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Happy New Year!

Make Spring 2015 your BEST semester yet! (Start here.)

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The Year After was created in the summer of 2013 in response to all we learned about the sophomore experience that spring!

We’re so excited to journey through this year with you! Any question you want answered, let us know! And be sure to review our “What Now?” section regularly. We’d hate for you to miss something!

Regular posts every MONDAY. And sometimes on Wednesday. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mi Casa Su Casa

Posted on: March 16, 2015

April is right around the corner, and with it comes 2015 Spring Room Draw! I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some resources and tips to help you navigate the process.

1. Spring Room Draw will be held on Monday, April 13 – Friday, April 17th in Sharpless Auditorium. Room Draw consists of 5 rounds, with different housing offered during different rounds.

2. Read the guidelines! 2015 Spring Room Draw guidelines are currently posted online. The document is long but helpful. It has everything you need to know so read it!

3. Connect with the Residential Life Committee. The Committee has created a Facebook page for Spring Room Draw. They are available via email to answer any questions you might have. Email them at hc.reslifecommittee@gmail.com. The Residential Life Committee will also be tabling outside the Dining Center during dinner hours on Monday, March 30 – Thursday, April 2nd, so bring your questions!

4. Be mindful of deadlines. All deadlines are firm. No Havertime! Be sure to check out the 2015 Spring Room Draw Calendar on page 2 of the guidelines for important dates and upcoming deadlines.

5. Be eligible! Clear up any library or financial obligations before Friday, March 20th, in order to be eligible for Room Draw.

6. At the end of the day, do not panic! All eligible students who want campus housing and follow all the necessary steps/deadlines, will get housing. If you do not select housing during Spring Room Draw, you should submit a Deferred Housing Assignment form (available April 17), and you will be housed over the summer.

I encourage you all to be proactive during this process. If you are unsure or have questions, please reach out. The Office of Residential Life is available via email (hc-reslife@haverford.edu), or you are welcome to stop by our office on the 2nd floor of Chase Hall. Please use our office as a resource.

Be proactive. Read. Ask questions.

Good luck!

 

 

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

Posted on: March 9, 2015

How often do you self-reflect? Maybe I need to rephrase the question for some of you: do you self-reflect? Being a huge advocate of introspection, during my senior year as an undergrad, I gave a presentation about the merits of self-reflection to a group of student leaders. My take-away was this: In order to lead others, we must know how to lead ourselves. In order to lead ourselves, we must know ourselves. In order to know ourselves, we must self-reflect.

What is introspection? It’s “an examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings” (Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E.).  Does that scare any of you? When I first read that definition, my body clenched; it could have been that the word “examination” was intimidating and somewhat daunting. Rather than looking at introspection as an “examination”, I’ve learned to view it in this way: introspection gives you an opportunity to look back in the past, examine the present, and dream towards the future.

Like many other things in life, most of us are very well aware of the benefits of self-reflection – yet so few of us practice it. Why do you think this is? Here are just a few thoughts that may be lingering in your heads: it’s time-consuming; it seems pointless because you don’t see any external, immediate results; it’s awkward and uncomfortable. To be straightforward with you, you’re right – all of these are true. Yes, it is extremely time consuming. You may feel that you don’t have enough hours in a day to study, work, eat, exercise, etc. – so when would you ever find the time to sit down and jot down how you’re feeling?

Before you put the lid on introspection, give me a chance to persuade you into thinking otherwise. There are numerous benefits, but I want to share with you my top 3.

1. Introspection helps us recognize and ameliorate cognitive dissonance

 Are you familiar with cognitive dissonance? Basically, it’s a feeling of discomfort when we have contradicting ideas, beliefs, actions, etc. Let’s say you are a smoker. You smoke very often but one day, you’re given a revelation and you feel it in your gut that you should not smoke. Your behavior of smoking and this revelation you’ve just had are contradictory – you would either have to stop smoking or ignore this revelation in order to relieve the mental discomfort.

When you self-reflect, you give yourself time to recognize areas of cognitive dissonance. There may be things that bring you discomfort throughout your day – at work, school, or even at home – that you just can’t seem to put your finger on. When you give yourself time to reflect upon your actions, beliefs, morals, and values, your intentions become clearer and it becomes easier to make sense of the things that you do (and why you do them).

2. Introspection helps us reach our goals

First, introspection allows you to ask yourself: what are my goals? I don’t know how many people I’ve come into contact with who are unaware of what they hope to accomplish. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, but I love to put purpose into what I do. Sometimes, things are just handed to us or they are just taken away; some things, we just don’t have control over. However, there are things in life that we can control. Despite the external forces that may limit us, we need to recognize that when we set a goal and purpose, we’ll have more control.

Taking the time to write out our goals is a much better way to organize them than to simply keep them in our minds. We take in so many bits of knowledge everyday – and because of this, some of the things that we may actually want to remember, we can’t. Jot them down. Write them in a notebook. On some post-it notes. Whatever works for you. Remember to look at them everyday so that you are always reminded of what it is you want to get to. Write out the steps to get there – be realistic (set SMART goals – and if you don’t know what those are, come see us at the OAR!) and start small so that you don’t get discouraged. I like to write out goals for different time frames: weekly goals, yearly goals, and life goals.

3. Introspection initiates change of behavior

Are there some things that you want to change about yourself? If you’re anything like me, then the answer will be YES. There are so many things that I would like to change – my laziness, lack of interest in politics, inability to socialize, etc. What do we usually do when we know we want to change something but don’t know how to go about doing so?

Well, most of the time, we just ignore it. We put these changes aside, throw our hands in the air, and act like we just don’t care. Okay, no, that might not be the case – but we really do end up suppressing these thoughts. Why? Because we don’t have a set plan in how to go about changing these behaviors, we’re not motivated enough, and we sometimes even forget what it is we want to change.

Here’s a surprise: self-reflection can help!! Write about what you want to change – and why you want this change so badly. This will keep you motivated and will allow you to recognize why it’s necessary. Write out the steps that you want to take to change your behavior, one step at a time. When you write down a reason for change and refer to it every day, you will be alert and conscious about your actions.

As you begin your spring break, do a little bit of self-reflection and think about the past week, month, or year. What decisions have you made and how have they influenced you? Do you have any study habits you want to work on as you near the end of sophomore year? What goals do you have for your remaining years at Haverford and beyond? Who are your strongest advocates and how can you build up your support system? If you have any questions or are having trouble deciding where to start, send me an email at cpark1@haverford.edu — I would love to talk!

 

References

Schultz, D.P., & Schultz, S.E. (2012). A history of modern psychology (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Sophomore Major Teas Begin on 3/17

Posted on: March 4, 2015

Happy Wednesday, sophomores!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the list of this spring’s Major, Minor, and Concentration Advising Teas. If you’re still undecided about your major, the advising teas are a great opportunity to ask questions and speak with faculty.

The teas will begin as early as Tuesday, March 17th; be sure to mark your calendars now, so that you don’t forget over Spring Break!

It’s Not Too Late To Find a Great Sophomore Summer Experience. But Act NOW.

Posted on: March 2, 2015

Sophomore spring is a busy semester as you focus on choosing your major, applying for and starting to take on leadership roles in extracurricular activities, and, next week, trying to make the most of spring break. Figuring out your plans for the summer after sophomore year is another important task on your To Do list.

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Sophomore summer is key because it’s a chance to build skills while exploring different career paths. The pressure isn’t quite as high as junior summer (which possibly can lead to a full-time job offer after graduation), but gaining meaningful, professional experience after sophomore year is really important because many employers prefer hiring candidates with some relevant work experience.

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A Conversation w/ Dean of Multicultural Affairs: Theresa Tensuan

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Theresa Tensuan ’89 has spent much of her career at Haverford College. After graduating from Haverford in 1989 and attending an English PhD program at the University of California, Berkley, she joined the Haverford faculty as an assistant professor of English in 2002 and became Dean of Multicultural Affairs in 2011. Among other responsibilities as Dean, Theresa is responsible for supporting the Ambassadors of Multicultural Awareness, the Chesick Scholars program, the Rufus Jones Leadership Institute, and other such programs, while developing programming for the Ira Reid House/Black Cultural Center and engaging with affinity groups on campus.

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I’m Stephen Profeta, a senior majoring in English. A few days ago, I had the distinct honor of sitting down with Theresa to chat about her sophomore year in college and the intellectual transformations she underwent.

Stephen Profeta: Just a minute ago, before we turned on the recorder, you were making a point about reflecting.

Dean Theresa Tensuan: This is a really interesting moment to have to think back to sophomore year because I just found the journal I was keeping at the time – really illuminating to see the kinds of issues that came up for me for the first time in sophomore year that became important points of orientation for me as I moved forward in life. As a sophomore in late 80s this was a moment for me coming to an understanding and awareness of structural oppression focused on gender differences and divisions. This moment of political awakening was around feminism and finding in feminism a kind of language and set of frameworks that help me name certain things that were happening in the world that I experienced but didn’t have a framework for understanding in that particular moment. A real intellectual risk I took was in taking a feminist theory course. That was terrifying to me because I was one of two sophomores in a class primarily composed of seniors, in which it was clear other people had thought a lot more about these experiences than I had. What started off as a terrifying experience ended up as one of the most robust intellectual experiences that I was able to have as a college student so that was a good point of orientation.

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Choosing and Using Your Major

Posted on: February 23, 2015

As spring break quickly approaches, the task of choosing a major, or at least narrowing your choices, is on the minds of most sophomores.  But how does one choose? Since your arrival at Haverford, undoubtedly you’ve heard at least one advisor say, “Study what you love!”  It’s just as likely you’ve heard someone else say something to the effect of, “choose a practical major, one that will help you get a job.” I’ve talked with many students, and parents, who fear those two considerations are mutually exclusive. The good news is there are countless stories of Haverford alumni who dove deeply into their favorite subject matter and went on to pursue meaningful, interesting, and rewarding careers – sometimes with close connections between their major and career, but quite often not.

The point is not that your major doesn’t matter, but rather that throughout your time at Haverford you will develop a variety of valuable transferable skills and competencies that will help you in your professional lives. Some of you will pursue careers that require specific knowledge and content skills you will develop through your majors or concentrations. Many of you, however, will find yourself on a path in which you apply the broad range of both specific and general skills (i.e. writing, public speaking, analysis, etc.) that you will refine during your time as an undergraduate student.

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LEAVE CAMPUS

Posted on: February 13, 2015

Pro tip: One of the best ways to sharpen your skills of critical thinking and write the Great American 200-Level Essay is to run away from campus for a minute. But where to go? What to do? Philadelphia can be a daunting prospect for those used to camping out in Zubrow Commons 23 hours a day, living on a diet of free 4:30pm talk coffee, DC ice cream novelties, and Pastabilities.

Not to fear. Put down that Terry Eagleton essay, stylish protractor, or Intro to Anthro textbook, hop on the Thorndale-Paoli or R-100, and experience this carefully curated selection of all the best that your newish home has to offer:

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Pre-Med and Health Professions Advising at Haverford – What You Need to Know

Posted on: February 11, 2015

Thinking about medical school? Becoming a dentist? A career in public health? Then read this post…

A welcome message from Haverford’s new pre-health advisor Jodi Domsky:

If there are any sophomores who are interested in exploring medicine or other careers in the health professions, especially if you have not met me yet, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to say hello and provide you with some helpful information. I  welcome you to contact me so I can add you to the prehealth email listserv, and I invite you to email me so we can get to know each other.

You can major in absolutely anything and still go to medical school or to any other health professions school. 

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Posted on: February 9, 2015

This post originally ran on February 10th, 2014, and was written by Steve Watter, Dean of Student Life.

What’s love got to do with it, you ask?  Well, this is Valentine’s Week after all, and when it comes to majors, plenty!!

If you recall my lengthy blog post in November in which all blog-worthy rules of etiquette and brevity were egregiously violated, and in which I shared my humble thoughts about declaring the major—and even if you don’t remember it or did not read it—I opined that the major was a means to an end.  Or shall we say, a vehicle for developing the scholarly, cognitive and intellectual skills and abilities—the habits of mind, if you will—that will allow you to succeed in whatever it is you choose to do after you receive your hard-earned Haverford degree.  The ability to learn, to think critically, analyze, synthesize, conduct independent research, craft a powerful argument, write clearly and cogently…these are the things that will make you a valued part of whatever you end up doing.

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Student Voices: A Conversation with the Officer of Campus Life

Posted on: February 4, 2015

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Rachael Garnick ’17, Officer of Campus Life here at Haverford. Our conversation, covering all things campus life, can be found below:

Give readers a brief introduction of yourself and your involvement here at Haverford.

My name is Rachael Garnick and I am the Officer of Campus Life here at Haverford College. I am committed to voicing the concerns of the student body and working to find ways to address these concerns in order to improve the general quality of student life on campus.

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