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Cat in the Stax: Book Gift Guide

I always love getting presents for all the important people in my life, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what to get for each person. You want the gift to be meaningful, but also easy to get and not something that’s going to break the bank. My go-to for gifts is always books. I can find a perfect book, whether long or short, for about practically any interest! Plus, it gives me an excuse to visit my local bookstore.

Below is my Holiday Book Gift Guide for all of the important people in your life.

Books for Cooks If you have any cooks in your life, they probably don’t need a step-by-step cook book, but they could always use some inspiration! Below are two books that could provide good inspiration for the foodies in your life:

 

Books for Sports-Lovers Maybe the sports-lovers are interested in the biography of their favorite coach or player or just the history of their favorite sport. Here are a couple of books for all those Wildcat basketball fans out there:

 

Books for Outdoorsy People With the cold weather ever-approaching, all outdoor lovers and preparing for another winter of going stir-crazy. Here are two book gift ideas that can help them explore outside while staying in or plan their next adventure:


Books for People ALWAYS Buying Decor
You know? Those people that are always going to Target or Hobby Lobby to buy new decor? The ones that rearrange their house every couple months? Below are two books for those people in your life:

 

Coffee Table Books A couple years ago for Christmas, I got “coffee table books” for all of my future in-laws. These are essentially books that you rarely sit down and read through, but they sit on a coffee table or an end table in the living room for people to casually flip through. These are great gifts because they really can speak to any interest. Honestly, a lot of the ideas listed above can fall under the category of “coffee table books.” Usually, around the Holidays, Barnes and Noble has a whole table or section online dedicated to these kinds of books…go there to get inspired!

If you’re like me and trying to shop small this Christmas, but don’t have a local bookstore in the area that you love, check out Bookshop. They are an online bookstore that supports local, independent book stores through your sales going to an earnings pool that’s then distributed to bookstores nation-wide!

Share with us below any Holiday book shopping tips you have and happy shopping!

 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Behind the Lines of The Other Wes Moore

In wrapping up November’s Read with the (other) Jenna book club pick, today I wanted to look a little more at the life of Wes Moore. Specifically looking at his involvement with us in the Villanova community and his involvement daily with communities nationwide.

Wes Moore at Villanova University

Alumni may remember reading The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates when it was Villanova’s One Book selection in 2014, the 10th anniversary of the program at Villanova. Wes Moore came to visit Villanova’s campus on Sept. 25 of that year and kicked off his visit with a dinner featuring foods inspired by the memoir, followed by a headshot of author Wes Moorepresentation to the entire Villanova community. Moore’s presentation also coincided with the opening of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration. 

In 2014, the book was selected because it talked about important and relevant topics including education, poverty, and the importance of determination and mentors in a young person’s life. Today, I selected this book to read as the November book club read for all of the same reasons. The themes discussed in The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates are timeless. 

To see a full list of all past One Book selections click here

Wes Moore in the News Today
The timelessness and impact of Moore’s story can also be seen in the news even now. Below, I briefly touch on three of the news stories this past month that include Wes Moore.

Wes Moore — With a Little Help From His Friends — Sees a Historic Moment

In the days leading up to the election, Wes Moore sat down as part of a five-person panel to discuss the upcoming election and its implications. When asked why he votes, Moore answered that he votes for those who cannot vote. The themes of fighting to give equal opportunity and create a more supportive future for all are brought out in his book are echoed in many of his presentations to this day.

Robin Hood’s ‘Heroes of New York’ special celebrates resiliency and generosity amid pandemic

Wes Moore serves as Chief Executive Officer for Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. Yesterday, Dec. 1, they partnered with iHeart Radio to air “Heroes of New York,” showcasing efforts of New Yorkers to bring light back to their city in the midst of the pandemic. In Moore’s life, he has not only overcome poverty himself, but now works to help others in New York to do the same.

CCM to hold forum on racial equity with national speakers in December

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is holding a forum to discuss racial equity on Dec. 3 and Wes Moore is set to be a speaker. Issues surrounding race and diversity are not just a trend, but something that should be an ongoing discussion. Moore has emerged as a key voice to be listening to and learning from as we continue navigating these discussions and advocating for change.

Who are your mentors that inspire you to fight for more every day and what can you do today to inspire someone else?

And remember, be on the lookout in late January for the Read with the (other) Jenna Spring line-up of books!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Creating my book list for 2021.


