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Weeks into Wheaton

posted Oct 1, 2013, 9:58 AM by Jack Bandy
Driving to Wheaton on August 7th, I realized I was leaving more than just a physical location. It felt so busy and abrupt at the time, dealing with the practical matters and not actually thinking about how much life was about to change. Well, it's a typical Friday night here at Wheaton -- I'm in the computer science lab, working on a program. So I decided to take some time and reflect on my experience over the last month and a half or so.

I like to believe that I know what to expect from reality at any given time, and reality likes to prove otherwise. Two days before I left for Wheaton, I received a phone call from an army official regarding the status of my ROTC scholarship (I had been 'temporarily' disqualified months earlier due to my sleepwalking and applied for the waiver). The review board disapproved my waiver. Suddenly my four-year, full-tuition scholarship was dangling by a thread. Panicking, I called everyone who had a shot at changing anything, but this just complicated everything. I left for the Boundary Waters on the 7th, to be without my phone for two weeks, all the while unaware of whether or not I would have the scholarship.

It was an excruciatingly stressful process, but the final decision was that I could not participate in ROTC. Sometimes brick walls actually function as such.

Besides this blog, I haven't even thought about the scholarship since my terminal meeting in August, largely because Wheaton has given me plenty of other things to think about.

For one, everybody is new, and as an introvert, it's been exhausting to constantly put effort towards all the new relationships. At the same time, the process has been very rewarding. My cynical mindset sometimes spills over into how I think about people, and the people at Wheaton have stomped that out of me a bit. Not many people have fit my predisposed stereotypes: I've met genuinely selfless guys, home-schoolers who make eye contact during conversation, girls who think pragmatically, and even a philosophy major without a ponytail.

I also study a lot. The Trial of Socrates, axiomatic set theory, holoalphabetic validation via Java, Aristotelian justice, recursively producing a power set of a set of sets in ML (no typos there), oh, and Plato's Republic. It's a bit different, namely busier, than high school.

But sometimes I'm able to squeeze in a bit of fun. After four years on the bench, I've enjoyed a bit of athletic redemption in some pickup basketball games and intramural ultimate frisbee. I may or may not have learned a primitive version of Salsa dancing. My record in ping-pong has fared decently. I've settled in bed after 4am a few nights (causes include metaphysical discussions, "initiation," and, of course, meals).

Finally, I've learned a valuable lesson in deferred gratification. After my first time finishing homework on Saturday in order to rest on Sunday, I haven't done homework on a Sunday since. It will fundamentally change your lifestyle if you decide to work from rest, rather than rest from work. Yes, it does mean working harder during the week (maybe even programming on a Friday night), but the resulting rest is indisputably worth it.

Looks like I'm sustaining the stellar pace of one blog post per three months. Check back here accordingly.