Category: Jenna Whiting

Advice for Incoming Freshmen by Jenna Whiting

The temperature is reaching into the 80s, group projects and 10-page research papers are being dumped upon us, and finals are looming ever closer. My freshman year in the Honors Program at the University of Delaware is coming to a close. I feel like the first day of New Student Orientation was both yesterday (the year went so fast) and four years ago (it feels like I packed four years worth of classes/activities/clubs/events). into one year. To honor my first year of college reaching its completion – below is a list of some advice to the freshmen who will be arriving on campus next semester. (The pieces of advice with *** in front of them apply only to students who will be living on campus).

  1. At UD, it’s a running joke that it rains every Tuesday. Two things you will be very thankful for when precipitation starts gushing from the clouds one day a week are rain boots and an umbrella. Pro tip: get a pair of boots that double as rain and snow boots to save money. L.L. Bean has good sturdy ones that can tread through water in both its liquid and solid forms.
  1. ***If you can afford it and if it is feasible – live on campus. It enables you to make lots of friends, walk to exams or activities that take place in the evening, have somewhere to go throughout the day if you don’t have classes back-to-back, get involved in residence leadership opportunities and dorm events, and just have a bigger connection to the campus and its happenings in general. That’s not to say that you can’t have a rewarding experience if you don’t live on campus; of course, everyone can enjoy the UD experience in different ways! Continue reading

Preventing a Dorm Epidemic by Jenna Whiting

For the past three winter months, hacking coughs, explosive sneezes, hoarse voices, and complaints about illness could be heard from all corners of Louis L. Redding hall, the Honors freshman dorm. College dorms can be prime environments for illness to spread, since we are all in close contact and, like in Redding, some of us can’t open our windows to ventilate our rooms and buildings. Here are some refresher tips for preventing illness on campus:

 

  1. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Coughing or sneezing into your hands transfers germs to doorknobs/light switches/desks/etc. and spreads illness.

 

  1. Sanitize your hands often. When possible, wash your hands frequently. Note: if you can control which soap you use, choose a type that is NOT antibacterial, which is actually the worst thing you can use to kill germs. The antibacterial soap kills some but not all of the bacteria on your skin, and then the remaining bacteria that survive develop a resistance to the soap. Public health experts agree that washing your hands is the most effective way to remove germs from your hands, but hand sanitizer is a close second. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content kills most types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in a few seconds (but can’t kill some microbes, like norovirus or E. coli). The dining halls and gyms have hand sanitizer set up next to the doors that are convenient to use, and you can carry hand sanitizer around with you. The next time you are at Walgreens, you can pick up a portable hand sanitizer and put it in your backpack, and you can even buy a bigger bottle to keep in your dorm room.

 

  1. Get a flu vaccine. The flu shot is the best way to protect you and other people from the flu. You should get it early in the fall by the end of October. And don’t fret – it is a myth that the flu shot can give you the flu, since the viruses in the flu shot are killed. As it takes two weeks for people to build up immunity after they receive the flu shot, it is possible to contract the flu in that two-week time span (and consequently attribute the illness to the flu shot mistakenly). Getting the flu shot protects both you and everyone else from getting sick. This is especially important to keep in mind because people with underlying lung diseases, like people who have asthma, are at greater risk of developing a second deadlier illness like pneumonia on top of the flu. Here on campus, it is easy to walk to Main Street and get the shot at Walgreens.

 

  1. Stay away from other people when you are sick. I know some professors make it hard to miss class, but do the best you can to follow their policies and, for example, go to the Student Health Center to provide proof of your illness so you can skip class and not infect other people. We’ll all thank you.

 

If we all follow these tips, we can help reduce the risk of a dorm epidemic and all get through the school year healthier together.

 

Sources consulted:

Newman, Meredith. “This is Why This Flu Season is So Serious.” USA Today, 16 February

2018.https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/16/why-flu-season-so-serious/345461002/.

Rettner, Rachael. “Flu Shot Facts & Side Effects (Updated for 2017-2018).” Live Science, 24

February 2018. https://www.livescience.com/40279-flu-shot-information.html.

