The Friday Afternoon Time Warp (Highlight of My Week: Week 1)

Hi everyone!

This semester, I have decided to reflect at the end of each week and share with you a moment that was a highlight of that week. Last semester was a whirlwind of meetings, classes, appointments, events, forums, office hours, and library sessions- by the end of the term, I was pretty burnt out, to say the least! One of the things I want to focus on this semester is having some down time and enjoying the moment more, rather than over-scheduling myself. I think that consciously spending time each week to reflect on the things that occurred will help with this mission. So, seeing as last week was the first full week of classes, here is my weekly highlight!

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) 1: THE FRIDAY AFTERNOON TIME WARP

A little background: I am currently enrolled in a class titled ENG 407: Advanced Poetry Workshop. This class is a continuation of ENG 307: Beginning Creative Writing. I took 307 last semester on a whim because I heard that it was taught by a really funny professor, and I hadn’t taken a creative writing course since high school. The class ended up being my favorite class of the semester, and I was happy to enroll in 407 this semester to continue learning from Dr. Leising, who always challenges the class to write in different, unique, and fun ways.

407 is a bit different from 307, mainly because it focuses primarily on poetry writing, rather than a variety of types of writing (creative non-fiction, for example). Furthermore, my 407 class has only a handful of students in it (seven, to be exact), which allows us to spend some serious quality time reviewing and discussing one another’s work. This makes the workshop a very thought-provoking and fun class; I know that I am going to get to read some awesome poems when I go to class, have quality conversation with my fellow students about the creative process, and will get some sincere feedback on my writing that will help me improve. Plus, as a psychology major, I love that I am in a class with mainly English majors, because it allows me to view things from a different perspective and broaden my frame of thinking.

Anyway, onto the highlight of my week! On Friday, my class was so invested in our workshop that we ended up going over the class time by 15 minutes. Usually, students will be a bit fidgety towards the end of class, especially during a 75-minute time block. However, none of us even noticed the time; we were really enjoying our conversations with one another and had no idea that we were past the class period. It was as if we had entered a time warp- we hadn’t realized how fast the time had passed us!

This moment reminded me of why I love Utica College so much- the small class sizes allow me to really get to know my professors and fellow students. I am grateful to be able to take a course that is not only challenging me as a writer and a thinker, but also is truly something I look forward to attending twice a week.

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How to Survive Night Class If You’re Not a Night Owl

night-owl
Photo from camelcitydispatch.com

Some people thrive in night classes. In fact, some people actually prefer to take them  because night classes are generally only one night out of the week as opposed to the typical Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday combination.

However, there are also a lot of folks like me who would much rather take an earlier class, and often avoid night classes like the plague. On top of not being an evening person, I am also night-blind (it’s a legitimate genetic condition; look it up), so driving at night is a struggle. Night classes are basically my worst nightmare.

I successfully avoided taking any until this semester in my senior year when two classes I needed to take were only offered at night. I’m sure many of you have run into this as well, and the most we can do is suck it up.

But there are ways to make it more bearable, tolerable even.

  1. Start by looking on the bright side. You only have to take this class once a week! That means less trips to campus and less days to worry about the class in general. It also usually means you have more time in between classes to get your assignments done. If you play your cards right, this could mean having a day or two off except for the night class(es).
  2. Learn to reverse your homework schedule. If you’re like me and you’re used to getting your homework done at night, you’re going to have to learn to switch that around on the days you have night classes. Get your work done early in the day so you don’t have to tackle it when you roll in at 10 o’ clock at night.
  3. Eat a light dinner beforehand. You want to make sure you’re not going to class on an empty stomach because that’s miserable and distracting, but you also want to make sure you don’t overeat so you aren’t uncomfortably full during class.
  4. Check the weather a day or two in advance. This only applies to commuters, but you want to be prepared if you’re going to have bad weather while traveling at night. Plan to leave a few minutes early so you can take your time. Also get your professor’s cell number so you can contact them if the weather is making it completely impossible for you to finish the trip safely.
  5. Carpool, if possible. Again, this is just for commuters, but you can arrange to carpool with a friend, switching off each week. Driving at night is just annoying, so it helps to share the burden. Plus, you can make it a point to stop and get ice cream or something on the way home, giving you something to look forward to.
  6. Bring snacks. Your mind is bound to wander during three straight hours of class, so keep yourself focused with energizing snacks. Just be wary of the super loud and crunchy snacks like carrots and chips that could be distracting in class.
  7. Ideally, have a classmate walk to your car with you. There’s safety in numbers, people!
  8. If that’s not possible, call a friend or family member while you’re walking to the car. Have a safeword agreed upon so if anything happens, you can say it to them so they can call the police for you. I know this stuff is ominous, but it’s good to be prepared.
  9. Don’t go the gym right beforehand. Okay, this one is really just for me. I took a cardio fitness class right before my night class and didn’t have time to shower or cool down in between. It was rough.
  10. Caffeine! An obvious one, but essential. If you’re not a night owl, you’re going to need a little pick-me-up in order to stay focused at the end of the day.
  11. Don’t wear uncomfortable clothing. It’s college; nobody cares if you wear sweats, and you aren’t going to want to sit there in your Sunday’s best at 9 o’ clock at night.
  12. Get a friend to take the class with you. Even if it’s not related to their major, there’s a good chance they can get elective or liberal arts credits for it. And obviously, class is a heck of a lot more fun with a buddy.

