LibraryArticles of Interest

Conquering the Freshman Fear of Failure

Monica Ramos

By David L. Kirp, for the New York Times

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Although it’s been a long time, I vividly recall my reaction when I learned that I had been admitted to Amherst College: The admissions office must have made a terrible mistake.

I had graduated from a Long Island high school where most students didn’t go to college, so I was convinced that at Amherst I would be overmatched by my better-educated, more sophisticated classmates and sliced to ribbons by my brilliant professors. To my surprise, I fared well academically, but I never entirely got over the feeling of being an impostor. Only decades later, at a class reunion, did I discover that many of my peers had felt exactly the same way.

Regardless of their credentials, many freshmen doubt that they have the necessary brainpower or social adeptness to succeed in college. This fear of failing hits poor, minority and first-generation college students especially hard. If they flunk an exam, or a professor doesn’t call on them, their fears about whether they belong may well be confirmed. The cycle of doubt becomes self-reinforcing, and students are more likely to drop out.

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How Much Does Living Off-Campus Cost? Who Knows?

James Yang

By Rochelle Sharpe, for the New York Times

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Location. Location. Location. That adage about real estate pricing takes on new meaning — and some bewildering logic — in the hands of college administrators.

In setting allowances for off-campus living, the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn decided that about $18,500 should cover it. Two blocks away, St. Joseph’s College determined that $10,000 would suffice.

SUNY College at Old Westbury and Long Island University’s Post campus in Brookville, N.Y., may be in similarly affluent locales just five miles apart, but look at the chasm between their budgets for students living off-campus: The State University of New York computed that its students needed $11,300 last year, while L.I.U.’s needed $27,500.

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Leftover Meal Plan Swipes: No Waste Here

N.Y.U. students can donate their unused swipes to hungry classmates via Share Meals. Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times

By Laura Pappano, for the New York Times

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To Asia Suarez, a computer science major, the math hit like an error message: With less than three weeks left in the spring term, she would need to eat seven meals a day to use up the remaining 131 swipes on her food plan at New York University. A soccer player who works out furiously and eats “a lot,” Ms. Suarez still found that 300 meals a semester (for $2,541) were too many.

So she shared. One evening, Ms. Suarez swiped in four guests at Hayden, a dining hall famous for its homemade cookies. The hungry guests came via Share Meals, a campus website matching students needing food with those who have food. The 80-meal plan in Adam El-Sayigh’s financial aid package had run out weeks before. He didn’t have money for more. Happily, he hit the hot food stations first, filling a to-go container with two cheese sandwiches on toasted wheat and a tray with roast beef, chicken cacciatore and bow-tie pasta with vodka sauce. He then ordered a burger.

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How to Give a Better Speech: Talk to a Dog

At American University’s Kogod School of Business, students can hone their public speaking skills in front of nonjudgmental “audience dogs.” By A.J. CHAVAR and SHANE O’NEILL on Publish Date August 7, 2016. Photo by Jason Brandon.

By Nicholas Fandos, for the New York Times

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The two undergraduates were acing their presentation. Good cadence. Sharp slides. Sunny dispositions. But it was a tough crowd.

As the first slides flashed by, one audience member got up and paced the room. The other, breathing with conspicuous heaviness, rested her head sleepily on the ground. The students inflected their voices and gestured with gusto to regain their attention.

So it goes when your audience is canine — specifically Teddy, a Jack Russell terrier, and Ellie, a Bernese mountain dog. The session was part of a pilot program pairing anxiety-prone business school students at American University with amiable, if unpredictable, dogs.

According to promotional material for the program: “Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood — perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation.”

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