As the end of the semester keeps drawing closer, many departments, sports teams and honor societies are all having their end of the year banquets and dinners. The Honors Program is not exception, and this past Sunday we had our “Senior Honors Banquet”… but it was a Banquet like no other…
Why you ask? First of all because it was only the honors seniors that were invited, meaning that pretty much all of our friends just got to have a nice dinner together. The whole evening was “Survivor” themed. Both in the sense of the show, and the idea that we had finally survived four years of vigorous academic requirements and were about to graduate at last! My friends on the honors exec board had planned out the evening and we had a nice little dinner of various refreshments and desserts- the swedish meatballs and the little baby cheesecakes where my favorite. After some welcoming remarks and some gift giving, it was finally time for the Senior Superlatives. This was easily one of the funniest parts of the evening as people were elected “Most likely to win the Hunger Games” and “Most Likely to take over the world- using kindness.” I received “Most Likely to Achieve World Peace” so I must be doing something right! There were also some fantastic pictures of everyone and a great slideshow our President Catherine helped put together of us throughout our time at college.
It was a really fun time to reminisce… and to get henna tattoos! After all, what’s a party without a henna tattoo artist?? We all took our turns and got some lovely henna (yes even the guys, they were proud of it too) in between games and thank-yous.
But soon the grand moment had arrived. We were told there was to be a mysterious performance and were ushered into Red Square. Our surprise entertainment? Remember the henna tattoo artist? It turns out she is also…. a Fire Dancer! It was amazing. I don’t know if McDaniel has ever had anything quite so cool and unique in the middle of campus. She was twirling fire everywhere, eating it, having it lick greedily up her arms and all around embodying the song “Girl on Fire.” I was going crazy with my camera and got some truly spectacular pictures of her and the fire twisting through the evening air. We also soon attracted a small crowd, and people were watching from the library window and other nearby buildings. What a great way to end our Senior Honors Banquet and our senior year. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends than those I’ve made through the honors program.
After two long rainy days that started off the second to last week of classes, we finally had a sun filled day. This was perfect timing for McDaniel’s first annual FunFest – essentially a mini-carnival. The FunFest was hosted by the Trumpeters (no, we do not play trumpets) as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster. We are hoping that next year the new Trumpeters will continue the FunFest and carry on the tradition!
Several organizations on campus joined in on the fun to make the event a success including the Asian Community Coalition, the Writing Center, the Free Press, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Allies. Each organization hosted a different carnival game that students could play to win raffle tickets. The lollipop tree seemed to be the most popular game followed by the “Pie a writing tutor in the face” station. I paid $5 to pie my friend in the face and it was well worth the money! There was also a rubber duckie grab, corn hole, ballon darts, and “Comic Knockout.”
Music was blasting and friends were chatting all afternoon while soaking in the sun to begin their long awaited farmer’s tans. There were a lot of lucky winners who won donated gift cards to restaurants and businesses located all over Westminster. The most sought after gift card seemed to be the Rafael’s $20 gift card (a popular bar to hang out with friends on Thursday nights).
The event helped raise over $160 for the Boys and Girl Club of Westminster, which I am sure they will be excited to hear about!
This is been one of the busiest weeks of my life in recent memory. (I know I’ve had weeks just as busy if not more so, but I try to suppress those details!)
I’ve spent the past week laying out a 12-page print issue of the McDaniel Free Press to commemorate the graduating class of 2013. It’s been a lot of work, and being doing it pretty much on my own, because I have the right combination of skills and available time for the job.
I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of my personal and even academic life this week to work on such a big project, but there have been some advantages to it. I’ve known how to use the basics of InDesign, the program we use to do layout, since the end of my junior year of high school, but I now have a better grasp on InDesign than I’ve ever had before. And yes, this is relevant. A lot of places that want to hire English majors for jobs and internships want the people they’re hiring to have familiarity with Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or InDesign, so having the skills that I have is a great addition to my resume.
