Archive for December, 2013

Close Enough

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 by sandbox 1 Comment

So you’ve been trying to reach that higher grade right before the semester ended. You knew that the final exam will either break or make your grade, especially since you’re sitting on the borderline. Blackboard has been updated and you see that you didn’t receive the grade you aimed for. You might feel some sadness, but be reassured that this isn’t the end of the world…and that many of your fellow students feel or have felt what you do now.


This experience reminds me of my favorite philosophy from the book, This I Believe. It’s titled “Natural Links in a Long Chain of Being” by Victor Hanson. The following is an except from Hanson’s piece:


“We must struggle in our brief existence to find some transcendent meaning during reoccurring heart-break and disappointment and so find solace in the knowledge that our ancestors have all gone through this before. You may find all that too intrusive, living with the past as present. I find it exhilarating . I believe there is an old answer for every new problem – that wise whispers of the past are with us to assure us that if we just listen and remember, we are not alone; we have been here before.”Victor Hanson


Hanson and I believe in the same idea. There is no reason to panic or worry – still continue to live life as fully as possible. There is always someone else at some other time that has experienced the same struggle.  Do not be so heart-stricken that you may not have earned the grade you hoped for, because someone has overcome this obstacle before. The difference is, how the obstacle will impact your future.

First Year Seminar: Local Choices, Global Effects

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by sandbox 1 Comment

Did you know that the college has a 5 – year sustainability plan?
This is why I love Elmhurst College.
There are a lot more things that the college does to attain a environmental friendly community.
Sustainability is an issue in the world and Elmhurst College is a leading example of sustainable living.


The first year seminar course Local Choices, Global Effects,  focuses on sustainable living and tackles three main units: Food, Waste and Energy. The first part  “Local Choices” can refer to the college campus. The class is spear-headed by sustainability committee member, Gurram Gopal and the Office of Residential Life Coordinator, Christine Smith.


I used to think sustainable living was like an IPhone – It’s really cool but unnecessary. Because people have access to limited resources, it’s important for individuals, communities – the world – to be conscious of their influence to the environment.


For the energy unit of the course, we visited the first environmental friendly building in the city of Elmhurst – West Hall. Fun facts about West Hall:


  • Achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the coveted Gold level
  • Has 42 Solar panels on the roof tops
  • The roofing is made of recycled cans that resemble slates
  • Beneath the parking lot are six giant tanks that store rain water
  • Has motion-sensing lights in the corridors
  • Home to both trash and recycling chutes


Cool stuff, but to go green doesn’t just mean one has to build an award-winning hall. When we visited the boiler room, we were given tips to save energy on campus. When you feel that your residence hall is too hot, call the boiler room to lower your temperature. A system in the boiler room can check the temperature of any room, at any building, at any time. Do not just open the window because all the energy spent on heating the room will go out the window. After hearing the amount of money the college (essentially you, the students) pays for the annual electric and heating costs – you’ll want to do everything you can to “go green” and to save energy.



Our Number One Fear

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by sandbox 1 Comment

Do you fear speaking in front of an audience? Well, you’re not alone! According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking (or Glossophobia) – number two on the list is death.  In my first semester of freshman year I have given five presentations – three from my first year seminar and two from the PLA summer session. I have no problem speaking in public. Maybe it’s due to my Mock Trial background from high school where I spoke in front of a real judge and jury. When I present, I set the tone as if it’s a performance similar to when I’m dancing on stage or treat it like a sports event and calling it “game time”. I try to make every presentation a one to remember because it’s the first and last impression I give to an audience. Public speaking is not easy – it’s very difficult and nerve-wrecking for everyone, even for me. I expect more presentation as I go through my college career. So, for those looking to improve their presentations here are my secrets to a great one!


  1. No matter how good of a speaker you are, practice is required for everyone. Facing a mirror is the best way to see your body language before the actual presentation. The night before, go over the content for assurance.
  2. Don’t rush. Poise, meaning, and flow dissipate when you start to talk or act fast. Keep calm and go through the presentation as practiced.
  3. Include media such as videos, images and music. These will prolong your audience’s attention span.
  4. Asking questions is a way to retain your audience’s interest. Don’t leave unanswered questions. Incorporate poll clickers in your PowerPoint. It is a creative way for the audience to respond during the presentation.
  5. Take notes of the people that have gone prior so to avoid their mishaps.
  6. Pause. Don’t say “umms” or “like” because it sounds informal. Pausing makes you sound smarter and gives your audience time to process information.
  7. Manage your time accordingly. Allow for extra time in collaborations. Be aware of time constraints.
  8. If a mistake or an accident occurs, carry onto the next topic. There’s no point in lingering on it, the audience feels your pain so contemplate afterwards.
  9. A presentation should reverberate to a certain theme. Organize slides in a cohesive matter. Tell a story!
  10. Quotes and statistics can be used in the start, middle and end of a presentation. Only use an advisable amount in the presentation.
  11. During an explanation, give examples from three different perspectives so that the audience can resonate to the idea to at least one perspective.
  12. Memorize (note cards are not enough). When the content of the presentation is memorized, you become more confident. It will allow more interaction with the audience and enhance critical thinking to when a question arises.
  13. Like you, the audiences are human beings too. They look up to you for being brave and prepared enough to present. Their attention will be upon you (well, most of the time) so give them what they came for!
  14. Determine which you are more vulnerable presenting to – is it in front of people you know or complete strangers? Figure it out and work on it. I prefer presenting in front of strangers because they don’t know the real me. I could be acting and they wouldn’t even know!
  15. Know the location of your presentation site beforehand. This would allow you to visualize the presentation, adjust furniture, and set up necessary technology.


 There will be many opportunities for college students to give a presentation. Make yours one of a kind!