Let me Re-Introduce myself…
My name is Nanami, a rising sophomore at Smith College, and I am very excited to begin sharing with you all about my college experiences. If you haven’t heard yet, I’ve been blogging throughout my first year at Smith at http://nanananmi773.tumblr.com/ where you can find me talking about everything from what it’s like to be an international student from Japan, what it’s like to study Biology here, about student life and being a part of the Smith community, and (last but not least) FOOD!
Right now, I am back home in Tokyo for the summer, so I haven’t been updating my blog recently. (Sorry!) But before I got back, I spent a month in a loft in Northampton with five other Smithies to work on a mini research about teaching science to middle school students. Actually, my summer is all about education this year. This weekend, I’ll go to the Tohoku region in Japan as a volunteer to teach English to the people effected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. I’ve also been doing a one-to-one English tutoring for a middle school student the past two weeks. And next week, I’ll be going to Karuizawa, Japan as a camp counselor at the International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK) Summer Program. Sounds busy, but I’m really not. I have plenty of time to relax, meet up with my high school friends, and do all the things I couldn’t do during the academic year.
Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more blog posts from other Smithies [on SmithbySmithies] :)
That was the full version of what was published by the SmithbySmithies staff today. (My previous reblog) Just for all the lovely people who are checking my blog ;)
Recent Update: I finished my weekend trip to Touhoku, and I had a really great experience. (More details later!) And now I am through my fourth day of summer camp in Karuizawa. There are more magical moments to come, so I will do my best to keep everyone updated!
I am back home in Tokyo for the summer. But before I got back, I spent a month in a loft in Northampton with five other Smithies to work on a mini research about teaching science to middle school students. Actually, my summer is all about education this year. This weekend, I’ll go to the Tohoku region in Japan as a volunteer to teach English to the people effected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. - Nanami Kono ‘17
Change of Plans… not really
There’s less Smith things to talk about since I’m not in Smith right now, but I promise that I am always thinking about how my first year at Smith made me more more aware of social constructs and conscious about my actions.
I will continue blogging on this account for my sophomore year at Smith, as I said before. But I will also be submitting posts to SmithBySmithies, a new group blog of all Smith bloggers. It just started up recently, so there isn’t much going on yet, but stay tuned!
YES! And in Herrell’s Ice cream, you can get a free ice cream sundae on your Birthday!
Northampton has great frozen yogurt too ;)
This needs to be rebloggable …
number 9 tho
number fucking 9. there was a dude that would play his guitar outside of my window at 1 am all the time
Some bits that I’ve picked up:
There’s a general rule of college that if you were sitting in that seat for over two weeks, that is your seat. Not many if any professors have seating arrangements but switching seats will fuck everyone up.
Get there early and stay late. As soon as you get home you will not want to do shit. Stay on campus and do some homework while you’re in the environment.
SIT UP FRONT. The best way to start understanding something is to listen to someone talk about it and you can’t do that from the back of the class trying to listen over everyone whispering to each other. LISTENING WILL MAKE HOMEWORK SO MUCH EASIER.
Be childish, but be respectful. Have a massive snowball fight across campus, but don’t aim for anyone not taking part.
SHUT THE FUCK UP IN THE LIBRARY. Some people work there, some people sleep there. It is a quiet space.
Don’t be afraid to talk to professors. They are not there to flunk you. They would rather you pass than not.
IF YOU NEED TUTORING GET TUTORING DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU’VE DUG YOURSELF INTO YOUR GRAVE.
Get involved. It will help you make friends, give you new skills to learn, and even help you get a leg up in the work place if you know the right people.
I will add to this as a GTA:
Take time for yourself—buy a planner, figure out when your best study hours are, figure out WHERE you study best, and figure out how much time you need to complete an assignment—AND THEN make sure to pencil in an hour for video games, some time to watch a TV show, or time to just lay on your floor and blow bubbles. Whatever you like. Don’t forget about YOU.
