I applied to be a part of Campus Conversations on Race (CCOR) as a first year student because I wanted to have discussions about real issues over tea. By the end of the semester I gained knowledge, friendships and valuable experiences I would not have gotten anywhere else. The following semester I was asked to co-facilitate the program and now I am on the Like Minds e-board as the CCOR representative and I'm in my fourth semester with the program.
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Simmons students care passionately about the issues they believe in. So far this semester, Simmons students have taken their interests to the next level by working together to take action.
Most recently, Simmons students displayed passion in the annual production of The Vagina Monologues, a play by Eve Ensler. This student-run performance truly combines acting with activism. The play educates, entertains, and enrages the audience about women's issues around the world, while featuring a spotlight organization. Each year, Vagina Monologues directors select a local organization to benefit from the funds raised. New England's first women's shelter, Transition House, is this year's beneficiary from the Simmons ticket sales. I had a total blast being a member of this year's cast, all while raising funds for an important cause!
For some, this semester began with an intensive January course known as Simmons World Challenge. This is a class that is open to sophomores and when I heard how much this year's class enjoyed it I felt nostalgic towards my experience last year in World Challenge. SWC offers unique courses with new topics each year, and students collaborate in small groups to brainstorm, research, explore, create, and present a solution to an issue. This year's program actually had two different topics: one on immigration, and another about the media. One example of a World Challenge outcome this year was an in-depth analysis of how the media portrays violence.
During winter break this year, I went to Morocco for two weeks I learned about the Moroccan culture and health care, but also had the chance to educate and gave back to people while visiting their villages.
On Day 1- Friday
In Morocco the people speak Arabic and French. After an 8-hour flight, I arrived in Morocco at 11:15 am Moroccan time which is 6:15 am EST. I exchanged $80 which equals 650 dirham (Moroccan currency). When we arrived, we had beef, chicken, lentils, and a lot of bread. I didn't know that the Moroccan diet consists so much of bread but it was all fresh and tasty. Then we went to souk which is like a shopping market. We saw snake charmers, monkeys on chains,and a whole table of dentures! We saw beautiful shoes, fake American purses, leather bags made in Morocco, traditional Moroccan attire, and tagines, which are what moroccans make their great food in. I bargained a leather bag for my mother for $30 which I am very proud of.
Day 2- Saturday
On this day we took a bus for 7 hours through the Atlas mountains with a local college students' rotary club. The road was very narrow and dangerous and there were 25 of us in a tour bus, but we made it. When we got to the village the villagers welcomed us with open arms playing music and dancing for us. Then we ate a delicious dinner made in a tagine. The villagers there spoke berber, a local dialect and not the typical Arabic Moroccan language. That night we slept in the doctor's home. It was very cold that night but that's why we had gone up to that village; there were reports of health problems but because the village is so far and the road is dangerous people never come to help the village.
Every year since my first year at Simmons I have participated in the most intense two-a-day swimming training of my life, called the 'training trip'. Typically we have gone to different locations in Florida, or like my sophomore year to Puerto Rico, this past year we trained in Jupiter, Florida near Ft. Lauderdale. These days are filled with early mornings, lots of sun screen, and of course swimming. We swim roughly 5-7 miles a day in a pool, 50meters, which is more than twice the size of our Simmons home pool 25yards.
This past year was by far the best experience of all my four training trips. The team dynamic, the location, and the level of performance by both my teammates and I was inspiring, and reflecting back on that time while still in the midst of the most intense part of our season, we can truly see the results. At our first meets back in yards we were seeing teammates across the board with not only season's best times, but lifetime best times. I was one of those people. Training as hard as I have for all four years, the prospect of my graduation frightened me. What if I still have so much more to give? What if I'll never reach my potential? Never know how good I could have been? I am no rest assured I will be carried by my hard work to the rest of my life the way I am leaving my swim season and my college career, with a bang.
Ever taken a photo with a film camera? Ever wondered how to use the "manual" settings on a camera? When I arrived at Simmons, I wasn't sure if people even used film cameras anymore and I certainly had no idea how to use the manual settings on a camera. Now as a junior, teaching people how to use a film camera is my job!
To the surprise of many, Simmons offers an array of photography classes ranging from introductory courses in digital and traditional photography to more advanced classes such as documentary and contemporary photography. We even have our own digital printing photography lab and a complete darkroom. Who knew, right?
Photography is everywhere (textbooks, Facebook, posters, magazines, billboards, etc) and prevalent on our campus. I mean, it's pretty hard not to Instagram a picture of our good looking campus or take a group photo with your friends! Not only are students using or seeing photos in their every day life but we have students at Simmons with some amazing photography projects and businesses. Take a moment to check out some photographers at Simmons!
Photo credits (in order from top to bottom):
Untitled, photo by Taylor Paige Photography
Ariel, photo by Kate Michaud from the "Damsels of Disney" project
Victory Garden, photo by Ariella Brown
If you are commuting to Simmons, a job, or an internship, how do you plan to get there? Commuting around Boston presents its own challenges and benefits, so think about which mode of transportation makes the most sense for you.
Before coming to Simmons, I spent a year commuting by car to my local community college. Then, for my first semester at Simmons, I lived in an apartment a few miles from campus. I soon learned that driving in Boston can be painfully slow and expensive. So I traveled mostly by bicycle, and sometimes by the T. When I moved onto the residence campus I used Hubway bikes to get to and from my internship in downtown Boston.
Have you ever wondered what exactly makes Dean of Student Life Sarah Neill tick? I had the wonderful opportunity to ask Sarah some hard-hitting questions to really get to the bottom of what exactly makes her so incredibly fabulous.
Do you think aliens exist?
Yes, but only alien babies.
What's Emmett's favorite book?
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Simmons College is a great place to explore new interests. I began my first year at Simmons clueless of what to study. With so many majors and minors to choose from, there were days I felt like studying mathematics, and other days political science seemed intriguing. I occasionally felt nervous about being undeclared, especially under the pressure of classmates who found their passions years before coming to college.
I soon learned that I had plenty of time to decide, and that Simmons is a great place to be for a student who is still seeking a major. At summer orientation I met my adviser, a professor from the mathematics department. Your advisor is there to help you find a track, and stay on that track to graduate. She helped me to select my courses for the semester, most of which fulfilled the required Modes of Inquiry. Like general education courses, taking one course in each mode challenges students to think outside their major, provides a broad educational background, and helps undeclared students to explore subjects.
Have you ever been hanging out at Simmons and you feel like you've seen and done everything in Boston? Are the places around Simmons College too expensive for you that every time you want to do something fun, you have to rethink your activities?
There are actually many great, cheap, and fun places all around Simmons that can be enjoyable for everyone. One great option right in the heart of Boston is canoeing on the Charles River. Whether you want to explore a quieter Charles upstream, or see the city from a different perspective downstream, canoeing in the Charles River is a great experience to share with family and friends. A plus of this activity is that you don't need any previous experience, you just need clothes that you don't mind getting wet, $17/hour for a canoe or $19/hour for a kayak (both can fit 2 people, so $8.50-$9.50/person is a steal!), and a great attitude.
It may seem hard to believe, but we're only a few weeks away from the beginning of summer! And if you're anything like me, reading for pleasure during the school year can be tough, especially considering all the other seemingly-endless homework and studying that has to get done first. Because of this, I usually try to read as much as possible during the summer--but being the bookworm that I am, it can be hard to pick which books I want to read first!
Therefore, I've compiled this list for all of you--my top 10 must-read summer reads. Hopefully you'll find one or two (or all ten!) that spark your interest, and maybe it'll be a little easier choosing what to read first this summer.