Erica’s Edition: Spring fever vs. finals week

ericagrapham(Today’s post is brought to you by my college intern, Erica Graphman!)

Do you ever have a long project that you’re working on and nearing the end, but you’ve put so much work into it already that you just can’t seem to find motivation to work on it? I’ve seen this problem left and right this past week. It’s crazy how big of a change one week left of classes and half a week of finals has on the morale of college students.

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It’s probably bad to admit, but I have that problem occasionally as well. I’ve noticed so many of my fellow classmates not owning up to the amount of work they have to do this weekend. Most are more intent on partying the entire weekend, using “It’s May Day Weekend” as an excuse to blow off any and all responsibilities.

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This idea that, as students, we’ve put so much work into this semester that we can hardly bear to finish it out really surprises me. Especially the fact that I have that thought in my own head! I’ve never once struggled finishing a school year. In fact, I’m usually sad at the end of the school year because I enjoy having class. This semester has just been a lot more work than I’m used to I think. Probably because I’m in four classes that are junior-level up classes and one of them is a writing class (which isn’t my strong suit), but still. I’ve never had such a complete lack of motivation and apparent lack of sleep.

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As Manchester University students head into the last week of classes, I wonder who will have their work done and who will be left struggling like a worm trying to climb out on the pavement in a storm. Some of my friends are coming to me with worries about work load and questions about how they will have the time to get everything done. I guess the only thing I know to say to them is what everyone has been telling me. “Don’t worry. Everything will get done in the end.” Is there any other way to reassure struggling college students?

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Erica’s Edition: Time Management Woes

Erica Graphman

College intern, Erica Graphman

Today’s post is brought to you by my busy college intern, Erica Graphman.

Do you ever have those days where you have so much on your plate that you don’t know where to start and you end up not doing anything? I’ve been finding myself with this problem more and more this year. Everyone repeatedly tells me I need to work on my time management skills, but I’ve always thought I was pretty good at it. Well, at least better at it than my peers.­

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The funny thing is, I get told I need to manage my time better in multiple situations. With lots of homework, I know that I need to start working on big things in advance, especially if I have multiple large projects and papers due around the same time. If I don’t work quickly enough, I’ll get slammed with a lot to do in the space of one night. At work, I get my work done too quickly and don’t have anything to do, so my supervisor tells me I need to work more slowly.

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My parents know that I have all my classes, I’m working with Karla, putting together a magazine for the school, and I have a job on campus during the week. They tell me that I have to space everything out so I don’t end up neglecting one of my responsibilities or doing poor work. Friends, on the other hand, tell me when I need to stop working and go out on a late night snack run, or tell me I need to watch a certain show or movie with them. It gets confusing.

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It seems like everyone has their own opinions about how I should space my time out or how quickly I should get my work done. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to shift gears and work at a slower pace. Other times, it’s just agonizing working slowly when I think about how much I have to do. And either way, it’s exhausting working at quick pace every night, rushing to get homework done, papers written, and books read. It might sound bad, but I really hope that the “real world” isn’t like this or I’ll end up tired all the time!

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Erica’s Edition: Homesick College Student

With almost three years of college under my belt, I never thought I’d say I’m homesick. Last weekend was Little Sibs Weekend at Manchester, and even though my brother is older than the age they allow sibs to come he still came to stay for Friday and Saturday.  My mom dropped him off to me on Friday afternoon and she brought me some awesome giraffe cups (my favorite animal!) from their spring break trip to Minnesota. The plan was for my dad to pick him up Saturday evening.

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What I didn’t expect, though, was to get a call from my grandma saying she would be in the area, visiting my cousin at Grace. I made arrangements with her for my brother and me to go out with them for ice cream on their way back home. What I didn’t realize was two of cousins and my uncle were with my grandparents. So it turned out I unexpectedly got to spend time with both my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my uncle, and my cousins last weekend.

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I never thought I’d say I’m homesick, but after I got to spend a really short time with a lot of my family I really was homesick after they all left. I was pretty down all Saturday night, especially after hearing that my dad and brother were going to see Captain America because I love going to see movies with them. I started thinking about all the things I’m missing out on, and that made me even more homesick. Only the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones Sunday night was able to get me out of my slump.

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I’m pretty excited to be going home next weekend for Easter, but I have a feeling that leaving again is going to be sad. I think the thought of only having one year of school left is making me nostalgic and nervous for the unknown. But for right now, I’m having a great time at Manchester. I’m surrounded by friends I love and I love my classes and professors. Although I miss home, I love my life at Manchester and I love learning.

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Erica’s Edition: Spring Break Musings

Erica Graphman

Today’s post is brought to you by my hard-working intern, Erica Graphman. Take it away, Erica!

