Great Short Reads: A Colloquium Alternative

So as members of the SAS Honors Program, we need to do two Honors Colloquiums or an alternative. And there are a lot of alternatives. This past semester I took part in a relatively new one: a one credit Pass/Fail course called Great Short Reads.

So, you ask, how was it? Should I take it?

The answer to the first question is highly enjoyable and to the second, as with much advice, is it really depends on you and your situation.

In short: If you have the time to read three novellas/short novels and enjoy not only reading but discussing and briefly writing about literary fiction, then yes this is a great alternative to another colloquium that has all your favorite things and free pizza.

The course is led by Professor Paul Blaney, who also teaches that course that goes to Ireland every spring. For the past semester, he picked our first novella, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, then the class voted on our second and third pieces, which ended up being Slaughterhouse Five and A Clockwork Orange, three incredibly different pieces in terms of style, topic, and genre that were fantastic, if somewhat depressing, reads.

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For each of these, we read them, watched a movie adapting them, and wrote a short piece on the Sakai forums. Then, at the end of the semester, we had to write a short piece imitating the novels that could fit into the novel (essentially, we were told to write canon-compliant fanfiction for class). At each of the five meetings we held over the course of the semester, there was free pizza and everyone was generally into discussing the books. Overall, I liked it a lot more than colloquium and found the reading to be very rewarding and to be a nice change of pace from my other classwork. If you’re looking for summer reading, I would recommend any of these books (though maybe spread it out and read things that are maybe a little more optimistic in between each).

If you have any questions about the course or any summer reading recommendations, leave a comment 🙂

Have a great summer!

Also, since my last final is today at 4, enjoy this meme:

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Gotta Use ‘Em All: Getting Rid of Meal Swipes

It’s a problem that all on-campus freshman have faced. Anxiously checking their RU express page to see exactly how many they have left. In-depth discussions about how it’s all part of a con for your money. Leaping over the stack of styrofoam containers from takeout so you can flop onto your bed, clutching your aching, overstuffed stomach as you roll over and try to forget about finals.

Meal swipes. If you’re an on-campus freshman lacking an extraordinary appetite, you’re probably begging to give these away at this point.

For starters, if you will be an incoming freshman in the fall, please take note of this link. Within the first week of school, you can go here and switch to a lower meal plan, even lower than the required meal for freshmen.

Now, for those not savvy enough to know this particular trick, like me my freshman year, here are some practical ways to get rid of meal swipes in your last weeks of school:

  1. Woody’s

The medical school cafeteria is probably one of the more popular options. You can use meal swipes for almost anything from grocery-type items (milk, vegetables) to meals to sweets and ice cream. However, the mistake most people make is that they rush through three or four swipes as quickly as possible. The way to maximize this requires patience. Set aside a few hours outside of the rush, bring the some of the overwhelming amount of work you’ve surely been watching grow over the past few weeks, and prep for some back and forth between your seat and the food area. The limit is every twenty minutes, but if you play your cards right you can be like me in December of my freshman year, walking away from Woody’s 20 meal swipes less and with Christmas gifts for both my brothers and all six of my cousins.

2. Kilmer’s Market, Sbarros, Douglass Cafe, Cook Cafe, Rock Cafe, Red Pine Pizza, Take Out

Good places for meals and food for later. And since several of them are located around centralized areas, you can employ the same method as with Woody’s. The only problem is that if you’re not careful you’ll end up with a fridge of individual slices of pizza, stacks of individual cereal packs, and a significant amount of indigestion (because who can resist that much food sitting in front of them?). Which brings us to suggestion number 3.

3. Befriend upperclassmen

If clubs want to promote events, they offer free food. That’s because most students operate on a low budget. Now’s the time to use that to your advantage. Who could refuse your offer a free meal, be it a swipe into the dining hall, an offer for takeout, or a meal swiped from Sbarros? This is a great way to hang out with older friends, thank mentors for help, or generally socialize.

