Tag Archives: Winter

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Making Winter Break Work

Dear MAPH,

Winter break can be the perfect time to unwind, reflect on the past quarter and have a bit of a breather before the new year starts. Winter break is also the ideal time to start preliminary research on your thesis. As veterans of the thesis process, we mentors have a few thoughts about thesis work and winter break:

  • Take advantage of this time and remember that your thesis is in the preliminary research stage. You shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you should be crafting an argument now; rather, take this time to follow various argumentative threads and learn about your object, field, critical conversation or intended methodology. Having the time and space away from campus can allow you to do thesis work on your own time and without the pressures of classes and other projects too.
  • Ask yourself “What do I want out of the project?” Asked early, this question can solidify the real-world scope of your project. That is, your true-to-self aim in writing a thesis. Do you want to play with the idea of Aristotle or explore the role of arts in economic and community development? Do you want to write a thesis that has both creative and critical components or would you like to ground your project in a discipline-specific topic? The answers to these questions may not be obvious, but taking the time to ask yourself truthfully what it is that you want out of this project can help bring your possible abstract ideas and thoughts about the thesis into more concrete and manageable terms. Remember the project scope too: 25-35 pages. You may come up with approximately 15 different project ideas, but remind yourself of what’s possible.

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  • Read Judiciously. You won’t be able to read everything; don’t read all of EVERYTHING. Be smart about what you choose to read. If you find early on that a specific article is not invested in the same idiosyncrasies or particular line of investigation that you are, don’t be afraid to put it down! Do write down why that particular article or book didn’t work. Jot down a few sentence that explain why you didn’t like this source or why it didn’t jive with your analysis. Also, keep a list of the articles your read!
  • Just read. Getting started can be painful, but know that the time and energy invested now will pay off later in winter quarter. Trust us.

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Stress Relief…. or Treat Yo Self

This is a very busy, stressful time of year. I remember Week 8 last year as a haze of frantic typing, coffee spills, and semi-permanent relocation to the Regenstein. I wish, however, that I had set aside more time to take care of myself. I would have had a better time during finals and also spring break.

capybara-citrus-11Some of the office’s favorite stress reliefs:

  • Sarah recommends baths. For the right person, this is a relaxing activity, made even more relaxing with the right bath salts (here are Sarah’s favorite).

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Winter Recipes (some healthier than others)

images-3For me, at least, winter is a time of warm comfort food. And also root vegetables- they hold up well in winter. Winter Quarter is the hardest time to cook for ourselves, because we are so busy and it is just so cold outside. Below are some relatively easy recipes, to help.

Cooking is good for the budget and it just feels good to create something! This is a project you can start and finish all in one day, which can be a nice change of pace from papers and the more scholarly work. Continue reading

Tempus Fugit: The Fine Art of Time Management

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Lo! Behold the bleak, surrealist landscape of Winter Quarter.

Come winter in MAPH, most students find that they have much less structured time than they did in fall. Without Core twice a week and the set precept/social hour schedule on Fridays, the average MAPHer’s week looks very different from the fall.Winter inevitably means lots of unstructured time and lots to accomplish in ten weeks—which makes time management one of the biggest challenges this quarter.

For instance, I know a lot of you only have Tuesday/Thursday classes this quater—how do you make sure you’re structuring M/W/F (and the weekend) to stay on track and keep making progress with your thesis, course readings, and job hunts? Keep reading for some tips on managing your time and staying productive through the long winter months!

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Advocating for some Advice on Advisors

Winter quarter contains a lot of uncertainty.

Who do I want to be my advisor? How do I ask him or her? What is my thesis object (some of you may not know yet- hang in there!)?

What will I eat on Fridays, now that social hour is only once every few weeks?

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I have so many questions!

How can I do reading for class as well as for my thesis? There are only 24 hours in a day, and I need 8 of them for sleeping!

And then there is the question on so many of our minds- What will the last season of Parks & Recreation be like? What happened in that three-year time jump? So many questions!

