Mentoring Monday: Things To Do In Philadelphia

Things to do in Philadelphia
Sammi Crabill, School of Music Mentor

Do you go to Philadelphia often? Many freshmen are interested in exploring the city. What are some fun things to do in the city? What should they know about public transportation?

One of the coolest things about West Chester is our proximity to Philadelphia. So if you feel like taking a relaxing stroll through WC’s brick sidewalks to your favorite bakery, you can! Or if you’re looking for an exciting weekend in the city, Philly is an easy trip away! There are a number of ways to get into the city, but the best option for car-less freshman is definitely Septa bus service, which runs straight through campus! The bus can take money or subway tokens, which can be purchased in the bottom floor of Sykes Student Union, beside the ATM. Then just check route times and meet Bus 104 at the bus stop right in the center of campus, across from Ruby Jones Hall. Just ride the line through to the end, which is 69th Street Transportation Center. From there, you can take the Market-Frankford subway line into the city! It really is easy but I would suggest going with someone else for the first time, especially if you’ve never used public transport before. Another option is to find an upperclassman with a car and get a ride to the Exton train station, where you can take Amtrak right into 30th Street Station which is right in Center City Philadelphia. The train is more expensive, but a lot faster and more comfortable than the bus.

There are countless things to do in a city like Philadelphia but the main draw for most music majors are the concerts. Often, students can track down cheap or even free tickets to go see the Philadelphia Orchestra or Philly Pops at The Kimmel Center in Center City. It’s a great opportunity to see professional musicians at work, which is important for those going into that field. Plus, if you know the right professors you may be able to get a backstage tour! Besides those two ensembles, you can also see the Philadelphia Ballet or numerous off-Broadway shows at the Academy of Music. If you’re looking to see more popular and indie artists, Philly is the place to go. Venues such as Union Transfer, The Electric Factory, and The Mann Center often host big-name artists and bands who are cheap and easy to go see. So snoop around online and take advantage of our location… you can usually dig up good deals and it’s a great way to get off campus for a little!

If you’d prefer not to see performances in Philly, there are thousands of other options… The Philadelphia Art Museum is a full-day activity and on the first Sunday of every month, you can name your own price for admission! Other ideas… go to the Philadelphia Zoo, walk around Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill, visit UPenn’s beautiful campus, tap into your inner foodie and explore thousands of awesome restaurants, or get lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. Even just walking around and taking it all in can take up an entire day. Philadelphia is a great way to spend your weekends and it helps you to spread your roots, make connections, and get a better understanding of the music and art scene in our area. If you’re nervous about going into the city for the first time, ask around… chances are, you’ll find someone else who knows some tips or is even going too and can help you along!

Teach for America

On December 2nd at 7:00PM, Kate Varnum of Teach For America’s Recruitment Team will be hosting an online information session for students from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  We will review the application process as well as host alumni who will recount their experience being a teacher through the corps as well as their work as alumni of Teach For America.  We will also discuss our core values – transformational change, leadership, team, diversity, and respect & humility – and how we partner with communities to ensure that one day all students will have an excellent, equitable education.  We hope you can join us!

Teach For America

Virtual Information Session

Tuesday, December 2nd

NEXT Application Deadline: Friday, December 5th at 11:59pm ET

7:00 PM EST


Full salary and benefits. Federal student loans deferred. All majors and career backgrounds.


Kids from low-income communities aren’t getting an education that gives them choices in life.  Teach For America is working to change that.


NEXT Application Deadline: Friday, December 5th at 11:59pm ET

All majors needed! If you are interested in service or social justice, this is for you!


Initial application includes:

  • Three, 300-word short answers
  • Resume
  • Descriptions of involvements and achievements

**no recommendation letters needed at this stage**

Teach For America is growing the force of leaders committed to ensuring that all kids have an education that expands their opportunities and gives them more choices in life. By teaching for at least two years in TFA’s corps, you will join thousands of leaders helping students in low-income communities make the academic progress that will expand their opportunities for the future.

Register for the 2015 corps – start date June/July 2015

Email if you have any questions or to learn more.

Bring your passion to the classroom.

Full salary and benefits. Federal student loans deferred. All majors and career backgrounds.

Kate Varnum

Manager, Recruitment | LinkedIn

315 West 36th Street 6th Floor | New York, NY 10018

C: 219.384.7273

O: 212.279.2080 x11259

One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.


