186 South College

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

Category: Nicole Pinera

“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

“Think Like a Tomato: A Guide to the Pomodoro Method” by Nicole Pinera

We thrive on the ping of new notifications, two paragraph long summaries of three-hundred page novels, and fifteen second video clips… and it is killing our productivity. When it’s time to sit down and study or write that final essay that’s been hanging over your head all semester, it can be hard not to start mindlessly scrolling through your phone. I’ve found a technique that helps me focus and get work done. Especially as UD Honors students, who typically have too many commitments and just not enough hours in the day for every one of them, being productive and focusing on the task at hand is a lifesaver.

For anyone who knows a little bit of Italian (disclaimer: I don’t, I used Google Translate), you’ll know that “pomodoro” translates to “tomato.” If you don’t get how a tomato can help you do your homework, don’t worry; there’s a fun backstory to this simple but effective productivity method. A college student named Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to break his work up into 25 minute blocks, followed by a short break. The concept, originally devised in the 1980s, stuck, and this widely popularized technique is known as the Pomodoro Method today. Continue reading

“Finding Balance: A Few Tips From a Freshman” by Nicole Pinera

It’s 8 o’clock on a Monday morning, and the air carries the crispness of the impending autumn, even though it’ll be much warmer in a few hours—summer hasn’t quite given up the fight yet. I’m on my way to Caesar Rodney to get some breakfast, a much-needed cup of coffee, and a bit of work done before my first class, which doesn’t start for another hour or so.

It’s a Friday night, and I’m with my friend, watching old episodes of Spongebob Squarepants on a little TV in her dorm room in Redding. We talk and laugh and quote all the lines we know by heart—after all, we grew up watching this cartoon. There’s a container of peanut M&Ms open to snack on, and my favorite fuzzy blanket is wrapped around me like a shawl. In this moment, our worries about grades and upcoming exams fade away, just for a little while. Continue reading

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