Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Escaping the Chicago Cold

by Kaity Sinke

Haiti

Haiti

There’s no denying that this winter has hit all of us incredibly hard. Chicago has had record-breaking lows this winter, including the coldest February reported in over 140 years. Brr—not a record I’m particularly excited to break. Luckily, I had the opportunity to escape from some of the treacherous cold, and went on a fabulous cruise!

Labadee

Labadee

One of the greatest benefits of taking a vacation during the cold months of winter is the proactive affect it has on SAD. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the changes of the seasons—beginning and ending around the same time every year. Symptoms typically start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. One of the easiest treatments for SAD is light therapy (phototherapy)!

Pure coconut water!

Pure coconut water!

I take this seriously and so should you. I hate feeling down in the winter months when I still have so much to accomplish and want to feel excited about it. I often go tanning to simulate the sensation of the warm sun when I am feeling my winter blues; however this time around I was actually able to escape to the Caribbean and experience the real thing.

surf

wave runner

rock wall

rock wall

island doggies

island doggies

The beautiful sun, salty ocean, refreshing breeze, endless fun, and fantastic drinks really did revive my soul. I wish I could have bottled it up and taken it home with me! However, I have to admit that the most wonderful part of the trip was the company. It was such a blessing to spend the week with my parents, who I don’t get to see as often since my move to Chicago. On top of that, I was able to spend some real quality time with my boyfriend and his family. Being in the presence of everyone getting along, and becoming closer was absolutely priceless.

Family affair

Family affair

The boy

The boy

The endless breeze on the ship

The endless breeze on the ship

I’m so incredibly thankful I was able to do some serious self-care and fight my Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as a simple case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take the steps necessary to keep your mood, motivation, and health steady throughout the year!

Escaping the Chicago Cold

There’s no denying that this winter has hit all of us incredibly hard. Chicago has had record-breaking lows this winter, including the coldest February reported in over 140 years. Brr—not …

Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA Kaity Sinke, kaitysinke@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Update from thesis land…

by Dustin Seelinger

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Thesis! It’s barreling ever closer! I just ordered my conversation stickers, which feels great to have those done. The pages for my Chicago punk scene coloring book are done, I just need to format them into a book and have them printed and order my branded crayon boxes. Those are goals for this week. Aside from that, I have been toiling away at this video project to be my big thesis capstone.

Update from thesis land…

Thesis! It’s barreling ever closer! I just ordered my conversation stickers, which feels great to have those done. The pages for my Chicago punk scene coloring book are done, I …

Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts MFA Dustin Seelinger, dustin.seelinger@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

My Students

by Jeni Crone

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None of my students are inherently evil. None of them are “bad” kids, though a lot of them feel like they are always being unfairly judged—and they aren’t completely wrong about that. Some of them really know how to earn in-school suspensions and other disciplinary actions, but within reason I will not be the one to dig them into a deeper hole. There are a few, even though they are failing, that I am just glad are at least still coming to school. Some of them don’t have lunch until eighth period and are hungry by third so I feed them snacks out of my lunch. I tell them to take advantage of school while it is still there for them, because whether or not they choose the believe it, they have at least a few teachers who are looking out for them. Years ago someone told me that I have too much potential to teach at the primary or secondary level—we are not friends anymore. Six weeks into student teaching and I still do not believe that I will ever feel limited by the profession.

My Students

None of my students are inherently evil. None of them are “bad” kids, though a lot of them feel like they are always being unfairly judged—and they aren’t completely wrong …

Education - Visual Arts MAT Jeni Crone, jennifer.crone@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

A Love Letter to Joseph Brodsky

by Steph Jurusz

Less Than One – Joseph Brodsky

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with one of my writing friends about being fearless in writing. Being fearless doesn’t necessarily mean tackling difficult or painful topics (though it might), but instead a willingness to play on the page and see where the prose takes you.

To someone like me who thrives on the merging of the analytical and the creative, sometimes it can be a challenge to turn the left side of my brain down a notch and allow the right to take me away.

A Love Letter to Joseph Brodsky

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with one of my writing friends about being fearless in writing. Being fearless doesn’t necessarily mean tackling difficult or painful topics (though it might), …

Creative Writing - Nonfiction MFA Steph Jurusz, stephanie.jurusz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Conference: Take 1

by Joshua C. Robinson

Photo Credit: Renee Rock SEA Conference Feb 21, 2015

Photo Credit: Renee Rock
SEA Conference Artsy/Blurry Photograph
Feb 21, 2015

I have only been to one conference in my time as a graduate student. And, it was this past weekend. The Self-Employment for the Arts Conference or SEA. My fellow classmates from high school who have completed or are now in grad school, might balk at this singular number. But, let’s be honest, conferences are in large part a chance to learn a small amount really quickly in chunks of time, and most importantly a time to bond with your colleagues. I went to the conference with my friends Kelsey Hayenga and Reneé Rock and we had a grand ‘ole time, as you will read shortly…

