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’Cat in the Stacks: Sports, Students and Success

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Am I wrong or have sports and athletics increased their presence in the atmosphere since the Eagles won the Super Bowl? On the national level, the Olympics are in full swing. Campus is abuzz with the performance of a truly phenomenal basketball squad. Yes, it would seem sports have infected our daily lives, and they seem to be metastasizing.

Hunter seems to think I’m right about sports. (Totally kidding, it’s just her bitmoji, she would legit never think that!)

Now you might be thinking, “’Cat in the Stacks’ is not a sports blog, William! What are you going on about?” Well, I’d like to use our current collective fascination with sports to talk about college life and the role of Falvey in helping you reach your full potential.

All of the athletes who grace our television screens began their careers with a simple choice: to go wholeheartedly toward their goal. Along the way, they reached various plateaus, and, no matter how much climbing the next plateau required, they reached and reached until they got the call to represent their university, city or nation.

Success here at college works the same way. You dedicate more and more time and effort to a particular topic or craft and jump from level to level with increasing difficulty until you get that offer to become a young professional. In this similarity lies my advice for this week: make that decision to wholeheartedly pursue your goal, Wildcats – whether it’s your major, that volunteer work you’ve been doing or even if you’re on a sports team too! You can even work wholeheartedly toward all three if you’d like, as long as you find it fulfilling.

If you dedicate yourself enough to something, you might even shatter your goals!

Enter Falvey Memorial Library. While athletes have trainers and coaches to help them jump from plateau to plateau, as students you have Falvey. Look at our databases and stacks as your playing field, our entire staff – from Access Services to subject librarians to bloggers – as your coaches and trainers. We’re here to help you to that next level, so you too can achieve your goals.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Comics, “The Simpsons,” and “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” at VU Theatre

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Introduction: Falvey Loves Comics & Cartoons

Did you know that part of what makes Falvey Memorial Library so unique is our love of popular literature? We have popular books of the present as well as dime novels of the past. We, of course, have criticism for your scholarly pursuits and, most relevantly for this week at VU Theatre, we love our comics!

We have the stereotypical academic stuff: an adaptation of “The Odyssey,” “The Canterbury Tales,” and even “Beowulf.” We also have the trendy works in comic circles these days – including “Habibi” and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson. We even have some of the comics that you’ll find adapted on television, including “The Walking Dead.”

As VU Theatre has begun showing “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play,” I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most curious quotes articulated in our collection. In his “Adult Comics: An Introduction” Roger Sabin writes:

Although not derived from an adult comic per se, [“The Simpsons”] was touted as ‘the first ever adult cartoon’ and was created by a former alternative press cartoonist (Matt Groening). Though often extremely amusing, it was over-praised by critics, and not as innovative as its PR made out, amounting really to little more than The Flintstones with a dash of satire (not that there was anything wrong with that).

The cover of VU Theatre’s “Mr. Burns” Playbill.

I find this quote curious because for appearing in a book that seeks to promote the serious study of comics and cartoons, this selection seems to diminish the cultural import of both “The Flintstones” and “The Simpsons.” Can it really be true that one of the most iconic families in recent American history – a family that spawned such staples of our irreverent television diet as “South Park,” “Family Guy,” and “Bob’s Burgers” – was over-praised by critics?

Let’s take a closer look at VU Theatre’s production of “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” and then return to this very question.

A Review: “Mr. Burns” Burns Down the House

“Mr. Burns” at VU Theatre greets its audience with a stage of absolute dadaist proportions, featuring elements befitting of an aristocratic sitting room, a Roman Catholic Church, and (I guess I’ll be the one to say it) a graduate student’s washroom. Scenic Designer Colin McIlvaine can also add to his résumé the erection of “an enormous recycled curtain comprised by over 700 plastic bottles.”

Act I opens with an important debate between four friends – what exactly did happen in the “Cape Feare” episode of “The Simpsons?” A stranger arrives to help fill in the gaps (Leo Bond), and within the conversation, we learn that our characters inhabit a a post-apocalyptic world brought about by the catastrophic failure of America’s nuclear power plants; were there 100s of them, or really only, like, maybe 20?

A stranger approaches the main characters.

