Category Archives: Academics

InsideLook: Independent Study

As promised – the  insides of an independent study. Last time on insideColby we took you on a never-before-seen-tour of the independent study. 250 words. 1 professor. 1 student. Welcome to the Octagon.

So what does an independent study entail? Having taken one independent study for each my major and minor, I have a bit of perspective on what they can be for liberal arts or economics. You’ll have to ask someone else about science.

Right now, I am in an independent study for my administrative science minor (the department has since been renamed managerial economics). For my independent study, I am essentially creating both the formal business plan and the Kickstarter campaign for my family’s jam business, Bleuberet. The great thing about this is that it is not just a giant research paper that may have no bearing on the real world. I am actually creating a tangible deliverable for a/our family business.

Because I am taking this independent study for four credits as one whole class, my final requirement is a 40 page paper. It will encompass the business plan as a whole, a strong focus on an overall marketing plan, a specific Kickstarter plan to be run in the next few months and financial projections.

Every few weeks this semester I have met with my professor to discuss what I am working on. This has meant creating an outline or template for a specific part of the plan in some cases, or developing a Powerpoint deck of the capital expenditures the company needs to raise money for through a Kickstarter campaign.

While the project is essentially as simply formatted as it sounds, it is not something for those who want to take a break. Yes, I do not have formal classtime or any grades due throughout the semester. However, there is a 40 page paper looming. You have to have done your research, compiled your data, and have a strong idea of how you will fill 40 pages – because that is a lot of pages. Of course, if you take a third class and an IS, you can always make the class worth 1 or 2 or 3 credits, in which case the paper will not be as lengthy. As it is essentially designed by the student for the student, you can essentially do whatever you’d like within the guidelines. It’s a pretty cool transition from the classroom to the real world.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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Independent Studies

A great little secret to finishing your major at Colby is taking or creating an independent study. As the school is small, the faculty for each major is also fairly concentrated. While the professors are great, they only have so much time to teach certain classes. Most of the time, they’re either interesting to you, or they are required to finish the major.

What if you’ve finished your requirements, but not your major or minor, and you’re looking for something a little bit outside of the range of what’s being offered in a given semester? Take an independent study. It’s certainly a bit harder than just signing up for a class. You have to be interested enough in a topic to bring it to a professor and create a class out of it. You also have to know what you’re getting into. First, you need to convince your professor that your topic is intriguing enough to you and relevant enough to them to happen. Then, you need submit a request to the registrar for an independent study.

The absurd thing about this is that you have approximately 250 characters or something of the like to explain your independent study. That’s characters. Not words. For the independent study that I’m in now I thought it was 250 words. I made sure to write a concise essay hitting all the points I would cover in my independent study. When I copy/pasted it into the submission box, only two sentences copied over. What I thought was already pretty concise became a serious exercise in reduction. Luckily, I passed through the submission gates and was allowed to do the independent study this spring.

Next time, I’ll take you inside the actual specifics of the independent study.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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Time for Football Class

This semester I’m taking a course called “The Cultural Work of American Football.” Most of the students in the class are avid football enthusiasts. They watch the game regularly, understand the rules, and know most major team players. However, there is one student that is not that into football and honestly just doesn’t get what the hype is all about. And that student would be me. (Sorry, dad.)

So why did I even take this class? To bring my confused and dazed opinions of the game to the table?

No – I took this class to try to understand why football is the most popular sport in America. Why is the Super Bowl such a big deal? Why are football players celebrated like heroes? How did football take over baseball as the most watched sport?

So far, the class is awesome. We talk a lot about the growth of football through rule changes, media, coaching styles, and race dynamics. We explore the way that football has constructed a certain type of masculinity and femininity. We discuss the ways in which box seating, mascots, cheerleaders, ESPN, and stadiums have all changed the game into one of entertainment. We question how the violence that is displayed in football is accepted and cheered on only in the context of the game.

We’ve watched two movies: Any Given Sunday and Brian’s Song. We’ve read two books: Brand NFL and Out of Their League. We’ve read countless articles from sources like sociology journals and Forbes. We’ve viewed multiple YouTube clips.

Through this class, I’m slowly starting to understand more about the power and attractiveness of football. I don’t think that I will rushing out to buy a Tom Brady jersey anytime soon, but I might just watch more than the commercials at next years Super Bowl … (baby steps).

About Meg

Before moving to "The Hill," I grew up in the quiet farm town of Princeton, Mass. Whether I'm making a brownie sundae at Dana, running through the streets of Waterville, or sunbathing with friends on the quad, I love everything about Colby, but some of my favorites are the flatbread pizzas at Bobs, yoga classes at the athletic center, and Miller Library's comfortable chairs. I spend time running track, visiting my CCAK buddy, and writing for insideColby.
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The Quote Index

Since we’re on the self-improvement grind this week, I figure I can go into another way I’m trying to do some cool stuff. First, I must digress, so I can regress back into what I’ll be talking about. This summer, I started listening to Tim Ferriss podcasts. He is the author of the 4-Hour books you may have heard of before. After listening to these podcasts, I realized he’s a pretty smart and pretty well connected dude. Today, I’ll be focusing on one thing in specific I learned from him that I have started to try and implement.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I’m attempting to read 30-50 pages in a book per day. It can get pretty tough, so I find myself switching between 3 books. But how do I keep track of all the knowledge I’m learning if I’m switching between books day to day or hour to hour you might ask. Well, that’s where Tim Ferriss comes in. He is according to himself, an avid journal-er and note taker. While I’m not taking in-depth notes on everything I read about, I purchased a little journal at Wal-mart for $0.88 the other day and write in quotes or paraphrase quotes that I find interesting or extremely resonating. I have a little index in the back of the book so I can decipher where each quote has come from and what pages different books are quoted on. I have an acronym for each book that I list next to the quote throughout the journal and if I ever forget what book it’s from I can just go to the back. If I’m lucky, some of the knowledge will sink in. If I’m not, then I guess I have a resource I can go back and look at now. Thanks Tim!

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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No class today! Welcome to Maine~

First time since January 9, 1998, Colby will be closed because of the weather. Though I’m pretty happy about not having class today and have a break after 2 hours of basketball yesterday, I do want to go and watch Selma.

Our class is supposed to go and watch Selma together at 2:30pm. However, because of the weather, it’s cancelled :( For the class discussion, I even prepared 6 questions for the film, Selma. Nevermind, I’m sure I will go and watch it during weekends!!

The photo attached is the view of my room. I didn’t close the window, so I could actually feel the strong wind and snow splashed on my face.  I immediately close the window.

I wish I could take a better photo of the snow and the wind, but I’m too lazy and too scared of walking out of Hillside. My neighbours went for breakfast this morning, and they said it was horrible. Haha, I guess I’d better stay indoor for the whole day today!

About Stephanie

I am a freshman at Colby College, originally from Hong Kong. For the last two years of high school, I studied at Li Po Chun United World College (LPCUWC). I am very interested in economics and economic policy. Presumably, it will be my major. Living in a business hub since I was born, I am always very curious about how international and local businesses find opportunities in a tiny city. Music is very important in my life, too. I have been playing piano since I was four and I also play the clarinet. I wish to learn Jazz piano at Colby and the professors here are amazing.
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Mindfulness Retreat

Boy am I giddy! My mindfulness and meditation class is wrapping up this coming week and we are “going on a retreat.” Mind you, a real retreat would have us at a zendo in the country – or maybe even city – side, but we are going to make due with the Rose Chapel to the side of the church/chapel on campus. Can’t complain, although I’m a little worried. Doing anything for seven hours is a stretch, especially being mindful and/or attempting to meditate on everything I do, including eating my lunch in silence. (Cold anandama bagels with vegetable cream cheese is as emotionally damaging as watching bugs die on your windshield).

Our schedule is basically as follows: We arrive at our normal time on Monday at 9 am and then we leave at 4 pm. Between then, we are integrating everything we have learned over Jan Plan, will eat a mindful lunch in silence, and will go for a mindful walk in the arboretum. Beyond that, I have no idea what lies in wait.

While the voice in my head is pretty against doing this, I know that it’s the exact same voice that tells me to not run another sprint, to not take another hour to study. It’s the voice that looks for comfort, but I’m hoping that doing something like this will make meditating and being mindful on my own a little easier. The longer and harder something is, the easier it makes smaller things, or some generalization like that. Either way, guess we’ll see what happens.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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A Little Informal Meditation

At this point, I suppose an update on how my Jan Plan class, Mindfulness and Meditation, is going is not only wanted, but needed. For this post, I’m going to focus on the meditation half of mindfulness, but of course, they are somewhat one in the same. But, I diverge – today we shall talk of informal meditation. Perhaps you have an idea of meditation. You can imagine what it entails and a vague notion of what you’re supposed to do. You might imagine some yogi, guru or zen master sitting in a full lotus position, free from all troubles in the world. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but you also wouldn’t be entirely right. That notion would be of sitting meditation which is formal and pretty much all that I had done up to taking this class.

But there is also informal meditation, which seeks to bring the practice of meditation from sitting cross-legged out into the world. Learning about this was great because prior to the clas I thought I could only really meditate while sitting on a meditation cushion and pad (zafu and zabuton). The second I left the cushion, I would be back into thinking my thoughts and making judgements about everything. With informal meditation though, I can now find a way to break through those thoughts and find a meditation in most moments of the day.

There are a couple great ways to do this, but the one our class was introduced to on the first day is my favorite informal meditation. We sit and drink a cup of tea. During this time we slowly sip some hot tea, look at the cup, inhale its smells, feel the heat of the cup on our hands and seek to truly enjoy drinking a cup of tea for all that it is. I think it is the process of making an everyday thing that we usually take for granted and turning it into a ritual that makes it profoundly enjoyable.

But it doesn’t have to be a cup of tea. It can be eating a meal in silence or walking to and from the library. And now for my plug of Colby College – walking around in silence, the campus becomes beautiful for its trees, the geometry of its buildings and the memories that each area evokes over my four years here. I know it sounds corny, but I think we could all use a little informal meditation to actually appreciate what is around us on this campus, even when it feels like the tundra.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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What is Jan Plan?

After 3 weeks of heaven in Hong Kong, Im back here in Colby College, my another home:)

I took 20th Century Cros  Prison Culture. I took this class because it sounds interesting and it fulfils my literature requirement. Because I arrived late, I had to do 2 extra essays for that week.

Pros and Cons about Jan Plan

Pros:

First, since you are only focusing on one course, so you can devote more time on it. Second, if you choose courses such as Jazz improvisation, you can really develop some practical skills within a month! and if your course is not that demanding, you have a lot of time to play winter sports! The weather is perfect for ice skating in Johnson’s Pond as well haha!

Cons:

However, it might get a little bit redundant after the first week since you are having the same class EVERYDAY. Also, there are quite a lot of readings and writings because its an intensive course.

I would say whether or not you like Jan Plan depends on what type of person you are. I enjoy my class a lot, but  Choose something that you are really passionate about would be my advice.

About Stephanie

I am a freshman at Colby College, originally from Hong Kong. For the last two years of high school, I studied at Li Po Chun United World College (LPCUWC). I am very interested in economics and economic policy. Presumably, it will be my major. Living in a business hub since I was born, I am always very curious about how international and local businesses find opportunities in a tiny city. Music is very important in my life, too. I have been playing piano since I was four and I also play the clarinet. I wish to learn Jazz piano at Colby and the professors here are amazing.
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Midterms are over!

Midterm exams are over!

The air seems cleaner and the sky brighter (despite the sun setting at 4:30 everyday). The days until finals are ticking down steadily, but for now the stifling atmosphere is dissipating.  Unfortunately, my lowest midterm grade was a C so I can rest at (some intermediate) peace. Exams are quite gut-wrenching for me. Mostly because my idea of “studying” is to look over my notes for 6 hours straight before an exam. Though spacing would be more effective, my stubborn mind refuses to believe it. No matter the exam, I always feel like I did terribly. Sometimes my meta-cognition is wrong and I do much better than I thought I did. Unfortunately, most of the time I have a tendency to overestimate my abilities and do worse (hence my C). Either way my meta-cognition is far from pinpoint. My C was in chemistry. Having my grade be the same letter that the subjects starts with seems like a cruel joke. Scoring below the class average was not how I expected my college coursework to turn out. I huff and puff my concerns, but nothing comes of it. All I can do is try spacing out for my next chemistry exam.

Except my next exam is in three days and I haven’t studied at all. I really hope the past isn’t fated to repeat itself. Maybe I can still ace finals?

Huh? That’s weird the sky seems to be getting darker as I type this and the air more stale.

About Tanvir

I am a first year student interested in the biological sciences. In addition to being a blogger, I am a research assistant in the biology department and a writer for the Colby Echo. In my free time I play table tennis and billiards. As someone born and raised in New York City, Colby College is a change of pace that I look forward to experience these next four years. My long term goals include completing a novel, becoming a physician and being a professor. My goals may be lofty but your moral support will help me reach them. So, Thanks for reading.
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Teaching For America

This evening I attended a panel hosted by the Colby Club “Students For Education Reform” on Teach For America. The series of events that led up to my attendance was both somewhat convoluted and yet supposedly not too out of the ordinary.

I have always found the thought of teaching to be exciting. I love interacting with people, talking about the books I’m reading, or now with technology (it’s the future) podcasts and sharing exciting and interesting information. Over the years I have seen a few kids go into Teach For America, and everytime I hear they have chosen to do so, I think about how great it would be to do something impactful – teaching kids who may not have had the same opportunities I was lucky enough to be given.

Of course, at this juncture, every criticism of TFA can and will be launched. I am young, have not taught, am not an education major, and perhaps my neo-liberal outlook is an unacceptable forcing of some agenda or other. And perhaps these criticisms are fair, but over the past few weeks, I have had a chance to really learn about the program and to be honest, at the very least, there are passionate people who have seen a problem and are doing their very best with the data they have to solve the broken education system in our own backyard.

The panel this evening consisted of one former TFA teacher and current TFA employee, one former TFA student and future TFA teacher, and the girl who runs Students for Education Reform. There were some critical questions that dealt with the issues I just brought up above and the answers were well-rounded and of course stressed what TFA is and what TFA isn’t.

I personally can say that after hearing the questions, which concerned budgets, lack of experience, teacher turnover and the like that I will still be applying. With a big mission to improve education, TFA’s goal seems to be to make people interested in improving the lives of children and lifelong education, and that includes both lifelong teachers and yet many more people outside the classroom in policy, healthcare, nutrition and resources that also create a student education beyond just sitting in a class. There will always be critiques, but as perhaps a lone blogger voice, it appears TFA is aimed in the right direction.

About Jeb Waters

I'm a philosophy major and administrative science minor from Hancock, Maine. I play on the varsity lacrosse team, am the director of operations of the student-run investment fund Mayflower Hill Capital, and I run the school's satire paper. This summer, I worked in business development for my family's artisan jam company, Blueberet.
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