Another student’s perspective

Hi everyone, I’ve been sharing my experiences with you for a while, and before I pass the blogging task to someone else – yes, I’m graduating this semester and I will no longer blog =/ – I would like to share someone else’s perspectives about MiraCosta and life in the U.S.

I reached out to Jessica, a Canadian student here at MiraCosta to tell us a little bit about her experiences. Here’s what we talked about.

Why did you choose to come to the U.S.?

I am from Canada and I chose to come to the US for two reasons; but they all started with my love of California. The first reason was that there would be no snow during the winter months if I were to study in California, and the second reason was that it would help with my major. My major is in Television Production and I wanted to go where the industry was!

Why did you choose MiraCosta College?

Because of the ease of their website and friendly looking environment in the pictures. I noticed that MiraCosta was a more affordable option for international students compared to other schools and the pictures on their website looked beautiful and very inviting. I had also emailed with the international office before deciding if studying here was really something I wanted to do, and they were very helpful with all of my questions I asked. I asked a lot of questions!

How long have you been in the U.S.?

I have been in the U.S. for two years now and it has gone by very fast!

What do you miss the most about your home country?

I miss certain foods the most. While Canada has many of the same foods that the U.S. does, I was surprised to learn that many food items were not available here.

How do you stay in touch with your family and friends in your home country?

Skype is a wonderful thing! I’ve been able to talk to my parents and siblings every day since I’ve been here all because of a skype account. For other family members and friends I’ve been able to keep in contact with them through Facebook and other forms of social media. 

What do you like the most about studying in the U.S.?

I love the diversity and the different people that I’ve met. I have been able to meet people who have similar beliefs and values as me, and I have been able to meet people with completely different views on the world. It makes what you are learning and what you are doing so much more interesting when you are introduced to other perspectives.

What are your future education and career goals? 

Well, this Fall 2015 I will be transferring to California State University Northridge to complete my BA in Television production, so my goal right now is to graduate! After I graduate from there I hope to have a career as a film and television editor and maybe make movie trailers.  

Outside your school experience, tell me about your life in California?  What do you like to do?  How do you spend your time outside of studying? 

Life in California has been amazing! I have enjoyed not dealing with the snow for 7 months out of the year like I would normally deal with in Canada. When I’m not studying I like to go to the movies with friends, or I’ll just go to the beach and sit on the sand staring at the ocean. I’m also a big reader, so chances are if I’m not studying I’ll usually just be sitting outside reading a book!

How has your experience in the U.S. helped you learn more about yourself? Can you provide an example?

This experience has made me learn a lot about myself. I have learned that I can actually do things on my own and that I am capable of being independent. I have also learned to really enjoy going places by myself. When I first moved here it took me a while to make friends so I would go out and explore different places by myself. I also don’t drive and don’t have a car so taking the bus to these new places was something I had to learn how to become comfortable with.

Jessica was really kind to let me publish her interview. Shout out to her for that!

I still have one more post before I say goodbye, and for that I will let you guys into the world of OPT! Stay tuned!

Mari

 

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Graduation… now, what?

We have four more weeks to the end of Spring 2015 semester, and with that Commencement arrives! On May 22, 2015 MiraCosta will hold the Commencement Ceremony for students graduating this Spring.

For a lot of international students graduating from MiraCosta means transferring to a 4-year University (you can understand the difference about Community Colleges and University on my previous post), but for others it means receiving OPT (Optional Practical Training). What does OPT mean?

OPT is a 12-month employment authorization for F-1 students to gain work experience in the field of study they chose, and you remain under F-1 visa during OPT. More information about OPT can be found at the OPT session under the IIP website.

I myself am applying for OPT and I’m currently searching for jobs. It’s not an easy task, and to help us with that I’m going interview a MiraCosta alumni to give us his advice about the best path to take. I’ll post it soon! Stay tuned!

Mari

Técnicas de estudo

Entramos na sexta semana de aulas, então as provas estão se aproximando rapidamente!! Eu tive uma prova ontem, e terei outra semana que vem.

Algumas pessoas sofrem de ansiedade pré-provas, então essa época de provas pode deixá-las sobrecarregadas. É extremamente importante focar e estudar bem para reduzir o estresse antes das provas, então vou dizer aqui a minha “rotina de estudo”.

Ambientação


Eu preciso de um lugar calmo, sem barulho, e sem perturbação. O andar de cima da biblioteca é um ótimo local para estudar porque eu posso pegar alguns livros emprestados e adicionar como fonte de pesquisa nos meus trabalhos, posso usar os computadores e imprimir o que eu precisar, e é calmo. Algumas pessoas gostam de ir para coffee houses, mas eu me distraio facilmente, então preciso me isolar. Se estou em casa, normalmente me tranco no meu quarto e coloco protetores de ouvido.

