Posts Tagged ‘students’

Professors 2.0

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

It’s about that time: school is right around the corner and so are professors! Not only do you have to worry about making sure your bank account is on point and getting your student savings, but you have to make sure you make a good first impression with your professors.


Meeting a professor for the first time  

Particularly if you’re a first year student en route to your first real college class, you might be a little nervous when classes start. Depending on how big your College or University is, a typical 100-level class can range from 60 to 200 students! The professor can try his or her best to get to know everyone, but seeing as professors’ schedules are so busy, it’s up to you to make them notice you. You also have to keep in mind that in the future you may need a recommendation from a professor for a job. With that being said, not only do you want to do well in the class and build an academic relationship, but you also want to build a personal one. One tip is to simply go up to the professor after class and introduce yourself. You can choose to introduce yourself with your name and year in school or perhaps just your name—it’s up to you. Then, simply tell him or her that you are excited to be in the class this semester. These simple lines are going to introduce you to the professor but will also tell them that you are serious about the class and care about forming a relationship.


Taking a class with a professor you had before

If you have had the same professor for a new class, you are already at an advantage in terms of building a quality professor-student relationship. However, whether a great deal of time has passed or not, you still want to be able to maintain that relationship. After the first class with a well-acquainted professor, go and say hello. Tell him or her that you are excited to be taking the class and look forward to having a great experience like that of the last class you had with him or her.  This move and can make your relationship stronger and will let the professor know that you are a serious student.


Note: the above advice is intended if you did well in the previous class with that same professor.  If you failed or didn’t do as well in the class as you hoped, and you end up taking the class over, I would advise something different.  Instead of going up to the professor after class, you should visit the professor during his or her office hours. Meeting a professor during office hours can set a more intimate and professional meeting atmosphere and gives you more time to communicate. Tell your professor that you are thankful to be allowed to take the class over and that you look forward to doing better this time around. Your professor will know that you mean business, and he or she will have a clean impression of you instead of the one you last made.


I have only touched upon a few of many ways to make good first impressions on professors. If you would like more tips or advice, leave a comment and I will get back to you!


Joanne, Simmons College ’15. Read my personal blog!

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What I Learned in My Public Speaking Class

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

originally appeared on

Given a choice between Design of a Newspaper Page (or something similar to that) and Public Speaking, I chose the latter without hesitation. I have always loved to speak in front of large groups, despite the fact that I often trembled inside. I can manage my nerves well, though, and I enjoy delivering my message; therefore, I was eager to learn new skills through this class.

Unlike me, there are many students who are petrified to take a public speaking class because they hate standing in front of people and talking to them, or simply because they believe that they will never need speaking skills for their career. If this sounds like you, let me assure you: whatever your future profession will be, you will definitely have to make presentations, whether you like it or not, so why not learn it as early as possible and be prepared?

Since many universities oblige you to take a public speaking class anyway, I would suggest that you do it during your first semester, as it will help you do better in many of your classes. Here are some useful things I learned in my public speaking class:

1. Everyone is nervous while speaking in public, no matter how confident he or she looks. Even your professors feel tension inside. It is just not comfortable to face a large group of people and have their eyes and ears turned at you.

2. Developing your public speaking skills means learning how to control your fear and delivering your message successfully. The more often you practice what you learn, the more confident you will feel delivering every other presentation, so you should use every opportunity to talk in class, whether it is a formal report or a mere answer to someone’s question.

3. No matter how interesting your presentation is, it is always hard to listen if there are no visuals, and don’t you hope for a “first-time student discount” (meaning that the audience will not sympathize with you even if this is a debut). Therefore, you should always do a short Powerpoint presentation, prepare handouts or simply draw a poster. Anything works, as long as there is some kind of visual back up for your presentation. If there are names that the audience may not know, you should write them on the board, especially if their pronunciation is not well-known. When your listeners see the information in front of them, they understand it better and remember it longer.

