Tag Archive | "State Side"

OutCasting radio program gives voice to LGBTQ youth at MSU

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

OutCasting radio program gives voice to LGBTQ youth at MSU

OutCasters at the main studio in Westchester County, New York. Courtesy of Marc Sophos.

OutCasters at the main studio in Westchester County, New York. Courtesy of Marc Sophos.

The voices of LGBTQ Spartans and straight allies can be heard on public radio stations across the country via Michigan State University’s bureau of OutCasting, a LGBTQ youth radio program created by MSU Telecommunications alumnus Marc Sophos.

In 2006, while working at WDFH, his radio station in Westchester County, New York, Sophos came up with the idea of starting OutCasting after a foundation approached him about funding a program for underrepresented constituencies.

“In public radio, there are youth programs and there is a LGBTQ program, but there is no LGBTQ youth program,” Sophos said.

The inspiration to create this kind of program was encouraged in part by Sophos’ own experience as a gay man. He wanted to offer a platform for younger people to embrace their voices and express themselves.

“I know what it was like to be closeted and not be able to express anything, not be able to talk about it,” said Sophos. “It’s a different time now than it was when I was growing up because of the Internet but still there’s a need for people to be able to speak out and to do journalism on these issues and in some cases talk about their own experiences.”

The young contributors – high school and college age – produce six to eight programs a year for public broadcast. In addition to that they also record shorter, more frequent segments online called OutCasting OffAir, which has recently covered topics like gender norms and what it means to come out today.

After organizing and leading the program at two locations in New York, Sophos got the idea to bring the program to his alma mater after a visit to campus with his husband, Doug, a couple of years ago. They were in the Student Union where Sophos remembered the LBGT Resource Center had once been located on the fourth floor. They discovered that the location had changed, but he continued his search and eventually met with the director of the Center, DeAnna Hurlbert, a big fan of public radio, according to Sophos.

“We sort of just started batting around the idea for opening an MSU bureau,” said Sophos. “From November of 2014 through last September, a lot of the groundwork was laid and we had an informational meeting in September, a year ago, and that’s when Kayl and four other people got involved.”

Kayl Black, a sophomore member of OutCasting, said that the group is in the process of reaching out to different LGBTQ organizations around campus and students to expand their reach and spread the word about what it means to be an “OutCaster.” 

Posted in State SideComments (0)

New Media Center at ComArtSci brings creative opportunities to students

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.”

Posted in State SideComments (0)

It’s Tradition: MSU students share their favorites

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Posted in It's TraditionComments (0)

It’s Tradition: The Rock

Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s Tradition: The Rock

The Rock after it was painted in honor of Lacey Holsworth. Photo via Flickr.

The Rock after it was painted in honor of Lacey Holsworth. Photo via Flickr.

On an average week its color often varies and its message changes regularly, but its presence at Michigan State University is one thing that seemingly remains the same. As a key location for activism, promotion and memorialization – the Rock has become a Spartan tradition almost as solid as the structure itself.

According to research gathered by the MSU Archives, the Rock was donated by the Class of 1873. The archives’ research states, “For the next sixty to seventy years, the Rock remained as it was, untouched, but during the 1940s and 1950s, the Rock would be known as the ‘Engagement Rock.’” If a Spartan wanted to propose, the Rock was a special place to do it.

It was also during that time that the Rock “became a political platform and billboard for various groups.” Students began painting it and the surrounding trees and sidewalks in the area. Therefore, to preserve the natural environment, the Rock was moved from its location near where the Beaumont Tower now stands to its current location in front of the Auditorium in 1985 and the painting has continued for over 30 years.

The Rock’s purpose has evolved during its history at the university, but it seems that painting it continues to be the biggest appeal today.

International relations senior Monica Watt painted the Rock in order to celebrate and promote her student organization, the United Nations Association, last fall. She estimated that the Rock has accumulated more than 10,000 layers of paint over the years.

The rock means a tradition for MSU students, it’s a way to express our voice like on a billboard without worrying about rules and regulations,” said Watt. “It gets attention and the tradition to guard the rock also allows students to gather and bond over various things.

“It’s become a symbol because it’s a something that can’t be removed easily. And people are willing to guard (it) and paint it so it still is a tradition.”

The university does not regulate a schedule for individuals to paint the Rock. There is no way to sign up for a time or date to paint it, a.k.a. “you snooze, you lose.”

“The unwritten rule about painting the Rock is that whoever is there first at night to paint it can do so, but it’s best to stay with the Rock until first light. If the painters decide not to stay and guard the Rock, any other group can come and repaint it,” according to the MSU Archives’ research.

