How to Close Read a Literary Passage

close read

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “close read.” I was a sophomore in high school, and the extent of my English class experience had been memorizing plot facts, characters, and setting. I could identify the “setting,” the “climax,” and, if I was feeling fancy, the denouement of the story, but that was it. As I found out soon enough, however, memorizing the basic facts is not enough. What’s really exciting is the presentation of those facts, and that is where close reading (i.e. analysis) comes in.

Here, in the first installment of my writing series, I’ll share how I approach analyzing a shorter passage. I’ve seen pages upon pages of analysis written on a few paragraphs of text. There is always something to write about, and chances are, if your teacher has assigned this particular piece, there is sufficient material to work with.

Continue Reading

Staying Motivated

Whether it’s school, work, or your personal life, there will inevitably be obstacles and difficulties that test your motivation. To succeed, we must move past them, but that’s much easier said than done. We have all come to the point of almost giving up but then found that last bit of motivation to persevere and continue. Staying motivated can be difficult and requires some self reflection, there are definitely ways to find it.

Continue Reading

Cracking the Common App: 8 Strategies

midterm

Hello, all! This is a post for all you high school seniors/college applicants writing your common app essays. We went through the college application process only a few years ago, and we’re here to provide some tips for writing your personal statement. While the essay prompts may vary, the strategies for tackling them are similar.

Continue Reading

How to Rebound from Bad Grades

study

Hi, all. Today, we’ll be discussing the dreaded bad grades and, more importantly, strategies for moving on.

So, you either have or have not put in the hours of studying, taken the test, and…you’ve gotten a “bad grade.” Your definition of a bad grade might not match someone else’s definition of poor performance, but, at the moment, that doesn’t matter. You have the grade now, and you’re dissatisfied —  maybe even disheartened.

Maybe you put in hours of studying or chose to stay in the library rather than go to that fun event last weekend. Maybe you pulled a frantic all nighter the day before the exam. Either way, the reality is: you have this less-than-satisfactory grade, and what matters is what you do next.

Continue Reading

5 Tips for Choosing a College Major

college

Choosing a college major can be a stressful process. Here on our campus, students are getting ready to finalize their major decisions, and there is definitely a general air of concern surrounding the process. While many colleges and universities require different declaration timelines — some strongly recommend declaring before entering while others like University of California Santa Cruz allow you to wait until your third year before formally declaring — the process can be stressful regardless of timing.

Whether you are still in high school or currently in college, I hope the following tips help you!

Continue Reading