Tag: honors (page 2 of 9)

“Becoming a Blue Hen: Honors and E-52” by Abigail McGraw

Entering college is never easy. A million obstacles are standing in your way, ready to knock you down and make you stumble. The anxiety of fitting in and excelling in your classes is omnipresent. The challenge of online school for my first semester in college only heightens the daunting nature of freshman year. So, welcome to “Becoming a Blue Hen”, where I’ll keep you updated with the highs and lows of this semester and every funny story in between. 

Spending the day setting up my desk in my childhood bedroom on August 31st was never the way I imagined the beginning of my freshman year in college. I felt a resounding sense of sadness as I thought about the isolation I was sure to feel this semester. With the Blue Hen family spread out across the globe, it has certainly been difficult to feel like a part of the UD community this semester. As an out-of-state freshman, I feel particularly out of place. While many of my friends from high school have established relationships at their in-state colleges, I entered this semester knowing exactly no one at UD. Because of this, I would be remiss if I didn’t try to find ways to be involved this semester. Through my Munson Fellow, Sean Wirt, and the UD 1743 Welcome Days events in August, I’ve been able to connect with a wide range of RSOs and start forming relationships with my peers in the Honors College before heading to campus (hopefully) in the spring! Continue reading

“That’s All Folks!” by Alyssa Schiff

And just like that, the spring semester of 2020 has come to a close. For some, this is the end of life at UD and in college. What would already be an incredibly bittersweet, exciting, and uncertain time has now been made more bittersweet and uncertain by the global pandemic. Seniors have not been able to say goodbye to professors, friends, and the campus as a whole. Closure for the end of this chapter will need to wait until we are able to have an in-person graduation at a later date.

Having said all of this, it seems the world really is sympathizing with seniors. In the past few days I watched as John Krasinski held a virtual graduation and commencement for graduating seniors on his YouTube show “Some Good News,” bringing together countless celebrities including Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and even Malala Yousafzai. Then another virtual ceremony was held featuring the Obamas, LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Pharell Williams, and many many more.

What a strange time to be entering “the real world.” Despite the uncertainty and obvious disappointment in losing a typical senior spring, this is also a time of gratitude for me. I have been unbelievably fortunate through this period. I was able to continue living in Newark in a very comfortable apartment with my best friends where we have internet capable of supporting six computers all day. I have also remained healthy, and have been able to make the best of quarantine by being surrounded by wonderful friends.

My roommates and I have had countless movie nights, themed dinners, celebrated holidays, gone for social distancing picnics, take-out nights, drives blasting music, and we have even opened a home salon where several of us have had our hair cut or dyed (don’t worry, no bangs!). We have commiserated, but also shared our joy and gratitude for this time together.

Looking back on my time at UD, I have only endless gratitude. I owe so many thanks to the professors who have pushed and encouraged me, to the Honors program for being a support system and for providing countless opportunities, to the McNair Scholars program for facilitating my research and my path to graduate school, to the Writing Center for providing such a lovely work environment, and to all my fellow classmates, friends, and students who have changed and inspired me.

When I applied to UD and the Honors program, I wrote an essay on optimism. I wrote that I am optimistic because the beauty of humanity is that we are all constantly inspired and moved by each other. That people always change each other, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, and how wonderful that can be. While I cringe looking back on that essay, I feel the sentiment now more than ever. We may not be able to physically be together on campus for a graduation, but we will carry each other — friends, classmates, faculty, and staff alike — and UD with us for the rest of our lives. I would like to think as much as being a UD student has changed all of us, that we have also affected change to UD during our time by questioning the systems in place, furthering research, writing, performing, and more.

I think often on a quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young. He writes, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”” And perhaps these last four years weren’t just “nice” but instead challenging, frustrating, difficult, joyous, and wonderful. We have been stressed and sleep-deprived, but also (hopefully) changed for the better, and if that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

“Quarantine Cooking: Healthy Meals to Keep You Focused on Work” by John Salsini-Tobias

The change from eating dining hall food to actually having to cook at home certainly isn’t the worst aspect of online learning, but cooking nevertheless can take up valuable work time. Without endless options while at home, many students (including myself) will find themselves snacking throughout the day. It’s easy to grab a bag of chips or a granola bar but this option is rarely healthier than nutritious balanced meals. Let’s examine a possible day of eating in easy-to-prepare meals that any student could throw together while listening to a recorded lecture or practicing a Quizlet. 

