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Sick of Studying at Fordham?

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Cristina Romano

Are you sick of studying in your apartment or inside the confines of FCLC? Well it’s time you switch things up a little bit, and get a change of scenery. So take your laptop and your books, and head someplace else immediately- that’s an order! Here are the five best indoor places to study that are all within walking distance (or less than a few subway stops away!)

The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Location: Broadway between 62nd and 63rd

Hours: M-F 8 a.m- 10 p.m , Sat- Sun, 9 a.m – 10 p.m

Perks: Free WiFi, comfortable environment, good for large study groups, clean bathrooms, food service from Tom Colicchio’s wichcraft café (you can’t study properly without good food!)

Downsides: Extremely difficult to find a table during the afternoon, not too many outlets to plug in your laptop, may become distracting on some nights due to free concerts, large tour groups often meet here allowing you to become easily distracted.

 

Gigi Café

Location: 2067 Broadway (Between 71st and 72nd)

Hours: M-S 6 a.m – 12 a.m, Sun 6 a.m – 10 p.m

Perks: Free WiFi, extensive menu makes it perfect for a breakfast, lunch or dinner study session with one of your friends from class, stays open late.

Downsides: Limited seating , may get loud at times, not good for larger group projects.

 

Sony Plaza

Location: 550 Madison Ave (Between 55th and 56th)

Hours: 7 a.m – 11 p.m, 7 days a week

Perks: Free WiFi, Large open space with many tables (226 chairs and 4-three person benches for a total seating of 238 people according to nyc.gov) and high ceilings, perfect for group projects, Starbucks!

Downsides: Often closes for various events, many tour groups and/or school groups find refuge in here during the day.

 

Aroma Espresso Bar

Location: 161 W. 72nd St. (Between Amsterdam and Columbus)

Hours: 7 a.m – 11 p.m, 7 days a week

Perks: Free 30-minute WiFi with code/pin, Upstairs and downstairs seating , amazing coffee and pastries (need I say more?), clean bathroom, relaxing, good environment for studying when Starbucks is too crowded.

Downsides: The free-30 minute WiFi, downstairs tables are awkward if you are juggling with an excessive amount of books/papers, no outlet power on the first floor.

 

Whole Foods

Location 10 Columbus Circle

Hours: 8 a.m – 11 p.m, 7 days a week

Perks: Free WiFi, you can stock up on groceries or get dinner before you start your study session, large tables allow you to spread out your work or study with a group, less than a block away from Fordham.

Downsides: Hard to get a table during lunch or dinner hours (unless you knock people over!), may be too loud if you are looking to do some serious studying.

Parent-Professor Conferences? Maybe.

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Fatima Shabbir

Before reading this article last week about a proposed parent – teacher conference for college students, I was outraged and a little insulted by the audacity of this man who thought of–much less wrote–such a proposal.

But lo-and-behold, I actually read his arguments and it made sense – surprisingly.  He doesn’t think all college campuses should mandate PTA meetings and air out student’s dirty laundry; he has other positive aspects of these proposed meetings in mind.

I’m pretty sure we can all remember the parent-teacher conferences when we were kids and dreading the outcomes, (for those of us who couldn’t focus and resorted to “bad” behavior leading to no-good grades), and welcoming the positive feedback from the classes we loved that boosted our self esteem.  And then having our parents only lament about the bad reviews they got once we got home… I think this hits home for all of us.

Now, this proposed “meet the parents” college night does not have the same concept – thankfully!  Instead, the author of this article invited parents of his students to a well intentioned and fun night to get to know the program he was teaching, ask questions about it, and interact with other faculty members as well as their children in the same setting. One night of letting parents know about what they were paying for their children to learn at college – some of whom are hundreds of miles away from their children everyday (a daunting and scary thought for most parents).

He found that more and more parents wanted to see him after his presentation, although I’m not sure the students were as enthusiastic about it. Being a student myself, and understanding that we are all adults and can make decisions for ourselves – don’t our parents deserve at least one night to feel like they know what’s going on in our lives?  I mean, they are paying for this wonderful and sometimes scary experience we are living through for the next four years of our lives.  At least let them feel like they’re in some control.

