4 College Friendship Tips

Bernadette Rocha

23 May 2015

1.) My Professor is my Friend.

Your professor is NOT your friend. Be careful what you say. Sure, speaking casually with a professor outside of class is nice, and you get to gain all types of communication points for that. Kudos to you. However, remember that this person is NOT your friend. This person is your professor. Discern between the two now and add a modicum of distance. Still speak candidly if that is how you two communicate among each other, however make sure to censor yourself. It is easy for you to say something which sounds completely fine to you, but that your professor may take out of context, thinking it is a gratuitous remark. Trust me, you do not want to have to deal with the damage control and possible fallout later.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this, such as if you were friends outside of college before you started attending that college, or something similar to that. Keep in mind, that even if you were friends outside of school, what you say could still affect your grade outcome and future recommendations, so until you’ve been given that final grade it is probably best to still censor what you say.

2.) Campus Friends vs. Off-Campus Friends

If you enjoy talking to certain person on campus but do not make plans to hang out off-campus, then you probably only have a campus friend.

If you enjoy talking to a certain person and make plans to hang out off-campus and actually do it, then you probably have someone to call a friend.

If you make plans to hang out off-campus, but it never occurs and you guys don’t even really talk much on campus, then you guys probably are NOT friends and you may as well delete them from your Facebook, because what is the point of holding onto people that you aren’t compatible with anyway?

3.) But, He/She is Really Friendly

Ok, look. Here’s the deal. This could go different ways:

If you are hanging out with a person a lot and you feel comfortable with this person, then you are probably friends.

If you are hanging out with this person, and thoughts about how “cute” or “hot” this person is, then you probably are not really friends and you are mostly just crushing on this person. If you are like that person, then get yourself out of the friend-zone ASAP because it’s just going to be a cruel circus otherwise.

If you are hanging out with this person, and this person seems to act a little strange around you, like as though they have feelings for you, then they probably do. Trust your instinct. If you like that person, then just let that person know. If you have no feelings for that person, then tell that person ASAP because its only going to grow awkward in the end, and trust me, you don’t need drama when you’re in college…unless its a course you signed up for.

4.) This Person is Really Touchy-Feely, is this an American Thing?

Ok. So, this is really important, especially for any of you International Students reading this. The need to tell this came after a horrible story a couple of my friends from overseas were telling me the other day.

THIS IS NOT AN AMERICAN THING. If a guy, or girl, is touching you or feeling you up, and you are uncomfortable with it, tell them to STOP immediately and leave. Depending on how they touched you, you may even need to contact security and/or file a complaint. Tell somebody. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Sad thing is, that some sleazy Americans see International Students as easy prey and will try to get away with what they can. It’s called “Sexual Harassment” or “Sexual Assault” and is NOT alright.

ALSO, if you think that that person is a friend with an American friend of yours, it still does NOT make it OK. Tell that person to stop, and then let your friend know what that person did.

USE YOUR WORDS when something like this happens.

Things to say (loudly and with force):



“Leave me alone.”

“Go away.”

And if it is necessary, yell, “Help!” or “Fire!” (everyone comes to see when someone says “fire”).

Police/Fire: 911

Music Box

by Bernadette Rocha​, 18 March 2015

With each spin across the smooth dance floor, the music further fades. The ballerina, who had previously danced so fervently upon the hand wound pedestal has now lost interest in dancing for her unseen master. The moment the song would cease, another would begin. There was no rest for the misfit, whose brown hair swirled in her face as she twirled.

Her first encounter with her mysterious stranger was fun. She was enamored and enjoyed the attention, so she danced well to please. However, it soon became clear that it would become an unending cycle. How many times would she be wound, forced to dance to the same sprite song — when she, herself, felt drained?

8 Crucial Tips Every College Student Must Know

21 March 2015

Bernadette Rocha

1. When writing a research paper, make sure to get your sources immediately. As soon as you do, create a Works Cited (MLA)/References (APA) page and get them done. It doesn’t matter if you end up not using them, as you can always delete the source later. Trying to figure out how to write a citation, especially if it doesn’t follow conventional means, is annoying to do at the last second. This way, you can also create an in-text citation immediately.

2. After creating the bibliography, get large note cards (or whatever you prefer) and write at the top of each an in-text citation for each source. This way, all you have to do is take notes, and plug in a page number. Trust me. If you end up writing your paper at the last possible moment, this will save you from anxiously sifting through notes and pages trying to figure out what source went where, and what page belongs for whom.

3. Find a study lounge on campus. If it is anything like the one on my campus, you may also end up being able to heat up your lunch, get coffee or tea, use the computers, or just chill for a while. Study lounges are a great place to meet new people!

4. Get involved. Join a club (or start one), join an honor society, hang out in the game room, hang out in the art gallery, join the campus gym — it doesn’t matter which thing you do, just do something. It will give you a chance to meet new and like-minded people as well as to provide a surefire way to unwind while still being on campus.

5. Take advantage of your campus’ Writing Center for every. single. paper. If you are lucky enough to be on a campus that has a center with writing tutors, then do not let this valuable resource go to waste. Remember. You paid for these resources with your tuition. The same goes for utilizing math and science tutors as well. Try all of the writing tutors until you find one that you prefer, and then start making appointments with that person whenever your papers come up. This way, they know your thought process, and can see how much you are coming along as far as writing growth is concerned. This could better help that tutor to be able to be able to help you get thinking in the right direction so that the paper flows even more smoothly than the last one, and so forth.

6. Overheard someone saying they need help on a subject that you excel in? Offer to tutor them. Chances are they may refer one of their friends to you for help as well, which could really come in handy one day because likely that person or others they know are able to help you when you are in desperate need of tutoring on a subject yourself.

7. Network. Befriend the students and other staff who work on campus. They are valuable resources and may even know of upcoming job opportunities on campus. Who knows, you may hang out in one area so much that the staff have gotten to know you well enough that, when an open position becomes available, they just might offer you the job on the spot, without your having had asked.

8. Feeling anxious, depressed, suicidal or any other range of emotions? Always see a counselor. Most colleges have counselors on campus as students have a lot they must endure with school as well as life in general. This is a resource that is often free of charge for students.

Not only will you meet amazing people, but you will also begin to gain more confidence as a student and as a person as the year progresses!

When Words Mock

Below is a VERY short story that I wrote as I procrastinated (should’ve been working on my research paper, or an actual analysis) and posted on my Facebook account the other day. It only seemed fair to share with you. Please feel free to comment. :-)

When Words Mock

by Bernadette Rocha

26 Jan. 2015

“Excuse me? You want to do what now?” The student stared in disbelief as the words on the page she read from kept shifting its focus. It was as if the story knew it was being analyzed, and was doing everything in its power to tell her to go and take a hike. Literally, the page changed its entire structure into a stunning piece of word art which read, “take a hike.” She was dumbfounded. Never before had she been so rudely spoken to by a work of fiction. Then again, never before had fiction ever spoken to her.

Then, a light bulb shone in her mind. Much to her chagrin, the page shifted to read, “a mind can only shine so bright when there is hardly any grey matter to shield the photons from passing through.”

Grabbing the nearest eraser, she tried to erase the words on the page that so blatantly mocked her. They simply jumped around, avoiding the object. Screaming, she tried to rip the paper apart. To her dismay, each character leaped off the page, avoiding the flames, which by now had set fire to the curtains and bedspread through wildly flown embers.

The characters gathered before the door, climbing atop one another, creating the form of a laughing face. She grabbed a pen and ran at the face, stabbing wildly.

“Julianna! Julianna! Wake up!”

Opening her eyes, she looked about her. Her roommate, Sophie, was standing next to her, wide eyed. She, herself, had apparently fallen asleep while staying up late to work on a Literary Analysis, only to have the analysis work on her!

-Bernadette Rocha
26 Jan 2015

Gift Giving

Bernadette Rocha, 24 Dec. 2014

A true gift comes from the heart and doesn’t necessarily need to come from the pocket. While jewelry, clothes, books, and etc are nice, it only really shows that the person giving such a gift happened to remember the occasion, whatever it may be. It is widely expected as well as encouraged for one, at least in American society, to exchange gifts on birthdays and Christmas. Therefor, department stores, jewelers, toy stores, and etc have chosen to seize this golden opportunity, ultimately capitalizing upon it.

Advertisements flood the vision of helpless consumers, catching them unaware. No doubt advertisement companies put out ads that play upon our subconscious minds, meaning that it is highly likely that they hired psychologists to figure out how to create ads people would respond to, whether they know it or not. If you are still unsure, just look at the current Christmas commercials depicting Santa Clause and whatever product he is selling — usually to adults. Seeing Santa will likely dredge up your childhood memories. You will remember how anxious you were for Christmas morning to come so that you can run down stairs, grab a neatly wrapped gift with your name on the tag, and rip it open. The rush of ripping the gift rap apart, and seeing whatever cool thing you were given is enough to make anyone have those warm fuzzy moments of remembrance. After the image of Santa (or his reindeer or elves) is brought up, all an advertisement company must then do is show the product they are selling or the store they want you to come to. By showing Santa next to the product, they are ensuring that you, the consumer (who is now educated), will be conditioned by equating their product with something good, and then begin buying it, or going to certain stores.