The first meal of the day obviously is breakfast, and nowadays it’s an easy one to skip if you can wake up and start class just by grabbing your laptop. Staying in a routine will be healthy and this means actually getting out of bed (looking awake and out of bed reflects well in class too). One delectable and popular breakfast dish is avocado toast. Popularized by millennials, this can be spiced up in many different ways to add some flavor and balance to your diet. Personally, I prepare mine with some sea salt and a hard boiled egg on top of mashed avocado on whole-grain toast. Here are the steps to make a new morning preference:

  1. Peel and pit avocados
  2. Put about ½ of an avocado on each slice of bread
  3. Dice the avocado and mash into bread with fork
  4. Add any toppings such as sliced egg, salt, pepper, cheese, tomato, or anything you like!
  5. Toast the bread and allow to cool before eating.

Around midday you’ll probably get hungry again, so now it’s time for lunch. A college favorite that I often find myself making is a classic: ramen. It’s fine to eat a plain bowl with the included seasoning, but you may find yourself wanting a more filling experience in the absence of restaurants like Ramen Kumamoto. I often add a soft boiled egg to my ramen. For this, I recommend preparing the noodles normally and then in a separate pot boiling the egg. Of course, adding other toppings such as scallions, pork, tofu, bean sprouts, or cabbage to the noodle broth can be done to add flavor. Again, this is an easy way to make a tasty meal out of a simple food.

  1. Boil noodles in a pot of water
  2. Add flavor, seasonings, or toppings that need to be cooked to pot
    1. For a soft boiled egg, prepare 1 inch of water in separate pot
    2. Once water is boiling, add egg directly from fridge and leave for 4 ½ min
    3. Remove egg and immediately cool with cold water, then peel and enjoy!
  3. Add noodles to a bowl and add any fresh toppings desired

A powerful way to finish work hours and prepare you for an evening of relaxing (or more work!) is this pasta dish. Once again simple to prepare, this lemon pasta tastes amazing and gives you some carbs to keep up your energy. Just add a salad and a desert!

  1. Bring a quart of water to a boil
  2. Prepare pan of spaghetti, tomatoes, lemon zest, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt
  3. Add boiling water to pan, cover, and heat until it reboils
  4. Remove the lid to simmer for 6 minutes while stirring
    1. You can add kale or spinach for more flavor and to soak up the juices
  5. Serve with seasonings and some parmesan!

Five Movies to Watch While Stuck in Quarantine

Right now it feels strange to think we were at UD over a month ago, and that our lives were seemingly normal, and now that we’re living in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. I’m not sure I ever thought that anything that has impacted the world as majorly as this would have happened in my lifetime. At this moment, it feels hard for all of us to stay upbeat and positive, as everything feels like it’s ending, and we have so much free time stuck at home with nothing to do. One thing that I have been doing while not in class, is watching movies. I find they help give me not only a distraction but help me stay positive. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling and want something else to think about, or feel like you need something to believe in the world again, here are the top five movies I would recommend to you.

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle

I’m probably biased towards this movie as it is one of my all-time favorite movies, and something I have loved since my childhood, however I believe movies like Howl’s Moving Castle are a nice breath away from reality, especially right now. Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who has a spell cast on her by the “Witch of the Waste” which turns her into an elderly woman. She goes on a journey to try and break the spell, and meets a wizard named Howl and goes aboard his moving castle for a life-changing adventure. This movie is perfect if you just want to be taken away to a fantasy world and feel like a kid again. The art in this movie is amazing and the soundtrack fits in perfectly. It’s hard to put all the things I love about this movie into words, but I would highly recommend this movie to anyone of any age.

2. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’ve watched this movie so many times since it came out, and could watch it thousand times more. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a boy named Charlie who is socially awkward, and is considered at school to be a “wallflower,” someone who tends to stay away from crowds and the spotlight. However, he meets a girl named Sam and her stepbrother Patrick and they change his life completely. This coming of age movie is so powerful and touches on so many issues in the world today. It makes you feel so many emotions from pain and sadness to joy. Even though high school wasn’t so long ago for me, it gives me that youthful nostalgia for those days in my life. It is perfect for those days in quarantine when you’re missing your friends or thinking about all the memories you have made here at UD.

