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Cat in the Stax: Celebrating Creative Writing

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy November, everybody! I hope you all had a fun Halloween full of sweets, socializing, and spookiness! But now it’s time to put away the fake spiders and pull out the cornucopia (or the Christmas lights for those of you who start preparing for Christmas two months in advance).

There is so much to celebrate this month in addition to Thanksgiving. While November is a time for thankfulness, it is also a time for creativity as well. For the creative writers out there, this is the month for you!

Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash.com

November 1st marks two important occasions. First, today is National Author’s Day! Established by Nellie McPherson in 1928, this day is dedicated to celebrating authors and their literary creations. Curling up with your favorite book or a work by a beloved author is a great way to honor the world of literature. Falvey can help you celebrate National Author’s Day by helping you find books through its expansive search catalogue. Or you can support your favorite writers by purchasing their books either online or at your local bookstore. However you decide to do it, take some time today to honor the craft of storytelling.

If you are a writer yourself, then chances are you know that today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This month challenges writers all over the country to write 50,000 words of their novel in 30 days. Hopefully you’ve done some prep work the past few weeks by planning out your novel and developing a writing schedule; it’ll make winning NaNoWriMo much easier. But don’t feel bad if you don’t “succeed” by writing 50,000 words! The percentage of people who “win” this challenge every year is very small: typically 11%. So even if you don’t reach the word count, congrats, you’ll be in the majority! The purpose of National Novel Writing Month is to get you thinking about your story and practicing your craft. Use the month of November to get serious about your writing, but don’t stress too much over accomplishing your end goal.

Nevertheless, here are some tips to help you out as you undertake this intense challenge. Remember: it’s all about time management and sticking by your plan, but don’t be afraid to change up your routine later if it is no longer working!

Set Weekly Goals

Writing 50k words in one month seems overwhelming, and it is in no way an easy feat. However, you can break this massive word count down into bite-size chunks so the goal is not so lofty. How many words do you want to hit during the week? Is this number different than what you want to accomplish during the weekend? This will also help you avoid becoming distraught and giving up.

Join a Writing Group

You’re more likely to succeed if you have people supporting you, encouraging you, and holding you accountable. National Novel Writing Month can be a great bonding activity to do with writer friends! Or, you can join a writing group through the NaNoWriMo community.

Don’t Edit!

It can be so tempting to review your work and edit it, but you must resist the urge! The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write. You have all of December, January, February, March, and so on to edit, revise, and perfect your novel.

Allow Yourself a Day Off

Create a writing schedule that works for you. Whether that be writing for 20-30 min every day or only writing on the weekends, do what works best with your routine and habits. That being said, don’t feel bad when you have an off day and don’t feel like writing (because you will very likely have an off day during this month). If you make yourself feel guilty or try to force yourself to write, you’re just going to make yourself feel worse which will negatively impact your writing. Use any off days as a day to take it easy, take your mind off writing, and do something you love. You’ll feel refreshed and energized when you return to your novel.


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Halloween Costumes

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Welcome back to campus! I hope you enjoyed your fall break and took time to relax and spend time with friends and family and are now returning refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the semester!

Halloween is in less than two weeks. That means it’s time to sit down and decide on a costume idea if you haven’t already. If dressing up on Halloween is your jam, but you’re stumped on what to be this year, this article is for you!

Google has a new experiment out right now that’ll tell you what costumes are trending and will also help you choose a costume based on your preferences. You can search top costume ideas based on location and see the most popular Halloween costumes nationally. The Costume Wizard portion of this website will generate a costume idea for you based on how spooky and unique you want to be. It’s definitely worth checking out for inspiration or even just to see what’s currently trending! Below are some examples from the site for you to consider. Note: these examples feature popular characters from film and TV, but the website has plenty generic costume suggestions if that’s more up your ally.

Falvey has two Halloween-themed events coming up to help you get into the spirit of spooky season! On Sunday, Oct. 29, the Library will be having a Halloween Tent-or-Treat where we will be giving out snacks and other goodies. On Tuesday, Oct. 31, Falvey will host its annual DCDE Halloween Event: Tricks and Treats from the Vault. This event features items from the Library’s Distinctive Collections as well as some delicious Halloween treats.

Halloween Costume Ideas:

Picture courtesy of Jaap Buitendijk

 

Barbie

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but Barbie is the #1 nationally ranked costume for this upcoming Halloween. The Barbie movie took the world by storm and is a huge feature of pop culture at the moment. A lot of people are planning to dress up as Barbie, and Barbie and Ken will be staple couple’s costumes this year.

