The scoop on college life, straight from the source

By Julia Baker, Associate Director of College Counseling

JuliaBaker

Julia Baker

As a college counselor, my days are filled with helping students apply to college. At times, it feels like students, parents, and counselors are so focused on “getting in” that all of us forget to pause and ask the more important question, “What happens after I get there?”

MB’s College Counseling office attempted to demystify post-college application life this January when we hosted a panel of MB alumni now in college. Current MB juniors and seniors were invited to attend an informal discussion led by five recent MB grads: Josh Jaspers, Jake Slovin, Megan Fantes, and Jennifer Tudino from the Class of 2014 and Claudia Marzec from the Class of 2015.

The panelists were eager to reflect upon their college search, offer advice about the transition to campus life, and answer questions from students in the audience: seniors who are heading to college in the fall, and juniors about to embark upon the college process. Topics ranged from the more serious, like how academic advising works?, to the more lighthearted: how to choose a roommate? (Most students agree that it is better to be randomly assigned!)

AlumniPanelJan2016

Megan Fantes ’14 (Boston University), Jake Slovin ’14 (Hamilton College), Claudia Marzec ’15 (Saint Francis University), Jennifer Tudino ’14 (URI), Josh Jaspers ’14 (University of Virginia).

Alumni on the panel hailed from a wide-range of institutions, each bringing a unique perspective they were excited to discuss. Jennifer Tudino, a sophomore in the College of Pharmacy at URI, talked about the tough but wise decision to take organic chemistry over the summer to lighten her load during the school year.  Megan Fantes, a student in her second year at Boston University, talked about visiting the BU campus as an accepted student and immediately knowing it was “the one.” Jake Slovin, who is at Hamilton College, spoke about being accepted for the spring term and spending his first semester in London. A sophomore at the University of Virginia, Josh Jaspers gave advice on how to get involved in campus life at a large public university. Among other activities, Josh gives historical tours of UVA’s campus. Claudia Marzec discussed the athletic recruitment process that brought her to Saint Francis University, one of the few colleges that allows her to be a varsity athlete in field hockey and study physical therapy as a first year student.

Though each of the five panelists had a different path to college and a different experience once they got there, they shared a commonality:  the preparedness provided by MB. Every student on the panel spoke about the time-management, writing, and speaking skills ingrained in them during their MB years which helped ease the transition to college life.

Sofia D., a senior in the audience, found the panel to be a good use of time as she prepares to head to college in the fall. “I really enjoyed the panelists because the decision on attending a college or university is a large choice and sometimes it is reassuring to hear students who will speak about the reality of college life. By having past students talk about their experiences, it makes the thought process about making the big jump to college student much easier to visualize.”

I sometimes joke with my counselees that I became a college counselor because I never wanted to leave college. I also often tell students that one of my favorite parts of my job is reconnecting with former students, particularly those who ended up at a college where they did not initially see themselves. But while I could go on for hours imparting my own wisdom on college life (based on experiences that are, ahem, more than a decade old), I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that in in order for students to truly listen, some of the best advice comes straight from the source.

It seems like the panelists know this too, which is why they were glad to help. Perhaps Jennifer Tudino said it best when she responded to my invitation to serve on the panel. “I love talking to students applying to college about how I thought I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and ended up at the one place I thought I’d never be and really love it. When they hear that from a college counselor they are all like, ‘Yeah sure, you’re paid to say that,’ but it truly is a reality coming from me.”

(Julia, along with Helen Montague, Annie Reznik, and Jill Stockman, comprise the Moses Brown College Counseling Office.)

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Staff book recommendation: Blood and Thunder and The Good Lord Bird

Recommended by Erik Wilker, Director, Administrative and Strategic Affairs

So tell us, what should we be reading?

ErikWilker

Erik Wilker

Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides

Hampton Sides tells beautiful stories that never suffer for the limit of being true.  In Blood and Thunder, he narrates the life and times of Kit Carson, and the reader gets to ride along into unfolding panoramas of historical rift. Under the narrative spell of this book you find yourself vastly entertained and effortlessly knowledgeable about many things: the affairs of trappers, scouts, raiders, soldiers and settlers; Spanish and American colonialism; the rise of North American horse culture; the breaking of the Navajo Nation, the failed reservation system and the Pueblo revolts (to name but a few). This is a book I want to re-read every time I recommend it to others (often).

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

In this historical novel, James McBride daringly delivers a lampooning caricature of John Brown, (the abolitionist terrorist who led the Potttawatomie massacre and the raid on Harpers Ferry). Somehow this treatment gives Brown more rather than less dimension as McBride develops an intimate portrait of a man who is by turns brutal and tender, righteous and flawed. And the best news for readers is that Brown isn’t the most compelling character in the book. That distinction goes to the shifty, Huck Finn-like narrator, Henry/Henrietta/Little Onion. McBride’s strong storytelling and his tuneful celebration of dialect and dialogue complete the pleasure of this great read.

About the Book Festival:

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
Book Festival/Poetry Cocktail Party
Walter Jones Library, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.mosesbrown.org/dotyreception
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

 

Staff book recommendation: Ready for a Brand New Beat… by Mark Kurlansky

brian platt

Brian Platt

Recommended by Brian Platt, Director of Annual Giving

So tell us, what should we be reading?

Ready for a Brand New Beat: How “Dancing in the Street” Became the Anthem for a Changing America by Mark Kurlansky

Mark Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller, lighting up every corner of his chosen subject (see Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World for another example). With this book, Kurlansky vividly details the social, historical and artistic context for the creation of this iconic Motown song, then shows the myriad ways the song was perceived and received – as a party song, as an anthem for the civil rights movement, as a moneymaking hit, and even as a danger to society.

I found surprises in every chapter. I chose it more for the author than the topic, and got ReadyForABrandNewBeattaken on a journey through the music industry (how were session musicians paid in the 60s? How did Berry Gordy choose songs and songwriters? Whatever happened to Little Richard?), the 20th century black migration (how quickly did Detroit become a majority black city? Why Detroit as a destination? What did those who relocated from the South find when they got there?), racial tensions and beyond-tensions (what kicked off the urban “race riots” of the 60s? Were they really riots, or just covered that way in the media?), and the lives of those involved in the creation of the song itself (Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, The Funk Brothers).

With the current and ongoing conversations about race and social justice, this book about just one song resonates with me because it provides an eye-opening perspective about where we’ve been as a society, where we’re going, and how art can be a vital part of the journey – whether the artists intend it or not.

About the Book Festival:

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
Book Festival/Poetry Cocktail Party
Walter Jones Library, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.mosesbrown.org/dotyreception
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry