Category: Nadya Ellerhorst

“Overcoming Annotation Hesitation” by Nadya Ellerhorst

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

“Tips for Top-Notch Writing” by Nadya Ellerhorst

I am not good at many things. However, I am okay at a handful of things.

I can reach books off of high shelves. I can recommend a movie for you to watch based on your preferred genre. Set a plate of food in front of me, and *poof*—I can make it disappear before your very eyes.

If there’s one thing I’m particularly okay at, it’s writing. Sometimes I like to believe otherwise, but if the opposite were true, I think Hayley and Abhigna would have kindly kicked me off 186 South College by now.

Disclaimer: I am not an English major or a Writing Fellow, and I do not, nor do I pretend to, know all the in’s and out’s of the complex galaxy that is the English language. However, over the years, I’ve made enough vocabulary, grammar, and spelling errors to provide me with some insight that I hope can assist you. With a little practice, patience, and dedication, anyone can become a skilled writer.

Hence, I am pleased to present some tips and tricks for reaching your full writing potential, because if your professors, Purdue OWL, or pure reason can’t sway you, maybe this freshman can.

1. Proofread your paper before asking others to read it 

I cannot — let me pause here to let that sink in — stand it when I’m asked to proofread something littered with tiny mistakes. You may not think they’re a big deal. After all, what are your professors who have spent years getting graduate degrees for other than correcting your goofy spelling errors (the red squiggly lines are not just your imagination, friends) and reminding you for the umpteenth time that “The period goes inside the quotation marks.”

In case you’ve forgotten, a gentle reminder that you’re human. All of us are prone to making an occasional error in our work, and it takes a while to get the hang of the myriad of spelling and grammar rules out there. You can’t spell revision without vision, so look over your work at least once after writing it.

2. Write something you enjoy reading

If you don’t like how it sounds, chances are we won’t like it either. If you start zoning out while reading, either you need to fine-tune your writing to make it more engaging, or that sentence is too long. It’s really just a matter of trusting your gut as to what sounds pleasing to that little voice in your head that vocalizes what you’re reading.

3. Check citations

Yes, not everyone is going to read them, and yes, they are a pain in the neck to compile. However, sloppy, ill-formatted citations, both on a Works Cited page and in the text itself, are an eyesore, especially if you get a citation nut like me looking over your work.

There are plenty of digital resources out there to help you figure out what to cite and how to cite it. Remember your ancestors who did not have Purdue OWL!

4. Become good friends with a thesaurus

There exists a multitude of words beyond “good,” “great,” and “interesting.” Do these words get the job done? Sure. Is reading “excellent” 15 times in the span of the same paragraph enjoyable? No.

You don’t need an actual thesaurus. Simply Googling synonyms for a given word will yield a vast array of websites and suggestions for different terms to spice up your work. Continue reading

“The Philosophy of More Cowbell” by Nadya Ellerhorst

I was warned multiple times before starting college to not make too many commitments so as to make the transition from high school to university life easier. I took the message to heart, reminding myself the importance of saying “no” throughout the summer. 

Next thing I knew, fall semester arrived, and I basically forgot everything.

Currently, I am a reporter for The Review; participate in QUEST, Blue Hen Leadership Program, and Delaware Diplomats; work an internship; and pursue an Honors course load in order to fulfill credits for 2 majors and a minor.

Oh yeah, and I write for 186 South College.

Some might say I’m doing too much, even amid the present digital circumstances. Perhaps I would be, if I didn’t subscribe to the philosophy of “More Cowbell.”

For the select percentage of readers who have no clue as to the reference I’m making (i.e., if “More Cowbell” doesn’t ring a bell), there exists an SNL gem featuring the legendary likes of Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken that centers on (you guessed it) the emperor of percussion— nay, all—instruments: the almighty cowbell.

In it, Blue Öyster Cult records “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (on the off chance you haven’t heard this song before, kindly climb out from that rock you’ve been living under and give it a listen. Now.) What ensues are multiple debates as to the degree of cowbell the song necessitates.  Continue reading

“The Academic Value of a Brisk Walk” by Nadya Ellerhorst

About a week ago, I had the very first midterms of my college career. Indeed, it was an important academic milestone, yet I could find no reason (or time) to celebrate.

I felt completely overwhelmed. My due dates for the midterms for my two Honors classes were in the same 24-hour span, and, those being my two most challenging courses, I thought I was doomed to academically crash and burn. As the clock ticked away and I desperately tried to determine how to best organize my time to tackle both, my mother suggested taking a walk.

A walk?! In the midst of this educational quasi-apocalypse?!

After presenting her with a lengthy argument as to why such an idea was ludicrously counterproductive (and, in the process, wasting even more precious time), she shot back with a short but powerful retort: it’ll clear your head. Continue reading

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