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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12 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About College

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Most of our knowledge comes from experience. That’s why a lot us will look back on events in our lives and say things like, “If I only knew then what I know now.” We tend to think about things in retrospect – what we could have done better if we had known more at that present time. But of course, this never really does us any good because, try as we might, we can’t go back to those moments.

Now that I’m about to graduate this semester, I have been thinking of a lot of things that I wish I knew going into college, things I wish someone had told me. Although, even if someone had passed this knowledge my way then, would I have listened? Who knows? My hope is that, in sharing these tips with you, you’ll trust me and take it to heart so you can get the most out of your time and money.

  1. Take the classes that matter to you.
    I am going to be completely honest. Every semester, when it came time to build my schedule for the next semester, I focused only on a) what was required to graduate, b) what was most convenient time-wise, and c) what was easiest. This worked out to make my time here quite efficient, but all of a sudden, it dawned on me that I have taken all of the classes that I will take.
    I wonder if I missed things. I took a couple easy A courses, but did I take things that would be practical and applicable? Yes, but not as many as I could have. Do whatever you can to broaden your horizon now. Take communication, business and writing courses, no matter what your major is. These will help you so much. Then be sure to fit in things you find interesting.
  2. Class attendance is crucial, but your health is the most important thing.
    This past semester, I got hit with mono. It took me a week or two to get diagnosed, but I knew something was severely off. The type-A part of me was saying, “Go to class!” But my body was physically incapable of movement. I did the right thing and went to the doctor instead of class, then brought my professors a doctor’s note. When you have a serious illness like mono, you have to put your health first.
  3. The best way to do well in a group project is to take charge.
    We all know that, despite professors’ best effort, group work is never an equal division. And if you don’t get to pick who you’re working with, there’s no guarantee the people you work with have the same work ethic or concern for their grades as you do. Therefore, if you want to do well on a group project, the only way to do so is suck it up and take the reigns. You need to be in control, be responsible, and be aware of dates and requirements. As harsh a reality as it is, that’s just group work for you.
  4. Your professors want you to succeed.
    It feels like they’re out to get you when they hand you a research paper assignment, but I swear, they want to see you do well. They will do everything in their power to help you if you show you’re willing to work and to reach out to them.
  5. Make time to see your family.
    A lot of kids want to get away from their families when they go off to college. And even if that wasn’t the case for you (it wasn’t for me; I didn’t want to leave), it’s likely you’ll assume you have your entire life to visit your family, and you won’t make it a priority on breaks. The thing is, life is going to keep changing and more and more things will get in the way of spending time with them, whether it’s jobs or distance or whatever. Take the time while you have it and be with your family as much as you can.
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  6. Get at least one person’s phone number in every class you’re taking.
    This will come in handy on many levels. If you’re stuck in traffic and going to be late, you can text someone and ask them to let the professor know (make sure you pull over to do this though!). If you miss a class, you can reach out to them for notes. If you’re confused about something, you can ask them for clarification.
  7. Pens exist only to be sucked into a black hole when you’re not looking.
    Seriously, buy a million, because they’ll all be gone in a week, even if you don’t lend them to people.
  8. Learn to cook.
    This is for men and women. People like people with food. It will help you take care of yourself, make friends, get on professors’ good sides, and you’ll look smooth on dates.