4. Invite your family

This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, if used in conjunction with number 3, you might run out of guest swipes, so be aware.

What are your favorite ways to get rid of meal swipes? Comment below.

Economical Entertainment: Cheap things to do as a Student

So this spring break I’ve been taking advantage of a lot of student discounts. However, I think the best deal I got was at RU Cinema. I got to see MoonlightLogan, and Get Out all on the same day for just $17. So I thought I’d list here some of the available cheap versions of entertainment available to Rutgers students.

  1. RU Cinema

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This is a really good deal, particularly if you bring your own snacks. It’s $5 per movie before 6 and $7 after 6, which is insane when considering how much tickets at a normal movie theater cost. Now granted, they only show 2-3 movies at a time, so you’re limited to what they have, but they’re mostly the good or popular movies, so it’ll satisfy most people.

2. Zimmerli Art Museum

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This is a great art gallery and admission is free! There’s always Art After Hours the first Tuesday of every month. My personal favorite is when, during the last reading day before finals, they stay open all night so you can study in the Art exhibits. It’s always really empty and is a really good change of scenery.

3. Performance Groups

Be it the many choirs on campus, dance groups, or theater companies, there’s always some sort of performance going on on campus. Not all are free, but a lot have free tickets available through the Honors Program if you keep your eye on the newsletter.

3. Honors Program Trips

People should really check the newsletters because there seems to be boundless opportunities for free entertainment, be it tickets to the symphony, trips to museums in NYC, or film screenings around campus.

4. RUPA Events

One of my favorite memories from my freshman year is of a friend and I going to a Mystery Dinner Theater run by RUPA. One person at every table was assigned a role and they had everyone go around introducing their character. When they go to the last table, they asked the character to stand up and this six foot guy just shouted back at the host, “I can’t stand, I’m Teddy Roosevelt,” leading to an uproar of laughter from everyone else in the room while his friend explained this was the other President Roosevelt. Outside of that they have a bunch of events every week ranging from quiz nights to broadway shows, it’s just a matter of signing up quickly enough to get a seat.

3. Rutgers Radio Stations

Available from Rutgers Radio and the Core both online and free, my favorite combination. They also provide a really diverse set of programming

4. The Library

I’m kind of mad at myself for not realizing this sooner, but you can borrow DVDs from the library. Not a lot, but as the kind of person who spent three months out of their childhood watching Rear Window every night, it’s nice to have access to them without having to pay for them on Amazon. Not to mention the number of films and plays that are available to stream from the libraries website. It’s useful for some classes and it’s just fun to see what they have if I can’t find it anywhere online that doesn’t cost money/is legal.

5. Cheap transportation

Now if you want to do something in NYC outside of a planned group trip, there are discount bus tickets available for $17(for reference a typical round trip train ticket from New Brunswick costs $28). If you’re going regularly, it’s probably better to get the monthly pass from NJ Transit, but I went to the Met Opera for the first time last week (in the cheap $27 seats on the top floor) and that was a real money saver.

Applying for Internships: A Modern Symphony in Five Movements

I. The Search

LinkedIn, Internship, Indeed, LookSharp

They’re called the Dot-Coms (Doo-wop)

Honors Newsletter, Professors suggestions, family friends

Taking suggestions like a DJ (You can reach us at 732 . . .).

You bring them together, listen to their sounds, then list out their chords, harmonious and otherwise.

Go through deadlines. (Vader’s ominous boom)

Go through what is important. (A hopefully Hedwig’s tune)

List them out, heart beating out sixteenths. These aren’t everything (for the future, they’re everything).

Look at it again, think my qualifications are(so begins the motif).

My experiences show.

My interest in this is.

This will benefit me by (that last one’s mostly for you).

II. The Application

Look at descriptions again (They’re either Doo-wop or a random mix. The tunes all are opening deja vu).

Your heart is beating sixteenths. Closing your eyes, breathe. Start them one by one.

Fingers on the keys, start typing out a hybrid tune

My qualifications are (This always feels a little flat).

