the reason

the reason why I haven’t been posting regularly is mostly due to the increased workload; this is what I’ve been working on for the past couple of days.

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my love hate relationship with Paley

Paley library is our main library on campus and I both love and loath it; I love it because it has everything I need, it’s open late, and comfortable; I loath it because I generally don’t go there for fun but because I have work to do. This past week I’ve spent a total of 14 hours in the library looking for books for my capstone class. One thing that I don’t think enough people use in the library is the EZ Borrow feature, which allows temple kids to borrow books from other libraries which is nice if we don’t have it, but it’s also nice if the book you want is checked out by requesting it from another library you know that you’ll get the book soon.

micro posting and thesis

In an effort to update my blog, more often I’ve decided to try something new micro posting. Micro posts will be short 2-3 line updates about things I’m working on. I will still be doing longer more substantive posts but as the semester progresses and my work load increases I think that micro posting will help the blog from dying from a lack of updates.

One of the main reasons why I’ll be micro posting is because this being my last semester I’m taking my final history course or as temple calls it my capstone. The purpose of a capstone course is to combine all your coursework and knowledge of the major into a final project or paper. In the social sciences, this usually entails writing a thesis paper. My capstone is about American history from the 1950s-70s so my paper can deal with anything having to do with the period. As of now (and I hope it doesn’t change) my topic is going to be the evolution of the portrayal of the Korean War in film.  So far I have the list of movie’s I’ll be reviewing and some books on the topic. I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks getting more information and working on an outline. Even though Paley (temple’s main library) have a couple million books there were some that they either did not have or were checked out; therefore instead of buying the books I needed I just used the ez borrow service provided by library which finds books at local/ statewide libraries and has them shipped to Paley.  (I’ll also probably be posting more about the services about the library as I’ll be spending a good amount of time in there.)

College Technology

A couple of days ago I got an email from a family friend of mine who is going to be a college freshmen next year; he wrote to ask me what things (technology wise) should he buy/ what I actually used and found useful. The following are the things that I suggested he get/use.

 

A Google account

Gmail: Most colleges have subpar email; the websites are limited; space is limited; and it isn’t very functional. Have your college account forwarded to your gmail. I only use my gmail account for email but I have my temple.edu address forwarded so when I email professors they respond back to my temple.edu address. Also since the size is unlimited you can email your papers there and it’s a great safe backup.

               

Google Calendar: the best way to organize your life. Give every class you take its own unique calendar; so you can just look at each class separately and together.

 

A Laptop

Buy the best lightest laptop you can afford. By buying the best one you can you won’t feel that you will need a new one every couple of years. With the increase of Wi-Fi around campuses being able to bring your laptop around campus/ when you go home is great. Also buy the lightest thing you can get with all the features you want.

(a router if your housing allows it so you can have wi-fi in your apartment/res hall room; temple doesn’t allow it for security reasons so check with housing/ computer services)

 

A USB key or Portable HD

Get something in the 2GB range or higher but don’t pay more than $15. You can find deals online. They are the best things to store files to bring from one computer to another plus they are great for offsite backups. An iPod or many other MP3 players will also do this and will provide large amounts of space. I always keep a copy of papers I’m writing on my iPod so if something goes horribly horribly wrong I have a backup.

 

External HD

Something in the 500GB to 750GB range. This is for full backups. Every couple of weeks it’s a good idea to make a backup of your hard drive so just in case something happens you have your files saved. This is not to be confused with an USB Key or Portable HD this external is meant for large full backups. Plus it’s a great place to keep a large video or music collection.

 

A good pair of headphones

Spend some money and get a good pair of headphones, I like the noise cancelling variety or the circumaural variety. ( I have the Sennheiser HD280’s and they are great). When living with a roommate or simply with others; they don’t always want to hear what you’re listening to and vice versa. By having a good  pair of headphones you won’t be subject to your roommates love of the eurotechnopop and he won’t be subject to your love of Appalachian Folk music. If you can get ones with a long cord it’s a plus so you can use them with your tv. Also they are great for using in a crowded or loud computer lab.

