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Hello! My name is Sydni Kreps. I’m from Fargo, North Dakota (just a hop over the river from Concordia) and I’m a member of the Concordia Class of 2017.

As of this moment, I am a Multimedia Journalism and English Writing major with a minor in Spanish— however, these things have a funny way of changing…so, ask me again tomorrow. After college, I hope to find a job in the book publishing world. Whether that be in writing, designing, editing, or marketing, I have yet to figure out.

I am an avid reader and book collector with a nasty habit of buying ten books for every five that I manage to read. I love coffee, the Internet, great books, soulful music, and chatting. I work for Concordia Language Villages, am an active member of the nonprofit Students Today Leaders Forever, and teach confirmation class at my church. I often refer to myself as a self-proclaimed writer, but it’s been awhile since I’ve written for pleasure and I’m looking forward to this blog giving me the opportunity to do so.

Sydni Kreps

Santorini Snapshots: Creative Writing

Posted in Sydni Kreps on August 12th, 2014 by Sydni Kreps – Be the first to comment

My fellow writing classmates. I love this group. Also, one of them writes like a young Hemingway. So, there’s that.

I sat down on day one of class full of apprehension. I love to write and ever since I was a young girl, my family and friends have attributed that as my defining factor: Sydni, the Writer. This distinction made me nervous; it made me feel like an imposter. I wasn’t a writer. I had never received formal instruction in writing. I wrote essays better than some classmates and had a knack for editing, but so do a lot of people. So, I was prepared for an intense month that challenged my writing in ways that I had never before experienced. And that is exactly what happened.

Every morning, the six of us met in an elevated restaurant, appropriately named the Sky Lounge. It was almost entirely white, with purple gauzy curtains shivering in the breeze. There were only three walls, leaving one end open for gazing at the Aegean Sea and the boardwalk below. This space was ours. During the day, the owner had closed down the Sky Lounge for anyone who wasn’t traveling with us. It was the perfect secluded and private space to work in and to observe the bustle down below.

On the first day of class, we met in Stis Varkes, a café across from the Sky Lounge, for coffee (which was probably the best iced coffee that I have ever been blessed with drinking) and a general run-through of the syllabus. Then, we received our first assignment: write two pages about the sensory elements of your lunch. Dr. Reusch (from here on out, Vinny) let us loose and told us to report back in two hours, ready to share our observations. Jessica Shamdas (‘17) and Alisa Batchelor (‘16) and I went to a nearby restaurant for Greek salads and pita bread. The entire meal was spent in almost utter silence while we each frantically jotted down every microscopic detail of our surroundings and every new sensation that occurred while chewing our food. I’m sure we looked ridiculous.

Later that day, we read our lunch exercise aloud to the class. This was something that we would continue to do with every assignment and it was the part of class that gave me the most anxiety. Writing can be a very personal experience — especially creative writing. Some of the best writing draws from the author’s own experiences and emotions; so, the act of not only allowing others to read a piece of your work, but to read it aloud to them yourself, is slightly terrifying. But it’s also incredibly exhilarating. Listening to my friends and a professor, whom I admire greatly, critique and compliment my work was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip. I left each day, flushed from the twinge of embarrassment that comes from hearing, “I’m not really sure what you were trying to do here…it doesn’t make sense,” but also giddy from hearing, “You have a very mature voice. It’s one that, as a reader, I want to listen to what it has to say next.”

The four weeks of class were a whirlwind of stress and excitement and lack of sleep, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I recently went back and read my work from the course and it was a shock to see myself make noticeable progress over such a short period of time. I have a long way to go, as writing is a never-ending process, but the skills that I developed and refined during Vinny’s class will remain with me as I continue on this journey of words. Thank you, Vinny, for such invaluable advice and for an incredible month of sharing ideas and stories.

Also, Cobbers, if you ever bump into Vinny around campus, I strongly suggest that you ask him to read you a poem about spotting a hot girl at a club that he wrote when he was younger. Hearing him read it aloud in his calm and measured voice was easily one of the highlights of the trip. He is an amazing writer (and hilarious too) and I am honored to have worked with him.

