17 April 2008

Comps, aka AHHHHHH!!!!

Here at Occidental, every graduating senior must complete a comprehensive project in his or her chosen major field. In Economics, it's a test. In Film, it's a short film or a critical studies paper, depending on the emphasis. For my major, history, it's a long paper and a presentation. The paper is something like 20-30 pages and a 15-minute presentation. Yesterday I attended the first round of history presentations. They were interesting, I guess, but mostly I just freaked out the whole time because I don't have a topic.

I know, I know, these seniors probably didn't have topics at this time last year, right?? WRONG!!! Many of them have been researching since they were sophomores. Many of them have traveled to their areas of interest and dug around in archives and discovered some crazy stuff. Well, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I am very glad Occidental has comps. Other schools, especially public and/or larger schools, don't have anything resembling Occidental's comps project. Take some classes for four years and here ya go, here's your degree! Comps is a way to showcase what you've learned and done in your four years (or, in my case, three years) at Oxy. Comps also prepares you for grad school, if that's your thing...(???)

I want my comps to be AWESOME. I might even do honors (I should decide that...), but I don't have a topic!!!! Here's some of my ideas, most of which I hate:

1. The JFK Assassination: Did Oswald act alone? This would be especially interesting from a historiographical point-of-view.

2. Local resistance movements in Africa and/or Asia during the Decolonization Period.

3. Medicine and Ethics in concentration camps during WWII and modern implications (I'm writing a 12-pager on that right now actually.)

4. My most recent idea: Terrorist groups in Post-War Europe...did they accomplish anything? What made them "terrorists"? How has the meaning of "terrorist" changed since the '60s and '70s? etc etc...

Any other brilliant ideas...? Let me know because I'm about to have a nervous breakdown....

13 April 2008

Get People to Like You!

Friends, I have spent pretty much my entire life trying to get people to like me on some level or another. That's what we're all trying to do! Here are some things I've found especially helpful when trying to get people to like you.

1. Bake. You cannot go wrong with baking. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies (from scratch), or homemade honey whole-wheat bread, or homemade brownies (yum) or a grapefruit meringue pie. Whether for a stranger, a classmate, a friend, or a roommate, baking will always make people like you, at least until their cookie is gone.

2. Leave little notes for people. When they go to the bathroom write in their planner "Hey, buddy, hope you have a fab-u-lous day!" It will make them smile. Hopefully.

3. Remember their birthday. Less difficult in the days of Facebook now, but they will appreciate it nonetheless. Send an e-card!! People really like that.

4. Speaking of e-cards, e-cards are wonderful. To congratulate on a promotion, to send get-well wishes, to say happy birthday, or just to say Hello! e-cards are great. Even better when they are unexpected!

5. GUM. Gum is a GUARANTEED people pleaser. Carry gum with you everywhere. When you go for a piece, offer one to everyone around you! Casually, of course. People love gum!! Plus, you will be minty fresh, and no one likes someone with bad breath.

Follow these tips, and you'll be the most popular kid in school!!!

This could be you!!!!