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Caesarea

 
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This year I spent my birthday in the city of Caesarea. The festivities began with a trip to the beach. Caesarea beach rests against the backdrop of an incredible Roman aqueduct. It is the perfect place to wade into the Mediterranean. Technically, swimming isn’t allowed, but that doesn’t stop locals (or crazy Frenchmen) from taking a dip.

Learning a Different Way

 
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I am a third year doctoral student at Vanderbilt in the Graduate Department of Religion studying Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. In addition, I am ordained clergy and I spend a great deal of time dedicated to ministry. My interest in archaeology is relevant to both my work as a burgeoning scholar and as someone squarely situated in the church. During the school year I spend my days and nights in the library, in class, teaching and learning both in an academic setting and in the church. I enjoy what I do; I find great purpose in it.

Exciting Excavation

 
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I am really enjoying my time here. The area is just beautiful and I am so excited to travel and explore the country. Excavating is tiring, but very rewarding and I am finding that once getting into "the zone" I can just keep going and completely lose track of time!

A New Adventure

 
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Israel is an amazing place! Surprisingly, it is not too hot. Actually it is quite cool in the mornings and when the wind picks up. Being able to watch the sunrise everyday has been a magical experience. 

A New Day's Sunrise

 
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Before I left for Israel, I just wanted to go to the beach and watch the sunset. Instead I was watching the sunset from the seat of an airplane. After being up over 24 hours with very little rest, I arrived on the Kibbutz, meeting several new people. We said goodnight and prepared for a 4:00AM wake-up call. We slept in until 4:30AM and waited at the bus stop by 5:00AM to start our day. Being mine and many others first time to Israel, Norma took us on a tour of Tel Jezreel. As we learned the history we slowly descended down to the work site, but not before we could witness something majestic.

"Don't Cry Because it's Over; Smile Because it Happened." -Dr. Seuss

 
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I kept this Dr. Seuss quote close when leaving Harlaxton, my study abroad home in England, and I called upon it again these past weeks as I experienced many “lasts” before graduation, as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma case and moved my tassel from right to left, and as I said goodbye to many college friends.

Day Trip to New Harmony

 
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This past weekend, some of my friends and I enjoyed a wonderful day trip to New Harmony, a small town about 45 minutes from UE's campus. Originally the site of Robert Owen's Utopian Community, New Harmonie, the town is now a local tourist destination. There are still many remnants of that age and it is a fun place to explore!

I Don't Wanna Go

 
I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm going to go ahead and use a Doctor Who quote for my final blog post title, but it seemed fitting, because it's true. I have had a wonderful four years here at UE, and I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to go. 

But in spite of that, there are only 11 days until graduation. Yesterday was the last day of classes, and whether I like it or not, I've got a very limited amount of time left in which I get to call myself an undergraduate.

I could list a thousand reasons why I'd love to stay here at UE and just pretend I'm still allowed to take classes and see how long it took anyone to notice. But instead of doing that (because, after all, it'd be giving away my master plan), I think I'll just say a fond farewell to the university that has been my home for the past four years. 

I'm not sure I've fully quite accepted it yet that I'll be leaving, but I'm definitely taking a lot of new experiences and knowledge with me when I go. Before I came here, I'd scarcely left my small town in Ohio. The furthest away I'd been was Florida, and that was only for a few days. Now, I can say I've gone abroad for four months. I've lived in another country. I've gotten on a plane, gone to a conference in Seattle, and "networked" with a ton of other writers.

I've drafted lesson plans, taught creative writing, been a writing center mentor, and had so many little experiences that I hope I will remember always, from the first moment when I stepped out of my mom's car to look at that tree I posted about, to the unfortunate moment that I still refuse to accept where I have to get in my car and drive away, becoming that strange thing they call an alum.  

So, before I tear up, I'm just going to say it--goodbye UE! I will miss you but I think and know that almost everything I've done here has prepared me for whatever's waiting out there in the real world. So I pass the baton to the next set of bloggers and can't wait to read all about your experiences here (if I can bear the jealousy).  









These Things I Have Learned

 

I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of my senior year! I know it’s all cliché and stuff, but the time really has gone so fast. Endings always make me nostalgic, so I set to thinking about what it is that I’ve actually learned these past four years. There have been so many amazing experiences, fantastic teachers and, yes, a mishap or two along the way, and to distill it down into a neat list is almost impossible. Yet there are a few things I think are most important that I’d like to share.

My Hectic April (So Far)

 

This past week has been absolutely crazy. Besides class, homework and work (on campus and Old Navy, thank you very much), I’ve had readings to attend, conferences at which to present, presentations to give, emails to graduate schools to send—it’s been a very “collegy” week for sure.

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