ARC Tips

This semester has asked a lot of us already and it’s hard to know these days when it’s better to take a break from our challenges or when it’s better to act.  In truth, each of those things, action and rest, are self-reinforcing.  While rest can come in many forms, the decision to act can be a challenge in and of itself because the path forward may be unclear.  You want to do something, but you don’t know where to begin.  This is where the ARCs come in!

We aren’t going to list here all the reasons each of us has to be stressed and anxious right now. But we are going to acknowledge that there are a lot. Amidst everything though, we are also all students, meaning we have classes, and homework, and projects to think about — and that is exactly what we write to talk to you about today.

Now that we are in the 2nd half of the semester, it is a good time to evaluate how virtual learning is going for you and if there is anything you want to change.  To help with that, the ARCs have collected the following tips and tricks!   The following recommendations are from others Oliners for what is helping them navigate learning during this period of virtual school.  

Task Management / Calendar

  • Post-it notes 📝: A simple physical post-it note on your laptop or near your desk is an easy access way to track tasks and it is super satisfying to cross things out. 
  • Todo list examples ☑️: If you are looking for a Todo list that is electronic and simple to set up, consider a custom google sheets template!
    • Option 1: This option features a column for each class and a column for the random tasks like email with a due date and a checkbox to tick off tasks as you complete them
    • Option 2: This option is set up for a planning out your work week and assigning different academic/personal tasks to each day of week 
  • Schedule it! 🗓️: In addition to adding classes and meeting to your personal calendar, try scheduling “do not disturb time” to get focused work done. 
  • Track Canvas assignments: Try adding canvas deadlines to your email!  Here are tutorials for adding your canvas calendar feed to outlook and gmail

Getting into a Workflow

  • Create a Commute – Before you hop on the computer for class or team meetings take a walk around the block 🌳, go for a run, or an activity that helps you to create space between school life and personal life.  
  • Bookmarks 💻 – When you sit down to get working, try bookmarking things like calendar, class websites, and other commonly visited websites.  Having these links on hand means you can get to work quickly and not get distracted while trying to find the link to the zoom room!
  • Find where work is happening – If you are living with other students, doing work together is a great way to build momentum towards getting things done while adding a little friendly accountability.  
  • Focused Work? This time technique comes highly recommended by a number of Oliners! The Pomodoro method involves 25 minutes of focused work with 5 minute breaks.  This is a great way to build-in breaks while still being able to focus.
  • Hide your Phone ☎️ – Notifications on phones were designed to distract so moving your phone away from your work area or even out of the room helps to limit distractions.  This tip can also be great when trying to get to bed on time! **Also try flora for a little extra motivation to stay off your phone!

If you find yourself wanting help implementing any of these strategies, or needing more options, feel free to reach out to Adva (adva.waranyuwat@olin.edu) to get connected with an ARC. For various reasons, getting work done right now can be challenging, but the ARCs are here to help you figure out how to get through these barriers as much as possible! 

We hope the second half of the semester is as engaging, well-focused, organized, and restful as possible!  You are not alone! 

Love,

The ARCs 

Abby Fry, Grace Montagnino, Jocelyn Jimenez, Mark Goldwater, Reid Bowen, Riya Aggarwal, Sabrina Pereira, Colin Takeda

Vote Early, Vote Once

Tl;dr: Deadlines for voter registration and absentee ballot requests are fast approaching. If you are not registered to vote by October 4th or if you do not request a ballot by October 13th, it may be too late.  

Excited to participate in the upcoming election cycle, but not sure how to start? Confused about if you are currently registered to vote, or how you can vote without having to travel back to your polling place? We can help you, but the deadlines are sooner than you think. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Register to Vote

The easiest way to register to vote or check if you are registered to vote is by using vote.org. If you are not registered to vote, this website can help you register online (if your state supports that) or by mail. Depending on your state, you will need either a driver’s license or a social security number to register.

While it’s up to you to determine whether it makes the most sense to register to vote in your home state rather than using your Olin address, consider the impact that your vote would have in your home community (school board, state senate, etc.). Policy in your hometown will likely have a more direct impact on you and your family than legislation in Needham will. 