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‘Cat in the Stax: Get Organized, Crush Finals

Thanksgiving may be a little more stressful this year given that finals are upon us, but like I’ve said before, balance is important, especially during finals season. Today, I want to break down a couple of different ways to structure your to-do lists and study times. Everyone studies differently, and it’s important to find the way that works best for you. This list is definitely not all-encompassing, but if you’re looking for a new study plan, this might be a good place to start looking for inspiration.

Keep your to-do list to no more than 10 things. Or five things, or three things, or whatever works best for you. When I have a list of everything that I need to accomplish and it’s over 10 items, I find myself getting overwhelmed. That’s why I keep a list of the 10 most important things that need to be done and that’s my to-do list that I tackle for the day. I have a master list of to-dos somewhere separate and then when I do my prep-work for the day, I pull that out to pick out the top 10. 

Put self-care items on your to-do list. Every day I add items like free-reading for 30 minutes, workout, and do my daily devotion to my to-do list. That helps me make self-care a priority and forces me to take a break from homework each day, while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something by crossing an item off of my to-do list. That being said, make sure everything on your to-do list isn’t self-care related because unfortunately your assignments and exams won’t complete themselves. Find the right balance for you. 

Prioritize your top three to-do items. At the top of your to-do list write down three nonnegotiables: three things that absolutely need to get done before you go to sleep at the end of the day. This helps prioritize what is the most important and helps you not procrastinate by doing other tasks, but not the paper that’s due at 11:59 p.m. When at the end of the day you’ve crossed off those three things, you know you’ve accomplished a lot and made good progress to your overall goals. 

Grow a tree to stay focused. If you haven’t heard of the app Flora before, it may be something worth checking out. Flora is a study app where you grow trees and other plants if you stay focused for a certain amount of time. If you stay focused for a certain amount of hours, or want to pay for an in-app purchase, a real tree will be planted because of your study time. If you pick up your phone and exit the app during your study time, the tree will die. This app only really works if the thought of killing even a hypothetical tree makes you upset, but I have found it to be helpful. You can also set up group focus times with your friends through the app.

Change up the scenery. I know changing the scenery can be hard when everyone is pretty much just stuck inside their houses all day everyday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and find different places to get work. Sort out your tasks based on things that you need to do sitting at your desk versus things that can be done curled up on the couch. Then, when you feel yourself starting to become unproductive, change scenery and try working someplace else. Sitting in a different place or having more natural light might be all you need to be productive.

Rotate tasks you’re working on. As much as I wish I had the focus to sit down and study for five hours for one exam, that’s just not the case. When my brain is scattered and cannot focus on one task for very long, I set a 20-minute timer and then just rotate down my to-do list. If I haven’t finished my top three to-dos for the day yet, I’ll rotate between the three of those things for 20 minutes each until I get one done. Usually, I’ll throw in five-minute breaks either between 20-minute sessions or when I finish a task as an added bonus. It helps me make progress on lots of my to-dos and cuts down the time I’ll need to spend on them when I go to finish them up later. 

Most importantly, listen to yourself and do what works best for you in the moment. I’ve used all of these different study tactics and organization methods depending on the semester, month, week or even hour! Just because something doesn’t work for you at one time, doesn’t mean it’s something that will never work. Be patient with yourself and find a routine that helps you crush your study goals!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Checking writing this post off my to-do list.

 

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Thankfulness in a Chaotic World

By Jenna Newman

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Although it may look different this year, Thanksgiving is still a time to reflect on everything for which we are thankful. That might feel more difficult: what’s there to be thankful for in the middle of a global pandemic, right? But upon reflection, I discovered a cornucopia of things for which I am grateful. 

Extra Family Time
After I was sent home during my senior year of undergrad last semester, all I could think about was the time I missed with friends before we all moved on to what was next. I was also dreading being at home for the longest time since high school. But the last 10 months gave me an opportunity to spend extra time with my little brother before he went away to college, live with my future in-laws, play tons of games, and binge practically every movie on Netflix with my family. It’s easy to focus on what we missed out on this past year, but try to refocus on the time with loved ones that you may not have had otherwise. 

Flexibility with Courses
I wasn’t sure how courses were going to go this fall, especially with all the technical difficulties that marked last spring. But ultimately what last spring did was help provide professors and students more tools to connect virtually and allow the school to give more options with courses. Students are able to make the best decisions for them and their health and find a balance between in-person and online courses. Adjusting to a new semester’s worth of courses can be overwhelming even without additional problems, so added flexibility is definitely something to be grateful for this year. 