Juntando os materias necessários


Junto tudo que eu provavelmente ache que vá precisar: livros, cadernos, marca-texto, caneta, lápis, borracha, sticky-notes, laptop, lanche (comida pro cérebro), lenços (eu espirro muito), água, e café (sim, eu vivo de café).

Tarefa

Começo lendo o sumário do capítulo. Faço isso porque assim eu tenho uma idéia geral do que vou ler e os termos importantes que tenho que prestar atenção. Depois do sumário, dou uma olhadinha por cima e leio os subtítulos e as possíveis definições que ficam na lateral das páginas. Agora eu tô preparada pra ler o capítulo inteiro.

Enquanto leio, vou marcando as partes importantes. Se estou lendo um livro alugado eu não marco nada, ao invés eu marco a página apontando o que é importante. Já que inglês não é minha língua nativa, eu vou anotando as definições das palavras novas que não sei numa sticky-note (dica: o dicionário online Merriam-Webster é ótimo, bem como o aplicativo). Se estou lendo um artigo que imprimi do BlackBoard (um portal do estudante) ou se foi um documento entregue em sala de aula, eu rabisco tudo! Escrevo diretamente no papel, ponho minhas anotações, escrevo as definições, e marco com marca-texto. Independente do que estou lendo, sempre faço anotações e comparo com as que fiz na sala de aula. Isso me ajuda a assimilar a matéria e é uma boa maneira de revisar.

Quando termino com as leituras, estou pronta para responder as perguntas ou escrever meu trabalho.

Provas

Quando estou estudando para as provas, primeiro reviso minhas anotações. Se não lembro de algo muito bem, leio a parte específica sobre isso, não o capítulo inteiro. As outras coisas que eu lembro, leio bem por cima e vou repetindo e me ensinando à medida que vou lendo (isso mesmo, eu falo comigo mesma e pareço uma doida, mas não tô nem aí). Se estou estudando para uma disciplina que involve números, como estatística, eu refaço as questões para ter certeza que entendi as fórmulas e os conceitos completamente.

Se tenho tempo suficiente, normalmente rescrevo minhas anotações feita em sala de aula. Quando termino de estudar (e normalmente é tarde), vou dormir. Estudos indicam que uma noite de sono bem dormida é importante para reter informação (então, não estude tudo na noite anterior).

Grupos de Estudo

Grupos de estudo são uma ótima idéia. Normalmente não faço parte deles porque, como falei anteriormente, me distraio facilmente. Ao invés disso, encontro com um(a) ou dois(uas) amigos(as) e a gente ensina um ao outro o que a gente sabe mais. Ter alguém te ensinando de outra maneira o que você não entendeu ajuda muito e é muito útil para o aprendizado.

Bem, essa é minha rotina. Parece bem longa, mas uma vez que você começa você vê que na verdade é bem fácil e útil.

Agora, de volta aos livros!!!

Mari

Study techniques

We’re now on our 6th week of class, so midterms are approaching really fast!! I myself had a midterm yesterday, and I’ll have another one next week.

Some people suffer from test anxiety, so midterms can be really overwhelming. It is extremely important to focus and study well in order to reduce stress prior to tests, so I’m going to tell you my “study routine”.

Environment

I need somewhere quiet, with no noise and no disturbance. The upper level at the school library is a great place to study because I can check out other books to add other sources to my work, I can use the computers and print papers if necessary, and it’s quiet. Some people like to go to coffee houses, but I get distracted fairly easy, so I need to isolate myself. If I’m home, I’m usually locked in my room with ear plugs on.

Gathering necessary supplies  

I get everything I can possibly think I will need: books, notebooks, highlighters, pens, pencil, eraser, sticky notes, laptop, snacks (brain food), tissues (I sneeze a lot), water, and coffee (yes, I live off of coffee).

Homework

I start off by reading the summary of the assigned chapter. I do that because it gives me a briefly description of the chapter and key terms I should pay attention to. Following the summary, I skim the chapter reading the headings and possible definitions on the side of the pages. Now I am ready to read the full chapter.

As I read the material, I highlight important passages. If I’m reading a rented book, I don’t highlight anything; instead, I put a tab on the page to mark what is important. Since English is not my native language, I keep track of new vocab by writing its definition on a sticky note (hint: the Merriam-Webster website and app is really good tool). If I’m reading an article I printed from BlackBoard (a student portal) or if it’s a handout, I completely tear that paper up! I write on it, make my annotations, write my new vocab, and highlight it. Regardless of what I am reading, I always take notes and compare them to the notes I’ve taken in class. It helps to assimilate the subject and it is a good way to review it.

After I am finished with my readings, I am ready to answer the assigned questions or write my papers.

Tests

When studying for tests I first review my notes. If I can’t remember something very well, I read the chapter or the specific heading for that topic. Everything else that I do remember I quickly skim the chapter and kind of teach it to myself as go (yes, I will be talking to myself and sounding like a crazy lady, but I don’t really care). If I’m studying for a class that involves numbers, such as statistics, I re-do the questions to make sure I completely got the formulas and concepts.

