Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Enrique's Journey in the NCC Library

So what do students think about Enrique's Journey, NCC's common reading for 2012-2013?  See for yourself next time you're in the campus library.  You'll find two display cases and a bulletin board filled with drawings, poems, songs, photos, commentaries, collages, summaries, timelines, and 3-D representations--a range of responses to Enrique's odyssey. 

The library exhibit contains the work of Professor Liz Hynes-Musnisky's Reading students, who produced this impressive array of materials as part of the First-Year Experience program's Day of Service on Wednesday, October 17. 

Each item offers a unique take on Sonia Nazario's narrative, whether it be Enrique's struggle to overcome obstacles in search of his mother in America, the pain and frustration of families separated by borders, or the elusive promise of the good life in the United States.

There are so many terrific items here that just telling you about them doesn't work--you have to see them firsthand.  

Pay attention to the collage that reflects the range of emotions (loneliness, regret, abandonment, hope, and love) felt by Enrique--and others--at various moments in the book. 

Or the portrait of a "shattered" family, encased in a picture frame with cracked glass.

Or the pictorial contrast between the uncertain terrain of the immigrant and--separated by a white picket fence--the secure territory of America. 

Don't miss this moving and thoughtful exhibit. 

Congratulations to Professor Hynes-Musnisky's students on their great work.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Thanksgiving . . .

 Good news and bad news about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

The good news: Thanksgiving will provide a welcome break from the stresses of recent weeks.  For those dealing with the ravages of the hurricane, the holiday will hopefully offer some days of rest and comfort. 

The bad news: Thanksgiving will be the last long weekend of the fall.  Come next Monday, there will be only twenty school days (fewer if you're taking evening or weekend classes) before the semester is history. 

If you're on top of your classes and have no school worries, great!  Congratulate yourself for being organized. 

But if you have serious catching up to do, this weekend is the time. 

It's the time to read those chapters you've been putting off, to work on that paper you need to finish, to complete that lab you need to turn in, and to prepare for that exam that will be here before you know it.

It's also the time--probably your last chance this semester--to decide what you can do in the weeks ahead (extra help, additional study time, a conference with your professor, etc.) to raise any grades you're unhappy with.

Thanksgiving weekend is it--time to catch up, make good decisions, and get ready to finish the semester with a flourish.  No time to lose . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Registering Smart

Getting ready to register for next semester?  Remember these tips:

  • Speak with an advisor before you registerEven if you've read the catalog carefully and know what courses you want or need, run them by an advisor before you finalize your schedule.  An advisor can sometimes offer useful suggestions about your choices or point out potential problems you didn't notice.

  • When scheduling classes, know when you're at your best.  Are you a morning person, someone who rises early and wakes up on the spot?  If so, you shouldn't have any problem handling an 8 a.m. class.  But if you don't really come alive until 11 a.m., it makes no sense to register for a class that you won't wake up for or be too tired to participate in.  When choosing times, know your habits and preferences.

  • Remember your commuteGot a long commute to Nassau?  Sharing a car with a family member or depending upon a bus that isn't always so reliable?  Keep these factors in mind when choosing class times.  A 10 a.m class may be a better choice than an 8:30 a.m. one, especially in the winter.

  • Schedule breaks between classes.  It may sound like a good idea to schedule five or six hours of classes without a break, but chances are you'll be pretty tired by the end of a marathon day.  Schedule a break--to eat, review notes, or just relax--somewhere in the middle.  You might extend your day a bit, but that's better than being mentlly missing in the home stretch. 

  • Look for a mix of classes Like English but have trouble in math?  Love math but struggle in heavy reading classes?  Develop a schedule with a little of everything: a class you'll probably handle easily, a class you'll probably find challenging, a class in a favorite subject, and a class that looks interesting (maybe an elective).  With a little effort, you can have a nice balance of classes--and still fulfill some degree requirements.

Good schedules don't happen by accident.  They're the product of thinking and planning.  So when looking for classes for next semester, be a good thinker and a good planner.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Taking Care of Business

It's mid January, a few days before spring classes start, and you're just now trying to register for the new semester. 