Ahh spring break! The time away from school and work to refresh and prepare for the end of the year. Or not. While some of my friends are down in Tennessee and Florida are having fun, I am stuck (for lack of a better word) at home.

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I always imagine having time to relax and spend time with my family when I picture the long month and a half of school leading up to spring. Don’t get me wrong—I have spent lots of time with my family this break. In fact, that’s part of the problem with spring break this year! I’ve been so busy I haven’t really had time to complete any of the MOUNDS of work I have due the first two days after spring break is over.

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I went to an early screening of Divergent with my mom and brother because my mom won tickets (she’s insanely lucky at winning things like that) and I saw The Monument’s Men with my dad. Divergent was amazing, by the way! My little brother, who, might I add, never reads, came out of the movie saying he wants to read all three books.

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I thought that with everyone out of the house during the day, I would have plenty of quiet time by myself to work on the essays and reading and journals that I really really have to catch up on and finish. Somehow I neglected to remember that being home by myself means that I have to make my own lunch. Everyone else seemed to remember that though, and I got invited to lunch every day of the week. This lead to being gone during the day, and not having much time to do work in the evenings.

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I’m not sure how satisfied I am with the result of this spring break. I’ve spent a lot of time with my family and I’ve had a week of no work and no homework. As much as I’ve loved being home and not really having anything to do, I’m finding that I’m overly anxious to get back because I know how much homework I have to get done on Sunday. I find it odd saying I wish we did not have spring break and we just got out of school a week early. I think that might be illegal for students to say. Spring break has been great, but is it worth the extra stress the week classes start again will generate?

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Erica’s Edition: I didn’t see that coming!

Erica Graphman

Today’s post is brought to you by my college intern, Erica Graphman! Take it away, Erica!

It’s been one of those “Well I didn’t see that one coming” weeks. Not in a horrible way, but an interesting one. It all started with the weather. I didn’t expect the two warm days, and after those two days I didn’t expect the snow I woke up to Wednesday morning.

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Living in North Manchester these past two and a half years I still haven’t learned to get used to the rapidly changing weather and the massive amounts of snow. I know that the weather is like this all over the Midwest, but being farther north than where I live in central Indiana has a pretty noticeable difference. It’s just never been easy going from one 50 some-odd degree day where I can run outside to there being a couple of inches of snow on the ground when I wake up the next morning.

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Besides the weather changes, I had a pretty good surprise in the Sherlock Holmes novel I finished on Wednesday. I don’t know if any of you have ever read The Valley of Fear, but wow! That was a shocker. I literally said, out loud while I was sitting at a lunch table with five other people, “Holy cow! I didn’t see that coming!” Needless to say, they all laughed at me. It’s been awhile since a book has done that for me.

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Despite the business of the week before spring break, the weather, the library being closed for the rest of the week because of a water main break, and the end of a great Sherlock novel, I really enjoyed this week. Especially after a meeting (which I didn’t expect to last as long as it did) with a great group of people. It’s really nice knowing you have a couple people who will always show up to support you when  you’re in a leadership role and you’re not completely sure what you’re doing. I think this week has shown me that I need to pay more attention to that saying about surprises. “Always expect the unexpected.”

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Erica’s Edition: Vikings!

Today’s blog post is brought to you by my hard-working intern, Erica Graphman! Take it away, Erica!

Erica GraphmanI’ve always been a huge fan of history—I actually considered majoring in it until my dad pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to make a good career out of it unless I became a teacher (not really my cup of tea). I love reading about history and especially love learning about different myths that famous cultures believed in. So, in my excitement for the return of The History Channel’s Vikings, I did a little research on the beliefs of the famous group. (I have a feeling that this season is going to involve a lot of mythology!)

The Norse and other Germanic tribes who followed the same beliefs in multiple gods called their practicing a tradition. They believed Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki were the high gods, known as Aesir. Odin, Thor, and Frigg each have a day of the week named after them (I learned about this in my Structure of the English Language class) Woden’s day, Thor’s day, and Freya’s day (scholars debate whether Frigg and Freya are the same goddess, most think it’s likely because they share the same characteristics). These names eventually evolved to become Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Odin is the king of Asgard and he sacrificed his eye to gain knowledge. Thor is his son and the god of the sky. He can control wind, lightning, and thunder. As noted before, Frigg is Odin’s wife, and she is the goddess of love and the heavens. Women often prayed to her during childbirth. Another common Norse god is Loki, the god of mischief, who is so handsomely represented by Tom Hiddleston in Marvel’s Thor.

