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    30th May 2006

    A little about everything

    I graduated. The commencement ceremony was really, really good, in spite of my last post’s lack of enthusiasm for it. It was awesome to have family around, and for my family to see the excellence that Calvin strives for in all its doings.

    A great number of us Calvin track fans went down to watch the DIII national meet at Benedictine University in the Chicago suburbs last weekend. Jesse and his brother Wes and I stayed in Paul Rollet’s campus housing unit at North Central College. Paul ran at Calvin for a couple years before transferring last fall. Both the meet and the stay at NCC were amazing.

    My cousins Dave and Elizabeth Holmlund returned from Germany this week with their 6-month old son Zechariah, so I have spent a good part of the last couple days hanging with them.

    I’m still in Grand Rapids, but I think I’ll be driving to Loveland in a few days. Maybe I’ll write more than these brief updates if there is more stability in my life soon.

    17th May 2006

    The work is all in now. There are no more papers and no more exams for me as an undergraduate student. I’m pretty sure I passed all my classes and have completed all of Calvin College’s requirements for the bachelor of arts degree.

    It’s kind of a bizarre feeling. I’m not sure if I should feel overjoyed or a bit sad.

    I’ve always thought that graduation ceremonies are sort of anti-climactic. I turned in an excellent exegetical paper on Revelation 19 last week in which I was able to show some of the things that I learned as a student here; or studying and writing exams that demonstrate what I have learned this semester. These were more climactic than graduation.

    Or on Sunday, I played at LOFT for the last time. It was an wonderful service – God blessed his people. I hope that I have opportunity in the future to play with musicians of the caliber that I was playing with on Sunday night. This was more climactic than graduation.

    And last Thursday, we had the Classics Department picnic. Each semester the professors have all the classics students over to one of their houses. It has always been one of my favorite events of each semester. This time, there were some recognition of graduating seniors, of whom I am one and the few others are all outstanding students and good people (I’m making a value judgment in using the word “good” – and it is a deserved one). Even this little picnic was more climactic for me than graduation.

    I had been itching to make a little speech for a while – maybe part of me is missing being a senior on an athletic team – and I wrote a little thing for the Classics picnic. I read a lot of Greek poetry this semester and so I tried at first to write it in rhymed meter, than I settled on rhymed and 10 syllables per line, but then even a few of the lines weren’t only 10 syllables.

    Dear friends, dear fam’ly, gathered together,
    here’s the end of another semester.
    Some will return here and others will stay,
    some of us will travel far far away.
    I won’t be back save be some arrangement,
    I fail my cross-cultural engagement.
    Seems like just yesterday I came to this school –
    dorm room in disarray, a freshman, a fool –
    and poof! just like that, four years have gone by,
    I tried not to blink, now I’ll try not to cry.
    Soon a day I never thought I would see,
    some of us here will get college degrees.
    Then the real world, which some find exciting –
    but finding a job I find quite frightning.
    So, if you please, then do me the favor:
    Tell what to do with my classics major.
    I’d rather not talk ’bout my Greek degree;
    I know what they’ll say: “It’s all Greek to me!”
    I’ll tell you a few things I learned in class:
    First you have to go if you want to pass.
    Second, help often comes from a stranger,
    and if you stayed up too late, stay away from this danger:
    The soothing sound of Doctor Bratt’s lecture
    in Classical Art and Architecture.
    I’ve learned that there’s nothing more scandalous
    than the tale of Gyges and Candaules;
    how triremes gave Athens democracy
    when they let the slaves at the oars go free!
    So if in your labors you grow jealous of peers,
    remember, “You’re a better person having studied Greek and Latin all these years!”
    Thanks to professors and classmates and friends,
    and thanks to our God that school years have ends!

    12th May 2006

    One down, three to go.

    The papers are in, and I just took my first exam. All I have to do now is write three more and they give me a bachelor’s degree.

    1 comment

    7th May 2006

    Cross Cultural Engagement Retraction and the Madison Finale…

    I let my emotions get the best of me on my last post. It was unfair in some ways because I didn’t give you all the whole picture. I wrote an e-mail to Professor Lissa Schwander, the prof who heads up the CCE committee, with similar content to what I wrote below and also directed her to this site. She replied promptly and thoroughly, and made me feel that I should probably not speak poorly of a program that I really do support for the most part.

    I’m proud of my college for sticking its neck out there and saying that every student should have to think through some of the issues of living in a variegated society. This is bound to be unpopular requirement in some ways, it is bound to be controversial, and cross cultural engagement is very difficult to define. But it is really important. Administration of such a requirement has got to be a lot of work and there are a lot of people who have done some significant cross cultural engaging who still have to take a class like the one that I just took.