SLEEP. EAT. DRINK WATER. Don’t die. Caffeine =/= sleep. I cannot emphasize that this much.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR INSTRUCTORS! If you’re sick, shoot an e-mail and say “Hey, I’m sick today. Can I set up a time to talk to you about what I missed?” If you’ve got a good opportunity (scholarships, to go to another country, to check out a cool lecture, etc.) let your prof know ahead of time. If you just need time to work on projects, all it takes is an e-mail. We understand. I gave a student a free skip day because he e-mailed me and said “Hey, look, I have two massive tests and a project due and I need the time to study.” And THAT IS OKAY.
However, sometimes you just need a personal day, and you know what, when you wake up and getting out of bed seems like the worst idea ever….just turn off your alarm and get that sleep.
Some additionally tid-bits that might help you
- Before signing up for classes, look on “ratemyprofessor.com" and see if the teachers at your campus are included. There may be two or more teachers for the same course, and you want to try and pick the good/easy one. Who your professor is can have a great affect on what grade you make, even for the "same" class.
- Look for a facebook group for your "graduating class" set up, which is a good way to make friends and find people with similar interests (particularly for introverts).
- Look for a facebook group for each of your courses. If there isn’t one, MAKE ONE and send it out via the course email or word of mouth. These groups are helpful for if you missed class and need the notes, and especially for review time before exams.
- If no one else does it, make a google doc of the exam reviews and post it on the class facebook page. That way everyone contributes to the review. 200 brains are most definitely better than 1.
- During lectures, unless Internet is required, TURN IT OFF. If it’s on, you WILL end up on tumblr or some other site, and you will miss important shit.
- For the love of God, pay attention to your syllabus. Sometimes assignments are listed there, and that’s the only place it’ll be mentioned. Also, if it says to do a reading by a specific date, DO THE READING BY THAT DATE. Otherwise you will get behind, and you will have 200+ pages of textbooks to read in one night before the test, and you will cry.
- Yes you actually need to do the readings. Yes it is a lot. Yes it will suck. Do it anyways.
- If you are used to getting all A’s, do not cry when you get a B. Take it from someone who killed herself for two years to maintain a 4.0, it feels like the end of the world when your GPA drops, but it’s not. You’ll be okay. Just breathe and do your best. Your best is good enough.
Try to make sure you leave an open hour around midday so that you have time to get food in you. A lot of people forget to do this. If you have to have back to back classes, check your syllabus or with your teacher—some midday classes allow you to bring in a drink and a snack. Some will even allow you a full meal.
If you can get an online/pdf copy of the book without busting the bank, DO IT. Sometimes there are even annotated versions online. This can make notetaking a shitton easier, because you can highlight printed-out versions of the book and they won’t dock you on the money back. Sometimes professors move through their lecture too fast for you to write stuff down. Shrugging off that old ‘don’t ruin your books’ rule you had in high school may be your only hope.
UNLESS YOU NEED THEM OR REALLY WANT TO KEEP THEM TRY TO SELL BACK YOUR BOOKS—maybe even offer them online to incoming students. You won’t get nearly the worth of them but someone after you will thank you a million times over for providing a used copy. If you take good notes, you can sometimes buy/sell those as well. A lot of professors teach literally the same class every time.
IF YOUR PROFESSOR PUTS NOTES ONLINE GET THEM. GET THEM NOW. TRUST ME. YOU WANT THOSE NOTES. Bring them in with you if it’s possible to get them before class.
Keep change on hand. Always.
The Best Way To Make Friends:
Bring a printer with you to college and offer to print people’s stuff for half of what the school does or for free if you can afford it.
Carry around small candies with you and offer them to people while waiting outside of class. If you are the ‘candy person’ this gives you an in for starting conversations.
Buy a jumbo pack of chalk and find an open sidewalk on a free day. Write the words ‘Come draw with me?’ and begin doodling.
Have a pack of cards.
