point in the night I ran into an old classmate from high school who was a Ringling student.

As I said earlier, this might be the first and last Ring-NCF party. At some point during the night something happened-a noise complaint or something on that level- resulting in the party getting shut down. As people were leaving, some Ringling and NCF fire spinners started spinning fire much to the annoyance of administration and the NCPD. They were told to put it out, and I talked  to them as to why they couldn't finish. The reasons were that spinning fire had created another event after the Ringling students were told to leave. Besides the issue of how the party ended, some of the NCF students were not thrilled with how the party seemed to promote a football culture which for some has connotations of bullying. Most of the debate regarding the Ringling party was moved to the Forum and since then some have hoped we can try again at another Ring-NCF party that everyone can enjoy equally.



Alex's Blog

The spring break is over, and it’s time to get back on the grind of getting more done for the final stretch of writing my thesis and getting ready to BACC. Over the break my parents adopted a new dog, his name is Slate Grey Maxius, and he is a Weimaraner-the same breed as the previous dogs we’ve cared for. My dad brought him up to meet me when he picked me up at the start of spring break. Since coming home, I’ve took Slate on a walk almost every day, getting him adjusted to neighborhood. It’s been somewhat difficult with the other neighborhood dogs shouting at  him every time and forcing him to recognize the dog hierarchy of  the neighborhood as the “new pup”. Luckily he’s got me to comfort him during his walks and let the other neighborhood dogs know who's really in charge. Having a dog again brings a sense of peace and balance to house that was previously missing since last summer.

Aside from walking the dog and thesising, I also played some video games while I was home. I caught up on my stealth and silent assassination is Dishonored.I polished up on my seamless freeflow combat and predator tactics in Arkham Origins, and I unleashed my full chaotic evil potential in Infamous 2. While I was thesising, I would sometimes chat with Sarah over Facebook or watch an episode of Star Wars the Clone Wars.

While I was home, my parents also decided to have one last get together with friends and family before I headed back to campus. The day of the party was also the day that Audrey came home from D.C. For the most part I spent most of the party in my room with Slate playing video games and talking to Audrey, occasionally coming out to talk to the others and tell the about my thesis and my plans for after college. After the party and Audrey, dad and I finished cleaning the kitchen relaxed for the rest of the night. Audrey and I showed our dad a video of Rob Swanson from Parks and Recreation being awesome and laughs were had by all. I let Slate pend the night in my room after everyone else went to bed. I ended up stayed up late with Audrey talking about our lives and plans for the future.

Sunday Audrey and I went out for lunch and to run some  errands- a gift I was getting for Sarah, and a gift for my mom’s birthday. When we made it back home I spent the evening helping my dad with chores around the house before I had to leave the next day for school. At midnight my dad sister, and I all gave my mother her birthday cards and birthday gifts is such a way that was reminiscent of the three stooges. Even though she feigned annoyance she appreciated the gesture nonetheless.

The following morning Audrey and I packed up the car so that when we were redy e would be able to just hit the road and go. I spent some more time with slate, said my goodbyes to my parent- played a little more Dishonored-then we hit the road. On the way back to campus I watched the Dark Knight Returns while Audrey drove. When we made it back Audrey said her goodbyes and made her way back  home to spend time with our parents.

Upon returning I checked my mailbox and noticed that my replacement pod poi LED lights came in while I was away. The cords were also replaced  with a tougher strand, and I received my order of flow mass which will make my pods much heavier now. Apparently  while I was on my way back Sarah and her roommate eve had a bet to see if I or their roommate Taylor would make it back first. Sadly I came back second and Sarah lost the bet. The loser has to dress in crazy outfit of the winners choice .

Since coming back to campus I’ve spent past week thesising and working on getting ready for the summer. ‘m trying to get out of my room more and do more of my actual writing in my carrel. I also fixed my bike finally after nearly a mod and a half of just sitting by the bike railing in 3rd court. Now I go to farther places in half the time and effort! Last week I spun fire for a friend while he burned one of his statues made of cardboard at Caples. I also spun glow poi for a Planned Parenthood event at Classicos with some of  the other members of the fire spinning club and some fellow burners.

Becca's Blog

My baccalaureate examination is just around the corner! And by that, I mean it is in four weeks on April 28th, which still seems way too soon. In case you do not know, every student at New College has to pass a baccalaureate examination, which is an oral presentation and defense of your thesis in front of your peers and a chosen group of professors (your committee members). You have to turn in a full, well-edited draft of your thesis to your committee members about a week or two before you give this formal defense. Basically, this means I have a few weeks to finish my thesis and turn it in to my committee, which consists of three Psychology professors with whom I have worked closely over my years here at New College.

I am not feeling very good about my bacc right now but I am sure I will start to feel better about it as I finish more of my thesis. I have two incomplete sections of my thesis right now, which worries me but I am trying to maintain positivity. I am ready to bust all this work out and be done with my thesis to be honest! I am proud of all the work I have done so far though. I have written 41 coherent pages, which never ceases to impress me. I think the most encouraging aspect about this entire situation is watching my page count increase as I write. Nothing inspires me more than seeing that I was able to change my word document from being 20 pages to being 32 over a weekend!