Health
My family has experienced
COVID first-hand and seen how quickly the virus can take a life, but through all of that, I’ve tried to remember that it could always be worse and focus on the positives. I’ve been able to stay healthy throughout this time, and I’m grateful for that. It’s easy to look at the negatives. In reality, feeling comfortable to come to campus is a privilege many people don’t have. I know some people reading this probably have it worse than me, while others have it better, but keeping your health in perspective is important.

Books
Ever since middle school, I’ve complained about not having enough time to read. And whenever I did have time, I would binge read as much as possible. With social activities slowing down and spending more evenings at home, that’s allowed for more time to read. Plus, with Falvey being open for contactless pick-up, I’ve been able to check out all the books that have been on my reading list for ages. With the news and social media becoming overwhelming, books offer a way to escape into the lives of other people, real or fiction, for a couple hours.

(Shameless plug! I am running a book club that is currently reading the past One Book Villanova selection The Other Wes Moore. Learn how to join in on the fun here.)

Villanova
The last thing that I am so grateful for this semester, is that Villanova’s campus has been open throughout the entirety of the fall semester. The fact that we have to wear masks is a small price to pay for the social interaction that comes with being able to go into work twice a week and not have to attempt to do virtual presentations. My study habits would be considerably worse off if it weren’t for Falvey’s research librarians and having Holy Grounds as a go-to study space. 

Hopefully this list inspires you to take some time, and a break from studying, to reflect on the things you have, even in this crazy, chaotic year that is 2020. Share with me below what you’re grateful for this year!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Thankful for all the good food I’m going to eat next week.

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Bakkhai Variations

cover for Bakkhai variations theatre program

“Dionysus is god of the beginning before the beginning.” 

– Anne Carson

The Villanova Theatre program has adapted over the last seven months to this constantly changing  world and emerged victorious with five short plays in response to the provocative Greek tragedy Bakkhai. All five of these plays were written by  alumni of Villanova’s MA in Theatre program. The plays were rolled out individually over the second half of October and a full-length film showcasing  all five plays is still available until Nov. 14.

As a precursor to the five new plays, the actors engaged in a Zoom reading of a new version of Bakkhai written by Anne Carson and directed by Heidi M. Rose, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication, Professor, Performance Studies. The play tells of Dionysus, god of theatre, ecstasy, and intoxication returns to Thebes. This new adaptation brings together Euripides’ original with a contemporary feel as it explores themes of violence, family relationships, and gender roles. The cast and production team did an incredible job with this reading, showcasing the actors skills in using their voices and seated body language through this Zoom reading. Ultimately, this reading introduces viewers new to the story of Dionysus to the themes that will continue to be explored in each of the five short films.

The first of the five plays She Makes Knives Now is written by Mark. J. Costello and directed by James Ijames. The play takes place after the  events of Anne Carson’s Bakkhai and looks at Agave’s journey after her sentence to exile. Through camera angles and street corner verses, She Makes Knives looks at the struggles of women dealing with poverty and homelessness, coupling that with coping with a tragedy. Christy Chory, as Agave, captures the desperation, but also the calculatedness, it takes to survive on the street corners of modern-day America. 

The Bakkhai; or, I’m trying so hard to be good, written by Alix Rosenfeld and directed by Tai Verley explores the acting industry and racial power dynamics in this captivating tale. Alison Scarmella Baker,  Ilana, and  Sharese Salters, Dee, explore what can happen when truth is revealed and many voices come together to demand action. 

Playwright Megan Schumacher and director Malika Oyetimein come together to put on Dionté and Khai, the third play in the set of variations. Megan Schumacher flips between the perspective of Dionysus and Pentheus to create a complete story looking at the misogyny and racism that exists today.

Beginning, written by Jessica Bedford and directed by James Ijames serves as a contemporary prequel to Euripides’ Bakkhai. The four daughters of King Cadmus talk in pairs about the pregnancies of Agave, mother of Pentheus, and Semele, mother of Dionysus. The relationships between sisters are explored as contemporary conversations take place that discuss two pregnancies that will ultimately change the family forever.

The final play in this series is exxx…stasis, exxx…hale… is  written by Alexandra Espinoza and directed by Cat Ramirez. Nadia and Cecily are faced with trying to make their relationship work in a socially distanced world. As they experiment with new ways to keep their relationship interesting, the current cultural climate and tensions continue to swirl around them, ideas that are not foreign to many couples  today. 

