It’s not every day one has the chance to explore Vanderbilt’s campus, especially at 6:30 AM, within their extensive Recreation Facility. Opportunities are all around you at VSA, like the ability to venture with a proctor to the Student Recreation Center to work out as a student at Vanderbilt would. The time was early, but it was worth the trip interfacing with my housemates and enjoying each other’s company with an early morning game of basketball before breakfast.
In class, we continued are adventure through the history of Judaism, a fascinating adventure almost originating at the beginning of time itself. My classmates and I received a lecture reviewing the history of the Israelites from the patriarch, Abraham, through the Deuteronomy Redactors, looking at the patterns of Exile and Return, and really finding a sense on what it means to be Jewish. We read and presented stories from the Judaic text, the Talmud, speaking about how to be Jewish without a temple which is a modern Judaic standpoint seeing that the most vital piece of Jewish worship was knocked out a millennium ago. We finished by reading a book that was forged in the name of Jews, in particular a nonexistent group called the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, claiming that the group and all Jews had plans to take over the world using violence and intimidation. It was interesting to see the ideals stated in the book and how different they were from ideas taught in the Torah, Israel’s sacred text.
After class we continued to our interesting array of Arête classes. I ventured off to fencing excited to learn the ways of this international sport. We got suited in our protective jackets and put on our masks preparing to sharpen our footwork. Then we learned today we would learn to parry opponent’s blows and to hit your opponent for points. In lines we battled each other, until we were called to stop, first with a glove, then with a saber.
Afterward our instructor promised us that tomorrow will be the day we were going to fence. He instructed me to bring my camera because that was when I’d see my class in action. I insured him I’d have it handy as I walked to get away to get ready for dinner and further Kickball.
We played on the lawns of the beautiful Wyatt Center at Peabody campus. We were able to run two games simultaneously making the play time more efficient. Each game was full of action and excitement. For the first game I took to the outfield for my team. We lost that game. The trouble was my inability to throw without causing my shoulder pain. I decided to make a pact with myself, since I couldn’t throw I promised myself I’d catch every ball that came my way so I wouldn’t have to throw. The strategy worked, but my team couldn’t stop the bleeding resulting in an honest loss.
The second game I decided to switch positions to pitcher. At this I was successful because I was able to play the shorter kicks and make the throw to first. I also used my special spin, throwing a lot of the kickers off. We were able to win that game when my fellow California classmate kicked a ball in the gap between third and second base, rolling all the way into the fresh greenery which is abundant on the Vanderbilt campus. We were able to pick the last two runs to win the inning.
The Vanderbilt Student Academy not only offers students time to sharpen each other mentally with six hours of class, but physically and socially too. Every aspect is centered on growing, either in a speech in front of class or even speaking to girls. I seem to find it hard not to encounter new ideas here.