4. There is more than one type of audience: friendly, indifferent, neutral, and hostile. The easiest kind to deal with is the neutral one, as they are the material that you can work with. You can tell them whatever you want, and it is up to you to keep them interested. Friendly audience is not as easy as you suppose it is because these listeners usually know who you are and think highly of you, so there is no way you can deliver a presentation that is not as strong as your previous one. Otherwise, they will easily get bored and won’t pay attention. The hardest task is to engage an indifferent audience, as they are not interested in your topic, or you, and will most likely sleep through your presentation. As far as hostile audience is concerned, they are the most fun group to deal with, as it is your job to change their mind about you or the topic you are talking about. You have to be well-prepared and predict what kind of questions may be asked and what the audience’s objections will be. Knowing the type of audience is a must, as it helps to deliver the message in the most effective way. It can be compared to researching on student savings: you should know before you go which place may give you the best deal and how to get this deal from them.

5. Eye contact is powerful. If you stare at your notes, or, what’s even worse, read from the page, no one will listen to you. People will automatically assume that you are poorly prepared and have no idea what your presentation is about, and feel like listening to you is a waste of time. A good idea is to create an outline (on a piece of paper or index cards) with major points you are going to make. Write down quotes from experts, if you are using any. With this material, you can spend more time looking at your audience to study and react to their facial expressions and gestures. For example, if they look confused, ask if they want you to repeat or clarify what you said. If they yawn, you should probably give them an interesting piece of information that you were saving for later.

6. Once your presentation is ready and your outline is completed, you have to practice. You may need to record your voice, listen to it and repeat your presentation in front of the mirror at least 5 to 10 times, so that when the actual presentation takes place, you will be well-prepared and less nervous. Later on, when you become more experienced, you won’t need much practice. Still, 5 times is generally recommended. Just imagine how awed your classmates will be when you deliver your well-rehearsed informative presentation!

7. And finally, always leave time for questions. You may hate to be asked, but how else will you know that your message was understood and remembered? This is, perhaps, the most exciting part, as through the questions you can see whether your presentation was clear, what you should improve on and how the message was taken in general. The time you should put aside for questions is usually 3-5 minutes, so there is nothing you should really be scared of.

Ekaterina Lalo

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Photo courtesy of Slowburn

Written by Megan Soyars

I currently work at a popular bookstore, and am constantly surrounded by harried customers who are trying to complete their last-minute holiday shopping. The store is packed with people riffling through greeting cards, scanning book shelves, and grabbing random games and puzzles off the “Buy One Get One Free” table. They stagger to cash wrap and plop their purchases in front of me, sweating underneath the coats and hats they didn’t have time to take off.

“One hundred and sixty-nine dollars,” I say. They hand over the money, and I hand over their purchases, which are usually double or triple-bagged to hold the weight. Sometimes the games and coffee table books have to go in thrash bags. As I watch them stagger away, I slowly shake my head. A few days ago, I had a family visiting from Virginia buy three coffee table books and the Monopoly deluxe edition. I could barely lift their bags over the counter to hand them over.

“I dunno how we’re gonna get these on th’ plane,” the man confided to me in his slow twang as he walked away (listing slightly to the left, the side where he was carrying the shopping bags). I felt a brief twinge of pity for him, since his wife wasn’t helping him carry anything. Turning away, I called my next customer.

A young man jauntily approached the counter. He was almost whistling.  At first glance, his hands seemed empty. Then I realized he was carrying six gift cards.

“Twenty-five bucks on each,” he announced. “Now my Christmas shopping is done. And I only spent ten minutes this year!”

So it seems depending on your method, holiday shopping can be an arduous ordeal or a breezy affair. Maybe you don’t have the muscle (or monetary) power to buy as many hefty gifts as my Virginia tourist did. But you don’t want to cop-out and snatch up a bunch of gift cards like the young guy did. So take the Buddha’s advice and choose the Middle Way. Here’s a couple tips for completing that last-minute holiday shopping that lets giftees know you spent time shopping for them, but also keeps your hands light and your wallet (relatively) full.


This prevents you from becoming lost in the myriad streets of Manhattan. It also prevents impulse buying! Figure out what places you want to hit and write a list of those stores, including directions to them, what you plan to buy there, and ideally how long you plan to stay. For example, your list might look like this.

