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TBT: Household Essentials

digital archive photo of household items for the living room

By Jenna Newman

I’m kicking off the new year in a new apartment, which means when I’m not working, most of my time involves unpacking boxes and trying to make this apartment feel like home. One of the top ways to make a space feel like your own is through the decor. Whereas now we turn to Pinterest for all our interior decorating needs and inspiration, back in 1913 people turned to articles written by authors, including Richard Digby-Junger.

The image above is from The Fra: a Journal of Affirmation, v. 10, no. 4, January, 1913, p. Lviii and is included in Falvey’s digital exhibit You Can Learn A Lot From Advertising: Household. The items in the picture are considered essential for anyone’s living room table. It includes a combination match-holder and ashtray (top left), single flower vase (top right), copper paper knife (middle left), molded leather mat (bottom left), and the book of epigrams (bottom right). 

These might not be the exact things I plan on decorating my living room with, but it’s always fun to throw back and see how people used to decorate!

 

 


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Adding decor to my Pinterest board.

 

 

 

 


 


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TBT: Preserving Memories

photo from digital exhibit "Scraps for Keeps" and the "A Family History in Watercolors and Prints: Life in Victorian Era Hull, England" collectionWe’re just about to kick off the spring semester, which also means a time to make more memories and reminisce on the old. One great way of looking back on and preserving memories is to make a scrapbook! Falvey has a digitally archived collection called “Scraps for Keeps” that looks at the classic way of storing information – through albums and scrapbooks.

The picture above shows a page of a scrapbook depicting the life of Edith Good of Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire. Being from a family of artists, the scrapbook contains many watercolor photos of her, her family, as well as some landscape pictures. Falvey’s “Scraps for Keeps” collection shows more pages from Edith Good’s scrapbook, as well as many others.

The last time I made a scrapbook was my senior year of high school for a Psychology project, what about you?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Not ready to virtually travel to work today.


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Cat in the Stax: Resolutions Reimagined

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes things happen and absolutely nothing goes according to plan. This lesson is something that we need to internalize and remember going into 2021 and beyond. Take a minute, stop reading, and think about all of the New Year’s resolutions you made last year that you completely forgot about when March hit. For my first Cat in the Stax of the year, I want to change the way that we think about “New Year’s resolutions,” especially with many of your resolutions potentially pertaining to the new semester that’s right around the corner.

According to Google, a resolution is, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In my opinion, humans just aren’t good at that, we’re wishy-washy and that’s totally okay. So let’s stop setting ourselves up for failure. If I make my New Year’s resolution to workout 5 times per week, the first time that I don’t do that, I’ve technically failed. Instead, let’s think of this new year as a time to reassess our goals.

By changing our mindset and making goals instead of declaring resolutions, we offer ourselves more grace and can celebrate the progress made. In 2020, I set my reading goal on Goodreads to 25 books, as of December 13 I had read 9. Instead of thinking of that as, “Wow, I failed!” I can focus on the fact that had I not set that goal, maybe I would have only read 3 or 4 and missed out on reading fantastic books.

Goals partially completed at the end of each year can be seen as progress markers. I now know that I read 9 books in 2020, and I wish that I had made reading more of a priority. In 2021, maybe my next goal is to read 15 books. It’s not that lofty 2020 goal of 25, but I took the progress I had made and can now work to beat that.

To encourage you all in crushing your goals for 2021, here are some of my goals for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Get to know two Falvey librarians better
  • Engage Cat in the Stax reader’s by replying to every comment
  • Read 5 books off of the Falvey shelves
  • Take my own photos for 50% of my Cat in the Stax 

What goals do you have for 2021 and how can Falvey help you crush them?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Figuring out how to crush my goals (& 2021)!


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#TBT: Christmas Through the Years Part 1

picture of an article from the Belle Air with a variety of different pictures of students participating in Christmas events

In honor of the Christmas countdown being in full swing, for the next three weeks our throwback Thursdays are going to focus on past Christmases at Villanova. For our first Christmas throwback, we’re taking it back a decade to the 2010-2011 Belle Air

The article pictured is entitled “Coming Together for the Holidays” and talks about how more often than not instead of being full of cookies and carolling, the beginning of December is a time of all-nighters, caffeine, and stressing out. Despite finals looming, the Villanova community came together and hosted Merry Christmas Week Villanova, including the annual Tree Lighting ceremony, a gingerbread-house making competition, and a Holiday Bazaar to shop in.