Conference: Take 1

I have only been to one conference in my time as a graduate student. And, it was this past weekend. The Self-Employment for the Arts Conference or SEA. My fellow …

Business & Entrepreneurship MAM Joshua C. Robinson, JoshuaCDRobinson@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Recording Session Preparation

by Logan Stahley

Score Prep

The first recording session of the semester is coming up very quick (20 piece ensemble, recorded at Chicago Recording Company): this Friday the 27th. After weeks of writing, producing, score preparation, and some conducting practice, we are feeling more prepared for the session. As this is our first time conducting and recording a group of professional musicians, this definitely will be a learning experience. Many in my class are very grateful to have observed the class of 2014’s recording sessions last year, soaking in the experience. We know the process, and how the studio is set up, and definitely remember how fast you must be. If you must make a comment, make it quick, and move on to the next take!

Class of 2014 Recording Session:

Video 1

Video 2

Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten quite a bit of advice and have been trying to prepare to make the session as smooth as possible. Here are a few tips I’ve put together.

Have other people look at your score and parts. It is often more difficult to see errors in your work. This is probably because you are so used to seeing the mistakes, fresh eyes will usually see the errors much quicker. Also, make sure to print out your score and parts while proofreading. This will make it very easy to mark errors, and you can more easily mark mistakes than on a computer.

Be bold when writing dynamics and don’t write divisi with a small ensemble. Writing mp to mf is not a great dynamic change, writing p to f instead will give you a much more obvious change. When using a string section below twenty players, using divisi might not be the best use of the musicians. The string ensemble sound starts to disappear, leaving you with many individual solo lines.

Make sure your Protools session is simple, but has everything the musicians might need. Nothing would be more frustrating than to have your recording session cut in half due to the tempo click track. If you want the musicians to hear an important synth or piano prelay, make sure to have those on an individual track.

Know every entrance, and every phrase without looking at the score. If you are prepared, cueing in musicians shouldn’t be much of a problem. Then you can focus on phrasing, and overall emotional vibes of the piece.

You’re not done yet! Mixing the recording with your electronics and sampler prelays, editing the takes together, and properly blending the two together are also very important. Often times, multiple takes of strings are layered together to create a much larger sounding group. This takes patience and an ear for detail, editing starts and ends, and exaggerating dynamics with the fader. The recordings can bring liveliness to the piece, but unedited can sometimes sound flat and hollow. Make sure you spend some time in Protools to get the mix working.

Recording Session Preparation

The first recording session of the semester is coming up very quick (20 piece ensemble, recorded at Chicago Recording Company): this Friday the 27th. After weeks of writing, producing, score …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Foundations and Rituals

by Jennifer Ligaya

writerobinson.com

writerobinson.com

In the attempt to become more “one” with myself, as I’m sure everyone can relate to, I am becoming more aware of my thoughts. And, (spoiler alert) us humans think A LOT.

I’ve been practicing meditation since my senior year in High School. I spent most of my first months thinking “thinking” to myself. That’s what the instructor at the Shambala center told us to do: say “thinking” to ourselves whenever we catch ourselves, well, thinking…

Foundations and Rituals

In the attempt to become more “one” with myself, as I’m sure everyone can relate to, I am becoming more aware of my thoughts. And, (spoiler alert) us humans think …

Interdisciplinary Arts MA Jennifer Ligaya, jennifer.ligaya@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Soon-Soon Monsoon

by Justin Grogan

Shenzhen, China. My future home and job.

I was recently speaking with my thesis advisor, Michael Robins, when he mentioned that it is common for manuscripts to end where the next book picks up. I hadn’t really given that much thought until a few weeks ago when I accepted a teaching position in China.

Soon-Soon Monsoon

I was recently speaking with my thesis advisor, Michael Robins, when he mentioned that it is common for manuscripts to end where the next book picks up. I hadn’t really …

Creative Writing - Poetry MFA Justin Grogan, jgrogan@colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Thesis Haze

by Parker Stockman

I’ve been in a thesis haze recently.

Okay, so I started a new job. It’s awesome—I love it. It’s 40 hours a week, it is putting my writing skills to use, and I have a supportive team. I’ve been focusing on that during my week and spending time when I get home writing my thesis. My weekends are consumed with my thesis. I have dreamed about my characters for the last few weeks, spending time with them there and solving underlying issues I’ve had with my narrative.

The Thesis Haze

I’ve been in a thesis haze recently. Okay, so I started a new job. It’s awesome—I love it. It’s 40 hours a week, it is putting my writing skills to …

Creative Writing - Fiction MFA Parker Stockman, parker.stockman@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Job Search Begins

by Justin Botz

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Only a few more months before I finish my MFA, but the job search has just begun. There is some natural anxiety as I begin this transition from grad school to the work force, however, I also feel like Columbia’s Interdisciplinary Arts & Media program has prepared me to succeed in this competitive job market.

The Job Search Begins

Only a few more months before I finish my MFA, but the job search has just begun. There is some natural anxiety as I begin this transition from grad school …

Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA Justin Botz, justin.botz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605