What are your opinions on night classes? Are you a night owl or a morning person?

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8 Tips for Incoming Freshman

I sit here on my throne of having reached the pinnacle of my college experience as part of a few elite. I’m a senior; I belong to the wisest and most experienced few, in all affairs that are collegiate that is. Here are a few tips to help navigate the murky waters for the uninitiated (Incoming freshman, I’m looking at you).

1. Ditch the lanyard. This is the easiest give away, by far.

2. If you are sitting in the front row of a class and have your laptop out, bear in mind that everyone behind you can see you updating your Twitter or stalking your ex on Facebook. You pay to go to school, so pay attention.

3. Under no circumstances brag about your ACT/SAT score, barring the admissions office- no one cares.

4. Understand the type of person you are, and plan your schedule accordingly. If you are a night owl, taking 8.30’s everyday of the week will only set yourself up for catastrophic failure. Conversely, if you are an early riser, those three-hour night classes might encroach into your bedtime. Be wary.

5. If you’re the shy type, join student organizations, go to seminars and meetings hosted on campus. Join a team if you are of the athletic persuasion,  or go Greek. Once that seasonal depression hits and your roommate is the only person you have socialized with for the last half of the semester, you’ll be thankful you did.

6. On roommates, don’t room with close friends. Every healthy relationship needs some degree of separation. If the only person you hang out with happens to sleep 7 feet away from you, frustrations will arise and friendships could potentially be irreparably damaged.

7. Forget high school; this is your chance for a fresh start. Freed from the mundane social imprisonment of high school, you have the chance to blossom into the person you were meant to be. Or you can hold on to your past accomplishments and let them shackle you and never grow.

8. Skip the burger and fries combo. The freshman fifteen is a real and cruel mistress, transforming cute coeds into unrecognizable blobs over the course of two semesters. Wise up and eat heatlhy-ish, and work out. Your body will thank you for it.

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Why Silence Isn’t Golden in the Classroom

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Photo from Utica College

 

Nobody likes being forced to talk. We all despise those dreaded ice breakers and introductions we’re put through on the first day of classes. It’s a complex battle of trying to sit calmly waiting for our turn while also internally stressing over what we’re going to say.

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Source: IWasteSoMuchTime.com

But do we honestly expect to sit through an entire class in silence, never having to speak or acknowledge each others’ existence? Before I started at UC in 2011, I had a glamorized idea of what each new class would be like: everyone would be friendly and outgoing, happily introducing themselves and eager to make new friends. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t people like this, but way too many of my classes, especially larger ones, have been filled with silent, stone-faced students.

It’s strange because you’ll then spot some of those same complacent people outside of class acting loud and personable, and you’ll wonder why they shut off when they enter the classroom. I know it’s hard to be the one to raise your hand or to start up a conversation, but somebody’s got to do it. And there’s nothing more awkward than a class-full of people who refuse to speak.

Frankly, it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved. The professor asks a question, and tense silence ensues when no one responds. It’s not even that we don’t know the answer. A lot of the time, it’s a simple question, but we just don’t speak up. Why? Are we all socially awkward?

Probably not. Perhaps we don’t want to be THAT person who answers every question, or most of the time, we’re afraid of sounding foolish. Even the smartest people are susceptible to screwing up an answer to an easy question. But if no one talks at all, not just when it comes to answering questions but participating in discussions as well, then class is 10 times more awkward and a thousand times more boring than it needs to be.

We all just need to loosen up a bit. No one’s going to judge you if you laugh at the professors’ jokes, or at the very least, crack a smile for once (some professors are quite amusing at times). Plus, you’ll make the professor feel better, and the rest of the class might feel at ease about letting their guard down too. Not to mention, professors love students who choose to participate. So why not take an easy opportunity for getting on their good side and maybe boosting your grade?

I don’t know about you, but I won’t tolerate the second half of the semester being so cold (and I don’t mean temperature-wise). I know it’s easy to think everyone’s judging you, but they really couldn’t care less. So raise your hand once in a while, say “hi” to that kid next to you, and crack a smile at your professor’s attempt at hilarity (whether or not they’re successful).

 

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