Monthly Archives: November 2012

5 Things You Shouldn’t Say (or email) to your Professor

1. “Oh, is today the midterm?” If this question escapes your lips then that is a bad sign.  Don’t make it worse by advertising it to the professor.  Just do your best.

2. “I went to your office and you weren’t there.” Professor is aware of her location.  Try “Sorry I missed you.”

3. “I don’t write good.  It’s not my thing.”  You don’t write well.  And, if Twilight can get published then you can crank out an essay.

4.  “I gotta be honest.  I got wasted last night.” No, you do not need to be honest.  Drink some coffee.

5. “I didn’t know what you wanted me to answer on the exam.”  Professor is not a dictator, but thanks for the implication.  Try “I was unsure how to approach the question, and I’d like to do better on the next exam.”

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Six Sentences

*Posts from my 6S (Six Sentences) Blog

The Take Over

Undetected, I slither into the depths of your being, transforming serenity into a volcano of emotion on the brink.  Your concentration paralyzed by a tsunami of anxieties swirling around your platform of ego.  Grocery clerks appear menacingly slow, the traffic agonizing, your husband seems to be a stranger, and nothing tastes quite right except for ice-cream and Taco Bell.

I enforce a fog to diminish your inner mute button just when a conversation desperately requires it.  Fatigue replaces the beauty of sleep; you desperately wish I were a mere vodka induced hangover.

My name is S: PM, S.

Missing You

There was a time when you showed the utmost devotion, and I would surrender in sweet peace upon your arrival. I barely needed to call on you; yet, without a miss there you’d be, cradling my exhausted body, shushing my woes away, marking the end to another day.

Now I stare at the ceiling longing for you, my eyes sometimes bouncing from corner to corner in anticipation, wondering what I did wrong for you to abscond. Perhaps this is punishment for ignoring you (but I didn’t mean it!); staying online, absorbed in the noise of the internet…a google here, a tweet there…

Now I cast my gaze to the crack of light peeping out from behind the curtain, my stare numb but not relaxed enough, a scatter of thoughts flutter about in my mind, the rhythm of my breath my only company.

Please come back to me, for I miss you terribly, my dear beloved Sleep.

Ode to Leuven, Belgium

Soft sounds of Flemish float through the air from those bustling along on cobblestone streets, winding around and about towards the center of town.

A lavish Town Hall pierces the sky; a masterpiece of detailed work calling upon the observer whose gaze cannot bear to rest on just one spot.

Sweet aroma from Bakers’ shops infiltrate the senses, draws one in without mercy, lining their windows with enticing treats sinfully sparking a pang of hunger unnoticed just moments before: “Een chocolade broodje, alstublieft.”

At the heart of several buildings sits a white brick embossed with the year 1914 above flames; a haunting reminder that the work was once the object of destruction but built anew; a historical signature memorializing the despair of war and the dignity of repair imprinted on the consciousness of all who pass.

Gray skies perpetually hover, threatening rain, teasing umbrellas to unleash their protection and force a hasty skip in one’s step; no matter,  because a café around the corner invites shelter, offering strong espresso, Koffie verkeerd or an impressive array of beer that imbues power to erase any hint of discomfort from the cold.

Church Bells chime, monopolizing the pulse of the town, and alerting the denizens of the hour as they continue about on foot or bicycle through this lovely little place, Leuven.


Term Paper Ideas

The professor passes out the term paper prompt.  You glance at the requirements, cue the heart palpitations.  What to write?

Writing essays is a means for you to demonstrate knowledge of the course and to engage in the learning process.  What if the paper is for a General Ed course that falls outside the bounds of your major (and comfort zone)?  Link the ideas from the General Ed course to your major.  By making connections between subjects you will enhance your work, ease the stress of research, and construct a paper that interests you.  In fact, most university course subjects are not independent of each other but rather topics that imply and/or depend on each other.

For example, if you are a Science major in need of ideas for a History term paper, then research scientific advancements that impacted the historical time frame you are currently studying.  A Literature major taking a science course?  Look into science fiction novels that alluded to scientific discovery or technological possibilities.  Brave New World or  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea could fit nicely.

Other subjects that comfortably intersect:

1. Economics, Geography, Political Science.

2. Women’s Studies, Literature, History, Sociology, African-American Studies.

3. Philosophy, Psychology, History, World Religions.

Do not be afraid to take what you have learned from one course and inject that knowledge into your term paper for another course.  I’ve read fantastic Philosophy papers that draw from Engineering Case Studies, Women’s Studies, Biology, and History.  To begin, try typing two subjects into the university library search engine and see what pops up; for example, “Virtue Ethics and Business,” or “Utilitarianism and Engineering.” Chances are a journal article will appear that will launch ideas for your term paper.

In my Philosophy class, students linked the following subjects: an aerospace engineering student used Utilitarian Ethical Theory to justify government funds funneled towards space exploration.  A student interested in Biology examined the implications of genetic engineering in conjunction with Ethical Theory.  A female athlete used our reading on Feminist Theory and applied it to women in sports.  The implications of Determinism were highlighted in a paper by a Psychology Major.

Again, the notion that your undergraduate studies are discrete from one another is disingenuous.  You have a lot of material right at your finger tips!  Write an essay that interests you and it will translate into a well crafted paper.

Finally, professors look for a proper organization of ideas in students’ papers.

1. Be sure to proof read your work for grammar and structure.

2. Do you have an introduction that clearly lets the reader know of your paper’s intention?

3. Check and re-check the order of the paragraphs to ensure a logical flow of ideas.

4. Print your work, step away for a few hours, and then read the paper out loud slowly.  This helps you to spot grammar errors and awkward sentences.

5. Have you considered more than one point of view?  Is there an opposition?

6. Do you have a conclusion?  What did you learn?

Good luck on your term papers!

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