win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Friday, friends. It’s time for this week’s care package giveaway question!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before 11:59 p.m. SUNDAY to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents tomorrow morning. Ready? Okay!

If you could have any single writer from history write your biography, which one would you choose?

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Happy Friday, friends. It’s time for this week’s care package giveaway question!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before 11:59 p.m. on SUNDAY to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen via random number generator from all of the respondents Monday morning. Ready…Set…Go!

If you had to pick the best meal you’ve ever eaten, what would it be?

life management 101

Life ManagementOn Thursday, October 2 from 3:30-4:30PM in FPH 101, Joel Dansky, disabilities services coordinator and academic support skills specialist, presented a time management workshop for an audience of new and returning students. Did you miss it? Need more information? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for details on what happened, how to find support, and further time management resources.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, Joel presented a brief Powerpoint which addressed the many challenges that students face with regard to time management, and offered strategies to help students to plan ahead, make the most of the unstructured time between classes, and work more efficiently. Joel then introduced a two part system for organization,The Big Picture,” and “The Weekly Grind,” which led to an interactive portion of the presentation. Through the use of a variety of different handouts related to these models, participants had the opportunity to create a color-coded, visual representation of their weekly and monthly schedules, and identify pockets of valuable time that they didn’t realize they had!

Hints and Handouts:

  • Procrastination, distraction, and perfectionism are the three enemies of effective time management. Think you do best under pressure? The work you produce isn’t likely your best work, just the best you can do with the limited time you’ve allotted. Planning ahead can help to alleviate stress, no matter your reasons for waiting until the last minute. By creating small, manageable goals and structuring your time more effectively, you’ll accomplish more and yield better results!
  • The “Big Picture” is a useful tool for mapping an entire semester, and is available in hard copy in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) each semester. Participants received an 11″x17″ academic calendar for this activity, but you can do it yourself with a planner or a regular calendar. At the start of the semester, gather your syllabi and mark down all of the important dates and deadlines for each course on your calendar. Once you have a full picture of what you’ll need to complete and when, you can identify key steps and work backwards to create small goals for yourself. This will help you to start things ahead of time, and avoid the confluence of too many deadlines all at once.
  • The Weekly Grind” allows you to create a visual representation of what a typical week looks like for you. Participants mapped out their regular schedule on a weekly calendar in an effort to identify blocks of time between fixed appointments, classes, and other obligations. What did they notice? They have more time than they think they do, and you might too! Take these chunks of time and specify what you’d like to accomplish in each, and give some structure to the larger periods of free time (long weekends, etc.), making sure to vary the types of work you do each day. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish!
  • Find a daily planning system that works for you. One calendar that you look at every day is better than several that you don’t, so find something that is portable, visual, and spacious enough for a to-do list, and keep it with you throughout the day. Don’t overload yourself, but do keep your planner as up to date as possible with class, work, and meeting times, as well as appointments, deadlines, and fun things.
  • Do you write best in the morning? Can’t get any work done in your room? Consider what times of day and where you do your best work, and plan accordingly!
  • The best system is the system that works for you, so feel free to try a few things as you work to get yourself organized. No system works 100% of the time — keep yourself open to new ideas and ways of planning. Don’t hesitate to reward yourself for accomplishing particular tasks. There are lots of different ways to get motivated!

Use These Resources:

  • Want hard copies of the workshop handouts? Interested in some personalized time management support? Get in touch with the workshop facilitator, Joel Dansky, at jdansky@hampshire.edu. He’s happy to help!

Questions? Let us know! E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu for more information.

writing mid-semester self evaluations

photo-3Fall semester is nearly half over. Can you believe it? In the world of new students, that means a few things. One — October Break is almost upon us! And two — it’s almost time to write your mid-semester self evaluations.

Mid-semester self evals are due on TheHub on Wednesday, October 8. For your first two semesters at Hampshire (yes, even if you’re a transfer student!), you’ll need to complete one for every course that you are taking. Wondering what to include? The parameters of your self evaluations will depend on each of your professors, so if you haven’t already, you should connect with all of your professors to find out the specifics of what they want you to include. Generally speaking, a mid-semester self evaluation is a paragraph that talks about where you were when you started, where you are now, and what is working (and not working) for you in the class. Again, you should plan to be in touch with your faculty for more information about what they expect, but we’ve included an example of a (slightly long) one below:

At the beginning of the course, I found that the articles were dense, hard to parse, and that it was taking me a really long time to get my brain into the mode necessary to read and understand the theory. It was refreshing to know that when I came to class, the ideas we had read about would not only be discussed, but also graphically demonstrated. As far as my academic performance in the class… I have a tendency to talk too much, and some days I am better than others at reigning it in. I don’t want to talk at the expense of the other students’ contributions, but I think that happens occasionally, and I am trying to pay better attention (again, with varying success).  That being said, I am really enjoying the learning! The class is vibrant and most of the students are engaged and articulate, with multiple perspectives that I find very interesting. I am less than confident about the originality of my ideas and the clarity of my writing. I feel a certain self-awareness about the lack of polish, and again, vocabulary in my academic writing.  I had a really easy time coming up with topics for the first two blog posts but a harder time with the third. I am looking forward to my research topic, but am anxious about the quality of what I see as being my pretty unsophisticated academic writing (especially when I read some of the other blog posts!). I see room for improvement, and am excited about the work.

Still have questions after speaking with your professors? Feel free to contact the friendly folks in CASA at 413.559.5498 and ask to speak with Laura Melbin (for first-years) or Anne Downes (for transfers). Laura and Anne can also be reached via email at lmelbin@hampshire.edu or adownes@hampshire.edu, respectively.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu with any questions, concerns, really great ideas, or good stories. We’d love to hear from you!

speeding up your reading

Speeding Up Your ReadingOn Wednesday, October 1 from 12-1PM in the FPH West Lecture Hall, Lise Sanders, associate professor of English literature and cultural studies, presented a special reading skills workshop to an audience of staff and students. Couldn’t make it? Need a recap? Read on for more information about what you missed, and how to get a hold of the resources that were shared in this session.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed a delicious lunch, Lise invited students to share what brought them to the workshop, and what obstacles they most frequently face with regard to completing all of their reading. Common themes in the room included retaining information for class discussion, identifying the most important pieces of information to absorb, staying focused while reading, and the need to read more effectively in a shorter amount of time.

Sound familiar?!

With these concerns in mind, Lise went on to to introduce a variety of different techniques to address these issues, keeping participants engaged with one another through reading, paired sharing, and other activities. Lise shared a number of handouts with the group, and offered participants the opportunity to ask questions after discussing a variety of techniques.

What We Learned:

  • Keep in mind that you may need to use different reading tactics for different types of texts, and approach assignments accordingly. Lise shared this handout on reading critical arguments, which provides a step by step overview of how to approach this particular type of text.
  • It’s okay to ask ahead! When you receive an assignment, consider speaking to your professor about what areas of the reading you’ll be focusing on in class discussion. This will help to guide your reading and make you more prepared to participate. If you have concerns, talk to your professor. They may have specific tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your reading time, particularly with regard to the text at hand.
  • Approaching an entire page of text can be difficult to do. Train your eye to focus on the line you’re reading by using something to mark your place on the page. In the workshop, students used four fingers to guide their eyes across lines on the page, in a technique called long smooth underline. With practice, this can become a mechanical technique for training your eye to move faster.
  • You can diagnose your own comprehension and retention of your reading by pausing from time to time to verbally summarize what you’ve read. Participants engaged in pair sharing of these “tellbacks” to assess their own comprehension in the workshop, but this is also something that you can do on your own, or even record and play back to yourself. By summarizing aloud, you can move the knowledge you’ve gained into deeper memory.
  • When reading nonfiction, you can and should feel free to read the conclusion first. There’s no point in keeping the conclusion a secret from yourself, and reading in reverse can help you to better seek the features that will allow you to identify the main points of the text. Look up terms after your first review so you won’t have to continually stop while you’re trying to read.
  • Remember that as a reader, you have a unique critical perspective. Consider your own arguments and critical engagement with the text while you read — this will help you to gauge your own retention and comprehension.

Really Good Advice: Good Brain Time vs. Bad Brain Time*
Think about the times of day when you’re most “on”. For some of us, it’s first thing in the morning, while for others, it’s very, very late at night. Do you know when your own good brain time is? If so, use it! Prioritize your reading and other tasks based on when you’re most “on” — you’ll likely read and absorb more during your good brain time. Wondering what to do with your bad brain time? Save tasks that require less thinking for these periods. Once you’ve identified your own rhythm, you’ll be able to accomplish more.

*Lise attributes this concept to Lauren Berlant, one of her graduate advisors at the University of Chicago.

Use These Resources:

  • Have questions for Lise? Want to learn more about reading techniques? Get in touch with the workshop facilitator, Lise Sanders, at lsanders@hampshire.edu. She’s happy to help!
  • Can’t get enough of these great academic skills? Join us for another workshop! Our next workshop, Life Management 101, will be held on Thursday, October 2 from 3:30-4:30PM in FPH 101. Learn how to manage your time and improve your organization, all while enjoying some free snacks. See you there!

Questions? Did we miss something? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu for more information!

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Happy Friday, friends. It’s time for this week’s care package giveaway question!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents Monday morning. Ready? Okay!

If you could arrange a concert with any three musicians or groups (current or past) to play on the same bill, who would you invite?

win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Friday, friends! It’s time for the first care package giveaway question of the semester!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 21 to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents on Monday. Ready? Okay!

If you could make a sequel to any movie you’ve ever seen, which one would it be?

how to approach faculty

Written by former program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Welcome, new students! Now that the semester is underway, you’ve probably realized that one of the best things about Hampshire is the accessibility to faculty. You may have lots of questions, and there are so many potential sources to give you the answers. But do you ever feel intimidated, hesitant, or just plain shy in approaching faculty? During this time of transition to college life, social adjustment can feel tricky in and out of the classroom. Knowing how to approach faculty members is a necessary skill in advocating for yourself and maintaining a successful academic experience. Here are some tips to building these important relationships:1. Keep in touch with your advisor! During your first meetings, be sure to talk about classes, review your strengths and weaknesses, and share your future goals. Remember, advisors are a tremendous resource at Hampshire—there are here for you.

2. If you’re ever feeling confused, lost, overwhelmed or concerned in the classroom or about certain course material, don’t wait—communicate with your professor! There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Plan your questions, and approach them after class to discuss them. In my experience, this is the best way to get quick questions answered!
  • Sign up for office hours! Some professors are busier than others, and are therefore a bit harder to reach. Signing up for their office hours (usually posted on your course syllabus, their office door, and/or their Hampedia page) ensures one-on-one time with them, and is especially helpful when you’re looking to have a thoughtful conversation.
  • You can also contact them through email and their course website to try and find a time to meet outside the classroom. Just remember: faculty inboxes can sometimes be filled the brim, so if you’re waiting for a reply, it may be best to actually follow up in person with your professor. Note: when writing an email to faculty, make sure to include a greeting, provide a clear overview of what you’re writing about, and don’t forget to sign your name! The more information they have, the easier it will be for them to respond to you.

3. Teacher’s Assistants (or TAs) are older Division II or Division III students who help professors throughout the semester. They’re great conduits between you and faculty, so use them well!

4. The Deans of the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) are also available to help make connections. CASA’s expert tips helped to provide the framework for this blog post, and they have lots of great information to share. Don’t hesitate to visit their office, located in the Lemelson Building, or call them at x5498.

5. As with all campus communication, please make sure to check your Hampshire email regularly. Faculty, staff, community members, and other students will use this email address to reach you, and you are expected to follow up on email communication through this account throughout your time at Hampshire.

Faculty are always willing to help, but they can’t read minds, so it’s crucial for you to take the first step in approaching them. Introducing yourself and keeping in regular contact is a great way to start the year and to stay on top of your progress in class.

Best of luck with the semester!

Questions or comments? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’d love to hear from you!

get involved in game development!

Interested in game development at Hampshire? The Five College Game Jam is coming up this Saturday, September 13, and Ira Fay, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Game Design reached out to share some details about how to get involved in game development at Hampshire, which we wanted to be sure to share with you. Read on for lots of great information!

Getting in Touch
The best way for students to be informed about game development related activities is to join the GameDevelopment e-mail list at http://lists.hampshire.edu/mailman/listinfo/gamedevelopment. There are also a number of activities listed on the CEL-1 site already, so make sure to stop by and learn more about ways to get involved AND log hours towards the CEL-1 requirement.

Upcoming/Ongoing Events

Five College Game Jam
Make a game in 5 hours! Free food!
Saturday, September 13, noon – 5 p.m.
Find it on the CEL-1 site: https://campusengagedlearning.hampshire.edu/?&CEL_m=RE&CEL_aid=536

Game Gatherings
Play and analyze board and card games.
Thursdays, 1 – 3 p.m., Library (Basement, Chris Young B9 room)
Find it on the CEL-1 site: https://campusengagedlearning.hampshire.edu/?&CEL_m=RE&CEL_aid=539

Game Dev Lunchtime Talks
One hour presentations from famous game devs. Free food!
Thursdays, noon – 1 p.m., Library (Basement, Chris Young B9 room)
Find it on the CEL-1 site: https://campusengagedlearning.hampshire.edu/?&CEL_m=RE&CEL_aid=540

Game Analysis: Magic the Gathering League
Explore game design concepts within the newest release of the popular card game Magic: the Gathering. No experience necessary. Cost: $25 (and possibly some free spots)
Join the MagicLeague e-mail list for more info and to enroll: https://lists.hampshire.edu/mailman/listinfo/magicleague
Find it on the CEL-1 site: https://campusengagedlearning.hampshire.edu/?&CEL_m=RE&CEL_aid=538

Game Analysis: D&D Miniatures (DDM) League
Explore game design concepts within the D&D Miniatures (DDM) game. No experience necessary. Cost: $25 (and possibly some free spots)
Join the DDMLeague e-mail list for more info and to enroll: https://lists.hampshire.edu/mailman/listinfo/DDMLeague
Find it on the CEL-1 site: https://campusengagedlearning.hampshire.edu/?&CEL_m=RE&CEL_aid=537

Have questions? Want more information? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’re happy to help!

places you should go: exploring the valley!

Written by summer orientation assistant Morgana Smith 08F

CarleIn just one short week, you will be living in the Pioneer Valley, most of you for the next four years. And while Hampshire College is its own little utopia in many ways, there are lots of places beyond our little school that are worth exploring as well. Here’s a little guide to some places I thought were worth mentioning!

Museums and Galleries:

  • Mead Art Museum: The Mead is Amherst College’s art museum, free and open to the public. Right now it’s open Tuesday – Sunday from 9-5, but it has extended hours during the school year. Not only does the museum host a couple well-known favorite artists like Monet and Bouguereau, it also has some very interesting ancient artifacts, including a huge wall piece from Mesopotamia!
  • Smith College Museum of Art: As the name suggests, the Smith Art Museum is property of Smith College and located on the College’s campus. Admission is free for college students with their student ID. In addition to the exhibits, the museum also has a large print, drawing, and photograph collection that is often used for classes. Admission is free for students with an ID.
  • The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: Located on Hampshire’s campus, the Carle is a lovely collection of illustrative art works. In addition to a whole room dedicated to both the famous and lesser-known works of Carle himself, there are two galleries of ever-changing exhibits that exemplify the very best that illustration has to offer. Beyond the galleries there is a small reading and play room, which shelves jam-packed full of picture books of all varieties. Admission is free for Hampshire students.
  • R. Michelson Galleries: There are several galleries on Main Street in Northampton, all of which are more than worth perusing. But the R. Michelson Gallery is very special for a couple for reasons. First of all, the building used to be a bank, and inside the old bank vault is an exhibit of Leonard Nimoy’s “Shekinah” photographs. A little beyond the vault is a collection of children’s illustration artwork, including some stunning originals by the one and only Dr. Seuss!

Entertainment/Leisure:

  • Amherst Cinema: What would a college town be without at least one “art” theatre? Amherst Cinemas screens many old classics, foreign wonders, and (my favorite) new Studio Ghibli films! The theatre is spacious, the movies are sure winners, and the business is local. Screenings and events are posted here.
  • Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory: For a slightly more active leisure activity, one might consider Magic Wings. It’s been many years since I went to the Conservatory (I actually visited LONG before I was even thinking about college, around the age of 12), but I distinctly recall being amazed once I set foot inside. The butterflies and moths are left to roam and flit about as they please, touching down on lush, tropical vegetation. This is a must-see for any nature lover.
  • The Fine Arts Center at UMass: For those of you looking for an evening of cultured performance art, the Fine Arts Center might be just the place to look! Students can get discounted tickets for a variety of shows; in the past, the FAC has hosted Pilobilus Dance Troupe, Cirque du Soleil, and the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China, among others. They currently have a jazz series and an Asian Arts & Culture program in their lineup. For more information on upcoming shows, check out the calendar on their website.
  • The Iron Horse Music Hall/The Calvin Theatre/The Pearl Street Nightclub: All property of the Iron Horse Entertainment group, these three venues mark the impressive musical history of Northampton. Located in a sort of topographical triangle within walking distance of each other, each venue continues to host both established and up-and-coming talents all the time. The Calvin is perhaps the most obvious and prominent of the three, being located on Pleasant Street, and its marquee gives passersby the details on what’s coming. For a full schedule for all three halls, check out the schedule on their website.

There is certainly no way that I’ve covered all of the many activities in the surrounding area. Aside from these, there are myriad restaurants, coffee shops, local businesses, and parks to while away some free time. For trips a little further afield, both Boston and New York City are within driving, busing, or train-going distance.

So remember, even though Hampshire is a beautiful, exciting place to be, it’s important to get out into the world and explore the many possibilities in the Pioneer Valley!

Have questions? Want more information? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’re happy to help!