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9 Winter Life Hacks

Guys,

Winter is here. Ned Stark warned us and now that it has arrived, we must face the cold, cold truth.

Although the Chicago winter is tough, it doesn’t have to be entirely horrible. Below I have compiled Maph Central’s V.I.I. (Very Important Items) for the winter as well as some more general tips for the cold weather. Chicagoans, feel free to post additional advice in  the comments!

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We will all become The Winter Soldier

Very Important Items:

Sarah: Scarves! “In Chicago it’s not the actual temperature that gets you, but the wind-chill. A scarf makes all the difference.”

Maren: Fleece-lined tights (or fleece-lined anything) and Glogg Winter Drink.

Kerri: Puffy Jacket. It may not look as cool as your wool peacoat, but it is time to embrace the sleeping-bag look.  Continue reading

What I Talk about when I Talk about Winter Quarter

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You’ve mastered survival of the polar vortex, you’re well on your way to producing a real live thesis proposal and awkward prom-date-style asking an adviser, and you’ve got a cheering squad of MAPH staff to support you as Winter Quarter kicks in.

That said, Winter Quarter can really SUCK. It’s dark, cold, and you’re being asked to do an INSANE amount of reading/papers/job stuff/general being human type things. While it’s easy to feel like you have time for absolutely nothing besides thesis and school, it is essential this quarter to stay healthy and balanced. 

1. Talk!

It can be incredibly helpful to talk to someone who is not also immersed in thesising. Looking for a way to get something off your chest, or not sure if it would be useful to talk to someone on a regular basis? Student Counseling offers a Let’s Talk program, which offers walk-in meetings with a counselor. Student Counseling also has resources for academic struggles like procrastination or developing speed-reading skills.

And as always, if you feel like you need to see another human, are looking for someone to complain with, or just want to say hi, come by the MAPH office anytime.

2. Cozy up! (But in a new place)3743579869_db4ed34dbe_z

At this point in the year, leaving Hyde Park (or even leaving the library!) can feel like a mini-vacation. Last year I set myself the goal of getting out of Hyde Park once a week, even if it was just to study in a new place. And while it may sound silly, those trips to distant coffee shops felt INCREDIBLE. It was like I realized that there was a great big world out there that wasn’t all thinking about (and possibly criticizing) my academic work. Also, Chicago is full of awesome places – it’s so worth your time to go check them out.

Some quick recommendations from Keri for coffee (at this point last year, I was consuming on average 6 caffeinated beverages a day, so I was starting to get picky): The Bourgeouis Pig  (tip: they have a limit on Wifi, so bring your reading), Filter or The Wormhole (nerdy!) in Wicker Park, and for those who can’t leave Hyde Park, Bridgeport Coffee has a location in the Hyde Park Art Center

3. Sunshine (from the indoors!)Why-is-it-still-winter-in-Sweden

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, although I’m not totally sure if I have it. Regardless, staying inside all the time in the dark makes me sad, but there’s no way I’m getting outside for a jog when it’s -5 out. Luckily, there are ways to get sunshine (and a healthy dose of Mother Nature) while staying indoors:

Garfield Park Conservatory – conveniently, MAPH is taking a trip to this lush and verdant (and free) place on 2/7

Lincoln Park Conservatory – this slightly smaller conservatory is right next to the zoo (and is also free)

-and of course, the giant space dome / egg library that is Mansueto – less plants, more work, but very sunny regardless

4. Bring balance to the force (or to your own life)

You may have already discovered this, but it’s pretty much impossible to do all the reading for classes AND work on your thesis AND sleep AND be an actual human AND maintain friendships AND look for a job. And that is OKAY. It is more important to maintain your mental (and physical!) health than to finish all the readings. Do enough of your work to participate well in class, and then TAKE A BREAK.

While you’re at it, put a ban on guilt: set a (reasonable) to-do list, and once it’s done, allow yourself a guilt-free work-free break. Exercise, knit, spend time with friends, meditate, go to Tea & Pipes, watch TV, read a book that is actually not useful in any way toward your academic work, do whatever you need to in order to give your brain time off from school.

 

You got this.