 

Photo courtesy of Matthias Clamer

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Addams

Another huge pop culture character is Wednesday Addams, thanks to Netflix’s original series Wednesday, which was released in 2022. Ranked #6 nationally, Wednesday Addams is both popular and fitting with the spirit of Halloween.

 

 

Photo from Shout! Studios

 

Power Ranger

Not interested in having the same costume as others? Maybe consider being a Power Ranger. Ranked #60, there is a lower chance of matching with other people. This is also a great idea for a group costume!

 

 

 

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Horror Films for Fall Break

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

I hope you are enjoying your well-deserved break from classes! If you’re looking for ways to entertain yourself and you love spooky season, check out some of these horror movies. If you love a good scare, this list is for you!

 

Photo by Michael Tackette from New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.

The Conjuring

A family moves into a new home and quickly realize there is something off with the house. Strange sounds, unexplained occurrences, terrifying visions torment the family and lead them to reach out to paranormal experts in the hopes of expelling the spirit haunting their home.

 

 

Theatrical Poster from Universal Pictures

 

Us

A woman named Adelaide goes on vacation with her family. What should have been a time of fun and relaxation quickly takes a dark turn when the family is confronted by doppelgängers of themselves. Separated, the family work to survive the night and escape the doppelgängers hunting them.

 

Theatrical Poster from Woods Entertainment

 

Scream

On the anniversary of her mother’s death, a high school student named Sydney Prescott becomes the target of a costumed serial killer. As Sydney evades the attacks on her life, other people in her town are not so lucky.

 

 

Theatrical Poster by Haunted Movies

 

 

 

Insidious

A couple moves into a new house with their three children. Their new home becomes a place of tragedy as one of their sons slips into a coma. The situation grows worse as creepy and unexplainable occurrences leave the family wondering if they are not the only ones inhabiting the house.

 

 

 

 

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Service Opportunities

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

A group of volunteers participate in a sock collection

Villanova’s Day of Service occurred this past Saturday. This annual event is organized in honor of the University’s patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova, who was known for being charitable to the poor and marginalized. Each year, over 5,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni,and their families work with neighborhood agencies to perform acts of service throughout Greater Philadelphia.

If you missed this year’s Day of Service, don’t fret! There are still plenty of volunteer opportunities you can engage in throughout the year. Two upcoming events you can volunteer for are The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival (Nov. 3-5) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service (Jan. 15, 2024). Register for these events today!

Looking to make an impact in your local community? Villanova’s Campus Ministry offers smaller service opportunities throughout the semester.

Also be on the lookout for the Holiday Outreach Programs when they come around. Campus Ministry hosts a Thanksgiving Drive in November which involves delivering Thanksgiving meals to families in need. Volunteers are needed to help collect and deliver donations. In December, a Christmas Outreach provides multiple options to give to others. You could “adopt a family” though Villanova’s partnership with North Light Community Center, donate gift cards or contribute to Amazon Wishlists, support a toy drive, or help deliver gifts.

Villanova provides many chances to get involved in the surrounding community and make a difference in the lives of others. Please consider donating some of your time this semester to helping those in need. You generosity truly makes a difference!


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Comfort Movies

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Is the semester starting to get a little intense for you? Do you feel like the work’s beginning to pile up? Feel a need to de-stress? Check out these classic comfort movies! They can be a great way to relax and take a well-deserved break. Give yourself the night off and watch a movie from the following list:

 

Legally Blonde

Reese Witherspoon stars in this fun comedy as a sorority girl who attends Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. Along the way, she discovers she is more than just a ditzy fashionista and learns what she wants out of her life.

Did you know that Falvey Library has a streaming service? Well, it does! You can watch Legally Blonde here.

 

 

 

 

Ocean’s Eleven

In the mood for some action? This heist movie features great characters played by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and more. Ocean’s Eleven follows parolee Danny Ocean and his crew of thieves as they attempt to rob three Las Vegas casinos. This movie is offered on Max (formerly HBO).

 

 

 

Pride and Prejudice

This suggestion is for all you romance lovers and Jane Austen fans. This 2005 film adaptation of Austen’s beloved book explores the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett, a member of English gentry, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocrat, and how they overcome their initial dislike of one another and find love. Pride and Prejudice is currently available on Netflix, but the Library also has it on DVD if you don’t have a subscription.

 

 

 

Inside Out

Sometimes, a good way to relieve stress is to just cry it out. Pixar’s Inside Out is a heartfelt movie that will give you a good cry and an emotional reset. This movie follows a young girl named Riley and her five central emotions as Riley’s family moves to a new state. This film can be found on Disney+.

 

 

 

 

Clueless

Clueless is a coming-of-age comedy that tells the story of Cher Horowitz, a rich, popular high school student in Beverly Hills, Calif. While giving a new friend a makeover and playing matchmaker for two of her teachers, Cher begins to examine her own existence and values. You can either check this movie out on DVD from the Library or stream it.

 

 

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Autumnal Equinox

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Picture by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.com

Break out your sweatshirts and pumpkin recipes because fall is finally here! The first day of fall is this Saturday, Sept. 23. This colorful season is marked by changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and the sun setting before 6pm. Yet it is the Autumnal Equinox that officially marks the arrival of fall. This year, the equinox will occur on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2:50am EST in the Northern Hemisphere.

But what is the Autumnal Equinox? An equinox is an astronomical event when the Sun crosses the “celestial equator.” The celestial equator is not Earth’s equator but rather an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator into space. The equinox occurs when the Sun’s center crosses this line.

Fun Fact: Day and night are almost equal in length on the Autumnal Equinox! Equinox comes from the Latin words aequus and nox which mean “equal” and “night” respectively.

Below are poetry collections about Fall to get you ready for the season:

Autumn. A Poem. by James Thompson

Autumn Harvest: Selected Poems by Stanley B. Frost

Autumn: Twenty Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Hispanic Heritage Month

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

This Friday, Sept. 15, marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the cultures and people of Hispanic and Latino descent. More specifically, recognizing and honoring the influence and achievements of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

In honor of the approaching holiday, I would like to highlight three important figures and their contributions to the Hispanic/Latinx community.

 

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez (Photo by Brandon Cruz González

 

Julia Alvarez

Though born in New York City in 1950, Julia lived in the Dominican Republic until she was ten years old, which was when she and her family moved back to the United States. She attended Middlebury College and graduated in 1971 before moving on to Syracuse University to earn her Master’s in Creative Writing. A prolific writer, much of Alvarez’s work explores the immigrant experience and bicultural identity, as seen in her novel How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents.

 

 

 

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta (Photo by Jay Godwin)

 

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta was born in April of 1930 in New Mexico. After graduating from Delta College, she taught elementary school in Stockton, CA before she was moved to help improve the working conditions of migrant laborers. She joined the Community Service Organization in 1955 where she met Cesar Chavez, and the two later founded the United Farm Workers Union. Huerta fought for to provide workers livable wages, safe working conditions, and protections through non-violent protests, boycotts, and strikes. Her negotiations with companies on workers’ behalves earned her the nickname “The Dragon Lady.”

 

Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos (Photo by Bill Ingalls)

 

Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos is a bilingual journalist who was born in Mexico in 1958 and later moved to America. In 1986, he became the anchorman for the Spanish broadcast Noticiero Univision. As an anchor, in both English and Spanish programs, he interviewed many presidents and international leaders such as Barrack Obama, Fidel Castra, and Nicolas Madura. Ramos is known for asking tough questions and holding leaders accountable as well as for advocating for immigrants.

 

 

 

 

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Setting New Routines

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

As you adjust to a different environment and new schedule, you may be trying to work out a new daily routine. Whether this means setting aside time to exercise, planning get-togethers with friends, or even figuring out when and where to eat in between classes, you’re trying to juggle academics and a social life and still find time for hobbies and relaxation. It’s a lot, and too often it feels like there is just not enough time in the day.

In this article, I will provide some tips on how you can properly organize your time so you can do what you need to do while still having space to do what you want to do. I’ll apply each piece of advice to one of my own habits that I’m trying to develop to make it more concrete and understandable.

Decide Priorities

What do you want to focus on this semester? Besides your schoolwork, of course! Do you want to exercise more? Read some books on your TBR? Or do you simply want some time to rest each day? Deciding what you want to accomplish will help you set a routine you can be excited about.

Personal Example: I want to run more. I’m planning to run a half marathon later this year, so I need to set aside time to train for it.