My experiences show (A memory of clarinet duck. Maybe it’ll be a swan).

My interest in this is (Bring in more flute, some viola, try to sound sweet).

This will benefit me by (that last one’s still mostly for you).

Each one’s a little different than the last, refined to match the specific memory (A little more bass here some more strings there).

The resume follows fast (or some days it comes first, depends on the audience).

Think again.My qualifications are. My experiences gave them to me.

Then the send-off (Sometimes hold out the last note, it give you time to add your samples or clips).

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

III.  The Wait

Keep sending out apps and searching for new (Doo-wop, calls to 732).

Search. Write. Send. The tunes now comforting, no longer new. (Softening each time, sinking into a lull).

Then you think: what about the others from before. You hear no no noise, no deja vu from them anymore.

You check again, maybe there you’ll see (No, it’s John Campbell, 4’33”).

All is still.

IV.

Then an offer: an interview (The cymbals give a celebratory boom)

Look at the descriptions again (This is doo-wop, but with more urgency, since they want you too!)

Now look more at the group. Where’d they start? What do they say? (Play it like you believe- like you have the knowledge to do so).

Once you’ve learned all you can, take it to the same things again.

My qualifications are (Tuned to a T).

My experiences show (Be prepared for small modifications based on the show).

My interest in this is (Short and sweet, with a little brass).

This will benefit me by (Now they want to hear it too).

Prep, then dress (Each note precise).

Make sure it’s all nice.

Quick, trip, done. Nice to meet you, thank you for your interest, thank you for your time, should hear from us in a couple weeks. (A short ferocious dream)

What’s done is done. Good or bad, can’t change the past.

So just continue on. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Search. Write. Send. Pray to hear back.

V. Wait (Reprise)

Keep sending out apps and searching for new (Doo-wop, calls to 732).

Search. Write. Send. Prep Interview. Some in person, on screen, over the phone. Nice to meet you, thank you for your interest, thank you for your time, should hear from us in a couple weeks. Pray to hear back. The tunes now comforting, no longer new. (Softening each time, sinking into a lull).

The tune feels like nothing now, another routine (The melody is rising though, because it must).

Some nights you lay awake, heart beating out sixteenths, trying to tell yourself these aren’t everything (they feel like everything).

Look at your email once more or the dashboard on the sight (The music’s been stretched out too long, when will it be done?)

You reassure yourself. Someone will want you, they must.

My qualifications are (A dreaded refrain).

My experiences show (One more verse of the same).

My interest in this is (A catchy tune, now stuck to your core).

This will benefit me by (Bringing this to an end).

You check again, maybe there you’ll see (No, it’s John Campbell, 4’33”).

All is still.

An acceptance will come.

It will.

A Semester of Shakespeare

If you’re in the honors program, you may or may not have heard about interdisciplinary honors seminars (if it doesn’t come across clearly, that is meant to be sarcastic). They’re really good for exploring different topics, interacting with interesting professors, and/or meeting honors requirements.

For a combination of the first and last reasons, I signed up to take ‘Shakespeare in the Now‘ this semester (though Professor Bartels is really awesome too!).

In regard to the first reason, I’ve always been really into Literary Inspired Web Series (LIWS), series on youtube that adapt works of classic literature. The trend started in 2012 with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and since then, many groups, almost all small clusters of passionate book nerds with cameras, have given it a try, adapting everything from Peter Pan to Jane Eyre to The Importance of Being Earnest, with mixed results (see a full list here). One of my favorite of these groups is The Candle Wasters, a group out of New Zealand. So far they’ve adapted Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour Lost, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, using the plays as a framework to explore many issues including sexism, gender identity, sexuality, dependency on technology, and climate change, all while still being incredibly entertaining and remaining surprisingly faithful to Shakespeare’s works. Because of this group, the idea of discussing the way Shakespeare can still be relevant today seems even more fascinating to me than it normally would.