 

Santorini Snapshots

Posted in Sydni Kreps on August 6th, 2014 by Sydni Kreps – Be the first to comment

Visiting Red Beach on the island of Santorini with some wonderful Cobbers.

Well, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve written a blog post. My summer has been an endless tumble of work, time spent with family and friends, and…more work. As thrilling as it would be for me to give you a recap of all the envelopes I’ve stuffed and phone calls I’ve answered in the past few months, that’s not what I’m here to write about. Some of you may know that I spent the month of May taking Dr. Reusch’s Foundations in Creative Writing class in Santorini, Greece. To say that it was one of the best experiences of my life would be a severe understatement.

In an attempt to share the highlights of my semester abroad, I’ve decided to do a small series of posts about various aspects of the trip until the new school year begins. So, let us begin at…well, the beginning.

At the start of my freshman year, I learned about the opportunity to take a writing class on the exotic island of Santorini. I knew two things about Greece: it’s economy needed some help and Google Images offered a multitude of picturesque shorelines for me to gawk at. I did not know anybody else who was interested in taking this May Sem. But, I knew that I loved to write and that I had the itch to get my feet off of American soil. Also — there was the potential to visit an incredible hidden gem of a bookstore. So, I registered for the course and ignored the ball of anxiety that had taken shape in my stomach.

There were a handful of pre-trip meetings throughout the year that were basically a room full of students who kept at least three seats between themselves and the next person. No one talked. And then there was Dr. Peter Schultz. This man stood in front of us, waving his hands every which way as he spoke and weaseling a very timid “Με λένε…” or “My name is…” out of all of us. The energy and passion that he had for this trip, for Greece and its culture and language, and for us as a group was unbelievable. HE was unbelievable. I left each meeting wondering if he could possibly keep up this attitude for the entirety of the trip — if this was authentic Peter. And let me tell you, it most certainly is. Peter is one of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and learning from. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else as my tour guide and friend in Greece. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from him or even  just to have a conversation with him, I strongly encourage you do so. You will never regret it and you will probably walk away feeling excited about the Parthenon or an old painting you hadn’t previously heard of or something else that you never dreamed you would be excited about.

As Peter loved to remind us (and as we loved to hear) over and over each day, “This is our home. Revel in it.” Santorini quickly became my home away from home and I am already longing to return. Stay tuned for my next post about my Creative Writing course!

World Book Night

Posted in Sydni Kreps on April 23rd, 2014 by Sydni Kreps – 1 Comment

For the second year in a row, I’ve snuck around leaving bookish presents for the unsuspecting citizens of Fargo-Moorhead. What time of year is it? It’s April 23rd, which means it’s World Book Night! I find that most people are unaware of this fairly new “holiday” in the literary community. The goal of the evening/day is to “spread the love of reading, person to person.” Each year on this day, tens of thousands of people give out books within their communities with the hope of inspiring light to non-readers to pick up a book and discover the magic that its pages hold (and then hopefully another book after that, and another, and another…).

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

A few months ago, I applied to be a Book Giver and chose my “top 3” books from the list of 20 titles that they were offering to give away. This year, I was given 20 copies of Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I read this book last summer and listed it as one of my top 3 choices because it’s a great “gateway” book to further reading. It’s an easy, light read, but also surprisingly witty and full of dark humor. It follows the story of 15-year-old Bee and her quest to find her mother, the notorious Bernadette, who vanished on one rainy, confusing morning.

Last year, I usually approached people and spoke with them about their reading habits before giving them a book, but today, I decided to switch my method. Instead, I wrote little “Free book! Pick me up!” tags, attached them with a ribbon to all of the books, and scattered the books throughout campus and a few local coffee shops. It gave me a slight thrill every time I walked by a place that I had left a book and saw that someone had taken it. I hope this story falls into appreciative hands and inspires its readers to continue reading and exploring the many worlds that books have to offer. So, go, read, reflect!

