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. SUNDAY 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 morning. Ready? Okay!

If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?

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 winners will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents on Monday morning.

If you could host a Halloween party in any existing interior space in the world, where would you have it?

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. SUNDAY 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 eat one food in any quantity for the rest of your life with no ill effects whatsoever, what food 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 randomly from all of the respondents on Monday morning. Ready? Let’s go!

If you could watch only one movie ever again, which would you choose?

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.

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Happy Thursday, 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. TONIGHT 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?

how to approach faculty

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

FacultyWelcome, new students! Now that the semester has already started, 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 e-mail 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.
  • Teaching Assistants (or TAs) are continuing Division II or Division III students who help professors throughout the semester. They’re great conduits between you and faculty, so use them well!
  • 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 413.559.5498.
  • 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 start of the semester!

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