The last week or so has been a blur. There’s been a ton going on and I’ve been pretty busy. Here’s the highlights:
Jay Wright, Sarah, & I in Baltimore
Two Thursdays ago, I attended a Villanova Alumni event held in Baltimore. I didn’t think I would be able to afford the $45 price tag, but, luckily, I reached out to the VUSports.com message board (it’s for Villanova basketball fanatics) and an alum offered to subsidize the cost for me. Harry Perretta, the Villanova women’s basketball coach, and Jay Wright, the ever-dapper men’s coach, both spoke. I met up with a fellow 2009 alum, Sarah, and we were able to meet and talk with Jay Wright. Mr. Wright is an absolute winner. He gets it. He spoke with us for about five minutes about everything from Villanova basketball and recruiting to what we’re doing in Baltimore as recent alums. Later on, I met with my sponsor for the event and made plans to meet up again for some Villanova football and basketball games in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virgina) area.
The next night, Friday, I joined my housemates to volunteer at the St. Frances Academy 180th Anniversary Banquet. The Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first Roman Catholic African-American sisterhood, began the school in 1828 and it’s now the oldest Catholic high school in America. My roommate, Scott, works at SFA as the Assistant Director of their Community Center. CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien spoke to the SFA community full of nuns, Baltimore community members, students, staff members, and visitors from around the world. The Oblate Sisters actually took Ms. O’Brien’s mother in when she was a child and helped raise her. Scott wrote a great post about the banquet and her heartfelt speech.
After Ms. O’Brien spoke, I skedaddled for a mini-reunion of some of my best friends from Villanova. I hadn’t seen many of them since starting JVC and it was terrific to be able to catch up with them. My friends truly represent the state of the Gen-Y recent college graduate nowadays. Some have jobs related to their desired career path and some are in law school as planned. Others, however, are attending graduate school because of the job market, some have taken part-time jobs to help pay the bills as they search for a job, and still others are living at home, fervently searching for anything that will get them out of the house. We talked about old times, how much we miss each other and Villanova, what we’re doing now, and what we plan to do in the future. It was a great night and I’m hoping to be able to visit some of them in Philadelphia and New York soon.
Next, on Saturday night, Nick and Rick, good friends from Villanova living in Baltimore for graduate school at Johns Hopkins, joined me in attending the Red Sox game against the Orioles. There were Red Sox fans everywhere for the game. Now I know what they’re talking about when they call Camden Yards “Fenway Park South” when the Sox are in town. The Red Sox, of course, crushed the lowly O’s and I returned home happy. That happiness was short-lived, however, as the Patriots lost to the Jets on Sunday.
(By the way, Nick, Rick, and Andy have DirecTV with the NFL package and it comes with the “Red Zone Channel”. It switches between NFL games to whichever one has a drive in the red zone (inside the 20 yard line). I just want to go on record as thanking the person who invented that. It’s amazing. Well done. Now if you could only create a program that switches channels automatically when there’s a commercial…)
Anyway, I had a very good week at school, too. The first assignment for Writing Lab was due so I began to grade those. I also had students write an opinion paragraph on whether or not they thought the Johns Hopkins student who killed a burglar with a samurai sword was right in investigating rather than calling the police. Later on, I went over using school and professional e-mail addresses professionally and appropriately, specifically noting that school e-mail is monitored by IT and that it is NOT like using MySpace or Facebook. Rather it should be used for school purposes only. I also advised them to be careful about what they post online and to treat everything online as permanent because, someday, incriminating pictures, updates, or descriptions could be used against them. I hope I opened their eyes a bit!
In between Writing Lab and grading papers, I started helping with SAT Prep courses for juniors and trying to impart the importance of the SAT’s for their future college search and application process. The vast majority of them use the resources available to really try to improve their scores. I really wish that I had class time in high school to practice for the SAT’s!
Along with SAT Prep, I’ve also been tutoring algebra (yes, me, Tom O’Keefe the Communication major, tutoring something involving numbers). Actually, it’s not that bad and I actually enjoyed algebra in high school. (It was the calculus that got me!) Though a tad rusty at first, I’m really enjoying it. I work with the freshmen who need help in math and they’re an absolute pleasure to work with. They truly want to learn and improve their grades. It’s been a very fun and rewarding experience to work with these kids.
Finally, this past Friday, the Bons Seccour Volunteer Ministry house in Baltimore invited us to a cookout at their house in Hollins Park. They also invited Mercy Corps Volunteers, Americorps Volunteers, and Lutheran Volunteers. We had met some LaSallian Volunteers, but had not met any of these folks. I hadn’t realized that there were so many volunteer organizations in Baltimore! There are other people like us here AND they’re really cool people! It actually turns out that one of the Lutheran Volunteer houses is just around the corner from us in Charles Village. Pretty cool stuff. We’re hoping that we can all get together from time to time for some fun service-solidarity.
So, hopefully, that gives you a good idea of what I’ve been up to lately. School is good, teaching is good, my roommates are good, I’m good, and life is good.