Wanjek, Christopher. “Fighting the Flu: Do Hand Sanitizers Work?” Live Science, 27 October

2009, https://www.livescience.com/5822-fighting-flu-hand-sanitizers-work.html.

Racing the Clock in College: Time Management Tips by Jenna Whiting

College life is extremely busy. And when I say extremely busy, I mean hectic. Even tumultuous and overwhelming at times. Between all the exams, quizzes, homework, papers, club and activity meetings, sports practices, socialization with friends, and everything in between that occupy our lives, we barely even have time to eat and sleep, let alone relax. As an Honors freshman in my second semester of college, I can say that the spring semester is at least less overloaded than my introductory fall semester into higher education, which consisted of orientation events, getting to know my floor, getting used to classes, and assimilating into college life. However, time management is still an ongoing effort (and always will be). Here are my observations, musings, and pieces of advice on time management, a craft that can always be honed. (Author’s note: I can’t claim to be any sort of champion of time management, but I figured some recommendations could help at least a few people).

 

  1. Use a planner.

 

If you aren’t presently using a planner, I applaud you for surviving this long. But why survive when you can thrive? It’s time to dust off an old planner or order a new one off of Amazon and start penciling in your due dates. What I have found helpful is going through each of my classes’ syllabi and writing all the due dates in the calendar portion so that they are easy to see in relation to each other. Some people have said that Google Calendar is excellent for scheduling your day right down to specific times. No matter your choice of itinerary organizer, you can rest assured that you will never forget your due dates, you will always attend your club meetings, and your life will be less turbulent.

 

  1. Know your study style.

 

If you are a student who requires absolute silence and/or solitude while studying, like me, don’t try to force yourself to join a group of people who are studying in a lounge, which could end up being distracting. Conversely, if noise, music, or group settings fit your academic lifestyle, by all means, join your friends and work together with your Spotify study playlist helping you along. The point is, if you know how you work best, don’t deny it and just do what is best for you. Don’t feel like you are missing out on being with friends if it is essential for you to remain in your room with the door closed in order for you to crank out work; contrarily, don’t feel like you have to hole yourself up in the library if that’s not your most productive environment.

 

  1. Minimize commuting time and maximize work time.

 

What has recently helped me is finding intermediate spots on campus to do work in between classes instead of walking back to my dorm. That way, I can squeeze miscellaneous tasks or a little bit of work into the time that I have. For example, if I am walking back from a class and I am going to eat lunch in half an hour, instead of walking back to my dorm, I will just go directly to the dining hall and answer e-mails or do a little bit of work and then eat. Another method is to find good work spots in your classes’ buildings and work there for a while. The time that would have been wasted walking back to your dorm can be spent getting things done instead.

 

  1. Find a campus involvement balance.

 

Joining activities and clubs to get involved is an advantageous decision, but there is such a thing as overburdening yourself with campus pursuits. Joining too many activities could all too easily overwhelm your schedule and cause you to spread yourself too thinly over too many activities. This results in a time management disaster – having too little time to do work and your other daily occupations – and not being able to fully participate in any one activity. The other end of the spectrum is also problematic: barely being involved in activities results in the mindset of having an abundance of time, which could induce dreadful procrastination. Being involved in activities can actually give a sense of urgency to the time that you have, pushing you to complete your work in a timely manner. The key is identifying the best balance of involvement.

 

Time management is a school and life skill that takes never-ending improvement. Do what is best for you, try your hardest to manage your time wisely, and ultimately enjoy your time here.

42°F by Jenna Whiting

42°F

Oh, how I am so glad to see you, merciful white numbers,

Old friends who haven’t greeted me in a year,

Floating in the stark cerulean sky of the Weather Channel app

That I scroll through, standing next to my dorm window.

Finally, after the summer’s sun overstayed its welcome,

After its warmth encroached onto the calendar squares of October for far too long,

After I thought the humidity would never cease sticking to the streets and to me,

The feeling of fall is finally in full force.

42°F

The first time that you appear from your summer hibernation

Is a special day.

I can finally snap open my dorm wardrobe door

And squish the well-worn yarn of my well-loved sweaters between my fingers as I search for the day’s attire.