If you’d like to learn more about World Book Night or apply to be a Book Giver for 2015, you can do so here.

Oratorio

Posted in Sydni Kreps on April 15th, 2014 by Sydni Kreps – Be the first to comment

(Photo courtesy of Concordia College’s website)

This last Sunday was the Concordia Oratorio Concert. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it’s the coming together of all five choral ensembles and the orchestra for an hour-long performance of a mass. This was my first experience singing such an intense piece of music with such a large group of talented singers (almost 350 of us!).

On day one of rehearsal, I was handed this 66-page Haydn mass with the expectation that we would be performing it in just over two weeks. After struggling to sing even an entire measure correctly on this first day, I was frustrated and unable to see how we could ever pull this off. But, after two weeks of long rehearsals and a fierce dedication from everyone involved, we lined up backstage in our robes, ready to belt out our tired voices throughout this more than 200-year old piece of music for the very last time.

Right before going onstage, Dr. Culloton shared with us a story: during one of our rehearsals, a prospective student sat in to watch with her parents. She had already explained to Dr. Culloton that she had decided to attend another school, but that she was fulfilling a commitment by touring with us. This past weekend, there was a sort of “VIP” group of prospective students who were able to see all of the behind the scenes work for our concert, and Dr. Culloton saw this same girl among the group. Apparently, after watching one of our crazy rehearsals, this girl decided that Concordia was the best school for her. I love hearing stories like these. It fills me with joy to hear the ways in which other students discover that Concordia (or any other school) is the home for them.

I grew as a singer in ways I never expected over these past three weeks. Diving into such a challenging piece of music improved my confidence in my sight reading skills and my vocal range. I grew to love singing the Haydn mass and I’ll admit that I will miss the daily rehearsals. Joining choir was one of the best decisions I made this year and I only wish I would have had the courage to do so sooner.

So, with the hectic rehearsal schedule, the concert, and Chapel Choir auditions behind me, here’s to another incredible year of singing…fingers crossed, anyway!

You can watch our Oratorio Concert here, if you’re interested.

Top 5: Concordia Edition

Posted in Sydni Kreps, Uncategorized on April 5th, 2014 by Sydni Kreps – Be the first to comment

Well, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and sharing some of my favorite things about this place that I call home. I decided to think a bit more specifically, rather than list some of the more general aspects of Concordia that I love, such as the professor-to-student ratio, the welcoming and cozy campus atmosphere, and the countless opportunities us Cobbers are presented with.

So, without further ado, here is my Top 5: Concordia Edition in no particular order, because I am horribly indecisive and the pressure of those decisions would be far too much to bear.

1. The “feisty/spicy” feta dip in DS. Seriously, when this is an option, I fill my plate with hummus, pita chips, and this spicy goodness. Don’t skip it.

2. As a declared English major, I get emails from the English department and its professors whenever they have news to share. In particular, I love receiving Dr. Scott Olsen’s emails. They are full of English puns and jokes, are usually overly descriptive (in the best possible way), and are a joy to read. I look forward to the day when I get to take a class from him.

3. The enthusiasm of my professors. I have been fortunate enough to have incredible professors for all of my classes this semester. They are all thoroughly engaged in the topic of the class and don’t hesitate to go off on seemingly unrelated tangents in the name of generating discussion.

4. The custodial staff in East Complex, specifically in Erickson. Almost every morning, I have a cheery conversation with Mary in the bathroom of my floor. It’s a great way to start my day and always leaves me smiling.

Home! (Photo courtesy of the Concordia College website.)

5. The wall of windows in the Atrium. During the winter, the days tend to feel rather dark and gloomy when you’re holed up in a classroom or the library all day. When I need a place to study that doesn’t feel so claustrophobic, I head to the Atrium to soak up the few hours of sunshine that the day has to offer. While it’s a bit loud and I’m convinced that most people sit out there to people-watch, it’s full of natural light and gives me the midday boost that I need to keep on studying.