  1. Get Access to a Ballot

If you are currently located in the town or city in which you are registered to vote, you may have the opportunity to vote in person. Many states allow for in-person early voting and are implementing COVID specific procedures to make day-of voting safe. 

If you are voting by mail, you will need to request a ballot from your local election office. If you are currently residing anywhere that is not your home address, you will need to send in an absentee ballot request form. You can use the absentee ballot request form on vote.org: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/. It will provide state-specific instructions, and in many cases you will need to mail the absentee ballot to your home city or town. You can then follow up with your town or city clerk to ensure that they are sending you an official ballot.

  1. Return that Absentee Ballot

This step only applies to you if you are voting by mail.  

Once you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, fill it out according to the instructions provided. Pay special attention to where to sign your ballot and sign as closely to the signature on your ID as possible. Also double-check what postage you need and be sure to mail it in on time. Note some states (such as Arkansas) require you to send in a copy of your ID alongside your ballot, so check to see if you need to take any extra steps.

We’ll be holding office hours over the next few weeks and are also available by email. We would love to help you with any of these steps and/or help answer any general voting-related questions. 

Thank You, Callan

At Olin, we expect the library to be almost everything: a social gathering space, a repository for traditional knowledge, a universal directory for non-traditional knowledge, a collection of institutional memory and history, a co-working space for all, a classroom, a collection of tools, an audio/video production studio, offices for a few faculty members, a configurable event space, a host for SLAC, an open provider of all these services to the public, and more. Over the past few months, we’re struck by the fact that the library has handled all those tasks and more.

In her time in the library, Callan has reorganized and improved the layout. The structure and navigation of the library is now clear, thanks to the map at the front and consistent signage. The camera/audio equipment upstairs has been completely rearranged to somehow fit more digital tools in a smaller space—and now, the labels are clear. The checkout booth has gained a collection of clearly labeled cables for open use. The library now includes a range of book displays from diverse viewpoints and backgrounds.

The workspace downstairs is more open and accessible and has a functional checkout booth. The tools have been reorganized with a new, clearer arrangement and a system for keeping track of them. Tools that have been broken for the past year have now been replaced or repaired. The workroom has a clear sticky-note system for designating how long objects can remain there. And now, there’s actually room to store projects and supplies, because the space has been thoroughly cleaned and organized! Each closet and box has clear labels, and supplies that never got used have been migrated out.

Over the next 20 years, we’re excited to see how the library continues to develop. There’s always room to improve, and we look forward to seeing how the space evolves. For many of us, the library is the place we spend the most time in outside of our rooms, and it deserves the level of care and value that Callan has brought to it. We’re excited to see what future refinements, redesigns and renovations bring to Olin.

The Olin community owes Callan a great debt for taking on our already-beloved library, reaching out to understand how the community uses it, and improving it in the ways we needed. It would be easy for a new Director of the Library, an entire department at Olin, to sit still and allow the library to exist as-is. Instead, Callan has acted as caretaker and innovator at once, and has brought the Olin community into that process. More than simply “handling tasks,” the library has been cared for with tangible love, enthusiasm, and informed insight in a way that makes it a joy to work in. Her work as Director of the Library is an example for the path we hope Olin will take as we all consider the future of our college.

We thank you, Callan.

We also thank the librarians and student workers who support the library and workroom, including Maggie Anderson, Mckenzie Mullen, Reid Bowen, Vienna Scheyer, and Naomi Chiu.

Signed,

Sam Daitzman, Gail Romer, Luke Milroy, Diego Alvarez, Nabih Estefan, Olivia Jo Bradley, Caitlin Coffey, Nolan Flynn, Abby Fry, Riya Aggarwal, Reid Bowen, Marion Madanguit, Maggie Rosner, Corey Cochran-Lepiz, Jack Greenberg, Karen Hinh, Katie Thai-Tang, Eric Jacobsen, Tommy Weir, Brandon Zhang, Jules Brettle, Annie Tor, Sander Miller, Riley Zito, Dieter Brehm, Maalvika Bhat, Dylan Merzenich