So if you have any interest in getting a career with an English major immediately after taking college, I strongly advice you to get a feel for these programs. Courses like Editing and Desktop Publishing offered at McDaniel can help you learn them, but some practical experience is also useful. It’s also difficult to get into this class until your junior year, so if you do come to McDaniel and you want to learn these skills, come join the art staff of the Free Press! You’ll get some practical knowledge, and with enough people participating, no one person has to take on the entire layout by herself!
Something that happens during the last weeks of the spring are the senior seminar presentations. This is the time when seniors start presenting on what they have been working on all semester, or sometimes all year, for their capstones. Seniors are making Facebook events and inviting friends to see the culmination of all of their hard work. What I love about this time is being able to share in the accomplishments of my peers. What I hate is having to struggle to put on my own capstone presentation. Many people don’t know what goes into a capstone project, and that is because it is different for every major. I have attended several different types, and will also be presenting my own. Here are what some majors do.
Sociology: As a Sociology major I am well aware of what effort I have put into my research. Last semester I completed a paper, and this semester I spent an entire class making a poster. This may sound easy, but it took the entire semester to get it right. I was working on it constantly to be able to convey to an audience in just a few short sentences what I researched and what it meant. These posters are then displayed for the school to see. People generally enjoy stopping by because all of the data came from the student body. The research quite literally is about the students.
English: English hosts their senior presentations, appropriately, in the fancy room in the library. It is there, tucked away on the third floor, that students talk about literature for twenty minutes, and the twenty some odd page papers they wrote this semester. Recently I listened to a presentation about how war trauma is represented in The Things They Carried.
Communications: This presentation, at least the qualitative one, was done in our auditorium where they frequently play movies. Students discussed qualitative research they did on various aspects of communication, including how RAs on campus negotiate relationships and how technology is changing interaction in restaurants. The nice thing about these presentations was I felt they were very relatable to Sociology, because they also frequently studied the college campus.
All in all I have been impressed with the quality of what I have seen from my friends. I am excited to finish my presentation, and also to see those who majored in film present (videopalooza I think it’s called). There is nothing like ending the year not only completing my own project but being able to support my friends as well.
At McDaniel there are a bunch of different ways to show off your academic skills. There are a variety of forms of “honors” and over the years I have accomplished a few.
1) Phi Beta Kappa – This is the most well known honors society. It is a national society that has existed for hundreds of years, and McDaniel has its own chapter. It is probably the most prestigious, only accepting the top 7% of the senior class and the top 1% of the junior class. I was admitted this (senior) year.
2) Honors in the major. This signifies that you have achieved a good GPA in your major, but also requires completing a project on top of what a normal major does. For Sociology, I completed a research paper (guided by a professor) on top of the general course requirements to graduate. This was fun, but definitely takes up a lot of time considering all that happens is a note on your diploma that you graduated with honors.
3) Honors program! This is a four year commitment to taking honors classes (only for those in the program) and keeping a certain GPA. It comes with housing benefits, class registration benefits, library benefits, and the joys of interacting with the top students in the school. We just had a senior banquet to honor those who made it through the four years, and it was survivor themed. During the banquet we bonded, shared in our accomplishments, and generally rejoiced that we had, in fact, survived the extra coursework and GPA requirements.
4) Honors societies (other). There are loads of other honors societies on top of the ones I mentioned previously. For instance I am also in one for Sociology majors, and was invited to be in one for people studying social science. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate academic excellence.
I have recently committed to being Co-President of Palabras to Words, our ESOL tutoring club, for next year, and I am incredibly excited to strengthen the organization’s presence on campus. Right now, not a lot of people know that the organization even exists, and I plan on launching a campaign to attract both community members and student tutors next year. Some specific ideas that I’ve been turning over for next year include:
Making the club more accessible to women. Right now, we meet on Sunday nights and only have male students learning English. My advisor suggested that this might be because we meet at dinnertime and women might need the time we meet to make sure their kids are ready for school the next day.
Adding a childcare option. We also may have a lack of women because there is no one to watch their kids while they learn English. We are thinking that if student volunteers offer childcare during our tutoring sessions, then more women would be able to take advantage of our services.