 

Things not to get:

 

Printer Scanner Fax Combo

Check your schools printing allowance; most schools give students some free printing Temple gives every undergrad 400 pages. In 4 years at temple I’ve never need to scan anything but if I did there are scanners in the computer lab. Also even if your school only gives you black and white printing no one ever prints in color.

 

A PDA

Now this is debatable. I did buy one my freshmen year and used it for a while but in the long run, after Google calendar came out, I found it just not as useful as Google calendar or even a day planner.

 

Digital Recorder

Even if you get the permission of the professor to record the lecture you will most likely never listen to them; just take good notes.

 

 

Look it’s the Mayor

Even though it’s only the 2nd week of the semester I’m already starting to feel tired and drained. I don’t think it’s because of my classes, although reading a book a week for my history capstone is going to take its toll, getting my grad apps together has been a loong process with very real deadlines and consequences, but happily they are 97% done! The only thing I have left to do is finalize my CV, finalize my personal statement for 1 school, and wait for some transcripts to arrive. The biggest thing I learned during this whole process is to always give professors lots of lead time; many of them had to rush to get the letters done for me and only finished them after I had reminded them that I needed them sooner rather than later.

On a completely different tangent I keep seeing former Philadelphia Mayor and Temple Alum John Street around campus. Mind you he is teaching a course this semester so it’s not like he’s just wandering around campus but it is odd to see someone who you’re used to seeing on tv just walking next to you, or in the same elevator as you. From what I’ve heard his class is pretty good even though it is early int he morning (8:40) plus he’s bringing in a lot of guest speakers which is always great since you learn what really happens not just the theory and how it’s supposed to ideally work out.

Tonight I was supposed to go to First Friday but since it’s raining cats and dogs I think I’m just going hang out in my apartment.

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My last ever first week

This is going to be my last ever first week at Temple and it’s kind of bittersweet. On the one hand I’m ready to leave I’ve been here for 4 years and I’ve loved every minute of it but I’m ready to move on to something new. But I know I’m going to miss going to class (even though I will deny this in a couple of weeks), meeting new people and the general entertainment of Temple. This semester is actually going to be a difficult one I’m taking 4 classes 2 of which are writing intensive and 1 of which is a math class which I already partially regret signing up for. While I didn’t need to take 2 writing intensive classes the one I’m taking by choice: Modern Capitalism is taught by one of my favorite professors at Temple who is writing me a reference letter and always forces me to work a little bit harder than I usually do; the other writing intensive course is my history capstone which I have yet to go to since it is a Monday night class. The math class is actually a statistics course which I didn’t need to take but was advised to since every graduate program I’m applying to will require me to take some advanced statistics courses and by taking one now I’ll be slightly better off next year. My other class is about Pre-Modern Asia and it seems interesting to say the least.

I’ve also been submitting my graduate school applications. Most of the week has also been spent mildly stalking my recommenders and getting the letters so I can mail them out. I’ve finished all my personal statements and writing samples and now I’m just waiting to pick up the letters and mail them off. On a side note: sending out test scores is pretty expensive; I recommend you finalize your school list before you take your exam and send them directly from the exam for free.

Grad Apps, YAY!

It doesn’t get more fun than grad apps! Or at least that’s what I tell myself to keep from going insane.  For those of you who are reading this while they are getting their college apps together let me tell you this: you have it easy! I was looking at the temple website for undergrad stuff and remembering my days of applying and it was pretty straightforward. They told me what grades I needed, sat scores, class rank everything; grad schools that I’ve called (since they don’t seem to publish the information anywhere) have all told me the following and this is verbatim: “We look for a well rounded student who shows a strong upward trend GPA, solid GRE scores, and the ability to conduct good research” . I’m sorry but why not give me some numbers!?!!? Luckily I’ve found an amazing professor at temple who has been working with me for the past year getting my list honed, now all I have to do is apply and wait. And I hate waiting. For the past couple of day’s I’ve been getting all my things together to send out applications, I’ve ordered my transcripts (which I have to pay for), extra copies of my GRE score report (which I have to pay for), talked to my recommenders to get my letters ready. The only thing I have left to do is put everything together and mail it out.