My finals ended on Thursday night and I believe I did pretty well on all of my finals. After the final was over, a bunch of us watched movies, played Guild Wars, and just relaxed into the early hours of the morning. It was a great chance to unwind after finals ended for most of our friends.
On Friday, I spent the large majority of the day packing my room and helping Phil pack his room as well. I have a storage building that I put a lot of my stuff in to make moving in easier. It is $40 a month, but several of my friends share it so it is actually really cheap and makes life easier for all of us. It fit all of my stuff, several of Phil’s larger bins, and all of Alyssa’s stuff. We started my room around noon, and we wrapped up with the final trip to the storage building around 4:00 and cleaning my room. Then, we went to my house in Pennsylvania briefly to drop off my fish so that they didn’t have to sit in the car while we cleaned Phil’s room and Phil’s car couldn’t fit both of our stuff that was going home.
We got back to campus around 7:00, packed Phil’s room some and then went to Denny’s with Alyssa for dinner. After we got back, we finished packing his room and headed to my house for the night. Phil left for his house this morning and I unpacked some at home. I am definitely going to miss my campus friends over the summer, but the chance to unwind for a while is welcomed. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to get back on the Hill next year and begin my senior year.
So finals started today, so the normal work and class schedule of the semester is officially over. My finals schedule is kinda busy – I have my first four finals today and tomorrow and then my last one is on Thursday. I already took the two finals for today. The first one was in the afternoon, my Foreign Policy exam. It was fairly easy since it was just two essays and I was finished relatively quickly. I had studied for that exam a lot during the weekend and I feel like I did very well. My second exam today was my Religion in Art and Egypt Exam. This exam was also fairly basic – 8 identifications and 2 essays. It was a little longer than my first exam but I also had a little less to say on the essays. Both exams went well and I am now reviewing for the 2 exams I have tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I have my Global Environmental Politics exam and my Al-Amia exam. My Amia exam includes a grade from my final project (a 10 minute video blog) and the written portion that we will do in class. The Global Environmental Politics exam is the same format as the midterm – multiple choice, fill in the blank, a few short answers, and four short essays. I am not worried about either exam because I have done well in the classes so far and I have studied for both already and will review more tonight.
My final exam is the one I need to study for the most – international law and organization. It is not a hard class, but there is a lot of course material to review for that exam. However, most of my studying will probably occur tomorrow night and Wednesday since after my afternoon exam tomorrow, that will be my only test.
So, this weekend I went to Phil’s house with Alyssa, Mehar, and Phil to have a quiet study location before finals, and also some home cooked food. Yesterday, Friday night, we mostly relaxed. We went swimming and tried to unwind for final paper’s week and all of the recent work in our classes. After swimming, we watched a movie (Interview with a Vampire) since I had not seen it before and then studied a little before going to bed.
Today, all of us got some shopping done to get us through finals week. We got some snack food, quick cook meals, and more. We went to the local crystal shop to get some jewelry supplies for Dan at school and to look and see if there was a good birthday gift for our friend Probie. I didn’t find anything there, but I have some ideas still. We also went by walmart to see about getting a going away gift for my house moderator, who returns to Palestine about a week after finals end.
Tonight, after studying for a while, we plan to play guild wars to relax, watch a little tv, and go for another swim. We have already spent several hours studying, so hopefully the break will be well deserved.
With final papers, projects, and tests to contend with; we all need a chance to unwind, eat, and relax. Last night, I went to Denny’s with a bunch of friends for a late dinner at 10pm after most of us finished wrapping up our homework for the night. First of all, let me say how nice it is that there are food places near campus that are open 24-7. Since it isn’t uncommon for late dinner’s to occur, it is nice to have options when campus food just is not what you are in the mood for. I personally love going to Denny’s because it is really the only time that I eat breakfast food since my usual habit is sleeping as long as possible and ignoring that breakfast is a thing.
So anyway, we arrived at Denny’s around 10:30. All of us ordered our drinks and then conversations began. We talked about everything under the sun from majors to future plans to Probie’s recent date to everyday stuff. It was absolutely wonderful to just relax and talk with Phil, Lyssa, Probie, Dan, and Mehar as we ate and just tried to think about anything other than our homework for a while.
After getting back to campus, we all camped out in Blanche and watched some television before going to sleep. The relaxation time was greatly needed and it definitely helped me to get right back into work today.
So, today I spent the large majority of the day working on my final project for my Arabic class. Myself and my partner were making a video about her time in San Francisco. In our story, she owned a club in San Francisco, but an earthquake destroyed the club so she moved back to Maryland. It was a fun plot and in the end, she decides to re-open the club in Maryland; where there should not be any earthquakes. We debate about names for the club and eventually settle on calling the club Ahram- the Arabic word for Pyramids.
Filming our video was a lot of fun, we definitely had some interesting bloopers by the end of it. Phil helped out a lot with the recording and we both were quite grateful. We used different backgrounds for different days in the video in order to make it all more clear, and because playing with the backgrounds on my video editing software is fun. Other students in our class also made videos, a few did their final presentation live on Friday. My favorite video was about a girl who was sick, who had a dream about going to the moon. The video animations were very amusing.
I never really thought about how much fun group projects can be. You get time to play with different technology, work with friends, and see how interesting you can make the project. I also filmed my final video project for Egypt today, which was fun. I made the powerpoint presentation and did a voice over to make it a presentation. I really enjoy final projects because they give each student a chance to shine in their own way.
So, a lot of people worry about final papers when they come around in college. They can be long and they can be stressful, but they do not have to be. In thinking about that, I decided to write about a few of the things I have learned help me to make sure my final papers aren’t too stressful.
Tip One, Most final papers are due the week before finals. If you leave them all for the weekend before; it is very difficult to get them all done in time and with a high quality. Plus, if the paper is done early, it is easier to get someone in the writing center to edit it for you. I personally cannot edit my own work, because my head knows what I meant to say, so it is easy to miss mistakes.
Tip Two, keep the page lengths in mind but don’t worry about them when you first outline or draft your paper. A long paper is a lot more overwhelming when you think first about just how long it has to be and not about the content. It is much easier to write a good chunk of the paper and then add or subtract as needed to fit within page requirements. Final papers tend to vary in length, from a little as two or three pages to as much as fifteen. It may sound overwhelming, but it is not as bad as it sounds.
Tip Three, take the time to check the formatting the professor wants. It is an easy fix to change the font and the page margins, so checking the formatting is a simple way to make sure you don’t lose easy points. The format they want is often in the syllabus, but if it isn’t, you can always shoot the professor an email or ask in class.
Tip Four, do not hesitate to ask questions. If you need clarification, help finding sources, or just a little direction; professors are always willing to help. They won’t write the paper for you, but they can offer some direction. Some professors will even read a draft for you and quickly edit it if you have it ready in advance.
Hope these help!
So, today was an interesting day for odd reasons. I got absolutely none of the work I wanted to done because of family issues, but I got to cook dinner for a couple of my friends while we did laundry, homework, and tried to be at least somewhat productive. I love cooking and I live in one of the places on campus where I have access to a kitchen, a fact which I adore. I had a bad weekend because my stepfather is very ill, and my friends came with me to make sure I was okay and to see how I was holding up.
So, tonight I made a simple pasta, it was just a big pan of pasta and a couple different sauces people could take. It was easy and not a lot of work, but it easily fed all of us and allowed us to work around the cooking too. It was actually fun though, which was a welcome relief because talking and just relaxing while I was cooking helped to calm me down and helped me stop worrying every second.
I guess it just made me realize how important dinnertime is at McDaniel. It is a time to bond with friends, a time to take in sustenance after a long day, a time to unwind, and a lot more. For a lot of us, it is the one time of day we set aside to make sure we have time for the people around us. Dinnertime is a big part of what makes McDaniel the community it is because whether or not the dinner is chilling in glar, a quick meal in the pub, or a cooked apartment dinner, it is one of the times we have to just be ourselves and get to be with the people we care about. Dinnertime is really important to us all, even if we don’t normally think about it.
So, it is approaching crunch time for the semester once again. People have all kinds of final papers and presentations coming due in the upcoming two or three weeks. I am at work tonight and I am starting work on my final paper for my foreign policy class and my international law and organization class as well. I also have shorter final papers for my other classes, but those are all less than 8 pages, so I am focusing on these two for now. For foreign policy, I am looking at the potential for population growth to cause issues for India. For International Law, I am looking at the Chemical Weapons Convention and its effectiveness in modern crises situations.
This week, I also have a lot of work to do with class readings and normal stuff like that, but it should be a fairly manageable workload. I do need to go back home to check on my mother throughout the week to make sure she is resting enough and also to help with the final touches of the remodeling projects. The remodeling is making this time of year a little busier than normal, but it is still definitely manageable. I also want to work on a few of my own projects, I want to do some research for the Middle Eastern region to facilitate my honor’s project next year and my senior seminars.
I also am spending some time relaxing with Lyssa, Mehar, and Dan tonight while I am working on my papers. Lyssa needed someone to help keep her on topic and study parties are also more fun than doing homework alone.
So, I am rather disappointed to have missed Spring Fling this weekend because of a family emergency. My mother had an issue with a Kidney Stone and had to have emergency surgery, so I went home to help out around the house. I took Phil and Alyssa to my house with me to help out with the remodeling that was going on since we needed all the extra hands we could get. My mother is doing fine, so we mostly worked on the house remodeling. I got to redesign my new bedroom and do all of the work, which was great. I moved my furniture and set up my new bed as well.
All of the students I talked to about Spring Fling enjoyed today quite a lot. There were a lot of different events going on. There were games in Red Square, people talking and chilling outside a lot more than usual. People enjoyed socializing with faculty, alumni, and other students throughout the various events. There was a big, blow up bouncy thing in the quad and also tie dye t-shirts as well. Dan, one of my friends, enjoyed the event greatly and a lot of our friends were there as well.
So, in Boston today, several bombs went off and a lot of people were injured at the marathon. It was really frightening because I have friends who live up there and go to school there and I also have been there multiple times in the last year. In light of this tragedy, I spent a decent chunk of my evening talking to people about white happened and seeing the different reactions to the event. It was a sad day for a lot of people, but it was inspiring to see the number of people who were offering well wishes and prayers.
I personally found out about this event from the posts on Facebook. I had been in class but soon after my class ended, posts started showing up from my friends at school offering well wishes to people in Boston. This led me to the New York Times where I found a lot more information on the tragic bombings. Some posts talked about reaching out to recent McDaniel graduates and friends that are from that area. Others simply were offering thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and a lot more. One student, Mehar Segal, said, “Stay safe in Boston guys. My thoughts to yeh,” and this sentiment was echoed by a lot of people. It was nice to see that not only was the campus very aware of this tragedy but they also were willing to reach out – in many cases to people they had never met.
Other students, who have family or friends in the Boston area, had friends quickly offering them support and a person to listen. It was reassuring to see just how quickly people reacted and to help each other out. There were also a lot of actual discussions about what people knew in Glar (our dining hall), in the language lab when I was at work, and a lot more. So, best wishes to everyone in the Boston area from the students here at McDaniel College and from me.