win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Friday, friends. It’s time 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 the end of the day 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 have the world’s largest collection of one thing, what would it be?

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Hey, you’re back! And the week is almost over! It must be 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 midnight 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. Got it? Great!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Are you ready? It’s time for the last care package giveaway question before break!

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 midnight 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 win an all expense paid trip to anywhere in the world for spring break, where would you go?

win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontHappy Wednesday, friends! It’s time for a special mid-week installment of our care package giveaway. All first and second semester students are eligible to win – just post an answer to the following question before midnight TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents Thursday morning. Here goes:

If you could be the current world champion in any one sport, which sport would it be?

get to know summer@hampshire!

Written by program assistant Nina Gunther-Segal 13F

summerprograms-mainWondering how you’re going to spend the summer? Looking for a way to immerse and educate yourself in a particular area of interest? Lamenting the fact that in only a few months the school year will end, and you’ll have to leave campus? Then Hampshire’s Summer Academic Programs are for you!

I had a conversation with Abby Ferguson, an expert on the Summer Academic Programs, who told me what first-year students might want to know about them. They’re a series of programs designed to reflect Hampshire’s strengths during the academic year, and a time when Hampshire opens up course offerings to students from all over the country. They’re primarily undergraduate programs (although there is one pilot high school program this year) and because the programs are rooted in academics, they provide transfer credit. Abby made a point of letting me know that they’d really love first-year students to look into the programs — it’s an incredible opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on, uniquely Hampshire activities (experientially-focused, interdisciplinary) that you won’t get at other schools.

Here’s some more specific info about the individual programs:

Food, Farm and Sustainability: This is Hampshire’s flagship summer program, now in its third year. It’s six weeks long, from June 2 to July 11. Participating students will have the opportunity to work on the farm and with Natural Sciences faculty to look at sustainable agriculture from a variety of perspectives. It’ll include lots of hands-on learning activities: communal meal preparation, working at a variety of local farms, and enjoying the beauty of the Pioneer Valley in the summer while integrating work and education. Partnerships with local farms are deeply rooted in the curriculum, and the immersive program really gets at the root of sustainable agriculture.

TESOL Teacher Training Course: This program, during the month of June, allows students to delve into the coursework of teaching English to speakers of other languages, gaining a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate in the process. It’s strongly connected to the Fulbright Program — many students go on to get Fulbright scholarships after taking this course; it also opens up incredible opportunities, globally.

Creative Media Institute: This is Hampshire’s summer film studies program, for four weeks at the end of the summer. Every year it has a different focus–this year’s is non-fiction media, and will be an opportunity to get inside documentary filmmaking in an immersive way. Not only is it open to students, but also to practitioners and filmmakers, who can come and take the course alongside students. This is particularly cool because it allows different learning communities to communicate, learning side-by-side and from one another. Students are encouraged to bring their works in progress to the program. The program involves lots of screening and responding to films. It will have several guest faculty and artist visitors, among them two Hampshire alums: esteemed filmmakers Ken Burns and Brett Morgen.

Institute for Curatorial Practice: This one’s brand new, and the summer programs organizers are very excited about it. It’s a five-week program that examines the practice of curation from all sorts of disciplines. The education provided is cutting edge, attempting to take museum studies into the 21st century. This is a program that takes full advantage of the Five College Consortium, firmly rooting its education in the collections, archives and exhibitions of the area. There will be many field trips and museum visits, and as part of the course, students will get to use what they learn to create digital exhibitions in groups.

Designing Social Impact: Hampshire students can’t take this one, because it’s a high school program, but if you know of any high schoolers (age 16+) who might be interested in experiencing the unique things Hampshire does, let them know! This is a design-focused program that takes advantage of the fact that Hampshire is one of the first liberal arts colleges with a fully-functional fabrication shop. Students will get to work in the Center for Design with faculty to innovate and develop their own projects.

