Tag Archives: class

My Experience Taking ALI 252

By PinShiuan Lee

Edited by Natalie Grace

[3.5 minute read]

Currently, I am a postdoctoral trainee working on biomedical informative research at USC for the past three months. Prior to this, I received all of my education in Taiwan. My English is in no way perfect and I am not the most talkative person, even when I speak in my native language. When I started my work at USC, I would do research all day without talking unless I had meetings where I needed to discuss aspects of my work. Since I didn’t have many opportunities to improve my fluency, I was urgently searching for a class I could enroll in to improve my pronunciation. This led me to enroll in ALI 252, an advanced pronunciation course.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

I was initially surprised by how interesting advanced pronunciation was. I liked the classmates I met, and class was full of a diversity of perspectives and an abundance of topics to chat about. One topic we always seemed to return to was popular movies and TV shows. I heard of the show The Office, which is a mockumentary sitcom television series, for the first time in this class. I learned a lot of sentences and phrases that depict the everyday work lives of office employees. Although I worked from home, it was funny to imagine having colleagues like these characters. Every class we watched clips from The Office ended in peals of laughter.

Besides having a great time watching and observing characters on shows, our professor also provided us with many innovative tools to help give us more confidence in oral expression such as games, competitions, or playing roles. We tried to create sounds, produce voices, and understand our vocal range and stamina. It is difficult to articulate clarity if you don’t spend time practicing sounds. Using interesting and funny ways to articulate the words you would like to express encourages me to be more talkative. During this time, I could refine my personal speaking style in small groups and classroom settings.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
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Adjusting to the College Workload

By Sarah Ta

[3 minute read]

Depending on where you went to high school and how academically challenging it was, you will either be super prepared for the amount of homework the average college student has or you will be overwhelmed by the first week and spend the rest of the semester playing catch-up with your assignments. I was definitely the second type. My high school did not prepare me at all for the amount of work college would give me and I spent my entire first semester trying to adjust. Now that I’ve gone through two full semesters at USC, I’ve learned some helpful tips on how to stay on top of my work. If you are also struggling with balancing your workload, keep reading for some studying methods that might make your academic life a little easier.

The first tip I have is to get your sleep schedule back on track. It is common to stay up late one night to work on a paper and then end up falling asleep in class the next day. Unfortunately, this causes you to have even more work to do. This forces you to stay up late again and before you know it, your sleep schedule is backward. Establishing a regular sleep schedule will not only help you feel more like a human again but will also improve your productivity in the long run because you will have more energy and be able to absorb information better. It might seem impossible with all the work you have but trust me, it is possible and will make you feel a million times better.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

The second tip I have is to split your free time into just working or just relaxing. For example, you have two hours in between classes. You can either work during those two hours or relax, but only choose one. If you choose to work, silence your phone and devote the entire time to just working. If you choose to relax, find a stress-free activity to do and let your mind relax. Instead of having your work open in front of you but not actually doing any of it, choosing either to work or relax allows you to devote your entire focus on one action and boost productivity. However, it is important to make sure that your choice to work and to relax is balanced, or that can result in other problems.

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“Don’t Think”

By Shelly Hacco

“Don’t Think”, a UCB School of Improv motto, is a simple phrase, yet a way of life for its students and members. But, let’s back up a moment; this first sentence has most likely already created some questions in your head.

  1. What is UCB?
  2. What the heck is “improv”?
  3. What do you mean “Don’t Think”? I am a student; I need to think to graduate!

To begin, improv, short for improvisation, is a form of unscripted acting; it’s when actors go off the page and trust their instincts and their scene partners to form a full scene (a story with a beginning, middle, and end) from scratch. Many movies, mostly comedy (but some dramatic) have actually used improvised dialogue in their final cuts, so, odds are, you have already seen improv in action but never knew it. UCB, short for Upright Citizens Brigade, is a school that trains actors, comedians, and even folks in need of a fun hobby, how to be successful improvisers.

Alright, so improvisers make up scenes as they go… ok… wouldn’t they need to THINK to do that? The answer is no. Thinking is actually the death of good improv, or at least that’s what I’m beginning to understand as I trudge my way through UCB’s frightening, yet exhilarating, Improv 101 course.

Photo by Travis Wise on Flickr
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