Matt, one of the four friends, portrayed by Lee Stover, steals the comedy of this first act, wavering between clarity and confusion as he recounts “Cape Feare.” Brishen Miller, retaining the quiet suspiciousness of his character in “Intimate Apparel” as Sam in“Mr. Burns,” silently moderates the act’s debate from a pallet off to the side.

Sisi Wright and Tara Demmy, who play Maria and Jenny, respectively, demonstrate an amazing range in their acting skills as they seamlessly transition from comedic to solemn to frustrated then back to comedic – one of the many pleasures in their performances overall.

The cast/characters try to figure out their play within a play in Act II.

Act II opens with the reassertion of Mina Kawahara’s incredible stage presence, still prominent on the mind of “Godspell” audience members, as the friends have turned their debate into a stage show seven years later. This portion of the show starts to expose the deadly serious underbelly to “Mr. Burns’” elements of comedy, as the characters remind us that commercials contain “always that question of identity” and “things are funniest when they’re true.”

I forewarn you now that the third act will confuse, entertain, frustrate and satisfy you – sometimes all at once. The absurdist, surreal, and even Dada elements of the play come to a crescendo in this act that shows the retelling of “Cape Feare” some 75 years down the road. What you will find is subjective to each individual audience member, but I assure you that your discovery – like the rest of the play – will be genuine, hilarious, and even profoundly sad.

The bizarre beginning of the stellar final act. (Kawahara at front.)

Conclusion: Is Sabin Right?

One of many climactic moments in the final act includes an interlude when Bart (Kawahara) and Lisa (Shawneen Rowe) sing an adaptation of “The Flintstones” introduction to Mr. Burns (Miller) about messing with the Simpsons.

In this moment, “The Flintstones” tune mixed with “The Simpsons” characters reinforces the play’s central message that popular entertainment, those works of art that infiltrate our lives everyday in seemingly insignificant little ways, are the real works that will carry us through our darkest times.

Mr. Burns” runs at VU Theatre Feb. 6-10 and Feb. 13-17 at 8pm and Feb. 11 & 18 at 2pm.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Images courtesy of VU Theatre’s Marketing and Public Relations team.)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Super Bowl Edition

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Okay, Nova Nation, so I know that we aren’t are all Eagles fans here; some of us might even be, gasp, Patriots fans. (At least all of us can get behind the SuperBowles giveaway though!) I’ll have you remember, however, that when it was the Nova Nation’s turn to win a national championship, the city of Philadelphia got behind us. It might, just might, be our opportunity to give some support back.

Hunter‘s from out of town, but she’s an Eagles fan this weekend!

After all, Villanova’s only a traffic-riddled drive up 76, and a labyrinthine exploration through West Philadelphia’s litter-strewn streets, then a few hundred stops at traffic lights up the Main Line from the Eagles’ home. And – if you’re lucky enough to find a parking spot – you can walk yourself to the heart of campus at Falvey Memorial library, and you’ll notice a peculiar thing:

We already have a portrait of Super Bowl LII hanging in the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room. Can you spot it? No, it’s not in the lobby (though you could grab a coffee and a cozy chair there). You won’t spot it above the high-backed armchairs when you first leave the lobby. Instead, our depiction of the big game resides right about you as you walk inside – “The Triumph of David.”

The screen we will all be glued to this weekend will be exactly that – a battle of David versus Goliath. The Patriots have won five Super Bowl Championships in the last 20 years; the Eagles have none – ever. It’s hard to imagine a started for the Pats other than Tom Brady. Nick Foles wasn’t even the Eagles starter most of this season. But, we’re hoping, as Pietro de Cortona depicted, that David prevails (we’ll settle for Foles bringing home a Lombardi Trophy though, rather than something – well – a little more violent).

No caption really needed. I’m excited. Like, really excited.

It’s David versus Goliath. It’s Hal Incandenza serving up an ace against John (no relation) Wayne at the Whattaburger. It’s Doug Pederson telling us “We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.” It’s Hermione Granger with Draco Malfoy in her way. You have to figure: it’s Philadelphia’s turn.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Epitaph for an Author


CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Ursula Le Guin passed away this Monday, Jan. 22. She leaves behind one of the most celebrated female science-fiction careers ever – indeed, one of the most recognized careers for an American novelist as well. You can find interviews with Le Guin on the library catalog as well as bibliographies, criticism, and, of course, her fiction.

