Tag Archive | "college"

New Media Center at ComArtSci brings creative opportunities to students

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New Media Center at ComArtSci brings creative opportunities to students

rianna2A new media center to drive students’ ingenuity and inspire collaborative work is under construction in the Communication Arts and Sciences building at Michigan State University. According to ComArtSci Weekly, the college’s weekly newsletter for students, this new space will include a newsroom, motion capture lab and a game design studio.

The space was temporarily up and running on Nov. 8 to cover the 2016 Presidential Election. MSU has famously covered elections at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in the past, including the 2012 election.

Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, shared the story behind the creation of the space.

“The inspiration came for (the media center) when I was in Los Angeles,” David said. “One of our alums runs a major ad agency. When I walked into this building, it was beautiful. You could see all kinds of young people working on creative projects. There was a certain buzz. The very moment I stepped in, I thought, ‘We should capture this.’”

Lucinda Davenport, director of the School of Journalism, said that a typical day in the newsroom will be full of activity because the student-produced TV news programs will be shot there, students will be doing photo shoots, making videos, creating voiceovers for radio and activities of all different types.

“There is a space in this room for almost every process of the story to happen to completion,” Davenport said.Troy Hale, a film and broadcast news professor at MSU, supported the idea of creating the media center’s newsroom. His vision for the space stemmed from the excitement and energy of 200 students and faculty working together four years ago during the previous “MI First Election.”

“I said to (Lucinda Davenport), ‘We need to have this everyday,’” Hale said.

Hale said that other than covering the November election, the newsroom will be used by classes to develop a daily news cast that will incorporate all mediums: print, online, broadcast and radio by January 2017.

According to David, a student will be able to sit in front of an anchor desk, turn the probiotic camera and lights on and stream live.

According to Hale, anchor, teleprompter and performance training will be necessary to get students ready for the newsroom.

“Students and professors will step up what they’re doing,” Hale said. “If you work in a new environment, you will work up to that level.” 

Stacey Fox, transdisciplinary artist in residence, was the force behind the addition of a motion-capture studio in the media center.

Fox said the College of Communication Arts and Sciences will be offering a motion capture class, open to all MSU students in Spring 2017, that would be great for actors, dancers, athletes, animators and others. Motion capture is proving to have an increasing presence at the college and the space will allow for versatile opportunities to learn.  

rianna1According to Fox, the motion capture studio coming to ComArtSci is unique. Unlike other systems, the equipment will be markerless, meaning that students won’t need to put on special suits or white markers on their joints to help the camera capture their movements. The system can also capture students exactly the way they look in 3D or take their movements and put that on any character. The equipment can also motion capture a student and put them into any environment.

Fox believes motion capture technology has a vital role in journalism because students can be motion captured in the studio and then put on the lawn of the White House, the United Nations Convention or the scene of a hurricane.

“We can – in real time, live – motion capture you and put you into any virtual reality environment. For news, let’s say we have the virtual reality environment of a storm scene. We can capture a student journalist and put them in that scene like they’re there in real time,” Fox said.

Students can also recreate moments in history through virtual reality. If Barack Obama came to the studio, for example, students could archive his voice and motion. Years later, another student can put on goggles and have a conversation with Obama as if they had been there with him. Fox said this is the concept of immersive journalism, where immersive environments are created and viewed by the public.

Fox believes that the media center will provide students with access to state of the art technology and the opportunity to experience what the professional industry workflow of a newsroom is like before they go out into the real world.

David spoke about how journalism is in dire need of new models and the millennials of this college generation are going to find them with their familiarity of multimedia.

The dean believes students can gain skills in the new space including journalism, television, radio, social media, interactive design, animation and game design.

“We do so much good work in our classrooms but it’s all hidden behind brick walls. We’re tearing down the walls and creating this beautiful environment,” said David. “You see the great work being done in the classrooms, the technology that students have access to, the innovative ideas of the future.”

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It’s Tradition: MSU students share their favorites

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It’s Tradition: MSU students share their favorites

Traditions at Michigan State University come in all shapes and sizes. The campus is decorated with statues of respected figures from the school’s history and monuments donated by alumni. But not all traditions can be seen with the eye. The invisible experiences, like the “Midnight Scream” and the “Go Green, Go White” chant can be just as important.

As the current academic year comes to a close, many students are reminded of the things that they’ve achieved, including memories made.

