Happy New Year!

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


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!




Wrapping it up (and reaching out!)

Posted on: April 20, 2015

It’s April – famously the most chaotic, demanding, and cram-it-all-in-before-Haverfest month at Haverford. Midterms may have just concluded, but finals are around the corner, and the stress of predicting the impending Pinwheel Day may understandably be weighing heavily on you.

With four weeks to go, it’s time to streamline your schedule, focusing on your top priorities and tuning out the rest. But even the best intentions hit roadblocks, and as the days tick down and the work only increases, please remember that there are an immense number of people at Haverford who are here to help you. That might include a faculty mentor, your Dean, a research librarian, CAPS counselor, or another member of the staff or faculty with whom you feel comfortable. You may want to talk over a challenging assignment, review your planned finals schedule, or prepare for your summer adventure. You should! So often, Haverford students say, “I didn’t want to bother you since I know you’re really really busy, and my stuff isn’t that important, so I didn’t email you/set up an appointment.” It’s not a bother at all – in fact, it’s their job and passion to help!

Now some of you may be thinking; “Honestly, I don’t think I know any of those people well enough to feel comfortable“. Many of those people can seem anonymous to you, especially in the sea of resources at Haverford. When I was a sophomore at Haverford (these were the days before the release of the iPad), I didn’t know who my Dean was, certainly wasn’t close with any particular faculty member, found research librarians to be brilliantly intimidating (from afar, I’ll admit) and wasn’t sure if going to CAPS was something I was supposed to do. So, taking advantage of my enlightened hindsight, I’ll suggest a few specific people or offices you should contact if you want to talk about anything over these next few weeks. In no particular order, try these few:

  • Call 610-896-1290 and talk to Patty Rawlings from CAPS. She’ll help you schedule an appointment to talk about anything you like. You don’t have to have an emergency – you’re just making an appointment to discuss whatever you’d like with someone.
  • Email your Dean and ask to meet with them. Don’t know who your Dean is? Click here and look under Assigned Students to find your letter of the alphabet.
  • Reach out the Office of Academic Resources. Set a goal for yourself to reach out and engage with the OAR at least once by the end of your sophomore year. I’m betting most of you have already realized that goal, but there’s still time if you haven’t!
  • Do you like one of your professors and think you might feel comfortable talking to them? Make an appointment or visit their office hours to talk. You might be surprised quite how interested they are in mentoring and supporting you. (Also, you may not know this, but your faculty advisor exists for more than just approving your class registration. Send them a note and ask for their help!)
  • If you’re preoccupied and overwhelmed by the search for internships, jobs, or a future direction, the folks in the CCPA are more than willing to talk things over with you. Call 610-896-1181 and make an appointment!

There are so many employee and student resources that I’ve left out of this short list who can be valuable sounding boards for you. Remember that anyone you know, like talking to, or working with can be a confidant or advisor. You might even want to come and talk to me – and I hope you will consider it. Good luck wrapping up and I’ll see you out there when the pinwheels are a-flutter!

I’m going to stop procrastinating… eventually

Posted on: April 13, 2015

It’s that time of year. Finals are quickly approaching, and the work is starting to pile up. At the same time time, the weather has finally come around, and the distractions are plentiful. It’s procrastination season. As someone unsurpassed in procrastinatory ability in college, I have really enjoyed learning a bit more about that habit and how to combat it since I began working here at Haverford – certainly my graduate school performance was better for it!

One thing that I quickly picked up on was the difference between time management and procrastination. Just because something gets done at the last possible minute doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the victim of procrastination. Sometimes, there’s just too much to do, and dedicated hard work just keeps you afloat, pumping water out of the metaphorical boat as fast as it comes in. In that case, you might need to reduce your load or work more efficiently, but procrastination isn’t your hobgoblin.

No, procrastination is when you have important things to do (especially things that will take a long time to do, but don’t necessarily need to be done now), but choose to do something unproductive instead. The hallmark of the procrastinator is the avoidable cram session. A week spent partying, checking facebook, playing video games, and generally doing anything other than studying, followed by a ten-hour overnight rush to complete a five-page paper.

How this happens is very complex and idiosyncratic. People procrastinate for a lot of reasons, and these people can overcome their procrastination, but often in very different ways. I’m going to speak very quickly to the most common type of procrastination, but for a more individualized approach, consider reaching out to make an appointment with one of us at the OAR.

Now, how can you go about cutting down on your procrastination? The simplest way to think about procrastination is in terms of distraction. Writing papers or studying for exams is not everyone’s favorite task in the world, so the appeal of switching to social media or Netflix, spending a little bit more time with friends, or taking a walk in the sun can be hard to resist. In fact, some people (definitely not me), have even found time for long-neglected cleaning and chores in the face of a project that may be less than appealing. It’s all relative.

If you’re prone to distraction, you may be able to train yourself to resist temptation. This can be a long-term process, though, so a safer bet may be to try to reduce your exposure to distractions in the first place. You can employ apps that limit your access to distracting sites and apps on your phone or computer. If you find yourself falling into social situations that keep you from your work, consider avoiding their gravity field in the first place. Alternatively, you could harness your distractions. The Pomodoro Technique involves alternating time on task and a reward – for instance, 30 minutes of writing followed by ten minutes on social media.

For more tips, techniques, and strategies, check out the OAR website. We have a whole section dedicated to learning tools, including a tab on procrastination. And again, consider making an appoint to find an approach individualized for you.

Remember, though, that you don’t want to go to extremes. Procrastination is a cycle of binge and purge – days or weeks of neglecting something in favor of unimportant distractors, followed by a short burst of agonizing to compensate for all that lost time. The goal is not to simply spend all your time working; that won’t make your life markedly more pleasant than when you procrastinate. Instead, the goal is moderation. Try to ward off the binge and purge cycle, and maintain balance.

At the OAR, we have a great set of events coming up as part of our Healthy Mind, Healthy Body program, designed to ease tension and increase productivity:

  • 4/17, 3-4pm, OAR 118K, Introduction to Walking Meditation. Introduction to stress relieving and focus enhancing aspects of mindfulness meditation – on the move!
  • 4/19, 12:30-2pm, GIAC Swan Multipurpose Room, Restorative Yoga Session. The instructor will guide students through relaxing poses and breathing exercises, leading to a deep state of relaxation and calm. No experience needed. All mats and blankets will be provided. Reservations preferred, but not required. The first five students to rsvp will receive a free yoga mat!
  • 4/23 4-5 pm OAR 118K, Breathing Techniques for Stress and Anxiety Reduction. This workshop will introduce students to the basics of breath control and awareness in a relaxing and fun environment. No experience needed. Snacks will be provided. Reservations preferred, but not required.

We’re also planning some relaxing study breaks around finals time, including bringing some certified massage therapists to campus to offer free chair massages. Follow us on social media to catch the announcement. If that’s not worth fighting the instinct to procrastinate and leaving some time for, I don’t know what is.

Thinking Ahead to the Fall: Transitioning into New Student Leadership Positions

Posted on: April 6, 2015

Have you been tapped (officially or unofficially) to take over a club, organization, or position of leadership for next year? Perhaps you’re one of the newest members of Students’ Council or Honor Council? Or newly appointed, or elected, member of a committee, team, or student org?

If so – Congratulations!

Make sure you Continue reading

The Law School Application – Timeline and Checklist

Posted on: April 1, 2015

Hello Haverford Sophomores! If you are thinking about law school – and especially if you are thinking about attending law school immediately after Haverford – it is never too early to think about what the law school application cycle looks like, and what it will mean to you.

There are several things you can do now: build great relationships with your faculty; keep a strong GPA; experience law through networking, externships and internships, etc. Students wanting to attend law school right away will apply in the beginning of their Senior year, and so a conversation with the pre-law advisor at the end of this semester is a great idea. Continue reading

Why is a Jpeg?

Posted on: March 30, 2015

So, last semester, I asked the question: What’s a Jpeg?

(Again, it’s an image file)

This semester, I’d like to talk about why we should even care about what a jpeg is. I had the good fortune earlier this semester to chat with Dennis Hlynsky during his visit about the rather disturbing trend in computing to hide more and more information from its userbase. Do you even see the file extensions anymore? I imagine that as the years go on, that answer is going to be: “No.”

When you are on the web and encounter a picture, you are looking at a jpeg. When you encounter audio, you are listening to an mp3. When you watch a video, you are very likely watching and mp4. Did you know that the logo you see at the top of a site is actually a png, and not a jpeg? Do you know what the benefit is to making a logo into a png file over a jpeg? What I’m really getting at is that different file types have different uses, even if they all ultimately serve the same function. Continue reading

Hello, Failure

Posted on: March 23, 2015

If you’ve been following all the advice on this blog (and my, there’s an awful lot of distilled wisdom floating around this corner of the internet), then you’ve spent some of your sophomore year putting yourself “out there.”  The safe cocoon of your Customs Group is a musty, distant memory; perhaps you’ve even left the meal plan and you’ve fended for yourself at Main Line grocery stores for months.  On a deeper level, you’ve set yourself a more coherent academic plan: you’ve declared a major, or looked into off-campus opportunities that can focus your academic pursuits to a laser-specific set of research questions.

Maybe not, though.

Maybe others around you seem like they’re zooming off, getting accepted to competitive programs and landing fancy internships in exotic-sounding locales like “Phnom Penh” or “Philadelphia.”  Maybe you also applied to these programs, you also crafted and fine-tuned your essays, you also put your name in the hat and raised your hand in class and showed up to office hours and went to that one networking event and generally followed the advice that people gave you.

And maybe you didn’t stick the landing, maybe you failed and flopped a little. (Or a lot.)

There are two main strains of failing: the first is Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 7.07.15 AM

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.

Continue reading