December 5, 2013
I am an aspiring science writer, and since I know experience is everything, I write for The College Voice, Conn’s student newspaper.
My most recent article is about the faculty dance show taking place next week. Since my former roommate and my friend from chemistry are both in show, I interviewed them for my article. Since completing our short, spur of the moment interview during lunch, I’ve found that I act quite differently when I’m asking questions and conducting myself as a journalist, than when I’m hanging out as a friend. I found that my tone of voice changed, my questions were pointed and I included follow-up questions until I got the quotes necessary.
It was an eye-opening realization:even though I am one of the least confrontational people ever, when I’m trying to get quotes or an interview for my article, I can be very determined.
December 3, 2013
A few weeks ago, visiting artist Alex Rubio worked with my class of painting and drawing students on a collaborative three-panel mural project, being painted on site. The art department has been able to host Rubio through the support of the Dayton Artist-in-Residence Program, which allows students to interact and learn from artists who are not typically accessible in an academic setting. Rubio worked with us non-stop all weekend, teaching his technique, mentoring, and simply getting to know us. He says that to him, the most important part of the whole project is the process and getting the students to feel a great sense of ownership over the work. He told us from day one, “This is not my project, it is ours and all of your names will go on it.”
December 2, 2013
Ever notice that you're never really "normal" when hanging out with friends? Your inside jokes and secret ways of communicating set you apart. People might give you confused looks if you all randomly burst into laughter when nothing really happened. I'd like to call this “comfortable strangeness.” Once you reach this with a group of people, you'll find that it is difficult to be anything but a little weird.
I always eat late breakfast/early lunch in Smith with two classmates — very close friends — before my 11:50 class. We share a comfortable strangeness over sandwiches and bagels. We recently sat with a friend we don't often see and shared the same realization; we were struggling to be normal. It actually made lunch even more hilariously awkward. Our friend departed before we did and we laughed about how we never realized how strange we were. It wasn't until we were around other people that we felt the need to tone down our overly-excited interactions. It's a nice connection to have with friends; this comfortable strangeness.
November 30, 2013
How to describe the third floor of Shain Library in a word or two? “Creepily quiet.”
Each of the four floors in Shain Library have their own personality, I’ve come to learn. The basement contains the Blue Camel Café, serving such wonderful pick-me-ups as red velvet cupcakes and chai lattes. People gather in the booths surrounding the Blue Camel to study in groups. That is, to read — then reread — a few lines of an assignment while catching up with friends.
The main floor is where that confident junior goes to show his friends — and whomever else — that he’s got everything under control. In fact, he’s so in control, he can afford to look up from his studies at the passer-bys printing their assignments and to wave to his many acquaintances. Near him, study groups gather to prepare for biology or chemistry tests and classmates discuss their essays when using the desktop computer stations.
In spite of all the action on the first floor, the second floor beats them. It’s home to wooden tables tucked into bookshelf alcoves, cozy window-side cubicles, movie-viewing rooms, and a spacious Apple computer lab. All perks of the library are available with the freedom of speech. The freedom, that is, to brainstorm verbally or just plain laugh. It’s ok to make a little bit of noise on the second floor.
The third floor is where laughter goes to die, along with other noise. Brace yourself for evil glares if the music from your headphones plays too loudly or if, god forbid, you tread too heavily towards the water fountain. The silence does, however, create a haven for those needing to write that seven-page French cinema paper or read an entire book...by tomorrow. Noise-makers should just leave. Or, better, switch floors.
November 29, 2013
Artful Resistance was an event hosted by the education department in the Harris Atrium in response to contemporary issues in education. Students stopped by to make art and express their creativity. In their art, they asked questions including, “what do you love about education, and what have you lost?” and “What does your dream school look like?” Some of the works produced at the event will be displayed at a gallery in downtown New London.
November 28, 2013
I’ve got some tutors at the Academic Resource Center that I definitely have to thank. Organic chemistry has been quite the ride thus far and tutors have been there along the way. From them, I find myself learning new and even faster techniques to solve problems I thought I was doing efficiently. They take time out of their schedules to help us in calm, group settings... something all of us desperately need.
Orgo can be pretty stressful. Every student is welcome at the Academic Resource Center where tutors are available from most academic departments. I find myself enjoying the group tutoring sessions. It’s better for me to have access to a place where I don’t have to know all the answers and I don’t have to come prepared with questions. I can just see what types of questions others have and use those to hone areas and techniques that need improvement.
These groups help me realize that not all learning has to happen within the classroom. Other students also have the key: whether they are in front of the class teaching you that the electrons from double bonds can be electron dense areas or they’re in the seat next to you teaching you that same thing, listening is just as important as individual thinking. Group tutoring definitely has it’s perks.
November 27, 2013
A few days ago, professors Tristan Borer and Afshan Jafar hosted a discussion about Saudi Arabian human rights issues. Both professors are experts on the topic and, at the invitation of the Women’s Center, Think SAFE Project and Yalla Bina Arabic Club, led a conversation that was sparked by a viral video about female drivers in Saudi Arabia. I was one of 40 students who joined the chat while enjoying some free coffee and pastries from Coffee Grounds.
November 26, 2013
Student advising is always quite an interesting week. When it comes time to pick your classes, most students meet with their major adviser. This semester, I declared my major and I’m beginning to dive deeper into my studies.
I decided to take a shot in the dark and try something new this advising period. I went into Hale Laboratory and I spoke with Bruce Branchini. Bruce is not my major adviser, but he is a professor in the biochemistry department and he was was more than willing to schedule a meeting with me to talk about my spring semester. We ended up talking about my studies for the next three years! It was quite the interesting conversation and it led to me making some decisions to possibly take some classes sooner than I thought. So while this planning/advising period could have turned out to be a lot more stressful, Bruce definitely took some anxiety off and helped me confirm my course schedule.
Here’s to all the professors that make time for students they don’t have to, welcoming us into their offices with open arms. Thank you.
November 26, 2013
Earlier this month, I volunteered for the astronomy/physics department at our open-house. We opened our doors and invited local kids, parents and high school students to try out our instruments. Even though there were clouds covering the night sky, I got the opportunity to explain how telescopes and other astronomer tools work, helping visitors understand what goes on high above our heads. I hope that we managed to instil a sense of excitement about sciences for the young visitors.
November 22, 2013
I have always wanted to study abroad in Australia. I imagined studying marine biology in the Great Barrier Reef while exploring the coasts. I'm a planner: I like things to be scheduled far in advance with few variations in the plan. Let's just say things are always subject to change.
I intend to be an environmental studies major and an Italian minor. I recently went to an event where several students presented about their study abroad experiences in Italy. Everything from the food to the scenery made me want to be there. As the students discussed what they enjoyed from the country's rich culture, I began to rethink my plans. What if I did a summer abroad in Italy? There is so much to learn about the country’s history and culture.
These presentations piqued my interests so much that I may change when and where I would like to study abroad. While this sudden desire for change surprised me, I can't say that it is unexpected: College is all about exploring. Why not change your mind a few times? Who knows where you might end up.