Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Academic Relationships

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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NYU Flag Outside of the Lipton Residential Hall

It's good to have friends to carry you through finals

It’s good to have friends to carry you through finals

            Beyond having a primary friend group, cultivating ancillary relationships is beneficial for one’s time in college and outside of it. Of large importance is the relationship one shares with peers and professors within shared academic contexts. From a networking standpoint, the connections made with professors and other students from one’s classes can hold professional significance in the future. From a more present-oriented perspective, those connections can be the difference between one doing poorly in their classes and one succeeding.

            Even though a student can be incredibly gifted academically, if they do not know how to be likeable in the eyes of their professors, then they may find that their classes are more difficult than they need to be and that their career prospects might be more restricted. The proverb, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” proves especially true regarding having healthy relationships with professors. I remember in my first semester at NYU having a professor whom I strongly disliked. The professor did not allow for open discussion, opting instead to filter every discussion through themselves and to disregard students with whom they disagreed. It seemed that they were also very openly critical in papers and class discussions about any student who questioned this system. Despite disliking that professor, I never made it readily apparent that I felt this way. By the end of the semester, the professor loved me because I showed them kindness and attentiveness, while other students had given up on the class.  This same professor told me that if I would ever need a letter of recommendation, I should not hesitate to ask. In this way, I made myself less of a target for harsh grading and allowed professor’s status to serve to my benefit. The same rule of kindness and attentiveness can apply to teachers one genuinely likes (most of my professors at NYU), the only difference being that the relationship in these cases is easier and more genuine. 

            As for peers, it is not necessary to be friends with them much outside of the academic context to still reap the benefits of an academic relationship. Sure, forming studying groups can be especially helpful for reviewing material and covering gaps in knowledge before exams, but there are greater benefits to having friends in class. For core classes, many students are not as interested in the subject matter as much as they will be when they take more self-directed, specialized courses later in their academic career. Core classes provide a helpful platform for students to network with students from a broader range of interests than specialized courses do, since every student usually must complete certain core requirements to complete their major. It is then possible under such circumstances that a student may find themselves in a class with both science and humanities majors. By forming symbiotic in-class relationships with other students possessing diverse interests, one may find connections that could inevitably benefit them outside of college, when their career could benefit from the help of someone from a different discipline entirely. For instance, a computer science major could benefit from the help of someone in finance when calculating the costs for a tech startup down the road. Who knows, some of the friends one may find in such classes could also develop into relationships beyond the academic sphere.

            For more specialized courses, one may use such courses as grounds for honing their craft with other like-minded individuals. In my case, I have been taking workshop classes in creative writing to enhance my poetry. In this environment, I have used classroom discussions as grounds to both learn how to enhance my art and provide new insight on the work of others. In the future, some of the people with whom I shared such classes could help me in developing and editing my future work. What’s more, those same people could become partners in collaborative artistic projects. Yet, if I never made the effort to reach out to my peers, I would not have the same opportunities that I have now.  

By Matthew Evert

Matthew Evert is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying English and Philosophy as a sophomore at NYU. Passionate about poetry, people, and adventure, Matthew aspires to live an explorative and artistic life. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

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College Savings and Saving Space in Your Suitcase: What to Pack When Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

When I fantasize about traveling it’s always the same: one neatly packed backpack with just the essentials. Unfortunately, I am not a light packer and so this is never the case. When it comes to studying abroad you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever you may encounter on your trip. It’s never a good idea to assume that a foreign country has exactly what you’re looking for. Try to find college discounts for certain items before your trip and you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’re there. So what if you’re labeled the “mom” of your trip? Being prepared is never a bad thing—and chances are your new friends will thank you.

Before your trip it’s important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country, or at least learn some key phrases. Rosetta Stone is a great option, but for those of us on a budget there are free smartphone apps readily available. Mindsnacks is a really helpful app I found before my trip to China that allowed me to start learning the language through a series of fun interactive games. If you upgrade to the full version for $5, you’ll get access to 1000 words and phrases, 9 unique games, and 50 lessons to master. This app is available in many different languages and the upgrade is definitely worth the money!

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Do some research about the weather you’ll experience during the months you’ll be there and pack your clothes accordingly. You don’t want to be the one wearing sweaters in the heat or shorts in the snow. Make sure you have a solid stock of any medicines or vitamins you may take every day. Regular toiletries are an essential and it’s always handy to buy Tide-To-Go, packets of Downy or any other fabric soap just in case you need to do a wash at a moment’s notice.

