It’s finals week! I can’t believe this semester is over – it seems to have gone by so fast! My first final isn’t until this Thursday so, naturally, I’m using my study days to sleep in, enjoy Christmas parties, maybe catch up on some homework, and relax with friends before we all go home for the holidays — some to snow, some to rain, others to sun.

I’m really looking forward to having a lot of time to read for fun this break. My favorite nonfiction book I’ve read recently is Three Cups of Tea, which is about this climber who decided to devote his life to building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Right now I’m reading Once a Runner which is supposedly one of the best novels about running ever written. It’s good so far – I guess we’ll see if it lives up to its reputation.

Now for some other favorites:

– I’m currently falling in love with Sufjan Stevens’ 5 Volume Christmas Album “Songs for Christmas.” It’s quite delicious.

Egg nog lattes are back at Starbucks and I couldn’t be happier!

– I’m excited to see all the movies that are coming out this Christmas/already out. The Blind Side looks good, as does Precious. I’m also stoked for the Frog Princess!

– I really like the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

So that’s all for now! I hope everyone has a relaxing and joy-filled break!