Each of the five Bakkhai Variations explore relevant themes in captivating ways, showing the creativity and ingenuity of the directors and actors on the projects. Visit Villanova Theatre’s website to engage with dramaturgical resources and purchase tickets for the full-length film showcase.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Finding my old Percy Jackson books to read more about Greek gods. 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Don’t Stress Meowt

We may have survived midterms, but it seems as though the deadlines just keep coming, especially with a shortened semester and no fall break. It’s a lot easier said than done to close the computer and really take time away from studying and assignments. This past Saturday, Oct. 10, was Mental Health Awareness Day, a day recognized internationally to emphasize the importance of taking time for yourself and showing that everyone deals with stress in some capacity.

This week, I’m back with some more tips, this time about ways to stay relaxed and take care of yourself during a crazy semester in the middle of an even crazier year. 

#1 Do something active. It can be so easy to end up stuck inside all day on Zoom classes and Netflix, but getting outside and getting active can give you new energy and change up your day. Even a 10-minute core or leg workout can do wonders for changing the trajectory of your day.

Although many of us aren’t walking from class to class as much as we used to, take some time to get outside and go for a walk with a friend or two. Take some time to get outside and clear your head, especially with this gorgeous fall foliage and cool weather. 

#2 Read a book. I don’t know about everyone else, but even with my blue-light glasses and computer filters, my eyes are still tired of looking at screens when the end of the day rolls around. Try something different and pull a book off the shelf (or get it off the shelves of Falvey!) or listen to an audio book. Forget all the stressors of the “real world” by immersing yourself into a different time period or a completely fictional world.

Check out my book club, Read with the (other) Jenna, where you can read Angela’s Ashes along with me.

#3 Listen to a podcast. Podcasts are a great way to learn something new and random, while also working on mundane tasks that need to be done. I personally always listen to podcasts when I’m putting away laundry, making food or driving in the car. It helps me take a step back from all the thoughts swirling around in my head and learn something interesting.

One of my current favorites is the NPR podcast called How I Built This, which talks about how successful business owners, like the founder of Patagonia, got to where he is today. If you have any podcast recommendations, definitely share them below. 

#4 Take a nap. Remember how before I said it can be helpful to be active? Taking a nap is also a completely valid and important way of taking care of your mental health. It’s hard to shut off your brain when you have so many to-dos and sometimes the only way to stop thinking about those is to go to sleep. If you’re a napper, make sure they’re productive and don’t leave you feeling even more drowsy than when you laid down in the first place.

In the same vein, getting a full goodnight’s sleep is also super important for your stress levels. Don’t be afraid to call it a day, go to sleep early and start fresh in the morning.

#5 Attend Mindfulness Mondays. Every Monday this fall, Campus Ministry and Falvey invite the Villanova community to join them on Zoom from 12:30-1 p.m to stop and focus on the “here and now.” Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress, and I’m sure we could all use a stress reduction at this point in the semester. You can find more information and the Zoom link here: https://library.villanova.edu/events/event_series/miscellaneous-co-sponsored-events/mindfulness-mondays-6

Ultimately, taking time for your mental health is going to look differently for everyone, so you need to find what works best for you. What’s your go-to way to relax in the midst of a busy schedule? Let us know in the comment box below!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Sore from my last stress-reliever workout. 

 

 

 

 


 


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'Cat in the Stax: Curing the Midterm Blues

By Jenna Newman, Falvey Memorial Library’s Cat in the ‘Stax

 

Even writing this post, I’m still in denial that midterms are actually in full swing, which is probably a bad thing considering I have an exam in a couple of hours! It feels like we were just meeting professors for the first time and adjusting to taking some of, if not all, our classes online. But here we are—the leaves are changing color, the weather’s getting cooler, and—as much as we all just want to get outside and enjoy spooky season and all of the fun activities fall brings—midterms are upon us. 

Below I’ve shared my top three tips for staying sane during midterms, as well as some super helpful resources that will help you ace your exams, papers, and presentations.

#1 Balance is still important: It can be tempting to spend all of your time studying, but cramming is actually not the solution. You don’t need to cancel all of your plans and have no fun, but you do need to make a plan to study effectively. Spend a couple of hours each day studying for your exam and then take brain breaks doing things you enjoy—going for a walk, getting in some exercise, hanging out with friends, curling up under a blanket with a book, or binging your favorite show. Even short breaks to grab a snack or fill your coffee cup are good ways to rest your brain and reset before the next study session.

