186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

“Major Decisions” by Nicole Pinera

It is hard to believe that the end of the spring semester came so quickly. My first year as a college student is  complete; in comparison to how long it felt like I waited to get here as a high school student, desperate to break out into the “real world,” it’s gone by all too fast. With the end of the semester came the (somewhat tedious) process of planning for the next fall semester. I took the opportunity to reflect on my current major and solidify some big decisions.

At some point during the fall semester, after scouring the course catalog a few times and reflecting on my current classes, I decided that I wanted to switch out of Exercise Science. Based on my interests, the logical decision seemed to be Biological Sciences. But all of this raised an obvious question: when do I make the switch? I found myself in an academic advisor’s office around midterms during the fall semester, asking all of these questions and unsuccessfully trying to figure out four years in one meeting. Her advice to me? “Go back to your dorm and worry about your midterms for now.” It wasn’t the right time to start questioning all of my life decisions, and the courses that I was taking had me on the right track for Exercise Science or Biology. There was no rush to make that decision at the time, and I’m glad that I took the time to consider my options. Continue reading

“Artes Vita: Setting the Stage” by Abhigna Rao

I don’t remember the first TED Talk I ever watched, mostly because I was fascinated with my dad’s fascination during my first ever TED Talk. Instead of looking at the screen, I would notice how his eyes would go wide at every interesting point made, every audience reaction. Each time the presenter mentioned something profound, he would instantly perk up and say, “Did you hear that?” I usually responded with a very convincing “yes,” but he would rewind the video anyway, this time pointing at the person’s face in rhythm with his words to make sure I understood. And under the façade of paying intense attention, I would chuckle under my breath at how passionate he was about the science rolling off the speaker’s tongue.

As I floated through middle school and entered high school, TED Talks began being used more and more as a teaching supplement. From Hugh Herr’s experience with bionic legs, to Amy Cuddy’s perspective on the effects of body language on confidence, and even further still to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce,” I was exposed to a variety of tastes based on the nature of the class as well as my teacher’s interests.

My all-time favorite talk in the entire world is “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” presented by popular long-form blogger Tim Urban. I find myself going back to this one time and time again, not just for the humor and the energy of the speaker, but to re-learn the life lessons he lays out for his audience. His message and his values resonate with me for different reasons every time I return to his video, and he really embodies the vision and purpose of TED. Continue reading

“What It’s Actually Like Living in a Sorority House” by Lorraine Capenos

Hi, my name is Lorraine Capenos and I live in a sorority house here on campus. And it’s surprisingly pretty normal.

Before I joined a sorority, I definitely had an idea in my head of what sorority girls were like. Movies and TV shows usually depict sorority houses as party venues or homes to intense, insecure, competitive girls who seem more like enemies than friends. They’re usually giant mansions filled with dozens of excitable girls.

But this hasn’t been my experience.

First, I don’t live in a mansion. The house I live in holds 15 girls but feels smaller than it sounds. It’s pretty similar in facilities to any other UD housing and is right on campus near other housing. It’s nice, but nothing crazy or fancy.

Second, we don’t have parties here. I can’t speak on behalf of other sororities, but our house is not a party venue. The girls who live here are more than happy to host visitors and chapter events like brunches and Airband preparations, but at the end of the day we have homework to complete and Zs to catch. We like to live in a clean, presentable house where people can have fun but still respect the fact that 15 girls are living in this house.

Third, sorority girls are just normal girls. There is nothing intense or competitive here. Mostly we all just want to get through the days with as little drama and as many smiles as possible. If other students can handle living in dorms, they can understand living with 14 housemates. At least we only have to share a bathroom with our suite, as opposed to the whole floor.

I have found living in my sorority house incredibly rewarding. In fact, I’m doing it again next year. It is an amazing way to get closer with others in the chapter, including the other house girls, but also everyone in the chapter who comes to the house for various purposes. I never walk to events or chapter meetings alone, and I’ve gotten to know many people better who I might not have otherwise had the chance to spend time with.

