Well, it has been one whirlwind of a semester (a fact that has resulted in many things falling through the cracks, especially my blog posts)! With the end finally here and only 2 more finals to take, I can’t describe my feelings as anything less than thrilled—thrilled to go home, thrilled to relax, thrilled to move on to something new. It’s at the end of the semester, though, that I can’t help but think about what I’ve experienced and what is to come.
One of the few good things about Finals Week is that suddenly, everyone wants to feed you! In the past two days, I have eaten one church-sponsored meal, two meals at the houses of professors, two Bethel sponsored snack bars, and one evening of snacks and kittens at a friend’s house. This does not include the care packages and random food offerings that have suddenly popped up in our mod, the third meal at a professor’s house that is going to happen tomorrow evening, or the “study break” snack bars offered in the mod’s main lounge. It’s just great.
…except there’s no snow. Yet.
It’s “officially” winter here at Bethel, even though technically winter isn’t for another two weeks. Since we’re only here for four more days, though, winter has been these two weeks since Thanksgiving. We went straight from “Why are you playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving?’ to “Hurry up and do all the Christmas stuff because we aren’t here much longer!”
Besides Gala, the Christmas celebrations include Lighting of the Green and various singing opportunities at Chapel and and Mojo’s. Lighting of the Green is a 26-year old Bethel tradition that involves turning off the outside lamps on campus and making a human advent wreath with candles around the Green at the center of campus. It’s a really beautiful event to participate in.
Despite the fact that celebration is in the air, there’s also panic in the air. Finals have set in, and they’re not leaving until Friday. The library is far more popular than it has been all year and so is Mojo’s. Food is everywhere, provided by professors, Student Life and care packages from home or church. We’ll all make it through, but this week will be rough.
Hoo-rah and ga-la are intended to rhyme, in case you were wondering.
With the schedule one week earlier this year, Gala ended up being held on the only Friday night between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. This early schedule meant the people who see Gala as the prom of Bethel and hold it in very high regard were preparing before Thanksgiving. I didn’t exactly have the time or energy to devote to that kind of preparation, so I ended up wearing the same dress as last year and having 4 dates. The 5 of us had a great time not having to deal with usual date stuff.
There’s nothing quite like the community formed during your college years. Our mod is blessed to have an awesome guy’s mod right across the deck. (And no, I’m not just saying that because of the 3 guys from the mod who are in relationships with 3 of our ladies). They are just great guys. For Gala their mod came over to ours to travel en mass to Memorial Hall, talking, laughing, and teasing each other all the way. In the last week we’ve gone to Applebee’s for half-price appetizers, gone to Eric’s house for snacks (his mom provided a feast of snack items), and just plan had fun despite the stress of the last week of classes and finals looming on the horizon.
“Miriam, go put on a dress!” (To the modmate standing in the hallway of the mod singing while everyone else was rushing around getting ready)
“Can someone bobypin my hair?”
“Who has the eye shadow?”
“This necklace or the choker?”
“I’m wearing my long underwear under my dress.”
“I ate so much my dress isn’t falling down anymore!” (After the delicious pork loin with orange dressing)
“Good evening, my Dear Fellow.” (From the occupants of one carriage to the other as they passed each other )
Kicked off last Thursday night with the Tacky Sweater Party, the Christmas season has officially hit Bethel. Hosted by the Student Activities Committee, the party featured a decorate-your-own-cookie bar, eggnog and milk, student-led classic Christmas tunes and a bad sweater contest. I arrived at 9:30 and swiped a couple of cookies before they disappeared, then started snapping pictures of all the kitschy-sweater-wearing students that walked in the door. While students mingled and enjoyed their cookies and drinks, juniors Aaron Rudeen and Renee Reimer entertained with guitar and vocals, complete with interpretative motions. Once, during the line in “Dashing Through the Snow,” that goes “dashing through the snow/on a one-horse open sleigh/o’er the fields we go/laughing all the way/hahahahahahaha…” they started laughing and couldn’t stop! Eventually the entire room was laughing along with them! It was a pretty memorable moment.