Monthly Archives: January 2012

CTM: What to Do Between Now and College

Hi y’all.  I’m catching you at a weird time, huh?  Some of you have already gotten into Skidmore early decision — congrats!  Some of you have to wait a bit longer to find out your fate.  That’s cool — patience is a virtue, or at least that’s what a fortune cookie once told me.

Because the period of time between now and college is so gosh darn awkward, here’s a little list of things to do between now and when you pack your Honda Odyssey full of stuff and drive off to Skidmore.

Half the college experience is buying the t-shirt, no? Also I have no idea who this person is.

STAY IN SCHOOL.  Yeah, I’m looking at you.  You, hitting the snooze button for the ninth time.  You, ditching the second half of the school day to eat ice cream and French fries and do whatever the cool kids are doing these days.  Resist the urge to ditch!  Get the high school diploma before the college degree!

DO YOUR WORK! Don’t show up to class like a zombie and forget all about your final papers.  Skidmore asks for your final high school grades, and it is possible to have your acceptance revoked if your marks take a sharp downturn. You’re a smart cookie.  Just put in a little more effort and all of a sudden it’ll be your graduation day.  You’ll wear a terrible cap and gown made of garbage bags and almost die of heatstroke.  It’ll be awesome.

MAKE A SENIOR BUCKET LIST. What do you want to do before you leave your school and hometown?  Compile a list of things you want to do before college, whether it’s sending a poem in to your school’s lit magazine or eating a restaurant in your town that you’ve never been to before.  It’s all about makin’ memories.

TAKE A TRIP WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Chances are, even the strictest of parents will loosen the rules a little bit so that you can spend time with your friends before leaving home.  A few weeks before college started, I took a train to New York City with four friends.  We spent a few days bumming around, living on questionable street food and meeting Australians at our hostel in Chelsea.  (For some reason, every hostel in the world contains at least one Australian.  It’s a fact.)  Plan something totally nuts with your amigos: day trip, road trip, random excursion to see the world’s largest ball of yarn, you name it.

PICK A HOBBY.  Your schoolwork might finally start to lessen as graduation looms.  Don’t be bored!  Boredom is for people who don’t have hobbies.  Knitting is a good one, especially now when everyone’s getting Seasonal Affective Disorder from the winter weather.  Watching Jeopardy! is also a good hobby.  Bird watching?  Needlepoint?  Fixing the songs on your iTunes so they actually have the right titles?  All worthy of your time.

BUY SOMETHING AT THE SKID SHOP.  Nothing will get you more excited for school than buying a fluffy collegiate sweatshirt. As Ferris Bueller might say, Skidmore Shop apparel is “so choice.”  Plus, you can wear it to school and no one will even need to ask you about your plans for next year.  Buy some Skid stuff here.  Also check out the Skid Shop blog here.  There’s good stuff on it, like pictures of donuts and a video of a snoring mouse.

In conclusion: don’t be a fool, stay in school, bucket list, largest ball of yarn, bird watching, Skidmore t-shirt.  Do all of these things and the time between now and the beginning of your Skidmore experience will go by in a jiffy.

How Was…Senior Capstone Show at Case Gallery?

Last Monday senior Jasmine Yamazaki debuted her senior capstone show in Case Gallery; it was a combination of English and studio art disciplines, part art installation and part illustrated story.  A bunch of Skid kids wandered into the gallery in Case Center, checking out the dozens of handmade flowers, wax mushrooms and interwoven paper spheres hanging from the ceiling.  Jasmine transformed the small gallery space into a colorful simulated garden.  She hand-wrote her story (about a girl who visits a forest and becomes a tree) and set it up so it spanned three walls with horizontal panels.  So cool! Congrats Jasmine!

Her installation is just one example of the many options Skidmore students have for their senior projects, otherwise known as capstones.  You can write a traditional thesis, take a senior seminar in your major, plan and carry out a lab experiment or psychological study, write a short story collection, create an art show, do a translation of a foreign language text, direct a theater performance, film a documentary…Anything goes as long as it shows a mastery of your subject matter.  Jasmine did a fabulous job of combining her major and minor.  Senior year of college might be a long way in the future, but it sneaks up fast!  Here’s a few more pics:

SkidMolly: Facts ‘n’ Tips You Won’t Find in a Skidmore Brochure

You won’t have to walk farther than ten minutes to get anywhere, but everybody whines about how looooong it takes to get places.  “I have to walk allll the way from Jonsson Tower to Zankel!” — it takes seven minutes.  Most walks won’t even last one Black Keys song on your iPod.

Really?  You can’t find anything to eat in d-hall?  Well, go scavenge some rice (there will be rice, somewhere) (There Will Be Rice starring Daniel Day-Lewis) and soy sauce (at Global Café), bring them to the DIY station, and mix ’em together on the grill.  Then crack an egg over it and stir it around.  Instant fried rice.

If you’re going to make that life-altering decision to get a tattoo — perhaps a tasteful flower or a tribal armband à la Sporty Spice — don’t go to True Tattoo on Broadway.  Head further down the road to Needlewürks on Congress St.  The people there are quite friendly.

Join Student Entertainment Company (SEC) if you want to get up close and personal with your favorite musicians.  Some SEC members get to work backstage at concerts and meet the performers.

In typical liberal arts college fashion, many Skid kids wear plaid shirts in an astonishing array of hues.  Don’t spend 30 bucks for the ones at Urban Outfitters — go to Goodwill or Salvation Army and there’ll be plenty of choices for a couple of bucks a pop.  By the way, I’m convinced paisley will be the next big thing.

That's me in the middle flanked by fellow seniors Margaret and Jack. We didn't plan this. It was super serendipitous.

The North Woods is the perfect multipurpose locale.  Seeking “privacy”?  Need to “be one with nature”? Want to go on a romantic walk?  Feel the urge to let out a primal scream but don’t want to embarrass yourself by doing so on the main green?  Head to the Woods.

Honesty time: step on campus and you’ll probably see a small but noticeable chunk of Skidmore students smoking cigarettes.  Take my advice and don’t start smoking.  Half the smokers at Skid probably do so because they came to school and imitated the people they saw doing it.  It’s a trap! Cigarettes are ten bucks a pack in New York, and you’re going to want to spend your cash on other things.  Plus you’ll already pick up a bunch of habits that’ll make you feel like crap (not sleeping, eating Cheetos for breakfast, ingesting caffeine as if it were crack cocaine) so skip this one.

Quirky hobbies and talents are rewarded here.  Don’t be embarrassed about being the only guy in your high school who knows how to unicycle.  (We have a circus club, so don’t you dare forget your unicycle at home.)  Harmonica and ukulele players, balloon animal makers, obsessive arts and crafters, people exceptionally good at ping-pong: welcome to Skidmore.

You will notice posters for dances at Falstaffs every other weekend.  While these dance parties mostly attract first-year students (I certainly got down at a few of ’em in my day), there is nothing wrong with going as an upperclassman, especially when the dances are sponsored by Skidmore Pride Alliance (the LGBTQ club on campus).  Those parties are usually epic.

Got a hot date?  Skip Uncommon Grounds — you’re going to have half the Skid population staring at you.  Go off the beaten path to The Local in the Beekman Street Arts District.  They’re cozy, they have an impressive tea list, and their fish and chips meal is huge.

Hey dudes, if you have questions about classes, professors, facilities, clubs, social life, sports, food, or the meaning of life, you should definitely ask me.  Right here.  I will answer literally anything as long as you don’t ask me for my Social Security number.  And I might even give you that if you ask nicely.

Did you feel like there were any disadvantages not being close to a large metropolitan area?

I’m jealous of people who study in NYC and Boston because, thanks to the access they have to certain industries, they get to do amazing internships during their school semesters. Internships in Saratoga Springs are available, but not as plentiful as those in big cities. That’s my one gripe — Saratoga is a little bit removed from the kind of opportunities available in New York.

BUT Skidmore is a three-hour drive or train ride away from New York, and that makes it slightly more accessible to students. Plus, there’s definitely a ‘metropolitan’ vibe in Saratoga, mostly because the cultural venues (like the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Film Forum and Saratoga Performing Arts Center) prevent the city from being cut off from what’s going on in the world. It combines the feeling of a city with the approachability of a small town.

Ask me anything

SkidMolly: Five Reasons to Apply to Skidmore

Holy cow, regular decision and ED II applications are due in a mere two days.  This post can serve as either a well-deserved break/distraction from putting the finishing touches on your app, or as a final kick in the pants for you to decide if you’re applying to Skid.  Without further ado, may I present five reasons to apply to Skidmore that actually pertain to you and your current mindset about school.  These reasons don’t have much to do with the academics at Skidmore (hopefully you already know the academics are stellar!) but they do cover the slightly less academic factors that make Skid an application-worthy college.

1. Saratoga Springs: the cutest town you’ll ever meet . Quick overview of why Saratoga Springs is the ultimate college town: it’s beautiful and quaint, it has nice and relatively inexpensive cafés wherein one can drink Americanos and eat bagels and lox, the bar scene is unbelievable for those who are legal, you’re close to Saratoga Lake, Lake George and the Hudson River, it doesn’t die in the summertime (that’s when the race track opens and both the NYC Ballet and the Philadelphia Philharmonic come to SPAC), and boredom is generally not a problem.

Me and a few friends at the Hudson this past summer. 'Tis a 20-minute drive from Skid, and 'tis refreshing indeed.

2. Resources: for people who like resources. Skidmore takes care of you in a way that is impossible at larger, more anonymous schools.  If you catch swine flu, you head to Health Services.  If life is not going well, you can talk to someone at the Counseling Center.  If Organic Chemistry is killing you, you can snag a tutor at Student Academic Services.  One of the first things I noticed upon arriving at Skidmore is that no one wants you to fail.  It’s a great environment because you learn how to be independent and how to ask for help at the same time.

3. The FYE: a boon for frightened freshmen. Ah, the First Year Experience.  Skidmore doesn’t say “whazzup?!?” to their first-year students and then send them to the wolves; the FYE provides a support system that happens to be really good at getting freshmen to assimilate into the college environment.  All first-years take a Scribner Seminar (click here for this past semesters’ cool course offerings) and are housed with their seminar classmates (instant community! instant way of finding someone to eat with!); the seminar itself combines interesting academic topics (crime fiction! Italian food!) with advising from professors and upperclassmen peer mentors, plus an introduction to all of the resources Skidmore offers (the library! the Writing Center!).  The FYE does not coddle you, but it does make you feel warm and fuzzy during the scary time of transitioning to college life.

That's my Scribner Seminar during First-Year Orientation! We had just painted that chair. I'm third from the left -- why so shy, Molly?

4. Chicken Finger Friday: lunch is truly served. Every Friday.  In the dining hall.  11 am to 4 pm.  Chicken fingers.  Veggie chicken nuggets for the groovy vegetarians.  It’s a bacchanal of golden, deep-fried, sauce-dipped, crispy chicken goodness.  I know i’s weird to tell you to apply for the chicken fingers alone, but…seriously.  They are that good.

5. Nocturnal events: good luck even trying to be bored.  Your nights, when not occupied by work or late classes, will be stuffed with such a ridiculous amount of concerts, theater and dance performances, a cappella jams, comedy shows, student bands, open mic nights, lectures, readings, panel discussions, fashion shows, cultural gatherings, apartment shindigs, off-campus parties and other assorted events that you will literally not know what to do with yourself.  If anyone at Skidmore can find a single night devoid of things to do, I will buy them a very large Plum Dandy fro-yo sundae.  This college keeps you busy…be prepared.

That’ll do it: five non-academic reasons to apply to Skidmore. If you already know that Skid’s business major is fab, or that the theatre program is right for you, perhaps one of this reasons will sway you.  Personally, I feel Chicken Finger Friday would sway anyone with a pulse and a set of working taste buds.

SkidMolly: Surviving Tripledom

I’m not a huge fan of the oft-dubious Princeton Review lists, but Skidmore has received their “Dorms Like Palaces” honor a few times, and rightfully so.  The double-occupancy rooms at Skidmore are luxuriously portioned in comparison to those at other colleges I’ve visited.  Sizeable closets, carpeted floors (no cold feet) and window seats with comfy, spongy cushions are all Skidmore dorm amenities.  (Room service and minibar not included).

And these days, Res Life puts the extra space in our res halls to good use — double rooms are usually triple rooms for first-year students.  A majority of the class of ’12 was placed in triples freshman year, and that has increased in the past couple of years.  I was in a triple and our room ended up de-tripling near the end of the first semester; because my room situation was an epic fail, hindsight has given me a few ideas for succeeding in tripledom.

ACCEPT YO’ FATE.  Excessive complaining about being placed in a triple — “Awww, dang! This sucks!” being one example — or referring to your newfound housing situation as a “forced triple” will not magically spirit you away from tripledom and toward a suite in the Waldorf.  Not to sound all New Age/Oprah/Dr. Phil, but positivity is a good tool for learning to deal with being in a triple.  Don’t think of it as a prison sentence — consider it an easy-to-overcome inconvenience, a little pothole on the road to college awesomeness.  Plus, there are monetary incentives for staying in a triple; this past semester, those assigned to triples received $200 on their Skid Card and an extra $300 tuition credit if they stayed in a triple past October 15th, and that incentive will be repeated this semester.  $200 goes a long way toward large coffees and multiple laundry cycles.

ACCOMMODATE.  The worst attitude to have is this: “Being in a triple is annoying.  I don’t care about my roommates at all, and I’m going to live life exactly the way I want to.  Everyone else can kiss my tush.”  Remember that you will be living with two other people, both of whom have needs and desires and habits and requirements.  One person will want to Skype with their significant other at 3am; another will need extra sleep because they have crew practice early in the morning.  Someone will have a peanut allergy; someone else will show up to school with an economy-size jar of Skippy.  This is how life works.  Compromise is very, very necessary.  Which leads to…

COMMUNICATE.  This amalgamation of needs can’t be addressed unless people express those needs!  That guy who’s allergic to peanuts has to speak up to his roommate, lest he face a horrible Death By PB & J.  Talk to your roommates.  It’s the quickest way to find out how to fix things.

RELATE. Your roommates will probably be different from you in some way.  Maybe they’re from the opposite side of the country, or from another country entirely.  Triples have a way of bringing science geeks and theater freaks and philosophy nerds all together in one small space, so embrace those weird combinations.  You don’t have to be best friends with your roommates — sometimes it’s better if you aren’t — but take the time to hang out with them outside of the room.  It’s easy to bond over a plate of fries from the Spa.

In the words of Blue Öyster Cult, don’t fear the reaper triple.  If anything, living in a triple is a learning experience: I discovered a lot about myself and even more about human nature, plus I got that sweet t-shirt pictured above.  It’s a scientific fact that free t-shirts make everything better.

Have questions about the logistics of living situations? Ask away, my dears.  Good luck to everybody applying ED II and Regular Decision — apps are due in nine days!

How are the career services at Skidmore?

I hadn’t used Career Services as a resource until the beginning of the fall semester, and my experience has been very positive. Probably the most difficult part was stepping in the door of the office…y’know, as soon as we seniors start thinking seriously about searching for jobs and entering the real world, we all begin to perspire and quake in our snowboots.

I met with Megan, one of the staff members, and we chatted about what I wanted to do post-college. Megan told me about a number of resources at my disposal: the Skidmore Career Advisor Network, a directory of alums and parents who are all willing to advise students about their professional fields; Grad Ads, sort of like Match.com profiles for job-hunting Skid kids; and CareerLink, a search engine for jobs and internships often posted by alumni. We also talked about networking strategies. I’m sure I’ve bored you at this point. "Networking strategies" sounds pretty snooze-y.

Bottom line: the office has a friendly and informative staff, and there are lots of resources for us students. I plan on heading back soon to have them check out my resume. Also, the Skidmore Career Services Twitter (http://twitter.com/skidmorecareer) is worth following; they post job and internships opportunities, alerts for upcoming seminars and general tips. I actually just got a writing internship after seeing an alumni listing tweet. Social media! It’s a doozy!

Thanks for your question! Here’s the Career Services website for your viewing pleasure: http://cms.skidmore.edu/career/index.cfm

Ask me anything

Would you recommend traveling abroad freshman year for the full year? Or did you like the experience of studying abroad later in your experience at Skidmore?

Howdy! A perfectly good question. According to the OSCE site (http://cms.skidmore.edu/ocse/policies/eligibility.cfm), students should have generally reached their junior year in order to study abroad. Second-semester sophomores are eligible, but must apply with a petition and recommendation from their adviser. You can choose to study abroad for the full junior year — I have a few friends who did it, and they really enjoyed it.

Studying abroad freshman year IS possible with the London First Year Experience, a program that takes place in the first semester of a student’s freshman year. There’s a space on the Skidmore application where you can write if you’d like to be considered for the London FYE program. I didn’t do the program, but one of my fellow bloggers Ryan just completed it. If you’re interested in starting your college career overseas, definitely talk to him. Here’s his blog: http://academics.skidmore.edu/blogs/ryan/

Thanks for your Q!

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What other colleges were you considering besides skidmore?

When I was looking at schools, I was checking out a lot of East Coast (or as I like to say, Beast Coast) liberal arts colleges. Most were on the smaller side: Vassar, Middlebury, Emerson, Williams and Bard. Some were bigger, like Boston University and Northeastern. I also looked at University of Vermont, mostly because it’s a ten minute drive from my house.

Looking at a bunch of small liberal arts colleges was complicated at best and overwhelming at worst, but that also helped me to pay attention to the little things that made the schools more individual. After visiting all the campuses, the atmosphere on the Skidmore campus definitely stood out in my mind.

Thanks for your question!

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Is there a specific foreign country that you (or the school) recommends for a business major? Or is the study abroad program not necessarily connected to a major?

Great Q! So I checked out the Study Abroad site and plugged in "management and business" in the Find a Program search engine, which is a great tool for narrowing down your options based on your major or your preferred country. The places that showed up with programs suitable (or tailored for) business majors were London, Paris, Beijing and Shanghai (China), Tokyo (Japan), Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), Freiburg (Germany), Dublin and Galway (Ireland), Barcelona and Madrid (Spain) and Warsaw (Poland). I’m sure all of these programs involve classes that will get you credits in the business major. Plus, certain programs also offer internships!

That being said, by junior year you might have enough credits in your major to explore a different academic focus. When I went to Prague, I had taken so many English classes that I was able to take non-major courses like Czech, history and a field study seminar. Keep that in mind — it’s possible that you won’t be limited to your major when you go abroad!

Thank you so much for your question! Here’s the Find A Program site if you want to play around with it: http://cms.skidmore.edu/ocse/search/index.cfm

Ask me anything