How I’ve felt since hearing of Le Guin’s death.

I’d like to take this week’s ’Cat in the Stacks, though, to think a bit about why the passing of authors like Le Guin seem to strike us personally. After all, many of us in mourning have never had the opportunity to meet the high-profile authors we’ve lost in the last decade or so – Le Guin, Harper Lee, Tom Clancy, and Michael Crichton come immediately to mind.

So why do we get so upset? It might be too simple, I think, to say that we miss their voices alone. After all, their voices are the immortal parts of the author. No matter how long we go without new works by, say, Crichton or Le Guin, we can still delight in the worlds of “Jurassic Park” or “The Earthsea Trilogy.”

What we really mourn when we hear of the death of a favorite author is the loss of a person who was so prominent in our memory of reading their stories. When, for example, you discovered that you enjoyed reading fiction over Crichton’s “Andromeda Strain,” Crichton was sitting there with you. Or, when you discovered Le Guin’s gifts when a close friend read her prose aloud, Le Guin read right along with him.

PATW author, Hunter Houtzer, also feeling down about the passing of Le Guin.

Though they’ve parted from us for the moment, we can’t help but relive these memories where they seemed so vivid, so obviously present. In our profound sadness, however, there remains hope. Part of the healing power of fiction lies in its ability to fill the voids left by the so-called real world. Where should we go with our grief? I think Le Guin would say: pick up a book and read.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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‘Cat in the Stacks: Keeping it Brief

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.



I wanted to keep it brief this week, ‘Nova Nation! Well done on another completed semester. Have a safe trip home (wherever that may be), a wonderful and refreshing break, and we’ll see you again next semester. Happy Holidays!


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Concerning Accomplishments

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


I’ve been browbeating you about working hard and stress this time of year. I admit it. On this week’s ’Cat in the Stacks, however, I’d like to change the tone a bit and talk about, of all things, accomplishments. Accomplishments come at all levels of our lives – personally, professionally, academically, for example. As you dot the final i’s and cross the final t’s on your semester, I’d like to point out some of the accomplishments that are hidden in plain sight around you every day.

Hunter’s proud of everything you’ve done so far!

First off, Wildcats, take a good look in the mirror. You are a very good example of an accomplished person. Even though they might feel small now, think about the sum of all the minor accomplishments you’ve had this semester: finishing that paper, making those new friends, taking up that new campus activity. By this point in your college experience, and by this point in the semester, you’ve already accomplished so much!

Falvey’s made a number of big strides this semester as well. We’re very proud of how the community rallied around Falvey for the 1842 Day celebration. We had 91 supporters who gave more than $5,000! We’ve also had a very successful piloting of our new 24/7 hours this semester. Also among our proudest accomplishments this semester: hosting Dr. Spencer Di Scala and Tom Mogan for talks in Speakers’ Corner.

On a personal level, I’d love to share some of my own accomplishments with you here! I just went to my final master’s class on Tuesday. (No, I’m not finished my graduate degree; I’ll be your ’Cat in the Stacks for one more semester as I write my thesis.) I’ve also SUCCESSFULLY gone grocery shopping every other weekend for a couple of months in a row now – that’s no small feat.

Hopefully your #GOALS are more ambitious than mine!

Accomplishments, like Christmas presents, come in all shapes and sizes. What are some of the things you’re most proud of accomplishing this semester, ’Nova Nation? Share in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Thanksgiving Survival Kit

CAT-STAX4

I’m William Repetto, a second year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “’Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ’cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Given the strange, savage, and seemingly omnipresent American political landscape, many may find giving thanks a strangely difficult task this Thanksgiving season. Typically you would expect the ’Cat in the Stacks to walk you through some sappy way to find the silver lining. In true Michelle Callaghan form, though, I would like to offer some irreverent ways to get through the holiday season with family members.

I mean seriously, as much as I have loved taking over the ’Cat in the Stacks persona, Callaghan’s declaration of “thankfulness month” and her “(un)helpful tips” were second to none blog-post-wise.

