186 South College

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

Author: schiff (page 1 of 11)

“Side Notes: So What’s the Tea on Coffee?” By Abhigna Rao

Back to school means back to the grind – in more ways than one! As the sun rises on a brand new semester, the annual return to campus comes with its own renaissance of caffeine-craving young adults withstanding long, arduous queues every morning for their fixes of various brews and blends. 

Although it may seem like just a mundane given number of classes starting up again, some of us coffee-lovers wait with bated breath until shops in the Scrounge, Smith Hall, and Trabant open for the year. In fact, finalizing my meal plan for the semester is a really exciting and crucial aspect of moving back on campus for me because – hello – POINTS! You can be sure that I spend way too much time during the first couple days of the semester evenly dividing up my meal points by week so that I know just how much I can allot for my own café appointments.

That being said, being a proud and true caffeinator is not without challenges. Indeed, while the smell of a fresh cappuccino never fails to wake me up, and though the whir of a milk frother does delight me to no end, there are certainly several inconveniences that come with being a routine coffee-drinker. 

The Dough: Although I consider myself an extreme cheapskate when it comes to everyday life, there’s something about buying coffee that turns me into an entirely different person. I will justify purchasing coffee for every possible reason: it’s been a long day, it’s my day off, it’s mid-week, it’s the weekend, it’s my study coffee before an exam, it’s my “you tried your best” coffee after one – you name the occasion, I’m probably getting something to celebrate.

I mean, I just had two mugs of café crema a la Caesar Rodney this morning – or like my old roommate like to call it, “battery acid” – then met up with a friend for a tall Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch around 2 PM, and yet here I am considering getting in the temptingly short line at the Perkins Dunkin’ Donuts for a Toasted Almond Frozen Coffee with extra whipped cream (don’t judge). By the way, all the baristas at DD know my go-to order by heart, and as lovely as that is, I feel like that might be indicative of a problem.

The Disaccharides: The sugar rush that accompanies my frequent expeditions to coffee shops is real and very dangerous because I never just get a coffee. I can make a coffee with my very own Keurig and frothing wand back in my dorm room. If I’m ordering coffee, you I’m getting the Supreme Delicioso Toffeenut Frappuccino 3000 on steroids.

The Diuretic: Alright, I feel like we are friends enough that we can talk about this. I recently had a conversation about this with a friend – every now and then, I have one mug too many, and the coffee just cuts right through me. My busy days are the worst, and as much as I love my daily morning dose, I’m not sure if an extra mug of Joe is worth 21 trips to the ladies’ room for the rest of the day.

Additional Downsides: Let’s talk about pumpkin spice for a hot second here. Pumpkin is a squash. Squash is a vegetable. Vegetables do NOT belong in my latte. No matter how much spice you are adding to make it sound cute. 

Also, I wonder why there are, like, 45 different varieties of coffee wherever I go. It’s very confusing. I just want a modest hazelnut macchiato. But now, I have the options of a breve, romano, freddo, and a cortado. Fun fact: most types of coffee have exactly the same ingredients, just with different ratios of espresso, milk, and foam. I think the coffee gods just got super excited and went to town one day. Correct me if I’m wrong, but half of them sound like names of fancy pastas, anyway. So, ristretto and affogato, you have my love, but feel free to make your way back to the Olive Garden.

But all roasts aside, coffee has certainly developed into an integral part of college culture. From late night cram sessions to chilling with friends on a lazy afternoon, caffeine has become a common thread through which we share laughs and create memories. And hey, I’m here for it all the way.  

This Month’s #CoffeeRoast

I met with a colleague at Brewed Awakenings (my personal favorite Main Street café) earlier today, and we both ordered a small cold brew with a flavor syrup of our choice. There was a considerably lengthy list hanging limply off the drip machine, with some fascinating flavor choices such as pineapple and eggnog, which I guess people like with their coffee nowadays? My colleague went for the banana, while I picked Irish cream, inspired by my favorite flavor of Bailey’s coffee creamer (concoction in question pictured above). The best way to describe this drink is “nice”. It definitely was not the most earth-shattering caffeine beverage I have ever had; the sweetness did overpower the bitterness of the espresso that I enjoy. But I have to admit, it was a simple, chilly comfort on an unexpectedly toasty day. To be honest, I really wouldn’t mind trying praline, English toffee, or macadamia nut on a return visit. In other words, not a high recommendation, but certainly a flexible menu item that lets you “espresso” yourself (sorry, I had to)!


Caffeinated Articles by Some Decent Human “Beans”

“What I Learned From Quitting Coffee After 15 Years of Daily Consumption” by Angelo Belardi:


“Here’s Some Money Advice: Just Buy the Coffee” by Tim Herrera:


“A Glossary of Coffee Terms” by Oliver Strand:


Transportation Around Campus: Speeding Between Classes by John Salsini-Tobias

Inevitably, every student will have two classes back to back, with seemingly no hope of making it all the way from Alison Hall to McDowell on time. In those first few months of school, it can be confusing and difficult to balance a new workload with new stresses of making classes on time. As the temperature drops and speed walking seems like a more realistic and less sweaty option, other modes of transportation should also be considered. Everything from a car to a scooter can be useful at this university, and even free up time outside of class.

