Category: Matt Bittle (page 1 of 2)

It’s that time of year

The end of the school year is approaching. For some, it’s in little more than a week. For others, it’s not till May 25, graduation day. For me, it’s May 21 (a day that also happens to be my birthday).

As always, I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, it will be nice to not have to worry about doing school work or going to classes. Plus, it’ll be nice to get home-cooked meals every night and to have the luxury of being at home with my family.

Of course, it isn’t all good. I will miss seeing my friends, whom I won’t get to spend time with for another three months. I will miss Main Street, with its many eateries and stores. And above all, I’ll miss the freedom of college, of being able to do what I want and be on my own. That independence is thrilling, albeit occasionally tiring and frightening.

I’m a junior, soon to be a senior, and ever since my freshman year came to an end, I’ve been both apprehensive and excited about summer. College is great but so is being home. More importantly, it’s a pretty big transition going from living on your time schedule and spending every day with your friends to being home, with your parents and siblings telling you what to do.

How should you handle this? (This is particularly applicable if you’re a freshman.) Well, just take time to adjust. Know it won’t be overnight, just as coming to college probably wasn’t super easy. In some respects, being home for summer is just like being in high school again.

There’s not much I can tell you, really. Being home isn’t necessarily easy. But it’s not like you’ve never spent time there before. And of course, there are a lot of positives. Sometimes you just need time to rest and not worry about classes, to be around family, to enjoy your own bed.

And remember: summer always goes fast. In a few months you’ll be back at Delaware.

Man, I’m glad I’m not graduating yet.

~Matt Bittle

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Undecided? Fundecided.

Our theme this week is “dare to think bigger.” I’ve decided to take this in a somewhat different direction and examine majors. Specifically, I want to look at what happens to the hundreds of students who enter UD each year undeclared.

I started here in fall 2010 undecided (officially University Studies), and not really sure what I wanted to do. I liked journalism and so was leaning toward English, but I wasn’t ready to commit yet. I was initially apprehensive about coming in without a major, but the Blue Hen Ambassadors I had on my several visits, as well as my advisor and lots of people back home, all told me not to worry, plenty of people enter undecided.

And so, I started college undecided. Most of the people I met at UD early on did have a defined major, but it was kind of cool being different. I quickly found out all the people I spoke to were right: it’s not too difficult being undecided. Freshmen year you take a lot of general, university-required classes anyway, so being undecided did not have much of an effect on me then. In my first semester, I also took a one-credit course with a couple of other undecided freshmen who were hoping to figure out what to study. Due to my lack of a major, one of my friends called me “fundecided.” Other than that, there was little difference.

Over my first three semesters I did take a few courses in subjects that interested me and were potentially worth pursuing. I also got a number of those pesky requirements of the way.

As my third semester neared its end, I was ready to declare. I had taken a basic English class, one that all English majors need, that semester, in preparation for what I thought would be my major. I still was not sure what I would do career-wise with an English degree, but I had some ideas, and at any rate, I figured there was no point in waiting until after the completion of my fourth semester, when all undecided students must declare. I was confident English was the field I wanted to be in, and I went for it.

I wasn’t ready to declare a major when I entered college, so I waited. And things have been ok. So I’ll tell you, if you’re “undecided” about what to study, don’t worry. Try courses out, and take your time. You’ll find your niche.

Also, we’re still in the midst of Honors Blog week, so be sure to check out our partner in crime Temple University’s blog at HonorsLounge.com.

~Matt Bittle

UDHP photo contest tips

So you want to show off your photography skills (and maybe win a gift card or two), but you just don’t know what to photograph. Never fear, because I’m here to share some ideas. Feel free to use any of these. Just don’t forget to tip me if you win.

Best Honors floor photo: Do a theme. Get a bunch of people who live your floor and take a photograph of you all doing something similar. Perhaps you’re all wearing different Delaware shirts or are dressed up in costumes (superheroes are always good). Maybe you’re acting out playing a sport on the floor. Any of those would make for an entertaining and unique photo.

Best Honors professor photo: If you’ve got a really cool professor, maybe do one of the things recommended above. Get some friends in your class together, talk to your professor, and take a few funny theme pictures of your classmates and your professor.

Messiest dorm room: This one’s easy. Just dump all your clothes, books, and other junk on the floor. Just be sure your roommate is ok with it—and that you don’t mind cleaning it up afterward.

Most beautiful photo of campus: With the weather expected to (mostly) continue to be nice over the course of the next week, get outside and bring your camera with you! Just walk around and look for things that catch your eye. Blooming flowers are always nice.