    A Loaded Cheese Fries Grilled Cheese from my blog.
    A Loaded Cheese Fries Grilled Cheese from my blog.
  9. You really need to check your email.
    Ask any professor; students don’t check their emails. That’s because our generation is accustomed to texts, and email seems like a thing of the past. However, you have to remember that your professors still use email avidly. It never fails that the one day you don’t check your email is the one day you got a class cancellation notification, but missed it and drove to school for nothing. Plus, you need to look out for weather and campus safety updates. All kinds of important stuff goes to your UC email.
  10. Establish credibility with your professors.
    This is especially true for professors you know you’ll have again. Even if someone rubs you the wrong way, you want to be on their good side. Prove to be diligent, motivated, and responsible by consistently handing assignments in on time, showing up to all classes on time, and participating in class. Always hand in your best work and be friendly. That way, when an unfortunate circumstance does happen, your professor trusts you and is willing to work with you. For example, I got rear-ended on the way to a midterm a few semesters ago, and was consequently a few minutes late, but my professor knew what kind of student I was, and he understood.
  11. You are never “too busy,” so ditch that excuse.
    The saying is true: if you really care about something, you’ll find the time for it. When you tell someone you were “too busy,” you really just didn’t see the thing you didn’t do as priority. I don’t care how much crap you take on – I’m the queen of taking on too much – you will find a way to do what matters to you.
  12. It never hurts to ask.
    A lot of people refrain from asking for something they want/need if they’re sure the person will say “no.” I have always adopted the mantra that it doesn’t hurt to ask, and it’s almost always been helpful to me. When I’m feeling like things are going south in a class, I see if there’s anything a professor can do to help me, even if I think they’ll say “no.” Nine times out of ten, I get surprised. The same goes for anything. I’ve expressed to professors that the whole class could benefit from a couple days extra of studying and gotten tests moved back. This semester, an incredibly understanding professor was willing to work with my teaching schedule at the gym. People will surprise you, and if they say no, so what? You should ALWAYS ask.
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20 Things That Inevitably Happen When It’s Your Last Semester

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My big girl backpack.

Fingers crossed, I should be graduating in December. Am I excited? Yeah. Am I scared? Terrified. It’s taken 3 1/2 years, but I have realized several things this semester. In fact, I’d say this was the first semester I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. Now, why couldn’t that have happened sooner?

These are a few of the things I’ve noticed now that it is my last semester here.

  1. You’re outraged when you have to do a big project or paper because you’re just so over the whole thing.
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  2. No one, and I mean no one, can match your procrastination skills.
  3. You’ve started making sleep a priority again because you’re basically an old person now.
  4. Everyone on the planet wants to know what your post-graduation plans are.
  5. Seriously, that is the only thing anyone wants to talk to you about anymore. Um, hello, can we talk about something happier, like food?
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  6. You’ve realized your “I’m in college” excuse time frame is dwindling, and are therefore milking it for all it’s worth while you can.
  7. You’re trying not to countdown, but it’s impossible.
  8. You’ve mastered the art of doing as much as possible with as little effort as possible.
  9. You’ve convinced yourself there’s some way to avoid entering the real world. I can win the lottery in the next three months!
  10. People have decided it’s their business where you’ve applied to, how many jobs you’ve applied to, and how every bit of your job search is going.
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  11. You finally know your best, most efficient study methods.
  12. You don’t understand how you’re about to adopt an adult life when you still feel like a child.
  13. Your mind is so far ahead of you that you keep forgetting it’s only October, and you still have schoolwork to complete.
  14. You’ve become an expert schedule builder, learning to craft schedules according to your own preferences.
  15. Professors, co-workers, and loved ones make (mostly) empty threats about sabotaging your grades so you can’t graduate yet.
  16. You don’t remember how you were ever able to get up so early in high school. It’s 10 a.m. classes and later all the way.
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  17. If you stacked up all the revisions of your resume, you could build a skyscraper.
  18. You laugh at the juniors who are freaking out about their graduation, as if THEY have it bad.
  19. When you go to events that alumni attend, you can’t help but think how you’ll be one of them soon.
  20. You’re both ready and not ready at the same time.

Fellow seniors, what worldly knowledge have YOU garnered?

Note: all photos were taken & edited by me. The watermark “SCC 2014” refers to my personal food blog, The Smart Cookie Cook.