A recent memorable moment for the Rock was following the Paris attacks on Nov.13 of last year. MSU students banded together to “stand with Paris” and show their support.

Perhaps one of the most well-known paint jobs that the Rock has received was in honor of Lacey Holsworth, otherwise known as “Princess Lacey,” the 8-year-old who was a source of inspiration for the Michigan State Men’s Basketball team in 2014.

After losing her battle with cancer, the community celebrated her life and the impact that she had on the school by painting the Rock for her.

While the Rock has been the basis of many different traditions in MSU history, one thing is certain to never change – the layers and layers of students’ names, logos and missions of diverse organizations and symbols of hope will forever be a part of the structure.  

Posted in It's Tradition, State SideComments (0)

The Roial Players’ spring season

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Roial Players’ spring season

“Count them in 3, 2, 1 … *clap*,” the scene leader announces to the crowd as a few actors take the stage to perform their improvisation, from which much of the context is compiled from the audience’s ideas.

The Roial Players is a studentled theatre group at Michigan State University. It was started in 2005 by various Arts and Humanities students and dedicated to the art of theatre without requiring the students to commit to a theatre major.

Lives of Saints performance. Photo by Elsa Finch.

Lives of Saints performance. Photo by Elsa Finch.

The spelling of Roial was originally an acronym for a College of Arts & Letters program (Residential Option in Arts and Letters). After the program was disbanded, a few students continued it as a group and joined together with the Residential College of Arts and Humanities (RCAH). It was only three or four years ago that they dropped the acronym and changed the name to the Roial Players.

The Roial’s Treasurer Marcus Fields said, “Working on productions with Roial is so much fun, because students get to handle every aspect of the production including writing, booking rehearsal space, casting, rehearsing, set design and construction, developing marketing strategies, costume and makeup design, filming promotional videos, etc.

“There’s always an opportunity to learn a new skill alongside someone else and have fun at the same time. Every show is unique, having been developed from the collaborative efforts of many creative individuals fulfilling all of the roles necessary to produce a theater production.”

Since it began, it has become a more comprehensive performing arts group with many different components, which includes their monthly improv shows, as well as four full length performances per year.

The group’s full length performances consist of compilations of one acts and a Creative Showcase talent show. The improv shows occur once a month, including one that will be performed on Feb. 27 at 9:00 p.m. at the RCAH Theater, located in the basement of Snyder-Phillips Hall. The theme of this production is “Roial Rumble,” in which Notre Dame’s Humor Artists will be joining them on stage. The improv performances are very audiencebased and work straight from words or ideas that are either shouted out or written down.

Along with their live performances, the group has their own film division, writers club, and a makeup, hair and stage management team.

“We’re proud of the fact that we are able to offer so many opportunities to so many different types of people, especially just as students,” said Lauren Gaynor, executive director of Roial Players.

A few weeks ago, the group produced a show called Dog Sees God, a parody of the Peanuts comics. The show followed the characters throughout high school. The performance was aimed more toward the mature audiences, but it was “fun and extremely quirky,” according to Gaynor.

Roial Players is open to any Michigan State University registered student. There are many meetings throughout the year.

Posted in Featured, State SideComments (1)

10 ways to have a better semester

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!

Posted in State SideComments (0)

The Stonewall Society seeks change for LGBTQ students

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Stonewall Society seeks change for LGBTQ students

The Stonewall Society is a new LGBTQ advocacy group within the James Madison College at Michigan State University. The new student organization aims to encourage change to curriculum and promote discussion within the college and across campus about LGBTQ issues.

President of The Stonewall Society Ben Schroff is a junior studying social relations and policy and comparative cultures and politics within the James Madison College. He is also pursuing minors in women’s and gender studies as well as LGBTQ and sexuality studies.

The Stonewall Society of MSU. Photo via Ben Schroff.

The Stonewall Society of MSU. Photo via Ben Schroff.

With two and a half years as a student in the James Madison College completed, Schroff is well-versed in the workings of the programs and courses offered to students. This year, he wants to challenge them and make a difference within the college for the LGBTQ community by founding The Stonewall Society.

Schroff explained that the inspiration to start the organization came from a fellow James Madison group: the W.E.B. DuBois Society, a black advocacy group. The W.E.B. DuBois Society has established their presence this semester as they continue to address issues surrounding racial climate within the James Madison College.

He said that he was “inspired by them to bring up these (LGBTQ) issues as well. Within student culture, nothing is really talked about within the academic setting … it’s sort of just like an erased experience, so I wanted to bring it up and present it to the Madison community.”

In three words, Schroff described The Stonewall Society’s mission: advocacy, action and awareness.