For freshman Madison O’Connor, the end of the year marks the completion of her first year at MSU. Meanwhile, we are brought even closer to the return of football season. As most Spartan football fans are well aware, these games are notorious for the chanting of one special song.

O’Connor said that the fight song, “Victory for MSU,” is the school tradition that she enjoys most.

“I like it because I feel like it brings all the students together … We’re all there cheering together for the same people,” O’Connor said.

In the fall of 2015, the changing of the well-known melody’s name was big news for the MSU community. To celebrate 100 years since it was written, the song was renamed “Victory for MSU.”

Still on O’Connor’s to-do list is a selfie with the school mascot “Sparty.”

“I feel like that’s something everyone should do at least once,” she said.

Freshman Fallon Reagan, who ranks her school spirit as a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point scale, said she, too, holds football season close to her heart. She said that she enjoys “the student section, the comradery and you feel like you’re a part of something bigger and just all the cheers. It makes you feel like, there’s 50,000 of us, but it makes you feel more like you’re a part of something.”

As a member of the French club and other student organizations, Reagan said she hopes to have the opportunity to paint The Rock during her time at MSU.

Sophomore Serenity Tyll would also like to test her artistic skill on the famous structure.

“All the time, I hear students come back from it and they stay out all night and make a huge deal about it,” Tyll said. “They come back and they’re like so closer just because of the weird things that happened with sleep-deprived college students at night.”

Tyll, like many others at MSU, realizes that The Rock is more than just a rock, “I think it symbolizes that (students are) a part of something because a lot of times they do it as a group or a club. It feels like that call-to-action that they’re doing something, like either spreading the word about their club or a significant cause that they’re passionate about.”

These are only a few of the things shared between Spartans at Michigan State University, but an evident theme amongst them is the idea of being included in something that means so much to so many people. There’s a sense of pride in saying, “Yeah, I did that,” or “I was there when that happened.”

Whether it’s something that has been around for years or a moment that is once in a lifetime, Spartan traditions are remembered by many.

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What we learned from the 2016 NCAA Tournament

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What we learned from the 2016 NCAA Tournament

1. The ACC is still the conference to beat in March

All year, no matter the sport, there is always debate amongst both fans and analysts on which conference is the best. This year many suggested that the Big 12 was the best conference because the Big 10 was top heavy and ACC’s depth was also breaking down. During the tournament, the ACC flexed its muscles and dominated.

The ACC tied a tournament record by having six teams advance to the Sweet 16 and later broke a record by having four teams in the Elite Eight, per sbnation.com. Their success even continued to the Final Four where Syracuse, a 10-seed and major cinderella story in the tournament, faced off against the only 1-seed left standing, UNC. In the end, UNC beat Syracuse and came up three points short of Villanova in the National Championship game, ending the ACC’s incredible tournament run.

2. Mid-major schools can hold their own

Every year come Selection Sunday, we see analysts and pundits alike ask the same question the committee is: “How many mid-majors qualify for the tournament?”

A mid-major is a school outside of the classic Power Five and Big East conferences. Of the 32 mid-majors that made the tourney, 12 made it past the first round, including UConn, St. Joe’s and Middle Tennessee. Outside of the 15 and 16-seeds, the mid-majors that lost only did so by an average 8.1 points. For the most part these mid-majors held their own and played competitive games against teams that had more talent and experience than a lot of them.

Mid-majors were able to take down some of the best teams in the nation including Michigan State, West Virginia, California and Arizona. While no mid-major made it past the second round this year, their ability to keep it close and even beat perennial CBB powerhouses should help increase the chance of more mid-majors appearing in next year’s tourney.  

3. This tournament was more about better play than raw talent

It is often said that basketball is a game of streaks, both in game and over the course of a season. In game teams go through times when they seem to hit every shot they attempt and other times when they seemingly can’t buy a basket. Likewise, over the course of a season, a team goes through times where it can win games with ease and other times where it can’t beat even the weakest of opponents.

Middle Tennessee played arguably the best game in school history against Michigan State and pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all time. Michigan State was predicted to beat  Middle Tennessee handily, but lost in part because of Middle Tennessee’s shooting hot streak. Villanova, after losing the Big East to Seton Hall, had one of the most impressive shooting streaks in March Madness history. Villanova rode this streak all the way to the National Title game.

4. Upperclassmen are just as important to teams as freshmen superstars

For the past few seasons, NCAA has seen its fair share of freshmen phenoms. From Jahlil Okafor and Andrew Wiggins to Anthony Davis, the NCAA has seen a lot of great talent leave after one season for the NBA. With this large influx of one-and-done, many upper tier schools, like Kentucky and Duke, began to scramble for this kind of talent in hopes that those players would push their program to new heights. This talent rush has had mixed results with some teams winning national titles and others going home in the Round of 32. That wasn’t the case this year.

The top freshman in the country, Ben Simmons of LSU, didn’t even make the tourney this year. While the second best freshman, Brandon Ingram of Duke, made it to the Elite 8, the overall team wasn’t as impressive as it had been in years past. All of the dominant teams that made the tournament – Villanova, Kansas, Oklahoma, UNC, Michigan State – were all led by upperclassmen if not senior leadership.

It was this deviation from the norm that made this tournament feel special and for many of the teams mentioned, it helped them throughout the entire postseason. The two teams that met in the National Title game both had excellent senior players, like Marcus Paige and Ryan Arcidiacono. Kris Jenkins, the player who hit the game winning shot for Villanova, was a senior.

We’ll have to wait for next year’s tourney to see if this year’s trend continues but it was definitely an interesting storyline to follow this tournament.

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Fall of the Spartans: How Middle Tennessee upset Michigan State

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Fall of the Spartans: How Middle Tennessee upset Michigan State

For Michigan State fans around the country, March 18, 2016 is a day that won’t soon be forgotten.

The Spartans entered their first day of NCAA’s March Madness as a two-seed that people across the nation felt was snubbed of a one-seed. According to ESPN, the Spartans were favored in 91 percent of brackets to advance to the next round and 22 percent to win the tournament, but neither of these predictions would happen.

Michigan State was upset 90-81 by 15-seed Middle Tennessee, handing the Spartans arguably their worst loss in school history and head coach Tom Izzo’s first one-and-done tourney trip in his first 18 trips per Detriot Free Press. How did a small Conference-USA team take down one of college basketball’s perennial juggernauts?

Michigan State’s struggles began almost right out of the gate. Middle Tennessee’s offense caught fire early and never slowed down, only missing a handful of shots within the first 10 minutes. To make matters worse, Michigan State’s offense was sluggish from the get-go and didn’t wake up until the end of the first half. By then Middle Tennessee had the lead and momentum.

While the Spartan offense picked up after halftime, in large part due to senior Matt Costello’s dominance in the paint, the team was never able to close the gap that Middle Tennessee created and maintained throughout the game.

Middle Tennessee’s ability to shoot and make the three also played a huge role in their victory. All but one of Middle Tennessee’s starters made at least one three-pointer, including the team’s power forward/center Darnell Harris. This created a matchup nightmare for the Spartans as Costello, Davis and Schilling had to leave the paint to attempt to guard the three-point line. Something that none of them are particularly strong at.

The mismatch clearly showed. In the first half alone, Middle Tennessee shot 61 percent from beyond the arch and finished the game shooting 57 percent. Michigan State just couldn’t keep the pace, shooting 45 percent overall from beyond the arch.

On the seemingly rare occasion that Middle Tennessee missed they were always there fighting for a rebound and more often than not Middle Tennessee got it. Though the stat sheet showed that Michigan State won the rebound battle, it didn’t show during the game as MT grabbed almost every crucial rebound this game had. Perhaps the reason behind this stems from the fact that Michigan State’s big players were all spread out away from the paint allowing for MT guards Jaqawn Raymond and Giddy Potts to combine for nine rebounds.  

Free throws and fouls also played a large part in this game. 35 fouls were called over the course of the game – with a 10 foul difference between the two teams – most of them being “tic-tack” or “touch fouls.” This kind of officiating environment caused the Spartans problems all year because of how aggressive the Spartans’ defense is.

Denzel Valentine, Gavin Schilling and Matt Costello were all in foul trouble during the latter portion of this game, which further restricted the already struggling Spartan defense. When it came down to free throws, Middle Tennessee, one of the worst free throw shooting teams, shot 61 percent from the line. The Spartans shot 66 percent, but much like their rebounding total, it didn’t show during the game. There were far too many times where Michigan State went one of two or zero of two from the line, while Middle Tennessee players made both free throws on their attempts.