Photo by Glenn Cartsens-Peters

Set Small Goals

Simply saying “I want to run more” is daunting and vague. For each priority you set, break it down into smaller, measurable pieces. The measurable part is important: having distinct, quantitative goals makes carrying them out easier. It will also allow you to see how you progress in a habit.

Personal Example: To train for the race, I’ll start by running for 20 minutes each day. This number will increase every week: 20 minutes this week, 25 minutes the next, and so on.

Write it Out

It might help you stay on track to write out your schedule for the day. Record your daily goals and schedule when you’ll achieve certain accomplishments. This can be through an academic or daily planner, a calendar, or even a simple to-do list.

Personal Example: I find it helpful to keep a planner/to-do list where I schedule my tasks for each hour (or couple of hours). I sit down every night and plan out what needs to be done the next day and when I’m going to do it.

Be Consistent

Consistence is key! If you don’t stick by your routine, you’ll never achieve your goals. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. If you’re struggling now, keep at it! It will get easier!

If you still need help managing your time and staying loyal to your routine, check out these resources from the Library:


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: National Zoo Day

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

First, I would like to welcome everybody back to campus (or simply welcome you to Villanova if this is your first year)! I hope your first week of classes went well and that you’re excited to begin this new semester.

Seeing as how tomorrow is National Zoo Day, I thought I would talk about America’s oldest zoo: The Philadelphia Zoo.

A little history lesson for you: the Philadelphia Zoo opened to the public on July 1, 1874, 15 years after its charter was signed. The opening of the zoo was greatly delayed due to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

The Philadelphia Zoo is one of many firsts: not only was it the first zoo in the United States, but it was also the first zoo in the world to build an on-site animal care center. It is the site of America’s first successful orangutan and chimpanzee births. It is also opened the country’s first Children’s Zoo.

The zoo’s website shows their commitment to wildlife conservation, as it houses over 1,700 endangered animals. Additionally, the Philadelphia Zoo is AZA Accredited. This means that the zoo has been evaluated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and was determined to meet the highest standards of animal care and welfare.

If you’re passionate about animal rights and wildlife conservation, you can learn more by checking out Falvey’s Environmental Science Subject Guide. The Library has many resources on all aspects of this subject, from wildlife management to the moral and ethical aspects of zoos.

Here are a few such texts:


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: My Life as a Cat

By Ethan Shea

"Black cat lying near books"

Photo by Fatih Kopcal from pexels.com

After 70 recurring blogs and two years at Falvey, this will be my final “Cat in the Stax.”

This particular blog is special for a number of reasons, but the creative freedom that comes with being the Cat in the Stax has been the most valuable for me. When I first took on the role, I wondered how I could possibly come up with a new topic every week, but after two years of writing, I feel like I have just begun.

My creative process for this blog has remained relatively simple. I pinpoint whichever niche topic currently piques my interest, and I write about it. Whether it’s outer space or reality television, with the Library’s endless resources, Falvey is always relevant to the conversation.

"donut stress buster"

Photo from Falvey’s doughnut-filled stress buster

Despite my passion for the “Cat in the Stax,” my time at Falvey cannot be defined by a single blog. Rather, one of my favorite parts about working in the Library is the excitement in-person events never fail to bring.

Whether it’s a lecture by a world-renowned academic, or a stress buster involving hundreds of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you never know what you may encounter when you enter Falvey. My favorite recurring event involves the Pals for Life therapy animals who always brighten up my day. You can check out photos from their most recent visit to Falvey in last week’s Foto Friday blog.

In addition to the “Cat in the Stax,” with the help of fellow Graduate Assistant Annie Stockmal and undergraduate student worker Anna Jankowski, I’ve also taken great pleasure in perfecting Falvey’s new “In Case You Missed It” (ICYMI) YouTube series and rejuvenating the classic “Curious Cat” blog with video content.

My time as Falvey’s Cat in the Stax has also taught me a lot about theatre. Thanks to Villanova Theatre’s magnificent productions and generosity toward Falvey’s Graduate Assistants, I’ve been able to both attend and write about several shows performed in Villanova’s very own John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts.

This may be my final “Cat in the Stax,” but it is certainly not the last Falvey will see of me. Without a doubt, I will be back to reminisce on the past and take in the big changes to come for the Library and our campus community.

Thank you to everyone who has read these blogs over the years, and a special thanks to everyone on the Communications and Marketing Team for all your support!

I’ve always said I’m a dog person … but now I’ll always be a cat at heart.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: May 10, 2023

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