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17 Things Students Who Graduate Early Will Understand

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Photo by Kevin Waldron

College students know it’s hard enough to graduate on time, let alone early, but some of us are on a different path and kick things into high-gear so we can get our diplomas sooner. It isn’t easy, but we stick to the plan of attack come whatever may. And with a few heavier course loads and a lot of determination, we finish up a semester or two early feeling on top of the world.

Anyone who’s been there knows our lives are a little bit different than our fellow students on the normal 4-year timeline. There are certain things only we can understand, and for that, we share a special bond.

  1. There is no such thing as an “easy” semester for you. You have a full or overloaded course load every time, even as a senior.
  2. If you’re like me and only graduating one semester early instead of two, you wish you’d gotten yourself going sooner so you could graduate two semesters early.
  3. Free time? What’s that?
  4. Maintaining a decent GPA is twice as hard.
  5. You’ve inevitably had those full days that start with 8am classes and end with a night class, at least once every semester.
  6. People assume you’re really smart, but honestly, it was more about taking on extra workloads than anything else.
  7. People get really confused when your age and your class don’t match up (You’re 20 but you’re a senior???).
  8. You’ve come to accept the inevitability of all-nighters.
  9. Your time here with your favorite professors and classmates is all the more precious since you’re leaving sooner.
  10. People who say college goes by in the blink of an eye don’t know the half of it.
  11. You’ve been forced at least once to cram some of the most labor-intensive classes for your major into the same semester.
  12. You felt like a boss when you made it out of that semester alive, and with good grades too.
  13. You have a special bond with your adviser who helped you make graduating early possible. Without them, you would’ve gone crazy trying to put your schedules together.
  14. You’re a master at packing a whole day’s worth of meals into one lunch box since you often wind up spending entire days on campus.
  15. You are the ultimate multi-tasker, and your time management skills are incomparable.
  16. You learned to embrace planners and calendars to keep your plethora of deadlines straight.
  17. You know graduating early isn’t for everyone, but for you, it was worth it.
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Why It’s Okay to Not Go Anywhere for Spring Break

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There’s this idea that you have to go somewhere crazy for spring break. Ideally, it should be someplace warm, tropical, and far, far away from Utica, NY. But if someone asks you where you’re going for Spring Break, it’s not uncommon to get looked at like you have six heads when you reply, “Nowhere.”

The truth is, not all of us have the resources, time, or patience for setting off on a wild adventure when spring break rolls around. Maybe you’re saving your money, or maybe you’ve got a big project to work on and can’t sacrifice a full week. Or perhaps you’re like me, and you just don’t feel like traipsing across the countryside when you could be sleeping.

Despite what television tells you, it’s okay to not going anywhere over break. In fact, it could be the best decision you make for yourself. Here’s why:

  1. The obvious reason: save money. Unless you’ve got money coming out of your eyeballs, it is highly unlikely that you’re at a time in your life with gobs of disposable income. Save your money now, so you can take that amazing trip to Italy or Disneyland with your future family later on in life.
  2. De-stress. Vacations, in theory, sound relaxing. You envision yourself sprawled out on a sandy beach with the sun beaming down on you, and your worries are miles away in NY. But here’s the reality: you argue with your friends over splitting the cost of gas to get there, you get lost on the way, that cheap motel you got is a health hazard, you’re too hungover to enjoy the sunlight on the beach, and everything costs money. Instead of putting yourself through all that, just kick back at home and enjoy a few days off from classes.
  3. Catch up on sleep. I don’t know about you, but college has really made me appreciate sleep. I don’t get much of it during the semester, so it is absolute heaven to partake in a week’s worth of sleeping in.
  4. Catch up on schoolwork. I know it doesn’t sound fun to spend your break doing homework, but think of how awesome it will feel when you’ve got all your most annoying work out of the way while you watch your friends scrambling and cracking under the pressure to get it done on time. Tough luck, guys!
  5. Netflix for life. Finally check out that TV series you’ve been wanting to get into, or have a movie marathon. You probably do that anyway when you’re not on break, but at least you can do it guilt-free now!
  6. Invite your family up. Usually, it’s you going home whenever you have a break, but why not invite your family to stay awhile and see the area? Show them around campus and take them to your favorite local restaurants.
  7. Enjoy me-time. It’s hard to get a second to breathe during the semester between classes full of people, hallways full of people, roommates, sports, etc. During break, the campus clears out, and you can finally have a moment to yourself.
  8. On the flip side, party with friends. Find some friends who aren’t leaving either and figure out some fun stuff to do together. Go to the movies, have a party, binge eat junk food while watching Netflix – the possibilities are endless.
  9. Do that thing you keep saying you’re going to do. You know exactly what I’m talking about: the dentist appointment you’ve been meaning to make, the laundry piled up on your floor, the kitchen that needs organizing, the new clothes you need to buy, the call to your grandma you should really make – whatever that “thing” is, you’ve finally got the time to do it.
  10. Prepare for the second half of the semester. By now, you know what you’ve got left ahead of you. Start prepping for finals, clean that mess of a dorm room, stock up on essentials, grocery shop, and get yourself ready to buckle down and power through the remainder of the semester.

See? It’s not so bad. I know getting away sounds nice, but you can metaphorically get away without having to fly thousands of miles away. Whatever you’re doing for break, don’t stress. Give your brain a chance to recover, get some sleep, and you’ll be ready to tackle anything.

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

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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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What Not to Forget When You Return From Winter Break

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Photo from Utica College

I know nobody wants to talk about it (I certainly don’t), but we’ve got to address this pressing matter regardless: winter break is over.

But I’ve done my crying, and I’ve dried my tears, and now it’s time to man-up and prepare. We’ve got a long couple of months ahead of us until summer warmly welcomes us with open arms, and I want to make sure you make it to see the sun.

There are obvious things you need to have ready to go with you like clothes and money, but I’ve got a list for you of a few things you might not have thought of.

  1. Textbooks – Yeah, an obvious one it would seem, but I guarantee there are a few people reading this right now and exclaiming, “Crap!” because they forgot to order them yet. Get on it.
  2. Family photos – Even if your dorm’s already decked out in photos, I’m sure you’ve acquired a few new ones over break. Hang ’em up in your dorm to make it feel a little more like home and freshen up the room you became so used to last semester.
  3. Recipes – Remember all those great dorm-ready recipes you saw on Pinterest that you said you were going to make? Unless you print them out and have a tangible version, you’re going to forget about them. So, go ahead and print out recipes you like, then compile them into a folder or binder like your own little cookbook.
  4. Holiday decor – this one might be more for the females, but you’d be surprised how festive you’ll feel with just a few cheap decorations for your dorm. You’ll have Valentine’s Day and Easter to decorate for this semester, and although it may be early to shop for Easter stuff, the V-Day decor is already out. Little things like this will keep your mood lifted.
  5. Emergency comfort food supply – I don’t care how healthy you eat on a daily basis; everyone needs a little bit of chocolate or instant mac & cheese or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. Have a little bit on hand, and keep it hidden, so you don’t have to rush out to the store when you desperately need it.
  6. Reusable water bottle with filter – Ever since I bought my water bottle with a built-in Brita filter, my life has been so much better. You’ll save a ton of money not buying bottles all the time, it’s environmentally friendly, and you can feel safe drinking from most faucets.
  7. Back-up hard drive – This sounds like something only high-tech people need, but if you’re a student, or just someone who relies on their computer for things like picture and music storage, then you NEED a back-up hard drive. What would you do if your computer crashed in the middle of the semester? That would stink, wouldn’t it? These guys aren’t that expensive, about $60 for a decent amount of space, and definitely worth it. They will save your life.
  8. Notepad – Just a tiny one is all you need. You’d be amazed the difference writing down little reminders can make. “Run the dishwasher,” “Do laundry,” “Remember your book for class tomorrow,” etc. It is so helpful for a scatter-brained person like myself. You can also use it to write down long-term stuff like papers, final projects, and goals. And of course, write out those grocery lists.
  9. Way more pens than you think you need – Because they get up and walk away when you’re not looking, am I right?
  10. Extra underwear and socks – Because doing laundry is the worst.

What non-traditional stuff do you tote along to school each semester?

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Culture Shock 2.0: Ridiculous Questions I’ve Been Asked as a Foreigner

I’ve been told that, as an international student, I am an ambassador for my country, an educator if you will. I accept both of these roles graciously, and I am always happy to share information and insights with anyone willing to listen.

However, I’ve been asked too many questions that border on ridiculous and negligent.  In an attempt to clear up some of the mystery surrounding my origins (And point and make fun of some of the more ridiculous questions), I will share some of the most common and ludicrous questions I’ve been asked.

Note: These are all real questions I’ve been asked by students in my three years here. Pinky promise.

Did you see lions on the way to school? Given the reputation for animal tourism that countries in Africa have attained, this is completely understandable (Just as I assume that kangaroos roam the streets of Australia, just hopping about). However, lions and other wildlife are often secluded to wild and rural areas. They tend to avoid people and occasionally will come into contact with farmers and their livestock (Cows tend to make delicious and easy prey). Next one.

Did you have a door? What? Firstly, this is so randomly specific I can’t even begin to understand what would lead someone to wonder about this. Maybe this person had their doors removed from their bedroom as some sort of punishment for bad behavior and, in their desolate and self-pitying state, their friends reassured them by telling them that kids in Africa grew up without doors all the time and turned out just fine. I digress, but seriously though, what? Yes, of course we had doors. And windows. And roofs. And EVEN FURNITURE!! Mind blowing, I know.

Are you two from the same tribe? This question was directed to me (Ethiopian) and one of my Nigerian teammates. The response to which was a blank stare and a somewhat gaped jaw. This question was asked in locker room after practice where banter and obscenities are thicker than the air. This question managed to elicit complete and utter silence. Perhaps the rest of them were just wondering the same thing. But alas, no. Our countries are separated by half the continent and thousands of miles.

Did you have an elephant? I’ll take blame when it is deserved. This question stemmed from a rumor that I (In my devious ways) had devised for my own amusement. It started off when I had a picture posted on facebook of me feeding an elephant. Someone then asked me if they ate a lot, and “whew, they must be expensive to feed”. Instead of taking my usual course and explaining some of the stereotypes of Africa aren’t necessarily always true, I decided that some fun was to be had out of this situation. So I named my elephant Rosie and always shared stories of how gentle and friendly she was, how she would always give me rides to far away villages and so on.

Disclaimer: I don’t actually have an elephant, and I didn’t live in a village.

Did you go to school in trees? This person obviously had some pretty weird misconceptions about the schooling system in Africa. I mean how impractical would it be to have to go to school in a tree? Would you have to walk (swing) to other classes? Would each class be on a different branch? If so, how many students could you fit onto a single branch? Logistics, man; there are just too many technical issues to figure out here.

Did you have to kill a lion when you were 13 to prove you were a man? I attribute this question to the commonly told story of the Maasai. The Maasai are a remote tribe in Kenya who are famous for their picturesque dressing and rites of passage. One of these rituals involves boys from the ages of 10-15 grouping up and hunting a male lion with only spears to prove their bravery and fearlessness. Fortunately (for the lion), I never endured such a test of my brittle.

How’d you speak English so good? Went to an international school, listened.

Doesn’t it take long to get home?  Yes, two 7 hour flights.

Are you Indian? I’m Ethiopian, but I can understand the confusion. Ethiopians have a distinct set of physical features that are atypical of  most of Africa (Barring Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti). These include but are not limited to: fairer complexions, high cheek bones, large foreheads, thin noses and large eyes.

Ethiopia in Map of Africa

 

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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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