Ultimately when trying to analyze Michigan State’s loss, Tom Izzo put it best, “They outplayed us.” Middle Tennessee did everything right, it shot lights out from the field, slowed the Spartan offense to a near standstill and played like a team possessed. Michigan State was flat out beaten and that isn’t an indictment against the Spartans, but rather praise to Middle Tennessee. It is for that reason that Michigan State shouldn’t hang its head on this loss for too long. Would it have been nice to see Michigan State seniors Matt Costello, Bryn Forbes, Colby Wallenman and Denzel Valentine end their collegiate careers on a better note? Yes. However, this loss doesn’t take away from the excellent season Michigan State had or how great this senior class of players was.

Tom Izzo has done a great job of creating a top tier basketball program at Michigan State and top tier programs bounce back from these types of losses. In fact, Duke, the team that won the National Championship last year, did so one year after being upset by Mercer, a 14-seed.

Tom Izzo and the Spartans will learn from this, grow from it and come back next year hungrier than ever for a deep postseason run; hopefully ending in a championship.

Stats courtesy of ESPN, Detroit Free Press & The Washington Post



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What to expect from College Basketball this postseason

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What to expect from College Basketball this postseason

Photo via Creative Commons.

Photo via Creative Commons.

This season of college basketball has been a crazy one. Teams ranked No. 1 have fallen almost constantly throughout the year. Perennial contenders have struggled a bit in their conference and teams that typically struggle throughout the year have risen to the higher positions. With the college basketball postseason right around corner here are some storylines that could play out throughout conference tournaments and of course March Madness.

Challengers to Kentucky’s SEC throne  

Despite the fact that Kentucky is in position to win the SEC – regular season – for the third time in five years they are vulnerable. Most people assumed going into this season that Kentucky wouldn’t be the same after losing much of last year’s team to the NBA draft, but still believed they would maintain their dominance over the usually lackluster SEC. That hasn’t been the case this year.  

There are three teams that are one game behind Kentucky in the standings and two of those teams beat Kentucky this year. LSU, University of South Carolina (USC) and Texas A&M all have the potential to surpass Kentucky in both the regular season and SEC tournament.

USC started the year off as one of the undefeated teams and has beaten LSU and Texas A&M in close games but was blown out by Kentucky in their only meeting of the season.

LSU is known best for freshman phenom Ben Simmons who is the heart and soul of the team. However, LSU has struggled with consistency issues in part because of how heavily the team depends on Simmons’ performance. Despite this problem, LSU was able to beat Texas A&M handily and blow out Kentucky in their first meeting of the season.

Texas A&M is a streaky team that has been one of the biggest surprises in collegiate basketball this season. Texas A&M was able to split the series with LSU and beat Kentucky this season.

These teams could make another first place finish for Kentucky hard to come by and possibly upset Kentucky in the SEC tournament, which would be a nice change up for the conference and its fans.

Miami’s rise in the ACC

This year has been odd for the ACC, as the top part of the conference was shaken up. While perennial top teams like UNC and Virginia have, for the most part, maintained their form other teams that are usually in their company have not.

Louisville, a team that won the National Championship three years ago, has removed itself from postseason play in the wake of a sex scandal.

Duke, last year’s National Champion, was out of the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in nine years and has also struggled to find itself all year.

Amidst this void atop the conference, the Miami Hurricanes have risen to the top and currently sit half of a game behind UNC in the standings. Among some of Miami’s more impressive wins is a blowout victory versus Duke and a win against Virginia.

Miami could be the team to upset UNC during the conference tournament and could be an even bigger factor come the time of March Madness.  

Big East and Big Ten might have the most competitive tournaments

The Big East and Big Ten are fairly similar in how their conference has shaped out over the past few seasons. Usually the conferences divide themselves into upper and lower tiers. The differences between the different tiers varies on which conference, but it usually boils down to the talent of players and coaches. Typically, the top teams in the conference perform at a high level and beat down the rest of the conference.

There has been significantly more competition between upper teams and lower teams this year. In the Big Ten, look no further than Maryland who has lost to both a struggling Minnesota and a Michigan team that had beaten only one other ranked opponent this year. Michigan State, also a perennial conference contender, has also struggled against lower tier teams in Wisconsin and Nebraska.  

The Big East, a conference usually plagued by inconsistent play by this time of year, has actually not self destructed for once. Teams like Providence and Seton Hall have legitimate shot at making the tournament. The majority of the conference has been in a battle for tournament spots all year and on Feb. 24 the Big East was put on a national spotlight when No. 5 Xavier upset No. 1 Villanova. On a smaller scale, the day after Xavier’s upset, Providence and Seton Hall duked it out in an effort to bolster their chances at a NCAA Tournament berth. That game also saw an upset as Seton Hall bested Providence.

