I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest…Earnestly Industrious, that is.

It’s July now and vacation is in full swing. I hope all of you reading this have had at least a few nice, long drives with the windows down, sunny picnic lunches, the feel of sand between your toes as waterfronts amuse… and I hope you’re also considering how to use this free time to your advantage. Summer is great for having a good time, enjoying yourself, and getting the laundry list of errands and chores taken care of. These few months of leisure aren’t just for leisure, though.

After four years of studying here, I’m about to take on my most busy and challenging semester yet. It’s become perfectly clear to me that I need to prepare myself ahead of time if I’m to have any chance at all of surviving my classses, my jobs, my obligations, and everything else that’s on my to-do list.  While I have the luxury of a few hours of reading time here and there, I’m using them to my advantage and taking notes. Best part of it is, I can take my notebook and a book out by the pool, watch my daughter play with her cousins, and still manage to get some reading and note taking done while collecting inspiration or organizing programming for the next blog or convention. It’s going to be difficult to balance it all, but I hope to find myself more capable of managing the heaping plate as the summer goes on and I approach the semester with some serious preparation out of the way. Now that I’ve finally learned to work hard to prepare myself, I have much higher hopes for the rest of the year.

In order to maximise my preparation and not waste time on things I normally would…(like browsing the infinite scroll of tumblr or giving into the eternal dance of the wikipedia links….) I’ve come up with some things to do to use your spare time to your advantage:

  • Find out which classes you’ll be taking and keep an eye on when the books are posted for that course. If they’re novels, read them by the pool and jot down notes in the margins. When you’re done, take the book, summarize it in an outline, and expand on whatever notes you found most interesting. You could listen to audiobooks to help if you find the work a little dry, but the most effective way of listening would be to read along and absorb the information through both senses.  If the books aren’t novels, read and highlight the most interesting parts to you. If words are bolded, they’re probably vocab and will be important. Formulas, equations, and vital information will generally be repeated in large print to make them stand out. Make note cards and jot down the most interesting and important tidbits, taking not of the main points of each section and organizing your thoughts in a reflective free-writing session to ensure that you understand the material. If you have questions, write them done so that you remember to ask your professor come time for the class to start.

I know it’s not exactly a fun proposition, suggesting to do school work when you don’t have to. It’s not my idea of a rollickin’ good time, either. But I find that if I read on my own time, I’m way more likely to enjoy, understand, and retain the material than when I’m spreading myself thin trying to read six different books and articles at any given point between Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening. As a writing major, my classes require me to juggle gigantic amounts of reading in a very short span of time and then write multiple papers on each. Admitting my shortcomings, I’m more likely to either read on time or write on time, and since I like to be present and aware during class discussion I’m more likely to complete a reading assignment than a written one, which can seriously deplete my grades. Reading these all ahead of time, taking notes, and just revisting the material and reviewing later, I am more confident in class conversations and more able to handle the written assignments and their correct due dates.

  • Network. Network, network, network. Hanging out with friends is fun and awesome, but meeting people who can help you find new experience and open new doors for you is a vital step in surviving the post-college job search. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities, apply for internships, ask professional acquaintances for connections to other people who are similar to you in personality, drive, and passion. Like minded people challenge one another and can often help give the other a hand up, but it’s also greatly beneficial to experience something you would not normally particpate in. Observe how others get things done and note the differences between your idea and the reality.
  • Take risks. Think that job is too out of reach for you? That internship too competetive and you don’t have the edge? Go for it anyway. The worst that can happen is they say no — and if they do, use it as a learning experience. Inquire as to what kind of candidate they are searching for and where you fell short. You can use this to assess yourself as well as realistically obtain a glimpse at which positions require which prerequisites.
  • Step out of your shell. This past year I took my 90-year-old great uncle to his high school reunion. I witnessed the reunion of highschool sweet hearts separated by World War II. All these years later, though both have suffered through illness and both experience dementia, they recognize one another. They still remember their feelings from when they were teenagers in love. At that same reunion I met the daughter of another of their classmates, and we sat across from one another. I was lucky enough to converse with her for nearly three quarters of an hour and we exchanged information. She was a graphic designer and writer, and I, a fledgling blogger with a passion for mythology. If I had stayed in my car and done homework like I had intended rather than join in the reunion and socialize, I never would have witnessed such inspiring interaction or made a new connection in the industry I someday hope to influence.

Every day that you have off is a day to do something extraordinary and change your life. From making a to-do list full of errands and chores and checking each off as the day goes on, to preparing yourself for your upcoming semester, or to launching yourself into a network of professional and friendly connections who will assist you get into a job you don’t hate — or better — a job you love. No matter what you do, take a relaxing day of chilling in the shade with an iced lemonade and a nice breeze, and then take the next day to work yourself to your next goal.

You can do this. You can work your way to making your life easier by spreading out the workload and ensuring you have plenty of time to achieve your goals– and still manage to have a good time in the hot sun. Don’t check out and head to Bunbury just yet, you still have time for work and play. Good luck, and great summer!

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EXP needed to Level Up

by Jenn Carr on June 5, 2014

level up

I am, and always have been, a writer. Storytelling has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been aware of my surroundings. From the campfire stories of “Jenny and the Haunted House” that I forced my brother’s fellow boy scouts to endure on the family-and-troop trip, to my god-awful poetry, to fanfiction and original stories, I have had an impulse to write, write, write. Due to this, my ideal job (aside from a few wistful moments of wishing to be a rock star or a movie star or a 14-year old billionaire babysitter with a multicolored limo) was that of novelist. I dreamed of being a reclusive genius, stuck inside at a typewriter or huddled in a corner of an obscure coffee shop with a notebook and a litany of published titles. I soon learned to indulge my storytelling through role-playing games both online and off. Games like Dungeons & Dragons, though they have a bad reputation as games of the basement-dwelling socially inept nerds, is a prime example of a way to provide a creative outlet for storytelling and team work. There are as many editions, modules, settings, campaigns, and adventures as you can imagine– and if somehow it hasn’t been made, YOU can make it with some simple mechanics. The only limit is the imagination of you and your party. I started playing in high school, and I never stopped.

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In high school, I took as many English writing-based electives as I could, and I joined the Creative Writing Club which I later inherited as president. When college rolled around, I was less sure. I had lost confidence in myself as a writer, I was faltering because I wasn’t sure how I could use my passion for writing and my other very many passions in a career of plot-twists and publishing deadlines. Mostly, I was worried about my daughter, whom I now had first and foremost on my mind. I didn’t think that I could actually write and make a living off of it. I spent two years as an “undecided” major, even though I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree in English (with a hopeful dual or minor in untitledanthropology as well). Those two years, I spent hammering away at my core classes. When junior year finally rolled around I declared myself an English major with a concentration in Writing. I knew that my passion for writing would overwhelm any other more “practical” degree and that I would be happiest with the extra experience in written communication and edification through literature and studies.

[Note: I strongly suggest you don't take ALL your core classes in your first two years. Generally speaking, your major requirements will be not only higher-level but higher-pressure. You'll need to spend more time and energy on those classes, so spacing them out with easier, lower-level classes of cores is a good way to balance out your schedule. Declare as early as you're confident doing so and then just get the requirements done as you go.]

When friends of mine started up a blog for ladies who love being geeks, I jumped on board. I’m now a gaming contributor philosoraptorover at the Daily Geekette, which gave me experience in both writing blogs and promoting them. With the experience that I have, I was able to apply for this job– just a blogger for my school community. Now I’m sitting behind a computer, baffled that I have a job and an internship in writing— I’m making a name for myself, gaining experience, and learning as much as I can which will allow for future career possibilities. This is what college is for. It’s not just classroom tests, but real world experience to. Once you get that diploma, you’re just beginning a new level. The EXP you need to level up? You gain from classes, internships, and networking. So get on it! Push your expectations and see what you can do.

work exp

*EXP means “Experience points– a way that one gains levels in many games.
Gaming really isn’t that far from real life, after all.

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Happy Summer!

by Jenn Carr on May 27, 2014

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Hey, BSU!

 

Another year has just wrapped. Finals are over, ink has dried, grades have been posted and summer has (unofficially) begun. I hope everyone’s Memorial Day was safe and happy and reverent to those who serve and protect. My name’s Jenn and I’m taking the reigns as predecessor to the wonderful Melanie, who did a fantastic job as editor for the blog and who is, as you all know, among the most recent of BSU graduates!

It goes without saying that our newest alumni are heading off into the world with a great education and a community of faculty and classmates who will dearly miss their company and contributions to our school. Many of you graduates are good friends of mine, and it pains me to see you leave, but I am so proud of you and happy for you that you have earned that diploma, crossed that stage, and walked off not as an undergraduate student, but a graduate. You have worked hard through tests and essays, labs and papers, sunshine and rain. We have survived some pretty big bumps in the road as a community, and have supported one another.From Homecoming to Spingfest, year after year, BSU has been a place of education, entertainment, and camaraderie. With the guidance of professors and the help of so many, it has come time for many of you to venture on into the “real” world, be that the job-search or grad school. Congratulations, bravo, and good luck to all of you. I’ll be missing quite a few of you personally, and as a community we’ll miss your presence. I know you’ll make waves out there and represent our school as wonderful examples of the alumni we are so proud of.

                                                David W oliveira

 

 

As for me…
I’ve been at BSU since fall of 2010, and I haven’t quite reached that stage. I have a four year old little girl who is the delight of my existence, and I have recently begun an internship at an event planning company based in New Jersey. 10264848_1451182701789395_2220301425926391485_nI’m an English major with a writing concentration and a heavy focus on folklore and mythology. Anthropology is a hugely fascinating subject to me, and the intersection of Literature and Anthro includes the history and meaning of folk tales, faerie tales and mythologies. I absolutely love to learn and can’t wait to work with the blogging team this autumn to hear everything they have to say, and what YOU have to say. I’ll be posting a quick blog every week this summer to update you not only on the progress of the blog, but also anything of note going on! You can reach me over at Facebook and Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

I’m going to be working through the summer to archive, organize, and relaunch the blog for this coming fall semester, and I’m ecstatic to be on the job. Over the past week I’ve been working pretty exclusively on the archival processs, and I’ll be preparing for the impending reorganization and relaunch. Rather than remaining the “RCCBlog”, we’re turning into the blog of BSULife, the media and marketing brand of Bridgewater State that encompasses all our

BSULife Departmentsamazing departments.  We are the Print Shop, Radio WBIM, The Comment, this Blog, the Design team, and the Video team.  We are working together and hope to capture the spirit of BSU life and make it accessible to everyone– commuters, residents, faculty and staff, prospective students and alumni, and families. In an effort to relate to each of you, we encourage you to comment on and discuss the materials we contribute, and share your stories and experiences so we can relay your voice and make it heard. If there’s any particular story you want us to focus on, send in your suggestions to my email at j2carr@student.bridgw.edu with the title “BSULife Suggestion” and I’ll review it with my team. Our goal is to connect with you, and connect you with your community. We are all Bridgewater State University, and we are looking to capture BSU Life as it is and as we make it

 

 

bristaco So I wish for you a safe, relaxing, summer. I hope that these few months will refresh you and prepare you for the new semester, and that you experience the best break you possibly can. I’ll be here with Bristaco and the summer sessions, so if ever you want to pop in on the blog I’ll endeavor to entertain and inform in the interim. Aside from that, go, have fun, congratulations to those outgoing alumni and rest up for our returning students.

Happy Summer, see you next Fall!

 

 

Did you know that you can submit your work as a guest blogger to RCCBlog/BSU Life?
If you have something you would like to contribute, please contact Jenn Carr at the above email and she’ll get back to your promptly. All blog posts will be reviewed, edited, and approved before publishing. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and contributions!

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