5 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshmen

5 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshmen

Posted by: on September 18, 2015   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

JenniferGilliganGUEST BLOGGER: JENNY GILLIGAN, ’18
Hey Fellow Friars! My name is Jenny Gilligan, and I am from South Windsor, Connecticut. I am a sophomore here at Providence College, with a major in Finance and minor in Spanish. Unfortunately, being a declared major does not correlate to having any clue what career path you aspire to follow. I am a first year tutor in OAS, tutoring Economics, Calculus, and Spanish, and am very excited to learn a lot from working as a tutor! I play on PC’s first ever club lacrosse team, and also participate in campus ministry. I look forward to getting more involved in the PC community as a Sophomore, because anyone that know me will tell you, I am very proud to be a friar.

 

If your anything like I was as a freshmen, you may have been so excited for all things college, that you may have failed to acknowledge that no matter how well you adjusted to college life, it would still be just that; an adjustment. Even though I had seen my four older sisters go through the adjustment to college, there were certain things I wished they had told me. So here are a few of the most valuable lessons I learned throughout my first year at Providence College.

 

1.  Office hours are not scary

I remember being terrified that if I went to office hours I would ask all the wrong questions, or the professor would have no desire to talk to me and be totally un-helpful. This is a huge myth. If you do anything, go to office hours. At the very least your professor will be impressed that you showed up as soon as you had a problem. Trust me, initiative is rewarded.

 

2.  College is NOT the era of Netflix

Most likely, you have friends like mine that told you how much Netflix they watched their freshman year. Well this may be true, it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, true for you. Luckily, I learned this was not my reality pretty quickly. Long hours in the Library are unavoidable, but are a lot more bearable when you know you are leaving to go hangout with your friends, or at least watch Netflix with your friends. College is going to be so much more enjoyable with a great group of friends to rely on, so shut your laptop, turn of Friends, and go make some Friends. It’s not as hard as you may think.

 

3.  Using a tutor does not make you stupid

I guarantee you at some point this year you will have a subject, or a concept, that may not come as easily to you. Luckily, you’re at Providence College and have helpful resources all around. Don’t be embarrassed to use a tutor, because chances are you’re tutor has used a tutor in the Office of Academic Services at least once. I’ve learned that there is no greater help than a student who went through that very same class and had the very same questions. If you’re downstairs in the library struggling with you’re work, do your self a favor, walk upstairs and make an appointment. You’ll thank me later!

 

4.  You may not be as busy as you think you are

Yes you have a lot of homework. But yes, you have for time for that one club you really wanted to join even though it meets twice a week, and yes, you do have time for church. Maybe the girls on your floor aren’t going to be your best friends, but that one girl you sit next to every meeting will be. You never know, so get involved! You won’t regret it! Maybe you went to church every weekend at home, or maybe you didn’t. But if it is 10 o’clock in a Sunday night, your just finished your work and you are choosing between that episode of Orange is The New Black, and going to 10:30 mass, the answer is always mass. It’s the perfect way to let go of the stress of one week, and energize for the next. Always avoid excuses!

 

5.  Call your mother

Yes, she probably will ask you when the last time you washed your sheets was, or when the last time you went to church was, but she also may have some good advice. Having a small roommate problem? Chances are, she had those in college too, and she also knows everything about you, especially your most annoying traits. Meaning, she will tell you if you’re being unrealistic and need to quickly change your ways. Or maybe you have a sore throat and are avoiding solving the problem because you don’t know where health services is; you’re mom will tell you to get down there within the next hour, and you will listen. You’re mom is your biggest supporter, and you’re toughest critic. College requires both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUEST BLOGGER: JENNY GILLIGAN, ’18 Hey Fellow Friars! My name is Jenny Gilligan, and I am from South Windsor, Connecticut. I am a sophomore here at Providence College, with a major in Finance and minor in Spanish. Unfortunately, being a declared major does not correlate to having any clue what career path you aspire to […]MORE

Lost Among the Trees

Posted by: on April 6, 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!

 

I am an analytical thinker. It is something that I have accepted about myself: I like to break down material into its component parts, understand how it fits together, and I tend to compartmentalize it. I can tell you individual quotes from my favorite television shows or books, but ask me to follow a map and I am more than useless (seriously—do the opposite of what I tell you if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner). If you have read my posts before, you know that I am in love with schedules because they help me look at the individual tasks I have for the day, week, or month and plan out the best way to tackle them.

That is not to say that I am just a math and science person, although those academic areas are dear to my heart. I also have a soft spot for literature and music, and while I cannot draw much more than a (granted, supremely awesome) stick figure, I appreciate the visual arts. Each of these areas of learning has a distinct place in my day and in my mind.

But is that the beginning and end of it? My dad asked me today, talking about next year, how it will feel to be “the big cheese” (i.e. a college senior). I was not sure what to say to him. I knew what I planned to do over the next year—apply to medical school, finish the Providence College core curriculum, continue working in Academic Services as a tutor, and (gulp) graduate—but somehow that did not seem to answer the question. The discrete activities of my day-to-day life somehow did not encompass the feeling of being a rising senior. It did not encompass the journey I had taken over the last five-and-a-half semesters at PC or the direction in which I was going. I could see individual points of interest, but in that moment I could not draw the map of my college experience.

spring8In the often high-stress environment of college, particularly for people already prone to this style of thinking, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. We get caught up in the papers, the exams, the homework assignments, and we forget what the point of it actually is. Why are we here, taking eighteen credits a semester? Why do I have my to-do list for Easter break laid out, with due dates and assignment priority color coded? I personally get very wrapped up in the tasks I need to do throughout the day. Often, it serves me well—assignments are completed in a timely manner, and usually with good results. But how does that fit into the larger narrative of life? Is stating the goal—to get a job, or into graduate school, or into professional school—the same as seeing it?