Store: Your Local Bookstore A Popular Clothing Store
Directions: 5th Ave. b/t 45th & 46th 34th St. & 7th Ave.
Items: 1 book for Sally, 1 game for Rob 1 scarf for Mary, 2 shirts for Daniel
Time: 1 hour 2 hours

That being said, don’t feel like you have to be restricted to your plan. As Captain Barbossa remarks in Pirates of the Caribbean, “Think of ’em more as guidelines than actual rules.” If you planned to get Sally a romance novel, but see a bestseller you know she’d like more, go ahead and get it. But remember to stay in price range if you can!


Since you’re a student, you don’t exactly have a lot of disposable income. Budget yourself by conceding you can’t buy everybody you know and love a personalized Christmas gift. I generally send cards (with maybe a gift card) to everybody, but save my big buys for close friends and family.


After working at a busy bookstore, I’ve determined what hours we experience a rush. This is lunchtime (roughly between 11:00 and 2:00) and 4:30-6:30 when everybody’s getting off work. This may seem like a convenient time to hit the stores because you can shop right around the workplace, but it’s NOT! The lines are super-long during this time, guys. The rest of the day, the store is pretty dead. So I recommend getting your shopping done in the morning before work. That way, you can breeze straight through to the front of the line.


Not only do you avoid the holiday rush, you also gain that sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something unique. Whether it’s a hand-made card or a batch of cookies, your recipient will appreciate the fact that you spent time on them. For example, I bought my boyfriend a really nice leather journal. It didn’t take too long to take it off the shelf during my lunch-break, but now I can personalize it by writing little notes.


I know this sounds hokey, but it’s probably the best piece of advice I can give. When you were a kid, Christmas was the best time of the year. Mommy and Daddy (and Santa) showered presents on you. And it was so much fun giving presents back! Yeah, Mommy picked them out, but you got to do the wrapping. So remember the holidays are really about showing your friends/family how much you love them, and receiving that love in return. Be thankful you have people to share this wonderful holiday with! And truly, that is the most important gift of all.

*Also, check out Jie Jenny Zou’s helpful article, “Holiday Shopping on a College Student’s Budget, a.k.a $20” here!

-Megan, Trinity University

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Slane in NYC

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Restaurant review of Slane Public House by Emily Ho, NYU

102 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012-1203
(212) 505-0079

The Brief Bite

– Great chatty atmosphere

– Wallet friendly drink specials – $5 Cosmos, Sangria, Margaritas, and $4 beers

– Free wifi during the day!

– $6.00 Lunch – last I heard, Slane is planning on sneaking in an authentic Irish dish somewhere in the Student Special menu.

I hear it even before I step in the door: the steady rhythmic beat of the music, people calling out to one another, and the sound of drinks clinking as the bartender, Annie, shakes up another two mojitos. It’s a Tuesday night at Slane on MacDougal, next to the Creperie.

If the name Slane is sounding slightly familiar, you might be thinking of the castle it was named after: Slane Castle in Ireland, now a concert hall hosting acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2. The cool, slightly quaint Irish aesthetic seemed very much on bar owner Glenda’s mind when she designed the interior: dusted brick walls with niches for candles and green Irish lettering on the walls, and dim pendant lamplights along the bar. The space is cleverly designed to accommodate big groups in the front (they often host birthday parties), football fanatics (there are 5 flat screens, each tuned to a different sport), and a smaller intimate booth in the back (elevated by a step, these few tables offer some privacy if that’s what you’re looking for). Stepping in reminded me of my own trip to Ireland a few years back, and my visit to its oldest pub, the Brazenhead. So just coming in, I knew this wasn’t just an ordinary pub.

Sitting at the bar, what caught my eye was their large selection of beers, most notably of them the Irish classics Guinness and Carlsburg, and Sam Adam’s Octoberfest, which had just come into season. Big points to Slane for having a seasonal beer selection, but even more so was the quick and friendly service from Annie, the bartender and only waitress. Even though the bar was filling up fast, she was quick to take my order.

The comfort food menu leaned slightly towards European cuisine, ranging from Fish N Chips ($14) to meat and vegetable pies. After much deliberation, my friend and I settled on an appetizer of garlic breaded mushrooms ($8), a chicken & mushroom pie for her ($10), and a classic shepherd’s pie ($13) for me.