Learn more about applying

Jobs and More

From: WCU – Communication <>
Date: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM
To: Nicole Kemp <>
Subject: Jobs and More- Copy

Hi all,

The Library has a new subscription to Bridge, a great website from the New England Conservatory Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department.  It has current information about recently-posted auditions, teaching and arts administration jobs, grants, scholarships, competitions and festivals.  There are more than 3,000 opportunities listed.

To check it out, use this user name and password – unfortunately, you can’t log in with your WCU user name and password:

Username: wcupa

Password: Donizetti15


Just contact anybody in the Presser Music Library if you forget.  Bridge will also be linked from the Library Music Research Guide and theSommyAdvises blog.

Tim Sestrick

Music Librarian, Presser Music Library

Assistant Professor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Mentoring Monday: Minors

Theresa Whitehead, School of Music Mentor

There are many minors available here at West Chester University. To give you an idea:
Found at

Minors offered within the School of Music include Music, Jazz Studies, Music History, & the newly added Music Performance Minor.

While classes for a minor may be difficult to fit into your schedule at times, it’s completely possible. The key is to prioritize, work with your advisor, & have the passion to complete it.

How do you add/drop/or switch a minor? There is a form that you fill out from the office of the Registrar. This form gets signed by your current advisor, future minor advisor, and department chair. Once it is returned to the office of the Registrar, your account will be changed online. After this, you follow the courses in your minor outline and work with your major and minor advisors to stay on the right track.

Pros to having a minor:

  • Being able to still do/learn about something you love without taking on a full major
  • Minors allow you to be more versatile in a job market
  • You are able to broaden your horizons

Cons to having a minor:

  • It is sometimes difficult to fit the 18 credits to complete a minor into your major schedule
  • More work to do

Ultimately, you are the one who knows your limits & capabilities. If a minor is something that interests you, talk to your advisor to see if it’s possible! Regardless, you cannot declare a minor until your second semester of college. Take your time to decide what will work best for you.

A little personal story – in the spring semester of my freshmen year I declared a theatre minor. Theatre has always been a very big part of my life & I didn’t want to let go of that (It was also an easy decision for me because I came to WCU with 22 credits I took as dual enrollment while in high school). I took one class towards that minor, joined the university theatre club, & auditioned for productions. However, the more I started volunteering with children with disabilities at school & home, the more I knew it is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I realized that I was tired of music major schedules & theatre major schedules clashing far too much for me to make my theatre minor work out. In the fall of my junior year, I talked to my advisors & decided to switch my minor to Special Education. It was a decision I am very glad I made. I sometimes find it challenging to create a schedule that fits both my major & minor requirements, but I am glad I made the decision all the same.

Mentoring Monday: What to do When Your Best isn’t Good Enough

What to do When Your Best isn’t Good Enough
David Logue, School of Music Mentor

There will be a point in just about everyone’s college career where this question will be asked from one’s self, “What do I do if my best isn’t good enough?” After pondering on this topic for a few months, I have concluded that this question is actually a contradiction of itself, thus rendering it unnecessary to continue thinking upon it, so if you’re in this situation, all hope is lost. But yet, I couldn’t shake this question from my mind, and my own inquiry still persisted of how I managed to scrape through certain classes when I had faced this exact situation.

Throughout my ponderings, I came across multiple disclaimers that need to be addressed before I continue forward, and at certain points throughout the paper. The first being, is your best, actually your best? Yes there are times when our boundaries and knowledge is tested, but I have come to the belief, concerning classes, that you have not tried your best until you have talked to the professor, studied to no end, and examined every possible perspective in the given material, and learned it as well as the back of one’s own hand. Secondly, if you think your best is your best, have you talked to your classmates to see how they have gone about the given material? And finally, if you have attempted all of this, and if you still are struggling, it’s now time to figure out what to do when your best isn’t good enough.