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tidetogopen

Sometimes laundry gets expensive in a foreign country.

 

Check to see what banks are available in the country you’re going to. Many countries often have branches that are linked with Bank of America so if you don’t have an account, open one up. It’s free and you won’t have to pay fees every time you grab some cash from the ATMs. The China Construction Bank, found all over China, doesn’t charge any fees as long as you have a BoA card. You can easily close your BoA account once returning to America.

Other important items are charger adapters for your specific country of origin. The outlets in America are not the same in every country and you do not want to be that person with the hair straightener exploding in your hair!

Also, to stay in touch with family and friends during your trip, set up a Gmail, Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp accounts. These are free ways to connect with your loved ones through email, phone calls, video and text messaging all through WiFi. You don’t want mom to get a $356 dollar phone bill because you accidentally used your data while roaming, do you?

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Pushing Boundaries: How Traveling and Studying Abroad Have Changed My Life and Shaped My Career Path, and Why You Should Do It Too

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

At only 21 years old, I am no Confucius. I cannot give you sound and scientific advice that, if followed, will give you guaranteed success and happiness and all the things you’ve ever dreamed possible. I do not know everything; I don’t have all the answers. What I DO have is my own experience. One of my favorite lines from a book came from Arthur Japin’s In Lucia’s Eyes that reads, “The world is full of people who spend their entire lives seeking the miracle of love without ever seeing it. It’s actually very simple and self-evident, except to those who seek it. One need only have a different way of seeing things. That is not something you can teach people. All you can do is tell your story.”

Whether or not you’re looking for love, let that last sentence resonate with you. All you can do is tell your story. This is my story.

Me:

My mother was born and raised in Brazil and moved to the U.S. when she found her future husband who worked in San Francisco at the time. This man, my father, lived in the U.S. for several years already, but actually grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Call them star-crossed lovers or whatever you wish, these two foreigners set out to make a new future in a new country for their new daughter, me!

 

Growing up, it was just my parents and me. No siblings, no relatives nearby, no pets other than the occasional goldfish won at a carnival with a lifespan average of two days.  I spent most of my breaks from school traveling, either to Costa Rica or Brazil, to see family and connect with cousins and friends my age, keeping up with both Portuguese and Spanish.

The language was never a barrier to me when I was in another country, but became an issue when I returned to the U.S. and had already started school. I would meet with friends and sometimes be unable to realize that I wasn’t speaking English with them because I was so used to being understood in another language.

In addition to traveling to see relatives, I was fortunate enough to have such hard-working parents who always wanted me to see the world, as was their goal for themselves.  We travelled to many places in Europe before I finished the 8th grade, even at which point it was very clear to me that studying abroad would be in my future, no question.

Before starting high school I KNEW I would be gone for sophomore year – I researched study abroad programs and took advantage of them.  Initially I wanted to go to countries like Italy or Spain, but I wound up finding a full-ride scholarship opportunity (sponsored by U.S. Congress and German Parliament) to study in Germany, so I applied. As I moved further through the selection process, it became surreal how competitive this was: out of 2500 applicants, only 50 would receive scholarships.

In April 2006, I learned I had received the scholarship. I turned 15 the next month and three months later was off to live in Germany for a year: no family, no friends, and didn’t  know a word of German. I was the youngest of all the recipients, and after 11 months I was fluent in German.

Before beginning my time at a University, it was clear to me I would study abroad again. I would have applied for the program right away if it weren’t for the window allowed for it by the study abroad office. I was the first to submit an application for that as well, and in the fall of 2010, I had one of the BEST semesters of my life in Bern, Switzerland. If I hadn’t graduated early, I would have studied abroad again.

I’ve now relocated from Arizona to New York and am pursuing a career here while considering my options for a Master’s abroad – perhaps Switzerland again.  I’ve even recently been asked to work with a European magazine for some press releases. My passion is traveling and connecting with people who have experienced this and exchanging cultures.  All the traveling and studying abroad I’ve done have brought me here and told me where I’m going.  You CAN and SHOULD do it too, and even if traveling isn’t something you want for your career, experiencing it now while you’re young is priceless and will teach you so much about yourself and the world.