So – the seemingly rudimentary appetizer. Who knew a simple dish of sautéed mushrooms ensconced in bread crumbs, with an underlay of butter and garlic could be so plain delicious? The button mushrooms were just juicy and crispy enough to pop the tastebuds – a hard combination to pull off. Combined with a light side of arugula salad, this dish makes a great vegetarian option. Definitely the high point of the meal, my guest and I devoured the plate in minutes. We didn’t have to wait too long for the entrees to arrive. My shepherd’s pie was a hearty casserole of beef chunks and vegetables, baked with a topping of mashed potatoes. The real winner at the table though, was the meat pie: topped with only a thin crust, the soupy mixture underneath had a nice touch of wine – a sherry like Harvey Bristol, perhaps. Whatever the secret concoction, the flavor soaked into the chicken & mushroom combination, elevating the dish from standard fare to true comfort food (with a slight twist of sophistication to boot).

The music was still playing when we finished, but the birthday party had left, making room for the nightly 3 hour music set, Mondays through Thursday. Each night features a different group, playing anything from jazz to a more eclectic alternative pop. Slane is pretty receptive to local bands in the area, and even features student bands from NYU. It’s definitely a good atmosphere whether you’re catching up with the old gang, or whether you want to mingle with new people (I caught a guy’s eye a few times). So, is Slane a tiny slice of Ireland or just a cool joint for hanging out, either before or after hitting up the nightclubs? You decide – Slane is right on MacDougal, close to Bleecker.

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Chambers of Solitude: the October Schlump

Sunday, June 6th, 2010
Big Apple

New York City: you don't have to see all of it in a month

About a month into the fall semester, a phenomenon occurs that I refer to as the October Schlump. It’s easy to recognize: first-year students, (who every night up till then have turned Washington Square into a giant social playground,) suddenly disappear. For a few weeks they are conspicuously absent, and then slowly, as Halloween approaches, they begin to tentatively reemerge from their dorms. What happened?

I know, because I went through it. For students new to this amazing city, that first month is like a dream. So many wonderful things to see and do that were never available before; new friends to make, new places to go, new things to discover. But it really feels like a dream: there’s a constant sense that this is illusory, that at any moment you will wake up and this opportunity you worked so hard for will dissolve around you. When a new friend invites you to go to this party at their friend’s place in Brooklyn, you think, Brooklyn! When else will I get to see Brooklyn?! When you read about a new exhibit at the MoMA, you think, the MoMA! When else will I be able to visit the MoMA?! When you pass a new Mexican restaurant in the Village offering a two-for-one Margarita special, you think . . .  well, you get the idea.

This lifestyle is, of course, impossible to maintain. About a month in, you wake up one day, maybe around 5 PM, and think, what day is it? You realize that you slept through an entire day of classes. See, you meant to just take a short nap – it was 3 AM, you’d just gotten back from a party at a friend’s – Happy Wednesday! – and you realized you didn’t have any clean clothes, so what a perfect time to do laundry! You threw a load in the washer, and then came back up to finish that essay on Socrates – that’s what New York’s about, multitasking! – and about two pages in thought, I’ll just take a quick nap – an hour or two, tops. After all, you haven’t slept in two days, so it’s about time to give the body a little refresher. Now here you are, essay not finished, classes missed, your load of laundry having been removed from the washer and scattered aimlessly all over the laundry room floor by some jerk. And even after sleeping twelve hours, you still feel tired. Or not tired, more than tired – exhausted. Your resources have been depleted; nothing in you wants to get out of bed, go anywhere, do anything. The momentum is gone.

This is the October Schlump. Although skipping meals and missing sleep are major contributing factors, the Schlump is not a disease, at least not physically. It’s the mental state that settles in when you realize that you barely have any idea what you did in the past month. You were in constant motion, you went and saw and did a million amazing things, but you can barely remember any of them. Some of them you liked, some of them you didn’t, but which were which?

