I'm a second semester junior...

Julia Szeto
December 21, 2015
...and I can hardly believe it. I just finished finals, and I'm in the process of packing up everything to leave. 
Finals were stressful because they WERE finals, but nowhere near as stressful as my exams usually are at school. The professors I've had here in Siena have been incredibly accommodating and kind- there were several times when they asked us whether the structure of an exam or the due date for a paper was acceptable, and I wanted to say, "Yes! Of course it's okay with us. We're taking your course so we have to abide by your requirements." I've never had a professor at Bates ask whether we students agree with the requirements. 
My Dante professor, Daniele, started off our last class by saying "I am full of emotion because this is our last class. We have gone on a journey together." The Divine Comedy (in Italian, the Commedia) is one of the most important and treasured texts to Daniele. It was this class that showed me how beautiful the Italian language is. This semester, I certainly would not have been as excited to take the course if Daniele weren't so excited to teach us about something he loves. 
I am especially sad to say goodbye to my Italian professor, Rita, who taught my classmate and me beginner Italian with the most patience and positivity I've ever encountered in a professor. My classmate learned Italian much quicker than me because she had a natural affinity for the language and because she lived in a homestay, but Rita gracefully dealt with my frustrations in and out of class. Learning Italian has been slow-going for me. When personal problems came up and affected my demeanor this semester, Rita was understanding and almost like a mother-figure...which I could appreciate. Who doesn't miss their mom's advice in times of need? 
Though the style of teaching I've encountered in Siena is different and not necessarily as effective as the styles I've experienced back in the States, I can't deny that my professors have made my experience great because they have so much enthusiasm and heart. I'm so grateful to have had a semester away from the growl and grind of Bates. As frightening as it is to be halfway done with my third year (which basically means I'm a senior, which basically means I've graduated and need to figure out my life, now! I tend to round things), I think that a semester away will leave me more energy to take on the next semester. 

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Julia Szeto

<p>I am a junior at Bates College, where I study English, Creative Writing, and Chemistry. Though I left the beautiful forests of Portland, Oregon for snowier seasons in Maine, I&#39;ve discovered that there are valuable stories to be heard and told in ever corner, or coast, of the world. I am interested in people and the words they have to say, and I am thrilled to be in a city as rich with history as Siena. I hope to explore new perspectives of culture and life in Siena through words and photographs. Outside of story-telling, I am a varsity coxswain on the Bates rowing team, and I enjoy hiking, trail running, singing loudly in the car, and getting hopelessly lost in a good book.</p>

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