I would now like to introduce the…

Thanksgiving and Cat in the Stacks

Falvey Thanksgiving Break Survival Kit 

Popular Reading

In the past, I have urged you to get help with the subject librarians and utilize the databases to the most effective extent possible. I’m telling you today to check out a fun read. Yes, the Falvey Memorial Library is more than just your campus intellectual center. We have Grisham and Brown and, gasp, even Nicholas Sparks. Stop in, grab a book, and tone out the family nonsense.

eBooks

So you packed your things and ran out of the dorms to your car so quickly that you forgot to stop by the Falvey for one of our popular reading books. That’s okay! You can still access resources at the library via your phone, tablet, or laptop. You simply need to follow this link and login from home. On the EBSCO eBook collection you can even find cookbooks, in case, you know, mother’s cooking really isn’t anything to, well, write home about.

New hobbies!

Two of your newest hobbies! You’re looking more intellectual already!

Pick up a new hobby

If popular reading and eBook cookbooks aren’t your thing, then I suggest picking up a new hobby while you’re on break. If your business degree has prevented you from the appreciation of history you crave, take up reading Making of the Modern World. If engineering assignments have stunted your film watching, take a look at EBSCO’s Film & Television Index. These scholarly hobbies may impress family members, especially when Uncle Larry brings up his beer-can airplane collection for the umpteenth time.

‘Cat in the Stacks

Surely when you get home, your family is going to want to know if you’ve met the Internet celebrity sensation of Villanova – the ‘Cat in the Stacks. You don’t want to embarrassingly say that you’ve never heard of him, do you? So get caught up on ‘Cat in the Stacks! We have some good ones this semester. And while you’re clicking around, learn something new with our Dig Deeper series of posts.

Thanksgiving Survival Tool

Your Thanksgiving survival tool. You’ll find us on Facebook, too!

Tweet us

You can do this from your phone at the Thanksgiving table if you’d like, and tell your parents that you’re texting all your new friends from school. We young PR professionals are bound to answer at any time of the day or night – but more probably on Monday, Nov. 28, when we return to our desks. But we would love to know your #NovaGivesThanks, so shout us out on twitter @FalveyLibrary.

 

These five tools should get you through the short break back home before classes pick up heading into the final stretch of the semester. Unwind and enjoy the company of those who love you, Wildcats. We’ve almost made it through another fall semester, and before you know it, we’ll be celebrating the start of 2017. I’m very thankful for all my readers and thankful for having the opportunity to write for you all.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

 


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The ’Cat in the Stacks Purrs Over VU Theatre’s “Intimate Apparel”

 

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


First you got an anecdote about kissing, then you got some dating advice, and now on this week’s ’Cat in the Stacks you’ll hear a thing or two about “Intimate Apparel.” I’m speaking, of course, of Villanova Theatre’s production of the famous play by Lynn Nottage. You might be familiar with my reviews of “Little Women” and “Godspell,” and, in true VU Theatre fashion, “Intimate Apparel” did not disappoint. 

(Courtesy of VU Theatre.)

The Show

“Intimate Apparel” greets the audience with the sights and soundscape of early 20th-century New York City that dramaturg Andrea Rumble-Moore writes so lucidly about in the program. Along with the costume design of Janus Stefanowicz, and the rest of the costume department, the mis en scene of the play’s opening transport the audience a couple hundred miles north and a little over a hundred years back to 1904-1905 lower Manhattan.

What greets us there are the marvelously depicted Esther (Sisi Wright), a seamstress of corsets and the like, along with her patrons Mrs. Van Buren (Kara Krichman) and Mayme (Alexandra King), and her landlady Mrs. Dickson (Marissa Kennedy). Did I mention her fabric supplier and secret admirer Mr. Marks (Nikitas Menotiades)? Only the highest forms of drama ensue as the illiterate Esther forms an epistolary romance with a Panama Canal construction worker named George (Brishen Miller).

VU Theatre’s rendition wonderfully highlighted the complicated matrix of race, gender, and religion that complicated all social interactions of Greenwich Village in the early 1900s. As Esther struggles to identify with the lifestyles of her customers, she relies on them for both patronage and their ability to write to George. Most scene transitions are dictated by her letter-based romance, as the VU Theatre characteristically blends plot with the demands of technical theatre.

