Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Special Guest Writer-Jenny Wu (post grad): Lessons From a post-Grad

Do you have an approach to college? Have you thought about what your goals for college are? I didn’t. For those of you who are just starting to apply, who have just stepped on their campus of choice for the first week of classes, or who have just switched their major for the first time, remember this: you must be bold in college. When signing up for classes, meeting new people, or deciding what to do in the summer, be bold.

I was frantic the last two years of my high school life: writing essays, deciding whether to apply to 7 colleges or 12, traveling on the weekends or breaks to tour college campuses with my father who was probably just as stressed and anxious as I was about what my decision would be as I was. I never asked myself when I made my college decision about what I wanted my lifestyle to be like or what I wanted to do after college and whether the colleges I was considering would be able to help me get there. The phrase “professional development” never crossed my mind. I can confession now that I made my decision based on branding, on reputation, and on the affirmation of my parents and high school teachers.

Throughout college, I had the traditional experiences and then created many of my own. I went to classes, did my homework, crammed for my exams. I pulled all-nighters, went to parties, slept over in my friends’ dorm rooms. I lived in dorms, moved out of dorms, work-studied, got a real job. I had a great time doing these things, but upon graduating, I realize that those years and months when my life revolved solely around the campus and my classmates actually taught me the least out of all of my four undergraduate years. The best thing that ever happened to me is when I realized I was bored going to the same house parties, bars, classroom buildings, and club meetings.

I became bold. I had started academic and social activities on campus since the first month of my freshman year. I found my own internship the spring semester of my sophomore year through cold calling and finding connections/references. I sought a good research mentor my sophomore year: took a whole semester e-mailing professors and graduate students and going to interview with them until I settled on working in the lab of the professor I have now worked with for almost four years. I completed a minor outside of the college of Arts & Sciences, which my major was in. For all of these experiences, I had to hassle administrators for overrides or to enroll in independent credits after the add/drop period. I had to cudgel faculty members to sign my paperwork for my internship as an advisor. The entire struggle to create my college experiences outside of the structured programs at my university taught me more about myself and being an adult than anything else did at the time.

So be bold going into college. Be bold while you’re a college student on campus and off-campus. Don’t start your adult life after graduation. Start it now. View Jenny Wu's LinkedIn profile View Jennifer Wu's profile

Friday, August 28, 2015

Surviving in a Large Lecture-2

Previously I discussed how important the Instructor is to having a great experience in a large class. You also have a big responsibility in a large class. Here are 7 tips I think you need to keep in mind for large classes:

1) Avoid any temptation to get lost in the crowd. With so many students it is very easy to let the crowd take over and lose your individuality. Be yourself, not a number!

(2) Attend class! Be part of the college experience by interacting with your Instructor and the other students in class. Moreover, there is usually a strong relationship between attending class and getting a high grade.

(3) Get to class early. This will give you a better chance to get a seat near the front of class where you have a great chance to talk to the Instructor and you can focus on the lecture. Also, you have some time to talk to the people who sit near you. It is really important to get to know people in your class, not only for notes but because your classmates are potential life-long friends.

(4) Try your best not come to class late or leave early. Quite frankly, this can really be rude. Also, when you arrive late or leave early everyone notices—I don’t think you want the “spotlight” on you. In addition, when you come in late or leave early it can interfere with the Instructor’s lecture. Of course, sometimes things are beyond your control, so if you must arrive late or leave early do it in a way that you will hardly be noticed.

(5) Don’t be afraid to ask a question/make a comment during class. Too often students think that this will annoy the Instructor of a large class. I know I don t mind questions/comments at all, and I think most faculty don’t either. Go for it! It is probably something others in the class are thinking.

(6) Talk to your Instructor. This can be in class or during their office hours. Quick hint: Remind your Instructor of your name each time you interact because it may take just a bit for your Instructor to really learn your name. You never know how getting to know your Professor can help if you need a letter of recommendation or when there is an opportunity to get involved with that Instructor’s research.

(7) Come to your large class focused and ready to learn. Having a more “positive” attitude will probably lead to your liking the class more, learning more, doing better in the class, and finding that the time of the class zips by.

Enjoy your large classes!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Special Guest Writer: Luisa Kickler (Student)--First Day of Classes is Finally Here!

The moment you’ve been waiting for all summer is finally here and guess what? You are actually freaking out. Don’t panic! With a little help, your first day of college will be a success. I know that campus seems to be equivalent to a small town (even bigger depending on where you’re from) and it can be quite intimidating if you are not familiar with it. But stay strong, there is this magic thing called map that will guide you right through it. A campus map can be found at the front desk of your dorm, online, or you can probably download an app on your phone. Read the map, study the map, love the map, be the map. No shame in your map game. It is also helpful to figure out where your classes are before they start, so go on a little adventure and look for the buildings that will become your second home. If you’re still nervous about it, there will be information tents all over campus for the first week of classes. After a couple weeks you’ll know campus like the back of your hand and I promise it will get smaller with time.

Now that you got the campus part down, let’s move on to classes. Pack your notebooks, planner (you will need one), pencils, pens, maybe some deodorant? Believe me, you’ll be glad you did. Make sure you leave 15 minutes early, just in case you get lost. When you get to class (like a champ), choose your seat wisely, wherever you’re comfortable but not too comfortable. Pay attention to what your professors have to say, you don’t want to look like an idiot by asking something he/she already repeated 3 times. Try to make at least one friend in each class, in case you need help, notes, or whatever later on. If you feel comfortable, introduce yourself to your professors after class, it is very important to establish a relationship with them. If you are a little reluctant about it, wait a few days and stay after class to ask a question. That way your professors will know who you are and they will know that you are interested in what they are teaching. Super smooth.

After you’re done with classes, organize your syllabi and highlight important dates, you definitely don’t want to miss those. Now all you have to do is sit back and relax, because just like that your first day is over and you didn’t even call your parents crying! College is not so bad after all… Your first day might be over, but you still have 4 more years ahead of you, so make sure you make the most of it. Manage your time responsibly, go to class, do your homework, don’t wait until the last minute, make friends, and last but not least, have fun! College truly is the time of your life, so enjoy!