The first and obvious choice for many is to simply use their legs to propel movement towards the classroom. Walking does not require parking, you do not have to follow any timetables, and it is a good option to remain healthy (and impress your Fitbit or Apple Watch). One big benefit, especially for first year students, is the ease of grouping up with new friends if you are both headed in the same direction. While walking is a viable option, it is also slow and can be made unpleasant depending on weather conditions. Let’s speed things up a bit.

If you wear Vans, you probably have at least thought about learning to skateboard. Now is the time, with one kick of propulsion and a little bit of gravity you can make it pretty far. If you don’t have the time to learn, an electric skateboard will ease the struggle of going uphill, but also set you back quite a bit of money. If these options are not particularly appealing, scooters offer all the same advantages with some extra stability. Either way, your commute times will no doubt decrease, but skateboarding may be tricky to learn at first and it can sometimes seem too fast for the sidewalk but too slow for the streets.

One of the most common options aside from walking is using a bicycle. Even faster than skateboarding, biking can make a twenty-minute walk into a five-minute ride. Personally, I’ve been saved from being late to class by using my bike on too many occasions. Again, this option is very good for your health, if that’s of interest, and you can also avoid bad weather by powering through the wind and rain. With ample parking racks by every university building, and bike lanes throughout Newark, the main negatives of biking – stolen bikes and car drivers – are greatly reduced. 

If you feel like showing off your ride and paying way too much for a parking spot you could even bring your car to campus. It is extremely handy for trips to the beach or to the mall, but I wouldn’t recommend taking the whip to class. Not only will you have to pay more for metered parking at each parking location, but you probably won’t even save much time between the specific lots and construction-induced traffic. The far more sensible road-going transport option would be the very convenient and efficient UD Shuttle system. The DoubleMap app allows you to track the buses in real time and plan your stops and schedule around the timetable. The strict schedule means that sometimes buses just won’t have the right timing for you, but if you have a class at South Campus, you’ll be glad this option is provided. 

Overall, with the multitude of options available, any student will be able to find a way to make their classes on time, and even use saved time to get more work done. I choose to keep a balance between using my old bike and walking to class, and often end up walking my bike back with fellow classmates, but I also have a car on campus for the weekend. It’s completely up to the individual, and they can decide any number of ways how to stay on top of their schedule.

*Image obtained from https://media.thetab.com/blogs.dir/145/files/2016/04/bikes-udel.jpg

“Senior Year Struggles” by Alyssa Schiff

Time has already been flying by since the semester started up again, despite the summer dragging on for ages. Working on my own schedule for two months this summer made me appreciate the planned out schedule of class on a new and very deep level. For ten weeks I sat in the library, and almost every coffee shop on Main Street, working on my research for the McNair Program here at UD. Thankfully, I was doing this research on a topic I care very deeply about: environmental injustice, and so I felt like I was both gaining really important research experience and also diving deep into the topic I hope to go to grad school for. While I won’t spend forever on the topic, if you are considering pursuing a research experience: go for it.

Within the first day of class, I felt wholly relieved to be thrown back into a regular schedule of class and work. That is, until I realized that senior year is an entirely new beast that I might not be ready to face. Firstly, let me tell you, grad school applications are just simply unpleasant. Deciding the programs to apply to, asking for recommendations, and writing many, many essays, leaves one with a general sense of panic and a deep worry for the future. Secondly, I did not plan my schedule correctly whatsoever. Once again I have somehow made my schedule entirely overflowing with class, work, and meetings. People always say how they plan to take their easiest classes in senior year and reduce their workload, but I guess I just didn’t get that memo. After switching my minor in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies to a second major in the second week of senior year, I ensured that I would be taking a full course load for my second semester of senior year. And trust me, I know that may sound like a perfect way to add some more stress into the senior year equation, and I won’t disagree, but in my mind that stress is worth it in the end for classes I really enjoy (see my last post on classical studies).

My third issue with senior year is handling the nostalgia of it being the last year at UD. I have lived with my same roommates from freshman year in Redding all through college, and when we decided to move off-campus in junior year, we added our friends who lived only a few doors down from our corner room in section 3C. As I’m quickly realizing, I’ve been incredibly lucky to live with several of my best friends, and I really just don’t want that experience to end just yet. As much as every college student knows that they will need to move forward at the end of their four years, that fact really just hits a little different in senior year.

While my senior year is off to a very stressful start, the nostalgia of it being the last year (while sad and difficult to deal with) also kicks in to say, “hey, take a break and talk to your friends,” and for that, I am grateful. If you are a senior and reading this, and perhaps resonate with the stress rant I’ve laid out here: lean into the nostalgia, and let it motivate you to enjoy yourself a little bit more.

“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.

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