making the most of division I

It’s your first year of college. You’re going to class. You’re getting involved. You may even have started planning for next semester. You know what you need to do to complete Division I, but are you making the most of your Div I experience?

On Monday, October 15, the office of new student programs invited Division I students to explore this question with a panel of Division II students from 4-5PM in the Merrill Living Room. Couldn’t make it? Read on for details about what you missed!

What Happened:
Three current students, all of whom are in their second or third year at Hampshire, shared stories of their Division I experiences with program attendees. Each brought a different perspective on their successes and struggles during their first year at Hampshire, and attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about how each student navigated their unique Division I experience. From stories of discovering interests in the least likely of academic fields, to the importance of asking for help, to understanding campus life resources, Division I students received plenty of insight on how to make the most of their first year at Hampshire.

Advice from the Panel:

  • Whatever you do, make sure to communicate with your faculty. Keep professors and teaching assistants in the loop, and make an effort to get to know them. By building relationships with professors from the very beginning, it will be easier for you to communicate your needs and academic plans to them later on. They want to hear from you! Need help? Check out our post on how to approach faculty.
  • If you haven’t already, start saving all of your work. You’ll need it when it’s time to create your Division I portfolio, so make a habit of keeping things all in one place until it’s time to get started on the Division I passing process.
  • Be mindful of the four cumulative skills that accompany the Division I distribution requirements. You’ll need to demonstrate proficiency in each of these areas, so be thinking about them as you move through Division I.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to start the CEL-1 requirement. Make sure to give it the time that it deserves — you’ll have a more meaningful and less stressful experience overall (and you’ll be more likely to pass Division I at the end of your first year)!
  • Find things you love to do outside of class (student groups, activities, programs, etc.). They can influence and enhance your academics and also keep you centered when things get difficult.
  • Keep an open mind. Division I offers an unique opportunity for you to explore different areas of study, meet faculty, and figure out what you really like. The thing you don’t think you’re interested in now might become the basis for your Division II or Division III work. Anything can happen!

Use These Resources:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are tons of resources at your disposal, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of as many of them as possible.

  • Need help with your writing? Contact the Writing Center to learn more about how they can help you improve.
  • Looking for research help? Visit the Johnson Library, and stop by the Infobar near the Circulation Desk for information on resources, special programs, and to ask questions.
  • Have questions about the academic program? Visit the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) in the Lemelson Building, or stop by the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC), located at the Infobar by the circulation desk in the library.
  • Looking to get involved on campus? Stop by the campus leadership and activities office (CLA), or browse the list of student groups. Subscribe to campus mailing lists to keep yourself informed about what’s happening on campus.
  • Have you started your CEL-1 yet? Learn more about the CEL-1 on their website, read the FAQ, and browse open opportunities. Still have questions? Send an e-mail to cel1@hampshire.edu, or come to CEL-What? on Tuesday, October 23 at 4PM in the Dakin Living Room. You bring questions, we’ll bring snacks!

That’s all for now! Have questions, comments, or concerns? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu.

how to approach faculty

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Welcome, 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:

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 e-mail 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.

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 e-mail regularly. Faculty, staff, community members, and other students will use this e-mail address to reach you, and you are expected to follow up on e-mail 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? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’d love to hear from you!

using the consortium

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F.

With pre-registration looming, you’re probably in the process of assembling your schedule for next semester. You may have your eyes already set on a full schedule’s worth of Hampshire courses, but have you considered studying at the other colleges? You have the entire Consortium to your advantage! Feeling overwhelmed, or just plain curious about the process? On Monday, April 2, New Student Programs sponsored “Using the Consortium,” a panel event in which older students shared their experiences, gave advice, and answered questions about studying off campus. Missed it? Don’t worry, here are some pieces of advice from the panel:

The Benefits of Using the Consortium:

  • Getting off campus! Want a break from Hampshire? Taking a Five College course is an excellent way to start exploring and meeting new people.
  • Meaningful and formative experiences! Aside from learning in a new environment, studying at different schools exposes you to different ways of learning, with different kinds of people.
  • With five colleges worth of courses you choose from, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a schedule that fits your unique needs. Want to study a particular topic from a specific perspective? Take advantage of the resources of the consortium and find the courses that you really want.

Some Helpful Hints:

  • Wondering how to find courses at other schools? Talk to your advisor for course and faculty suggestions specific to your interests. They’ll most likely have contacts across the consortium, so take advantage of their help. Use the Five College Course Catalog! It’s a great and simple search system for finding specific courses and faculty members by their schools, subjects, and names.
  • Plan your schedule wisely! This means not only making sure that classes don’t conflict, but taking travel time into account before making any course decisions. The PVTA is a free and convenient system, but don’t be a stressful commuter. Be realistic about your availability and flexibility, and don’t over-exert yourself.
  • Reach out to Five College professors that interest you, introduce yourself, and keep in touch — especially if it’s a course you really like or is really popular.
  • Go to the first day of your Five College courses. Some courses can be competitive, so showing up is crucial. And if for some reason you can’t, make sure to contact the professor to explain the situation.
  • Five College faculty aren’t required to write evaluations for you, but it never hurts to ask. Make sure to ask early in the semester so that the professor can prepare to evaluate you fully at the end of the term, should they agree to do so.
  • If you’re planning to take classes off campus, make sure you still have a mix of Hampshire and Five College courses in your schedule. This will allow you to continue to cultivate relationships with faculty here at Hampshire and remain engaged in the community. The advice of Hampshire faculty will be invaluable as you continue to choose courses, and you’ll likely want to include many of them on Division II and Division III committees!

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You can request a Five College course on TheHub, but this does not mean you’re automatically registered. The registration process can take some time and isn’t always guaranteed until after classes begin!
  • You don’t have to take courses to be involved at other schools. You can experience the culture of other schools in different ways such as joining a club or going to campus events. These are opportunities where you meet new people and gain networking experience. Wondering how to find out what’s happening on other campuses? Make sure to check out the Five College event calendar, an excellent resource for curious students.

Hampshire alone offers so many different courses for students, and considering what the rest of the consortium offers can kind of be like opening the floodgates. Don’t limit yourself! Using the consortium can be a very rewarding experience, and can really help shape your experience as a Hampshire College student. It’s worth the effort!

Use These Resources:

Wondering how to register for Five College courses? The Central Records office offers a slew of great resources for students who are just getting started. Check out the Course Registration Tips fact sheet, or view screenshots of the Five College course request process on TheHub. Still have questions? E-mail Central Records at centralrecords@hampshire.edu, or stop by their office on the first floor of Cole Science Center. We’ve also featured the Central Records staff right here on the blog, so feel free to visit their post to learn more.

Questions or comments? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu. We’re happy to help!

keeping up with your reading

On Thursday, February 16 from 12-1PM in FPH 108, Lise Sanders, associate professor of English literature and cultural studies, presented a special reading skills workshop to a packed house 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 catered 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 identifying the most important pieces of information to absorb, how to prioritize reading tasks, focusing too much on details, and the need to read more effectively in the time allotted for a specific task.

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:

  • In order to read more effectively, you must commit to being an active and engaged reader. Read with the firm intention of deducing the author’s main point, not just to get through the right number of pages. Your focus will aid your success.
  • 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 their fingers to guide their eyes across lines on the page. 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 to assess their own comprehension in the workshop, but this is also something that you can do on your own. 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:

  • Interested in viewing the workshop handouts? 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! This presentation was the first in series of skills-based lunch workshops for new students, led by tutorial faculty and other staff members. Our next workshop, Plan to Get Organized, will be held on Tuesday, February 28 from 12-1PM in the FPH Faculty/Staff Lounge. Learn how to manage your time and improve your organization, all while enjoying a free lunch. See you there!

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

cel-what?

On Tuesday, October 18 from 4-5PM in the Dakin Living Room, Nell Arnold, assistant professor of fiction writing, and Ivana Staiti, community engagement and collaborative learning coordinator, set out to answer this question for an audience of staff, faculty, and new students. Have you started your CEL-1 yet? Still have questions? Read on for some great information on who to ask and how to get going.

What Happened:
After a brief (but vibrant!) conversation about the philosophy behind this graduation requirement, our presenters walked the group through the CEL-1 website and the process for signing up for activities. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about specific offerings and suggest some additional projects. Did you see the CEL-What? bulletin boards in Dakin and Merrill Houses? Each attendee received a copy of the brochure that inspired those boards, which are chock full of information about FAQs, what counts, and other great tips. Most of this information is available on the CEL-1 website, so please check it out if you haven’t already!

What We Learned:

  • There are lots of different ways to complete the requirement, and there’s no need to choose just one activity to satisfy all 40 hours. By engaging in a multitude of activities, you’ll gain experience in different areas of campus life, meet more people, and have more opportunities to connect the CEL-1 to your academic interests.
  • New activities are posted almost every day, and each has a different timeline. Check back regularly to learn more about short and long term opportunities. Some last only a day, while others span entire semesters. You never know what you’ll find.
  • Participation in student groups, OPRA, EPEC, and Lemelson courses counts towards this requirement, so you may have already started without even knowing it. Talk to your advisor and take a look at the website for more information on how to register the things that you’ve already started, and to ensure that these hours count towards your completion.
  • Although there are countless posted activities, it is possible to create your own. Staff, faculty, Division II, and Division III students can sponsor activities. If there’s something you’d really like to work on, talk to your advisor about how your idea will fit into the requirement and how to find someone to sponsor your work.

Use These Resources:

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

making the most of division I

It’s your first year of college. You’re going to class. You’re getting involved. You may even have started planning for next semester. You know what you need to do to complete Division I, but are you making the most of your Div I experience?

On Tuesday, October 4, the office of new student programs invited Division I students to explore this question with a panel of Division II and Division III students from 7-8PM in the Dakin Living Room. Couldn’t make it? Read on for details about what you missed!

What Happened:
Three current students, all of whom were Orientation Leaders during new student orientation this fall, shared stories of their Division I experiences with a packed room of Division I students. Each brought a different perspective on their successes and struggles during their first year at Hampshire, and attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about how each student navigated their unique Division I experience. From stories of discovering interests in the least likely of academic fields, to the importance of asking for help, to finding life balance, Division I students received plenty of insight on how to make the most of their first year at Hampshire.

Advice from the Panel:

  • Trust your gut when selecting your classes. Try to pick them and like them without thinking too much about your biases and past.
  • Find things you love to do outside of class (student groups, activities, programs, and events, etc.). They can influence and enhance your academics and also keep you centered when things get difficult.
  • Try your best to manage your time well. Think ahead throughout the semester to ensure that you complete assignments on time without having to sacrifice sleep (or work quality!)
  • Know your limits. You may have a list of 10 different student groups you’d like to join, but it’s important to be realistic about your time commitments. Choose the few things that you’re most interested in to start with, and if you can take more on, do so gradually.
  • Keep an open mind. Division I offers a unique opportunity for you to explore different areas of study, meet faculty, and figure out what you really like. The thing you don’t think you’re interested in now might become the basis for your Division II or Division III work. Anything can happen!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are tons of resources at your disposal, from the Writing Center, to the library, to the center for academic support and advising (CASA). Wondering where to start? Feel free to ask the office of new student programs!

Use These Resources:
Presenters suggested quite a few resources to the attendees. Here are the ones we discussed the most:

  • Need help with your writing? Contact the Writing Center to learn more about how they can help you improve.
  • Looking for research help? Visit the Johnson Library, and stop by the Infobar near the Circulation Desk for information on resources, special programs, and to ask questions.
  • Looking to get involved on campus? Stop by the campus leadership and activities office (CLA), or browse the list of student groups. Subscribe to campus mailing lists to keep yourself informed about what’s happening on campus.
  • Have you started your CEL-1 yet? Learn more about the CEL-1 on their website, read the FAQ, and browse open opportunities. Still have questions? Send an e-mail to cel1@hampshire.edu, or come to ‘CEL-What? Exploring and Understanding the CEL-1 Requirement for Division I Students,’ on Tuesday, October 18 at 4PM in the Dakin Living Room. You bring questions, we’ll bring food!

Need more information about anything we’ve covered? E-mail us at newtohamp@hampshire.edu.