No clear favorite for the National Title

Perhaps the most intriguing part to this year’s NCAA postseason is that there is no clear contender. Sure, some analysts have thrown around names like Kansas, Oklahoma and Michigan State, but there really isn’t a consensus as to who the best team in the country is. This year is the first in a long time where the National Championship seems tangible for any team that makes the tournament. Already this year we’ve seen many upsets, which should continue through March. So buckle up basketball fans, March is going to be a wild ride.

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How to avoid the Freshman 15

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How to avoid the Freshman 15

The Freshman 15 haunts every student attending his or her first year of college. Although this does not apply to everyone, some students experience weight gain during the first year, or any year of college.

One in four college freshmen gain 10 pounds within the first semester, according to a report by WebMD. So, what are the reasons that college freshmen tend to gain weight? Why are students aware of the potential 15 pounds, yet so many experience it?

It could be the cafeterias all-access policy, a change in schedule, minimal aid in meal planning or too many nights out. Whatever the reason, The Big Green has eight tips to help you avoid the Freshman 15.

1. Walk to class

Riding the CATA bus is tempting for some people, particularly throughout winter, and especially when you paid for a semester pass. Walking to class instead is a great way to sustain energy throughout the school year. Plus, by walking the campus, you will be able to experience the beautiful nature that Michigan State University has to offer.

2. Take advantage of the free group exercise classes at MSU

Provided by Live On, MSU offers free group exercise classes in each neighborhood on campus throughout the week. Check out when yoga, cardiokickboxing or zumba will be in your neighborhood here.

3. Go to the gym at least three times a week

Take a study break and go to the gym. MSU has full-year and one-semester gym memberships that are available for purchase at any time.

You don’t have to buy a membership to have the opportunity to work out at a gym, however. Some halls have gym equipment located within the building. This is a free alternative! The only requirement is you have to be a resident. See if there is a gym provided in your building here. Another tip is to get a gym buddy! Meeting a friend, and pushing each other through a workout makes going to the gym simple.

4. Eat in moderation

Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.

Try some healthy alternative meals to avoid the Freshman 15. Photo via Creative Commons.

It might be hard to turn down the cafeteria, especially if you have one in your building. The best advice to avoid eating too much in the cafeteria is to eat in moderation or practice portion control. MSU provides a portion size chart to help students eat the right amounts of foods, take a look at it here.

5. Avoid late night meals

It is tempting to indulge in Conrad’s, Menna’s Joint, Taco Bell or delivery after a night out with friends. Try to avoid eating after 9 p.m. If the cravings persist, choose a healthier snack before bed to tame the hunger.

6. Don’t drink your calories

Pop and alcohol have empty calories that can simply be avoided if you drink them in moderation or cut them out of your diet completely. As a substitution, try drinking water more. Water fused with lemons or berries can taste more appetizing.

7. Take a class

MSU offers Kinesiology courses at many different levels. Most fitness based KIN courses follow a pass/fail criteria.To earn credit for the class, you have to get up and be active!

8. NetNutrition

The cafeteria is possibly the only source of food you have on campus. Eat at State provides a campus cafeteria calorie counter, NetNutrition. This format allows you to select items from MSU menus, build a meal, then quantify the nutrition. You can also insert in your allergies to know which foods to avoid. Check it out!

A little bit of weight gain is okay! It happens to the best of us. By following these tips, you can bust the Freshman 15 standard and have a little more control on how it affects your body.


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7 tips to get through the winter blues

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7 tips to get through the winter blues

At some extent, we all know the feeling that comes around every winter, at least for those of us who dread the winter months. It can be anything from feeling depressed to tiredness and hypersensitive emotions. Not everyone will experience this, but for those who do, here are some hacks to get through the winter blues.

Photo by Morgan Smith.

Photo by Morgan Smith.

1.  Shine some light on the situation

During these cold winter months, people tend to not go outside as often, and that can lead to a deficiency in Vitamin D. Opening the blinds or sitting closer to the windows can give you enough sunshine to fight the blues. There is also an invention, called a Lightbox, which sends out artificial light. Brigitt Hauck, associate editor of Real Simple, says it can be “as effective as antidepressant medication.”

2. Start a healthy diet

Eating healthy and at specific times will not only help you with the winter weight, but also with your mood. Nichole Nichols, fitness instructor and health educator, suggests to stay away from refined and processed food, and take in more carbohydrates and to keep up with the daily dose of, at least, eight cups of water.

3. Exercise

Get up and get active. It’s easy to be lazy in the warmth of your home, cuddled up in bed and watching Netflix as the snow laughs at you from outside your window. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, though. Do a simple routine that will keep you pumped up for the day. Nichols says it will give you “more energy throughout the day, and your metabolism will stay elevated too.” Healthy exercise will stabilize your body as well as your mind. Along with a healthy sleeping schedule.

4. Turn up the tunes

Finding some jams that get you pumped up is another way to get you out of the slumps. Take 30 seconds to jump up and down and belt out your favorite song. Just like exercising, it can raise your mood and energy. In a study conducted in 2013, Yuna Ferguson (who was a University of Missouri doctoral student in psychological science at the time) stated, “participants successfully improved their moods in the short term and boosted their overall happiness over a two week period”.

5. Make goals and follow through

Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, but they are rarely followed through. A good way to keep out of the deep hole of the winter blues is to make goals and complete them. Even if they’re little things, such as “Clean up the room,” “Go for a walk,” “Complete an assignment early.” Do something that will help you feel accomplished.

6. Be social

If you live alone, get out of the house and see your friends or family. Plan a day of fun activities that will remove you from the lonely and familiar environment of your home. If you live with other people, get out of your room and do something with your family or housemates.

7. Talk to your doctor

If you are finding that you can’t cope with what the winter brings, talk to your doctor. It is commonly known as the winter blues, but the medical term is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you think that you may have this, contact someone to be properly diagnosed. On campus, if you don’t have a doctor nearby, the Olin Health Center can be of help, and possibly be able to set you up with someone in that branch of medical science.

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10 ways to have a better semester

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10 ways to have a better semester

Spring semester means a fresh start for most students. With new classes and a new academic schedule, it is hard to not fall back into those bad habits of last semester. Bad habits like skipping class or even being late to class are a few good things to change.

Here are 10 simple steps to help you stay on track this semester and to work on making each semester better.

Photo via Creative Commons.

Photo via Creative Commons.

1. Stay organized

Organization is key when it comes to college and basically the rest of your life. Your life might not be together at the moment, but it sure does feel like it when all of your materials are organized. There are so many ways that you can keep things organized including color coordinating your classes and keeping all the files on your computer in order. Find out which organization technique works best for you and use it throughout college.

2. Make lists

A key to success is lists, lists and more lists. To-do lists, grocery lists, things-to-remember-to-do lists. Write down every thought that you have and put it on a list. This can help you remember important things that you don’t want to forget. It also clears your mind when you write things down.

3. Keep track of everything that is due (follow that syllabus!)

When you know exactly when everything is due, it makes it a lot easier to manage your time around homework and how much you should study in a given day. This is also a good skill because if you have extra time on your hands, you can catch up on reading or assignments for classes to make the next week not as stressful.

4. If you don’t like something, change it

One thing that you learn throughout your college experience is that you are in control of your life. College is a huge opportunity to have, so if you don’t like something, you have the power to change it!

5. Time management

Time management is another thing to get down pact because you will deal with it for the rest of your life. So why not start now? Start with figuring out what is a bigger priority and what is a smaller priority. Make sure you aren’t spending all of your time at the library studying because your brain needs to relax, too. But also, make sure you aren’t out partying or hanging out with your friends all of the time because then you won’t get any school work done.

6. Remind yourself that everything will be okay

Yes, going to college and growing up at the same time is a lot for the universe to ask. But, you can do it! Just keep a little reminder in the back of your head that everything will be okay and surely enough you will be, too.

7. Surround yourself with good people

It wouldn’t be a good idea to be around people who have a negative influence on you. Surround yourself with people who support your decisions, lift you up and make you a better person. You’ll thank yourself later.

8. Make time to do things that you love

Let’s be honest, school takes up a lot of time. That’s why it is important to make time in your busy schedule to do the things you love to do. Whether that is working out, eating ice cream, seeing a movie every once in awhile – do it! Don’t lose sense of yourself.

9. Stay active/find that stress reliever

A good stress reliever is to stay active. Going to the gym at least three times a week will help you clear your mind, and you’ll feel good after it. You don’t have to go super hard in the gym, even walking to class instead of taking the bus can be a stress reliever.

10. Have fun

The reason why it is important to stay organized, learn to manage your time better and keep on top of things is so that you can leave room to have fun! College is a great learning experience, but there is nothing wrong with having fun while you earn your degree. The memories you make will last a lifetime.