I have also enjoyed being in a location central to the chapter because I don’t have to go out of my way to attend certain events or help out the chapter. While some people may have to cross campus to get to the house, I just have to walk downstairs. I feel very in-the-loop in the chapter and I have many opportunities to be involved.

The logistics of living in the house work out nicely, as well. It’s similar, if not lower, pricing to other UD housing, free laundry, a nice kitchen, good location, and we can call facilities whenever something breaks or malfunctions in the house. We are far away enough from main campus to get some separation from classes, but still close enough to walk, and we have a bus stop nearby for days when the weather is less than optimal.

I would recommend living in a sorority house to anyone looking to get more involved in their chapter in a pretty low-commitment way, make lasting friendships, find a convenient place to live on campus, and have the ability to socialize and have private time in the same house. If you’re considering living in your chapter’s house, don’t let stereotypes dissuade you. Look more into it and take the opportunity if it presents itself.

“Dealing with the Inevitable: Poor Performance” by Carlos Benito

As smart as we may be, as hard as we may work, and as much as we may try, we will inevitably face academic failure. As much as we try to avoid it, at some point all of us sit alone, staring down a low grade that will keep us up at night. So, as dedicated UD students working towards a successful future, what can we do about it?

The first priority is to try and prevent this scenario from ever happening in the first place. Studying every week day, going to office hours or emailing questions to professors and TA’s when something is not understood are your sure fire ways of trying to prevent this from happening. However, sometimes your classes throw that complete curveball. The exam almost exclusively covered topics that were not stressed in class or were not even covered. The exam is way too long for the time given or questions are not worded clearly. These are things that we, as students, cannot control. However, as humans, we can adapt to these sorts of hectic settings as best we can. After the first exam, we all start to get a sense of how the class is run, the wording style of the professor and what their priorities are. These intuitions are your first defense against a bad grade, however they are just that, patterns that could be broken anytime the professor wishes and therefore cannot be fully relied on.

However, lets say that all of these strategies were implemented and still lead to failure. My best advice: talk to the professor. This will not be a fun talk, but it is one you need to have. You need to go over question by question, line by line, everything you did wrong on that exam with them to understand why you got it wrong and more importantly how you can avoid the same mistakes in the future. From experience, I can tell you the conversation will go something like this…

You meet with the professor, pull out the exam and they take a deep breath. They dislike this conversation just as much as you do. You start explaining your logic for answering the problem and then you come to the spot where it all went wrong, the professor hesitantly identifies this spot as where the bomb dropped and then explains what you should have done. Either that or the professor responds in a demeaning tone that is going to make this process a whole lot more painful. Either way, you push through and finally turn over that last page. You thank the professor for meeting with you and walk out feeling accomplished because you know you did the right thing, even if the professor did not.

It’s a difficult thing to do, but if we are going to call ourselves professionals we have to get used to asking superiors where we went wrong, even if we think we never did. Whether it was in our study methods, note taking methods or somewhere else – just taking the time to have this conversation will pay major dividends in the future. So if you are staring at that exam right now, put it down, shoot an email to your professor and prepare to take a step towards becoming a professional.

“Are Parisian Stereotypes True?” by Hayley Whiting

After spending my fall semester in Paris on a UD study abroad program, I definitely feel that I was able to become part of the city, rather than a tourist, which was a rewarding and fun experience. Thanks to spending three months there, I came away with a better understanding of the people, culture, and day-to-day life of the city. Below, I affirm some Parisian stereotypes, challenge others, and offer more observations from my time in Paris! (Disclaimer: I refer to Parisians specifically instead of French people because I only lived in Paris, but it is possible that these observations could be true for other parts of France as well! All of these views are also based on my own opinions.)

 

Stereotype: Parisians are arrogant and rude

In my experience, Parisians have been very helpful, respectful, and kind. Even when I traveled to Paris with my family four years ago, while we were walking around on the street with our luggage looking for our Airbnb, a lady stopped to ask if we needed help and gave us directions. That same trip, a man helped my sister carry her suitcase up the metro stairs. During my time studying abroad, I always had positive interactions with people. For example, an older lady in my apartment building always stopped to talk with me, and restaurant servers, museum employees, and retail workers were always polite. Continue reading

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