I can pull on my marshmallow coat and maybe, if I’m lucky enough for the wind to warrant such a treat,

I can wrap a cat’s-ear-soft scarf under my chin and nuzzle into its cloth.

The first emergence into the autumn air from the front doors of Redding,

My sweater and coat and scarf putting forth a valiant effort in the name of warmth,

Is one to be cherished.

Oxygen, cold and crisp as a Granny Smith, enters my nose and invigorates my lungs and mind.

I breathe deeply and cherish the scent of multi-hued leaves

That have erupted throughout campus, making UD’s scenery even more beautiful than before.

I can almost taste them in all their crunchy red and brown and yellow glory.

More deep breaths with each step on the red brick paths

As my hands protest the sudden change of climate,

And I bury them into the pockets that are permanently bitten out of my marshmallow coat.

42°F

One of your best traits is your trademark holiday:

Thanksgiving and its accompanying break from school

And family time and pumpkin pie and background-noise football

And the scent of stuffing filling the kitchen and the sparkling cider that is retrieved from the basement shelves,

And curling up in blankets on the couch in front of a movie, tea or hot chocolate steaming beside me.

42°F

Thank you for instigating the lighting of candles that pervade my house with the spicy scent of cinnamon,

The fire prancing around the wax like the reindeer that will land on the roof in a month.

“But wait, watch this,” says the fireplace, competing with the candles

That can’t hold a candle to the warmth and size of the wood-fueled inferno,

And the central heating provides a familiar whir as comfy air is pushed through the vents.

42°F

I trumpet your magnificence to anyone I can.

“You’re crazy,” they all say. “I love warm weather,” they all say.

Don’t pay attention to them, 42.

You’re the best.

60°F

But wait.

How dare you, Delaware.

I love you, but you’re such a liar, as you always are when it comes to weather.

The warmth is back again,

Not as much as before,

But still here.

But I shan’t worry,

Because the cold will soon return

And settle in

Like a bear in a cave ready to sleep.

Swing into the School Year by Joining a Club by Jenna Whiting

“What’s your advice for my first year of college?” I repeated this sentence at every graduation party, friend run-in, and summer gathering before freshman year. Anxious to reap guidance from those more experienced in university life, I sidled up to anyone who even slightly looked like they were in college, or, if all else failed, to any adults in the room who probably went to college at some point in their lives. One of the most popular suggestions among the many pearls of wisdom that were graced upon me was the never-forgotten, “Join as many clubs as you can. You’ll make friends, become involved, and build your resumé.” Joining clubs became a reiterated theme when I arrived at college, too; RAs, Munson Fellows, and fellow students alike all recommended joining activities. I took this tip very seriously and proceeded with a fervent desire not to miss out on any club opportunity, so that by the end of the Registered Student Organization fair during 1743 Days, I had given my e-mail address to upwards of twenty organizations and sauntered out with a drawstring bag full of candy and pamphlets. Mind you, I only actually joined about a quarter of those clubs, but I wanted to explore all of my options.

Those shiny pearls of wisdom hold truth. I am only a callow freshman one month into my whole college career, but to incoming freshmen, or to anyone who is clubless, I emphatically, enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly declare: explore and join clubs that interest you. Why am I so passionately advocating assimilation into college life by club, you ask? Well, the answer is three words: UD Swing Club.

Coming into college, I was skeptical I would find an activity that really, truly speaks to me and that is fun while also being educational and challenging. But I need not have worried, because after the first Friday Swing Club lesson and social dance, I was excited for the second one. After the second Friday, I couldn’t wait for the third one. After my first Sunday morning workshop, I was completely hooked. And after my first Tuesday night workshop, I couldn’t imagine getting through the week without the knowledge that I would soon have swing dancing to rejuvenate me. If I hadn’t taken the opportunity to join as many clubs as I could, I would have never found the community that is UD Swing. I would have never met the people whom I have, challenged myself like I have, and had as much fun as I have. So I implore you, attend the activities fair during the first week of school. Scroll through UD’s RSOs on Student Central. Ask your friends for club recommendations. And eventually, hopefully, you will find a club that will make you as happy as UD Swing makes me.

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