3. Love, Rosie

If you’re looking for another semi-predictable, cheesy rom-com that will make you want to cry, laugh, and want to rip your hair out in the best way possible, then this is it. Rosie and Alex are that couple that always finds their way back to each other but the timing is always wrong. The movie takes you through a journey of their ups and downs and has you constantly on the edge of your seat wondering if they will end up together, or if time and misunderstandings will be too big of a hurdle. This movie is one that will easily distract you from the outside world and make you feel warm inside. It’ll make you believe that what is meant to be will be, which is something that in the world today doesn’t feel like it exists. Our lives may be crazy at the moment and it might be hard to stay hopeful for a better tomorrow when it feels like everything is crumbling down. But this movie, even as lighthearted as it is, reminds us that the best things can come from the seemingly worst things to happen to us.

4. In This Corner of the World

While this movie is an animated film, watching this for the first time made me cry, and I’m not one to usually get emotional over movies. This story is set during World War II and is about a girl named Suzu who moves in with her husband’s family in Hiroshima, Japan. The movie tells of all of the challenges she faces during this time living in a war-torn country. The thing I love the most about this movie is the overall message. This movie portrays that even in the worst times, there will always be hope in the world, and you can always find beauty in something. While normally I’m not the one for wartime movies, this movie made me realize how lucky I truly am for even the smallest things in life that I take for granted. I feel that watching this movie now is perfect timing, especially with everything going on in the world today, and how chaotic life feels. It’s a nice reminder of all the good and positivity there can be, even if it seems like there is no hope.

5. Ferris Bueller’s day off

This movie is honestly such a classic, and a movie that my parents love as well. If you’re looking for something that will have you laughing until you cry — this is it. Ferris Bueller is known as a troublemaker at his high school as he is always slacking off. He decides to take one last day off of school and go on the journey of a lifetime. This movie will keep you wondering how Ferris doesn’t get caught, and laughing at all the close calls he and his friends have. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and exciting, this is the movie for you. It reminds you to live each day to the fullest even with the ups and downs in everyday life. 

“Staying Connected” by Jenny Gloyd

We are in a time which values house slippers over work boots, ceramic mugs over travel tumblers, and computer keyboards over car keys. While we are all home, there are plenty of opportunities to stay connected to our friends, family, classmates, and colleges. Platforms like Zoom and Discord have features that make connecting fun, and the community around us is already finding exciting and creative ways to stay in touch. I wanted to take this time to share with you some of my favorite apps and ideas. 

Zoom is well known on our new virtual campus, as many professors have chosen this platform to host lectures, or to hold office hours, but Zoom can also be used outside of class. With friends, you can make more use of Zoom’s green screen feature. Make it look like you are at the Morris Library, on the beach, or better yet, set the background to a silly photo of a friend. Zoom allows screen and computer audio sharing, so movies are a go on Zoom! Have one friend share the screen and you all can watch together! Virtual game nights are also in the cards. Pictionary can be played using Zoom’s whiteboard functionality, and other games such as Clue or Exploding Kittens have online versions, so it is definitely worth searching for an online version of your favorite board game. I really like Jackbox, which is downloadable to your computer, and allows you to host a variety of fun mini-games that others can participate in via their smartphones. This works the same way as the movie, a friend with Jackbox can share their screen and audio, and others can view the game on their screens as well!

Discord is traditionally used for collaborating remotely while playing video games, but it finds a second use for the day-to-day person. One of the advantages of Discord is that you can create subgroups for both written messages, and spoken conversations. For example, in my Organic Chemistry group chat, there is a specific text-channel labeled “Problem Sets,” so all information relevant to our problem sets can be in one place. There is a voice-channel labeled the same, so anyone in the class currently working on the homework set can speak on the channel to work together. Another wonderful feature is the ability to create and upload your own custom emojis. If your friend made a funny face in lecture, it can be an emoji! If you found a cute puppy photo on twitter the other day, it can be an emoji! One of the custom emojis for the Chemistry class is a small picture of the commonly used molecule, benzene. 

I’d like to end this post with some honorable mentions, activities that I have not tried myself, but seem like a good use of our quarantine time. 

“Excel Tag”

Share a Google Sheets document with a friend. You will be able to see which box you and your friend have highlighted. One person starts off as “it.” and then uses their arrow keys to select adjacent boxes and “run” away from the other person. If you select the same box, the other person is “it.”

“PowerPoint Parties”

This idea is best carried out through a platform like Zoom, so that screen sharing is a possibility. You invite friends to a Zoom call, and ask them to come prepared with a short presentation on a topic of their choice. This could be as researched as “The History of the Penny” or as passionate as “Hamburgers ARE Sandwiches.” Grab some popcorn, sit back and watch what your friends have made to present, and don’t forget to make some slides of your own.

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