What it Means to be a Friar Family

What it Means to be a Friar Family

Posted by: on March 2, 2015   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

 

Forever a Friar. Friar Family. Veritas. These words permeate campus, whether through signs and flyers hanging in residence halls or from the mouths of friars and professors. But what does it mean for our school to be a family?

The answer we often hear is one that links us back to our Catholic and Dominican identity, and I absolutely believe that it plays a role. To be “catholic” is to be universal and wide-reaching, and that is exactly what the Friar Family is meant to be: an all-inclusive, all-embracing unit that encompasses each and every one of us at Providence College. But I think there has to be something more grounded than that. Where is the Friar Family in our everyday lives? Particularly, as students, where is the Friar Family in the classroom?

To be a member of the Friar Family is to recognize our common experiences. We may have different career aspirations—to be doctors, or lawyers, or professors, or accountants, or writers—but we are all here at PC for the same reason. We are all seeking knowledge. None of us know everything in our chosen fields, but we all pick up some sliver of information. And this is where the Friar Family comes in.

To be a member of the Friar Family is to work cooperatively, not competitively. In my experience at PC, my fellow students have worked to build me up, not tear me down. We exchange knowledge reciprocally, clarifying concepts for one another. Last semester I spent many a night with friends in an apartment in Mal Brown, studying biochemistry over tea and cheesy biscuits. None of us had the complete picture of metabolism on our own, but when we put our minds together we were able to create a cohesive whole. We bettered each other. As a tutor, I seek to do the same thing: to build my tutees up to a clearer understanding of the material, and to learn things along the way. I can safely say that I have begun to look at DWC in ways I never did before after helping students organize outlines for their papers. They see connections I never would have dreamt of as a freshman, and sometimes I give voice to ideas they are struggling to put into words. As I explain concepts in chemistry and biology appointments, I find myself understanding them better. When we, tutor and tutee, put our heads together, we both come out better. There is reciprocity in the tutor–tutee relationship.

Understanding, cooperativeness, and reciprocity are what characterize the Friar Family. And in the classroom, the Friar Family is what leads us to veritas.

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New... MORE

Why I’m Thankful for Thanksgiving Break

Posted by: on November 19, 2014   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

 

It’s that time of year.

You’ve just gotten back your midterm grades, work has really started to pile up, that last round of exams, papers, and projects is on the horizon, and your Thanksgiving looks like it’s going to be a lot more work than play. This is the time of year when I hear (and I admit, engage in) a lot of complaining—we don’t get a break, we have so much work, and it’s not fair.

It’s true—we do have a lot of work. No one can contest that. I know I will have more homework over Thanksgiving at the age of twenty than my mother did. She also did not have the opportunity go to college. With seven children in a working-class household, there just was not money to send her or her siblings to school. Now a mother of two and a former florist, Mom listens to my stories about classes, exams, papers, and tries to imagine herself in my shoes. If she had my professors, would she understand math and biology more? Or would she have gone the same route as my sister and been a history major? She loves to read—English, perhaps?

When I take the time to step back and think about it, I realize just how thankful I really am for my college education. I have opportunities that my mother can only dream about. I have the privilege of homework over Thanksgiving. Needing to review glycolysis between turkey and apple pie means that I had the opportunity to learn it in the first place. Is it work? Yes. Is it stressful? Also yes. But the stress that comes along with college is an opportunity over a third of high school graduates today do not have, for one reason or another.

That’s not to say that you need a college education to have a happy, fulfilling life. A plumber can be just as happy as a PhD if he is pursuing his passion. I am thankful, though, that I had the ability to choose higher education, to pursue my passion for neuroscience, to take the MCAT exam next spring, to go to lab and lecture and seminar.

I am thankful, in other words, for my Thanksgiving homework.

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New... MORE

Break Up With the Idea of No Breaks

Posted by: on October 27, 2014   |Comments (3)|Tutoring Center

jen-cyr-blogGUEST BLOGGER: JENN CYR, ’14
My name is Jenn Cyr and I’m a senior (woah) Biology major at PC. I will be contributing to PC Smartypants because of my position as an OAS Tutor. As a contributor, I plan to give readers a glance at what is going on behind-the-scenes in OAS. I love my job, mostly because it allows me to meet people from other majors and classes – tutors and tutees alike – that I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to interact with. The Tutoring and Writing Centers are amazing resources; not only can they be helpful to people academically; they also provide students with a fun, welcoming study space. I encourage all the readers of this blog to check them out!

