Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tips for Making it Through Finals

By Colton Hattersley, EPPS Blogger

Finals are now underway, and everybody is struggling to get the best grades possible on their various exams. The recent IcePocalypse, as I so endearingly like to call it, made me remember one very important fact about this month – CHRISTMAS IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holiday season is a great time to relax and enjoy your friends and family, but the stress of finals week causes us to forget that there is a great opportunity within our grasps. To ensure that you get into the holiday spirit even before Winter Break, here are a few tips:

 1.      TAKE A BREAK TO DECORATE – much of our time spent studying occurs in our dorms or apartments. One way to keep in spirit is to decorate your room during one of your study breaks! The environment in which you study has an effect on your overall performance, so add some holiday cheer! Buy some lights to hang on your ceiling, put up a stocking and adorn the walls with candy canes.
2.      STOCK UP ON HOLIDAY SNACKS – we all tend to skip a meal here or there to maximize our study time, relying instead on the snack foods we have in our rooms. Another way to embrace the magic of the holiday season is to stock up on holiday snacks. Drink your favorite holiday drink, whether it is hot chocolate or egg nog, and munch on a candy cane or gingerbread cookie. Not only do they taste good, but studies show that sucking on a mint while working increases concentration, which is good for studying.
3.      LISTEN TO HOLIDAY MUSIC – many people have become dependent on some external noise to study with. For those of you who can, studying with Holiday Music is another way to fill yourself with holiday cheer. Make a playlist on Spotify or just YouTube your favorite songs of the season so that, while studying for your finals, you can feel cheery.

If all else fails, remember the advice of Buddy the Elf: The best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Happy Holidays everyone, stay safe!

Making Friends as an EPPS Student

By Yusof  Nazari, EPPS blogger

Entering college from high school is a move that’s filled with trepidation and worry. It’s much like moving to a new city. Leaving all of your friends, accomplishments, connections, networks, and maybe even your parents behind if you move far enough away.

Among all this commotion is the glimmering sliver of hope that change might not be such a bad thing, and that maybe you’ll find new friends among the masses that attend the same school that you do. It can be a scary task, as meeting people always is.

With this in mind, I walked into my UNIV1010 and EPPS Freshman classes with the same trepidation that one does when they see a fly they want to swat, slowly crawl onto their television set in the middle of a Will Smith movie marathon.

Thankfully, this wasn’t needed. My classes were filled with some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Whether it’s Henry with his 45 minute long joke about the billionaire’s pink golf balls, or Courtney, who introduced me to a lot of music that I’m currently loving, making friends wasn’t difficult at all. I was scared that the EPPS school was small, and that I wouldn’t find people to hang out with, but now most of my good friends are my classmates that I walk to lectures with on a daily basis.
They’ve taught me that reaching out and introducing yourself might be the most basic thing you can do, but it’s also the most powerful. Who knows, maybe the person you’ve got your eye on to friend up is just as nervous about meeting people as you are.

The best part about making friends in EPPS is the things we have in common. Being mostly liberal arts majors, we’re able to speak on and debate social and political issues with an openness and breadth of knowledge that I hadn’t experienced since my debate days.
I’ve heard so many opinions and arguments, whether agreeing or disagreeing with me, and all of my peers have brought interesting and new insights into my thought-processes on social and economic issues. If we can learn anything from out liberal arts degrees, it’s that the world is a crazy and nuanced place, and I’m glad I have new friends to talk about it with me.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sociology Club Offers Straight Talk about Sex

By Blaire Bayliss, EPPS Freshman

Whether or not you know it, you are a sociologist. If you want to understand the way the world works, if you’re interested in trends or if you want to know more about the way people think, then you are a sociologist in the making. If you have noticed the way that your circle of friends interact with each other, if you think that each group has its quirks, or if you have ever tried to understand other people’s lives, then you are a sociologist already.

Everyone is a sociologist- and by extension, everyone belongs at the Sociology Club.

When I first walked into sociology club on a recent Tuesday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The topic of discussion was sex trends on campus- something that was never publicly discussed in my conservative high school. Although I was interested to hear what would be said, I was almost certain that I would be awkward and uncomfortable. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The topic was addressed from both a statistical and philosophical standpoint. During a lecture by Dr. Lanham, the entire room was enthralled by the shockingly low use of contraceptives and the shockingly high trend of abstinence. Then later, during a debate on the topic, everyone in the room was given the opportunity to share their thoughts on a variety of topics. I was completely surprised at the maturity of the discussion. Students and teachers of all ages discussed previous psychological and sociological studies, philosophical ideas, policy decisions, and interesting pieces of data that they had heard before coming to club.

Not only was the information approached from a responsible and comfortable standpoint, but it was also completely fascinating. Listening to other students give their opinion was both interesting and inspiring- and I found myself taking the microphone twice during the night. Sociology club turned out to be a safe experience where I could discuss my opinion on the issues that mattered most to me without the fear of judgment, ridicule, argument or even so much as a sneer. My opinions were respected. My voice was heard. And it was incredible. A definite plus was that at the end of the night, I was able to take home an entire tray of chicken nuggets… and the staff actually thanked me for it!

Sociology club was, overall, an overwhelmingly positive experience. I plan to go back every Tuesday for the rest of the semester.