Tag Archives: JMU

TAD: Thankful for All the Days

Thanksgiving does bring that idea of thankfulness, as everyone probably has guessed from the name. Yet, no year has ever made me feel quite as thankful as my senior year here at JMU and at Technology & Design. At this point I’ve been at TAD for about three years, but when I first started, I was an awkward second semester sophomore who didn’t know anyone in the office except for the team lead at the time, Elaina. I would spend my office hours quietly behind a desktop computer, channeling Harry Potter and “making no noise and pretending that I don’t exist.” As junior year began with the craziness of training week and a whirlwind of laughing taddies who were quickly becoming some of my closest friends, I settled into my place on the Writing Team.

The Writing Team my junior year, was composed of mostly seniors who would be leaving TAD when they graduated, and I was given the opportunity to be the Writing Team lead for my senior year after the current team lead left. In addition to this amazing offer, I was also given the chance to stay in Harrisonburg and work at TAD throughout the summer. Full of hot days, and possibly reaching the limit of tea a human can drink, this past summer was full of amazing experiences; I was able to help Lindsey (the current Assistant Director of TAD) plan training week, write team handbooks, and even design a new webpage for TAD and our clients.

Even though this fantastic quilted collection of times makes me thankful for TAD and all the wonderful people it contains, nothing hit me harder than when all of my crazy Trello board organizing, calendar planning, and handbook obsessing came to head in my wonderful, productive, amazingly talented Writing Team. They inspire me every time I scroll through the list of things that they’ve accomplished just this semester on our editorial calendar. I have to confess, I obsessed over every single list, every card, and every comment on every board for the entire week before training to ensure that everything was ready for them at training week.

Right before Thanksgiving Break my senior year, I convinced a few taddies to put up the TAD Christmas tree, listen to a few carols, and spend a couple minutes decorating as a group. When I left for class in-between decorating, a few people created a tree topper star and an ornament for the tree with my face on them.

TAD's 2017 Christmas Tree
TAD’s 2017 Christmas Tree

Coming back into TAD and seeing my face splashed all over the tree, listening to my friends laughing and Christmas music playing, and sorting through past taddie ornaments to arrange carefully on the tree brought little pinpricks of tears to my eyes. I’ve had Christmases, birthdays, a summer, Valentines days, and everything in-between at TAD, and each one is full of happy memories and special topic monthly blogs.

TAD has become my home here at JMU. Each and every taddie has pushed, helped, and inspired me to become the best version of myself I can be at this point in my life, and I could not be more grateful for this crazy, quirky place. More than that, each person in this second-floor office has been my friend, and I don’t know if I’ll ever find a place quite like TAD ever again. So, thank you, TAD. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know I joke a lot about living at TAD, but I hope the spirit of hard-work, team collaboration, and friendship lives in me (as cliché as it is) for the rest of my existence in this wild life and I couldn’t be more thankful for anything as I am for that. So, I know the rest of the seniors (new and old) and I will be cherishing every meeting, late night Slack, and missed Trello update until graduation.


Thanks for everything, TAD <3.

Fall Feelings

This school year was the first year I felt unprepared to go back to school. I was enjoying the sun beating down on me every day, and the lack of papers I needed to write. I’ve always been someone who was ready to get back into the swing of the semester, but this year, I was dragging my feet to restart. I spent my summer abroad in Ireland, and visiting family and friends. Going back to school seemed like my fun was ending. That being said, being back on campus, and feeling the air around me grow cooler, I await the change of the season excitedly. I can’t wait for the trees to burst with color and for the endless events that seem to emerge during this time, like football games, bonfires, and Halloween.

Some love the blistering heat, and others enjoy watching the snow fall, but my happy medium comes from the beautiful balance between the two extremes. Beginning a new season means the start of a new wardrobe. A wardrobe with layers. The endless options of scarves and boots and long-sleeved shirts are among us. It also means legging-season for many JMU girls, myself included. Comfort is the best way to enjoy this season. Having the temperature drop also means a substantially decreased amount of back sweat after all of the walking students do on campus.