So, for about a week, you don’t go out. You stay inside, do homework, get lots of sleep, eat right, and figure out what to do next. In that time, you realize that New York City isn’t going anywhere. It won’t disappear under your feet one day; it will be there the next day when you wake up, and the day after that, and the day after that. You will have at least four years, at most the rest of your life, to explore. So after that week, when friends call you up and invite you to this or that, you can say no, not tonight, rain-check. You don’t even need to give a reason. You can (in fact, you must) spend a night in now and then. And you must do is reflect. You are swimming in a sea of new experiences, new stimuli, new ideas, and some are good for you and some are not. You can have all these experiences but if you never stop to reflect on what they mean, they are – literally – meaningless.

As anyone who’s lived in a dorm can attest, dorms can be a lot of fun, but they aren’t really the best places for quiet reflection. After my October Schlump, I began to seek out places I could go to be by myself, to think and ponder, to reflect and debate. I can’t give you the answers to the big questions of life that all college students confront during those four years – I don’t have them. But I can share with you come places I think will provide the stillness, the solitude, within the bustling metropolis that we call home, to find some of these answers. And I will call them Chambers of Solitude. More to come.

And in the meantime, if you need to a moment of calm and some advice on chill-axing, (sorry, I won’t use that word again,) go here.

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Sex Education Museum Style

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010







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How to Choose a Good Roommate

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

image credit:

Finally, you are moving to the city. You will study at the university you were always dreaming about. However, there is one big problem: rent an apartment in the city will cost you an arm and a leg. How will you make ends meet? The answer is easy: get a roommate.
In addition to lowering your housing costs, you will always have a good company. Here are some tips how to make sure that it will be a pleasant experience.
1. Pay attention to age. Big difference in age may decrease your mutual understanding. Activities that you like may be very different, as well as problems you deal with. Try to find a student like you, who will have the same interests. you can even study together and help each other.
2. Ask your potential roommate about his/her schedule. If you study in the morning, you will need to rest during the night and do your homework in the evening. If your roomate comes late and wakes you up every night, you will not get enough sleep. Interrupted sleep is even worse than no sleep at all.

Ekaterina Lalo

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I don’t wanna grow up; I just wanna be a Toys’R’Us kid.

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Today, a friend of mine’s mother passed away. I had never met the woman, but I know she’s been sick on and off the entire time my friend, one of my first in New York, and I have known each other. But platitudes like “she’s in a better place” or “at least she’s not feeling any pain” really don’t seem to do much good for anyone who hears them. It’s almost the opposite — like saying, “Hey, you’re mom isn’t hurting anymore so you really shouldn’t be so sad.” So what should you say?

I’ve never been good with comforting people, or dealing with other’s emotions at all, actually. It’s one thing to know that I should be there for my friend, should offer to go to the funeral and support her — it’s another thing entirely to do that and not get swept up in trivial things, like the Celtics clinching the Cavs’ series.

I foolishly put myself in her spot the other day, imagining it was my dad who just died and I had to convince myself not to call him, just to make sure he was okay even though I knew that nothing could have happened to him in the time since we’d last spoken. I’ve always had a strong imagination, though, and watching a friend’s grief does nothing to stop that.

I can admit to myself, and by extension the World Wide Web through this blog, that if a friend from home just lost a relative, the situation would be different. Last year, a close friend’s mother passed and there was literally nothing more important than getting back to Jersey to be there for her and her family, who I’ve known my entire life. I wonder if just the length of time one person can know another factors into that extra effort that is willingly put forth without thought, or if, as awful as it is to think, some people just matter more. I don’t like to think that, to think that one friend can be held to different standards than another — but that’s probably how it is.

Not offering any comfort may just be my own cowardice; at twenty I hate being faced with any reminders of mortality, no matter what the case is. I don’t believe it to just be a fear of death, that’s too simple. It’s more a fear of not being young anymore, of growing up and losing vitality and vibrancy and the joie de vivre. My father is turning fifty in a few weeks, and I know aging bothers him a lot more than it does my mother. I get that from him, I guess, though it is silly for someone my age to care about growing older so much unless it is a desire to finally reach twenty-one. For the record, I couldn’t care less about being twenty-one and I sometimes find myself wishing I was still a teenager.

This blog seems to jump from point, or non-point, rather, to non-point. I do have one though — a point that is.