And for those of us (especially us Asians!), who want to major in art, music or creative writing because we are good at it and love it – and feel the pressure of becoming lawyers, doctors and engineers beating down our shoulders by our parents – wouldn’t it be nice to have a professor explain our talent, and why becoming a writer or freelance, carefree artist would be more beneficial to us than being a clinical cardiologist neurosurgeon specializing in psychological disorders and brain wave radiology? I know I can surely use some of that.

It may not be a bad idea after all. Just for one night.

Adding the Oomph: The New Class Presentation

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

If your professors are anything like mine, class presentations are a big part of your final grade. Every semester, an abundance of chances to trip and fall on the way to the podium, forget everything you rehearsed before class, find yourself unable to answer a basic question, and other wayward presentation moments are thrown at you in the form of the dreaded PowerPoint presentation. Why must us poor college kids be inundated with torturous public speaking? Why can’t we just sulk in the back of the classroom and avoid eye contact like they used to in the good ole’ days?

Truth be told, Powerpoints aren’t nearly as bad as they seem. Just slap together a template, a few pics, and three words worth of description and we’re pretty much good to go. But sometimes, that just isn’t enough. Sometimes, we need bigger & flashier presentations to distract the professor from the fact that we’re tripping over our own words. And that’s where Prezi comes in!

Prezi is an online presentation, slideshow, and storytelling tool that allows people to create PowerPoint-like presentations, but with a touch of extra coolness. Everything can be created on a single infinite canvas – just imagine that the universe is one giant whiteboard. Prezi users can jot everything down on one “slide”, then use the zoom tools to reveal information as they wish, draw directly onto the canvas, add images and videos wherever they please, and more.  For an example of what a Prezi presentation can look like, just visit http://www.prezi.com.

The tool does need some getting used to, but once you get a feel of what the website can offer you, you can definitely create presentations that will stand out from the rest of the cut-and-dry PowerPoints out there. Prezi is a useful tool for students that need to add that extra oomph to their presentations. And hey, who knows? Your professor just might appreciate all that extra effort to distract him.

This Is My Nightmare: The Dream Edition

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Harry Huggins, opinions editor

Note to reader: What follows are not real events; they are things that have happened to me in dreams.

I’m in class; it’s my second grade classroom but my teacher is almost definitely not my second grade teacher. I’m 93 percent sure I never had the dad from “That ’70s Show” teach me spelling, but I’ve been wrong before.

It’s my turn and Red tells me to spell “ephemeral,” a word that in second grade does not exist for most people. Of course, I can’t spell that word, nobody uses it in the real world and I’m left standing and sweating bullets.

Lucky for me, that’s when my best friend from elementary school bursts in the door, the blackboard opens like a cargo-bay in an action movie and we get in a Disney-style theme park ride. Of course, in Disneyland my friend definitely wouldn’t be holding a shotgun and I probably wouldn’t have a medieval sword. Not on a Wednesday, at least.

So here I am in a spooky theme park ride, when ghosts start flying around us. These are not Caspers; these are like the Inferi from the sixth Harry Potter, but they can fly and I don’t have Dumbledore, I have my goofy friend with a shotgun.

My only choice is to start slashing around at ghosts with my sword, and while my friend’s shotgun is pretty much useless, I’m somehow doing just enough damage to keep us alive. Of course, when I see one that looks like a hipster, I finally realize something that brings me back to reality:

This is a nightmare.

This is My Nightmare: Bureaucracy

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Harry Huggins, opinions editor

Friday afternoon, I received an email from my undisclosed employer asking for a simple letter saying that I could receive credit for my internship. I also needed to meet with my advisor before registration, so I decided to kill two dolphins with one trash bag and set up a 2:15 meeting with my advisor and a 2:30 with the assistant dean.

2:15. I’m standing outside my advisor’s office, patiently waiting for the last student to finish her meeting.

2:25. I’m still waiting and thinking about how rude and/or selfish it is to take that much time to have casual conversation when there are new kids scheduled for each quarter-hour. I run up four flights of stairs to make it to my other meeting.

