• While I finish the last few pages of my first draft, I wanted to share something else about my academic experience: I am all about that Five College life. I’ve taken one course at Hampshire, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and two at Smith. I didn’t set out for this accomplishment – it worked in my favor that there were classes that I was actually interested in and was able to fit in my schedule. I also lucked out in that BDIC encourages students to take courses at the other schools as part of your curriculum, but I know that a lot of departments will accept Five College courses... Read More
  • Kate,   Despite our combined 22 years of dance, neither of us has ever been really good at balance. You like to burrito yourself on the couch for days at a time and I like to think of sleep as a fun side hobby, not a necessity.   While you could argue that any certain point in the semester is the most difficult, for the purpose of this letter I’m going to say it’s now. We are still a ways away from the end (or even just spring break for that matter) and course work has amped up, work hours are increasing, and oh yeah – time to figure out housing and theses and summer... Read More
  • Normally I’m a fan of the snow. It’s fun to romp in, you can build snowmen, and you can tackle your best friend to the ground and smother them without causing any real damage. However, as I discovered last year and as I’m sure most of you are observing already, living at UMass Amherst with snow everywhere is kind of, well, hellish. You’ll find yourself cold all the time, get targeted by passing automobiles as they splash through puddles, and take involuntary skiing and sledding lessons as the ice catches you on our campus’s various hills. I like skiing, but I also like... Read More
  • I’m 75% finished with my rough draft – at least, I think I am? It’s hard to tell when you’re in the thick of it. It feels like I’m so close to reaching this goal and I want to power through. And yes, that’s a really good feeling to have at this stage – but it’s also stressful to be spending 4+ hours a day writing in addition to my class and work schedule.   Case in point: I was sitting in the library the other day during my scheduled thesis time, and something was off. I felt exhausted, I couldn’t focus, and I was staring blankly at the word count on Scrivener. This was... Read More
  • Kate, So you got into the Honors College – remember when you said you wanted to walk down an entirely different path than me? Just kidding, nursing is an entire world apart from political science and legal studies. Besides, I can’t blame you for wanting a chance at the beautiful honors dorms and to write a thesis. In all honesty, I’m very excited for you and very proud. Once again, you’ve done good kid.   What’s next? You’ve already texted me this morning asking where the CHC Events Hall is, so I’m guessing you have an information/orientation meeting of sorts coming up?... Read More
  • I’ve discovered that, to get just about anything done, I need some sort of motivation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the whole carrot or the stick model either. Yeah, reward and punishment are good to get people moving on a conscious level, but, for me at least, I’ve found that I need some emotional investment too. If I have a particularly tedious task like math homework looming over me, the promise of freedom afterward isn't enough to get me started. More often than not, I have to get excited over something first. That’s right. I forced myself to get pumped for math.... Read More
  • I feel like this thesis makes me write like I’m running out of time! But I’ve noticed one thing – I cannot write my thesis at the desk in my room. It’s impossible! I get distracted by the TV in my common room, the food in my kitchen, or the messiness of my side of the bedroom – everything in the world except my actual thesis. So, earlier this week, I set off in search of the perfect study spot on campus.   Some places I tried first (or that were recommended to me): Roots and the DCs had too much noise... Herter didn’t have enough activity... the Campus Center... Read More
  • Welcome back to UMass, folks! The last time I wrote you, I was doing the stereotypical exam pep-talk. Now I’m going to suggest that you take some time to chill out. This is the end of the add-drop period, so do some serious thinking about your workload now! Don’t go overboard like I used to. I have been a workaholic for all of my life. I kid you not. Some of my earliest memories from elementary school were my music teachers telling me to be less hard on myself. Everyone from my parents to my karate instructor have told me to chill out and it has only recently sunk in that... Read More
  • Kate,   It’s freezing out. Like the feeling of just chopping your head off would be better than the feeling of the wind attacking your face kind of cold. Did I forget to mention that when I said you should totally come to UMass? My bad. We should have gone to school in Hawaii. Just kidding … well sort of. Just wait until you get the snowplows beeping and plowing and dumping at 4 a.m. It’s really something.   The snow, wind, and bitter cold is certainly worth it though. With your first semester done, wouldn’t you agree? I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve made a... Read More
  • Did anyone else feel like winter break was too short? I barely had time to unpack my bags before my inbox was flooded with “Spring Check-In” and “Welcome Back” emails!   But despite the fleeting moment of rest, I’m up and ready to hit the ground running this semester. My planner is already filled with assignments, lectures, and reminders, and I’m extremely excited to tackle everything on my to-do list. And, of course, I’m starting part two of my thesis/project capstone experience. I’m basically non-stop right now.   Switching gears: did any of you take AP World History in... Read More

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