In order to address this, I will need to break this situation down by variables, for example, if given the equation x=y+9-b, solve for x, there are infinite amount of solutions, therefore making finding the exact solution nearly impossible, as the answers will just be an educated guess as to what the answer really is. Our given variables would be you (the student), the teacher, and the material. As we have already deduced that you have been and are trying your very best, thus, only two variables are left, the teacher and the material. Concerning the teacher, most of them will be human to you and understand if you are having trouble and assist you in your learning. Some teachers, if you talk to them about your test and explain how you got to your answer, will actually give you points back, assuming your logic is sound and you found a loophole in their question, but this is a very trivial topic in this large manner. I also must include that some teachers are very difficult, and will challenge you, and not give you any mercy. But if one was to start teacher blaming, that time spent thinking about and complaining about it, is time lost that you could be spending on the topic. And even if you feel your complaining is justifiable, remember that you cannot change the teacher. From all of this, we can then conclude that the teacher you have is what you’re stuck with, and you cannot do anything about it. Therefore leaving us only with the material as the only variable, but since you can’t change what the material is; this causes a problem as we’re out of variables to change.

The only other possible scenario of where the problem persists, are the relationships between these variables. The teacher and the material is absolute (as this is the core of the class), the teacher and your relationship should not affect your performance, and if it does, seek higher council, which only leaves the relationship between you and the material as the sole factor that isn’t absolute. Therefore, as you may have come to expect, this is where the majority of problems generate from, due to so many other variables within this relationship. And once again, in dissecting those variables, we will have to deal with the actual material (in a generic sense), study habits, and thought processes.

Now also having to assess one’s ‘best’, each person has their own style of how they personally work best. For example, from reading this paper, one could assume I have a very task oriented and chronological thought process, whereas other people will go about an issue another way. This is all to say, that in our own thought processes, we have found what we find to be the best for us personally that works almost all of the time. The key word in that statement is almost, which is when our best fails; we are unaware of how to adapt otherwise.

Before I come to a few conclusions and possible solutions of how to make your best better, I will need to make a few more disclaimers and statements. The first being, I’m assuming at this point you have been humbled in the face of failure, which is something you are not accustomed to, implying that you do not know how to proceed, which the rest of this paper may help assess. Additionally, you have to remember that sometimes it’s not always about the grade. In college, we approach a critical time of learning where what we learn will be applied to our particular field of study for the rest of your life. So if your grade is terrible, but you understand the material fully, in a strange and abnormal way, you have succeeded. And the final disclaimer is, sometimes, you are just forced to push through the dirty and grimy parts of class just to get through it.

At this final stage, I have identified all of the variables as to why your best may not be good enough, and narrowed them down to the relationship between you and the material, and your thought process about them. Since I have identified the problem, there are a few obvious solutions, which may or may not work. Sometimes, the hardest thing is realizing we sometimes get stuck in our own mindset which we think is the best, simply because it’s where we succeed the most.

Thus, the first solution is, adapt and change your mindset (a lot easier said than done) to the new scenario’s in which the material is set in, and is being taught. For example, if you work best in studying by following a sequence of logistical events, and your studying dates for a history test, those dates as a sort of rote knowledge will not be something that comes easily, so you will need to adapt your mindset of how to study for it. Bringing around my second point, when studying, there are infinite amount of ways in which to study. Since your first few ways aren’t working, adapt and change to another study method. For example, one person may love using flash cards, and others may like writing the material down multiple times. Both are great ways to approach studying, but sometimes, as stated above, you will need to adapt, as both have different implications of forms of remembering.

Unfortunately, in the time frame of the semester, only 3-4 months, you may not have time to find the perfect way in which to study for this particular class, where I will give my final piece of advice, which refers to some of the statements and disclaimers above. Sometimes, you just have to push through the class and know that this is only one class out of many you will be taking throughout your college career. And above all else, remember sometimes it’s not always about the grade so much as it is essential for you to learn the material to integrate into your repertoire or knowledge for your future career.

So what do you do when your best isn’t good enough? By now, hopefully one would understand there is no simple answer, but now can at least understand where the problems generate from, how to address these issues (with some sort of guidance), and understand that it will not be an easy task to get by. I had stated that sometimes you have to just push through, but that should only be held as the very last resort. Something to always keep in mind, is having the ability to access multiple different mind sets and always being able to change and adapt those mindsets, will be beneficial to have whether or not it will fail in the class. And just like riding a bike, once you have figured out how to use a new mindset, you always remember your other mindsets and can choose between them. Not only will different mindsets help you in just a few classes in college, but also influences a progressive mental state. So now, where your best wasn’t good enough, you can observe it from a different angle and perspective, and approach the material/class/situation with a different mindset that will deal strongly with another mindset’s weaknesses, forming a much larger strong circular metacognitant perspective, so your best can always be good enough.