The View from the Practice Room

I’ve always loved watching people. The ‘shower thought,’ if you will, that each and every person you see and pass has their own, equally complicated and chaotic world that they alone inhabit – that no one else will ever know completely, has always been in equal parts comforting and terrifying to me, and I love to sit and wonder about other peoples’ little worlds: are they like mine? Do they see what I see? Are they wondering the same? Although there are many spots on campus where one could engage in such an activity, my favorite is in the Prior practice rooms. Enclosed by glass walls, I can watch the people on the ground floor, three floors down from where I sit, do everything from study, to sip tea, to perform. The result, at least for me, is the happy knowledge that, although separated by sound-proofed walls, I am far from alone.

My Montserrat course, entitled “Worlds of Sense” this semester, has been reading German philosopher Markus Gabriel’s “Why the World Does not Exist.” (By the world, he means an idea, category, or uniting factor by which everything that is real can be defined [and if that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry – it doesn’t to me or any of my classmates either!]). Although we are only a few chapters in, and barely two weeks into the semester, a few of his claims have already taken up semi-permanent residence in my mind, leaving me constantly puzzling over his words and ideas. Now, sitting in Cool Beans, watching the students, professors, and staff come and go, this quote comes to mind:

“From a cosmic perspective, it looks very much as if, in the interests of pure survival, we cling to an arrogant fantasy, namely the idea that humanity and its life world are something special… To a galaxy long since deceased, whose light has just reached us, it is of utterly no concern whether or not I ate breakfast this morning.”

This sounds, albeit fatalistic, correct. The world will go on, and each of our little worlds will each go on too, with seemingly no effect on each other. I will practice in that little soundproofed room while a class above me will study philosophy, and the workshop below me builds a set for a play; the people across the building from me will wonder at the art gallery’s new exhibit, and the students who sit at tables below me will sip their tea, study their work, and laugh with one another. But Gabriel doesn’t leave us there, as little ants in a galaxy far too big for us. In fact, the entire basis of his claims is that the universe – everything that we know and see of the space around us – is just one, tiny part of the world.

In fact, to Gabriel, I am not separated from the rest of the building at all, despite being alone. For the students on the ground floor, I am the cellist practicing on the third floor, and to the passers-by in the hallway, I am the one whose music they can faintly hear. To the art gallery, I am the musician across from them, and maybe for another student, I am the one whose little world they contemplate. I exist in the material world, yes, but I am also a part of each of those little worlds as well – the worlds that I may never even think about.

So while my world may be small, even miniscule, and insignificant from the perspective of the universe, you and I are not. No, we are so many things, and a part of so many worlds. I may not understand Gabriel’s philosophy, and I may never know the depths of your worlds, but I can say this: how wonderful it is that I ate breakfast this morning! How wonderful is it that, from my and your perspective, breakfast is of such importance! And how wonderfully, fantastically arrogant indeed that you and I are so special, our existence so multi-faceted and so relevant from the view of that practice room!

some yummy food from croads that I enjoyed in a nook in, you guessed it, PPAC!
the view from the practice room! (PPAC was empty because this was taken late at night):)

Semester One… All Done!

And just like that, my last final is over! (and by that, I mean hours spent studying, panicking, and drinking coffee at 10pm). It’s been such an amazing semester on the hill, and I’m so excited for what the next holds this spring. Not only have I met some amazing friends, but I’ve also gained an incredible sense of community, from the SGA cabinet to the orchestra, the Kimball student workers and even my classes!

a group of students with their professor stands in front of a black chalkboard, covered in mathematical terms. All of the students are smiling, and some are holding up peace signs.
my calc 1 class on our last day!

If you had told me a year ago that I would (willingly?!) be taking physics and calc, preparing to declare as a music major, snacking on French toast sticks and bacon at midnight in a dining hall (thank you midnight breakfast), and most importantly, being happy and finding myself at a little college in Worcester Massachusetts, I would have laughed in your face. I’m not sure if I could have imagined or predicted a single experience this semester, but I’m certainly grateful for all of them.

I’m of course excited to go home and see my family, friends, and pets (and not quite so excited to leave campus at 4am for my flight…), but I’m even more excited to come back here for another semester on the hill. <3. Merry Christmas everyone!!

I’ve created a little photo gallery here with my favorite memories of first semester:

orchestra auditions!
a (very) full car on move in day!

 

 

 

 

 

manyyyy hours spent in the practice room!
my first montserrat event going into Worcester!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

first football game with my friends!
a first-year retreat at the Joyce contemplative center!
a season-opener hockey game!
going to see A Christmas Carol with my boyfriend in Providence!

 

 

celebrating my birthday with Kimball cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and of course, many more, like reading and writing letters in my hammock outside, ordering 50+ chicken nuggets with my friends, late-night Tchaikovsky listening, building bridges in my physics class, impulsively buying a dinosaur onesie for Halloween, watering my plants in the bathroom sink, and improv sessions in my friends’ room! see you next semester hc!

Dogs, Spiders, and Monkeys – Oh my!

This past weekend was Family Weekend and Halloweekend (Halloween Weekend) — an exciting and busy combination! Some highlights from the long weekend included:

the incredible view from my parent’s airbnb!
my parents and I on our mini tour!

-Relaxing with my parents in their Airbnb, where they had the most amazing view of the New England color change, and, more importantly, of their host’s three golden retrievers!

 

-Giving my parents a personal tour of campus, featuring my favorite study spots (one of which is directly in front of a mural of a spider) in the Science Complex and Dinand Library, the best shortcuts up and down the hill, and of course, my favorite foods at Kimball.

one of the views in the park!

 

-Exploring Blackstone Gateway Park and admiring all the varieties of plants and animals that call it their home!

my boyfriend and I went as Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat!

 

-Attending the HC orchestra Halloween Party, which featured a costume contest (which my boyfriend and I won!) and an egg hunt through the Prior Performing Arts Center (PPAC). 

Now it’s back to work, with a physics exam and a music theory midterm this week! (and the countdown begins until thanksgiving…)