I want to challenge myself and my fellow analytic thinkers to look for the forest when we are lost among the trees. Take a moment, especially when you are stressed out, to step back and draw a map of your life as you see it right now. Understand how everything we do, from that cup of coffee at 7:30 in the morning to shutting off the light before bed, and all the steps in between, not only fit into the larger narrative of life, but create it. Those individual experiences shape the story of our lives. Look for the story that you want to tell.

GUEST 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, […]MORE

Challenge Yourself to be Present

Posted by: on March 23, 2015   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

MelissaSheilGUEST BLOGGER:  MELISSA SHEIL, ’16
Hi Friars! My name is Melissa Sheil and I am from Southwick, Massachusetts. I am a junior psychology major with a business studies certificate, and a member of the Dirigo Leadership Honor Society. I tutor DWC, philosophy and theology in OAS, and am also a member of Tutor Cabinet. I am a Protege Mentor and this past summer I worked as a Resident Assistant/Mentor in the Friar Foundations Program. I serve as a Research Assistant in Providence College’s Social Perceptions and Attitudes Lab, and am most interested in studying academic achievement. I am an Admissions Ambassador, Special Olympics Volunteer and will be volunteering on my third Habitat for Humanity trip this Spring Break! When I’m not watching PC Basketball or Hockey games, you can find me playing intramurals (and still trying to win a t-shirt)!

 

A few weeks ago, I met with one of my favorite professors at PC to catch up over coffee.  As we were discussing classes and plans for after graduation, he commented that I seemed distracted, and I immediately apologized by responding that I was caught up thinking of all of the things I had to do that day.  I mentioned that I didn’t know how I would get all of the things I had to do done by the end of the day, and made a comment along the lines of “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

I expected to get the usual response about how hard work pays off in the long run, but to my surprise my professor responded by saying, “Melissa you don’t have to do anything.”

I was confused. His response challenged my whole thought process about my responsibilities at PC. Each day, I make a list in my planner of things I have to do that day: classes, club meetings, assignments, tutoring appointments, lab meetings, etc. Like every college student, I feel like there isn’t ever enough time in the day to do everything so sometimes I find myself rushing to complete an item on the list just so that I can check it off and move on to the next item. Even worse, sometimes I find myself physically doing something on the list but my mind is somewhere else thinking about another responsibility I have to fulfill. I constantly find myself telling my peers that “I have to do this…” or “I have to do that…”

After I got over my initial shock of my professors response, I inquired exactly what he meant. He referenced Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and said that we don’t have to do anything besides fulfill our physiological needs for human survival. Everything beyond these physiological needs we choose to do. We choose to get involved in extracurricular activities. We choose to study for a test so that we (hopefully) do well. We choose to go to the tutoring appointment to get some extra help.

He emphasized the importance of realizing everything that we do is a choice. The mentality of feeling like you constantly have to do something is draining, and often takes away the joy from participating in activities that can be truly fulfilling. Once we start adopting the ideology of choice, the joy is restored to the activities we are passionate about. More importantly, once we start realizing the importance of choice, we will be present in all that we do. Being actively present allows us to flourish in co-curricular, curricular and spiritual involvement.

Under human flourishing, one of the Friar Four Foundational Pillars, it states, “Students will be able to identify and mitigate those things in their lives that are barriers to their flourishing. They will stretch themselves to become their very best without becoming frenetic and/or overly stressed.” I challenge you to realize that saying you have to do something is a barrier to your flourishing. Challenge yourself to stretch and realize that you have a choice in all that you do. If you’re like me, you’ll find that changing this part of your mentality only has positive results, and you’ll find yourself more present and engaged in all that you do.

 

GUEST BLOGGER:  MELISSA SHEIL, ’16 Hi Friars! My name is Melissa Sheil and I am from Southwick, Massachusetts. I am a junior psychology major with a business studies certificate, and a member of the Dirigo Leadership Honor Society. I tutor DWC, philosophy and theology in OAS, and am also a member of Tutor Cabinet. I […]MORE

The One-Coin Loophole

Posted by: on March 10, 2015   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts on my commute as a way to pass the time.  It all started when I fell down the rabbit hole known as Serial  (I do think Adnan had something to do with the murder) and I’ve been hooked ever since.  The most recent podcast that has intrigued me is Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  It offers various tips and insight regarding things we can do to make our lives happier/easier/more productive.  One discussion covered loopholes and I instantly thought about how this habit relates to college students.

According to Rubin, understanding loopholes is important “because when we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes”.  The One-Coin Loophole is based in the “argument of the growing heap” from Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus.  The argument is:

“If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

While at first glimpse, you may wonder what this has to do with being a college student.  But look closer.  How many times have you thought the following:

-What difference will it make if I start my paper now?
-I’m going to skip class today – it’s only one time.
-Why should I do my math homework now, when I have all weekend?
-I can have pizza tonight; I’ve been good all week.
-It’s only one beer. (Author’s note:  You must be 21 to think this.)

The act of working on homework daily or skipping one class may not be a huge deal.  Those are single acts.  But a single act done repeatedly becomes a habit.  The habit of working on homework daily will have a lasting impact on your success as a student.  Skipping a class (or two or five) while also have an impact on your ability to succeed in your class.

What gold coins (acts) are becoming your heaping pile (habits)?

OnecoinWEB

Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts on my commute as a way to pass the time.  It all started when I fell down the rabbit hole known as Serial  (I do think Adnan had something to do with the murder) and I’ve been hooked ever since.  The most recent podcast that has intrigued me is Happier with […]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 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, […]MORE