A decade later, the world is looking very different, but those same ideas of coming together and giving yourself a brain break are so important. Take a moment after reading this and think about who you are able to come together with this holiday season, whether it’s in person or virtual. Be present in those moments and remember the connections that are the most important.


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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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TBT: Modes of Transportation

Pullman car on a passenger train, ca. 1910s

Pullman car on a passenger train, ca. 1910s.

This year traveling to see family for the Holidays may not look the same with plane rides and road trips, but travel has evolved over the years and continues to evolve to this day.

Travel is becoming more virtual, to which you may think “How? Virtual can’t be traveling!” But through interacting with family via Zoom, reading a travel novel, or taking part in a virtual cross-cultural experience (Airbnb does them a lot) people are finding new ways to explore their world.

Throwing it back to the 1830s, the newest way to travel was by train. Trains made it so that people could get from one place to another in a few hours or days rather than weeks. This made it so that families could see each other, even if just for a weekend, and vacations were not solely month-long affairs. To read more about the history of travel, visit Falvey’s digital exhibit “Are We There Yet?”

Through advancements in technology, traveling is continuing to evolve, this time in a more digital way. Where will you be traveling (either safely in person or virtually) this holiday season?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Not ready to virtually travel to work today.


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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: Overcoming America’s #1 Fear

Jerry Seinfeld once said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” 

Unfortunately, at some point in your life, if it hasn’t happened already, you’re going to need to give a speech or presentation, especially in college. If you’re a rare college student or professional that has somehow managed to get through your academic career without public speaking—we would love to know how, so please share! 

Although I cannot say I never get nervous before a presentation, I did work as a public speaking tutor during my undergraduate studies and have some tips to share.

Tip #1 PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

  • This probably isn’t the first time you’ve been told practice is important in public speaking and honestly, it probably won’t be the last. You can know the topic you’re presenting on inside and out, but that doesn’t mean that you know how to talk about it to a room full of students that know nothing about the topic. By practicing, you can figure out how to present the material in a clear and cohesive way. Practicing also boosts your confidence and reduces your nerves, which aids to a better sounding presentation. 

Tip #2 If something feels awkward, change it

  • This tip goes hand-in-hand with the importance of practicing. If a transition between topics feels awkward while you’re practicing or you cannot pronounce a word no matter how many times you listen to Google say it, find a way to change it. Anything that feels awkward in your dorm room or in front of your roommates is going to feel 10 times worse on the day of a presentation in front of your classmates and professor. Avoid the potential that these things will mess you up on the day-of by changing them ahead of time. 

Tip #3 Keep your slides concise

  • The purpose of presentation slides is to help your audience follow along with your topic or to enhance your topic through images. This means that as cute as a sad puppy may look in your presentation, if it is not adding valuable information to the topic, leave it out. As far as text on slides go, you don’t want it to be overwhelming. If you have a paragraph of information on your slide, people will be preoccupied reading the text instead of listening to what you have to say. Put key points on your slide to guide the audience through your speech and re-emphasize key points. 

Tip #4 Prepare your notecards strategically

  • In a similar way, while your slides are there to guide the audience, your notes or note cards are there to guide you! It can be tempting to write down every fact or even every word on your notecard, but doing that is just going to take away from the overall presentation and potentially confuse you. Only put down information on your note cards that you can’t remember during practice. Don’t be afraid to put presentation notes on your note cards too, like “slow down” or “switch slide here”!

Tip #5 Take advantage of available resources

  • Finally, make sure to take advantage of the various resources that you have here on campus. The Center for Speaking and Presentation can help you refine your public speaking skills and talk you through any issue or fear you may have about presenting. You can drop-in to the Learning Commons on the second floor of Falvey or make an appointment in advance here.

As we come up on the last month of the semester, make sure you’re taking advantage of your resources and being as prepared as possible for any assignments thrown your way! Did I miss any public speaking tips or resources? If I did, drop them in a comment below!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Buying all the notecards available from Staples.


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Last Modified: November 11, 2020