As an organization within the James Madison College, the group would like to “get LGBTQ issues more into the Madison classroom,” said Schroff. The intention is that by initially addressing issues within the college, they can later start a broader campuswide movement.   

The Stonewall Society Vice President Olivia Brenner, a sophomore studying social relations and policy and women’s studies with a specialization in LGBTQ and sexuality studies, said that their approach will enable them to succeed on a smaller scale before advancing to larger problems.

“Every good activist group knows that you have to start on a microlevel, because if you start with these big overarching world changing type of things, you’re never going to be able to actually get those done,” said Brenner. “But if you do a lot of little changes, that can actually have an effect on the people that you’re dealing with.”  

Maxwell Olivero, a field experience coordinator for the James Madison College, is The Stonewall Society’s faculty advisor. He believes that “it’s important to have all groups and all voices kind of represented in just about every discussion” and The Stonewall Society has the potential to achieve that for the LGBTQ community.

“I think they’ll serve a very useful role as just being a voice for inclusion, of course, with a focus on LGBTQ people, but also a focus on inclusion across the spectrum,” said Olivero.

Olivero added that according to the group’s mission statement, The Stonewall Society will likely address issues such as gender neutral housing, the preferred name policy and more. He said, “Those are issues that don’t get a whole lot of attention, particularly now in this type of climate with same-sex marriage recently being legalized … a lot of the other issues that affect LGBTQ people, in some ways are kind of being put on the back burner as marriage equality has been won already … so I think another objective of Ben and of The Stonewall Society is to kind of bring those issues back into focus and make sure they’re part of the discussion when we move forward when discussing community inclusiveness and diversity.”

The Stonewall Society will hold their first meeting in the upcoming spring semester.

“Anybody can join. We are not limiting it to anybody,” said Schroff. “We created it as a Madison-specific, but not a Madison-exclusive group. While we are focusing a lot on James Madison and taking care of stuff in Madison, we are also going to try to do stuff around campus as well, so anybody is really allowed to join. Whether you’re LGBTQ or an ally, you’re welcome.”

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Get a good taste of MSU: Top 3 best cafeterias on campus

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Get a good taste of MSU: Top 3 best cafeterias on campus

#3. South Pointe at Case Hall and The Edge at Akers Hall

cafeteriaAmong the top three most popular cafeterias, South Pointe at Case Hall and The Edge at Akers Hall both have gained public praise in South and East Neighborhoods.

They offer a wide variety of meats on their menu, which is reportedly the reason for their popularity. Their large seating places and sofas also make Case and Akers Dining Halls suitable and comfortable places to enjoy a meal.

The cozy facilities and tasty food in Case Hall are praised by students. Because it’s widely known as the biggest cafeteria in South Neighborhood, Case Hall attracts students who live or have class near South.

“Case Dining Hall is pleasant and the food in there is delicious … and they also have sofas in the dining hall. My friend and I always meet there and do some homework,” said freshman Thomas Jones.

“The Case Dining Hall is the biggest and nearest cafeteria to me,” said engineering sophomore Ben Noble. “They always have fresh sushi, fries, chicken and pork. The sauce for the meat is so good that I want to go back to Case even though I have class so far away from my dorm.”

Akers Dining Hall has the same status as Case in East Neighborhood. Their meat menu is generally recognized as the best in the neighborhood. Student Ulises Martinez stated Akers has the most delicious daily meat at MSU including chicken, beef and BBQ.

#2. The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips Hall

The Gallery at Snyder/Philips Hall at MSU.

The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips Hall at MSU.

The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips Hall is equipped with six food sections: Bliss, Brimstone Grille, Ciao, Latitude, New Traditions and The Berg. The menu for the last three sections changes every day.

Snyder/Phillips Hall is located near Auditorium Road and Grand River Avenue, which attracts a larger group of customers. The large number of tables and the general cleanliness of the cafeteria also makes people feel more comfortable and increases their willingness to come over.

“Snyder has so many choices of food,” said business freshman Austin Lee. “My favorite thing about Snyder Hall is that they have a long table for salad and sushi … and also they have couple meat section. There are a lot of tables in Snyder for students and others to enjoy their meal or study.”

Austin is not the only one who is impressed by the huge size of The Gallery. When some students first come to this dining hall, they are shocked by the huge spaces.

Pre-med sophomore Eric Williams said, “When talking about Snyder, the first thing comes into my mind is big. And it’s also busy; there always are a lot of people, but it also means Snyder is so delicious.”

