ready, set, geo!

Adapted from a post written by former program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

GEOInterested in studying abroad while at Hampshire? Wondering how and when to start thinking about it? On Tuesday, November 3 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in FPH 101, Katie Irwin and Morgan Kapinos from the Global Education Office (GEO) set out to answer this question for a group of interested students. Wondering what you missed? Read on for great information!

What Happened:
After some brief introductions, Katie and Morgan introduced a Powerpoint to take students through the top ten steps in preparing for a semester away, which allowed students to ask questions and begin thinking about how a global experience might fit into their Division II or Division III goals. Participants were then introduced to the GEO website, including pages on how to prepare and great resources for finding exchange and field study opportunities. Katie and Morgan also made sure to highlight some short-term opportunities coming up in the coming year.

The Top Ten Steps in Preparing a Semester Away!

  • Step 1: Plan Early. Start Planning Now. The earlier you start planning the more options you will find, and the more time you’ll have to discuss your interests with your advisor/committee and have them help you with resources and ideas for your search. By planning early and communicating with your faculty, you’ll be better able  to incorporate study abroad into your academic program. What’s more — some programs and study abroad scholarships have deadlines a year in advance, so it’s smart to know what you want to do as far ahead of time as possible. If you don’t already have one or yours is soon to expire, this is also a great time to apply for or renew your passport!
  • Step 2: Know the “Why.” Ask yourself why you want to study abroad, and then ask yourself what your career goals are and how studying abroad will help you complete these goals. What do you want to do when you are abroad? Are you interested in language learning, having an internship, service learning/community engagement, taking classes, having an independent study, etc.? These guiding questions will help you to make important decisions about your global experience.
  • Step 3: Know the “What.” In what type of program would you like to enroll? There are many options to consider, like directly enrolling in a university abroad, going abroad through a field-based or classroom-based program provider, or designing your own independent project abroad. Some other factors to consider when knowing the “what” are living arrangements, level of cultural immersion, travel, and level of independence.
  • Step 4: Understand Hampshire’s Eligibility Requirements. In order to study abroad, a student must:
    • At least be filed for Division II (note: Division III students are only eligible to be away during their first semester of Division III)
    • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing
    • Meet with CASA
  • Step 5: Understand Your Options at Hampshire: GEO hosts Navigating Study Abroad sessions every Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Airport Lounge, which is a great way to get started. GEO also has Peer Advisors with whom you can meet to learn more. Both resources will help you to better understand the differences between Hampshire Exchange and Field Study.
  • Step 6: Understand the Finances: Contact the Financial Aid Office to learn more about how your financial aid might transfer for a semester abroad. Find and apply to Hampshire sources of funding and scholarships. Find and apply to outside sources of funding and scholarships. Go to Student Financial Services, and see what they can do to help.
  • Step 7: Research Your Options: Wondering where to start? Check out GEO’s website. Review the searchable databases they have available, and meet with a GEO Program Advisor to learn more. Don’t forget to check out scholarship options as well!
  • Step 8: Fulfull Pre-requisites: Educate yourself on the pre-requisites of the program you are interested in. If it requires learning a language—start learning now! Make plans to take the pre-requisite(s) needed for your program to ensure you have them completed before you depart.
  • Step 9: Get Others on Board: Preparing for study abroad without support from those around you can be overwhelming. Talk to your committee, CASA, GEO, and to your family and friends as you continue in your planning. Make sure they know what you want to do and why you want to do it, so that they can help you to achieve your goals.
  • Step 10: APPLY!: If you’re applying to Hampshire Exchange, you’ll need to submit your application to GEO. If you’re applying for a Field Study, you’ll apply directly to the program. Also, make sure you keep these deadlines in mind:
    • Hampshire Exchange – early October/early November for spring, early March/early April for fall.
    • Field Study – Varies by program, but do note the College’s Enrollment Notification Deadline for each semester.

Whether you’re just starting to consider the possibility of studying abroad or are already making plans, the Global Education Office (GEO) is your best resource. The GEO office is located on the ground floor of the Merrill Student Life Center, opposite the CLA, and staff and peer advisors are eager to help. Check out their website for more information, or contact them at geo@hampshire.edu.

Happy planning!

navigating classroom discussion

Classroom DiscussionsHaving trouble speaking up in class? Want to learn more about classroom dynamics? On Tuesday, October 20 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., two peer mentors from the Transformative Speaking Program (Anna and Samara!) set out to explore these issues with an audience of enthusiastic participants. Interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop and what resources were introduced? Read on!

