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Tag: Blue Hens (page 1 of 18)

“Side Notes: Spoon Hunt and High Stakes” by Abhigna Rao

A few weeks ago, my entire floor section in Redding got involved in a game called “Spoons” (known in other settings as “Assassins”). The rules of the game were as follows: every player received a target whom they had to get out by tapping them with a spoon and getting video evidence of the act. The only safe zones were bathrooms, classrooms, and in Redding. Every day, an “immunity”— something that you had to do or wear, like wearing socks over shoes or holding a fresh fruit in your hand all day — would be released by the game master, and if you participated, you would be protected from being taken out by whomever was after you. The game would last until there was a winner. 

Now at first, I thought to myself, “This game is potentially an avoidable stressor in my life — is this something I really need to do?” And then I decided, yes, yes, it is. And so it began, the playful civil war that would completely take over an entire week of our otherwise very important academic lives. 

The first half of the week was heavy with intensity. I felt both excited to be a part of the game along with my residents and apprehensive about whomever had me as a target. But most of all, I felt like I was constantly on the run. On Tuesday night, as I was heading to my 7:00-10:00 Chemistry Lab with an apple in my right hand (the immunity for that day), one of my residents crept up behind me and tried to swat the fruit out of my hand. He then proceeded to chase me across the Harrington turf until we were both wheezing from the unfamiliar feeling of physical exertion. Thankfully, I was able to escape that time. 

I managed to evade the majority of my floor for the rest of the week — that is, until Saturday rolled around. At this point, there were only three of us left, including myself. Towards the end of the day, an announcement was made that there was no more immunity, targets were invalid so that anybody could get anyone else out, and everywhere in Redding except for bathrooms was considered unsafe. Well, I guess my stakeout in my room had backfired after all. My two residents and I chased each other in and around Redding for an hour and a half, hiding in quiet study lounges and building armies with the Fallen Tributes who had started to take sides.

The final moments of Spoons had two of us circling each other in the middle of the hallway like Simba and Scar from The Lion King. It was a heated moment, each of us lunging at the other’s shoulder. I even contemplated rolling into a somersault and getting her ankles, but I would probably just end up hurting myself. In the end, she had the longer spoon and hit me straight in the clavicle. We had our winner, it was all over, and I had sadly lost. 

It took me a while to recover from my battle scars, physical and emotional, but, in retrospect, I realize that there are some important lessons that I gleaned from this friendly war. Here’s what I learned: 

Acknowledge Your Limits: I had never played any version of Spoons before, so this was my first time involved in a game as ruthless and rambunctious as this one. Therefore, I decided that it was probably best to lay low and not cause any vendettas against myself. I carried on throughout my week as normally as possible, showing that I had no intention to strike, and that I wasn’t a player that anybody had to be worried about.

Always Have a Strategy: Seeing as how I didn’t quite know what I was doing, I didn’t feel ready to go out on a wild rage and take out multiple people in a day, like how some of the more experienced students on my floor did. Instead, while people were being eliminated left and right and the list Fallen Tributes kept growing longer, I let the others do the work for me and didn’t attempt to eliminate anyone until I was in the Top Three.

Look Out for Yourself: A significant part of this game was to gain intel, and while it was in our best interest to do so here and there, it was also important to only trust a few people. I had to keep in mind that those who I might have thought were my allies might not have actually been on my side, and rather an informant of one of the other players. And, most crucially, I had to have a backup plan to my backup plan if things didn’t quite work out when I decided to reveal information. In many situations, you are your own best friend.

When I kicked off the semester, I would never have thought that my residents would chase me around campus with kitchen utensils for a week, nor did I imagine that I would make it to the final round almost unscathed and without tapping out a single soul. But Spoons Week turned out to be one of my favorite collection of memories from this school year so far, a battle that brought us all closer together. I’m just happy that I can finally eat with friends again instead of rushing takeout across campus to cower inside an academic building. I wonder if Team 1A is rarin’ for Round 2…Spring Spoons, anyone?

This Month’s #CoffeeRoast: 

I have been beyond thrilled to see the finished product of The Nest, the new 24/7 Commons in Morris Library, ever since construction began. And now that the place is all ready to go, I met with a couple of friends last week to try the spot out and grab some coffee from Tasting Grounds

Since I wasn’t sure about the quality of coffee, I decided to play it safe and order a hot caramel macchiato. Basic, I know, but if a café can fix a great macchiato, I feel like that sets a baseline level of trust in the rest of their brews. Maybe it was my mental exhaustion from finals season or the ambience of The Nest itself, but that caramel macchiato was the most comforting cup of coffee I have had in a long time! It was not too sweet, with that sharp hint of bitterness that coffee should have, and best of all, there was a heaping helping of milk foam before I reached the espresso — delicious!

The pricing was reasonable as well, and it definitely cheered me up after a tough week. I can’t wait to try some of the other coffees: the very enticing cinnamon spice latte is next on my list!

“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

“Artes Vita: Setting the Stage” by Abhigna Rao

I don’t remember the first TED Talk I ever watched, mostly because I was fascinated with my dad’s fascination during my first ever TED Talk. Instead of looking at the screen, I would notice how his eyes would go wide at every interesting point made, every audience reaction. Each time the presenter mentioned something profound, he would instantly perk up and say, “Did you hear that?” I usually responded with a very convincing “yes,” but he would rewind the video anyway, this time pointing at the person’s face in rhythm with his words to make sure I understood. And under the façade of paying intense attention, I would chuckle under my breath at how passionate he was about the science rolling off the speaker’s tongue.

As I floated through middle school and entered high school, TED Talks began being used more and more as a teaching supplement. From Hugh Herr’s experience with bionic legs, to Amy Cuddy’s perspective on the effects of body language on confidence, and even further still to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce,” I was exposed to a variety of tastes based on the nature of the class as well as my teacher’s interests.

My all-time favorite talk in the entire world is “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” presented by popular long-form blogger Tim Urban. I find myself going back to this one time and time again, not just for the humor and the energy of the speaker, but to re-learn the life lessons he lays out for his audience. His message and his values resonate with me for different reasons every time I return to his video, and he really embodies the vision and purpose of TED. Continue reading

“What It’s Actually Like Living in a Sorority House” by Lorraine Capenos

Hi, my name is Lorraine Capenos and I live in a sorority house here on campus. And it’s surprisingly pretty normal.

Before I joined a sorority, I definitely had an idea in my head of what sorority girls were like. Movies and TV shows usually depict sorority houses as party venues or homes to intense, insecure, competitive girls who seem more like enemies than friends. They’re usually giant mansions filled with dozens of excitable girls.

But this hasn’t been my experience.

First, I don’t live in a mansion. The house I live in holds 15 girls but feels smaller than it sounds. It’s pretty similar in facilities to any other UD housing and is right on campus near other housing. It’s nice, but nothing crazy or fancy.

Second, we don’t have parties here. I can’t speak on behalf of other sororities, but our house is not a party venue. The girls who live here are more than happy to host visitors and chapter events like brunches and Airband preparations, but at the end of the day we have homework to complete and Zs to catch. We like to live in a clean, presentable house where people can have fun but still respect the fact that 15 girls are living in this house.

Third, sorority girls are just normal girls. There is nothing intense or competitive here. Mostly we all just want to get through the days with as little drama and as many smiles as possible. If other students can handle living in dorms, they can understand living with 14 housemates. At least we only have to share a bathroom with our suite, as opposed to the whole floor.

I have found living in my sorority house incredibly rewarding. In fact, I’m doing it again next year. It is an amazing way to get closer with others in the chapter, including the other house girls, but also everyone in the chapter who comes to the house for various purposes. I never walk to events or chapter meetings alone, and I’ve gotten to know many people better who I might not have otherwise had the chance to spend time with.

I have also enjoyed being in a location central to the chapter because I don’t have to go out of my way to attend certain events or help out the chapter. While some people may have to cross campus to get to the house, I just have to walk downstairs. I feel very in-the-loop in the chapter and I have many opportunities to be involved.

The logistics of living in the house work out nicely, as well. It’s similar, if not lower, pricing to other UD housing, free laundry, a nice kitchen, good location, and we can call facilities whenever something breaks or malfunctions in the house. We are far away enough from main campus to get some separation from classes, but still close enough to walk, and we have a bus stop nearby for days when the weather is less than optimal.

I would recommend living in a sorority house to anyone looking to get more involved in their chapter in a pretty low-commitment way, make lasting friendships, find a convenient place to live on campus, and have the ability to socialize and have private time in the same house. If you’re considering living in your chapter’s house, don’t let stereotypes dissuade you. Look more into it and take the opportunity if it presents itself.

“Dealing with the Inevitable: Poor Performance” by Carlos Benito

As smart as we may be, as hard as we may work, and as much as we may try, we will inevitably face academic failure. As much as we try to avoid it, at some point all of us sit alone, staring down a low grade that will keep us up at night. So, as dedicated UD students working towards a successful future, what can we do about it?

The first priority is to try and prevent this scenario from ever happening in the first place. Studying every week day, going to office hours or emailing questions to professors and TA’s when something is not understood are your sure fire ways of trying to prevent this from happening. However, sometimes your classes throw that complete curveball. The exam almost exclusively covered topics that were not stressed in class or were not even covered. The exam is way too long for the time given or questions are not worded clearly. These are things that we, as students, cannot control. However, as humans, we can adapt to these sorts of hectic settings as best we can. After the first exam, we all start to get a sense of how the class is run, the wording style of the professor and what their priorities are. These intuitions are your first defense against a bad grade, however they are just that, patterns that could be broken anytime the professor wishes and therefore cannot be fully relied on.

However, lets say that all of these strategies were implemented and still lead to failure. My best advice: talk to the professor. This will not be a fun talk, but it is one you need to have. You need to go over question by question, line by line, everything you did wrong on that exam with them to understand why you got it wrong and more importantly how you can avoid the same mistakes in the future. From experience, I can tell you the conversation will go something like this…

You meet with the professor, pull out the exam and they take a deep breath. They dislike this conversation just as much as you do. You start explaining your logic for answering the problem and then you come to the spot where it all went wrong, the professor hesitantly identifies this spot as where the bomb dropped and then explains what you should have done. Either that or the professor responds in a demeaning tone that is going to make this process a whole lot more painful. Either way, you push through and finally turn over that last page. You thank the professor for meeting with you and walk out feeling accomplished because you know you did the right thing, even if the professor did not.

It’s a difficult thing to do, but if we are going to call ourselves professionals we have to get used to asking superiors where we went wrong, even if we think we never did. Whether it was in our study methods, note taking methods or somewhere else – just taking the time to have this conversation will pay major dividends in the future. So if you are staring at that exam right now, put it down, shoot an email to your professor and prepare to take a step towards becoming a professional.

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