As the story unfolds, however, George turns out to be someone vastly different than expected; an untimely kiss disrupts things quite a bit, and you might find yourself looking for a smoking gun – or shall we say a smoking jacket? Amidst the strong bonds that form between our female characters, you might find yourself wondering if all the characters use the term “gentleman” ironically, or if it’s possible to use it any other way. In the end, though, you’ll remain curious about why the modern world has found it possible to connect oceans across continents but cannot seem to find common ground among genders, races, and religions.

The “Intimate Apparel” Stage as it greets the audience.

The Cast

The women of “Intimate Apparel” provide such a strong performance that you’ll notice they don’t even need any men to perform the set changes!

As a follow up to “Godspell,” “Intimate Apparel” demonstrates the amazing range that the performers of the Villanova Theatre program really have. In no character is this more apparent than Mrs. Dickinson portrayed by Marissa Kennedy. Kennedy mixed wit and humor in “Godspell,” but, as Mrs. Dickinson, she returns as the wise and wry landlady that truly allows her to demonstrate the sheer breadth of her acting repertoire.

Alexandra King, who we didn’t see in “Godspell,” returns to the stage in “Intimate Apparel” as Mayme – the entertaining yet introspective prostitute who receives all the same clothing as her upper-class double Mrs. Van Buren, played by Kara Krichman. A notable line delivered by Esther (Sisi Wright) about these two characters goes: “What she got, you want, and what you got, she want.” Well, King’s and Krichman’s performances certainly leave the audience wanting nothing more.

Wright herself demonstrates the scope of emotions required to play such a layered character as Esther. Throughout the play, the audience sees her at different times as confident, shy, industrious, foolish, flirtatious, and downright serious. She handled each and every one of these emotions in stride and perfectly illustrated the complexity of the character for the audience.

The press packet for “Intimate Apparel,” replete with an advert for “Mr. Burns” – which we sadly must wait until February to see!

Dig Deeper

If you’re not one to be satiated by the musings of a library blogger, you can always explore the academic resources that Falvey keeps on hand for the people who are just your type. Or, of course, you can check out these links I’ve assembled for you:

Whether you’re the bookish type enough to read these library resources or not, I hope you’ll still find your way over to the VU Theatre for a showing of “Intimate Apparel.” Showings will be at 8pm on Nov. 8-11 and Nov. 14-18; and showings will be at 2pm on Nov. 12 and Nov. 19.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

 


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’Cat in the Stacks: Some Dating Advice

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


The ’Cat in the Stacks is not a dating column – except for when it has to be. Only one time of year could necessitate the editorial decision to make this week’s post about romance: cuffing season. Now, because you’re a smart, suave member of the Villanova community, I know you think you know all there is to cuffing season, but I would like to gently remind you of some definitions you may not have come across.  

First, of course, there’s the standard definition of cuffing season; gals and guys tend to settle into relationships as the cold weather encroaches. Second, however, and the lesser known of the cuffing seasons, is that time of year when the chilly weather makes it feel as though your quilts and pillows have conspired to create an elaborate web of cuffs that keep you firmly tethered to the mattress despite the most annoying beckoning of the alarm clock. 

All that chilly weather that strikes right after Halloween can cuff you down anywhere, really. It happened to PATW author, Hunter Houtzer.

This second version of cuffing season actually applies to many aspects of home, apartment, or dorm living. Instead of running down to the dining hall, microwaveable meals become somehow more appealing; rather than going to one of those big study parties on the weekend, staying in and watching TV becomes all the more likely. And worst of all, studying at one’s own desk becomes somehow more appealing than coming over to the library. 

My advice for all the various outcomes of cuffing season is exactly the same: don’t ghost anyone. Let’s start with romantic relationships. Ghosting’s a real bummer. My mother always told me, “ignorance is worse than hatred.” That lesson is all too powerful these days, when ignorance can be as simple as not answering a text message. Don’t be that guy/gal; open communication is always best, even when things aren’t working out. 

Second, concerning those pesky quilts and pillows that seem to become one hundred times more cozy as the fall months change slowly into winter, don’t get cuffed down from the really important stuff. There’s nothing wrong with waiting out those frosty weekend mornings, but don’t ghost your professors either! As a TA currently, I’m here to tell you that we really miss you when you miss class. Legitimate reasons aside, don’t let cuffing season turn you into a ghost. 