What Happened:

After some warm-up activities to get conversation flowing, the facilitators asked students to identify some of the reasons why speaking in class can feel uncomfortable. Concerns over discussion group size, introversion, conversation moving too quickly, fear of saying the wrong thing, being interrupted, unexpected tangents, language barriers, and not having anything to say emerged as common themes. Perhaps these ring true for you too! The facilitators then led the group in pair-shares to encourage conversation about how best to approach these issues.

What We Learned:
Talking in class can feel intimidating and hard sometimes. That’s okay! Everyone in the class has a responsibility to help create the discussion together. You’re all collaborating.

  • Read with the intention of preparing for class discussion
    Reading for understanding and retention are important, but are you considering potential discussion points while you read? It can feel easier to speak in class when you know you have something to say — this can range from writing down notes and questions you want to bring up to referencing Moodle posts.
  • Ask ahead
    Always feel as though you’ve focused on the wrong section of the reading when class discussion starts? Consider asking your professors what topics are most likely to be covered or if they’ve prepared any prompts so that you can use this knowledge to guide your reading.
  • Write your thoughts down
    If you have a good thought in class, don’t be afraid to write it down before you say it — sometimes seeing it written can make you feel more confident. You’re also more likely to remember if the conversation goes on a tangent or you aren’t able to chime in as quickly as you’d like.
  • Reflect back what other people are saying to help the flow
    Starting a response with something like “What I’m hearing people say is…” can be helpful in focusing the discussing and bringing ideas together. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to say, building off what someone else has to say is a good start. You can also help others speak more this way, directing your comments towards them!
  • Breathe and be on time!
    Class discussion can be difficult enough without feeling self-conscious about being late. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive in class and be present to the conversation.
  • Consider your needs
    Think about what you can ask for from yourself, peers, friends, teachers, family, and other support systems to help you to participate more successfully in class discussion. The more comfortable you are, the better you’ll feel.

Get In Touch:
Want to connect with the Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors? Check out the Transformative Speaking Program website for information, and like their Facebook page for details on drop-in hours, which take place Sunday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m. in the Library’s Bradford Room (2nd floor by the Robert Seydel Reading Room).

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

financial health workshop

Don’t know what to do with (what little) money you have? Know that budgeting is something adults do…but aren’t sure how to actually do it? Overwhelmed by all the choices while grocery shopping? On Tuesday, September 22, Jordan Perry, director of wellness promotion, presented a super helpful workshop to an audience of students eager to get answers to these and other financial questions. Are you concerned about your financial health? Wondering what you missed? Read on for lots of great information!

What Happened:
At the start of the workshop, Jordan shared data that indicated that a significant percentage of Hampshire students reported experiencing difficulty in managing their finances in 2014, and that, in some cases, these challenges impacted their academics. Jordan went on to acknowledge that resources are often limited in college, but that budgeting can be a key tool to help students to prioritize their needs, wants, and to better plan for the future. In this interactive session, participants were actively engaged in the process of making a budget, identifying needs, and sharing tips about how to maximize resources when shopping for groceries.

The Activity:
As participants arrived for the workshop, they were each given a copy of this worksheet, which was used as a guideline for the creation of a group budget.

Sample BudgetThe group then walked through a sample budget, sharing examples of bills, needs, wants, and things to save for, in an effort to identify the remaining amount. The group’s first budget landed at -$150, so they opted to reduce the cost of items in their “wants” and “savings” categories, as these areas are more flexible than “bills” and “needs”. Even then, they still had to find other things to reduce, so they cut their phone plan and finally got out of the red. This process looks different for everyone, but group sharing allowed folks to hear what kinds of things others needed to budget for, and reminded them of costs that they might not have previously considered. After reviewing this initial budget, the group then created a budget to account for what it might be like to be out of college. Income was increased, but rent was added. Food and gas budgets were increased and entertainment costs went up. No surprise — they ended up losing money again. So they dropped their entertainment and food costs in order to be able to afford their new lifestyle. They also discussed how much money they’d need to make in order to live modestly after college.

Budgeting Tools:
Jordan used Google Spreadsheets to illustrate what budgeting can look like because it’s free and available to anyone with internet access (although there are lots of other budgeting tools out there). Using a spreadsheet or other budgeting tool allows you to make changes to your budget without having to re-create it each time something changes, like your cell phone bill goes up, you cut entertainment costs, or you get a raise, etc.

Additional Tips:
Jordan also led the group in a discussion about how to shop on a budget, and shared some helpful hints with the group. What did they learn? Check this out:

  • Buying things on sale or on clearance can be a good thing, but can also tempt you to buy things you don’t really need.
  • Buying simple ingredients and making meals from scratch can help you save a lot, as prepared food generally costs more to purchase.
  • Plan ahead and buy in bulk! Bulk shopping is much cheaper because the packaging cost per unit is much less.
  • Think name-brand food is always the best choice? Think again! Buying store or generic brands can save you a lot of money, and they often taste just as good!
  • Do your research! You can usually find store circulars online and can compare prices of particular items across stores. Store savings cards are generally free, and can help you to unlock these weekly deals. Stop by the service desk at your favorite grocery store and sign up to start saving.
  • Compare, compare, compare! Be sure to compare unit prices rather than labeled prices to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. Unit prices usually appear on the top left hand corner of the price listing, and will tell you allow you to compare the price per pound (or other unit) across lots of different brands, package sizes, etc.

Get in Touch:
Have questions about what was covered? Jordan Perry is happy to help, and can be reached at jperry@hampshire.edu or in the Wellness Center (by the basketball court in Enfield).

Happy budgeting!

taming your reading dragons

Adapted from a post written by former program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

On Tuesday, October 6 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., presenter Asha Kinney gladly shared her reading expertise with a bunch of eager students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and is often joined for this workshop by Alana Kumbier, a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. Alana couldn’t attend this session, but is also a great person to know. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop and what resources were introduced, read on!

What Happened?

Participants were given a handout with a list of topics that were to be reviewed during the workshop. Asha began the workshop by asking participants if they had any specific questions or had any particular things they wanted to focus more closely on during their time together. They went on to provide participants with tons of useful information, beginning with low-tech options (reading and distraction-avoidance strategies) and finishing with more high-tech options like text-to-speech and dealing with PDFs.

What We Learned:

Low-Tech Tips:

  • The SQ3R reading method: SQ3R is here to help you build a framework to understand your reading assignment. It’s really helpful for retaining and digesting the information you are given. SQ3R is broken down into five steps:
    • Survey: Look over your reading, look at headings, general structure and content before you dive in. Ask yourself what you’re dealing with, and then find out.
    • Question: While surveying, ask yourself questions. Write them down. Turn the title, headings, and/or subheadings into questions. Ask yourself what the instructor said about the chapter or subject before it was assigned. Ask yourself what you already know about the subject.
    • Read: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just go ahead and read—do it as you normally do, but consider structuring your understanding with your prior surveying/questioning. Note any vocabulary that you may not know or understand.
    • Recite: After reading a section, go back over the content and tell it back to yourself or another person.
    • Review: Step away from what you read, and then come back to it.
  • Don’t have time to complete all of these steps? Try looking at something for no more than twenty minutes, after this time is up, ask yourself if reading the article or chapter in full is worth your time.
  • Create an index for yourself. Keep notes of important concepts and save them for later.
  • The Pomodoro Method: This method is here for you if you need help staying on task. The Pomodoro Method allows you to break up your work into incremented amounts of time so that the task at hand seems less daunting. Give it a try:
    • Pick a task to accomplish.
    • Set a timer for 25 minutes, or what ever increment of time works best for you.
    • Work on the task without any diversion for 25 minutes, or until the timer rings. If anything else comes up, write it down and do it later.
    • When the timer rings, take a five minute break.
    • After this break, repeat!

High-Tech Tips: 

  • Making text in a PDF recognizable to your computer: If you want or need to be able to select blocks of text or use text-to-speech, your computer needs to recognize it as text. robobraille.org allows you to upload a PDF and change it into recognizable text; you can also pick what kind of file you want it to be converted into.
  • Text to speech: Hearing something as well as reading it can be helpful for truly understand what you’re learning about. You can do this through robobraille.org by having the PDF converted into a mp3 file. Mac users can select a block of text in TextEdit and convert it to an iTunes mp3. You can also download NaturalReader if you have an iPad/iPhone/Android.
  • Beeline Reader: Go to beelinereader.org to have the color of your text change in a subtle gradation in a way that keeps your eye flowing. It may sound weird, but it’s super helpful.

A Final Note: 

Asha also noted the importance of having a backup method for documents. Hard drives die, and no matter how terrible that is, it would be even more terrible if they contained all of your work and other important files. There are several ways to backup your work such as dropbox.com or Google Drive.

Get In Touch:

If you’d like to reach Asha or Alana, here’s how to find them!

Can’t get enough of these great workshops? Be sure to check out our events calendar for updates on what else we have planned for the semester!

life management 101!

Life ManagementOn Tuesday, September 29 from 3:30-4:30PM in FPH 101, Aaron Ferguson, director of accessibility resources and services, 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, Aaron 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. Aaron then introduced a three tier system for organization, including a weekly master calendar, a larger semester calendar, and the how to manage the details. Through the use of a variety of different handouts related to these models, participants were encouraged to create a visual representation of their weekly and monthly schedules, and identify pockets of valuable time that they didn’t realize they had!

Hints and Handouts:

  • Wondering where to start? This overview of Time Management Principles provides a great overview of how to critically consider your relationship with time and maintain balance in your life. Check it out!
  • The Three Tiers of Time Management handout is a super helpful resource to help you get started, and offers a list of different options that you can use to better suit your needs. Take a look!
  • The Weekly Master Calendar allows you to create a visual representation of what a typical week looks like for you. Participants were encouraged to map out their regular schedule on a weekly calendar in an effort to identify blocks of time between fixed appointments, classes, and other obligations. What do folks generally 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!
  • The Big Picture Semester Calendar 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.
  • Let technology help! Aaron shared a number of different websites, apps, and other tech tools that can help students to better organize their day to day needs. By finding a daily planning system that works for you, you’re more likely to achieve your goals and find greater balance. One app or calendar that you look at every day is better than several that you don’t, so find something that is portable, visual, and allows to list the things you need to do, and keep it accessible throughout the day. Don’t overload yourself, but do keep your system as up to date as possible with class, work, and meeting times, as well as appointments, deadlines, and fun things.
  • 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. There are lots of different ways to get motivated!
  • Want to spend some of your precious time watching online videos and not feeling like you’re procrastinating? Here are two that Aaron recommends:
  • Interested in learning more about how habits are formed, and how to break them? Aaron spent some time discussing this with the group, and shared some great (and very thorough) resources — so thorough that they warrant another blog post! Stay tuned for more information about habit formation, and watch for future workshops on the topic.

Use These Resources:

  • Want hard copies of the workshop handouts? Interested in some personalized time management support? Get in touch with the workshop facilitator, Aaron Ferguson, by calling CASA at 413.559.5498 or stopping by the CASA office to make an appointment. He’s happy to help!

Questions? Let us know! Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu for more information.

effective oral presentations

Effective Oral PresentationsHave an oral presentation assigned as part of a final project? Looking to improve your public speaking and learn how to better use visual aids? On Tuesday, April 7, Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors Quin and Ben presented a special workshop on how to prepare for oral presentations, utilize visual aids, and maximize the impact of public speaking. Couldn’t make it? Wondering what you missed? Read on for more information.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, Quin and Ben engaged the audience in an activity designed to help them get their ideas about upcoming presentations out in an informal way. Participants pair-shared with one in another in a speaking version of free-writing, identifying how they wanted to narrate their presentations and talking things out. Participants were then asked to write down the ideas that came out in sharing as a starting point for their preparation, and were urged to begin formalizing their thoughts and determining how they would go about giving the presentation. Quin and Ben went on to discuss the use of visual aids, especially Powerpoint, displaying and critiquing sample slides and discussing best practices.

What We Learned:

  • Giving an oral presentation is NOT the same thing as reading a paper aloud. Your presentation should be treated as a separate event in terms of how you prepare, what content you include, and your overall approach. Think critically about what you want the audience to take away and make sure that the pieces you include are serving your end goal.
  • Visual aids, especially Powerpoint, should play a supporting role in your presentation. Trying to use Powerpoint as a timer or as a place for notes is generally unsuccessful, and can be a detriment to your presentation. Pay attention to your titles, images, and the amount of text you use. If the text you plan to use is more than four lines, it might be too much for the viewer to digest. Have a limited amount of time? Make sure to budget time for film clips and other slide transitions!
  • Make sure to take technological constraints into consideration. Is your computer charged? Do you need an adapter? Are you sure that the projector is functional? To prevent any surprises, consider testing your Powerpoint in the room in which you’ll be presenting beforehand.
  • Practice (and not just the night before)! Consider filming yourself, presenting for friends, or practicing your talk in the mirror. The more familiar you are with your material, the less likely you are to struggle with it in front of an audience.
  • Presenters also shared a super helpful handout on using Powerpoint. Find it here!

Get In Touch:
Want to connect with the Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors? Check out the Transformative Speaking Program website for information, and like their Facebook page for details on office hours at the InfoBar. You can also join their Moodle page for lots of great tips on a variety of different speaking topics.

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

finding the right sources

Adapted by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

Finding the Right SourcesWith just a few weeks left of classes, deadlines for final papers and projects are fast approaching. Wondering where to start? You’re not alone! On Monday, March 30 we joined research librarians Alana Kumbier, Bonnie Vigeland, and Rachel Beckwith to learn some new ways to help us complete our research and work. Missed the workshop? Read on for more information.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed a delicious and free lunch, the research librarians guided attendees through the library website, highlighting important resources to make their research more successful. The librarians prefaced this by asking attendees if they had any particular projects or questions they wanted to focus on. We visited different databases, and were told how to best use them, as well as techniques for identifying and refining research topics.

Things to Know:

  • Hampshire subscribes to multiple databases that can help with your research, which can help you yield text, video, audio, and image results that you won’t be able to find in normal internet searches. These databases are designed to help you find scholarly sources (in manageable quantities!) that will aid in your research process. For instance, a search of “California” and “immigration” in JSTOR will offer 54,000 results, as opposed to Google’s 169,000,000. You can save yourself valuable time by going straight to the databases when starting your research.
  • Do you know about LibGuides? LibGuides are subject-based database lists that are created and maintained by the research librarians for each subject area. Already know that you’re planning to research something related to architecture? Let the Architecture LibGuide be your starting point. Have a question for the research librarian in a particular area? The contact information for the librarian who maintains each LibGuide is docked on the right side of the page. Ask away!
  • Think you need a definitive topic for your paper or project before you can start researching? Think again! If you have a vague idea of what you might like to explore, you can do some preliminary research to see what others in the field are talking about. Found an article that’s exactly what you’re looking for? Use the search keywords in the article listing to help you find more sources like it. Better yet, check out the bibliography of the initial article to further refine your results.
  • Want to browse the comprehensive list of databases to which the Hampshire library is subscribed? If you’re looking for a specific database, the A-Z listing can be a good place to start. Looking for something very specific? Try the full-text article finder.
  • There are databases for images too! Looking for an image of a specific work? Use the ARTstor database to find high resolution, precisely catalogued images. You’ll find better (and more accurate) results than with an internet search.
  • Are you using Zotero? Zotero is a free Firefox extension that allows you to track searches and save sources from multiple databases, all in one place. When it comes time to complete your bibliography, Zotero uses your saved information to format and generate it for you. The librarians are happy to help you install and navigate this useful tool. All you need to do is ask!

Advice from the Librarians:
Remember that research shouldn’t terrify you! If you would like to see the librarians they are available by appointment, and from noon-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday at the Infobar.

Questions? Did we miss something? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’re happy to help!

getting it done!

Written by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

Getting It DoneOn Wednesday, February 25 from 12-1 p.m. in FPH 102, Asha Kinney and Alana Kumbier gladly shared their “getting it done” knowledge with some eager students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and Alana is a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop as well as what tactics were introduced, read on:

What Happened
While the participants in the workshop enjoyed a delicious lunch, Asha and Alana gave an overview of what was going to happen during the hour. The workshop’s intent was to decrease stress and increase flow, which basically means turning your “bad” stress into “good” and more productive stress. (Good stress, it’s a thing!)

What We Learned
Asha and Alana outlined a strategy for keeping your work organized and lists some good tools and techniques. Slides and notes from this workshop are here.

What if there’s not enough time?! Have no fear! Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get everything done. If this is the case: Know what you’re not doing, be able to articulate why you’re not doing it, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. We aren’t perfect, and that’s okay!

Don’t have time to read a whole article/book? Try reading the intro and then every topic and concluding sentence of each paragraph/section. Doing this should give you a pretty solid idea of what you’re reading. When you’re reading a book, try skimming over every sentence and seeing what sticks with you if you don’t read too deeply into what you’ve read.

Need help staying off certain websites while trying to work? Try http://selfcontrolapp.com. Selfcontrol allows you to block yourself from visiting certain websites at certain times.

AND REMEMBER… physical activity is good for the brain. If your work is getting to be too much, take a walk, jump up and down, take a dance break. It’ll be good for you, I promise.

Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Alana or Asha, here is their contact info:

  • Alana Kumbier—akumbier@hampshire.edu—413.559.5704
  • Asha Kinney—aakLO@hampshire.edu—413.559.6238

Have questions? Need help? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu!

navigating classroom discussion

Classroom DiscussionsHaving trouble speaking up in class? Want to learn more about classroom dynamics? On Thursday, February 19 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., two peer mentors from the Transformative Speaking Program (Brittany and Ben!) set out to explore these issues with an audience of enthusiastic participants. Interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop and what resources were introduced? Read on!

What Happened:

After some warm-up activities to get conversation flowing, the facilitators asked students to identify what factors would contribute to their ideal environment for class discussion. Small class size, validation from peers and professors, sitting in a circle, active listening, and participants stepping up and stepping back emerged as common themes. Perhaps these ring true for you too! The facilitators then laid out a number of scenarios in which class discussion could be impeded, and encouraged conversation about how best to approach these issues.

What We Learned:
(Taken from this super helpful handout!)

Talking in class can feel intimidating and hard sometimes. That’s okay! Everyone in the class has a responsibility to help create the discussion together. You’re all collaborating.

  • Guide the discussion, don’t dominate it
    If you’re someone who does talk a lot in class, you can keep people focused and make sure the discussion is going in a good direction. This doesn’t mean you have to talk all the time! Make relevant contributions and step back for other people to talk.
  • Reflect back what other people are saying to help the flow
    Starting a response with something like “What I’m hearing people say is…” can be helpful in focusing the discussing and bringing ideas together. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to say, building off what someone else has to say is a good start. You can also help others speak more this way, directing your comments towards them!
  • Write your thoughts down
    It can feel easier to speak in class when you know you have something to say — this can range from writing down notes and questions you want to bring up to referencing Moodle posts. If you have a good thought in class, don’t be afraid to write it down before you say it — sometimes seeing it written can make you feel more confident.
  • Silences are okay!
    Sometimes silences are awkward and it can feel like no one is going to talk. Other times it may just be because people are thinking. Read the vibes of the room! Check body language and look at where people are looking. If you’re someone that feels comfortable talking, this can be a time for you to step back. Professors are looking for any comment to keep the discussion going, so don’t feel pressured to say the *perfect* thing.
  • Actively listen
    Nod when people are talking, direct body language towards them, look engaged. Not only does this help the confidence of the speaker, but this can also be where you can indicate that you have something to say. Show that you’re engaged in what they’re saying and chances are they’ll be more engaged too!

Get In Touch:
Want to connect with the Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors? Check out the Transformative Speaking Program website for information, and like their Facebook page for details on office hours at the InfoBar. You can also join their Moodle page for lots of great tips on a variety of different speaking topics.

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

getting it done!

Written by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

Getting It DoneOn Wednesday, November 5 from 2-3 p.m. in the FPH Faculty Lounge, Asha Kinney and Alana Kumbier gladly shared their “getting it done” knowledge with some eager students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and Alana is a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop as well as what tactics were introduced, read on:

What Happened
While the participants in the workshop enjoyed some delicious snacks, Asha and Alana gave an overview of what was going to happen during the hour. The workshop’s intent was to decrease stress and increase flow, which basically means turning your “bad” stress into “good” and more productive stress. (Good stress, it’s a thing!)

What We Learned
Asha and Alana outlined a strategy for keeping your work organized and lists some good tools and techniques. Slides and notes from this workshop are here.

What if there’s not enough time?! Have no fear! Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get everything done. If this is the case: Know what you’re not doing, be able to articulate why you’re not doing it, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. We aren’t perfect, and that’s okay!

Don’t have time to read a whole article/book? Try reading the intro and then every topic and concluding sentence of each paragraph/section. Doing this should give you a pretty solid idea of what you’re reading. When you’re reading a book, try skimming over every sentence and seeing what sticks with you if you don’t read too deeply into what you’ve read.

Need help staying off certain websites while trying to work? Try http://selfcontrolapp.com. Selfcontrol allows you to block yourself from visiting certain websites at certain times.

AND REMEMBER… physical activity is good for the brain. If your work is getting to be too much, take a walk, jump up and down, take a dance break. It’ll be good for you, I promise.

Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Alana or Asha, here is their contact info:

  • Alana Kumbier—akumbier@hampshire.edu—413.559.5704
  • Asha Kinney—aakLO@hampshire.edu—413.559.6238

Want more great tips? Check out this Student Toolkit for the End of the Term, provided by Information Technology!

Have questions? Need help? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu!