GUEST BLOGGER: McKENZIE TAVELLA, ’18
My name is Mckenzie Tavella and I am from Fairfield, Connecticut. I am a sophomore at Providence College and am an English: Creative Writing and Psychology double major. Some of my favorite things are Harry Potter, both the series and the films, Marvel Superheroes, and sketching Disney cartoons. I love music, art and writing. However, more than anything, I love dogs.
I have to say that this fall in Friartown has been the best one yet. Although I am biased because fall is my favorite season, this one trumps all of the others. It could be because I currently have a class with the best teacher PC has to offer. His name is Professor Reeder, and I am sure you have heard of him some way or another. Unlike nearly everyone else at PC, I didn’t use the rate my professor website until recently. When students are preparing for registration, this is the website they turn to in order to see what their professors will be like. This can make or break a course. However, since I didn’t use it, getting Professor Reeder was pure luck. When I told my friends who I had for my 17th century class, one of them piped up and immediately said “Professor Reeder is THE man” and “You’re going to love him.” He told me to drop his name, “Johnny Smooth” and that Professor Reeder would remember him. He was right, about all of it. Professor Reeder is true to his 4.7 rating, but if you ask me, he’s a solid five. Not only does his personality brighten my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:30-1:20, but he actually cares about the material of the class and the students he is teaching.
In addition to his stellar attitude, he is also very fair. He hands out a syllabus on the first day of class, and sticks to what it says, only wavering if it benefits his class. He doesn’t surprise his class with a pop quiz, which is a much bigger curve ball than teachers let on. He also opens up his classes with light and free conversation, always giving us something to laugh about. One time, he even made the weather funny. If you are similar to me and didn’t know about rate my professor, I now know that it is accurate, so I recommend using it. It is a relief to know that the majority of PC students agree with me, since I couldn’t find a single negative review on Reeder. Reeder deserves more than a dedication, but a gold star that should be pinned on his daily sweaters. This way everyone in sight of him would know how great he is, without having to view a website for proof.
GUEST BLOGGER: McKENZIE TAVELLA, ’18 My name is Mckenzie Tavella and I am from Fairfield, Connecticut. I am a sophomore... MORE
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 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.... MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: SARAH A. O’BRIEN ’15
Sarah is a Creative Writing major and Studio Art minor who will be graduating this May. She has been a Writing Tutor for the past three years, and helped to found the Writing Center’s Fiction Roundtable. Sarah serves as Managing Editor of PC’s literary journal, The Alembic. Her work has appeared in Every Day Poems, Snapping Twig, The Screech Owl, Copley Hall of Art, and is forthcoming in Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery. She loves wordplay, photography, and travel.
I like to think that I learned a thing or two during my four years as a Friar. Here’s what I would say to my freshman-year self. Since my time machine is broken, feel free to take my advice and use it to enhance your experiences at Providence College.
Dear Bright-Eyed-Freshman Sarah,
Look at you, finishing your first year of COLLEGE. Go friars. Now lie out on the quad with your LaSalle snickerdoodle coffee and listen carefully to these words of wisdom from your senior citizen self:
1. The Writing Center is the best place on campus.
Maybe I’m exaggerating. Then again, maybe not. This is the place where you will learn that helping students improve their writing is a passion of yours, and where you’ll meet amazing friends. Tell everyone you know to take advantage of this convenient peer-tutoring service.2. Do. Not. Take. Two. English. Seminars. At. Once.
You’re going to think that you can handle two 400-level English seminars, on top of Civ and two studio art courses. Calm down. Somehow, you’ll end up surviving a 48-hour essay-writing marathon, but please, try to avoid this at all costs.
3. Studying abroad is worth every penny. And then some.
One of your most amazing experiences will be living in Florence, Italy in fall of junior year. Can’t afford your next meal? Don’t worry; some Italians will probably treat you to dinner. Do not be afraid to travel alone either—your solo adventures in Munich and Paris will be especially memorable.
4. Spend time with people who give you support and respect.
And just forget about those who don’t. Your true friends will be there for you when you need them. Also, don’t date anyone who doesn’t make you laugh or feel loved. You deserve the best so do not settle.
5. Party sober.
You’ll often go out sober, and sometimes you’ll even go out on your own. Guess what? Nobody notices or cares. Just be safe and have fun. When you do drink, don’t drink to get wasted. (You’re clumsy enough as it is.)
6. Ignore the haters.
Some people will question your decision to shave your head at the Relay for Life. Shake it off Swift-style and embrace the badass baldness; you won’t regret it. Along the same lines, never apologize for what you choose to wear and don’t compromise who you are for anyone.
7. Alternative Spring Break is a must.
You will get the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru for spring break of sophomore year. Although very different from your freshman year alternative spring break trip to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, this week of volunteering will be just as life changing. You’ll be reminded to count your blessings.
8. Don’t leave your stuff unattended in the library. Or anywhere.
You will be lulled into a sense of security and trust within the PC campus bubble. Don’t be fooled. Your laptop will get stolen in the midst of finals week.
9. Take the C, go to office hours, and get involved.
A senior in the chapel basement will give you this advice. He will say that sometimes an event is worth prioritizing, even if that means “taking the C” on an exam or assignment. He’ll tell you to get to know your professors, since they want to know you. (Take a course with these gems: Chard deNiord, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Dr. Russell Hillier, Dr. Peter Costello, Heather McPherson, Dr. Eve Veliz, and Alison Espach.) Also, join campus clubs! Don’t get discouraged when certain groups reject you—you’ll find your niche.
10. Show Friar Pride.
Go to as many home games as you can. Be loud and proud. #ForeverAFriar
GUEST BLOGGER: SARAH A. O’BRIEN ’15 Sarah is a Creative Writing major and Studio Art minor who will be graduating... MORE
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 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... MORE
Dr. Vance Morgan, Director of the signature Development of Western Civilization Program here at Providence College, posted an entry in his blog about an email exchange with a student regarding the student’s current grade. This posted, called Educating the Uneducated, is wonderfully written and also gives our office a shout-out! I highly recommend every student read his thoughts as we enter the final weeks of the semester.
Dr. Vance Morgan, Director of the signature Development of Western Civilization Program here at Providence College, posted an entry in... MORE