smith college

Top Five Reasons Why History Is The Best Major

1. Class is basically story time. Do you want to hear riveting tales of cross-dressing slaves that escaped in a daring journey across the U.S. or how about an apocalyptic bad Byzantine battle where half the army switch sides and the other half ran away?  or what about that time a women became king of Nigeria? Yeah I get to go to class everyday and be endless entertained by these awesome stories and even better? Its all true. 

2. It makes you a more empathetic person. Its really easy to look at people in the past and make a snap judgement about them, that they are so stupid, bad, sexist, uncultured. ect ect… But as historians we have to walk a mile in their shoes and not judge them by the standards we have today. For instance important idea that we take today like umm. universal individual rights  or personally property or not having to work everyday for our physical survival hadn’t even been invented till pretty recently. History forces you to understand why people make certain decision and why they held certain views without judging them, a skill I am happy to carry into my day to day life. 

3. It is the best study of people. There are a lot of majors that study people: physiology, sociology, gender studies but those all focus on theory. History studies what real people do when faced with real situations. And it is indeed history that sparks social scientist to do their work. The reason behind the famous Milgram Experiment was trying to figure out why good people followed Hitler during WW2. History is the ultimate social experiment and gives us the best data on why people are the way they are and do what they do 

4. You get to touch the old things. You stand around in museum. See some boring rocks and some ugly paintings but when you are a history major, all the sudden its “HOLY S#&%* THESE WEIRD LITTLE BONES CHUNKS WAS TOUCHED MOTHERF@#$*$@# SHANG DYNASTY EMPEROR!!!” All the sudden the world is a magically place where everything even mundane, ugly, old things become special and amazing because there is history there! 

5. You become very ok with change. History is the study of change over time and over all history has made me a much more chill person. Its like you see that bad stuff happens and life moves on and its ok. Empires fall, major world views shift, rulers come and go but everything turns out ok in the end and life goes on. Nothing is the end of the world. 

10 Ways to Make Your Dorm Room (almost) Instantly Homier

Whether you’re heading back to college for the fourth or very first time, try these tips to feel at home on campus:

  1. Lamps! Even in the nicest accommodations (like Smith!) the overhead lighting isn’t all that pleasant. A lamp or two (maybe one floor lamp and one bedside) softens the light in the room, and undeniably makes it homier. Pick up some thrift store lamps once you get there, especially if you’re coming from far away, that way you can ditch them at the end of the semester if you can’t store or move them easily (plus thrifted lamps are pretty cheap — I found one of my three lamps on the side of the road, the other two were willed to me).
  2. A rug can make a room feel much warmer, and I much prefer stepping onto a rug when I get out of bed over the cold floor. I’ve also had friends use a rug as a seating area on the floor, lined with throw pillows against the wall (especially good if you’re not a fan of folks sitting on your bed).
  3. Cool it on the high school friends photos. You might see photo collages that take up entire walls on Pinterest and in friends’ rooms, but a few nice photos in frames of family and friends from home can aesthetically and mentally prepare you for new friends and adventures in college.
  4. You can never have too many mugs. The bigger the better — tea, coffee, water, extracurricular beverages (you know, like milk for your cookies), cereal, fruit, yogurt, the mug is one of the most universal dishes.
  5. Extra blankets of different weights will up your cozy factor, and will come in handy when it’s fort building time. You can also fold these up to use as extra pillows for leaning against the wall/on your bed. Especially as you’re adjusting to a new house’s thermostat, a variety of blankets is nice to have as you figure out what makes you comfy.
  6. Fake flowers or plants, or real ones if you’re ambitious, add sweet bursts of color to your very neutral room. I like to keep mine in wine bottles, as it really classes up the place, and is perfect for making a get together with friends or a wine date with a friend/gal pal/boy toy more festive.
  7. Keep the blinds open during the day! If you can, arrange a mirror to reflect the light from the window (my first year my closet door, which had a mirror on the outside, was luckily directly across from a window, and it actually made a substantial difference to the feel of the room).
  8. Have some conversation starters — a favorite album artwork, a poster from a favorite trip/museum visit/concert/movie, a small statue you found in your first year room’s light box (now there’s a story), a map with markers on it (Places you’ve been? Places you want to go? Places people you love are?), a flag from your state/country/political party (I proudly fly the NWP flag and it has made me several friends), something you made or someone made for you (maybe a blanket your grandma crocheted you). Anything that a new friend can ask about and you’ll have more to say than just, “oh I thought it looked nice.” Something with a story is always great, and it’s a great way to find things in common right away. On that note, if you bring books from home, people are going to check them out when they come by your room, so make them count!
  9. A tapestry or something cloth on the wall will really warm up your white-walled room!
  10. Seasonal decor you make yourself, like paper snowflakes with your roommates when you’re ready for snow, or paper flowers for when you desperately want it to be spring — festive and a nice study break!
What they don’t tell you you’ll need in college (but you totally do)
  1. Tupperware
  2. A good laptop case
  3. Materials for whatever craft/hobby you enjoy
  4. A mattress heater
  5. A backpack for school AND a cute purse for going out
  6. Office supplies (like scissors, glue, tape, post it notes)
  7. Quaters
  8. A mug (or a few)
  9. Paper towels for your room
  10. A really good pair of headphones (I promise its worth the money)
  11. Copies (or originals) of all of your important documents… birth certificate, passport, social security card, bank account info
  12. Gym shoes
  13. Skype and a good webcam
  14. Extra chargers for everything
  15. A keychain/lanyard/things to carry your key and OneCard in
  16. Closet and drawer organizer
  17. A big wall calendar
  18. Device to play video games
  19. At least one fancy(ish) outfit
  20. Your favorite candy/food/thing you can only get in your home town