    And the class I took was very good, and will probably lead to my continued reflection on the racial privilege structures of our society, as well as concerning my own thoughts and behaviors around people of different race or culture. For example, this morning at Church of All Nations, a small (only 4 months old) multi-ethnic church in Grand Rapids, the pastor (a Korean) had us pray for the American soldiers in Iraq. This prompted me to find out how some of the Koreans feel about praying for the American soldiers when some of their own friends are currently serving their 2 years required military service – and for some of the guys graduating from Calvin this year, when they themselves are about to go to serve in the Korean military. (We more or less concluded that it is good to pray for the soldiers even if we aren’t praying for a specific outcome to a conflict.)

    And in other news, we had a large cookout at the Madison House last night. It was the 11th significant gathering that Jesse, Tyler, David, and myself had put together in the last two years. Though I missed a few of them last year, I think this is more or less a brief recollection:
    Fall 2004 – double grill party with lots of food and a glimpse of the dance parties to come
    Fall 2004 – balloon stomp, bobbing for apples, habanero eating contest
    Fall 2004 – a dance party that I don’t remember hearing that much about, except that it was the first one using money from Calvin, I think
    Winter 2005 – semester kickoff
    Winter 2005 – Enchantment Under the Sea Formal, Jesse and Sarah’s birthday party
    Spring 2005 – Graduation Spectacular with a bounce house
    Fall 2005 – Get Down at 120 Madison #1, a hot dance party – maybe too hot
    Fall 2005 – Halloween costume party
    Fall 2005 – Get Down at 120 Madison #2, another hot dance party, and the cops came to break it down
    Winter 2006 – Middle School Party, pogs, Girltalk, sex-ed spelling bee
    Spring 2006 – Madison Finale, also the party where we grilled 18 lbs of hamburger meat along with lot of brats
    So… that’s 11!

    3rd May 2006

    Cross Cultural Engagement.

    Calvin College has a Cross Cultural Engagement (CCE) requirement such that every student who graduates from Calvin must have at some point in their college careers intentionally interacted with people of other cultures(and then critically evaluated that interaction). Many students fulfill this requirement while studying abroad. Others take classes which have integral pieces related to CCE, such as Survey of Latin American History or a class where you are conversation partners with a Korean seminary student. The CCE guidelines on the Calvin registrar’s page lists the following as guidelines for designing a CCE class:

    “Objectives:
    1)to gain skills in cross-cultural communication
    2)to understand how the world might look from the standpoint of another community of interpretation and experience
    3)to learn how to discern and, where appropriate, adapt to the cultural expectations of the other
    4)to learn how to distinguish between the enduring principles of human morality and their situation-specific adaptations
    5)to witness other cultural embodiments of faith, and thus to reflect on the substance and definition of one’s own faith by comparison.
    The four components of orientation, direct engagement experience, reflection, and evaluation are curricular criteria of any courses fulfilling the CCE requirement.”

    The full guidelines for what cross cultural engagement is what a course must do to meet that requirement, see: http://www.calvin.edu/admin/fdrn/documents/CCE–Implementation%20Document–Final%20Revision–Aug.,%202003-x%20(Feb.2004).doc

    I don’t want to get out of doing cross cultural engagement, but I was hoping to get approval to write a paper describing my experience at Craig Hospital, where I was immersed in a culture of disability. I wrote an e-mail to the Social Work professor who is also in charge of the CCE requirement. She informed me that the culture of disability wasn’t generally considered by her department to qualify for the CCE credit. I understand this. Its ok. Even students who grew up overseas or are international students or who are married to people of different race or culture don’t get exempt from the CCE requirement.

    But I did still need the CCE credit, so I signed up for the last-chance-for-seniors-who-want-to-graduate CCE class called “Exploring Racism”. The class only met 3 times for 3 hours each, and we had to participate in 3 outside of class activities and read some articles and then write about all of it. The class was itself rather enjoyable, or it has been – I still have to finish the writing portion.

    Now another thread of this story: This semester I’ve been meeting with a guy who is taking a class called Community Based Performance. In the class they get to know people and then interview them with the objective of making a script out of their own words and performing it as a way to stimulate discussion and thought about different subjects. Last semester my friend Sam, who is a Sudanese Lost Boy, participated with this class. This semester their theme was disability and so I was asked if I would be willing to help and I was.

    Last weekend the class performed before a movie screening on Calvin’s campus. Between the performance and the film there was a discussion led by Calvin’s Professor Chris Smit, himself an expert concerning the portrayal of disabilities in culture (and himself a wheelchair user). In that conversation it came out that the members of this class were receiving CCE credit for the class – sure enough the class is on the list of approved courses.

    So here I’ve been denied my request to write for credit about my experience getting know a great number of folks with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, and now I’m taking this last-chance class – but these students are getting CCE credit for interviewing me!

    No real complaints, but I do think its a bit bizarre on the whole.

    2 comments

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.