Archive for May, 2013

Do Extracurriculars in College Matter?

One point about extracurriculars to always keep in mind: even unconventional and seemingly inane activities can lead to professional opportunities down the road.  In other words: the fun stuff you do in college can actually serve as a great way of cutting your teeth professionally.

Take the Harvard Lampoon, a humor magazine I wrote for when I was an undergrad at Harvard.  In the tradition of past Lampoon writing staffs, we produced just five issues per year and spent the rest of our time sitting around, not doing homework, re-watching episodes of The Simpsons, and prank calling Harvard’s more serious organizations.  Occasionally we scribbled down some short jokes, most of which involved bathroom humor.

At first glance, most would agree that calling the Lampoon an “extracurricular” is stretching it.  Most would think: doesn’t a college-level extracurricular involve a bit more serious work than this?  Isn’t the lifestyle of a Lampoon writer—eating pizza, watching TV, passionately joking around with like-minded people, occasionally writing bathroom jokes—far too frivolous and unprofessional to be considered worthwhile?  To a certain extent, yes, absolutely.  But it’s important to keep in mind something else: Lampoon writers have created or written for some of the most popular American television shows.  The list includes: The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Newsradio, Friends, Seinfeld, Futurama, 30 Rock, The Office, and Parks & Recreation.  And don’t forget about this guy

Did all of those prank calls and all of those Simpsons episodes in college teach Lampoon writers about joke structure?  Of course it’s impossible to know for sure. But the example of the Lampoon does suggest an important idea: taking part in an extracurricular that you are truly passionate about—even one that may seem frivolous—can still lead to professional success. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: passion leads to vocation. 

By Katie | Thursday, May 30th, 2013 | No Comments »

Why We’re Changing Our Name

A week from today, Veritas Tutors will become Signet Education.

Veritas Tutors becomes Signet Education

We’ve come a long way since we began in 2005 as just a small group of tutors working out of a Cambridge apartment. We’ve spent the last eight years refining our approach to several educational services (subject tutoring, test prep, admissions consulting, and organizational coaching) and have holistically supported the education of clients locally, nationally, and globally.

Having helped our students through nearly every academic challenge imaginable, we’ve come to realize that we are much more than just a tutoring company, and we want our name to reflect this.

The search for a new name was an intense one, and, over many months, we went through possibility after possibility to find something that captured who and what we have become. In the end, we chose Signet Education because a signet seal represents so many of the things that we value: craftsmanship, tradition, authenticity, timelessness, and trust. We also thought it had a nice ring (yes, terrible pun intended).

While our name is changing, our staff, ownership, and mission remain entirely the same. Jay, Sheila, and Kat are still leading the charge, Adrian is still answering every incoming phone call and email inquiry, Katie is still sending out invoices and reviewing tutor applications, and Charles is still coordinating our tutoring staff. Signet Education will continue to foster a love of learning, genuine academic growth, and holistic success in our students’ lives. We will continue to provide personalized instruction from the most talented educators available. And we will continue to support our clients with world-class client service.

Over the last few weeks, the office has been filled with excitement. We’ve got new print materials, a new website, a new sign, and an eagerness to begin sharing it all with our community far and wide. We look forward to continuing our mission of fostering educational success in our client’s lives as Signet Education. Thank you for your continued support!

By Katie | Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 | No Comments »

How to Use a Semi-Colon

Often underused, misused, or simply feared, the semi-colon is a versatile punctuation mark that may be employed in two distinct ways.

First, and most commonly, a semi-colon connects two independent clauses. (As a quick refresher, an independent clause is a phrase that can stand on its own as a sentence. For example, “The French bulldog puppies scrambled for the new toy” is an independent clause, but “Whenever the French bulldog puppies scrambled for the new toy” is not.) Though these clauses may lack a coordinating conjunction between them—“and,” “but,” “or,” “nor”—they should be related in meaning. For example: “The woman hated attending hockey games; she would begin shivering in the stands within minutes.”

Second, a semi-colon may be used within a list to separate items that already use commas. For example: “While visiting colleges my parents and I visited Cambridge, Massachusetts; Princeton, New Jersey; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” Often, when used in this way, the semi-colon is informally called a “super-comma.”

For more information on correct grammar, be sure to visit Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).

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Sites consulted for this article:

Inman, Matthew. How to use a semicolon. The Oatmeal, 2013 (copyright). Web. 29 April 2013.  <http://theoatmeal.com/comics/semicolon>.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. The Writing Lab, The OWL at Purdue, and Purdue University, 1995-2013 (copyright). Web. 29 April 2013. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/index.php?category_id=2&sub_category_id=1&article_id=44>.

Rubin, Jeff. The Semicolon. National Punctuation Day, n.d. Web. 29 April 2013. <http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/semicolon.html>.

 

By Katie | Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 | No Comments »

A Recent Graduate’s Guide to Life at Harvard

Happy decision day! We tapped into our staff resources to conjure up a list of things they love/loved about Harvard. Those of you that decided on Harvard today (congratulations!) will be one step ahead of the game come September. Enjoy!

Where do Harvard students eat?

The Square offers many fantastic restaurants. If you are visiting the area for the first time, or if you have just moved in, be sure to try the following Harvard staples: Pinocchio’s Pizza (where most students go for cheap, late-night, Sicilian-style pizza); Bartley’s Burgers (an extremely famous burger joint where all the burgers are named after celebrities—we recommend the Ted Kennedy!); Border Café (delicious sit-down Mexican food with quick service and bottomless baskets of tortilla chips); Crema Café (the Harvard-Squariest café in all of Harvard Square, with coffee, tea, and paninis on tap); and Berryline (a local frozen yogurt stop that trumps Pinkberry in every way).

(P.S.: If you’re looking for a closer-look at student dining, consider the Greenhouse Café, located within Harvard’s Science Center.)

What do Harvard students do for fun?

There’s always something to do in the Square! Interested in seeing a show? Consider the American Repertory Theater, the Brattle Theater, or the Comedy Studio. Browsing for books? Try the Harvard Book Store, one of the best independent bookstores in the country; other options include Schoenhof’s, a one-of-a-kind foreign bookstore with an impressively vast collection, and Raven Used Books. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is also nearby, as is the Sackler Art Museum. If you just want to walk around, consider walking along the Charles River. You can even canoe or kayak if it’s nice.

And Boston just a fifteen-minute subway ride away.

When is the best time to visit Harvard?

There are always interesting events happening in the Square. From distinguished author readings to Oktoberfest to Harvard-Yale Weekend (when the annual football game is played at Harvard) to the Hasty Pudding’s Man and Woman of the Year events, there’s usually something for everyone. A great time to visit is the fall, when classes are in session and the buildings are canopied by gorgeous fall foliage.

Is Harvard safe?

Harvard Square is in Cambridge, which is a city, so normal “city precautions” should be taken. In other words: we do not recommend walking home alone at 4 a.m., while flashing your brand new gold Rolex. That being said, Harvard Square is generally very safe for students, and the Harvard University Police Department is superb and always on call. Additionally, there are blue lights/emergency phones all over campus.

Is Harvard like the Harvard I saw in The Social Network?

Kind of…but not really. On the one hand, finals clubs do exist, and people do row on the Charles River, and some students do get excited about computer programming. But that’s about where the similarities end. Because the biggest difference between the real Harvard and the one portrayed in the movie—and the best thing about the real Harvard—is the incredible diversity of the community. In this way, the movie does not do the school justice. Students at Harvard come from all walks of life, and study more than simply “how to get back at the final club that rejected you.” Don’t let the movie mislead you.

 

By Katie | Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 | No Comments »
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