Bonus: MSU Campus Hacks

While all of the tips above can apply to most college students, here are a few second semester hacks specifically for MSU students.

11. Going to Grand River? Take the 26 instead of the 31. The 26 is usually always at the CATA station and it is often less crowded than the 31 in the winter time.

12. Too cold and snowy to leave your dorm? Get your combo exchange at any local Sparty’s store before going back to your dorm after class.

13. Are you broke but still want to do something fun? Campus Cinemas in Wells Hall offers free movies for on-campus students. You can bring a guest for free as well!

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How the College Football Playoff can be improved

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How the College Football Playoff can be improved

Another regular season of college football has finished and the College Football Playoff committee has selected the four teams that have a chance to compete for a national title.

In its second season, the CFP didn’t see nearly the same level of controversy as it did in its inaugural season when they selected Ohio State over a representative of the Big 12. This year, analysts and fans appear to be in general agreement that the four best college football teams in the country – Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma – made the playoffs. However, many football fans and analysts would argue that there were a few other teams deserving of a chance at the national title.

Photo via Creative Commons.

Photo via Creative Commons.

So how can the CFP be improved? Many people agree that the right direction for the CFP to go in involves expansion. However, each person had a different opinion on how the playoff should be expanded.

“The top teams from every conference (in the Football Bowl Subdivision or FBS) should be allowed into the playoff to increase competition for the national title. Also, minimize the amount of bowl games to improve their meaning,” said Luis Enrique Agosto, freshman at Michigan State University.

This is an interesting idea; every single conference would be represented in the playoffs, similar to what professional football has. Certainly this would have the potential to push the lower conferences to produce better football teams in order to to compete with the “Power Five” teams. Also, it would increase the likelihood of upsets and increase the overall excitement of games. There are a few problems with this idea. For one, the new approach would essentially get rid of the ranking system that has dominated college sports for decades, which many traditional fans may reject. Secondly, this proposal excludes non-conference teams like Notre Dame until they pick a conference, which, of course, Fighting Irish fans and administration wouldn’t endorse at all.

“The playoff should be expanded to 10 teams and bowl games outside of the playoffs should minimized,” said MSU freshman Jade Harris.

With this idea, the playoff selection itself wouldn’t change, but the number of teams let in would. The ranking system would remain intact and competition would increase as more teams would be in the running for the national title. The problem with this idea is whether or not there’s enough time in the college football season for 10 teams to get through a playoff. Right now, the playoffs take three weeks: one week of games, a bye week and then the championship game. Under this proposal that would need to be expanded drastically to fit in all of those games.

Freshman Anna Stankewitz suggested that the committee should “Gradually increase the number of teams allowed into playoff until you reach the ideal amount. Also, make a distinction between bowl games and playoff games. Furthermore, top tier teams should receive some sort of home field advantage for at least one playoff game.”

Most likely this is how things would go if the playoff were to expand. The college football world (programs, committee, donors, etc.) would decide upon the number of teams it wants to expand to. For example, let’s say the committee chooses eight teams, instead of going directly from four playoff teams to eight in the span of a year, it might go from four to six in a year and then six to eight the following year. The home field advantage aspect of the idea certainly is intriguing as it would reward the upper tier teams and make wins and losses all the more special. Again, a problem with this proposal is whether or not there is enough time in the college football season to include up to eight or more teams. In addition, the idea of postseason home field advantage may not appeal to everyone.

“The CFP can’t be run like the NCAA March Madness tournament simply because the season is too short. Adding a wildcard may work; so might turning purely to computer rating system to determine the playoff contenders. Making it eight teams would do a better job at getting the best team in the nation. Separate the power bowls (Orange, Sugar, Rose, Cotton),” said MSU Sports Geography professor Dr. Arbogast.

The CFP might not have the time, but that doesn’t mean the level of excitement drawn from March Madness can’t be mirrored in college football. A wildcard(s) would certainly add excitement and increase competition within the playoffs, but the question there would be whether the committee would use rankings, record or team status as the method for selecting the team(s). An expansion to eight teams would carry many of these benefits, however, the question of time still remains an issue. Purely going to a computer rating for determining playoff contenders could also definitely cause a stir.

Another theme throughout these suggestions was the call for bowl game reform. Suggestions ranged from simply cutting some of the lesser bowls to completely separating bowl games from the CFP. Unlike playoff changes these will be extremely hard to reform and change up in a hurry. Why? The bowl system is a vital part of the college football tradition and it would be difficult to change that, even if that change would be for the better.