Although the three beautiful months of summer included no homework and a lack of responsibilities, fall is the time to get back together with good friends and enjoy another wonderful year at school. I have so many great times to think back on because of hanging with friends on the JMU campus. There are so many events that take place when school is back in session and it’s a fun way to meet new people and make new friends. The nostalgia wrapped in the season of fall brings back fond memories and makes room for new ones to prosper.

Snowfall will be coming soon on the heels of autumn—white, and beautiful over campus.  As the nights begin to darken quickly, I will snuggle into my bed as the air outside grows crisp; happy with the wonderful medium between too hot and too cold. To watch the incoming freshmen take in what has become my home, and to enjoy this campus alongside them is something I look forward to. This is my last year at this school, and I want to enjoy every changing minute of it.

Technology and Design, Tommy Koehler

I Loved Being a FROG, But…

By Taylor Hudson

Photo Credit: James Madison University

Being a FROG is seen as a quintessential experience for a JMU student, and I am not going to disagree. For those of you who want to be a FROG, I say do it. This past summer, I was one and dove headfirst into the sea of camaraderie and friendships that come with it.

But fair warning: there are some “buts” about the entire experience that they don’t tell you about. Or at least some things you don’t expect, though, that are bound to happen.

1. I loved being “mama-hen” to over 20 freshman guys, but… you will forever be that “mama-hen.” It’s time to accept the fact that those parental-like feelings will probably not disappear. Every time I see a status update about how one of my first years received a bid to a fraternity, my first thought is, “I’m so proud!” When anxiety-ridden tweets drowned my newsfeed during their first finals week, my first inclination was to shower them with food and energy drinks. And come on—how do you turn down a first-year when they text you asking for rides to get a hair cut, or to fulfill a prescription during flu season? You don’t. That’s exactly my point. Motherly (or for you guys, fatherly) instincts will exist to some degree and won’t disappear, so you might as well accept it now.

2. I love my FROG partner, but… we are two totally different people. He’s tall. I’m short. He’s blonde. I’m brunette. He’s a science major. I’m a SMAD major. He’s an only child. I’m the oldest of five. He’s an extrovert. I’m an introvert. I could go on but you get the picture; we are very different. However, I loved the fact that we are so different because it made us a great team. It was a yin and yang relationship, and it worked. Sometimes differences are what truly make a friendship flourish.

3. I love showing my school spirit, but… I was exhausted. Maintaining the hyper, school-spirited, and positive FROG image is hard work, and it is even harder after moving in boxes for 8 hours, after 3 hours of sleep, and nothing but D-Hall coffee. By the end of the day, the affirmation you receive from parents for making move-in day a welcoming and smooth experience is unbeatable. In my opinion, it is worth the watered-down coffee and back sweat.

4. I love the FROG dance, but… it will forever ruin the Top 40 Song list for you. Seriously—if I hear “22” by Taylor Swift or “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, my natural response is to break out into dance. You will forever hate “that one song” because it reminds you of that “one move” that you could never quite get. Sorry Ke$ha, but “Die Young” and I will never be on good terms again.

5. I love the friendships I made with my fellow FROGs, but… I hardly ever see them anymore. Our schedules are always packed. Everyone is always busy with classes. Or jobs. Or clubs. Or homework. Yet, you know what’s great? Even though I barely see them anymore, they are the few people I know will always say “hi” to or give a huge hug if we happen to pass by each other on the Quad (and, I may be a little bias but, they are the best huggers). I guess it is true what they say—absence makes the heart grow fonder.

If you want to be a FROG, do it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Finding Your Place within JMU Student Organizations

            At a school with over 400 clubs and organizations it can be hard to find your niche. Sifting through descriptions of all those clubs can be overwhelming and finding your place in the JMU community isn’t always immediate; plus, how do you actually pick one?! You want a group of people who get you; who will challenge you to be better; and most importantly, who understand you. I didn’t find that at JMU until I joined a club. So in the spirit of helping out my fellow Dukes, I did the research for you. Here is a brief highlight of my top ten favorite organizations (in no particular order) and some information on how to learn more:

1. SafeRides: a huge non-profit on campus, these awesome people volunteer to get students home safely by offering free (non-judgmental) sober rides every Friday and Saturday night.