 

Where to look for study abroad programs:

  1. Consult with your school’s study abroad offices: I realize these offices are becoming smaller and smaller in the U.S., but these guys know what they’re talking about. Ask which kinds of programs are available to you – some may have year standing or GPA requirements. Maybe there’s a specific kind of program you’re searching for – my school offered programs in which you travel with a group of students from the University while learning abroad. My school also offered a program where you didn’t pay a study abroad fee, just the same tuition you were paying while attending the school, which is how I was able to study abroad. Many study abroad offices even have information on scholarships. There are plenty of options; inform yourself!
  2. Check other programs: This gets tricky and is where fees come into play, sky-rocketing the price of your study abroad experience. My scholarship study abroad program was limited to high school students, but there are other groups out there! Check out: ciee.org or studyabroad.com.
  3. Maybe you’re interested in the experience of it but don’t want to be studying: Check out things like aupair-world.net where you can be a live-in nanny, earn some money, have a host family that could help teach you more about the culture, and be immersed in your new surroundings. You could take a semester off to do it, do it in the summer, or make time for it after you graduate. Another post-graduate option could be The Peace Corps.
  4. Degrees and Internships Abroad: These are other ways you can be productive in a new place. You can research schools in the areas you’re most interested in and see their guidelines for international students. My advice for those looking to study in Europe would be to check out bachelorsportal.eu OR mastersportal.eu where you can define your search based on degree subject, country, or tuition and GET THIS: tuition prices elsewhere could be as little as 4% what you’re paying now. What about textbook fees? That’s all an American scam so you can say “bye-bye” to that! As for internships, try goabroad.com/intern-abroad or ask at your school’s study abroad office.  HEADS UP: this internship opportunity in China was just tweeted via @InternQueen that may be worthwhile: http://www.crccasia.com/?utm_source=InternQueen&utm_medium=Eblast&utm_campaign=October

5. If all else fails and you just want to travel abroad but want to do it sooner rather than later (excellent choice), check out statravel.com for good deals on flights and hotel information – those prices keep going up these days so it’s good to know of a place that’s dedicated to finding competitive rates. I’d also recommend kayak.com, which is where I found an affordable flight to NYC.

Why:

Even if traveling doesn’t give you insatiable wanderlust as it has to me, at the very least you’ll         broaden your horizons, learn something new and take these experiences with you in your next job interview, which could make all the difference. I encourage you to try something new, to not be afraid, and to learn a new language – there’s no better way than immersion! At the risk of sounding cliché, the world is truly your oyster so go out and open it!

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Lauren A Ramires. Follow her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (username: laurenaramires) for more lifestyle and inspiration posts.

If you’re interested in learning more of the experiences of a Peace Corps Volunteer, check out this blog for stories on the daily happenings of a PCV and things you could expect.

 

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Tips for Choosing Your Classes

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

With the freedom and independence that come along with the college experience, it’s easy to forget that we are here primarily to study and learn. Classes are an important part of college life and, thus, it is important to give a lot of thought into what you want to study each semester. That being said, here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing your classes:

First, I would advise you to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your school’s core curriculum. The core curriculum is a set of mandatory courses that are specifically designed to provide students with a well-rounded education. Thus, universities and colleges mandate that their students take classes in a broad range of academic disciplines, such as mathematics, biological and physical sciences, the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages. Depending on your school and your major, the core can take up to two years to complete – gasp! – so it’s best to know ahead of time what you have to take.

Second, use the core curriculum to your advantage! Most colleges and universities offer a number of different courses that can be taken to fulfill a requirement in the core curriculum. Thus, if you already know what you want to major in, look to see if there are any classes that can also count for your major. By doing so, you can: (1) Get a head start in completing your major, (2) Free up some time in your junior and senior years for fun classes or internships, or (3) Graduate a semester early. In addition, if you have not yet declared a major, the core curriculum is the perfect opportunity for you to experiment so that you can find out what fields of study interest you and which do not. You never know what you like until you try so do not be afraid to go out on a limb – that’s part of what college is all about!

Third, do a little background check on the professors who are supposed to be teaching the classes you are interested in. The website Rate My Professors is an excellent source for figuring out how a specific professor operates and what you can expect from taking his or her class. It is important to remember, however, that the reviews on this website are are the opinions of former students, and should be taken with a grain of salt. But, in my own personal experience, the ratings have been extremely accurate in depicting a given professor.

And finally, take the times of the classes into consideration. Although everyone has different preferences, I would advise you to schedule your classes when you are the most functional and active. In addition, I would recommend designating either a specific time frame in each day (i.e. 11:30-3:30, 8:30-11:30, etc.) or specific days of the week for your classes. I have found that it is a lot easier to do other things, such as sports, jobs, internships, and volunteer work, when your classes are arranged in a blocs of times or days.

-Christina Brower

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