Last But Not Least: if you go onto campus and you can’t find what you’re looking for, and you are afraid to go up to someone and ask, find an open, well-populated area, hold your schedule/map in hand, and walk in circles for a few minutes, looking up and around in obvious confusion. Other students know this body language well. Someone will stop and point you in the right direction. (if you are worried that the person’s directions are a joke or faulty, wait for them to leave and take up the stance again; if the directions match-up the second time, they’re legit; do not allow a person to ‘show you the way’ unless EVERY STEP is along an obvious walkway, just in case)
For those of you who fear assault, most campuses aren’t much for small blades or mace. Carry a pocket air horn or a hand bag of those little pop-rock fireworks unless you can get a concealed weapons permit.
Adding my own tidbit:
Make friends with transfer kids. Chances are, they won’t be able to live in the dorms and it’ll be ten times harder for them to meet people since they have to drive to and from campus. It’s also fun hearing about their experiences before the college you both go to.
Make friends with an older student. I’m talking about students who have families and full-time jobs. You can learn a lot from them, and they honestly have the best stories. They’re often the smartest and the most dedicated, so they make great study buddies.
Anonymous said: Hi there, since you have mentioned the saxophone, I'm also a saxophone noob~~ Does Smith have any saxophone class? If it does, how about the professor and the class? Does the student have to pay for extra money to take the class? By the way, have you ever learned it in Japan or you start the brand new life in the states? Is the class very hard for a beginner? Did you take your saxophone with you by air or you bought it in America? Though a lot of questions, thanks a lot!~~~
Hello! Great to get a question from another saxophonist *high five*
As a intro:
I started with the clarinet actually. I’ve played for 8 years before starting the tenor saxophone. (I played jazz clarinet for 5 years.) Originally, I was planning on playing clarinet for the Smith Jazz Ensemble, but the director told me she needed somebody to play the tenor saxophone, so if I learned the tenor sax, she would let me play clarinet too. I said sure! And then she introduced me to Bruce Krasin to learn tenor sax while I played in the Jazz Ensemble.
—-Yes, Smith has private saxophone classes, as well as other instruments and voice lessons. It’s called “First Year Performance”. I learned tenor sax from Bruce with this course. Once a week, I would meet him in one of the practice rooms in Sage Hall for 50 minutes. There is a fee you have to pay, but you can get financial aid for it if you need it. Here’s more information about the fees and registration: http://www.smith.edu/music/courses_performance.php
—-I can’t say anything about how music professors in Smith are like in general, but I can tell you that Bruce was a really great teacher. Since he knew that I already played jazz clarinet for a while, he was nice enough to adjust the lesson plans so I can practice tenor sax and clarinet. He also knew that I was in the Jazz Ensemble, so we used parts of the lesson time to work on the music I was playing with the band.
I would say his teaching style is very old school; he likes to bring in a big CD player so we can play along with the CD that comes with the workbook. But his techniques and skills are very very very good (crazy!). He plays everything: clarinet, alto, tenor, bari. Bruce often came to the jazz ensemble performances to fill in for missing parts or absent members (one night as a bari, another night he was the lead alto). He also plays classical and jazz. So half of our lesson was always scales and arpeggios with classical exercises, and the other half was jazz and improvisation.
He is really kind and caring. Always asks how my classes are going, and if I was feeling too stressed out. Talks about his lovely yet crazy Russian classical pianist wife. He’s a really fun guy.
—-The class is a private lesson, so everything is totally up to your level and your goal. Of course, Bruce always gave me weekly assignments to keep me busy. (I spent at least 4hrs in the practice rooms per week outside of class.)
—-Since I never played sax when I was in Japan, I didn’t own one. I only have a clarinet, which I brought with me to Smith. When I told my band director that I would play the tenor sax, she lent me the jazz band’s tenor sax for me to use for the year. Saxophones are pretty heavy, and I’m not sure how far you’re traveling to get to Smith, but if you can’t bring your saxophone, I think you can borrow one from the music department.
Thank you for all your questions! They’re all great questions to ask. It’s great to think about continuing music in college after high school. It’s relaxing, fun, and a good way to find friends :) It’s a little bit more time commitment, but you can also join the Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, or the Orchestra too!