Ending the Year Early

Jun 6 by

As I’m sure most people are aware, Union is on a trimester system. This means our schedule doesn’t quite mesh with those of other academic institutions. Normally this doesn’t cause problem except for trying to meet up with friends over the breaks. However, I managed a land a REU for the summer, which is essentially a research internship. Despite special accommodations, I still have to leave Union a week early to start research elsewhere. This means taking all my finals early. To put it lightly, this wasn’t my favorite week at Union but at least the professors really made an effort to work with me. At any other institution this would be a huge issue. Here, they willingly arranged for an early exam period and just took my word that I’d not share the...

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Pros and Cons of the Trimester System...

Apr 10 by

Union College is fairly unique in that it has an academic trimester system. Instead of two long semesters, there are three, ten week, trimesters. The short term allows you to: Focus intensely on only a few subjects at a time. Quickly move on to new topics throughout the year. Experiment with short-term research and class projects. The trimesters are certainly intense: there is very little down-time and courses pick up speed quite quickly. The first day may remind you an episode of Sesame Street but by the end the week, the Cookie Monster will have long since returned to his trash can. There is also no room to fall behind. There are only a few weeks between each exam/paper, so you really have to prepare for them throughout the term. Overall, this approach is...

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Put Down that Cookie!

Jan 26 by

College is not the easiest place to monitor your diet. While the nutritional information for most foods is available, you have no control over the selection available on any given day. Also, it can be really hard to control yourself when unlimited soft-serve ice cream is available at every meal. I’ll show you what worked for me. Notice the emphasis on me. I’m not pretending to be an expert or to provide a prescription for someone else. I know that the argument that everyone is a genetically unique, little flower is very popular and I’m not going to contest it. I also know that I am pretty rigid and not everyone is willing to adhere so strictly to such a diet. First of all, the word diet does not describe something that I follow for a...

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Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Chicken Soup...

Jan 20 by

As a sophomore physics major, I am taking an overview class called Relativity, Quantum, and their Applications. It covers special relativity, optics, quantum mechanics, and how to make chicken soup. I’m opposed to the recipe on principle because it uses canned chicken stock, however the fact that it exists says a lot about the course. Our instructor, Professor Maleki is pictured on the right. To be fair, it’s a drawing on a whiteboard . . . and I drew it blindfolded. Nevertheless, it’s a remarkably accurate image. Maleki does not fit the stereotypical role of physics professor. He’s like an old copy of The American Boy’s Handy Book, pages filled with that musky warm  scent and yellowed with age, yet always filled with fun little tips and projects. He loves cooking and his cats....

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers...

Nov 4 by

Over the past weekend, I assisted my professor with a group of high school students who came to Union to visit a real research laboratory. Before we even began to explain our research on chick embryo heart development, my professor took the opportunity to clearly describe the field of engineering. He explained that engineering isn’t about building things; it is a field dedicated to design. Engineers combine knowledge of physics, stress and strain, and material properties to design a variety of systems. Once he laid the foundation, we explained our specific research which is a branch of biomedical engineering. It was inspiring to see the students get excited about our research and about the field of engineering itself. Only a few years ago, I was just like them. Now I’m answering questions as if...

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Join Union Rugby

Oct 3 by

Rugby is a great sport to join at Union as a freshman. You have all the benefits of a proficient and competitive team without the pressure of an official varsity team. We have coaches, jerseys, equipment, events, and daily practices. Rugby has grown in popularity since I arrived last year and the team has already grown to around 30-40 players. Unlike other sports like football, there is a position for every body-type. Check out the list of positions below to see where you might fall: Forwards: Bigger players who can safely tackle and take a lot of hits. Prop Big Powerful Legs Strong Back and Shoulders Hooker Short Torso and Long Arms Strong Back and Shoulders Flexible Second Row/Locks Tall Good at Jumping Powerful Legs Flanker Smaller and faster Fast burst speed Powerful tackler...

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Summer Eating at the U

Jun 24 by

It is a big transition from the school year to the summer at Union. The greatest difference is the need to provide your own food. No more dining hall food or declining balance (Declining balance is the virtual currency that is stored on your Union ID to purchase food at the Union food outlets). To be honest, cooking at Union is not the easiest task: You only have a small dorm-room fridge to store your food. The Minerva kitchens lack utensils or cooking implements. It is expensive to purchase all the staples you might take for granted in your own home (like milk, potatoes, or salt). Of course the answer isn’t to rely on Chinese takeout and frozen pizza, although I know a few people who are doing just that. My roommate and I...

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Charizard in the Library

May 14 by

Sometimes you go to read in the library find the results of someone’s hardcore procrastination sketched into your desk. Since most people just finished their first exams, this doesn’t come as much of a suprise. As we approach finals, I expect the whole panoply of Pokemon scribbled across...

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Advice after four years

Apr 24 by

Nicole is a senior majoring in biology and minoring in studio fine arts.  She is the head Resident Advisor of College Park Hall, an old hotel repurposed as an upperclass dorm. In addition she works in the Office of Residential Life. After Union she plans to attend the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco for a master’s degree. Nicole is also an avid artist, with several of her own paintings hanging in her dorm room. Here is her advice for the incoming freshman class: Read the books assigned in class – they are actually interesting and informative. Despite everyone’s concern with living in College Park Hall, it only takes seven minutes to get all the way up to Bailey Hall on the other side of campus. Remember that college isn’t all...

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