Best representation of Honors student life: This is similar to the first category. Get together with some friends, and stage something. Dress up in spirited clothes, play a sport, or just hang out and see if there’s an opportunity to take a good picture. Remember, you’re looking for something that shows what the Honors Program is all about, and you’re a member of that program, so it shouldn’t be hard to decide what to photograph.

Well, I hope these ideas helped. Now get out there and take some pictures!

~Matt Bittle

UD’s unsung heroes

As I walk around campus, I notice many things. The foliage, the buildings, the countless students streaming past me…and of course, the furry little mammals that can frequently be seen dashing around. I refer, of course, to squirrels.

These critters are very common here, although you don’t see them quite as often in the dead of winter. And as such, I have decided to write a tribute to UD squirrels. The squirrels found on campus are eastern gray squirrels, which are native to Delaware and surrounding states. If you’re from around here, you’ve seen other members of this genus thousands and thousands of times before.

These squirrels, while not exactly unafraid of humans, are a little desensitized towards us. On a typical fall day, you can sight dozens of squirrels climbing trees, burying acorns, searching for food in garbage cans, or doing who knows what. Yes, squirrels are quite fond of scrounging for tasty bits in trash cans. On one memorable occasion, I walked past a trash can and heard scratching coming from nearby. Puzzled, I stopped, only for a squirrel to jump out and startle me.

I’ve seen one squirrel eating a discarded apple core and another squirrel licking the inside of a thrown-away Starbucks cup. These creatures are creative, they’re everywhere, and they’re popular. There used to be a Facebook page for UD squirrels. The page had a fair number of likes before being taken down for some reason.

I once noticed a squirrel happily chewing away on an acorn just off the path, with no concern for its surroundings. Standing behind it, I clapped loudly and then laughed heartily as the poor creature did a backflip and sprinted away faster than I thought possible.

These critters are no problem, and students don’t mind them. I wouldn’t even term the squirrels pests. They are not exactly going to run up and grab your leg, not matter how much food you’re eating. They’re not that bold. Instead, they just rush around campus, always seeming to go 50 miles an hour. The squirrels are an amusing little aspect of campus, something you occasionally snicker about and other times don’t even notice.

We may be the Blue Hens, but I think the nickname “squirrels” would also work pretty well.

Do you have any amusing encounters with squirrels? Share in the comments below.

~Matt Bittle

 

It’s spring break—now what do I do?

So you’re out of school for the week. Delaware’s spring break started after classes Friday, and now you’re wondering what other people are doing. Perhaps this is your first spring break, and you want to know some other options for next year besides being at home. Maybe it’s your last, and you are just enjoying time with no school. Whatever the case, here are some of the common spring break options. My colleagues on this blog have already covered several related topics, so be sure to check those out.
Option 1—the beach

One always-popular option is to take several of your close friends, a bathing suit, and head down to the beach. This year, for whatever reason, Panama City Beach (in Florida, not Panama, interestingly enough) is a very popular destination. Over 1,000 UD students signed up to go, according to a Delaware student representative for a travel company. Presumably many of those students are seniors hoping to enjoy “one last hurrah” before graduation.

Option 2—alternative spring break

Delaware has several non-traditional options for students who aren’t in to partying or want to see new things and help others. The alternative spring breaks students can choose from include a trip to Mississippi to work on oil spill relief projects, a journey to Washington D.C. to help homeless school children, a trip to New Orleans to help in the continuing Katrina recovery, an excursion to North Carolina to help the area in relief efforts for Sandy, and finally, a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for the poor. These are all fantastic options. Delaware usually announces the trips about six months ahead of time, so if you are interested by any of these, start looking out for the upcoming options come September.

Option 3—travel

Many people like to use spring break to go somewhere they normally would not. Perhaps you and your family decide to go visit New York City or Washington D.C. Maybe several of your friends and you opt to travel to somewhere you have never been but have always wanted to go, such as Chicago.

Options 4—staying home

This is what I am doing. Though it’s not particularly exciting, it is nice to just spend time with family and friends and enjoy not having any (well, much) work for a week. This works really well if the weather is nice, so you are not stuck inside, and if your friends from home are on break the same week. Some students who live off campus choose to just stay in their houses or apartments there, rather than returning home. That works too.

There are a lot of things you can do in this week-long period of no school. Hopefully you have some ideas and can continue to enjoy your break.

~Matthew Bittle

 

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