November 3, 2013
Blogger: Columbia Shafer
The beginning of my junior year caused the daunting realization that I am more than halfway through my time at Oxy. This caused me to reflect on what I’ve learned during my time here. Of course I’ve learned academically (especially about the brain, I’m a Cognitive Science major), but what about outside of the classroom? Here are some of my ponderings, the result of my time here so far. A list of life hacks for living and studying at Occidental.
Get Creative in the Dining Hall
When it comes to dining on campus, our food is tasty. We were just ranked the 14th Best Dining Hall. I agree with that ranking, but not matter how good our food is, after 2 years of eating the same thing you start to get bored. I’ve found it helps if I treat The Marketplace (our main dining hall) like a store rather than a restaurant. With all the ingredients available a new meal is always possible. This semester has seen some of my greatest creations. The bagel sandwich—a perfect late brunch—draws from three stations: sesame bagel from the bakery, a whole avocado from the fruit baskets, and cucumber, chicken and field greens from the salad bar. Tosatada salad combines taco bar, salad bar, and chips. My best marketplace creation to date was a new twist on the classic burger: I got a burger with everything but the bun, which I instead replaced with two luscious slices of garlic toast from the pasta station. Truly heavenly, if a bit indulgent.
Take Advantage of Research Assistance
One of the best-kept secrets at Oxy is the free research assistance provided through the academic commons. Like the Center for Academic Excellence, which provides free tutoring, the research assistance program provides free one-on-one consultations with librarians. The difference is fewer people know about research assistance. The first time I tried it, at a professor’s behest, I was stunned. I consider myself someone who knows her way around an online research database, but this was another level. I told the research professional what I was looking for and within 20 minutes I had at least 15 new sources and a revised research question. At Oxy, I’ve been flooded with resources, so many that a few slip through the cracks. After my research experience I have vowed to take advantage of more campus resources.
Surround Yourself With Friends
This last one isn’t as much of a life hack, as a general life tip. It was my birthday this past weekend, and I was fortunate enough to have been surrounded by friends. My roommate and I share the same birthday, and our friends were wonderful enough to indulge our tradition of hiking up Mt. Fiji (a hill at the back of campus) to see the sunrise on our birthday. Knowing my friends were willing to drag themselves out of bed at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday made me realize just how important their presence has been to my time at Oxy.