2. Campus Assault Response (CARE): CARE supplies JMU with a student run 24/7 sexual assault and intimate partner violence helpline as well as gives informational programs across campus; and don’t forget their weekly meetings!

3. Free Flow: because who doesn’t enjoy a good hula hooping session? This club of mellow members offers the chance to hang out with fellow dukes who enjoy “flow sports” (sports in which movement is fluid) such as hula hooping, spinning poi (a rhythmic performance art), and more. Any and all flow sports welcome!

4. Bare Naked Ladies: these lovely ladies seek to spread body positivity, self-confidence, and the healthy body images of women. They believe that every woman is beautiful in her own way and work together to promote this idea through fun activities and meetings.

5. Cooking at Madison: a unique club that offers opportunities for “foodies” to participate in fun and engaging discourse surrounding cooking and sustainability. They also focus on building a relationship with the Harrisonburg community.

6. Reality Educators Advocating Campus Health (REACH): though this club’s name is a mouthful, don’t let it scare you away! This club is all about spreading health awareness through peer education. Members have the opportunity to reach hundreds of students and organizations across campus through peer facilitated discussion on safe sex, healthy relationships, alcohol safety, and more.

7. EARTH Club: the name is pretty self explanatory, but this club’s main focus is the environment. They strive to advocate and educate the JMU community on topics regarding environment and sustainability.

8. Gardy Loo: if you’re a creative person looking for an outlet or consider yourself a strong curator, this club is for you! Gardy Loo is a literary and arts magazine that publishes student work from all majors.

9. Knitwits: who knew all you knitters out there had a special place at JMU? Join a group of fellow crafters, and learn the art of crochet and knitting as well as make new friends.

10. Outdoor Adventure Club: a group of adventurous students who enjoy the beauty of nature through hiking, camping, exploration, and more!

To learn more visit JMU’s Be Involved site or follow Student Activities and Involvement on Twitter: @BeInvolvedJMU.

Tackling the Daunting Résumé

By Taylor Hudson

“Graduation” is a four-letter word around here.

Yeah, sure—it’s supposed to be a proud moment, signifying four years of hard work and good times with life-long friends. But let’s be honest, graduation is more terrifying than it is exciting. Most seniors are somewhere between a mild-panic-attack and a quarter-life-crisis when it comes to actually planning this unknown, yet not so far away, concept called “the future.”

As a soon-to-be graduate myself, I have attempted to prepare and have spent a lot of time during the past few weeks knee-deep in “grown-up” documents, such as my résumé, portfolio, and job applications. And I only have one thought about the entire process—It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Lesson One: Avoid the Microsoft Office résumé templates at all costs.
That was my first mistake in this entire process. I thought it would be the most efficient to just click on one of the templates and fill in the blanks. No, I was wrong.

First of all, those templates are extremely generic, so they most likely will not include the best or most effective sections for your particular goal or job search. For example, most of them do not include a relevant course work section. Another problem I had was a lack of space to include the hyperlink to my online portfolio, and, as a media arts and design major, that is really important.

Second of all, it’s near impossible to condense your résumé into one, convenient page using those templates. They are unnecessarily fluffed up with images, chunky boxes, and 12-point font. Any attempt to make the font smaller just messes up the entire layout and will have you screaming at your computer in a matter of minutes—and yes, I speak from experience. It’s much more simple to just create your own résumé layout from scratch.

Don’t get me wrong; those templates are good to use as a reference or basis. But, overall, just make our final résumé an original.

Lesson Two: Don’t compare your résumé with your friends. It never hurts to get feedback and criticisms to improve your résumé. However, I suggest receiving professional feedback, such as from a professor, mentor, or employer—not a friend or roommate.

