Thursday, November 17, 2011

Class Scheduling!

I have scheduled my classes, and I am satisfied with what I’m taking. I will be taking Business Presentations, Folklore, Finite Mathematics, Accounting and Psychology. I am most excited about Business Presentations and Psychology. I think Bus Pres will be a great opportunity for me to improve upon my public speaking skills. I have never taken a speech or public speaking course, nor had much experience in it, and I know it is very important to know so I am ready to learn how to do well in that. Psychology will be an interesting class because I have never had any experience in that, either, and a lot of my friends said it is a good course to take. I think it’s an interesting area to study.

I like next semester’s schedule a lot more than the classes I am in right now, because, for the most part, right now I am taking classes that are required but not really learning about anything new and interesting. It will be nice to have a change of pace and have a more varied schedule.

I have been enjoying my weekends a lot here at IU. Last weekend I volunteered at the Physics Open House on campus, which is an event that shows kids the fun in science (like a children’s museum.) A lot of little kids came and had a great time. They really enjoyed the station that I was working at- a demonstration of pulling out a tablecloth from underneath a table set with dishes and a lit candle. They had fun and also learned about friction within physics.

It’s time for Thanksgiving, and I am really looking forward to spending some time with my family at home, and just relaxing. I love IUB, but it will be nice to be surrounded by my family again, and my pets of course! I am also looking forward to spending time with my best friends back home. I will check back after a week of relaxation and fun. See you soon! (:

Posted by Rachel

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quality Over Quantity

One of the most stressful and exciting times in the semester for me is class registration. Like many students, after midterms I start to get restless with my schedule. The routine of class, work, internships, and social activities begins to drag on, and I am ready for a change of pace. This semester more than ever, I have been giving a lot of thought to my work, education, and social life balance. By balance, I’m really referring to lack of balance. This semester I have taken on too many responsibilities—15 credit hours, 2 jobs, 1 internship, organizations, and when I have time, rushed social activities with my friends. As a result, I have let my physical health fall to the side, ‘me’ time has vanished, and I have a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. Despite acknowledging my need for balance adjustment, as I look at the possibilities for next semester, I am reluctant to change my plate of responsibilities. It’s like the feeling of decreasing your speed when you’re driving on the interstate. When you’ve been speeding along for the past hour at 80 mph, decreasing to 70mph because you see a cop makes you feel like you’re crawling.

It’s easy to diagnosis my lack of balance as an over commitment issue; however, I think the problem is my focus on quantity of work over quality of work. I’m definitely not alone in this mentality either. Within my generation, and society, there is an extremely strong emphasis on accumulation. The amount of experiences and opportunities acquired can be perceived as more important than the quality of the experience or opportunity.

I was discussing this idea with Katie, a professional staff member here at the Center. She related this mentality to a common job search strategy she observes with students. Often students apply for job after job after job, churning out their resume and cover letters like an assembly line. They fail to focus on the quality of the application, or resume they are submitting—however, taking the time to tailor these materials for employers is what contributes to a successful candidate. The same could be said for positions on campus—it stands out more having a leadership role than being a ‘member’ of several organizations. I think that making this mental shift, focusing more on quality over quantity, will allow me to prioritize next semester more efficiently.

Posted by Anne

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Going to Jail

This week at my internship, I went to jail. We had a six month follow up interview with one of our clients. The county we traveled to was about two hours away, in rural Southern Indiana. The town was just a dot on the map, off of a small state highway, away from any major metropolitan areas or interstate highways. Although I went to the federal penitentiary for a field trip my freshman year, this was my first time visiting a county jail. Jail is interesting; if you have never been, it’s worth experiencing from the outside of the bars. It’s easy to make the argument imprisonment is a good method of deterrence if you have never examined the environment of jail or prison. This particular jail fascinated me, due to its’ size and limited resources.

When I visited the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, not only was there more security, but there was also more opportunities for inmates to learn new skills, or better themselves. They could hold janitorial jobs, or work in the factory attached. There was an art room, a religious worship room, a psychiatric ward, and even a special Christian affiliated community corrections program. Compared to the federal penitentiary, the county jail had limited things to occupy an inmate’s sentence- it was a solitary, confined place. Sparse visitors and a once a week library cart appeared to be the only thing inmates could interact with. There were no major programs, job opportunities, or educational opportunities available. After our interview, and experiencing the environment of this particular jail, I had a lot to think about on the ride home.

In my Criminal Justice classes, I have learned a lot about the US prison system. The US has the highest prison population in the world, as well as an extremely high recidivism rate. (Recidivism, in the simplest terms, is re-offending and returning to prison after being released.) After visiting the county jail, our country’s high recidivism rate makes complete and total sense to me. The system confines inmates, giving them limited opportunities and resources to better themselves. It then releases them back into the world, without adequately preparing them to get jobs, seek education, build healthy relationships, or cope with addictions.

Visiting jail made me realize the importance of the grants and correctional programs I work on for my internship. It made me realize why community corrections exists; and why the people I intern with are so passionate about the work that they do. I’m really happy that I’m gaining the experience of this internship. Even if I don’t decide to pursue a career or course of study relating to community corrections, I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Posted by Anne

More Sleep, Less Stress

College students need sleep. I am learning this firsthand because I have been putting my schoolwork first and my body last during this transition into college. Combined with stress from keeping my grades up, a lack of sleep has caused me to be sick almost the entire time here at IU a result of my immune system being weak. I need to leave time for more sleep and healthy meals in order to get better!

Some unfortunate news is that I did not receive the summer internship I interviewed for with C.H. Robinson. I assume it is because I am only a freshman. But, many positive things still came from this. The experience that I gained from preparing for and doing the interview was very good. I have always believed that practice makes perfect, and what better way is there to get better at interviewing than to actually do it a few times? Also, the company notified me that, although I did not receive the internship position I applied for, they enjoyed my interview and encouraged me to contact them in the future about possible full-time opportunities with their company. All-in-all, nothing bad came out of this experience, and if anything- I am excited to spend the summer with my family, as I haven’t been back to my hometown since I moved to IU.

I am preparing to schedule my classes for next semester, and I am taking into consideration many things- such as the classes/subjects I am enjoying the most. As an exploratory freshman, I am keeping my mind open to many opportunities and possibilities. If everything goes as planned, I will be taking the rest of my pre-requisite classes for the school of business, as well as a couple other courses that I will need for my degree. I will check back next week with more updates on my time here at IU!

Posted by Rachel