A (Calming) Finals Week Playlist

Finals week, aka hell well, is almost upon us.

Sounds about right. Source: spacedragons.org

With that in mind, here’s my finals week playlist, scientifically designed to encourage CALMNESS and SERENITY.

Not that kind of Serenity… well, okay, maybe that kind. Netflix, you are a cruel mistress. Source: counter-currents.com

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My Favorite Work Spaces

As a grad student, it is crucial to have a few go-to spots where I know I can automatically get into a productive frame of mind. I call upon each of them for different reasons and at different times. Here are a few of the beautiful places that help me get my work accomplished every day:

The library

A sunny corner of my university library

A sunny corner of my university library

Soo original, I know. But my university just completed construction on a gorgeous new library, so I take advantage of it at every possible opportunity. The best part: there are private (sound-proof!) study rooms that you can reserve for a study date with friends. With whiteboard walls, people! Walls you can WRITE ON! Enough said.

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The Russian Roulette of Course Registration

Well, it’s that time again — time to register for next semester’s courses. I’ve reached a point in my graduate program where, somewhat unbelievably, I have only one elective left(!). For a massive nerd like me, it is indeed a sad day, and I’ve been struggling to make a decision about how to use that last elective.

But sometimes when you aren’t familiar with the professor or the course, registering for classes can feel a bit like a game of Russian Roulette — just pull the trigger and hope for the best.

russian-roulette-without-a-gun_o_2957107

Or you can play my way: -firearms + cats Source: Cyanide and Happiness

When in doubt, here are a few of my strategies for course registration so that you end up with a roster of classes you can be excited about for next semester.

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Writing as a Graduate Student

One of my major projects at my graduate assistantship this year has been researching and designing supportive writing programs for graduate students across the disciplines. In order to determine what students at SSU want and need in terms of their writing, I started by doing some research on best practices at other comparable universities, and then conducted surveys of both SSU students and faculty. I wanted to share some of the results of my research here, since it’s quite fascinating, and at times surprising.

Let's make some space to talk about writing. Source: Creative Commons

Let’s make some space to talk about writing. Source: Creative Commons

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Tips from an Actor on Public Speaking

My partner is a professional actor. There are many perks to this. We get to see lots of live theatre together. Sometimes I see him naked on TV (true story). And recently, when I presented at my first conference, I learned yet another benefit to dating an actor: he has great insight into what makes effective public speaking.

In some ways, giving an academic presentation, whether at a conference or in class, is not so different from a staged performance. The speaker is definitely “acting” in some ways. She is probably highly conscious of her posture, her diction, her volume, her gestures, all the same things that an actor onstage must think about.

To be, or not to be... a public speaker. Source: Creative Commons

To be, or not to be… a public speaker. Source: Creative Commons

With that in mind, here are some of the insider tips and tricks from Paul, a professional actor, on how to deliver an engaging presentation.

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