Ryan’s Reintroduction to America

And magically nearly four weeks have zoomed by in my triumphant return to Middlebury College. After nine months away in Chinaland, coming “home” has been both eye-opening and invigorating. Here’s what I have been up to:

  • Classes: I’m taking three classes this semester. First, “Global Challenges for the 21st Century” with Prof. Isham of the Environmental Studies department. This ended up being a last minute addition to my schedule after two of my courses were canceled over the summer. We are focusing on how design solutions to problems such as malaria, malnutrition, agricultural subsidies, clean water, universal education, etc. My specific research project is about the role of technology education in sub-Saharan Africa. Second, “Eastern European Politics” has been a little bit of a blast from the past. I loved studying Eastern Europe my freshman year of college in Comparative Politics. This time I get to do it but in much more detail. Third, “International Economics” with Prof. Lewin is a fantastic way to ease back in Econ classes after many months without graphs and models. We’re focusing on the theoretical econ which is much suitable to my tastes than the hard-math that I had to put up with sophomore year.
  • Suite: For the first time since I arrived at Midd, I am living in a suite of friends. Suites consist of a bunch of rooms grouped together with a bathroom and common room. Many students love the suite setup because it allows for both privacy and social interaction within close proximity. I am still getting used to have social life right outside my door. If you remember back to last year, I spent a year and a half living in the intercultural academic interest house, PALANA. That social experiment was very much so my favorite living situation. But I’m learning to adapt.
  • Music: I am currently on leave from the Mt. Ayres but the time freed up from that has gone toward my new role as music director for Stuck in the Middle. And so far, directing has been satisfying even if it has been a bit tiring. I certainly didn’t remember how good a group of guys are in the group and the young singers are really enthusiastic about making fantastic music as well as having fun.
  • Web: My latest projects have surrounded implementing a campus-wide calendaring system for students with my friend Matt Sunderland. We actually had been working on it since he arrived to Midd last year but now it’s for real. We support several thousand students on a calendaring system that is entirely not plugged in to the Middlebury College calendaring system. Why try to end-around the College? Because the College is not providing the new-tech resources that students need to organize and plan their schedules on their time, on their own computers. I am continuing my job of designing and updating the Middlebury College Activities Board website as well.
  • Finance: I am now a senior member of the SGA Finance Committee and it’s fun to be back with some really sharp minds that have very nuanced readings of how the College should operate.

2 thoughts on “Ryan’s Reintroduction to America”

  1. have to say, i’m very impressed with the middcal thing, especially the automatic syncing. it would be nice if you could selectively download events, though (as in, one at a time) – have i just not found that yet? i look forward to using it on my eventual return to midd.

  2. hey ryan, glad to hear you’re finding your readjustment to midd quite satisfactory. don’t see any mention of chinese classes though… lolz, taking a break from that?

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