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December 2010 Archives

Final projects have been presented, term papers written, and exams taken. It's finally winter break, the time of the academic year where students get to relax for a month, enjoy some home cooked meals, and have someone else do their laundry (if you are so lucky). It's a time to catch up on your sleep and reconnect with friends from home. If you happen to be around the Twin Cities during break, you may just find yourself to be almost as busy as you are during the school year with all of the fun things to do!

Before you and your friends go your separate ways for break, you absolutely must take a trip down to Nicollet Mall for the Holidazzle Parade and Macy's Holiday Show. Holidazzle is a holiday parade of lights, featuring holiday and fairytale themed floats (The Princess and the Pea is my personal favorite). It runs in the evenings on the weekends starting Thanksgiving weekend. For all of you who aren't fans of cold weather, don't worry-- the parade is under 30 minutes. After the parade, be sure to head over to Macy's (to warm up, if nothing else) and head up to the 8th floor to see the Holiday Show. Believe me, nothing will get you in the holiday spirit like a trip to Holidazzle!

If you are an outdoors person, or if you simply enjoy playing in the snow, you're in luck and will have plenty to do this winter! Many kids have already taken advantage of the Twin Cities' recent 17 inches of snow and are out skiing, sledding, and making snow forts and snowmen. My friends and I are planning a ski excursion to one of the ski areas in the Twin Cities, as well as a skating trip to Rice Park in St. Paul before classes start again.

If staying inside where it's warm is more your style, enjoy some of the great indoor experiences the Twin Cities has to offer. On Saturday I'll be at the Walker Art Museum for the British Advertising Awards (a little optional side trip for one of my marketing classes). I'm looking forward to an hour of entertainment while viewing some of Britain's best commercials of the year! Another one of my favorite indoor winter activities is Omnifest at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Starting at the beginning of January, the museum shows its most popular films from the year before. This year I'm most excited for the Tropical Rainforest and Wild Safari films. And of course, if you're on campus be sure to cheer on the Gopher basketball and hockey teams-- Go Gophers!

I hope you all enjoy your time off this winter, and wish you all a warm and relaxing holiday season! 

 

Finals...

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Going without showering for a few days, sleeping a few hours each night, and making your brain run an academic marathon wouldn't seem very glamourous to some. Well let's face it folks, sometimes finals aren't all that glamourous. They are one of the most intense and challenging experiences you will have in college but also one of the most rewarding.  It is absolutely incredible to look back on all that you have accomplished during the semester: projects, presentations, and tests and know that you are done with all of them.

Finals come in various forms for different classes -- some essay, some take-home, and some multiple choice -- but all tend to be challenging yet manageable if you have been reading and participating in class throughout the semester.  The challenging part to me was that the classes cover a lot of material.  My high school was trimester-based so the semester-long classes were a real adjustment for me, but I quickly realized I liked this system better.  These semester length courses divide the year nicely and allow for about a month-long break (not too shabby) to rest and prepare for spring semester.

I am kind of in the middle of this slew of finals right now and have had three presentations this week, but luckily for me the University of Minnesota really helps facilitate studying. Not only are there a ton of coffee shops around campus, there are beautiful libraries (Walter is my favorite because it looks like something out of Harry Potter), Carlson and Hanson break-out rooms, and so many other nook-and-cranny secret study spots.  My current favorite place is in the basement of Carlson next to the cafeteria.  There is coffee nearby (always a necessity) and food if a study break is needed.  Hope you have the chance to find your own spot during your first finals!!
   

Wish me luck as I head into the home stretch!  

Happy Holidays!  

 

One thing that has always impressed me about Carlson and the U of M is how much professors get to know their students.  I graduted from a small high school where every teacher knew almost every student.  When I chose to come to Minnesota, I did not really expect my professors to know my name or who I was.  Over the past four years, though, I have been very impressed by how much professors get to know their students. 

I have had large classes in Carlson (about 100 students) and small classes (less than 20 or 30 students), but in all my classes my professors have gotten to know me.  It has also been fun getting to know my professors, many of them have years of experience in the workforce and constantly share their experiences with us so that we know what to expect when we enter it.  The instructors care about their students and want to make sure that they are succeeding in class.  Every professor holds office hours each week, where they are just sitting in their office waiting for any students to come in to get extra help.  The help can be for upcoming tests or assignments, or even talking about what you want to major in or what career you can go into.  There are great advisors and career coaches in Carlson, but I've gotten a lot of advice from professors too.  And if you can't make it to their office hours, every professor I've had says to either call or e-mail them to set up another time to meet.

In my service management class this semester, which has about 18 people in it (yes, I counted!), Professor Goldstein mentioned that if it was too far to go home for Thanksgiving, we could spend it at her house.  I thought that was a great example how professors do care about students.  She also held class outside a few times when it was nice after another student was joking that he had almost made it through all his education without getting to have class outside. 

It is probably possible to make it through Carlson without having too much interaction with your professors, but you would be missing out on a lot.  So take advantage of them while you can!