I also am lucky to have an amazing adviser. She always puts me back on track when I feel lost and keeps me grounded when I start freaking out about something. I just finished my statistics for my thesis, which was a major source of panic for me. Fortunately, I had two wonderful professors help me figure out what statistical tests I wanted to run on my data and how to run those tests using statistical software. The best thing about writing your thesis is truly discovering how awesome and helpful your professors are. Occasionally, thesis students do not feel satisfied with the amount of support provided by their thesis advisers. Most if not all of these students find another professor(s) in their area (or even outside of their area!) who can give them the support that they require.

Without doubt, the thesis project is daunting for every single New College student. However, after three years at New College, I would say that every fourth year has the ability to write a great, coherent thesis after three years at New College. We do have had some fifth-year students and above but sometimes personal obstacles can keep you from finishing your thesis in time. A common obstacle for not finishing the thesis in the fourth year is indecision over the thesis topic or the Area of Concentration. Some students also encounter problems in their personal lives that keep them from finishing their thesis in time, which is unpredictable and unfortunate. However, for the majority of us fourth years who do finish our theses on time and graduate in May, the entire thesis experience is both fulfilling and rewarding. First and foremost, we have the experience of writing a thesis, which is something that many people with only a Bachelor’s Degree lack. For those of us who plan to go further into academics, writing a thesis helps prepare us for all the writing still ahead of us. We also have seen ourselves conquer something that may have once seemed difficult or even impossible at times. I know that has to spark a certain amount of confidence and pride in ourselves!

Before Spring Break, I went to the bacc of my friend and fellow admissions blogger, Matt. He is one of my fellow thesis advisees not only in the field of Psychology but also under our shared advisor, Heidi Harley. His bacc was nothing less than amazing, I must say. He was a great presenter and was able to share his charming personality with the crowd while simultaneously explaining his complex thesis in a concise and understandable manner. For me, his bacc was motivating. Not only am I glad to have his perspective as a Psychology student who recently passed his bacc, but I also gained so much insight and knowledge from seeing my peer present so well on his thesis. If you have not seen his blog post about his bacc yet, you should scroll down and read about it from his point of view!



Alex's Blog

Hey again everyone, hope you’re all doing fine and dandy! Me? I’ve been as carefree as a snowman locked in  room with puppies made of fire. An odd analogy yes, but I like it nonetheless. since my last entry, I’ve been doing the same old, same old; thesising, fencing, quality time with Sarah and close friends, and learning new poi moves to add to my repertoire. Since the Tampa flow jam I went to with Javier at the start of this month I have been further developing my contact poi tech, and working on developing my own unique original moves.One move in particular I’m working on is tossing both poi horizontally, catching them with one hand and spinning one handed. I call it the Mackandal toss. If anyone can guess why I named it such, I’ll sing any song they request  and post a link to a YouTube video of it.

A few Saturdays ago was “Prospy Day” as I like to call it where prospective students and their parents toured the college. A couple times throughout the day I spoke to some of the prospies, and a mother and her son asked Sarah and I what we thought of New College on our way from breakfast. It was interesting giving them the combined perspective of a 4th and 1st year on what we thought of New College.

Later in the day I headed down to the Bay to clear my thoughts and  listen to music. When I got to College Hall, the Bayfront was flooded with prospective families enjoying the sunset some of you readers might have been out there while I was! I headed North of the bay and met some kids one of whom was spinning crystal poi on the ledge.I walked up to them introduced myself and asked if  could see their poi. Long story short,  I blew their minds with some of the stuff I know and I gave them my number to find me if they ever came back to campus before I left.

A couple weeks ago before the start of midterms the full moon fire jam started up again since we disbanded back during the Winter break. This time around we kept the gathering much smaller and didn’t advertise it too much. I went to Lido Beach for the jam with Sarah, CJ, and Javier . I was nice being at the beach again and spinning fire. I got to wear my semi-new harem pants. The only problem during the fire jam was it was ridiculously windy and it was hard to light any of the fire toys and spin properly with nice clean planes. It wasn’t one of my best spin days I admit but I had fun nonetheless. It was also Sarah and CJ’s first time at a Full Moon am.

Last week midterms was going on for everyone taking classes and not writing a thesis. Instead of having to worry about doing midterms, I focused my energy on mad thesising. I also met with Professor Hernandez about my thesis and she gave me significant constructive criticism on what needed to be fixed in my latest drafts, and what could be removed for the time being. I removed a few sets of data that were near impossible for me to properly analyze. Since our meeting I have finished a completed draft of chapter 2 and I feel like a god. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I’m completely done.

Sarah and I did some more work on putting together my festival/graduation costume the other night before she went home for the break. It it now  89% complete and looks so awesome! I  seriously cannot wait to show you guy the final product! Since then I was on campus up until last Tuesday working on my thesis and enjoying the ghost town-esque New College, before heading home to visit my family. I’m hopeful that while I’m home I’ll have made a significant dent in my thesis’ armor of incompletion!

Till after break readers,
Alex out!

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