Bridgewater State College

It’s time-consuming to do and takes even longer to prepare for, it’s a huge portion of your grade, and it’s something you’ll probably do numerous times throughout your college the career: the research paper. But it doesn’t have to be something to dread. Whether you are a seasoned college writer or just starting out, here are some tips to make it a smooth experience.

DO: Talk to your professor.

Every professor has different standards and expectations tailored specifically to the assignment or subject that you are writing about, so it’s important to find out exactly what he or she wants. Professors are usually more than willing to guide you in the right direction with your topic if you reach out to them. And it’s definitely better than finding out later that you have to start over!

DON’T: Wait until the night before.

It can sometimes take a surprisingly long time to find the resources that you need. It may take hours of online searching or pulling books off of shelves in the library. And don’t forget: once you finally have your resources, you still need to read them and find what applies to your paper. It will help you feel a lot less pressure if you start your research a week or two in advance so that you will know exactly what to include in your essay.

DO: Narrow down your topic.

After collecting your sources and reading what other scholars have to say about your topic, this often makes it much easier to shape your own opinion. Make sure that your thesis statement does more than make an observation; tell what the significance is of that observation.

DON’T: Work in a distracting place.

Some need complete quiet to focus on assignments that require a lot of thought; others like to have some background noise and find that this actually helps them to prevent their mind from wandering. It’s all about what works best for you. So do a little experimenting, and either find that comfy seat in Maxwell, or a place where your favorite music is playing.

DO: Cite your sources… in the RIGHT format.

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and even if you simply forget to cite, you could wind up with a zero. It’s better not to take the risk. Remember to also arrange your paper correctly, whether it’s in MLA or APA format. That way, you won’t lose any points for a technicality!

DON’T: Forget to proofread.

It’s usually such a relief to finish your paper, that the last thing you would want to do is proofread. Yet sometimes it can be surprising just how many mistakes we miss while we’re writing in the zone. It pays to look it over, even if you have to wait until the next morning when your mind is fresh again or to ask a friend.

Students can sometimes get overwhelmed by the enormity of a research paper, but if you break it down into manageable steps, it won’t be as stressful.

What are your best tips for research papers? What has or hasn’t worked for you in the past?

{ 0 comments }

Spring break: The time of year every college student looks forward to. A break from the norm, a time to rest the brain and have some fun. But many students are finding that their friends’ colleges hold spring break a week after Bridgewater. How can you keep yourself entertained, without going overboard on getting ahead with homework? Three words: take a vacation! Where to, you ask? Here are the top spring break destinations, not according to the news, but according to the most frequently mentioned destinations I have heard people mention across campus.

Florida

You may hear everyone say “I’m going to Florida!” and groan because it seems like everyone is going there, and at one time I was one of those people. Florida is really a wonderful place to take a vacation. Every time you return, you discover something new! There’s something for everyone! Some may prefer to visit the city of Orlando. There, you have a range of possibilities to keep you entertained, from visiting theme parks such as Disney, to living the night life through venues such as Margaritaville, Hard Rock Café, and Pat O’ Brians.

If the city is not your thing, you may be inclined to tour other destinations, such as Daytona Beach. The city even hosts events specifically for spring break, such as beach sports, deep sea fishing, jet skiing, surfing, paddle-boarding and parasailing. Also, Daytona offers other year-round attractions such as the Daytona International Speedway. You can even relax in the remote areas such as Cocoa Beach. Set off from the main beat of the city, and the setting for the show I Dream of Jeannie, Cocoa beach has much to offer, including the Kennedy Space Center and the surf company Ron Jon Surf Shop.

Colorado

If the travel expenses to Florida don’t appeal to you, Colorado seems to be another location hitting the right notes. Plus it is a top skiing location, not just for Bridgewater students, but for people around the globe. Deep in the heart of the Rockies, ski season in Colorado lasts from late November to early April. Some popular ski spots include Aspen Mountain (which is famous for its steep slopes) Cooper Mountain (for all ski levels) Crested Butte (famous for non-commercial skiing), Howelsen (where some Olympic athletes have trained), Silverton Mountain (which includes difficult slopes for more advanced skiing), and Vail (featuring over seven miles of skiable terrain. For the adrenalin junkie, there is heliskiing, where skiers and snowboarders venture of off-the-beaten-path that are only accessible by helicopter and ride down rough terrain.  Silverton and Telluride are the only two resorts that offer heliskiing.

Vermont

For some, Colorado may be too far or expensive to travel. Another popular destination during Spring Break is Vermont. Often referred to as New England’s Winter Playground, Vermont is the center for a lot of your winter recreation needs. You may wish to ski and visit places such as The Vermont Ski Museum. Or, you may prefer skiing, skating and snowshoeing at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort.Or, even if you don’t like to ski at all, you can enjoy the wonderful scenery of Vermont through snowmobiling, taking a sleigh ride, sledding, an visiting sugarhouses, where maple syrup is made.

California

With spring break hot spots like San Diego and Los Angeles, if you have the few extra bucks, it makes for a lovely vacation. With various climates in California it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. From Yosemite National Park to Disneyland, the possibility of running into a movie star or two, beaches and shopping are only several reasons why California is a big draw. In San Francisco,  travel to Alcatraz, Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, or Pier 39.

 

Where are you traveling for Spring Break? Are you going to any of the places listed in this post?

Vail

  • Vail features over seven miles of skiable terrain including seven back bowls and three terrain parks.

3. Vermont

If the travel expenses to Florida don’t appeal to you, you can always head up to Vermont for some spring break skiing.

{ 0 comments }

Spring break is quickly approaching. Many people are gearing up for their trips across country, down to Florida, or heading to some other warm tropical location. For those of you who apply to that category I am endlessly jealous. For the rest of us stuck in New England for our spring break, I feel your pain. Yet, if you are like me you are CONVINCED that you will find some remnants of fun and relaxation in our current not-so tropical climate.

Here are a couple ideas for those spending their spring break at home:

Skiing/Boarding Trips:If it has to be winter a little longer, we might as well enjoy it. Gather up a few friends and head up North for the day or the weekend. There are tons of cottages and ski resorts to visit. If you are a skier or snowboarder, or just want to learn something new, why not take advantage of the break and go hit the slopes. With a college schedule, we never really have time to get away, it’s our one week off before summer, and even if it is just New Hampshire or Maine, it’s a change of scenery that is probably needed at this point in the semester.

Head into the City:

We are so close to Boston, and yet even when I am there I often feel like a tourist. I just never get the chance to visit enough to completely know my way around.  On a decently warm day head into Boston. You can take the T in from campus or just drive in, park for the day and walk around the city. There are tons of places to eat along Faneuil Hall or the North End. Spend the day shopping down at Downtown Crossing or walk around Boston Common. Go ice skating at the Frog Pond. You could even splurge and go see a Bruins or Celtics game while in town. There is always a ton to do while you’re visiting, and a trip into Boston could definitely cure you of some at home boredom.

If All Else Fails-Work:

While it is certainly not the most fun thing you could do, it might make you feel better heading back to school with a few extra bucks. Check with your work and see if you could have a few extra hours the week of spring break. It may serve as a good distraction from not being away, and at least you’ll be making money. Some places offer temporary help so that’s something you could also look into!

Be Lazy Without Feeling Guilty:

On days you skip class, or call into work for no apparent reason, there is always the slight guilt factor. At the back of your mind you keep thinking of the laundry list of things that you should be doing with your newly allotted time. Yet, spring break is guilt free. You have been given this entire week to do with it whatever you choose. If that means sit on the couch for six hours watching lifetime movies you’ve already seen- so be it. School work will be there when you get back to school, take this time for you to relax, destress, and anticipate that summer is just around the corner!

Check Things off That Mental To-Do List:

I make a to-do list every week of things I somehow need to miraculously accomplish by the week’s end. If I write them down on paper it makes me feel more inclined to actually do them. Yet, there are other to-do lists we each mentally keep in our heads. “The things we know we should do” to-do list. This list is the things that we can survive without doing, so we put them off.

It’s the mental thought of “I really should clean out my closet” or “I really should go visit my Grandmother” or “I really should get my car washed”. These are the things we constantly think we should be doing but think of excuses why not to. GET SOME OF THESE DONE!! We have a full week with nothing planned, why not ease up on our conscience and accomplish some of the things always at the back of our mind.

Enjoy It:

Even though you are at home for the break, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate the time away from school any less. Everyone needs a break, some time away, and a little mental regrouping before the rest of the semester. After spring break, summer is just around the corner, and certainly no one has any complaints about that!

What are you doing for spring break? What are some other ideas for a fun spring break at home?

{ 1 comment }