Interested? Apply online — go to summer.hampshire.edu and click on the program that interests you to find an application. It’s a relatively simple process, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The priority deadline is April 14, meaning students are encouraged to get their application materials in by then — this is the last date by which spots can be guaranteed in the programs. As students apply, faculty will meet to review applications and make admissions decisions. Hampshire students are eligible for federal aid for the programs’ cost (if so, indicate your interest on the application form). Students can also take more than one program, because they’re staggered throughout the summer.

This is an amazing opportunity to see the college from all sorts of areas! You can talk to your advisor or a faculty member about how to apply it to your coursework and the overall trajectory of your Hampshire education.

If you have any more questions, email Abby Ferguson (afPR@hampshire.edu) or summer@hampshire.edu. And for more information about all the programs, check out the official Summer Academic Programs page.

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Are you ready? It’s time for our weekly 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 midnight 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 afternoon. Got it? Good!

If you could share a meal with anyone from any period in history, who would you choose?

taming your reading dragons

Written by program assistant Nina Gunther-Segal 13F

Taming Your Reading DragonsOn Tuesday, February 25 (after some scheduling issues due to snow!) Asha Kinney and Alana Kumbier shared their reading expertise with a group of interested 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 and what resources were introduced — if you, too, would like to learn to tame those reading dragons — read on!

What Happened:
Participating students received a handout with a list of the topics that would be covered at the meeting, their brains fueled by the multitude of delicious snacks provided (seriously, Trader Joe’s has the best snacks). Alana and Asha started off by giving participants the opportunity to ask to focus on specific things with which they might have needed help. They went on to provide participants with tons of helpful information, starting with low-tech options (all-purpose reading and distraction-avoidance strategies) and then ramping up to higher-tech ones (dealing with PDFs, text-to-speech, etc.).

What We Learned–Low-Tech Tips:

  • The SQ3R reading method: This is a prescribed process for reading that really helps with retaining and digesting the information you encounter. It’s broken down into five steps:
    1. Survey – Go over the chapter, looking at headings and its general structure and content, before you dive in more deeply.
    2. Question – While surveying, ask questions about what you’re seeing (i.e. turn headings into questions).
    3. Read – This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but basically just do what you’d normally do when reading, structuring your understanding with your prior surveying/questioning.
    4. Recite – After reading a section, go back over its content and tell it back to yourself (or another person). Reproducing the content in your own words can be especially helpful if you need to write a paper on the topic and want to assimilate the information to avoid reciting it verbatim.
    5. Review – Step away from the chapter and then come back to it over a period of several days to better assimilate it.
  • Reading three times: Don’t worry–this doesn’t mean three times as much work! Instead, try this:
    1. Skim the reading (look at the headings, intro, and conclusion).
    2. Read more deeply — add annotations, and attempt to contextualize the information in the overall study of your class to figure out what’s most important to retain.
    3. Go back and note whatever is most important after class discussion of the reading.
  • Pomodoro Technique: This entails working in 25-minute increments (or however long works best for you) to accomplish a task. So many of us don’t even start a task because it’s too daunting, so breaking it down and having an end in sight makes it more psychologically manageable. Here’s how this works:
    1. Pick a task to accomplish.
    2. Set a timer for 25 minutes (here’s a helpful one: pomodoro.me).
    3. Work on the task without any diversion for 25 minutes, until the timer rings (if anything else comes up, ignore it and write it down to do later).
    4. Also helpful is keeping track of how many increments you’re doing for a task, to get a sense of your general pacing for various tasks (i.e. to read a certain number of pages); this allows you to plan the timing of your future work.
  • Miscellany:

    1. If you’re reading and you come across words or concepts you don’t know, take note of them and skip them, then return to them later–this helps prevent breaking the flow of your focus.
    2. A speed-reading technique that helps with visual focus is placing your fingers below the line you’re reading and following along so that only that line is visible. You can increase the speed of your hand’s movement to encourage yourself to read more quickly without losing track of your place on the page.

