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Kyra: Shenanigans: Lunch, Lectures, and Literature!

Like I said in my last post,  life is really picking up around here! Classes are getting more intense and it feels like there’s always some fun event to go to around campus. I always enjoy going to lectures in the evening, it’s a nice way to take a break from studying (and if it’s held in the library there’s usually free refreshments and I love free pastries).

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to actually go out to lunch with one of the visiting lecturers. This particular lecture was sponsored by the English Department (my major!) for our annual Eriksen lecture. Dr. Eriksen, who gave Linfield and endowment in honor of his wife Donna, actually used to be a professor at Linfield–so the lecture series is kind of like a self-fulfilling promise. This year, we brought Dr. Amitava Kumar, a professor of English at Vassar College, speaking on “Literature of 9/11: A Syllabus Starts with the Lives of Our Students”, so I was really interested in what he’d have to say. He’s published volumes of work in the area of postcolonial and cultural studies–in fiction, non-fiction, articles, movies, literary theory, political theory etc. So, needless to say I was fairly intimidated coming in to the lunch.

One of my professors emailed me inviting me, along with several other English Lit and Creative Writing students, to take him to lunch on the day of his lecture. I’d actually met him the day before on the way to grab coffee downtown. He was a bit lost, and not recognizing him, I directed him back to campus. A few hours later, he spoke in the INQS course I assist, so meeting for the second time was pretty funny. As for the lunch, however, I didn’t really know what to expect. Dr. Kumar was a very humorous, engaging speaker and seemed quite friendly. But, none of us invited to take him to lunch had any idea about what to talk about. Politics? Writing?

However, despite our nervousness (along with varying degrees of imaginary and dramatic scenarios–standard for us lit/writing students) the lunch went amazingly well. We were thrilled by the idea of free food and getting the chance to talk one on one with Dr. Kumar. He was very interested in what we do here at Linfield–what classes we’re taking, what we’re doing/reading in those classes, what we like to do etc. All of us at the table were studying some form of creative writing–ranging from poetry to short stories–so we talked quite a bit about writing. It was wonderful to speak with someone who’s been published in all areas, and feel like they were actually genuinely interested in what we had to say. (We also got to leave with leftovers, so everything went very well).

His lecture, later that night, was incredibly engaging. The subject matter and the way he lectured kept my attention for the entire duration of the evening. Cultural studies is something that I’m considering as focus for graduate school (among many other choices and avenues), so it wasn’t difficult to pay attention and track with what he was articulating. It was funny, well-rounded, intelligent and unsettling at times–probably one of my favorite lectures that I’ve seen thus far at Linfield.

If you’d like to find out more about Dr. Kumar and what he’s published–or even read some of his work–you can go online at: http://www.amitavakumar.com/

There’s just so much happening right now! I can barely keep up with it all sometimes. But, it’s so wonderful to be here and have the opportunities that we do. In a few weeks, near the middle of November, the English Department will be hosting it’s very first in-house literature conference! We’ll get to sumbit our papers to a panel, and if selected, have to chance to present them to our fellow students and professors. I’m definitely planning on submitting a paper, and my fingers are tightly crossed for acceptance. In any case, I’m excited to see what other students have been working on. It’ll be nice to have a mini retreat with the other English  majors and get some practice for other Literature conferences later, like NUCL (the Northwest Undergraduate Conference of Literature) which U of P hosts every year.

In addition to all of this, Halloween is coming up! Several friends will be having get togethers–Linfield also hosts a Halloween dance where we can go and show off our costumes. I am definitely a fan of any holiday that involves free chocolate. All the ghoulish things? Not so big of a fan–as mentioned earlier, I have quite an active imagination. I am excited, however, to see everyone’s costumes! This year, I’m going as Beyonce. I just really hope no one asks me to sing any of her songs. I don’t think I could quite do her justice.

I just have one question, is a junior in college too old to go Trick or Treating?