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The Vikings believed in four different realms. The gods dwell in the realm of Asgard while humans remain in Midgard. There are two places Viking warriors can go when they die. If it is a worthy death, aka bravely in battle, they pass on to Valhalla where they feast while waiting for the end of time. If they do not die a heroic death, they must remain in Hel, which the Vikings considered the ninth world. After reading all this crazy information about the Viking gods, I must say, I’m super excited to see this season of Vikings, especially to see which warriors take their places in Valhalla and which fall to Hel. (I’m rooting for strong, female warrior Lagertha to kick butt!)

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Introducing Writing Intern, Erica Graphman!

I’m thrilled to introduce my new college intern, Erica Graphman, to my readers!

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You can read Erica’s blog here: The Slanted Shelf. 

She will be helping me with my online presence via social media and blogging.

Erica grew up in Pittsboro, Indiana, population 3000. (North Manchester’s population is 6000.) Here’s what she had to say about moving to North Manchester to attend Manchester University.

Why did you decide to become an editor after you graduate?

My senior year of high school one of my English teachers was trying to help me find a career path for me and he suggested looking into majoring in English since I love reading so much. After some research, I set my mind on editing.

Why did you decide to attend Manchester University?

Manchester has a great community. It’s very similar to my hometown, but a little bigger. There was still some change in size, which I wanted, and it was away from home but not too far that I couldn’t go back whenever I wanted.

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Hobbies?

Reading, running (when it’s warm enough), watching movies

Okay, I’m with you on the reading and movies, but I’ll leave the running to you. What’s your favorite color?

Green

Favorite food?

Strawberries! My grandma has a patch and grows them every year. They’re best when you pick them and eat them while they’re still warm from the sun! 🙂

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I agree with you there, Erica! That’s my absolute favorite, too! And my grandma raised them as well. So I know exactly how sun-kissed strawberries taste. Nom!

Erica will be interning with me until the end of spring semester. I’m excited that we’ll be working together as she has a keen interest in editing and building a career doing so. She’ll also be posting on my blog once a week or so. Please join me in welcoming her to the team!

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Ally’s Angle: On being a nerd

Today’s blog post is written by my talented intern, Allison O’Neil!

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I’ve always been a nerd. The term gets slung around by bullies and “cool kids,” and in this sense can mean anything from an insufferable know-it-all to an uncoordinated kid whose clothes don’t fit. But that’s not why I like being a nerd. For me, being a nerd is a positive thing, which isn’t necessarily “dorky.” There are even social benefits to being a nerd: I gained a lot of respect from classmates who had ignored me after I helped our team win a trivia contest in middle school. Knowledge translates to the ability to know and do things, which people admire. By working to reclaim our inner nerds, we can help foster genuine curiosity among kids and adults.

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Almost everyone is a nerd about something. What might that be, you ask? Well, you are a knitting nerd if you research new patterns or techniques to use, a tech nerd if you read about products that haven’t even gone on the market yet, or a . Basically, being a nerd requires you to actually enjoy learning new things—whether they concern a certain subject or just knowledge in general. Another important aspect of nerdiness is the ability to spontaneously pontificate about your favorite subjects, often to the amazement (or boredom) of your friends. Do you get excited when teaching something to your kids or friends? You may be a nerd regarding that topic.

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This kind of passion for collecting information is beneficial at every life stage. True fascination about a topic leads to better retention in memory, since you are personally invested in the learning process. How can you remember something if you don’t care about it? Even when you start with a narrow focus—rock tumbling or dolphins, say—you will inevitably encounter an overarching or intersecting field to study, and following that track will lead you to explore almost anything. As you grow up, your rock collection turns to an impressive understanding of geology, and your dolphin poster collection leads to a scholarship to study marine biology.

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As part of this nerd awareness, I am working to convince my six-year-old siblings to reclaim the word “nerd,” if not for themselves then for classmates, present and future. I hope that neither of them will grow up to tease or exclude their peers for being “uncool,” and embracing the curiosity of nerdiness will help them. This is already a success with my little brother, who immediately professed that he was a “Minecraft nerd” when I gave him my definition of being nerdy, saying, “It’s something I know all about!”

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Now, you don’t  necessarily need to adopt the nerd label to achieve this goal. What I want is to help de-stigmatize the negative connotations of nerdiness, which may impede the natural curiosities of kids and youth. If our youngsters are afraid of the social repercussions resulting from nerd status, they aren’t going to be as excited about learning. At least, they won’t feel comfortable expressing what they know, asking pressing questions, or exploring without self-consciousness. Kids shouldn’t be afraid of knowledge, and if they aren’t afraid, they will surprise you with their insightful observations and inquiries.

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