All posts by Megan Vallone

The Triumph of Navigating a New Bus System

By Rachel Essel

When I studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, the only way for me to get around besides walking was public transportation. If you’re not familiar with St. Petersburg’s geography, the city consists mostly of two main islands and sections of mainland and I lived on one of the islands with my host family. Due to the nearest metro stop to me being closed for remodeling, I had to take mostly buses and trams everywhere which made things a lot more complicated.

The first day of school my host mom actually took me there, and we left while it was still dark out to get on a tram, to go to the next closest metro stop to meet my fellow students where a bus would take us the rest of the way to school. It was so confusing and took so long and then my host mom drops this bomb on me: I won’t actually be taking that route to school, that was just to meet at the correct metro stop the first day. So at the end of the day my host mom takes me out to where I will catch a bus that will take me all the way to school the next morning.

Continue reading The Triumph of Navigating a New Bus System

Must Try Places For Those With A Sweet Tooth

By Jasmine Zahedi

Last year at my club volleyball banquet, I received the “most likely to find a five-star ice cream place anywhere” award. A running joke with my coaches and teammates is that no matter where we travel to for our tournaments, whether it’s Louisville, Kentucky or Kansas City, Missouri, I’m in charge of Yelping and finding the best restaurants for dinner and dessert. I pride myself on this skill and am particularly confident in my ability to choose the best places to satisfy a person’s sweet tooth. My personal favorites in Los Angeles include:

Magpies Softserve

Silver Lake

I first tried their soft serve with some of my teammates, who also have a sweet tooth, after our annual club volleyball holiday party. What impressed me the most was actually not the soft serve itself, but the chocolate honeycomb I chose as a topping. The honeycomb added a perfect “crunch” to already decadent soft serve. Fun fact: all their soft serve flavors and toppings are made in-house. Continue reading Must Try Places For Those With A Sweet Tooth

Teaching Men To Fish (Metaphorically): Pondering the Educational System

By Autumn Palen

A few days ago, standing across the kitchen island from my roommate, we discussed what our TED Talks would be, were we given the chance to have one. I talked about potentially studying the correlation between old parents and nerdy kids. Hers was much better. She had one in mind right off the bat, apparently having already pondered over it for quite a while.

My roommate works as a volunteer teacher throughout the week, helping 2nd and 3rd graders learn the fundamentals of science and math. Her TED Talk, as she had intricately sketched out in her mind, would focus on the inadequacies of the educational system. She had particularly noticed that many teachers of scientific subjects — Chemistry, Physics, Biology — teach facts, figures, and solutions, but not how to arrive at these conclusions. This method of teaching is all fine and good for passing quizzes and tests, but is detrimental to the future individual development of knowledge in these fields. Students know what the answers are because they’ve memorized them, but many may be incapable of finding the answer on their own, or knowing why the answer is found in a particular way.

Continue reading Teaching Men To Fish (Metaphorically): Pondering the Educational System