The CFP will change eventually and this improvement will most likely come in the form of an expansion. The powers that control college football may very well hear ideas similar to the ones stated in this article. However, even with modifications, not everyone will be happy. There will always be one team or fan base on the outside looking in. That cannot be changed. What can be changed is the product that the CFP delivers. 

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It’s Tradition: The Midnight Scream

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It’s Tradition: The Midnight Scream

Stressed-out students from Michigan State University are warming up their vocal chords in preparation for the finals week ritual Midnight Scream.

The Midnight Scream takes place every night at midnight during the week of final exams starting on Sunday night before the first exams on Monday. The purpose of this unconventional event is to give students a break from the frustration of finals week and an escape from the overwhelming nature of cramming for a high-stakes exam.

According to the MSU Academic Calendar for fall of 2015, classes will begin their final examinations on Dec. 14. Make note of that date, everyone. You don’t want to be caught by surprise on the first night when suddenly the screams of thousands of your peers erupt from across campus.

Students gather to participate in this tradition no matter where they are when the clock strikes midnight. Whether they are in their dorm rooms standing ready at the open window or abandoning their books to congregate outside of the library, the Midnight Scream is a rush that many students depend on in order to continue working.

The MSU Main Library is a famous place to be on campus during finals week. Photo via Creative Commons.

The MSU Main Library is a famous place to be on campus during finals week. Photo via Creative Commons.

Chemical engineering freshman Abby Nowak said that her calculus class has caused her the most stress during her first semester at MSU. She anticipates many late nights of studying in order to ensure success. She said that the Midnight Scream will be a great way to take a break from preparing for her finals.

“I feel like it just gets out your frustration when you’re trying to study and then you just need a break,” said Nowak. “I feel like (by) listening to everyone else’s screams, you know you’re not by yourself.”

Zoology senior Alexandria Sly supported Nowak’s statement, “I think screaming helps. It unloads that terrible vibe,” she said. “You can understand how everyone else is feeling, like you’re not the only one. You’re not alone with this final exam.”

When she was a freshman, Sly lived in Hubbard Hall in East Neighborhood. She remembered being surprised by the screaming on the first night, but said that she quickly embraced the school tradition.

“(Hubbard is) really super tall, so you just hear it reverberating all the way down and out the windows and everything,” said Sly. “You can hear Akers and McDonel (Halls). You could hear everyone in East Neighborhood, basically, screaming about their finals.”

While the event on its own is popular amongst students, often more famous are the crazy things that people yell out in the heat of the moment. Anything from classic song lyrics to curse words can be expected during those few minutes following midnight.

For participants, the fun can sometimes get out of hand. In the residence halls, it’s up to resident assistants to help maintain the tradition while promoting safety and courtesy for on-campus residents.

MSU senior and second-year Resident Assistant Alexis Snow said that different residence halls handle the Midnight Scream differently, but in Case Hall where she resides, the staff tries to calm everyone down after about five minutes.

“ … After that, we tend to try to go enforce, ‘Hey, it’s quiet hours. It’s still 24-hour courtesy hours’ … because that is during finals week,” said Snow.

Predetermined quiet hours are void during finals week when the residence halls abide by 24-hour courtesy hours in order to allow students the best chance to concentrate and study for their final exams.

Snow said that finals week tends to increase call volume to the resident assistants on duty.

“(We) have incidents during finals week all the time where it’s just like some craziness going on,” she said. “People get really hostile and anxious and nervous during that time so (we) get a lot of increase in calls asking people to come be quiet.”

Despite that she now has to enforce rules about the Midnight Scream, she said she understands what it means for students to have this outlet. However, she said that she doesn’t think the screaming is the only part of the tradition that acts as a de-stresser.

“For some people it might work, but for me it’s just like a funny way … of just getting a laugh,” she said. “Freshman year, a guy was out there in probably, like, just underpants with a bullhorn yelling crazy things … Those give you good laughs and I think that’s a good stress reliever.”

Whatever the reason, students at MSU find the tradition of the Midnight Scream to be an interesting and promising event to look forward to each semester. It’s a silly and unifying experience, which brings Spartans together during one of the toughest times of their college years.

“It’s just something to be a part of, kind of like yelling those chants at the football games or the ‘Go Green’,” said Snow. “It doesn’t really mean anything, but it represents unity, we’re all in this together type of thing.”

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