As for the second reason: I need 3 more honors credits to stay in the program.

Anyway, the class is really interesting since we get to go and talk about reading and adapting Shakespeare for three hours every week and, even if LIWSes haven’t entered the conversation, it’s still an interesting way to frame discussions about modern issues.

Part of this is seeing different productions of Shakespeare’s works. In addition to assigned readings, we’re also supposed to watch different adaptations that are available from Rutgers’ Libraries, like Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. In addition to this, we got to go see a live performance of Hamlet at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, tickets and transportation paid for by the Honors Program.

And it was brilliant, fantastic, molto bene!

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The performance was by a group from NYC called the Bedlam Theater Troupe. In the production, 4 actors play all the roles in Hamlet. If you’re unaware, that’s 20+ roles, one of which has the largest number of lines for a role out there, bouncing between 4 people. Still, they managed to make it work with minimal sets and some audience participation. All the actors were amazing and their interpretation managed to make a tragedy seem comedic for a large majority of the time. It provided us with a lot of things to discuss in class the next day.

Beyond the performances, the class also gained a new dimension last week when we discussed King Richard III and fake news. This week we’re going to discuss Measure for Measure, which will definitely be an interesting discussion about power, surveillance, and forgiveness.

Towards the end of the semester, we’re supposed to do a group project where we use Shakespeare to explore a social issue that interests us. I’m hoping my group will find the idea of something like a LIWS as interesting as I do, because, while this class is great so far, making one of those series would be a dream come true.

Rutgers Press Internship

Since freshman year, I’ve read the SASHP Newsletter every week when it comes out. Often, there are a bunch of cool events and/or opportunities that I would love to try, but often there are schedule conflicts.

However, in one of the first few this fall, there was an announcement for an internship in the Health and Clinical Medicine Department at the Rutgers University Press. As someone with a heavy background in both biology and grammar, this seemed to be a perfect way to combine my bio and language knowledge in a unique way. Thankfully, it was perfectly timed to allow me to apply as well. I had just enough time in my schedule to squeeze it into my schedule.

So I sent in a resume and cover letter. Two weeks later I had an interview and I got the job. And honestly, it’s a really great experience(and I get paid!).

My internship is in the Acquisitions Department, which focuses on recruiting editors/authors, making sure that they submit their manuscripts on time, and preparing those manuscripts for editing and publishing. Mostly, I communicate with editors/authors and work on contracts and manuscript prep, plus any other miscellaneous tasks that my supervisor can come up with.

While that might sound boring, the array of books we work on makes it pretty interesting. We work on everything from textbooks to self-care manuals to books about advances in a particular specialty. They have editors and contributing authors from not only New Brunswick (i.e. Rutgers, RWJ), but from Chicago, Arkansas, Dublin, Athens, and Mannheim. And while the writing may at times be dry or formatted completely incorrectly, the topics are always diverse and range from epilepsy to cardiovascular health to ovarian cancer. Now we’re even working on some more unique volumes like a children’s book to help those with special sleeping issues and a medical school textbook that helps to teach psychology through film (mostly the one’s based on Stephen King novels).

All of which make the work, which is at times is boring, incredibly cool.

My supervisor is new to her position, having only taken it three months before I arrived, meaning we’re learning a lot of department procedures together. This is the third internship-type position I’ve had with someone who was relatively new to the position. It’s a situation that I think is beneficial if you’re just starting out in a certain workplace. Since the supervisor doesn’t have an established rhythm, you have the opportunity to work with them to mold the position into something that works for both of you rather than having to fill the shoes of a previous employee. That gives you a chance to do more or less or maybe just different things than others in your position, as long as your boss likes it.

For example, in this internship, I’ve not only managed communications with editors/authors, created contracts, and formatted/edited manuscripts like other interns, but have also done illustrations, helped develop proposals, and helped calculate budgets.

Overall, this has been a cool experience that has combined two things I have studied a lot of over my college career and has introduced me to a career field that I wouldn’t have even thought of otherwise. Thankfully, I read the SASHP Newsletter, otherwise I wouldn’t have found out about it.

