I used to stubbornly resist annotating assignments and books, no matter how strongly others recommended it. It felt plain wrong, even disrespectful, to turn the creamy pages of books into stacks of neon yellow and blue (because if you’re going to highlight, highlight with school spirit), sprinkled with scribbled writing about this or that. I was told that annotating keeps you engaged with a given text, can improve your memory of what you read, can help you save time — yet I preferred to write out quotes in a separate notebook or utilize Post-its to the point where my books looked like butter-colored accordions. Call it stubbornness, call it hesitation, call it Nadya just being Nadya — I did not and would not sully any assigned reading with pen, pencil, highlighter, or paintbrush.
With college came a greater need for time management, as well as more reading assignments than I’ve previously experienced, and my outlook shifted a smidge. No matter your majors or minors, college brings with it substantial amounts of reading, and coupled with actual class time, extracurriculars, and necessary stuff like eating and sleeping, homework can pile up to such a degree that writing out detailed notes isn’t necessarily efficient. We Honors students also have a tendency to intentionally make ourselves busy and take more challenging classes, putting us in a position for a greater need for homework efficiency. In fact, most of my annotating activity has of late been dedicated to assignments in my Honors courses.
With a great deal of perseverance and an even greater amount of ink, I’ve managed to fully overcome my perpetual annotation hesitation, and I’ll tell you what—it’s not all that bad. Generally speaking, annotating is great for visual learners (me), people who don’t read very quickly (also me), or those who’ve amassed too many pens over the years and need to use them (definitely me). Continue reading
I was once told by a 3-year-old that I’m a “kid adult.” His toddler innocence brought me to gentle laughter, but the more I thought about it, he wasn’t wrong.
Technically, we do enroll in college as adults. However, college is when our intricate journey of self-discovery is only just getting started. Choosing a college, a major, a career pathway was hard enough. And now the pressure of finding your true identity, your purpose gets thrown into the mix too?
As dedicated students, we are already incredibly involved, offering our precious time up to various extracurriculars, organizations, and job opportunities. Add our Honors course load to that, and there’s even less time left in the day. So when exactly are we taking a step back and reflecting on who we really are? Why do we really do these things? What do we really want from our lives? When asked, many of us, including myself, struggle to answer these types of questions. And personally, I am not a fan of that. I need certainty. I want to know more about myself, don’t you? Continue reading
As the semester comes to a close and we approach finals season, it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that it’s important to take a step back and find something to occupy our time during much needed study breaks. Recently, I’ve been having conversations with friends about what it is outside of our classes that we do purely for enjoyment, completely separate from our studies and professional development. Finding an extracurricular passion is a great way to find a release or temporary escape from a hectic schedule of Honors classes, club obligations, and Zoom meetings. For me, this has manifested itself in the form of my semi-regular trips to the Little Bob throughout the week to swim.
Swimming used to be an integral part of my weekly schedule before coming to college and was not something I planned to incorporate regularly into my college experience. But after pandemic circumstances left me without access to a pool for a year and a half, I suddenly found myself nostalgic for 6 a.m. practices and three-hour meets. When I got back to campus this spring, I decided to ease myself back into swimming, uncertain as to whether I would enjoy being back in the pool or not. I cannot quite describe the sense of relief I felt during that first lap, two years after my last swim season had come to a close. I immediately felt myself relax into a familiar pattern, remembering just how much I had enjoyed swimming, even when it was too early to see the sun and I hadn’t gotten a chance to drink my morning coffee. Continue reading
I am a fan of anything that goes into great depth to analyze media or the humanities, whether that be Wikipedia articles on niche linguistic concepts, articles analyzing album themes, or what I’ll be talking about in this article: YouTube video essays. There are a wide variety: ones analyzing movies or TV shows, ones discussing political concepts, and more. I also believe that there’s much to learn from these videos aside from the ideas that they posit, such as topics to use in one’s own writing and ways of structuring one’s own writing, and they can even be something to watch in one’s free time or as background noise.
Looking online, you can find videos on almost any topic; to me, this is an interesting way to brainstorm ideas for your own writing, as well as a way to find sources. Similarly to how you wouldn’t cite Wikipedia and would rather go and find the sources from which the authors get their information, oftentimes creators will include their sources throughout the video or in the description. This way, you can look more into primary sources for the topic and then gather your own. The intersection of the topics of these video essays also allows for you to find resources on deeper, more academic topics while hearing about how they intersect with media. There are channels dedicated to music and its use in films, and one video I’ve watched talks about how animated movies use imagery relating to immigration and police and the implications such imagery has on the films’ messages as a whole. There are also ones that just talk about a specific topic on its own, one in particular I think of being about how languages die out because of colonial powers. The structure of these videos can also be of benefit when looking at your own writing. Continue reading
Over the course of the past year or so, I — like many, many other people — tried to find ways to pass the time and distract myself from the stresses and monotony of life at home. Among the more fruitful attempts of passing time, that was not movie marathon-induced naps or zoning out and staring at the ceiling, I had picked up a handful of hobbies and activities that have always piqued my interest. Some of these included yoga, getting some use out of my Nintendo Switch (see: Hades Game), bullet journaling and sketching, crocheting, and (gasp) writing (pretends to be shocked).
I found that despite the initial distress and learning curve that came with virtual learning, it coincided with the stage in my life where I actually needed to start properly developing personal projects and time for myself that wasn’t dictated by my coursework. When the pandemic hit, I had only really experienced one full semester of college and hadn’t quite established a routine for what to do in my spare time besides studying or the occasional swim; in a way, I didn’t get to foster the sense of independence or explore my personality in the way that I had wanted to. This past year, I found that this influx of excess time, bereft of the intensive dual high school / club sports schedule, provided an opportunity to actively make use of that time by incorporating these newfound hobbies and projects. What’s more, it gave me something to structure my life around instead of robotically moving from screen to screen and gave my days a breath of fresh air. Continue reading