 

When you’re training for a marathon, you schedule rest days. When you want to complete a painting, you prep the canvas one day and begin adding details one by one with intermittent rest periods. So it only seems logical to schedule study breaks when you’ve got a big test coming up. Right?

It seems like a no-brainer. And yet many of the people I’ve met at PC are, in my opinion, too stingy with rest and relaxation. As students, we’re all familiar with the dreadful “I have no time for anything but school” feeling, especially when midterms and finals begin popping up. However, it’s when we’re the busiest that it’s most important to let ourselves off the hook a little.

Cyr-Blog-2

Taking a few hours to do a favorite activity, like hiking, can clear your mind and help you focus later on.

I didn’t used to think so. There would be nights where I found my desk lamp on until well after midnight. There’d be nights where I worked four or five hours straight without so much as a trip to Starbucks. It worked for a little. Reality struck when I didn’t do so hot on an Orgo test sophomore year. I remember thinking that the grade I received was impossible; after all, I’d studied FOREVER and I knew all the concepts. But when I tried to remember actually taking the exam, I couldn’t. That’s when it hit me: my mind and body had been too physically exhausted to perform well, even if I had known the material.

I think that college itself is a trial-and-error deal. Many college students, particularly incoming freshmen, are in awe at the new found freedom and choose to slack off, causing them to overexert themselves towards the end of the semester. Others are downright scared of the fact that there aren’t constantly high school teachers or policies around to strictly enforce academic performance; they’re the kids in the library every night until 2 a.m. highlighting whole paragraphs of their DWC texts.

Needless to say, neither technique is particularly effective.

Cyr-Blog-1I’ve found it easier to take it day by day. Of course, there will be nights where you find yourself behind – but that doesn’t mean to completely neglect yourself. So what do I suggest? During the week, try to finish homework early enough to do an activity you enjoy at night – work out, watch a TV show, play an instrument. During longer study sessions, get out of your seat every forty-five minutes or so. I usually grab coffee, walk to the bathroom and splash water on my face, or call a friend or my mom. On the weekends, I try and have one “fun” day and one “work” day. Saturdays, fun days, are for sleeping in and my hobbies, like hiking (check my pictures from last week’s hike!) and singing in my band. Generally on Sundays, I get up earlier and do errands, laundry, and catch up on homework. I’ve found that I treat school more like a 9 to 5 job now, making it easier to justify the fact that I deserve to have a life outside of molecular assays and F=ma and Immanuel Kant.

However you go about relaxing, just remember: study breaks help you breathe more easily.
And there’s nothing wrong with taking them.

GUEST BLOGGER: JENN CYR, ’14 My name is Jenn Cyr and I’m a senior (woah) Biology major at PC. I... MORE

Why It’s Good to Struggle in a Class

Posted by: on October 20, 2014   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

Organic chemistry.

Those two words send a shiver down the spines of most biology, biochemistry and chemistry majors. This class is the testing ground of who will survive a science major, and who will not. It’s the class that medical schools use to gauge whether a student will be able to handle the pressures of their curricula. It’s also the class that taught me that struggling academically is necessary for growth as a student.

Organic Chemistry, or as I call it Orgo, was the first class I ever took that I genuinely struggled with. Over the two semesters the sequence took, I failed numerous quizzes, obtained my lowest test grade to date, and spent hours staring at homework that I just did not understand. It was frustrating, it was annoying, and it was demoralizing as I put hours of work in and felt like I was getting no results. Hexagons haunted my dreams as I tried to draw chemical structures and learn the mechanisms of how they react.

But even though it was frustrating, I think the experience of Orgo was the most valuable one of my college career. I spent my early academic years succeeding with little effort. Facts came naturally to me. Words flowed from pen to paper effortlessly. I was told in high school that college would force me to learn how to study, and to some extent I believed it, but I doubted that it could be that hard. Orgo proved me wrong.

Orgo, and any class that we may struggle in, provides a lesson that is often much more valuable than what the professor outlines in the syllabus. Struggling in a class teaches us humility. It teaches us to prioritize. It teaches us the value of dedication, and the need for practice. It teaches us that sometimes, no matter what we do, we will fail, and that it’s okay. The world did not collapse any time I failed a quiz, even though I genuinely thought it would. Finally, it teaches us that rising to the challenge and persevering even though it is difficult is the most admirable thing a student can do. No success will ever fill you with as much pride as the one that follows the longest struggle.

For those of you struggling through the Orgo of your academic career, I salute you. Push through, persevere, and remember – this is a defining moment for you. Rise to the challenge. You’ll be a better person for it.

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New... MORE