Higher-Tech Reading Tips:

  • Making text in a PDF recognizable to your computer: If you want to be able to select blocks of text or use text-to-speech, your computer needs to recognize it as text — the text in PDFs often appears to your computer as an image (especially if it’s a scanned book), but there’s a way to fix this! Robobraille.org allows you to upload a PDF and change it into recognizable text; you can also pick what kind of file it’s converted into (i.e. document, mp3 audio, Braille, e-book).
  • Adobe Reader annotations: Adobe Reader 11 (if you don’t already have it, it’s available for free download) has various tools for annotation. These include sticky notes, highlighting in different colors, recording audio, and drawing shapes. You can also search the text content of your notes for particular terms, making it a lot easier to find your notes on a particular subject. Preview also has similar features for annotation.
  • Text to speech: Hearing as well as seeing a reading can be helpful for understanding, and help keep focus. You can do this through robobraille.org, by having the PDF converted to mp3 audio. Mac users can select a block of text in TextEdit and convert it to an iTunes mp3 (and even change the voice and its speed in System Preferences > Speech > Text to speech). You can also download NaturalReader for free. And if you have an iPad/iPhone/Android, there’s the VoiceDream app, which has better voices than usual and a perfectly serviceable free version.
  • BeeLine Reader: Go to beelinereader.org to have the color of your text change in a subtle gradation, in such a way as to help keep your eye flowing. It sounds weird, but is actually really helpful.

A Final Note:
Asha and Alana noted the importance of having a backup method for documents. Hard drives die, and as terrible as that is, it’s even more terrible if they contain all your work and you lose that, too. There are several ways to do this, and an added benefit is that they make your work accessible from multiple computers (as well as iPhones and other devices):

  • Dropbox: It’s a free service that gives you plenty of remote storage in a folder on your desktop. Sign up and download it here: https://www.dropbox.com.
  • Google Drive: Allows you to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. and keep them all in one place on your Google Drive account, organized by folder. (drive.google.com)

Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Alana or Asha, or want more information on the workshop handouts, here’s their contact info:

Questions? Comments? You can reach us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu.

the top ten reasons to be an orientation leader

Thinking of applying to be an orientation leader, but feeling unsure about making the commitment? Have you started your application, but get so excited every time you think about orientation that you can’t keep your mind on anything else? Great news:

You’ve come to the right place!

We asked current and past orientation leaders to compile a top ten list to describe the experiences they’ve had with the new student orientation program, to give you a better idea of what you can expect as a member of the orientation staff. They think you should apply to be a leader, and so do we! Here’s why:

10. Campus resources! As an Orientation Leader, you’ll likely learn more about the Hampshire campus and campus resources than you have in your first year at Hampshire. A big part of orientation training is learning about these resources so that you can be more informed when working with new first-year and transfer students. The information you receive preparing for orientation will undoubtedly benefit you as you continue to navigate your Hampshire experience, and you’ll be super helpful to your orientees.

9. Skills! The skills you’ll learn in orientation training will be useful to you beyond orientation. The leadership skills that you’ll acquire through being an orientation leader will help you to make a positive impact in your community, on and off campus. You’ll also gain facilitation skills by working with your co-leader, you orientation group, and by leading an interest day activity. You’ll build your resume while making a difference in the lives of new students. Sounds good to us!

8. Learning from your peers! As an orientation leader, you’ll be in training sessions with students from all different divisions and backgrounds. Listening to the opinions and experiences of other students when discussing their time at Hampshire can be a great learning experience, and can further expand your understanding of the Hampshire community on the whole.

7. Positive change! Didn’t enjoy your own orientation group experience? As an orientation leader, you’ll have the opportunity to create positive change and help us to improve the new student orientation program. Take what didn’t work for you when you were a first year and make it better for the new students — they’ll thank you!

6. Repeat performances!  Love the welcome ceremony? Want to help introduce students to the climbing wall? Looking forward to a new common reading discussion? You can do it all again, and help us to make it even better!

5. Relationship building! You’ll make a lot of new friends during orientation, both with your fellow leaders and the new students coming in. The people you meet could become lifelong friends, all because of the bond you made during the orientation program. (This happens ALL the time!) As an orientation leader, you’ll also become a part of a unique community of orientation staff, a bond that you can carry with you throughout your time at Hampshire.

4. Perks! As an orientation leader, you’ll get to return to campus early, be fed by the orientation program, wear a fancy orientation leader t-shirt, AND receive a $300 stipend. Starting out the year with $300 is a great thing. Who knows, you may even get a chance to take a ride on the orientation golf cart with Josiah Litant and Jessica Ortiz. What’s not to love?

3. Representing Hampshire! Orientation leaders are chosen to be representatives of Hampshire during one of the most important times of the year. As an orientation leader, you’ll represent Hampshire to the community of new students and families, and will have the opportunity to share your experiences with these individuals. It’s an honor to be chosen to represent Hampshire at this crucial time, and something that our leaders are very proud of!

2. It’s fun! Orientation is such a fun time of year, and the positive energy on campus is palpable. It’s warm, it’s sunny, you’re outside, and you’re at Hampshire! Sounds good to us.

1. You know you want to! Seriously, you know you want to, so what are you waiting for? Start your application today by visiting the application website. Learn more about what’s required, the selection timeline, and more! Don’t wait — applications are due on Wednesday, March 5!

Still have questions? Come to an information session to learn more about the orientation leader position. Sessions will be held on Thursday, February 27 at 4PM and Friday, February 28 at 2:30PM, both in the Dakin Living Room. Meet Jessica Ortiz and get your questions answered.

In the meantime, feel free to e-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu for more information.

organizing your papers (and your life)

Organizing Your PapersOn Tuesday, February 18 from 3:30-4:30PM in the FPH Faculty Lounge, Will Ryan and Deb Gorlin, two of the three co-directors of the writing program, presented a special writing skills workshop to a group of first and second semester students. Couldn’t make it? Wondering what you missed? Read on for more information about what happened, how to get a hold of the resources that were shared in this session, and how to connect with the Writing Center!

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, Will and Deb asked them to introduce themselves and share the details of a current writing project and why it had them vexed. Participants spoke about perfectionism, desiring to impress faculty members whose work they respect, finding space for themselves in their own writing, improving their note taking in research, and struggling to find the words to accurately capture their thoughts. Sound familiar? Will and Deb used this information as a starting point in framing the workshop to cater to the needs of attendees.

Will and Deb began by sharing some useful advice about understanding writing assignments and prompts and the writing process, and then spent some time answering individual questions. They later went on to introduce a model for organizing analytical writing, which they further explained with a handout that has been dubbed as the most requested in the history of the writing program (you can view it here!). The facilitators followed the handout throughout the session, explaining each step and providing helpful hints for each stage. We’ve included a number of these hints below!

What We Learned (and other helpful notes from Will and Deb):

  • Getting ready to start a writing assignment? The first thing you should do is read the course description all the way through. Assignments are drawn from this document, and reminding yourself of the fullness of a course’s content can often help you if you’re struggling to start an assignment. Next, read the assignment to make sure you have a full understanding of the instructions and expectations. If the assignment is based on a text, make sure to read the assignment first. You’ll read the text more effectively and will be able to start calling out pertinent information sooner. Sound obvious? You’d be surprised at how many people miss this step!
  • Finished reading the text, but not sure that you understand the reading? Feel free to look up book reviews and secondary sources to help clarify things for you. Once you have this supplemental information, you can go back to the original text for a more informed read.
  • Ready to start writing? You might benefit from freewriting about the text first to help you spark some ideas for how you want to proceed. Once you’ve taken some time to think about things, try making an outline to organize the main points that you want to make. Just as you’d work out a math problem on paper, determining how to organize your work on paper can be a tremendous help. You don’t have to figure it all out in your head.
  • Once you begin your draft, pay attention to what part of the paper you’re in at any given moment (introduction, literature review, method, body, conclusion). Use the guidelines provided in the handout to help you determine how long each section should be, and where the different pieces of information you wish to share should be included.
  • Are your main points changing as you continue writing? That’s okay! Periodically going back and adjusting the introduction to accommodate these changes is an important part of the writing process. Plan to revise, and give yourself enough time to do so.

Additional Tips from the Facilitators:

  • Faculty often write assignments in the form of a paper outline. Try to break apart the prompt in this way to better organize your thoughts.
  • Your process is your process — don’t compare yourself to others. Some writers are heavy planners (pre-planning each step), while others are heavy revisers (free-writing first and organizing things during revision). The brainstorming <–> organizing <–> drafting <–> revising <–> editing <–> brainstorming loop goes in both directions, and doesn’t always have to be linear!
  • Thinking of taking a break? Don’t stop writing until you know what you’re going to say next. It’s much easier to come back to a writing piece when you’ve given yourself something to go on.

Get In Touch:
Want to schedule an appointment for yourself? Call or email the Writing Center staff to set up a meeting time:

  • Will Ryan – wjrWP@hampshire.edu – 413.559.5646
  • Deb Gorlin – dfgWP@hampshire.edu – 413.559.5531
  • Ellie Siegel – etsWP@hampshire.edu – 413.559.5577

Kyla and Andrew, the Writing Center interns, also hold drop-in sessions from 6-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday in the Library Training Room on the 2nd floor of the Johnson Library. Kyla and Andrew are also available on Sundays from 1-9 p.m. Check out their flyer for details on how to set up an appointment, send drafts, etc.

Learn More:
Can’t get enough of these great academic skills? Join us for another workshop! Our next workshop, Taming Your Reading Dragons, will be held on Tuesday, February 25 from 3:30-4:30PM in FPH 102. Learn how to get through your reading with the help of technology, all while enjoying some free snacks!

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

people you should know: nina gunther-segal — our new program assistant!

Written by program assistant Nina Gunther-Segal 13F

3152c21Hi everyone! I’m Nina Gunther-Segal, the new Program Assistant in New Student Programs. I’m a first-year Hampshire student, so I know exactly what first years are dealing with (and I’m as excited as you all are about the cool new stuff that we’re experiencing). I, too, am figuring out how to navigate college and semi-adulthood, so as I write about helpful information I’ll also be learning it all myself. I’ll be at many of the events put on by New Student Programs, taking notes and participating as much as possible; I’ll also write about those events here on the blog for those who weren’t able to make it but still want access to that valuable information.

I’m a Div I, of course, so I’m not exactly sure what I want to study yet. However, I’m particularly interested in social justice/feminism, sustainable agriculture, and writing. I’m always up for a good conversation (or rant) about those (or other) topics. I spend a lot of time working on the Hampshire farm, heading over there to do chores (regardless of the severity of the weather–sometimes it’s a little treacherous, which adds some excitement to my days!) I’m also a part of the Black Sheep Journal and the Hampshire Climbers Coalition (the latter introduced me to rock climbing, which I now love and get to do for free–thanks Hampshire!) Having had great experience with both groups, I can highly recommend them. I also like to take advantage of Hampshire’s many yoga classes, and go on hikes up Bare Mountain and around Hampshire’s hundreds of acres of trails.

As a relatively new student myself, I’m doing my best to use my own experiences to come up with new ideas, new content, and new events for New Student Programs. I’m also hoping that my fellow first-years (or anyone else who has ideas) will approach me with their suggestions and requests–please feel free to email me at nmg13@hampshire.edu if you’ve got any suggestions.

Hope to see you all at New Student Programs events! Have questions about what’s coming up? Email us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu!