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SkidMolly: Pre-Spring Break Update!

Hello folks!  It is an unbelievably warm day in Saratoga (global warming or the heavens smiling upon us?  Too soon to tell) and I just finished my last class before spring break officially begins.  Yep — no Friday classes for this senior.  Here are some updates for you:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSk-98nvUGU

Last weekend’s Weekend Update, for your viewing pleasure.  Dog Sees God got a great writeup in Skidmore Unofficial, and Steven Millhauser’s reading was incredible.  He read “Dangerous Laughter,” a short story of which I’m quite fond, and then an energetic rap/Beat poem/thingamajig about a divorced couple dividing their possessions.  Good stuff.

Normally (meaning in the last three years) my spring break has consisted of chilling hardcore at the homestead.  (Though last year’s spring break was spent in Slovakia and Poland.  The joys of going abroad.)  This year, I’m finally embarking on a trip…to California!  I’m going to San Francisco with three friends and I can’t wait.  I didn’t realize how excited I was until I was watching Comic Book Confidential and listened to Robert Crumb talk about the crazy times he had in the ’60s on Haight-Ashbury.  I will make sure to wear flowers in my hair when I go.

Graduation is LOOMING.  We’re supposed to order our caps and gowns by March 26th.  Eek!  I don’t want to graduate!  Back when I was in high school I was more or less DYING to get out of there, but the beauty of picking the right college is that you don’t want to leave when it’s time to.  So there’s that.  More morose graduation posts on the way, for sure.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  If you’re coming to one of Skidmore’s Accepted Candidates Days, please consider logging into the Skidmore Facebook App and joining one of the communities: either April 9th, April 13th or April 16th.  You guys can meet each other online before you meet in person!  It’s the future!

AND as always, please feel free to ask me your questions.  I will tell you no lies.

Are there any classes at Skidmore that you are required to take?

What a fantastic question. I will itemize these requirements for you and then tell you what courses I took to fulfill them:

1) Scribner Seminar. This is easy to fulfill because everyone has to take one in their first semester at Skid. One of the first things you do once you get into Skidmore is pick your top ten Scribner Sem choices (they’ll hook you up with one of your top three, for sure.) My Scribner Seminar was called Word & Image, with French/International Relations professor Marc-André Wiesmann. We read the Aeneid and lots of French short stories about crazy painters. We went really in-depth on the definitions of words like "impression" and "mimesis." It was a little bit of everything, with lots of word/image interaction. I loved it. We’re having a reunion soon.

2) Quantitative Reasoning 1 and 2. QR1 can be passed by either getting a 630 on the SAT (or a 570 on the math SAT II, or a 28 on the math section of the ACT), or by taking the QR1 test at the beginning of freshman year. (You have to do it by the end of junior year, I believe). Then QR2 has to happen in a course that involves math, like physics or accounting or, y’know, calculus. I fulfilled my QR2 with Macroeconomics. Lots of cost-benefit analysis graphs. Let me be the first to say that the math requirement is not as intimidating as it sounds; I am the true opposite of a math person and I survived.

3) Expository Writing. I took EN 110, Intro to Literary Studies, because that was recommended to me based on my SAT scores. You can also take EN 103 or EN 105 depending on your level. Essay-writing — essential!

4) Arts. Generally, this means dance, music, theater, creative writing, or studio art. I did creative writing. I’m on my fourth writing workshop now. But I’m also taking dance this semester, which is GREAT. I’m a huge fan of the art requirement because it requires either a deeper focus on doing something you already love or having to try something uncomfortable and new. Both are great for one’s academic (and personal) growth.

5) Humanities. The most vague of requirements. Lots of classes fulfill the humanities requirement. I assume I got mine from an English class.

6) Natural Sciences. Aahh! I took Neuroscience. You can take biology, chemistry, physics, oceanography, anything they teach in Dana Science Center. I really loved Neuro and recommend it for anyone who likes interdisciplinary things. (Neuro combines biology, chemistry, psychology, and more. It’s a scientific smörgåsbord.) Our lab was great; we got to strap electrodes to our heads to measure our brain waves, and once day we dissected a sheep’s brain. It smelled SO BAD.

7) Social Sciences. This is American studies, sociology, anthropology, government, history, et cetera. Lucky for me, Economics was both a QR2 and a social sciences course. Lots of courses actually serves as double requirements, which is really useful. My post-Civil War American history class was probably a social science too.

8) Foreign Language. Yup, Skidmore wants us to attempt to be bilingual. My French classes counted, obviously, but I also took Arabic my sophomore year through Skidmore’s self-instructional language program. They offer Korean, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi and Portuguese too. Also, you can take Latin and Greek through the Classics department.

9) Non-Western/Cultural Diversity. Very necessary in an academic program, if you ask me. This can be fulfilled in almost every department: classical Indian dance, non-Western religions, African-American literature, Latin American history, Caribbean politics. I’ve taken a few classes that have fulfilled it, African-American novels and modern Japanese lit in translation among them.

If it seems like a lot, it’s not. I didn’t stress too much about fulfilling my requirements, and even the ones that were not up my alley, like QR2 and science, actually pushed me to explore new departments and step out of my comfort zone. Thanks again for your question!

Ask me anything

How Was…Nancy Grossman’s ‘Tough Life Diary’ at the Tang?

If any of you prospective students are going to be at Skidmore in the next three months, I highly recommend you check out Nancy Grossman’s retrospective at the Tang.  There’s a lot going on — fifty years of paintings, collages, and sculptures — and it’s all wonderful to look at.  My favorite pieces were the rows of sculptural heads; Grossman has been hand-carving heads and covering them with leather since the ’60s, and each one is unique, provocative and sort of humorous at the same time.  (One head yawns energetically, its chin folding like an accordion.)  It’s all a bit “off,” in a good way.

Grossman also gave a talk before the show’s wine-‘n’-cheese opening, and she was fascinatingly tangential.  Every anecdote segued into another.  She talked about working in NYC’s Garment District and walking through the glass wall of a grocery store before recounting the time her gallerist wanted her to fork over an immense leather sculpture that she hadn’t yet completed.  Grossman had been distraught — the sculpture wasn’t ready.  “I sat down on a pile of leather jackets and asked for a bottle of Scotch,” she told us with a crackly laugh.

Check out Tough Life Diary at the Tang — it’ll be up until May 20th, at which point it’ll become a touring exhibition and visit museums across the country.  Here are some pics:

Nancy Grossman's leather heads.

The once-unfinished sculpture.

Museum-goers at the opening; I loved this outfit color combination.

More videos and pictures to come.  I had a very camera-friendly weekend.  Hint: Quidditch pictures!

I read somewhere that Skidmore has one of the best college radio stations. Tell me more! Have you had a show? Friends?

SKIDMORE TOTALLY DOES. I love WSPN (a.k.a. Skid’s radio station). It’s 91.1 FM if you’re in the Saratoga Springs/Albany area, and programming is 24/7.

Here’s how it works: every semester WSPN has a Big Meeting where you pick up a show application. You write down your info, your time availability, whether your show will have a theme or not, and a sample playlist. Then they assemble the schedule. Freshmen ABSOLUTELY get shows. WSPN is very much open to first-year students. Usually your freshman year time slot will be from 4 – 6 am on a Wednesday, or some other ungodly hour. That’s still kind of fun though! It’s like you’re up "past your bedtime." If you stick with the radio station, your time slots will get better and better, so that by the time you’re a senior you get 4 – 6 pm on a Friday (ideal time slot, yo.) Also you get to pick your own DJ name. Sweet.

I’ve never had a radio show (and I wish I had one) but lots of my friends have had shows over the years. Last year three friends did a jazz show together; last semester my boyfriend had a show called "The Produce Aisle" where each hour was devoted to a different hip-hop producer. This semester I know some people doing "Lit Radio" where they read and discuss their favorite short stories. And one of my favorite shows of all time played nothing but Japanese pop tunes. There’s a lot of freedom to do whatever you want, provided you don’t, y’know, curse on-air.

So yeah, love me some WSPN. Lucky for you, you can stream it here: http://tunein.com/radio/WSPN-911-s22928

And check out the radio station’s website here! http://www.skidmore.edu/studentorgs/wspn/

Thanks for your question!

Ask me anything

hi! i’m really interested in studying english. what’s the department like?

Yes! I love potential English majors! I really love the department. Not only is it full of professors who love what they teach and publish amazing work (Google Daniel Swift, Greg Hrbek, Steve Stern and Catherine Golden and you’ll see what I mean), but these professors are totally willing to meet with and help students. Professor availability: so key, especially when you’re working on big papers or projects and need some guidance. I met with two different English profs this past week alone.

And everyone has their special academic focus — American modernism, the Victorians, memoirs, lyric essays — so you can get the full experience of a particular subject with an expert, instead of a watered-down general study. It’s really wonderful to be taught by people who are passionate.

AND there are a lot of opportunities within the English department for creative work (i.e. stuff other than critical/analytic essays). That means workshops for poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, documentary filmmaking, cinema studies, and even internships outside of Skidmore. Right now I’m writing a novella in Steven Millhauser’s Advanced Fiction Projects class. It’s rad.

Hope this gives you a good idea of what the department is like. If you have questions about specifics, ask away!

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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

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

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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!

Ask me anything

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!

Ask me anything

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

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