My Columbia University Presentation Experience

I arrived fairly easily. I’ve never really been to Auburn before, so this was an entirely new experience. As I looked at the surroundings as best as I could while driving the windy and steep hills, I didn’t see too terribly much. It seemed to just be an expansion of factories. Then of course, I got to the insanity of the hills – which I didn’t know could be possible – and suddenly I was driving through woods.

My Waze app told me to turn and I turned, becoming less and less directionally aware. I finally was told to turn right into a parking lot that looked a lot like a state park. I pulled over, checked my app and saw that I had, in fact, arrived at Green River Community College.

The sign said that parking was full, but I was able to find parking in the visitor center and get a pass.

It was raining, as is to be expected in Washington, especially during this time of the year. I wandered the campus, having to frequently stop at maps to figure out just where I was and where I needed to go. The walk felt like going through a zoo – not in that it was insanely busy, mind you, but in the sense that the roads/paths wound around buildings in seemingly nonsensical patterns, and evergreens were tall and frequent. It was boarder-line an ewok village. It was rather a fantastic campus.

I wondered what it would be like to be a part of such a campus – and so surprising given the town in which it’s nestled.

I eventually found the building through the drops of rain, and wasn’t particularly certain that I had the right place. It was a small building of perhaps five (if I’m being generous) classrooms, nowhere for students to sit and do homework or read. None of the buildings around it looked any more inviting, and having found myself there 45 minutes yearly, I had no choice but to find the most off-to-the-side nook that I could and sit….uncomfortably, I might add, as I was at this point quite wet.

IMG_1838I eventually spied some one that I thought might be waiting for the same thing, for the doors to room 101 of building C to open, and the presentation to begin. I meandered in his direction until we were eventually let in, along with another student that joined us just at the right time. We sat in silence, a square of tables with twenty seating spots, empty, and waiting. Columbia University’s School of General Studies was open and projected on the screen before us, sliding through the achievements and projects of the school.

The quiet and awkwardness of the room erupted into a flurry of business, staff of the college directing each other, arranging a buffet of sandwiches and drinks, while more students poured in. It became apparent those that had traveled from out o town to be there and those that were a part of the college’s culture.

With all the discussion going around on my own campus regarding race, I couldn’t help but notice with interest that I was one of two white people there, and the only white female. There was another African American student, and the rest were transfer students from Asia and the Middle East. It became an eclectic mash of dialects and words, tones and sounds while the representative of C.U. got himself together.

During this time, the realization of just what I was doing set in. I was in a position I never expected to be in. There I sat, having traveled several counties south to sit in on a seminar from an Ivy League University  – and yet when I was in high school, I had no intention of even attempting college, never mind getting this far. Everything became suddenly surreal.

Dirk, the representative, began by asking which of us were traditional students, and which were had taken a break in our education. This became the explanatory difference between the School of General Studies and Columbia College: the former is for those that have taken some time off between high school and college, or plan to take time off between their education now and the next phase, while Columbia College is designed for students jumping straight into university.

He explained how Columbia University is a school of Liberal Arts, and as a result has a core curriculum, that includes Art Humanities, Music Humanities, Literature/Humanities, Social Sciences, Doreign Language, and so on. All of these are supplemented with the university’s location, in the heart of New York City. So while we’re studying in depth Picasso, we would then go to the Met and see the paintings we had been studying.

“Think of what you enjoy studying,” he said. “Then look into careers.” He said that the goal of this school was to take what students enjoy studying and working a career path into this enjoyment.

Those of us that would be going into the General Studies college would be able to get housing via the school, but not in the dorms. The dorms are reserved for traditional students, and are right on campus. Those apart of the GS School would be assigned apartments, just outside of campus, a five minute walk from campus. We could request a roommate, or try and live on our own – the School of General Studies is there to find the best fit for you. Not only that, but the cost of housing is included in the approximated annual tuition of $50,000.

When the slight gasps went throughout the room, he went into the Financial Aid and scholarship programs. He said never to judge a school by their price tag, hardly any one every pays out of pocket for tuition. In fact, he said that 70% of students were able to get their tuition entirely covered through grants and scholarships.

I left with a lot to think about. I was certainly more sold on Columbia than I was prior to walking into that room.