They say the friends we meet in college are the ones that will last the rest of our lives. If that’s true, no amount of personal discomfort should keep us from being there for our friends; regardless of if it’s being there at a funeral, or letting a friend crash on the couch during finals’ week to escape a commute to Long Island. Though no longer kids, people in their late teens and early twenties still have that innate selfishness that wants everything in life to revolve itself around their comfort — but that’s not what happens. Accepting that, and being there for other people despite ourselves, is one of those first, and terrible, steps to growing up.

-Mary K

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The best advice I can possibly give to an undergraduate is to find a professor, advisor, or dean that you trust and can talk to. Being in such a big city and being part of a huge sea of classmates can be intimidating and there are many times that having help is essential.

Last year I found my mentor, a professor I had had the previous semester for a Philosophy lecture. I liked him so much I took a smaller class in order to get to know him better. His class was intellectually stimulating and interesting and I found myself actually excited to go to his class every day. He did not teach any undergraduate classes this past semester; so unfortunately, I had to sign up for some courses that I was not so passionate about. A few weeks into the semester I found myself having serious problems with one of my professors. He practically ignored me in class, gave me bad grades on essays, and seemed to scoff at everything I said. When the problem got to be too much to handle, I went to my mentor to ask for advice. He told me how to approach the dean of Philosophy to explain the situation and offered to do an independent study with me so I could get the credits that I needed to graduate. He helped me figure out how to deal with my current professor in the meantime. He also helped my psychologically, by explaining that I had done nothing wrong in my dealings with this professor and that situations such as mine sometimes just happen.

Not only did he take me on as a student and build a course around my needs, but he also helped me with the other classes I was taking. I told him about my struggle with Logic, a course that was way too much like math for me to understand. He supplied me with links to online textbooks so I could practice, and, even though Logic was not his strong suite, he spend his time re-explaining the material that I did not understand in class.

While I suppose I could have dealt with my professor and found tutors on my own, the simple fact that I had a central person to talk to and who knew the ins and outs of my college was indispensable to me. When you go to college in a city like New York, it is so easy to get lost amongst the masses and get swallowed up whole. And college is such a confusing time of self-discovery and red tape. The best thing to do for yourself is find someone who can help guide you to the finish line.

-Emily S

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Dear Future: What ever will I do?

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

In my junior year of high school I joined the Academy of Finance, a respectable two year business program offered in many high schools that gives youngsters a substantial peek into the business world. Getting paid to be a summer intern at a company like Citigroup was just one perk, and perhaps it was the only one that I felt adequately substantial for my participation in the program.

Before this internship experience, I was expected to pass a number of business related classes, some of which included accounting, finance, economics, financial planning, and business law.

Without much surprise, these courses caused me to drift from my naive, puffy cloud dreams of becoming a fancy suit-wearing business woman, because, quite frankly, I did not enjoy them. In a brave attempt to hide from debts and assets, I sought refuge in my English classes. Lusting over the luxurious pages of Dorian Gray proved to be one of the few things I genuinely enjoyed in school. Staying up late to write thought provoking and personally fulfilling essays was something I looked forward to. I should have heard the futures blatant whispers in my ear at the time, but I didn’t think English could get me anywhere, so I just kept my interest as an extreme hobby.

My first few years of college were engrossed in complete confusion. I had no idea what I wanted to pursue, what my interests were, or even what the elements of my own individuality consisted of. I was a sad case, moping the halls, endlessly jealous of all the other kids that knew what they wanted to be when they grew up— of course not every face I grilled to a crisp knew, but it was easy to feel sorry for myself when I took upon that belief. In an act of desperation, I leaned towards the business side of my (Ready for it?…) business school.

Two years passed, still without a set major, I bravely went where few go, and even less actually survive— the English Department. My love for literature had been apparent since high school, but it was a passion that I believe I repressed. Today, I think it was a combination of the fear of not knowing what I’d want to do with my English degree, conjoined with the typical college student jitters of setting firm marks onto the blueprints of our lives.

Winding down on my shpeel, if you find yourself unsure of the future, as a current college student, and even beyond that, take a firm step back, and try to remember. Remember what it was that struck that fervent chord in your soul that made you feel creative, alive… happy. Once you remember, go from there without hesitation, and see where it leads you. You can always go back to past plans if need be, but you can’t go back if you don’t go forward.

-Angela M

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