If I have enough time, I usually re-write my notes and combine them with the notes I’ve taken in class. After I’m done studying (and it’s usually late), I go to bed. Studies have shown that a good night of sleep is important to retain information (so, don’t cram up the night before the test).

Study groups

Study groups are great as well. I usually don’t take part of it because as I said before, I can get easily distracted. Instead, I meet up with one or two friends and we help each other based on our strengths. Having someone else giving you a different insight on something you quite don’t fully grasp is extremely helpful and it does help with learning.

Well, this is my study routine. It does seem quite long, but once you start doing it you will see it is actually very simple and helpful.

Now, back to the books!

Mari

Working on campus

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I last posted, but end of the semester, holidays, and the beginning of a new semester took its toll on me. 🙂 Nevertheless, I want to talk to you guys about employment on campus. What? You didn’t know it was possible? Oh yes, it is!!

To be a student worker on campus you must qualify.  In your first semester, you must provide a successful midterm report to the International Office in order to request on-campus employment. If you have already completed your first semester, just stop by at the International Office and request a letter to show you are ready to work as an international student.  You bring the letter to the Career Center to learn which campus departements are hiring.

Student workers are allowed to work no more than 19hrs / week during school session, and no more than 40hrs/week on school breaks. You must maintain your F-1 status and a valid I-20.

I started working on-campus during my second semester, and [un]fortunately this will be my last one since I’m graduating in May. The International Office was searching for bloggers, and I had an interview with the director and woot woot!! I got the job! 🙂 Since then I have had the chance to interact with faculty and staff, and my networking started to develop. I ended up applying for a second job on campus, still at the International Office, as a student worker helping with administrative processes and helping international students with documentation, walking them to where their classes are, and so on. Working on campus has given me a great insight on how school is behind all the books and classes. I’ve had a chance to see how all the processes work from the moment a student apply to the moment he/she arrives on campus for their orientation day, and I have to tell you it is an amazing feeling to help them step by step during the process. It’s rewarding!

I truly recommend on-campus employment to all my friends, and to all of you perspective students as well! It’s a great opportunity to learn work ethics in the United States, an even greater opportunity for networking (trust me, this is extremely important for your career), and it’s also a good way to make that extra money.

I hope I shed some light in this process. If you’re more interested, or if you would like to ask me some questions, feel free to drop me a line!

Mari

Active shooter feedback

As I had promised, here’s the post on how the active shooter training went.


Let me start by letting you know that students were notified by phone (text messages and phone calls) and via email about the training, but even though we were all aware of it – at least the majority of students were – it didn’t change the fact that it was still an intense training! 


The common area between 3500 and 3600 buildings was blocked for the training. The first scenario was how Campus Police should approach a suspect who was carrying guns in a backpack. Here’s my attempt to capture the moment:


Then, Campus Police moved on to the next scenario: the gunman shot students outside the classroom and then ran inside the classroom. Trust me, this was the most intense part. Students from the Theater Department volunteered to play the wounded – and dead – students, and they had some amazing makeup on. What you’re about to see is FAKE blood! Campus Police used air soft guns, so no real bullets were used and no one got injured. Students had an important role on pretending to be hurt, it really gave Campus Police – and us, spectators – a feeling of reality. Here are some pictures of how it went:


Although the training was mainly for Campus Police, students had a chance to glimpse into what was going on, and students in the classrooms had a little training on what to do in case a shooter is at school.


I hope you guys don’t get scared by those pictures, and if you want more information about what happened, drop me a line!!!

Mari

Campus safety

Did you know that MiraCosta Campus Police train to keep students safe.  On September 29, MiraCosta Campus Police will be conducting a drill in case of an emergency.  Due to unfortunate shootings that took place at other schools around the country, MiraCosta is being proactive by providing students with this training, so we can all know what to do if – knock on wood – a shooting happens.

As an international student myself, I think it’s important to be part of this particular drill since my country only had 1 school shooting in its history. I personally don’t know what to expect and how to act if I find myself in this situation, so being able to participate on this drill will definitely give me some insight about what goes on.

I’m so oblivious to these situations that I found myself in a very uncomfortable moment during one of my classes. I had to do a presentation on Che Guevara and my opening slide had gun shots sounds as part of it. As I was setting the presentation up, I accidentally had the first slide come on before I could introduce my topic. Unfortunately, the sound system was already on and loud, so gun shots sounds echoed in the classroom startling students, having some of them duck their heads whereas others were screaming. I apologized and turned off the sound, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened… I’ve learned my lesson about gun shots sounds in the classroom, but now I want to know what to do if I ever – hopefully never – find myself in this kind of situation.

I will definitely write another post about how the drill goes.

Mari