Some Things to Learn from Fall

Some Things to Learn from Fall

Posted by: on November 25, 2014   |Comments (0)|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!

Dismissing the fact that this is about as stereotypical “end of the semester blog post” as they come, I would like to take this opportunity to thank fall 2014. It was a tough one; it was full of obstacles and confusion. And yet, it was also speckled with joy and opportunities for betterment. I learned more this semester than I could ever hope to in another. When I look back, I am content with the way it played out, and I say goodbye to it like an old friend that I actually regret leaving.

In a sense, the things I’ve learned are specific to me, but when generalized, they are things that I think everyone should concern themselves with. Here are a few I’ve deemed worthy of sharing:

  1. Leaving something that is making you miserable is one of the hardest and most worthwhile things you’ll ever do. I think that many of us remain in a major/ career path, place of employment, or other situation because it becomes a comfort zone. Although we are no longer happy, we are in a safe space and are afraid to venture beyond it. We convince ourselves that there are no other options; there are ALWAYS other options. Respect yourself enough to find out what they are.leaf
  2. Spending time by yourself is one of the best ways to find out what you really want out of life. I spent a lot of time on my own in 2014 and, although I had several bouts of loneliness, I became adept at combating the ever-looming fear of missing out. Being able to say “no” to things that don’t sound enjoyable to you is a fabulous power in this day and age.
  3. That being said, never develop the mindset that you don’t need others. Companionship makes life sweet; without others, your experiences become hollow shells with no real substance. Find time to tell those who provide this substance how much you care.
  4. Practice honesty. It really does go a long way. If you aren’t feeling a friend’s party, say so. Don’t make up an Oscar-worthy speech about how you have too many errands and appointments to attend. If you love someone, tell them; if you don’t, same deal. Be honest with your professor about why you couldn’t get an assignment done on time.
  5. Your parents are (almost) always right. I have come to terms with the fact that when my mother gives me advice, nine times out of ten I will do the opposite. However, I have also come to terms with the fact that doing the opposite usually means that a situation will blow up in my face. Thankfully, I know she’ll always be there to help out with the end product while refraining from saying “I told you so,” and I’m sure your folks will, too.
  6. Let go of the past and look forward to the future. Nostalgia can be fun, but it can also be exhausting. Never look at a present opportunity and assume it will end up just like a past one of its kind. Enjoy the moments you have with the people you have them with. Because maybe, just maybe, this time will end differently. Maybe this moment will be something to write home about.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a great end of the semester! 🙂

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

A Tutor for Every Season

Posted by: on September 29, 2014   |Comments (0)|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!

Everybody has that class. You know the one – where you study for three hours every night and still get clammy hands before a test. And for a lot of people, that class prompts them to ask the question, “Should I try meeting with a tutor?”

There are a surprising amount of people I’ve met who are afraid of tutoring sessions. Sometimes when I’ve mentioned to them that I work as an OAS tutor, they assume I only serve students, such as those on academic probation, who are mandated to see me. Others, especially freshmen coming to their first appointment, believe (incorrectly) that I either (A) have the same knowledge base as their PhD-holding professor, (B) have all the answers to every assignment, or (C) tutor as a full-time job. Not only does this mindset put tremendous pressure on a tutor; it also makes the Tutoring Center seem like an intimidating place.
Apple Picking 2014

In truth, the Tutoring and Writing Centers are, in my opinion, a couple of the most welcoming places on campus. It could be because of the bustle, the assortment of teas by the sign-in desk, or the basket of candy on the counter. However, I think it’s because— unlike the unapproachable images of tutors that some people construct in their minds – we’re students, too. And let’s face it: sometimes it’s nice to hear something a professor said translated into the language spoken by a peer. I try to start every session by asking my tutee about their day, their major, etc. to break the ice. I actually think it’s the most important part of an appointment. Tutors shouldn’t be viewed as experts; we’ve struggled academically, too, just not in the field we tutor. Everyone has performed poorly on tests, been stressed out, and asked for help – even us!

I’ve met some of my best friends through the OAS. A group of tutors went apple picking last weekend at Barden Family Orchards in North Scituate. We picked sweet cortlands and macs and we talked about things ranging from tutoring to the Patriots. I like to hang out with my friends after class and I’m horrifically addicted to coffee. In other words, we’re about as approachable as it gets.

Apple Picking 2 2014

(from left to right) Abbey Denham, Kristen D’Elia, Katharine Mueller, Sarah O’Brien, Tom Aviles, Jenn Cyr, Esther Ssozi, Mary Noonan, Natalie Sabia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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