#2 You’re not going through this alone: As another famous Wildcat team once said, “We’re all in this together!” Right now everyone is dealing with midterms in some form or another, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other people because they get what you’re going through. There are lots of ways to band together amidst midterms, even with many of us being physically apart. Host a Zoom study session or study with your roommates in your dorm room or apartment. Even if you aren’t studying for the same exam or writing the same paper, being around other people being productive always helps me! A good phone call or vent session can also be beneficial, just make sure complaining isn’t taking up all your study time. 

#3 Eliminate distractions: Believe it or not, studying while watching Netflix is not the most effective way to get things done. As hard as it may be, it’s important to put aside all distractions in order to get focused study time. Thirty minutes of focused study time followed by a 15-minute break is just as, if not more, effective than half doing work while watching the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars for 45 minutes. Turn off notifications on your phone and laptop, and really focus. Personally, I’ll put my phone in a different room so that I’m not even tempted to grab it because “checking one text” can so easily turn into 30-minutes scrolling through content you’ve already seen on Instagram.

BONUS TIP: Take advantage of available resources! Below is a list of resources that Falvey has to offer, both during midterms and all semester long!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Contemplating taking my own tips and studying for my midterm exams.

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: The Oxford Comma

In celebration of National Punctuation Day tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 24, I decided to bring up the age-old debate surrounding the Oxford comma. For those of you new to this dispute, the Oxford comma is the last comma in a list of three or more. In 2017, there was a $10 million lawsuit, essentially, over an Oxford comma. Let’s explore the lawsuit then break down the arguments a little further. 

The 2017 Oxford Comma Lawsuit

Back in 2017 in Maine, a class action lawsuit took place as drivers for Oakhurst Dairy sued the company for failing to grant them overtime pay. According to Maine law, workers should receive 1.5 times their normal pay for any hours worked over 40 per week. However, there are exemptions to this rule. The law says that companies don’t need to pay overtime for: “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storking, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) agriculture produce; (2) meat and fish project; and (3) perishable foods.” The Oxford comma, had it been included, would be before “or” in the bolded section of the quote.

The drivers believed they deserved overtime because they worked in distribution and the law specified “packing for shipment or distribution” as one thing. Oakhurst Dairy argued that “packing for shipment” and “distribution” were two separate activities, both exempt.

Ultimately, because the law was not clear, the judge ruled in favor of the drivers… and the Oxford comma!

To Comma…
Chicago style, which is commonly used by book publishers, academics, and trade publications, does require an Oxford comma in all scenarios. Proponents of the Oxford comma, including the creators of Chicago style, have a variety of arguments in favor of their position, two of which I’ll attempt to break down here.

(1) It takes two seconds to add a comma. Some of you are probably reading this post and thinking, “She’s seriously writing a full post about a comma? Just add the comma and move on with your life.” That goes along with the idea that it literally takes less than a second to add in the comma, so we might as well just add it and move on.

(2) It helps avoid ambiguity. This second argument has a little more meat to it than “just do it.” The Oxford comma is used to add clarity to lists. Had the Maine law included the Oxford comma they would have saved Oakhurst Dairy $10 million dollars.

Let’s look at another example. Take the following sentence, “I love my parents, Taylor Swift and J.R.R Tolkien.” By omitting the Oxford comma, it can be taken that I love my parents and my parents are Taylor Swift and J.R.R. Tolkien, which makes zero sense!

Maybe at this point you’re thinking of some counter-arguments as to why the Oxford comma is not, in fact, necessary.

Or Not to Comma?
AP Style, the preferred style for journalists and news, does not require the Oxford comma, although they do say to use it if doing so could avoid confusion or misinterpretation. We have broken down below two of the main arguments commonly brought up by people against the Oxford comma.

(1) Using common sense will help avoid ambiguity. Let’s go back to our example from earlier. One could argue that no one who knows who either Taylor Swift or J.R.R. Tolkien are would mistakenly read the sentence as saying that they are my parents. By applying common sense to the situation, there is no ambiguity. 

