Blogger: Donovan Dennis
I mentioned in my last entry that my hometown, Great Falls, MT, is the 22nd coldest city in the U.S. For a time during early December’s great Rocky Mountain and Midwest freeze, Great Falls was the coldest place on earth, with wind chills steadily descending into the -40s, indeed lower than those temperatures on the Antarctic continent. One can thus imagine my great displeasure at the frigid temperatures piercing my North Face and ripping through the three layers of sweaters underneath as I descended the plane steps onto the tundra of the Great Falls International Airport.
Finals have concluded, thankfully, and I was able to spend 12 well-earned days at home before returning to Oxy on Dec. 29th for the remainder of our winter break training camp. I flew home from Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, several days later than most because of winter break swimming training, (p.s. it was 83 degrees Monday) and so long as I remained indoors I quite enjoyed my time at home. I received much adoration over my “jealousy tan,” from my friends at home. For those unfamiliar, a “jealousy tan” is the semi-permanent tan one develops while living in Southern California during the winter, which North-dwelling students lack, and inevitably envy.
Over the second half of the semester I rediscovered my passion for books and pleasure reading, and I set a goal for this break to read some untouched titles on my shelves. Beginning with fellow Angelino Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (certainly not for the faint of heart or those with easily offendable sensibilities), I have now progressed to Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. Unbeknownst to me before engaging on this literary adventure, both are astute commentaries on upper-class New York society and the means by which social protocol bleaches individuality out of young people. I suppose I would encourage those pressed for activities during the winter break to similarly rediscover the joys of good literature. If I have learned anything this semester, it has been how to read. Comprehending words and regurgitating their meanings are nice indeed, but to read something is another endeavor entirely—one I didn’t learn until this semester. Taking that newfound ability to read, analyze, synthesize and imply and applying it to everyday reading has opened my eyes to everything I’ve missed as an average reader. I guess I’m getting some bang for my buck thanks to the demanding rigors of the History Department.
Congratulations to the accepted Class of 2018 ED applicants, and welcome to Oxy. Hopefully your time here will be filled with curiosity and intellectual intrigue.
From my Montana fireside: happy holidays and a very happy New Year.