Here's what you can probably expect:  tons of closed courses, long registration lines, overworked advisors, grouchy classmates, and (maybe worst of all) a schedule with enormo gaps between classes.

The good news: You can avoid this hassle by registering for spring classes now--if not today, then certainly within the next week or so.  Even if it's not your day and time to register just yet, you can still review your degree requirements (accessible through the NCC homepage) and start thinking about what courses you'd like to take next semester. You can also schedule an appointment with an advisor in advance of your registration date. 

You can find your curriculum by first clicking the "Programs and Courses" link on the homepage and then clicking the "Learn More" prompt under "A-Z Programs of Study."  That will take you to the range of degree options Nassau offers, including yours.

Even after you've looked over your curriculum, you may still have questions.  Make a list of them for when you meet with your advisor.  If you really want to get a jump on things, go on the Banner system (also accessible from the homepage), look over the classes being offered, and sketch out a preliminary schedule that you can share with your advisor.  Have some back-up courses just in case a class you want conflicts with another course or isn't available when you go to register.

But whatever you do, don't wait until the last minute to start putting together a schedule for next semester.  When it comes to planning your education, there's no time like the present.  Register early . . . and relax and put your feet up in January. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sonia will Speak (though not today)

Today is the day that Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey, our common reading for 2012-2013, was to have spoken at NCC.  But like so many other post-Sandy campus events, her visit has been canceled.  Both the College Center Building, the site of Nazario's presentation, and the Phys Ed Complex, the other location able to accommodate large audiences, continue to shelter people displaced by the hurricane.  For the time being at least, much of campus life is on hold.

But there's always next semester!  Already there are plans to reschedule Nazario's visit, along with other events that were supposed to have happened in November and December.  Dates and details are still being worked out, but the spring term promises to be interesting.  Stay tuned for more info.

Meanwhile, if you want a preview of Nazario's talk, check out the Youtube videos on this blog.  Though they're short, they'll let you see and hear the author of Enrique's Journey.  Nazario talks about researching Enrique's story for the L.A. Times, as well as the issue of children risking everything to reunite with parents in America.  Her comments are insightful--a glimpse of what's ahead. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Having Your Say

Though fewer people voted in 2012 than in the previous Presidential election, more than 120 million Americans still managed to cast a vote on Nov. 6 for the next President.  For people whose lives had been seriously disrupted by the hurricane, voting was no small accomplishment.  Nor was it easy for those (mostly in other states) who had to endure long lines or other obstacles at polling places.  But people were intent on having their say no matter what.

That's encouraging--good news in an otherwise tough time. 
Closer to home: Large numbers of students at NCC also took an interest in the election.  In my classes, most people had definite opinions about the Presidential candidates.  A few were cynical, insisting it didn't matter who was elected, but most seemed to view the election as important (which it clearly was).

And while the outcome of the election may not have pleased everyone, the fact that so many people cared enough to be pleased--or disappointed--was inspiring.  Democracy depends upon our willingness to put ourselves and our views out there.

For new voters, Nov. 6 was the first in a series of important upcoming elections.  There'll be a lot riding on future votes, both locally and nationally.  So stay interested and informed.  Don't listen to the naysayers who say your vote doesn't count.  It does.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wanted: Random Acts of Kindness

For most Long Islanders, Hurricane Sandy was a reminder of just how ferocious--and indifferent--nature can sometimes be.   It's a lesson we shouldn't forget.

But in the outpouring of charitable acts that have followed the storm, we should also remember our capacity to be generous and large-spirited.  Here at NCC, people (students, faculty, staff, and others) have reached out in large numbers to those in need.  They have contributed money, food, clothing, medical supplies, books, and a host of other items that, in one way or another, have brought light into others' lives. 

While no one can undo the damage that Sandy has caused, we need not be completely helpless either.  If you can find a way to extend yourself and help, there's never been a more important time to do so.  No kind gesture is too small . . . .