Friday, October 24, 2014

Etiquette: Office Hours Edition

One of the most important actions a college student can take to make the most of her classes is to attend the professor's office hours. This time that a professor sets aside to be available to students is the perfect opportunity to make a connection while getting help. Here is the etiquette you need to know when going to office hours.

  • Schedule, schedule, schedule! If you are going for extra help it is best to make sure that the professor has enough time to fully tend to your concerns. While it's great to just drop by for a conversation, make sure that if you need the time you ask.
  • And make sure you show up. This may be fairly obvious but if you make an appointment be respectful of it. Be there on time (or even early) and if you must cancel, do so in advance. 
  • Be courteous. The professor is there to help you so be mindful and thankful. If you are coming in with a complaint about a grade make sure you have really looked over the material and have valid concerns. Do not go in on the attack because that will only serve to make the professor defensive and less likely to help you.
  • Have specific questions. If you are struggling in a class try and pick out some problems you had particular trouble with so you can address them. If you are planing on just winging it when you go in you most likely will not end up truly having your confusion cleared up.
  • Don't be selfish. Now I know that the other rules are about how you can get the most out of your office hours appointment but try and bring something of value to the professor. If you read an interesting article in her subject or have some knowledge of the research she is conducting, bring it up! Try and connect with the professor so he can look forward to helping you and being the best resource possible. Remember one of the fundamental rules for interacting with others: everyone loves to talk about themselves.
If you remember to be as respectful of the professor and his time as possible you will be fine! You will do better in class, learn a little more, and have made a connection that may benefit you in the future. What other recommendations do you have for office hours?

-Alyssa J Freitas  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekend Recap

Fall weekends are kind of the best. Not only is the weather beautiful but there are so many fun things going on!

This past Friday night there was a Garba celebration at TCNJ. Garba is a type of dance from Gujarat and it is done in a circle with an idol at the center. The god Durga was being venerated at this dance and it was a very beautiful and energetic ceremony (click here for a video of the dancing).

Luckily Ashna was able to loan me a lengha which made me so happy! Matt and I had a good time observing (because the dancing was a bit too complicated for us to actually participate) and mingling with other party-goers. I actually really enjoyed the food that was served and we both cleaned our plates.

On Saturday I went pumpkin picking with PSE. We went to Terhune Orchards (where I went with Ally and the Catholic Campus Ministry) for everything fall.

First we walked quite casually to the corn maze.

There were four markers that we had to find so of course I made it my mission to get to every one. Let the record show that I did so with very little confusion!

Next we took a ride on the tractor...

and then we picked our pumpkins. My mentor Coleen found a good one!

It really was a great weekend! What were you up to?

-Alyssa J Freitas

Monday, October 20, 2014

College: Expectations v. Reality

I love reading expectation v reality posts. Usually you'll find these on Buzzfeed with great gifs that are always on point. Since this is my first time doing a post of this nature, and since I won't be using gifs (because I am absolutely no good with them), I hope that you will still find it enjoyable.

image source; modified by Alyssa J Freitas
Expectation: Everyone will tote fashionable bags that will miraculously be able to contain all of the books they need (think Hermione's beaded bag which can hold EVERYTHING).
Reality: No. Just no. There are those girls who will try to manage without a backpack but really they are suffering so much (trust me because I was one of those girls for about a week. Then I realized that carrying all of your textbooks + laptop is impossible without a backpack).

Expectation: I did well in high school so college won't be a big deal. I'll just apply my exact same time management and studying techniques and I'll be fine.
Reality: Oh dear, don't make me laugh. College is a completely different beast! The class schedules are so nothing like high school (what is with classes that end after 9 PM?!?) and the work load is so much heavier. You will have to make some serious modifications.

Expectation: I will be best friends with my roommate. Best. Friends.
Reality: Yeah maybe, but probably not. I was lucky enough to have an amazing roommate my freshman year who I still see every week (we have a meal together weekly, yes we know we're the cutest) but we certainly weren't best friends while living together.

Expectation: There are so many guys here, I will definitely be able to get a boyfriend; no problem.
Reality: Not all of the guys are exactly what I would call eligible bachelors. From being incredibly immature to being more hook-up than relationship minded, you'll have your work cut out for you. Not to mention that on most campuses there are more women than men, so there's that statistic working against you.

Now, despite all of these unrealized expectations, the reality of college is actually quite fabulous. There are wonderful people, stimulating classes, an abundance of ways to get involved, and best of all, you are finally in charge of you.

-Alyssa J Freitas

What did you think of my first expectations v reality post? Are you interested in seeing more?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Putting Yourself Out There

We've all been advised that if we put ourselves out there good things will happen. We've been encouraged to take charge and make our presence known. As great as this advice is, it is not always easy to implement. What can you do to make taking risks easier?

image source; modified by Alyssa J Freitas
  • Say hello. It can be so easy to go through your day just doing your own thing and not interacting with others. Why not greet the person next to you when you sit down in class or strike up a conversation with the person behind you in line? It can be a simple way to start meeting new people.
  • Join something. Anything. The way that you make your best friends (at least in my experience) is by seeking out people who are interested in similar things. You can become a member of a new club or take a class in something you've always wanted to learn more about; it's all the better if it is not something you would normally try! 
  • Take on a new challenge. If you've always wanted to perform but have been too afraid to audition, just do it! Pluck up your courage and try out for something that scares you. It is only through challenging yourself that you can grow. 
What do you do to put yourself out there? Have you ever tried any of these methods?

-Alyssa J Freitas

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Day In Princeton

My best friend Katie and I were so incredibly pleased to find out that we had the same fall break this year. We decided that she would come down to visit me (since I was stuck at school working...oh the life of a CA) and we would go and double date in Princeton. She and her boyfriend Josh arrived mid-morning and we set off for a fun filled day of exploration!

First we went all around the campus and admired the beautiful architecture and the fall foliage. And of course there was a string band playing classical music on the green because, well, this is Princeton.

We noticed that there were bicycles absolutely everywhere! It makes sense seeing as the surrounding area is so conducive to walking and cycling; it is the perfect little college town.

We stopped in the gardens for a photo shoot, which my friends now know to expect since I've started the blog :). 

Katie and Josh

Me and Matt

We saw this giant triangle in the student center but were never quite able to figure out what the triangle club does. We assume that they have a heated rivalry with the square club....I wouldn't want to see a fight between those two!

Just two gals casually walking down beautiful stone steps.

For lunch we went to local harvest festival before hitting the shops. Katie and I were excited to go into Kate Spade, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren and The Paper Source. As it turns out we were there to look and absolutely not to buy; maybe once we graduate and have fancy high paying jobs we'll go back and come home with some pieces, or at least we can hope!

My favorite part was checking out the Princeton boathouse. Needless to say it is beautiful and I am insanely jealous of the marvelous facilities they have. If only TCNJ had that set up!

It was a greatly enjoyable day with fun people and I can't wait to go again! Have you ever taken a look around Princeton? 

-Alyssa J Freitas

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