Just Dance

My freshman year (2014) I wanted to volunteer and to do so regularly. So, I went to what was at the time volunteer services (now Give Where You Live) and looked at there Semester of Service programs for the semester. As luck would have it, there was one position that really stood out to me: teaching dance for the New Brunswick 4H dance program. As someone who took a variety of dance classes for thirteen years, this seemed like a great idea.

For the first year we ran the program for an hour every other Friday out of Unity Square. There were three teachers including myself and after the first semester none of us were working through any Rutgers program, but with the 4H. After that school year I was the only teacher to stay with the program.

Starting in the summer of 2015 we moved the program to the New Brunswick Public Library in the hopes of a higher attendance (hopes that were fulfilled). The program has been going on there for a little over a year with us holding one 2 hour session per month (days vary based on my class schedule). I’ve taught everything from ballet to soft shoe to break dancing to the cha-cha to students ranging from toddlers to grandmothers. We’re even expanding into the local after school system with a new STEAM Program which will combine basic science lessons with dance.

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It’s a great program to teach, requiring diverse knowledge and providing a great opportunity to expand kids’ cultural knowledge. For example, most classes we have a rotating door of students — each only staying as long as they can or only coming in when they hear a song they like. Last class, there was a period of twenty minutes where there was only this one fifth grade boy who only wanted to learn turns. So, I taught him to spot while doing chaines (two step turns), then showed him piques and arabesque turns, and releve turns. He was very excited about until I let it slip that these were ballet turns after which he started to complain because, “Ballet’s for girls.”

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Which was, of course, something I needed to correct immediately.

So I pulled out my phone and googled boys ballet and showed him the second video that popped up (watch it, they’re really good).  After a few moments, impatient with the fact we were no longer dancing, he commented:

“They’re wearing tights.”

“Yes, but do they look girly?”

“No”

“How do you think they look?”

“They look cool, can we get back to spinning?”

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Point made, we went back to turns until a group of boys came in who wanted neither jazz nor hip hop, but settled for Michael Jackson for the last fifteen minutes of the class. But still, at least one boy learned it was okay to do ballet.

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Not all of the classes have anything as clearly perspective changing as that, but I can still introduce pretty much any kind of music or dance that I want to, providing both physical activity and new experiences.

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However, I will be graduating next year and would like to start training new people ASAP, so if you’re an underclassmen and this seems like a position you would like to have, feel free to email me at: kpbookworm2196@gmail.com. Or if this just seems like something you would like to come and participate in, or if you know a kid who would like to participate, our next class is this Friday, November 11, from 1:30-3:30. The current plan, inspired by the boys from my last class, is “Thriller”. However, if there’s something you’d like to learn, feel free to ask.

Accio Funding

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a ten page, single-spaced paper between midnight and five am on a Sunday morning. The next day I had a friend and my roommate look it over. After doing a couple of edits myself, I submitted this paper at 7 PM and tried not to think about how horrible the writing in the paper must be or to dwell on every formatting decision I’ve ever made.

What was this hurried, ill-advised writing for? A last minute class assignment? Something for a job? The proposal for my campaign against Trump?

Alas, it was for something far geekier: I submitted a paper to present at a Harry Potter Conference.

Even nerdier, they accepted me.

Before I continue: I do not recommend this method of writing if you want to present at a conference. Any research should be done over a long period of time with planning, editing, and advice from others both in and outside of the field. You should leave time to reflect and change your mind or see a new angle, not attempt to get it done in a 14 hour period. The only reason I was able to do this is that I’ve read the Harry Potter series thirteen times and, as such, knew a lot of the needed information off the top of my head.

So, once the Harry Potter conference said they wanted me to speak, I said yes immediately, without really thinking it through. I don’t know how to present a paper at a conference. How do I dress? Who do I contact? How does any of this work? Also, this conference is on a Friday at 9 am. In Pennsylvania. I would be missing a class and need to find a way to get there.