I had also been somewhat on the fence about whether or not to do the General Studies Admissions Exam (today). But after the presentation, and he happened to briefly mention that the exam was only the English portion of the SAT’s, I felt far more confident, and decided to do it.

In fact, that is where I am off to right…now.


Campus to campus

While I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 this morning, three hours later my feet are dragging. I’m currently on an excursion not only away from campus, but on my way to an alternative campus in Auburn, WA, some 2+ hours south of Bellingham.
I’m currently taking a break and a much needed injection of caffeine, and while waiting in the whirl wind of caffeine deficient zombies in line at Starbucks, thought I’d take this moment to update on my most immediate adventure.

I thought I might check this out. I have no idea what to expect, or if it’s just a college fair like we have – in which case I will not be impressed (a row of tables with representatives from universities is not worth so long of a drive).
But if I get to get some insight as to how I should be scheduling my classes over the next year and am able to figure out how to do the things that get them excited about not only being a student at Columbia University, but maybe being awarded an academic scholarship – well that would be just swell.
My coffee’s ready! Time to hit the road again!

Meet and Greet Universities

This weekend I’ll be heading down to Seattle for two reasons – to go to an informational seminar in for Columbia University and then maybe to take the General Studies Admissions Exam – though I’m not 100% certain on the latter.

I got an email the other day inviting me to go to the seminar. There’s actually two, one in Seattle and one a little bit further south at the Green River Community College. I’m thinking I might go to both. That way, if I leave the first one and realize I have questions after, then I can go and ask them at the second one.

Because it’s been more than eight years since I’ve taken the SATs, I need to take the General Studies Admissions Exam. This is similar to the SATs, and had I gotten the email sooner, I would have begun preparing for it. However, I only just started this weekend. Columbia’s website provides a link to the college board website which has daily SAT practice questions. You can practice math and the written portion of it as well. The non-math so far as proved to be little worry to me. It was almost fun.

Then there was the Math.

I don’d mind math. However, what I recall of the SATs (or at least studying for them), was a huge amount of geometry, which I absolutely care nothing for, nor can I remember. Sure enough, as I began the SAT practice test, it asked if a triangle had two sides at the length of 5 and 6, what could their possible parameter be?

The only thing that came to mind was how a squared plus b squared equals c squared – which clearly wasn’t it – since the square root of the sum of a squared and be squared was not a whole number, and all my options were whole numbers (25+36=61, square root of 61=7.8102496…). I got nothing. Well, not so – I took a swing at it and guessed right, but there was no logic behind it. Perhaps an eenie meanie minie mo, but that was about as calculated as it got.

So that’s something I have to work on. I think I should be alright. Though, just in case, I did email them to find out when another available time to take the test might be, so that I have options, any way. It was late last night east coast time, so I’m sure I’ll hear from them later today.

This weekend I get to interact with representatives from Columbia University, next weekend, it’s Durham University.

Pre-Calculus Blues

Thank goodness for the sun. If it hadn’t given me that day to just realized that I was having a little mini rough patch, I’m not certain how well I’d be stomaching the idea of next quarter.

Math is really getting on top of me. It’s not that I can’t do it, but it’s that I get easily confused with the math teach. I do in fact like her teaching style, I like that she will show us the Proofs of why something is so. However, I don’t like the reliance of WAMAPS, the website that has our quizzes on it. She uses other quizzes that other teachers have written, with problems we haven’t been shown how to do, and then we get marked down for not being able to do them (though, in all fairness, usually calls her out on it and she walks us through it). Sometimes she doesn’t know how to do them.

It’s the height of frustration.

Last week (or maybe it was the week before? It’s all becoming a blur now), we had a test that she wrote the night before the day of. It was seven pages. Seven pages of tedious math to complete in 50 minutes. The math wasn’t hard, I knew how to do it, but physically writing out all the steps was time consuming. At the end of the my second problem (well, problem two part D), she called the half way point of our time. I began to panic, seeing the four pages I had yet to get to. I began darting to the easiest ones, the ones that didn’t take many minutes to get done, so I could come back to them.

I, along with the vast majority of the class, didn’t have a chance to finish the test. She realized her fault, and promised she would find a way to make it up to us.

When I got my test back, I had a shocking 49/77 – purely from unanswered questions. The first three pages I did manage to complete had full marks, and were perfect. You can see the exact point where my panic set in and I began rushing. When she handed back the tests, she said she had a plan, and would let us know at the end of class. She didn’t. She waited until the end of the week, after our heads were filled with other math – the beginning of logarithms (oh yes, that old noise) before she revealed her master plan. She gave us two problems, two equations to graph. Difficult they were, yes. I managed to get through them. She stressed that she wanted them neat, pretty, on graphing paper – they would lose points if they were messy. Oh yeah, and they were only ten points. This stress and work would only get me ten points toward my D of a test.

I was quite furious. Should I manage to get the entirety of the points, my test grade will only rise to a C, and I don’t think that’s adequate. There is a kid in my class that I’ve befriended who – up until recently – I thought was better at this stuff than I am. I think he thought the same of me. Turns out we’re about on par with each other. However, he was slower on the test and didn’t make it as far. His grade was lower.

So the moral of the story – this math class is deterring me. I seem to have had this problem since math 98. I keep blaming it on my teacher too. Math 98 was the one I had during the summer quarter that printed out our Fill-In-the-Blank notes, which did little for my learning ability. The next math I had was last quarter, which was the online math class. That was rough, and again, I did not agree with my teacher. She did similar things – put up quizzes that she may or may not have looked at that contained problems that we hadn’t been shown to do (in fact, the problem I had with one of the quizzes most recently contained THE SAME problem I couldn’t figure out on one of the quizzes from last quarter. I was brought up in class, and she said she’d take it off, it was unfair since we hadn’t been taught it yet).

I wonder if it’s me. I like math. I do do well in math, over all. But, perhaps my struggling isn’t necessarily my teachers, but me, instead.

As always, if I get anything less than an A, I’m going to take the class over again. I think that I can salvage this though, some how.

Un grand jour

It’s amazing the difference the sun shining can make. I’ve got big news coming up but I want to sign the paper work before I brag about it. Stay tuned in, folks!


I feel as though I’m faltering, like I’m not able to keep up. I got a D on my math test from Friday because the test was too long to finish in the allotted time – I’m one of the vast majority that didn’t have time to finish the test. I had my French midterm yesterday and for all that I felt like I prepared for it, I go to it and seemed to remember nothing.
My energy and drive is waning. This could be, in part, due to the season – but here in the Pacific Northwest spring is arriving so early. It’s light when I get home at 530, and the birds and frogs are out.
I wonder if I’ve burnt up all my energy, my drive. I wouldn’t be concerned if this weren’t the second time I was feeling this frustration in as many weeks.
I have to sign up for my classes for next quarter soon. I have a long list of more math classes and some sciences that I need to get out of the way. After this quarter’s math class, it seems daunting. It’s difficult now that I know that UK universities don’t necessarily need me to have my GED, they just want to know that I’m a good student. I’ve proven that in abundance, and am extremely tempted to just apply now and see what happens. Maybe I get in. Then I go to school in the UK in 6 months instead of 18.
Even the Writing Center is burning me out – and I love working there. But I do work there every single day of the week. I’m on Online-Response duty on the weekends too. It’s a 7- day week job. And my goat cheese gig is about to get a bit more Hoppin’, too. Come April the Farmer’s Market will be in full swing again, and it’ll only be a month after that the other Market starts up.
Well, I did anticipate this being a rough quarter.

How to Remember Things for Exams

Interesting Literature

Struggle to remember names, dates, or book titles? Here are a few handy hints for remembering more of what you read

This post is titled ‘How to Remember Things for Exams’ but it could also be known simply as ‘How to Remember Things’. Want to know to create your own Mind Palace or Memory Palace, like Sherlock? This post will go some way towards showing you how. The following memory tips can be used very effectively to remember information for exams – and although our examples will specifically be drawn from English Literature, these tips can just as easily be utilised for other subjects. These memory techniques can also come in handy for remembering other things: speeches, lectures, presentations, or facts for the local pub quiz.

The link method

Of the three basic memory techniques we’re going to outline in this post, this is probably the simplest to master. As…

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