#1. Brody Square in Brody Neighborhood

Brody Neighborhood, as all students know, has the biggest cafeteria at MSU. A lot of freshmen are attracted to Brody Square because of its reputation as a scenic spot. It has almost every kind of food and the homemade MSU Dairy Store ice cream is undoubtedly the bright spot in Brody.

As the only cafeteria in Brody Neighborhood, Brody Square is the best choice for students who have classes nearby or who live in one of the four Brody residence halls. Students state that sometimes they come over to Brody from South Neighborhood and even East Neighborhood just to have a taste of the “best” cafeteria at MSU.

Cafeterias with something special

Wilson Hall

For students who demand late night food, there are four cafeterias that offer late night food until midnight. Besides Brody, Snyder/Phillips and Akers Dining Halls mentioned before, Wilson in South Neighborhood is also highly-acclaimed by students because of the plentiful late night menu. The fried and Buffalo chicken wings are the most popular option. When Wilson offers chicken wings, customers have to queue for ages to get served.cafeteria3

Hubbard and Holden Halls

As the dining halls with the shortest open times at MSU, Hubbard and Holden Halls have their own specialty meals for attracting students. The fried rice and dumplings in Holden Dining Hall is widely acclaimed by international students, while some special offers like noodles and daily soup in Hubbard Dining Hall are loved by them, too.

Food is the best friend of any human being. Plan your next MSU eating trip and greet everyday with love and food.  

Posted in State SideComments (0)

It’s Tradition: The Midnight Scream

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.”

Posted in It's Tradition, State SideComments (0)

10 tips to survive finals week

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 tips to survive finals week

“How is it already the end of the semester?” “This year is going by so fast!” “OH MY GOSH! Finals are in three weeks!”

Have you been having end-of-the-semester blues? Well, here are some tips to help combat the hair pulling out, uncontrollable tears, over-eating, sleep-deprived stress of finals week:

1. Keep an organized set of notes for each class

If you’re thinking “it’s already too late for that,” don’t fret just yet! It is very helpful to have a separate notebook, folder or binder for each class. If you have been organizing your notes or keeping graded quizzes with the correct answers, make yourself a study guide based on the key information by writing a question or two for each important topic. Make sure to do this after each class. It should only take 10-15 minutes.

As it gets closer to exam time, begin to fill in the answers to the questions you wrote. If you have not been keeping your notes organized and holding on to graded quizzes and tests, make sure to go through all the materials you do have and collect them in a folder or binder. Then, make yourself a quick study guide with questions from each set of notes you have. You can also use any questions from the book and/or online resources for the class.

2. Briefly look over your notes after class

After class, or before leaving the classroom, make sure to take a quick look at all of the keywords and concepts discussed in lecture that day. If you haven’t been doing this all semester, it’s not too late to start now!

3. Make a list

Make a list of all the exams, projects and papers that you have due the rest of the semester or just for finals week, so that you know everything you need to get done before and during finals.

4. Stay focused!

Clear your schedule as much as possible, so you can devote your time to studying and leave your phone in your backpack or out of reach in order to limit your time on social media.

5. Time your study breaks

Make sure to limit your study breaks (one hour, 30 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.). If you are a goal-oriented person, try to have a goal to accomplish or something to do that is stress-free during this time.

6. Figure out what methods work best for you

Before you begin studying for finals, think about the ways that you study best. Do you need to be in a group or alone? Do you need quiet or a little background noise? Do you work well with calming music, upbeat music or no music? Also, find out what study tools work best for you and use them consistently.

7. Consistency is KEY!

Studies suggest that consistency is key when it comes to studying. These suggestions may differ by class and content, but just try to remain as consistent as possible. Try to study in the same place with the same small group of peers or by yourself and use the same few study tools that seem to work best for you.

8. Make connections

Use personal examples or ones used in class to connect to important concepts and key terms. Use video examples to better remember key concepts, formulas and theories; works best for psychology, science and math. Use any visuals or cues that may help you remember information.

9. Find a unique study spot

Find a spot on or off campus, at home or at the library that you work well in and try to study there for every final (i.e. quiet corner in the library, study hall in your dorm, at your desk in your room, same table in the same spot with friends, etc.). Studies show that you will do better on tests if you consistently study in the same place. As we learned before, consistency is key!

10.  Plan meals

It is very important to eat well and a good way to do that is to plan your meals for the week. Whether you live on or off campus, planning meals can be very simple and quick. Friday before finals have all your meals prepped and planned, or plan where you are eating and when, to ensure that you are getting enough food and eating well and still have time to study.

Most importantly, make sure to eat and sleep while studying for finals. Good luck to all during finals week and may the grades be ever in your favor!

Posted in State SideComments (0)