 

The colder weather can even make us Falvey bloggers feel like we’re running on fumes.

Lastly, and speaking on behalf of the Falvey staff, don’t ghost us here at the library! We know that many resources are available online, but we love seeing you come to Falvey to attend an event, to study with friends, or simply to explore the stacks. Don’t let the cool walk tie you down to working in the dorm. The first floor, second floor, and the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room are still open 24/7. Don’t let them turn into ghost towns! 

Okay, so ’Cat in the Stacks still isn’t a dating column, but I still think it made an apt metaphor for talking about college life this time of year. As the cold weather moves in, requiring more and more layers of clothing, remember that campus is still abuzz with events and activities – particularly here at Falvey. 


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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’Cat in the Stacks: Bring it Back to Basics

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “’Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


In the week to week grind of the semester, between your learning, blogging, teaching, or other work responsibilities, or whatever it is you may do, it’s often easy to overlook the fundamentals. We get so caught up in meeting deadlines that producing our best work can become an afterthought.

This week’s ’Cat in the Stacks is about wiping the slate clean, about reading between the deadlines (so to speak) to find the personal lessons at the heart of all our challenges. Here are three techniques toward getting back to basics that I’ve learned over my years of undergrad and semesters of graduate school.

A brief story with a familiar setting.

1. A Little Positivity

I think I’ll start this post way down in South Philly, which I was lucky enough to visit for a blog post earlier this semester. I’m speaking, of course, of Lincoln Financial field, where national anthem protests have spiraled out of control into a national (and international?) controversy.

Through the fog of controversy, though, a local hero has risen: Carson Wentz. While his play on the field has been nothing short of stellar, I’m speaking more specifically of his actions off the field. A story came to prominence this week of his fulfilling the dying wishes of a young Delaware boy nicknamed the “Dutch Destroyer.”

You can brush up on the story yourself, but to make a long explanation short: if Wentz can bring us back to humanity through the fog of national controversy, the same principle can apply in your personal life. Do something special for someone else, or, better yet, use the privileges you’ve been granted to lift another’s spirits; these are strategies you can use to find a little positivity.

Find out why I’m blushing in the story below!

2. Laugh a Little

Here’s an embarrassing personal anecdote: as a native Philadelphian, I find the need to take any and all out-of-towners staying in the area to a Flyers game. I was lucky enough to take my co-worker and PATW writer Hunter Houtzer to the Flyers-Oilers game this past weekend.

Now let me say that in all my years of going to Flyers games, even the times when I took romantic interests to the game, I have never, not once ever been featured on the “Kiss Cam” – until I took my co-worker Hunter. We panicked! We were stuck! What could we do? The whole stadium “boos!” if you don’t participate. So we did it: one quick kiss between long-time Falvey blog contributors.

Why am I telling you this? Because it gave us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves. Between the hours of the graduate assistantship and the time we spend earning our degrees, graduate students can sometimes forget to live a little. The same goes for attendees and employees at universities from top to bottom.

Find a reason to laugh a little, or (even worse!) have a sense of humor about yourself, and you’ll find yourself laying an excellent foundation for mental well-being.

We open minds all day, every day (24/7!) here at Falvey.

3. Open your Mind

We hear this advice so often that it can become cliché, but stick with me for a moment because I had the opportunity to attend two events yesterday that reminded me how fundamental opening one’s mind is to learning and growing in the modern world.

The first was aptly titled “Open Your Mind to Open Access.” At this event, I learned all about different opportunities for using or contributing to open access outlets, but I also learned generally about the structure of academia. I learned that, beyond meeting deadline after deadline, academics requires a general knowledge of institutional structures.

Next, and right afterward, I attended the Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Endowed Distinguished Speaker Series lecture by Dr. Spencer M. Di Scala. It featured information on U.S.-Italian relations during WWI. I’ve spent so much time learning fiction in the past two years that I had forgotten how much fun it is to listen to the stories that history contains!

As we turn the corner into those hectic final weeks of the semester, I hope you’ll take these lessons to heart, Wildcats! Getting back to basics can sometimes make for smoother sailing through the tumultuous currents ahead.


Website photo 2

Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University. (Graphics courtesy of Bitmoji, and Hunter and I spending hours perfecting our representations!)


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Last Modified: October 26, 2017