Many people have a hard time deciding what gifts to purchase during the holiday season because so many businesses are using this psychological scheme to vie for your attention, and therefor business. When people stop and remember what the meaning of the holiday itself is (open to their own interpretation), they will likely have an easier time when deciding what gifts to provide and for whom. It is even better when you can personalize this gift.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.”

If you have some kind of talent, then use it to your advantage. A musician can produce a song for his beloved, a child can do arts and crafts, a teenager can clean up the house and cook for the family, a Writer can write a blog post to his or her readers, etc. The art of writing letters seems to be a thing of the past, but it is such a beautiful thing that should be resurrected. Whatever the gift is, whether it is a thoughtful gift out of the pocket, or a gift of talent, the result should always be from the heart.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Learning to Type in a Foreign Language

Bernadette Rocha, 22 Dec. 2014

One thing that I have learned during my awkward and slow journey to learn and master the Korean language is this: It is extremely important to also learn how to type in Korean.

In order to do so, I typed “virtual Korean keyboard” into my favorite search engine and chose one of the links provided. Then, I magnified the page until the letters were slightly bigger than the letters on my physical keyboard and took a screen shot and printed it. Then, I cut each letter and placed taped it with tiny cuts of tape on its corresponding key on my laptop’s keyboard. I then practiced typing each key and tried to type out words.

You might be asking yourselves why I’d even bother doing something like that. Wouldn’t learning the language be enough?

For me, sure, it’d be enough to simply learn a language and leave it at that. But where’s the fun in that? Besides, my reasoning behind this, and why I also believe schools should provide (if they don’t already) a corresponding typing lab when teaching a new language, is that, JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING requires internet and computer use these days, whether it be school, work, or even down time on that good ol’ social media.

Someday, I’d like to go to school in S. Korea, even if it were to be only for a summer. When there, in addition to classes in English (if even offered), I’m sure I’d have to take a couple (or even all) classes in Korean. Which means, there would probably come a time when I’d also have to write one or more essays in the language as well. How many schools these days still accept handwritten essays? Not many, I’m betting.

Learning to type in a foreign language isn’t too difficult. Depending on the type of computer you own, you might even already have the fonts pre-installed, such as I did. A quick search on my favorite search engine brought me to a site that showed me via pictures exactly how to activate such fonts and be able to toggle my keyboard back and forth in between languages.

Of course, being able to type in a foreign language means you also need to have at least a basic grasp of that language’s alphabet. For me, I can write the Korean alphabet and sound each letter out phonetically, though I don’t know to this day which order the letters go in or even what each letter’s name is. One day, I played a song I liked, “Crooked” by G-Dragon, on a loop. While doing so, I looked up the Korean lyrics to the song and wrote them all down. By the time I was finished hand-copying the lyrics down, I realized that I knew what sound each letter made. There were very few left that weren’t in the song, and through other songs, I mastered those as well.

Time to master typing. Practice makes perfect. I still remember the time when I could only type about 40 wpm in English, my first language! Now, I can type around 70-80 wpm. So, even if I can only type a few Korean words per minute right now, I know that with practice and perseverance, I can type equally as fast in the future.

I challenge those of you who are learning a foreign language who can’t type in that language to push yourselves to try. You never know what good things will come out of having done so!

North Korean Internet Shutdown

Bernadette Rocha, 22 Dec. 2014

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto CNN this evening only to find out that the North Korean Internet had been shut down for several hours. Many thoughts ran through my head as I tried to process this. At first, I thought that I had read the article wrong. Then, after reading it again, and reading other articles online, I realized that it was true.

Since I don’t believe for a second that N. Korea hacked Sony, here are my two theories about what went down:
Theory 1:

Someone hacked Sony and did their best to make it look like N. Korea did it so that whoever it was could have a scapegoat ready for when they decided to take down N. Korea’s internet. Whoever it was did it to try and make it seem like the US was retaliating. Naturally, N. Korea would become extremely ticked off. Should we be worrying about real attacks from them? Furthermore, since I speculate that neither N. Korea or US was behind either problem, rather than making fun of what happened in N. Korea, we should be worried. Who is truly behind this, and what do they gain from starting problems?

Theory 2:

Since N. Korea got ticked off that US kept accusing N. Korea of attacks, they threatened to attack US. US decided to do a preemptive attack, effectively shutting down N. Korea’s internet service. Since this is the speculation, I surmise that the internet was only allowed back on later on after talks between our two countries. The talks, I would guess, were probably along the lines of letting them know that US figured out who actually hacked Sony, and to let them know that it won’t happen again, and that there is no reason for war.

Let me know if you disagree, agree, or have any theories of your own!