January 13, 2014
Occasionally, The ConnCollegeLive Experience will invite guests to blog about their experiences as a Camel. The following is the first in this guest blogger series.
I’ve been a tutor at Conn for the past three years. I work with students in the Science Leaders program in one-on-one and group sessions in chemistry, organic chemistry and biology. The tutoring program was started as a way to ensure our Science Leaders excel, but after last summer, I saw it also as an opportunity to experiment with new teaching techniques.
Traditionally, our group tutoring sessions work this way: Students arrive with their problem sets complete and ask the tutor any questions they have. Faculty and students approve of this type of setup because students can try the problems on their own, and anyone who needs extra help attends the tutoring sessions.
Unfortunately, the system never seemed to work out this way. Many times, students come to sessions without the problem set complete, either because they couldn’t find the time, or worse, they became irreversibly stuck at some point in the assignment.
This summer, while I was applying to medical schools, I found that most incorporate problem-based learning (PBL) into their curriculum. I sat in on a PBL class for biochemistry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and it was incredible. Students worked together on complex problems in teams of five, always making sure everyone was on pace and fully understood the question at hand. The strangest thing was, they seemed to actually enjoy it.
So I gathered up our Science Leaders in organic chemistry, and I tried it. This year, rather than stringing together a number of chapter-related problems each week, we started designing problems that pull from multiple chapters and allow the students to make connections between what they are currently working on and older material.
These new sessions foster collaboration between students and teach them that even in organic chemistry, each one of them can benefit from working together.
Yumi Kovic ’14 is a biochemistry major, a Science Leader and the winner of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in science, mathematics or engineering.
January 10, 2014
On The Can, the weekly publication by the Connecticut College Student Government Association, is, without a doubt, one of the most-read publications on campus. It's a little bit quirky, and filled with upcoming event advertisements, student profiles, puzzles and trivia.
January 8, 2014
As a member of the Sustainability Representative Program, I get to work hand-in-hand with many staff members to implement new sustainable initiatives on campus.
It’s pretty cool to think about: an idea that my group comes up with may be implemented in the day-to-day lives of Conn students, and we get to work with the college administration to make it happen.
Our program has been working with a variety of groups around campus including Dining Services and the new Camel Card office, and we’ve also been working with the City of New London itself.
I think it’s amazing that as nineteen- and twenty-year-olds, we are given the power to literally change the face of this campus. Granted, we had to work for the power, and we work even harder to get the projects done, but the fact is that it’s possible. It’s a kind of power I’ve never felt before. That’s what shared governance in action looks like.
January 2, 2014
Just before break, I attended CELS (Career Enhancing Life Services) Workshop Four, which focused on professional communication. The CELS staff showed us techniques for writing cover letters, sending professional emails, and interviewing. Each of the seven workshops have a different goal, from completing your resume to finding your internship. If we attend all the workshops and fulfill separate requirements, we are eligible for a $3,000 stipend for an internship during the summer of our junior year.
December 30, 2013
After Thanksgiving, and now with the New Year right around the corner, I found myself thinking about the semester ending. I am particularly thankful for a wonderful first semester at Conn. Here are ten reasons why:
- The comfort to strike up conversation with anyone.
- The willingness of professors to meet with me, even if I’m not taking one of their classes. (One professor even gave me her personal phone number to help answer my questions.)
- Friday night Shabbat dinners (complete with challah). I’m not even Jewish, but everyone goes!
- The openness of my friends.
- The new Science Center in New London Hall provides me an inspiring place to think.
- The arboretum bog loop … perfect for running
- The view of the Thames River when working out in the fitness center
- Facilitating Friday morning creative writing workshops at Sound Community Services, a nearby non-profit dedicated to educating and assisting individuals with behavioral health needs
- The hot cocoa at Blue Camel Café when I’m in need of a boost during late nights in the library
- The Amtrak train that goes from downtown New London to Boston, bringing me home. (And also to NYC and DC!)
December 27, 2013
So I admit: I like knowing what my next step of life will hold. In high school, I definitely enjoyed the challenge of science and solving problems, so I decided to pursue the topic in college. Now that I’m beginning to set my sights on graduation (which, fortunately, is still a few years away,) I’ve been thinking about what I really want to continue studying. I enjoy learning and graduate school is an option, but I don’t know what type. Law school, medical school, or just graduate programs in biochemistry/chemistry are all on my list.
Just recently, I spoke with my minor advisor and she gave me some pretty good advice, suggesting I sample all of my interests. Often, topics on paper can seem really fun or cool to study, but might not pan out.
Is there a point to medical school if you absolutely hate the smell of hospitals? Do you want to go to law school if you think lawyers are really liars? Do you think you can even do four more years of school?
The answer to that last question is yes! I just can’t wait to figure out how much I can learn. Don’t stop opening new doors.
December 25, 2013
I'm a planner. I schedule everything I can think of and I try to plan so far ahead that, besides an occasional monthly update, I only change my calendar for last minute events.
What am I majoring in, you ask? Well, I plan to major in environmental studies with a focus on water (because I would like to be a marine biologist) and minor in Italian Studies. Still, I realize it can change at a moment’s notice. Most first year students like myself aren’t ready to make these sorts of decisions just yet.
People often ask me how I have it all planned out so soon. For me, it’s feels right to plan my academic schedule and declare as a first year, even though the declaration isn’t required until second semester of sophomore year. I love knowing where I would like my path to lead and how to reach my goals. It makes the obstacles along the way that much more manageable.
December 23, 2013
Last year I lived in a dorm with my four best friends, one of whom was my roommate at the time.
This year I live in a single, with one of those best friends also in the same dorm. Luckily, she lives right down the hall.
The automatic comfort and support you feel when one of your friends lives nearby is almost indescribable. I definitely would not have been able to get through this semester without my friend living down the hall. Our rooms are always open to each other -- I use her fridge and she uses my microwave. It’s easy and relaxing. I know that at any time, I can walk down the hall into her room, with no already-made plans, and we can just sit around and gossip, watch TV, or eat.
This is one of the best things about college: being surrounded by people your own age 24 hours a day. Sometimes those people can become lifelong friends in the process.
December 20, 2013
After the three-inch snowfall, students took to the green for snowball fights and snowmen. These two students had just started to craft their snowman as the snow flurries began to die down.
December 18, 2013
I’ve read the Hunger Games series religiously and when my friends and I heard that Conn was sponsoring a trip to see the latest movie, Catching Fire, I do remember squealing loudly. We had already planned to buy tickets to the premiere, but going with Conn made it easier.
Seeing the movie through the College’s trip was really helpful. For starters, it made our tickets cheaper and guaranteed us entry. It is usually my luck that premiere tickets are sold out when I go to buy them… even in advance. Then, transportation was included to and from the theater, making our movie viewing experience tress free. I really didn't think I could be much happier about this endeavor until we showed up at Cro to board the bus for the theater.
As I got on the bus, I discovered several other friends were also signed up to see this movie, in addition to the friends I had purchased tickets with. For movies, a big group is always more fun. In my mind, this outing was going to be rated 7 out of 10 in terms of fun anyway, but between the Conn transportation, cheap tickets and additional friends, the rating scale just broke. It was incredibly fun!