(2) If a sentence is unclear, re-write it in a way that makes more sense. Those who say that the Oxford comma is unnecessary would argue that you could rewrite the example sentence as, “I love Taylor Swift, J.R.R. Tolkien and my parents.” This would clear up any confusion and still avoid the use of an Oxford comma. Any sentence could be rearranged in such a way to avoid the use of the Oxford comma. 

The Verdict
My opinion is that it’s clearer and easier to just put in an Oxford comma. I would rather just throw in an extra comma than re-work an entire sentence that I’m writing. For consistency purposes, I would argue that people should just use an Oxford comma all the time. 

My advice would be to adhere to whatever side or style your employer or the person you are writing for adheres to, but in your own personal writing, make your own decisions based on what makes sense to you.

 

Which side of the debate do you fall on? Let us know in the comments!

 


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Sending back punctuation edits to my friend’s text messages.

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Too Soon for Fall?

By Jenna Newman

 

Starbucks and Dunkin are releasing pumpkin spice, but it’s also 90 degrees outside – what’s going on!? When does fall actually start and why does it feel earlier and earlier every year?

If you Google, “what’s the first day of fall?” it tells you Sept. 22, which is the autumnal equinox. Each year the autumnal equinox marks the astronomical beginning of fall; however, there’s also a meteorological definition of seasons that is different. The meteorological definition of seasons says that for 2020 the first day of fall is September 1! This definition of seasons is based on temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar instead.

Is this a valid justification for all things fall?

I’m not sure about you all, but my social media feed is all about fall and has been for about three weeks now. Mid-August the consensus was that everyone was ready for fall and there were a few people already posting about decorating or watching Halloween movies. Now that Sept. 1 hit, it’s pretty much everyone, everywhere. 

If I’m being honest, writing this post right now has me craving all things pumpkin and wanting to snuggle up in a sweater or an oversized flannel. Now that I know there’s scientific backing for fall starting 21 days sooner, I’m all about it. The beginning of September is the perfect time to celebrate a new season. I guess Starbucks and Dunkin aren’t as off base as I thought.

The best part is, no matter what the season, Falvey Memorial Library is the perfect place to wear your sweaters, grab a hot drink, and settle in for a study session.

 

What are your thoughts? When does fall start for you and how soon is too soon? Have you been following the meteorological definition of fall without even knowing it existed?

 


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Craving some pumpkin spice and apple cider donuts.


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‘Cat in the Stax: Study Spots without Coffee Shops

The thought of starting a new semester without the option to camp out at your favorite coffee shop can be daunting (it is for me!), but here are four ways to make any space feel like perfect study space.

Tip #1: Set the mood with good music. I have a wide variety of music I listen to when I study depending on my mood – anything from The Little Women movie soundtrack to some throwback Fall Out Boy. But laid back folk music is what really gives me those small business, coffee shop vibes. Some go-to artists are Lord Huron and Mumford and Sons, but sometimes I need to listen to more obscure artists to ensure I’m studying and not just singing along. Accidentally writing your favorite lyrics into a research paper is not the move. If you’re looking for a good playlist you can check out my Coffee Shop Spotify playlist here.

Tip #2: Bring your coffee or drink of choice with you wherever you go. Make it at home in a travel mug or pick something up on campus before you settle in for the day. Refills can sometimes be tricky, but if you’re studying at Falvey, just swing by Holy Grounds. 

Tip #3 Sit at the right angle. So this one may seem a little odd, but trust me on this. Sometimes I work better when I can see other people around me also working. If I think they’re being productive then that’s more motivation for me to be productive as well. On the other hand, other times, I get completely distracted by everything and facing a wall or away from people is the only thing that will actually keep me focused. Don’t be afraid to change it up mid study-session – do what works best for you!

Tip #4 Scope out your spot ahead of time and have some back-ups. It can be hard to find a spot that fits all of your study needs, but with a little research ahead of time you can know exactly where to go. I also always recommend having a back-up spot, especially during busier points in the semester when everyone’s trying to get out of their dorm to study. Here’s a list of some places open for studying in Falvey that have the potential to be your new favorite spot:

  • Speakers’ Corner (1st Floor)
  • Old Falvey Classrooms
  • The Reading Room
  • Viewing Room 3 (Ground Floor)

The best part is that all of these Falvey locations are just a short walk away from Holy Grounds, so your coffee fix is just around the corner.

Do you have any COVID-friendly study spots we missed? Let us know in the comments!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Craving a hazelnut, oat milk latte from Holy Grounds.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: September 2, 2020