If you are like me, I am the only one in a house of four people pursuing a career in my particular field. I am pursuing a journalism career, one is pursuing a dietetics career, one is pursuing education, and the final one is pursuing theater. Four clearly different fields. It didn’t seem like much of a barrier at first, because at first I thought, “How different could our résumés be?” Again, I was wrong.

Theater-focused résumés look like Mars compared to my journalism-focused one. In theater, for example, a clear and definitive objective is of higher priority in order to state your artistic goals as an actor. Meanwhile, in journalism, an objective statement could be included, but if you need more room for your internship experience and skills sets, then those take higher priority. In my case, I completely deleted it, but my roommate believed that I needed to write an objective statement. She wasn’t wrong.; objective statements aren’t bad. On the other hand, they aren’t good for everyone. The moral of the story is simple: don’t argue with your roommate for twenty minutes about what to include in résumés, when in reality, you are both right.

Lesson Three: Sometimes you just have to hit the “Submit” button. Pushing the “Submit” button after you have completed an online job application is terrifying. Don’t worry, I completely understand. Nevertheless, at some point, you just have to stop re-reading, editing, and revising your application, and click the button. Let go. Just do it.

I decided to apply to Teach for America, and I completed my application about a week and a half ago. Yet, I just submitted it three days ago. I was so paranoid that I misspelled something, or that I awkwardly worded a sentence in my responses. So, instead of actually sending the application, I just let it sit. My stress just exponentially grew every time I looked at. I probably rewrote the application about three times.

Eventually, I realized I just needed to send it because my acceptance into the program has no direct correlation to the amount of times I edited the application. Once I hit the “Submit” button—regardless of how initially terrifying it was—I felt infinitely better. So, if you currently have an application just waiting in limbo like I did—please, do yourself a favor, and go send it.

Last but not least—believe in the power of drafting! I realize it is only October, and graduation is over six months away. But it is never too early to start thinking about post-grad life. So, don’t be afraid to tackle those “grown-up” tasks—just remember to take it slow and learn as you go through the process. Your resume and portfolio will not be perfect the first time. You will have to re-write and re-organize, but it will all be worth it in the long run. But don’t just take my word for it.

If you are looking for professional help, and not just the advice from a fellow stressed out senior, I suggest looking into an appointment with Career and Academic Planning. They are awesome with this sort of thing—from resumes to cover letters to personal statements. You could even browse Recruit-a-Duke, a convenient one stop location for JMU students to search for current job or internship openings.

Top Chef: Camping Edition

By Lauren Privette

University Park’s pavilion served as a makeshift kitchen for the UREC sponsored event “Top Chef at University Park,” on Wednesday, the 19th. A judge walked around monitoring students who manned their cooking stations complete with ingredients, utensils, and grills provided by UREC.

The UREC sponsored event also included the UREC Nutritional Analysis Service—a service provided for students, faculty, and staff to analyze and learn about their specific nutritional status. The service includes a unique package with a computer analysis on your diet and a consultation with a nutritionist with additional information about your nutrition and diet. You can sign up by clicking this link for the JMU main page. Jackie Ferretti, a dietetics senior and UREC nutritional analyst, was excited about the “Top Chef” event. “We (Nutritional Analysis Service) do different programs for Health 101 classes, so this can count towards a wellness passport event,” said Ferretti.

Ingredients included spinach herb tortillas, black beans, extra virgin olive oil, brown rice, mangoes (the main ingredient), avocados, and peppers. Like the show, competitors had 40 minutes to complete their cooking creations.
Contestants were set up with camping- specific gear: a two-burner propane grill, metal cooking pots, and a mini-cast iron skillet—all available for rental at UREC. Styrofoam bowls and plates along with plastic utensils made this competition a challenge.

While not as many people as expected took advantage of the unique and engaging passport event, the competitors that did attend enjoyed the experience, and, they got their passports stamped. For the procrastinating health 101 students, an opportunity for a unique and passport event was lost. “It’s only our second year doing this event,” said Ferretti, “and we’re happy people showed up and had a good time.”