2:30. I get my first taste of Fordham’s infamous bureaucracy. It takes 30 minutes and two assistant deans to get a letter that basically says that I have enough credits to get credit for an internship. What it doesn’t say is that I might have to pretend like I’m taking it next semester so I don’t go over the university’s credit limit and have to pay more. Some things just don’t make sense.

3:20. I finally get to meet with my dean and have five minutes of conversation that basically came to two things: lifting my hold and being my potential mentor for internship credit.

All of this took over two hours when I should have been studying, eating or sleeping. This is my nightmare.

Take the Pain Out of Paper-Writing with Zotero

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

David Hagmann

Image courtesy of David Hagmann

Chances are you have to write at least one paper this semester. When you do so, it’s crucial that you always cite your sources – not just for direct quotes, but also if you use their ideas. You could write down each reference in a word file, but that’s messy and may make it hard to find your sources again. Plus, you’d have to remember how to cite using different formats (e.g. MLA or APA). Fortunately, there is software available to do it for you. I stumbled across Zotero, which is a free addon for the Firefox browser.

After you install the addon, you will see a small icon in the URL bar of certain websites. Zotero can read all the major paper repositories (like ProQuest) as well as major newspapers. Let’s say you find an article on the website of the New York Times that you want to cite in your paper. Just click on the icon and Zotero will record the URL, the author, the date the article was published, the section it was published in, and the date you accessed it. Zotero also keeps a snapshot of the article, making it easy for you to search later on (you may want to find all articles containing the word “subprime”). Of course you can add (searchable) notes and tags to your source. When you create a reference of a paper from ProQuest, it not only creates the citation but even saves a (searchable) PDF of the entire paper.

Now that you have your source, you can easily cite it in Microsoft Word, Mac Word, or Open Office. Zotero has addons available for these programs, so that you only have to select the source and a citation will be created for you in the appropriate format. You won’t even have to bother coming up with the “Works Cited” page on your own: one click is all it takes, and you can be assured that the citation follows whichever format you have chosen.

Learn more about Zotero on their website: www.zotero.org, and get the Firefox browser at www.getfirefox.org.

Shout-Down: FedEx’s Denial of Wrongdoing

Image courtesy of FailBlog.

by Mike Mineo

From public transportation to its extremely walkable layout, New York City epitomizes efficiency. Those that work or live here rely on services that strive to be the most efficient in the world, even if rising subway costs and already-hefty taxi fares make these services stressful for students and their parents alike. It can take money and quite a bit of time to get from point A to point B, leaving those making a living or studying hard in a hassling situation. For this reason mainly, it is difficult to manage the arrival of packages when ones lives in the city, especially when they are forced to rely on FedEx. Like many in the city, I am outside of my apartment from around 10AM to 5PM, which are understandably the hours for FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc to deliver their packages. Their time-frame is not what I take issue with though; it is how FedEx deals with packages when the recipient is not home.

I was not home for a package I ordered last week, so FedEx decided to give it to a stranger on the street. Despite my name being on the package, it was given to someone named ‘RSANCHEZ’ who signed for and proceeded to take the package. Upon calling FedEx just an hour later, the driver apparently had not remembered getting a signature despite the fact I had a digital copy of the signature via FedEx’s web site. The company proceeded to stall me for over a week before calling me to say this: “We can’t remember what happened, so it is the shipper’s fault.” They told me to contact the shipper and that he would re-send the package free of charge. I contacted the shipper and, while he reimbursed me out of his own pocket despite not making any mistakes, it bugs me that a company like FedEx refuses to take blame for their own employee’s incompetence, in addition to imposing decisions upon other companies, such as this shipper’s company, regarding their compensation policies when they did nothing wrong. FedEx should fix their own policies before demanding action from other companies, especially when that specific action is a consequence of FedEx’s own mistake.

FedEx has consistently been ranked as one of the best places to work in the US, so their employees should be held to a significantly higher standard if it is such a sought-after job. At the very least, admitting your own company’s misjudgment when they make an error would have been nice.