After looking into this, I determined that this trip would be affordable (around $200), but it’s not necessarily a price that a unemployed college student would really feel very comfortable paying.

Thankfully, Rutgers can fund your conference travels.

Unfortunately, you need a research mentor to apply and I did this all on my lonesome. Also, the only professors I really know are in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department and the Classics Department, neither of which had a whole lot to do with the paper.

So, given the scenario, what’s a girl to do?

In my case, I emailed my Ancient Greek professor, Professor Allen-Hornblower, who is completely awesome. There’s a saying about how students slave for hours over an email that the professor reads in under a minute — that’s definitely the case here. I waited a day before sending the email because I was busy worrying about how it would be phrased, how any professor would view a Harry Potter conference, and if I was being too presumptuous.

But I really shouldn’t have worried about it. The professors in the Classics department are amazing and very willing to help anyone who asks.

For example, Professor Allen-Hornblower got back to me the same evening I sent the email and we met the next day. She helped me not only with determining my next steps in preparing for the conference, but also with the funding. She said that she’d vouch for me.

Unfortunately, at this point the funding was due in two days and we weren’t able to get everything done on time. However, I’m still going — just paying out of pocket.

So then why tell you this story?

If you are ever like me and have a sudden impulse to submit a paper to present at a conference on your own with no help, I figured you could learn from my mistakes so that if you get accepted, you don’t have to pay to get where you need to be.

Here’s a handy list of things to do if you end up in this scenario:

  1. Always think carefully before you say you will do anything, no matter how exciting being accepted is.
  2. Find a mentor to support ASAP. Don’t be afraid to email professors, most will be understanding. Even if you don’t want/need funding, it’s good to talk to someone who regularly goes to academic conferences and knows what’s going on.
  3. Got to the conference link above.
  4. Make sure you have enough time to get things together. The deadline is the last day of every month. If you don’t, there are alternatives, but also email ahead to see if you could get an extension.
  5. No matter what happens, funding wise, be excited. You’re about to go somewhere to speak about something you worked hard on, about a topic you know well, and with a bunch of other people who are equally as passionate about the same field.

This’ll be fun.

Tech in Ancient Greek

On the first day of my Intermediate Ancient Greek class, I arrived at the classroom a half hour early with some friends because the new Academic Building is a maze, and we overestimated the time it would take to find the classroom. Thankfully, the tech guy working in the room let us in.

Prior to this first class, our teacher had sent us several emails, some of which were addressed ‘to the students in Illinois’. We speculated the reason for this and were granted an answer as soon as we walked into the classroom. 

There were two screens in the front of the class, which isn’t that unusual. The small touchscreen control panel to the side of them could be mistaken for some kind of replacement for a podium. However, the three large cameras in the room were a bit off-putting and have limited use in a course on Ancient Greek. Two were stationed in the front of the room, directly between the two screens, moving whenever they sensed someone speaking to focus on the source of noise. This was made creepier by the way you can see the output in a window on one of the screens. Say more than a sentence and one of the cameras would swivel its blank stare onto you, providing all with a closeup of your face. Fortunately, the third camera, perched high against the wall, is the only one in use for most of the class and focuses on the instructor.

See, this year Intermediate Ancient Greek is being taught both at Rutgers and the University of Illinois, by the same teacher, at the same time. The four Ancient Greek students in Illinois will be video conferencing into the Rutgers class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3. This is exciting not only because of the technological aspect of the class, but also because as the professor, Emily Allen Hornblower, paused to take note of before we started, “9 Rutgers students and 4 students in Illinois, that’s 13 students. This is the biggest Ancient Greek class I’ve ever taught.”

She’s been teaching Ancient Greek for seven years.

This isn’t the only cross school class offered through the Rutgers classics department. This semester those interested could also learn Sanskrit by conferencing into the class at Penn State. It’s part of being in the Big Ten. Hopefully over the next few years it will help students majoring in areas that have small departments, like Classics, have more class options so they can focus on areas of interest.

But, for the present, we’re working out the glitches in Intermediate Ancient Greek. With all the new tech, we keep having problems like the call dropping mid class period or the sound dropping out. Hopefully these issues will be fixed by the end of the semester. In the meantime, I still have a Greek quiz on Monday that I should review for.

New Semester Resolutions

Happy New Semester!

Is it me or is the first week a lot more exhausting than it should be? I mean, maybe it’s the  way students are packed like sardines in the buses at peak hours or how it’s a struggle to get down College Ave right after classes get out. There seems to be more people packed into any one building than you could possibly meet in a lifetime.

Ok, enough complaining.

Still, the beginning of the semester always seems to be the most optimistic. Everything is shinier and glowing with new possibilities. The work on the syllabi seems manageable and you can see those weeks where you’ll have two exams, three quizzes, and a paper in addition to your normal amount of work. But those are weeks away, and the rest of the semester will be a blast. There’s just enough room in your schedule to join a new club or put more effort into one you’re already a member of. You could eat healthier and go to the gym more, spend more time with your friends or make a bunch of new ones. Maybe you want to work on your love life or do well in that new internship or simply improve your GPA.

Whatever it is you want from it, a new semester often can feel a lot like a new year: full of potential just waiting for you to seize it. Whether you have a vague concept of what change you want or have a specific list of goals, now is the time to make an effort to make sure they happen. This is by no means a definitive list of ways to meet your goals since those are different for everybody, but it’s a list of ideas that I’ve found work for me and that the internet says work for other people when achieving your goals.

1.Know what you want.

It’s pointless to make goals if they’re simply ‘improve my grades’, ‘get in shape’, or ‘be more involved’ because you’re far less likely to achieve anything. Instead, be more specific. Say that you want to ‘get a 4.0’, ‘lose 10 pounds’, or ‘make friends outside my major’. Once a goal is clearly defined it is easier to plan for it.

2.Plan ahead

If you have something specific you want from the semester sit down and write down what you need to do it: go to a meeting, get out of bed earlier, meeting up with friends more regularly. Just write down what you need to do. Do so both specifically and generally. If you want to get in shape, don’t just write down go to gym, write ‘go to gym 4 times’ and add that you’ll do strength training for twenty minutes and cardio for an hour or go to a certain flex pass class every week. If you want to be more involved in an extracurricular, plan ahead for both classwork and the extracurricular so that you have enough time to get everything done. Get a calendar, write a to do list, and make sure that you know what you have to do to reach your goals for the semester.

3.Hold yourself accountable

Making a plan is great, but it’s useless if you don’t actually do it. Set reminders on your phone, write it down, or get a friend to help. For the former two, it’s a form of self regulation and are rather self explanatory, while the latter adds a second party. There’s the common example of having someone go to the gym with you. To help improve grades, a study group is great way to be sure you review material for classes. Try a couple of different things and see what works best for you.

4.Track your progress

Right now it’s very easy to be gung-ho about maintaining new habits and saying you’ll achieve all these goals, but generally as the semester moves forward and there’s more work to do it can become harder to stick to your plan, particularly if you feel as though you’ve hit a plateau. However, that plateau can be avoided or reduced if you keep track of your progress, be it the grades received, the amount of weight you’ve lost, or the number of new people you’ve met. This way, when you’re feeling discouraged you can look back and see how much progress you’ve made toward your goal. 

5.Reward yourself for milestones

This doesn’t mean give yourself a pint of Ben and Jerry’s every time you lose a pound, but give yourself a small reward for each significant milestone, such as a night off, a short trip, or making a purchase that you’ve wanted to for a while. This could help with any of the issues mentioned under the last point as well as give some extra incentive to continue toward your goal during a mid-semester slump. 

Hopefully this list was helpful, I’ve been using it when trying to plan ahead for the semester. Good luck!