Papers, Playlists and Peacocks
Hello All! Sorry I've been out of commission for so long. I've been working on a really big research paper for my CSP. Last time, I promised I'd talk about it, so here we are! One of my favorite things about Oxy is the CSP program. As a liberal arts college, Oxy is very writing intensive. I remember I was very apprehensive and nervous over the summer about writing papers in college because I knew it was a lot more serious than it had been in high school. If this sounds like you, don't fret! Part of the idea behind the CSP program is to teach freshmen how to write a college paper. That is what most of first semester in CSP is about. The second semester CSP is meant to teach freshmen how to write a research paper. We all have to write 10- to 12-page papers on a topic of our choice (though still related to our CSP). I am in Animal Ethics this semester for my spring CSP, so my paper is about the value of meat eating as a human cultural practice. Like a lot of people, I have a small problem with procrastination. If you have a lot to do, sometimes it's tempting to put the harder things off until later. Please note: THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR A 10-PAGE RESEARCH PAPER. I know that, you know that, and professors know it more than anyone. However, procrastination is a real problem and sometimes it feels like you have no other alternatives (you do). Before this starts to sound too much like a self-help blog, let me tell you that you don't even have the opportunity to procrastinate the research paper. You have little assignments to turn in along the way to ensure that you are working on it bit by bit. First, you turn in your initial topic and thesis, then you turn in sources, one of which is annotated, then you turn in your entire bibliography, then you turn in your outline, and finally your first draft is due. That is the point I'm at right now. Next week, we'll get back our first drafts and we'll turn in our revision plan, and on the last day of class we turn in our final paper (sweat). I know it sounds like a lot of work, and I won't lie and say it's not, but at the same time it's very manageable. Even the worst procrastinating offenders can't mess this up! Also, the number of assignments you have to turn in before the final paper is due varies from CSP to CSP, but they all more or less follow a similar pattern. Your professors want you to succeed! This certainly won't be the only research paper you write, so it's better to learn how to do it early when you can ask questions and figure out how to capture the essence of the elusive research paper. Also, if you put a lot of thought into your topic choice, writing the research paper is a lot of fun! 10 pages sounds like a lot, but honestly it's hard to limit yourself to 10 pages. You may even find yourself thinking,"I could write a whole book on this!" It's also interesting to see how your initial expectations for your paper change as you research and write. You may surprise yourself with what you find! I'm sure you've heard enough about the paper by now, but I will say one more thing about it; a lot of schools, especially big universities, don't necessarily take the time to teach you how to write for college, and they certainly won't take the time to make sure you aren't floundering in your attempts to write a research paper. Writing is a life skill and essential to a successful college, graduate and work career. In other news, I'm sure a lot of you are still trying to make your decision about where you're going to end up next year! This is one of the most exciting and stressful times of your life, but you should enjoy it! You've been chosen, so now you must chose. You don't to get be in this position very often. It's kind of fun. The biggest advice I can offer you is to visit, if at all possible. While all schools have their unique quirks, you're going to get an education at all of them. What really sets the schools apart, in my opinion, is the 'vibe' on campus. Maybe that's not substantial enough for some, but it's what helped me decide. When I stepped on Oxy's campus, it just felt like home. At that point, I'd already made my decision, though I didn't know it at the time because I hadn't visited my other top choices yet. When you visit a campus, you can more easily imagine yourself there. You can see if you feel like you mesh well with the other students and if you like the campus overall. Case in point: visit (if you can). When I finally decided to come to Oxy, I was so excited, I was beyond myself. I even made a "Tiger" playlist. Actually. I went to iTunes, typed in 'tiger', and bought all the songs. Yeah. Best use of $20 in my life. I probably should have listened to some of the songs before I got them, because let me tell you, some of them were quite...unique. I actually got a song that was nothing but 20 seconds of tiger noises in the wild. I'll post the whole playlist here, in case you want to follow my example, but I encourage you to make your own playlist, as mine is not for the faint of heart (or those without a sense of humor). 1. Tiger (audio environments & Co.) 2. Eye of the Tiger (Survivor) 3. I've Got a Tiger by the Tail (Buck Owens) 4. Paper Tiger (Beck) 5. Tiger (ABBA) 6. Tiger, My Friend (PSAPP) 7. Paper Tiger (Spoon) 8. Wildcat (Ratatat) 9. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes) 10. Tiger (Fabian) 11.Tony the Tiger (Manchester Orchestra) 12. Tiger Teeth (Paper Route) 13. Neon Tiger (The Killers) 14. Tiger (Andrew Peterson & Randall Goodgame) So...yeah. That's my tiger list. I wish you all the best of luck in making your decisions. I'm sure you'll be happy wherever you end up. Not to be corny, but college really is a magically awesome time. That being said, don't be in too big of a rush to leave high school. The next couple of months are some of the most exciting months of your life, so have fun! Warmly, Laurel P.S. I learned recently that there is a peacock living on campus. A peacock! Who knew? I don't think any other school has peafowl on their campus. If you need a tie breaker between schools, I'd say this is the one.