Major Decisions and More by afederoff

After twenty-four full hours of totems, charisma (as in “deep truth revealed by cosmic order, recognized by social adherence”), and modernity, I thought I would officially commence the summer with one last blog as a freshman at Duquesne University. Finals sucked, I’m not going to lie. Luckily, I only had four finals (instead of the dreaded five) and I think I did well on all of them. My classes were awesome, my professors helpful, and my experience wonderful!

Let me tie up some odds and ends:

I think I’ve finally decided on a major… sort of. I entered Duquesne as a journalism major, enrolled in the Narratio learning community. Although I have decided to not pursue a career in the journalism field, I could not be happier with the path I took. Besides the obvious elements (such as making great friends, having awesome professors, and fun opportunities…like blogging!), I have found many of the classes I have taken this past year will be helpful in building my future curriculum. For example, Media and Society has been a great stepping-stone to future classes I will be taking. So, without further ado, I have decided to make my own major. The liberal arts college offers this incredible program in which a student literally makes a major of their own. With the help of my adviser, I decided this was the best path for me because of my future goals (to go to NYU and get a MSW/JD). If you have your heart set on Duquesne, but the liberal arts college does not have the exact major you are looking for, I would suggest looking into the program. In order to do this, I must compose my curriculum plan to our dean along with my reasoning for this course of study (major summer project). What do I plan on studying exactly? I like to call it a degree in feminism… it will be a unique combination of media studies, sociology, women studies, and conflict resolution.

That brings me to my next point: you’re never too new to get involved. Though countless advisors, interviewers, and peers have told me I am way ahead of the game, I think I am just trying to stay on the right path, following my passions. So, as my summer plans shape up, I will be working for an OB/GYN Monday through Thursday, and Fridays and Saturdays will be devoted to my internship, the first exciting leap into my career path. I briefly mentioned it before, but since it began in January, I have hardly had the time to blog about it. Anyway, I will be an intern for Ms. Courtney Martin, feminist activist and author. The Women’s Center Therapy Institute, in NYC, has asked to be the frontrunner for their international campaign against distorters of body image. The campaign, entitled Endangered Species: Preserving the Female Body, is scheduled to occur in March of 2011 and I am ecstatic to announce that I have currently been working on the guest list!

In terms of getting involved on campus and in Pittsburgh, I would encourage new freshmen to step out of the comfort zone and just try everything. Organizations I have become heavily involved with are CONTACT Pittsburgh, Strong Women Strong Girls, the Liberal Art blog, and Residence Life, as well as Phi Eta Sigma (the freshmen honors fraternity) and Lambda Sigma (the sophomore honors fraternity). Becoming involved was one of the best decisions I have made all year. Sure, it took guts to attend all those initial meetings, but luckily I have them. J If you don’t, please, please take me up on this offer: email me, comment me, ask me questions etc. Being involved is key, especially as a Duquesne student!

Thinking back to high school, I still don’t enjoy being a freshman a.k.a. “fresh meat” and the like. But at Duquesne, faculty and peer leaders somehow manage to make it less scary then James Caldwell High School did. In fact, it’s not the kind of scary where you want to go home or eat lunch in the bathroom; it’s more like scary before a performance, a date, or a speech. Oh wait… I think the word for that is excitement.

Happy summer, see you all in August!



Midterm stress by x3erica1037
10.14.09, 12:59 am
Filed under: Bloggers, Class of 2013, EricaT | Tags: , , , , ,

As we enter the middle of the fall term, many professors are administering scary tests or papers. My teachers seem to be split, with about half giving tests and half having us write some sort of paper. I can’t say which one I prefer, as both are time consuming, but I’m trying to manage my time to prepare as best as I can for each class. After years of waiting till the last minute to start most assignments, I feel like I’ve finally learned my lesson, and I’ve really been trying not to procrastinate. I’ve actually noticed that by starting earlier, I’m a lot less stressed and I’m able to do better on the assignments. Imagine how I felt in the moment when I realized that everything my teachers and parents always told me was true. 😉

To prepare for the courses in which I’m taking exams, I try to read over all my materials a few days before the test to refresh my memory and make note of the topics or definitions that I’m still not very clear about. Then, I either ask my professor or classmates about it and study it further on my own. I also find it really helpful to make flash cards for definitions or explicit ideas that I can’t seem to remember. If I carry those around and look at them every so often for a couple days, then I remember them a lot better. This seems to work a lot better then cramming it all in at once.

If I have a big a paper to write, I try to start as early as possible by at least getting some general ideas down on what I’m going to write about. Then, a few days before the paper is due, I’ll type a draft without printing it and leave it saved on my computer for a few days. If I go back after not thinking about it for a while, I can catch more mistakes and bring new ideas to make the paper better. This also alleviates a lot of the stress that comes with writing and printing out the paper the night before it’s due.

Although all this early preparation takes up a lot of my free time, I keep telling myself it will be worth it when I do well. I think I can handle a week or so of intense work if it means I’ll do significantly better in class.


Initiation? by afederoff
09.30.09, 8:32 pm
Filed under: AlyssaF, Bloggers, Class of 2013 | Tags:

I feel like I’ve just been sworn into college; I pulled my first all-nighter. Well, alpstam_cs4803doc_allnightermost. I am currently functioning on three hours of sleep. Although I had been preparing over the weekend and in the beginning of the week, I was panicking about my first exam in my most difficult class. I don’t even drink coffee, but you can bet I did all day yesterday.

The exam was on China, Japan, and Vietnam from B.C.E. times to the 20th century. There would be twenty-five points of combined multiple choice and matching. The largest point value would lie in the essay. We had to write one essay, but we were given three possible essay topics; only two would appear on the exam. I chose to thoroughly write a summary of two of the topics, ensuring one would appear on the exam. I also made an excel spreadsheet, organizing the dynasty, the emperor and the time period.

These tactics proved to be very helpful; to be honest, I think I did well on the exam. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a nap before my next class!


The Beauty of the Library by afederoff

I guess I had some kind of preconceived notion, with the exception of exam preparation, that the library was for losers.  Yet, I’ve recently discovered the opportunities the library offers to students. Sure, libraries can be somewhat outdated, because who wants actually look for a book when you could just type the question into your search box. However, spending time in the library actually has a lot of peaks.

I, personally, can focus much better in a quiet environment. The best thing about the library is you don’t feel rude demanding silence. Gumberg Library has designed the bottom three floors as quiet floors, where you can fully dedicate your attention to your studies. Not that I can complain about my roommate; she is often quiet when I try to do work, but working in the library eliminates the lack of consideration.

The library also has Wi-Fi, so after class, I grab my laptop and head over. Obviously, research and note taking are made easier, yet I also find that sometimes I need a Facebook break or I want to listen to a song with my headphones. Because the library is a Wi-Fi hotspot, this is a possibility.

I also find studying at the library refreshing (aside from the revitalizing air conditioning). Because I can truly focus, I find I actually understand what I am reading and cut the amount of time I need in half. Even if you never pick up a book (I haven’t yet!), the library is still a great resource to take advantage of!