With the end of winter break and, for many, Winter Session classes, comes the spring semester. The spring semester marks a nice return to campus to see friends again, and even as a break from the break! I’m glad to have had the long break; however, since my winter study abroad was canceled, I had that itch to return to the groove of campus and the classes I enjoy. What’s even more poignant about this spring is the return of the student body altogether. Many of us haven’t experienced a full, in-person spring semester either at all or since spring 2019. My first spring semester was cut short by COVID’s beginnings, and in my second spring, I happened to have a single on-campus class, allowing me to be here last year. Because being on-campus all spring long is new for so many students, here are some ways to really take advantage of the spring semester no matter your year. Continue reading
Last spring, I was approached by one of my professors who suggested that I apply to be a UTA–an undergraduate teaching assistant. It has been a wonderful opportunity, and despite any extra work that I might have to do for the position, I am happy to have this experience under my belt. But how exactly did I get the position? What work do I have to do? What are the helpful experiences that I (and you!) can get from something like this? Continue reading
Our school lives continue to become intertwined with our lives at home, especially over the past year or so. This manifests itself in many ways: sitting at dinner only to get a dreaded Canvas notification that your test was graded, a random email from your professor on a weekend evening where you thought you might be able to relax, and the amount of distractions present on our phones and computers while in a virtual class or doing schoolwork online. This last one is a real struggle for me, even while writing this article! Something I’ve found that helps me a bit, however, is doing my work physically outside of the house! Obviously, this hasn’t really been too much of a possibility during the pandemic (and even now, some may still feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay), but I’ve found that being in a public place helps me focus more on my work than if I’m alone in my room. In a way, the presence of other people holds me accountable. With all that said, here are some nice places around campus for working or studying away from your room.
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
It’s the spring semester, and whether you’re on campus or not, the onset of classes brings a sort of schedule to the week and some variety as compared to winter or even the last semester. I know that I’ve felt some more variety for the first time in almost a year, since this is my first time being extensively back on campus since last March, when I had to move out of Redding! Still, with many classes relegated to your room and the overall year of quarantine that we have gone through and continue to go through, it can feel like we’ve been repeating the same week over and over or are beginning to go into that cycle. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to add some variety to life that can also help you keep tabs on the days.
I was inspired to write this article for two reasons, the first of which being an event that was held in my Residence Hall, Independence, on the first day of classes. We were able to go down to the lounge that night and, while maintaining social distancing, grab a small pot, fill it with dirt, and plant some seeds in it. This is my first time taking care of a plant (if you don’t count science classes in middle and high school), and watching Pharbara’s progressive growth has been great! And yes, my plant’s name is an extended reference to Phoebe Bridgers. The first week there was little growth, but since then four sprouts have popped up and continue to rise. Watching as it grows and making sure I’m watering it as its soil becomes dry has been a nice little daily activity that keeps things fresh and a little bit exciting. Continue reading