Student Experience Blog

Christmas Greetings (And Fall Reflections!)

It's been a while since my last post, hasn't it? What with the stress of finals, preparing for and performing in the Feast of Carols, and the zaniness of Christmas shopping and present wrapping, updating the blog took sort of a low priority. But now that Christmas is finally here and Winter Term is looking a lot closer this side of the holidays, I figured it would be a perfect time to gather my thoughts and reflect on the semester I just completed.

Academically, I couldn't be more happy with my performance this fall. I'm pleased to report that I didn't earn a single B in any of my classes, including French, where I squeaked by with a solid A-. I was surprised with how difficult French has turned out to be so far, to be honest. When I was in high school, I took two years of Japanese, which came extremely naturally to me. I figured that if I could do so well with a non-Romantic language like Japanese, a Romantic langurage like French couldn't be that difficult. I figured that since French shared an alphabet with English, it would be a cakewalk. My mother warned me that it wouldn't be as simple as I expected after I had registered for it, recalling that her own high school experience with the language had been anything but easy. I thought she was exaggerating, but I quickly found out that French is not a language for the weak-willed Creative Writing student. I was thrilled when I got my grades back and saw that A- next to French...after two dreadful oral exams and an uninspiring quiz score average, I thought I would be lucky just to scrape a plain old B.

Don't get me wrong--I'm happy with my other A's as well. But out of all those A's, that French one is easily one of my favorite A's of all time.

What the letter grades don't really show is how inspired I became this semester. I detailed in this post about how my choice of major really seemed to click with my first writing workshop class, and I still really feel passionate about it. All of last year, I looked at the English and Creative Writing majors here at C of I as two sides of the same coin--interchangable, with only minute differences to differentiate between them. And this may be true, as far as classes are concerned. I'm still going to be taking a lot of upper division English courses with my workshops. But the difference between these degrees is really about perspective. In English, you examine the works of famed authors like the Bronte sisters or Shakespeare and analyze them on multiple levels. You learn about what they did right, what they did wrong, and what statements they were trying to make with their pens. But in Creative Writing, you're writing your own work. You're not just sitting back and poring over works that have been pored over for decades, or even centuries. You're making your own statements, crafting your own themes, learning from your mistakes right when you make them. As much as I respect and admire the writers that came before me, I feel that I have something to say as well. Creative Writing gives me the tools to do this, and that's something I value. This is a revelation that has confirmed the path I want to tread. You can't put a letter grade on that, even if it is an A.

Socially, I feel like I've put myself out there a lot this semester with all the activities I've been involved in. Aside from my heavy involvement with choir, I've doubled down on my involvement with Delta Tau Delta. Being the social chairman this semester has helped me make a lot of new friends within the Greek community, and has helped me recognize how far I've come from being that shy kid I used to be in high school. Having a hand in the chapter's administration has placed me in a position to really contribute not only to our chapter's betterment, but also the betterment of the entire campus. I can't wait to see what more I can do.

So yeah, overall, fall term 2012 was a rousing success! I'm looking forward to the 4 week Winter Term...we'll see how it goes!

I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas!

-Clayton Gefre

Clayton is a sophomore creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.