Archives by Month: August 2012

A Realistic Dorm Essentials List

1. Nerf gun(s)

A plurality of these would be the safest choice. The possibilities are just endless. You’ll need one for zombies vs. aliens during JanPlan, too. #yolo

2. HDMI cord

Seems pretty trivial, but you’ll be hurting without one. If you go ahead and decide to watch the best TV series of all time (LOST.. duh) on Netflix during your free time, this is a must have. Also pretty great for playing music through your TV for, say, Loudness. Or any weekend, really.

3. Coffee Mug

For those brutal 9 AM or, god forbid, 8 AM classes, one of these is essential. It also comes in handy for writing that essay you left to the last minute at 3 AM. And not to mention is great for the environment

4. A Sleeping Bag

Probably the most essential thing on here. You’ll use it. A lot.

5. Playing Cards

There are many, many uses for these.

6. Easy Mac

I lied. This is totally the most essential thing on the list. Running out is just.. well, terrible. #collegeproblems

7. Posters

As long as it isn’t a Yankees poster you should be good to go.

8. Flannel

You go to school in Maine. Did you really think you were going to get by without bringing some?

 

-Nick

 

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My Planning Problem

Although I pretty much have my academic future mapped out for me in terms of classes, I started out in pretty rough shape. Freshman year I managed to take about five classes for their requirements that ended up meaning absolutely nothing later, as I had fulfilled those requirements in a different way. Colby recommends getting all of these required areas out of the way as soon as you can, but I would recommend to do the opposite, especially if you have at least some vague idea of what you might want to major in. I guess the point of taking these distribution requirements as a freshman is so it either gives you an idea of what you want to study in the future, or reinforces the current choice you’ve made. Which, I guess, is a legitimate reason for Colby wanting us to take them as soon as we can. But in my experience, most people end up grabbing most of those required areas by default by the time they graduate: either by taking a fun looking JanPlan, some course in your major that somehow fits another requirement, or a course outside your major as a prerequisite for a class within your field of study.

 

I remember back to that day in August when I saw that courses for incoming freshman opened up and I only had a couple weeks to choose: I was completely overwhelmed. So, since I had no idea what I was going to study at the time, I thought it would be best to just take classes within the required areas. A quick sampling of the classes I ended up taking over the course of the entire year: Single Variable Calc, Intro Sociology, and a JanPlan course called News Literacy. Calc seemed like a wonderful way to fulfill the quantitative requirement, right? Well, considering I’m now a Computer Science major/minor.. probably not. I took Sociology for the domestic diversity requirement.. and I’m a gov major taking all domestic politics classes. Smart again. News Literacy was an amazing JanPlan that I thought would go towards my government major, but never checked the department website to see that it in fact didn’t.

 

So, the bottom line here is to not panic too much about getting rid of the required areas. They’re easy. If you needed to, you could probably save them all until senior year, in theory. But like I said before, you’ll definitely be fulfilling most of them just because you need an extra course or something. If I was a freshman again, I’d merely take the four classes that look the most interesting to me and pay no heed to the various areas. Right now, I’m a gov major with a computer science minor, hoping to turn the minor into a major and possibly do honors projects for both. While I think I’ll end up being able to cram both of them in, (barely) I definitely wish those few seemingly unimportant course choices freshman year went a little bit differently. That would mean my schedule could be a bit lighter senior year, there’d be less uncertainty as to if I can fit my major or not, more freedom deciding to go abroad and maybe I’d have a couple more hours at senior pub night next year.

 

Nick

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Getting Ready for Fall as an Incoming Freshman

For any of you who are incoming freshmen to Colby, you guys are almost there! I think two weeks or so remain until that week of orientation and COOT and such. To get ready there are probably three things you can do: shop for dorm supplies, pick classes, and buy textbooks. Next week I’ll take about the former two, however I though I’d touch on books for now. Buying textbooks can be sorta complicated at first if you don’t know where to look, but the most important thing to know is.. don’t buy from the Colby bookstore! I wholeheartedly love and support the Colby bookstore for everything except textbooks. (They have the coolest stuff.. Colby gear is cooler than ANY other school’s gear. Especially Bowdoin. Black and white? Nice colors guys #colbyisbetter)

For a normal semester, you’re going to be down at least 500 bucks after you gather your light reads for the semester from the bookstore. If you’re lazy or just don’t want to deal with dropping classes and having to return books online, then the bookstore would indeed be the way to go for you. But what I usually do is go through Amazon – I never really figured out how to get Amazon Prime/Student but manage to get a pretty good savings anyways. The books aren’t brand new, but if you’re trying to save some money (i.e. every college student everywhere) it definitely helps. This is probably more helpful if you’re set on the classes you’re taking: if you don’t know exactly what your schedule is like, you’re probably better off buying books from the bookstore where you can return them after a period of time free of charge.

Also, a word of advice that probably isn’t what any of you parents might want to hear: decide if you’re actually going to do the readings or not for certain classes. This is probably better advice after you’ve been at Colby for a bit, and as a freshman I would recommend just buying all the books you need. Plus, going into freshman year with the mindset that you’re not going to blow off all of the readings is usually a good thing. That being said, once you’ve taken a couple classes at Colby, you might know for which classes the readings are more.. necessary or not. Since I’m entering my junior year at Colby, I know what I’m studying and thus most of the classes I am taking I have either had that professor before or heard a lot about them. While I do honestly do a good amount of my readings, I think you’ll find that it is actually impossible to do every reading ever throughout your college career. You simply don’t have enough time in your schedule. So, you need to sift it out a bit.

See you next week,

Nick

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The End of a Colby Summer

So summer at Colby is finally over. After I get done with work today (a bit early, perhaps) I’ll be heading over to AMS to put all my fall stuff in the trunk room. While it seems like a terrible task, (and it kinda is) it’s actually a ton of fun getting ready for the fall already. I have most of my stuff for my room next year packed up and ready, and it’ll all be up at Colby for me once I come up in early September. I still have a month to go, though, where I’ll be working at my local restaurant – trying to get up some money for going abroad to Sydney among other things. While I’m going to do the usual back to school shopping and stuff, for the most part I’m ready. My stuff will be in the trunk room, my classes are chosen and I should be officially enrolled in them sometime soon, and everything else is squared away. That being said, I still have to do all my abroad forms – which is definitely going to take most of the month. I need to get a ton of complicated forms that I don’t understand notarized, signed, stamped, and whatever official business needs to be done with them. I also have to get health insurance figured out, and apply for a student visa.. I think. I don’t really know. Should I? Oh well.

While summer at Colby has been a lot of fun and definitely a great experience, it will be a huge relief to have everything go back to normal in the fall. I’m looking forward to campus being it’s usual busy, bustling self and am even excited about studying and writing papers. Above anything, being a junior and all my friends and I turning 21 is going to be an experience, although not seeing people for an entire semester or a whole year while they’re studying abroad will be weird. But everyone coming back together for our last year is going to be wicked sick. I’m pretty excited. And it seems weird, but one thing I constantly keep looking forward to is my 2012 election class – I get so pumped about elections in general and taking a class on it is going to be just amazing. I could literally go to that class for ten hours a day.

- Nick

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