Reaching out to local organizations that support Spanish-speakers. Two non-profit organizations, United Hands and Headstart, aid Spanish-speakers who need help settling in the area. Connecting with them would allow us to reach more people in need of English tutoring and help us learn about the needs of the local Spanish-speaking community.
Starting an ESOL tutoring workshop. Currently, we do not have any tools for new tutors to learn how to best interact with their tutees, so my goal is to connect with the graduate ESOL department at McDaniel and try to informational session on ESOL tutoring so that new tutors feel more comfortable with their commitment to teach.
I’ll be sure to update the blog as these goals come to fruition, so stay tuned!
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!
This summer, junior Kev McClellan is running from San Francisco to Baltimore with the organization 4k for cancer to benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Along with physical preparation for the trip, members are asked to raise a minimum of $4,500 throughout the year.
In order to raise funds, Kev organized a “Naked” race, in which participants in the 5k and 1 mile races wore minimal clothes, such as bathing suits and spandex. About 30 people entered in the race, many of whom had been participants in Relay for Life the night before. We spent about half an hour hanging out beforehand, comparing running attire and goofing off.
All of us before the race!
The mile was the first event, and the course was essentially a lap around campus. Members of the service sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma were positioned throughout the course in order to point runners in the right direction. A lot of participants don’t typically run, so it was really exciting to see them cross the finish line for the mile.
The 5k course was very similar to the mile course; it involved two loops around the school. The weather was perfect for running in minimal clothes, and my friends and I enjoyed all the blooming trees around campus as we ran.
Overall, the race was a great time, and by the end people were already mentioning how they were excited to come back and do it next year!
If you’re interested in learning more about 4k for Cancer or donating to Kev’s fund, check out his page: http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/kevin-mcclellan/
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.
Every year McDaniel College participates in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. At the end of April, we all gather as a community and raise money to stop cancer forever. Twenty teams participated in the twelve hour event. My team, Gamma Sigma Sigma, was the team that raised the most money since the start of the event many months ago. Gamma Sig over the months raised $3,000 for the cause.
The actual Relay event is one of my favorite memories of each year at McDaniel. Everyone comes together to support the cause and have a ton of fun. Every team does an on-site fundraiser at the event. My team did carnival games with silly prizes, but the main events were cornhole, a Texas Hold Em tournament, and Relay Jail. Within the first two hours of Relay Jail, that team had raised at least $100. We started pools of money to get people into jail. The idea was you had to pay the “officer” to get someone arrested, then someone else had to pay to bail them out for an equal amount. Some people went in for $1 (I got put in twice) and others went in for $35. Even our president, Dr. Roger Casey was thrown in Relay Jail. For $26 he was bailed out early on in the night so he could continue walking and supporting the other teams. People in jail would take up donations from the walkers passing by and dollar by dollar they would raise enough money to bail themselves out. It was hours of entertainment and raised over $500 for that team.
The Relay fro Life committee also worked very hard to provide events throughout the night to keep people awake and moving all night. A frozen t-shirt contest, trivia contest, Zumba class, and special ceremonies strategically placed throughout the night kept everyone entertained. They also set up a giant movie screen in the other gym and showed Wreck-It Ralph, Hunger Games, Avengers, and Bridesmaids.
The Lumineria Ceremony was the most touching part of the event, as it always is. We all stood around our bags dedicated to victims and survivors of cancer and lit the lights in honor or in memory of them. We all have a reason why we do Relay for Life and this ceremony is what brings us all together. I relay because my dance mentor battled cancer and survived. She is the strongest woman and I know and an inspiration to all of her students.
The event was once again a success and I am already excited for it next year! All three years I have stayed at Relay all twelve hours and I have one more shot to make it a perfect record. I’ve also decided that I want to be on the committee again next year to help plan the event for the school. It is an event I always look forward to and this year it definitely exceeded my expectations.
Pictured: Committee members, Matt Love (Junior) and Kelsey Dickman (Senior) are the first victims of Relay Jail. Their bail was $11…it’s a good thing they had friends to save them!