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.
November 22, 2013
It's comforting to know that I can learn more than just academics here at Connecticut College. I now know a little bit of self defense, thanks to the Martial Arts Club.
November 21, 2013
This week I had a pretty interesting conversation with my friend Jazmine. She is a psychology and sociology double major with a minor in philosophy, and she may try to triple-major. As we both study sociology, we definitely connect on a level of understanding and we are also in the Philosophy of Law course together. We were working on our papers really late and, before we parted ways, we began to speak about different levels and ways of thinking.
The conversation started with the explanation of why we each were studying sociology in an educational context at all. Sociology gets to look at society and why things are constructed and understood. When you ask questions about the mind in a sociology class, students often respond, “we can’t answer that question, because it’s more psychological.” That’s why Jazmine is a double major, because she likes both ways of thinking. I began to not only understand her on a deeper level, but also understand myself.
Our philosophy class requires us to come up with examples very quickly and forces us to think outside the box. My professor worded it very well one day by saying, “you don’t have to agree with what you’re arguing, you just have to understand it and persuade others to believe the same.” That’s why I love the class. As a science major it can sometimes be very hard to think about just the process and the result. What’s at the end of what I’m trying to achieve? Going to a liberal arts school definitely has it’s perks. I can open my pathways of thinking and just observe different ways of going about the same thing. Integrating sociology and science is going to be quite an interesting journey, and I never thought it would be easy. Talking with Jazmine, though, helped me understand what I want to do after college, and has helped me develop how I want to think. For now, though, there’s a long way to go, and thinking about the future is plenty for me.
November 20, 2013
Since November 4th, I have woken up feeling sore each morning because Track and Field season has begun. What’s nice though, is that I see three of my teammates in my first class of the day. (That’s my 8 a.m. Chemistry class.)
Me: “My calvesssssss, they are solid blocks of pain”
Teammate: “My hamstrings are so tight, I can barely walk”
And then we go to class.
Being on a team, especially a large one, is nice because I see my teammates outside of practice. I see them in class, which makes for automatic study-buddies and conversation topics during warm-up.
During dinner, the four of us in Chem discuss the homework or the topics covered in the lecture that morning. We moan about the struggles of being science majors and exchange phone numbers in case we have academic questions later.
Because of track, my social circle grows enormously, which increases my resources of people to study with or ask questions to. Since there are a number of upperclassmen on the team, classmates/teammates who have already taken the courses are always willing to meet up lif you have questions. For an underclassmen, that’s a huge asset to have.