The William Woods Equestrian Department attracts a lot of people from all over. There are so many opportunities that come from being a part of this program like showing at A-level shows, clinics with well-known equestrian people, and soaking up all the knowledge you can from our very well qualified instructors. But what is it like on a day to day basis?
Even though I am not an equestrian major, I spend a lot of time at the barn. With my riding class, equine anatomy class, stable management class, and Mentor-Mentee project I've had a lot of great experiences with the faculty and students in the program.
This semester I am riding in an intermediate Dressage class with Karen Pautz. It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4PM. Regardless of your seat, riding classes meet twice a week. Then Friday-Sunday there are opportunities to free ride horses that you have successfully ridden in class. Each riding class also has a few teaching techs (usually 2) who are learning how to teach people to ride. I enjoy taking tech lessons on the weekends and free riding.
Because this program is geared toward preparing students for all aspects of the equine industry, riders are responsible for making sure their horse is comfortable and cared for on the days they ride. On a typical class day, I get to the barn around 2:45. Since my class is later in the day, I like to get there early to clean out my horses's stall and give him some love. It is also nice to have some extra time to chat with the other people in my riding class. We always like to guess what we will be working on in class that day.
After the stall is done, I spend extra time grooming. It is one of my favorite things to do! I get to know the personality of the horse and the repetitive brush strokes is calming. I also use the time to go over some anatomical structures I've learned about in my anatomy class (what can I say, I'm a little nerdy!). Once the class is all tacked up and ready to go, we head over to the arena together.
We ride for an hour, and there are six of us in the class. The number of people does depend on your instructor, but it is never more than eight and there is always plenty of room! The way our class is structured there is usually a topic or a skill for the day. Karen tells us about it after we've warmed up and then she either explains an exercise for us or gives us the opportunity to master the skill on our own.
After we get off, we head back to the barn. Then it is time to un-tack and do a little more grooming. I usually spend about twenty to thirty minutes (depending on how sweaty the horse gets!) putting my stuff away and getting my horse settled in for the evening. Then it is off to Tucker Dining Hall for some dinner!
Next week marks midterms for this semester. It is crazy how quickly time flies at The Woods! Coming to college I was very concerned about how I would keep up and handle the course loads, but I've found with a little planning ahead and good study habits I can get what I want out of my classes.
My Best 10 Study Habits:
#10: Try New Things!- Do you ever get into a pattern of studying exactly the same way every time? When I came to college the only way I knew how to study was to re-write my notes and go over them again and again. Now I've used several different strategies like flash cards, creating a study guide, and watching YouTube videos (Be cautious! Make sure they are accurate!). Using different strategies helps me focus, and it makes studying a little less boring.
#9: Get a Buddy- Study buddies are great! I have a friend or sorority sister in every class here at William Woods. Whenever a test is coming up, we study together. That way we have each other to use if we missed a comment that a professor made in class, or if one of us understands a certain concept a little better. It's important to be careful when choosing your buddy. You want someone who has the same motivations that you have and will help you while you help them!
#8: Switch it Up- Sitting down and looking at one subject for hours is not very effective. Give your brain a break and switch topics every so often. That way you stay more interested and focused on what you are reviewing.
#7: Find a Comfortable Space- If you aren't comfortable, you'll spend more time thinking about changing your position or moving around than studying! Pick a quiet spot with a nice place to sit and a surface to write on. That way you will be able to focus on what you're doing, not where you are.
#6: Test Yourself- I do this before all big tests. I write questions out that I think might be on the test and I make sure I can answer them. Be sure that you include the topics you aren't as sure about, that way you can see what you know and identify your confusion.
#5: Teach Someone Else- If you can teach it, you probably know it! Find a friend or a sibling who wouldn't mind listening to you teach them something so you can check your own understanding.
#4: Don't Get Highlighter Happy- Colors are great, especially to point out key ideas and topics. If you use too much, however, it will lose its significance. Only highlighting key points/words/ideas especially the ones you struggle with will train your brain to pay attention to those specific points.
#3: Minimize Distraction- Turn off the TV, put your phone down, and get off the Internet! These little things can become huge distractions and take a way a lot of valuable study time!
#2: Give Yourself a Reward- Rewards are great, especially if you are working on a subject or assignment that you aren't excited about. Give your self a break after you master that one challenging topic. Eat a snack or a little piece of candy (I use Starbursts) after reading five pages of that dense textbook. This way you have incentive to keep going forward!
#1: Plan Ahead!- Studying the night before and only the night before is a bad habit. It is better to review a little at a time a few days before hand, and then do a final review when the test gets closer. If you leave all your studying to the night before odds are you will stay up to late and not get enough sleep before your test! Use a calendar or planner to write down those pesky test dates, and pay attention so they don't sneak up on you!
One really awesome thing about Greek Life at The Woods is the opportunity to network and take on leadership roles. Last year I served as Director of Administration on the Executive Council for our chapter. I was in charge of keeping track of dates, roster management, and other forms. This past November I was elected Chapter President, as a sophomore! It has been a crazy ride so far and I am loving every second of it!
This past weekend I traveled with a group of my sorority sisters to Atlanta Georgia for Alpha Phi's Southern Leadership Conference. The weather tried really hard to keep us here in St. Louis, so for a few days we thought we might not make it. Atlanta experienced ice and snow storms in the middle of last week, and phenomenon they aren't all that familiar with. We checked our airline religiously to make sure our flight was still on!
Conference started Friday afternoon, and we got a chance to meet with Alpha Phi International Fraternity Staff (we're actually called a fraternity because we were founded before the sorority existed!). We met some amazing women and learned a lot about our history.
Saturday was when I really started learning about the importance of effective leadership. Each officer had break out sessions with other women from chapters across our quadrant who hold the same position. I had a lot of conversations with other Chapter Presidents about what it takes to lead not only the executive council, but the entire chapter. It was very neat to hear the different perspectives from the presidents at larger campuses and those with smaller chapter size than ours. We all helped each other by giving things our chapter had done successfully so everyone left with new ideas.
One highlight of the trip was a session that the Chapter Presidents had with Linda Boland, the current International President of Alpha Phi. She really helped us think about life beyond college and how being a sorority woman can bring all kinds of opportunity and support well beyond our four years in the chapter.
Sunday focused on a key note speaker, Dr. Lois Frankel. Dr. Frankel is a leadership consultant with an emphasis on women as leaders. One of the things she talked about that really struck me was to treat each person as if they are going to die tomorrow. I've grown up hearing the golden rule and the importance of treating people with respect, but this new spin on it really stayed with me. I'm hoping to live my life with that motto, and help others do the same.
We made the trip back to St. Louis Sunday afternoon, and we were a strange mix of excited and exhausted! We were able to learn a lot in the short time we spend in Atlanta, but I glad to get back to The Woods.
Being Greek here at William Woods has not only given me life long friends and a lot of fun activities, it has helped me realize the importance of leadership. I know that what I have learned so far will stay with me and apply to my career and other aspects of my life. Being Greek is not the only way to gain these perspectives. We have plenty of other clubs and leadership societies on campus that will teach the same types of skills. I'm thankful for the opportunities I have been presented here at The Woods.
Last week was a fun-filled week here at The Woods! The Court Warming events were great, and we also had a President's Concert and Lecture Series event and a live artist performance. It is always nice to have breaks from homework and classes. That is one of the great things about our LEAD scholarship program! It is a great way to take a break from studying and see some amazing events.
The President's Concert and Lecture Series is put on by President's Twenty, a group of students who work closely with our University President, Dr. Barnett, to bring new and exciting things to the student body. This series goes all year and consists of several main events. Last fall I briefly mentioned seeing the event by Dr. Shostack about extraterrestrial life. This time the event was a performance called Back to the Future.
Bach to the Future was a group of musicians who arrange traditional pieces, mostly by Bach, into fun and modern songs. They use modern instruments and eclectic tempos to spice up these classic masterpieces. The coolest part about it was the drummer. He not only played regular drums, but he also had a Zendrum Drumitar! It is a handheld instrument with multiple buttons that you play with your hands, but it sounds like a drum! It has all the elements of a regular drum set, including the cymbals. I have a musical background, growing up playing the piano and singing in choirs so it was really cool to listen to the new arrangements but still recognize the melodies of the original piece!
Another great LEAD event from last week was a live painting. Vensa Delevska came and did a large piece in our Cox Art Gallery with a mandolin playing in the background. It was really neat to see her creative process in action! She started with a blank canvas, and finished with a phenomenal painting. I was impressed at how she was able to focus with people coming in and out to watch!
Court Warming was really exciting because there were so many people participating and supporting our Owls! My favorite event was the pep rally leading up to the game. There were lots of great prizes raffled off, and fun silly games for people to participate in. The students who were part of the Court Warming court participated in a few goofy games and everyone had a great time!
I can't believe we've already made it to the second week of February! With so many exciting things happening on campus, time has been flying by. All of my classes are in full swing and the clubs and organizations on campus are having fun meetings and events.
This weekend I am heading to a leadership conference in Atlanta for my sorority Alpha Phi. The weather is looking like it may be a problem, however! While it is in the 40's and 50's here this weekend, Atlanta is having ice storms! I'm hoping we still get to go because I want to take advantage of the opportunity and learn a lot. William Woods encourages students to become leaders on campus and develop skills that will apply well after college. I am so grateful to have such a supportive community to help me learn everything I can in my college years!