The Blogger and The Blogger’s Thanksgiving Break

As I look around I can see a desk, a door, a lamp and a flight of stairs. To my right there is a dresser and to my left there is a bed; but not just any dresser and not just any bed. I’m also constantly fighting the urge to snuggle with the little fuzzy white dog laying diagonally from me. This isn’t my average 8 o’clock on a weekday night.

                                             And it’s all because I’m home!

It’s a little funny writing this post sitting on my bedroom floor as opposed to my dorm or a campus building. Being that this is my first time in Wayne since fall break, it feels great to be back. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already tomorrow. However, New Jersey gave me quite the surprise this morning when I woke up only to see an absolute winter wonderland outside! All the powdery snow makes it easy to feel like I’m home for my two months of winter recess, but I quickly remind myself I’ll be back in the place I like to call “Scrantyland” on Monday, although only for two more weeks.

A few days before I left for home, I was lucky enough to witness yet another incredible campus play. This was my second University Player’s Production and it did not disappointment! The Pillowman follows the life of Katurian, a short story writer whose works often depict violence against children. His gruesome imagination is the result of having heard his mentally disabled brother Michael being abused by their parents. Katurian is arrested by two detectives, Ariel and Tupolski, who have noticed that some of his stories resemble recent child murders. However, the tables turn when the audience learns Michael has actually committed these murders, saying he was just trying to see if the short stories his brother has told him could be true. The play included reenactments of Kuturian’s stories, such as “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother”- an autobiographical piece telling the tale of Katurian’s discover of Michael and how Katurian, after learning this, kills his parents by suffocating them with pillows, “The Tale of the Town on the River”, “The Pillowman”, “The Little Jesus” and “The Little Green Pig”. I highly suggest reading about this play online! It was a production that truly grabbed me and kept me thinking; my friends and I couldn’t stop talking about it at dinner afterwards.

On a brighter note, since The Pillowman might not seem like the most positive play, Thanksgiving is tomorrow! For the first time in a few months I’ll be able to see my grandparents, aunt, uncle and baby cousin who I have all missed so much. Being that it is so close to the start of the Christmas season, I find it’s easy to overlook the Thanksgiving holiday. But we’ve been hearing it since we were in elementary school; Thanksgiving is not just about the food. Thanksgiving is all about being surrounded by those you care about, sharing a meal while sharing stories and remembering how fortunate we truly are. There is no holiday like Thanksgiving, and being home for only the second time since the start of the semester, I appreciate it just a little more. 

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Even though I said Thanksgiving isn’t all about the food, I hope all your tummies are stuffed with a copious amount turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce! (Those are the best parts right?)

Five Tips for the Final Stretch

The semester is quickly approaching its end. Unfortunately, as much as students wish the work load was lighter, of course it is just getting heavier! Between all the essays, exams and preparation for finals I cannot deny that I feel just a bit overwhelmed.

Every student has their moments of procrastination and especially with Thanksgiving so soon, it is easy to find yourself distracted. I must admit I have been making my fair share of procrastination mistakes just as much as the next student. With that being said, I thought this would be a good opportunity to give some of my tips on procrastination and helping a student do their best in this final stretch of the semester (the hardest time to do so)!

1. Keep a calendar
I was not particularly a calendar person in high school, but I  decided to keep one on my dorm desk with all due dates and activities. Calendars work as a great reminders of what you have to do and showing when your busy weeks are. Therefore, you can plan homework time accordingly. You don’t even need take the time to buy one; if Microsoft Word is accessible to you, just print out the template like I did!

2. Don’t let assignments build up
This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised to see how easy it is to lose track of all your work. My one friend who attends a college back in New Jersey is always pushing himself about at least starting an essay or project the day it is assigned. By just writing one paragraph, composing a thesis, or starting a few slides for that powerpoint presentation, you’ll be thankful you did that tiny bit when you go to finish the project up.

3. Always keep the syllabus in mind!
In most college courses, if not all, a professor will hand out a syllabus at the start of the semester. A syllabus generally includes the course outline. The course outline has when assignments are due, when exams are etc. and most professors try to stick to their syllabi! The most truthful and common example of the purpose of a syllabus is that professors do not and will not constantly remind you when the next test, therefore you have to pay attention to the syllabus and prepare on your own.

4. Set aside relaxation time.
This might seem almost IMPOSSIBLE. However, I’ve realized unless you’re willing to allow yourself to have a 15 minute cat nap during the day or a relaxation time before bed time, it is impossible to complete any tasks efficiently. As tempting as it may be to push yourself through the day with 3 cups of coffee, nothing is more rejuvenating than natural rest.

5. Find your place
 I honestly believe this is one the best tips I can give to a fellow student. One of the most important parts of studying or completing work is finding the physical place where you will be the most successful and productive. This could be almost anywhere! Whether it’s the library, a dorm lounge, your desk or in an academic building on campus, it is all about the balance between comfort and motivation. I touched upon this topic in one of my previous blogs, when I mentioned the variety of campus spots the U has to offer.

 If you’re a fellow student reading this, I hope you take some of these tips into consideration! They might seem obvious, but all to often during this busy time, we tend to forget the little things. Stay focused and have a great rest of the week!

Who’s Got Talent?

This past Saturday the University’s RHA (Residence Hall Association) held the annual Scranton’s Got Talent! The fourth floor DeNaples Center Ballroom was filled to capacity with students eager to watch a number of acts: singing, dancing, piano playing, magic, even a sign language cover of Eminem’s hit Love the Way You Lie. While I was debating if I wanted to enter an act of my own, that thought quickly diminished when I found out Octaves was already signed up to perform!

Both Royal Harmony and Octaves debuted songs they will be performing in the winter concert on December 7th. Here’s the video of Octaves singing Chick Mix. (I’m the first soloist, followed by two other members Kate and Laura)

A few acts after us, Royal Harmony sang the hit Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne. Unfortunately there is no video up on their Facebook page, but if you’re curious about the group here’s the link:

Over the past 2 months, Octaves has been super busy in rehearsals learning all the songs for the concert in December. However, not only are we working on our average repertoire, but also learning Christmas carols. Although Thanksgiving is just around the corner, these caroling rehearsals are making me all too excited for, well, the most wonderful time of year! So far we’ve started learning classics like Silent Night, Carol of the Bells, even Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and about four more pieces. On December 6th, we’ll be caroling on the 4th floor of DeNaples and on December 7th, after our concert, at the annual University Advent Tree Lighting Ceremony. I caroled a lot in my high school’s choir and had a blast doing it so I absolutely cannot wait to sing these songs with Octaves.

However, as I said before, Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I should be telling myself to take the year holiday by holiday because before I know it 2014 will be over; time is truly flying.

November is a special a month, one dedicated to giving thanks for all we have. As I realize the semester is quickly coming to a close, I remind myself how unbelievably lucky I am to be here at Scranton. Even simpler, just seeing all the food and clothing drives the school has put together remind me how lucky we are for what we tend to take for granted. I love being able to say I’m a part of a community that does so much for others. I wonder what Scranton has in store for the rest of the month!

As I am now about to make my way to a cappella rehearsal, I hope everyone has a great rest of the week. While it might be only Tuesday, Friday is only 3 days away! And students, if you’re really in need of something to look forward to, remember break is only about two weeks away!