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I have learned several things this semester. The first and most important thing I learned is your education has to be high on your priority list. If you are struggling, seek help immediately, it is vital to your success. My course work consisted of budgeting and finance, economics and finance for non-finance managers. These courses have taught me that understanding budgeting and finance can be beneficial in work and your personal life. Both classes were difficult for me but after seeking help I passed the budgeting and finance class, determination has been the key for me. My advice to fellow students during finals is to prioritize, seek help, study and be determined to reach your goals and success.


Of all the seasons in the midwest, I have to say that autumn is hands down my favorite one. The weather has cooled down from the hot weather of summer, but hasn’t hasn’t become the unbearable cold of winter. Everything is crisp and there’s a riot of color everywhere. One of my favorite activities in autumn is to go for long walks around my neighborhood, in the parks, and hiking out on the trails. The changing leaves make for a beautiful landscape and the weather lends itself well to wearing hoodies and drinking hot beverages.

My favorite park to walk in is Tower Grove (mostly because it’s so close to my house), but there are tons of parks in the city from which to choose. Forest Park is probably the best known one, and Lafayette Square park is small but so full of color it’s worth going to. I’m also a huge fan of Castlewood Park in the county for some excellent hiking, the trail is good and there are look out points on the top of a giant hill where you can see for miles. Laumeier Sculpture park offers a beautiful landscape and some really cool sculptures all throughout the grounds.

There are so many more awesome places to visit in the city and out in the county, I recommend taking some time to explore the area and enjoy the autumn colors!




I speak three languages. One is my mother tongue. One is part of the school curriculum since I was young. One was self-picked-up due to mere personal interest.

Learning languages is difficult, not to mention languages that are not in the same “system” as your mother tongue. Take Chinese and English as examples: the basic writings are nothing alike, and due to cultural difference, meaning of expressions are half a world apart.

However, if you yourself have that thirst and determination, being fluent in another language is not that tough a task. It is hard, of course, but it will be enjoyable if you love the language enough.

I have to say this upfront, as for me, learning language is not just learning how to listen, speak, write or read. Language is the firmest and trickiest boundary between cultures, it is an inevitable part of any culture. If you plan to get over the fence, be ready to learn how to deal with the thorns attached. This post, however, will not show you how to absorb the culture, because that would be up to individual’s interest and ability. Here, I would only show the general steps that I took to be able to “make Chinese sounds,” because it takes a lot more than this to “speak Chinese.”

I am a Chinese-drama addict. In other words, I could not possibly live without watching at least 1 episode of Chinese drama per week. During breaks it’s per day. After a while, I realized that I could understand what the people are saying without looking at the subtitles, sometimes. And then I learned the words, the sound, and the way some common phrases are used. That was my first layer of foundation.

For Asian languages like Chinese, once you get a hold of how grammar works, it is actually a simpler job to understand the language. I bought several textbooks on this and started from scratch, annotating all grammar points from the simplest greetings to more complicated structures. This set of notes never left my side. Whenever I have time, I would take them out and read them thoughtfully, but would not force them into my memory. Until this point, I had had some grammar foundation.

And then, I went back to carefully watch even more drama and TV shows while minding every sentence being said and paying closer attention to structures that were familiar with me. I would recite the sentence occasionally, until it naturally became part of my knowledge. A little bit of history of the country would also help a lot in learning vocabulary

Learning vocabulary is an essential part, but this comes after the grammar. After I had a decent amount of grammar in my head, I turned to cover my surroundings with vocabulary. Every piece of furniture in the room would have its Chinese name on it, and after I was familiar with these words, I changed to other things like colors, shapes, etc., until I had known how to describe my surroundings, myself, the people around me.

After combining both the vocabulary and the grammar, I visited Chinese websites that were about things I like and created a few accounts on Chinese social networking sites. Here, I made Chinese friends and talked to them about our mutual interest through typing to improve my writing. The conversation could last forever, or only in a few surfaced greetings. It doesn’t matter — just take every chance to have. A lot of people that have the same interest are really friendly and enthusiastic. You will eventually find someone that can talk to you verbally. And this is when you practice your speaking.

To conclude, my advice is to take your foundation study seriously and build on it with things in the culture that interest you. I also try to speak Chinese to all the Chinese people I’ve met, in other words, speak Chinese whenever and wherever I’ve got the chance. Because constantly speaking the language will make it yours.




Maybe I’m broaching a subject that has already been done, or perhaps more than a bit stereotypical? But it’s near and dear to my heart. St. Louis offers up some awesome local coffee shops to fulfill the caffeine needs of any student. If you’re looking for something relatively close to Fontbonne I would have to recommend either Kaldi’s on Demun, just off Clayton Rd., or Foundation Grounds on Manchester, just off Big Bend. Both shops have great coffee, breakfast and lunch items, baked goods, and a relaxed atmosphere perfect for doing homework or hanging out with friends.

If you’re willing to explore the city a bit more, there are a few different neighborhoods with great shops. The Tower Grove neighborhood has Mokabe’s and the Gelateria on South Grand, Hartford Coffee House on Hartford St., and the lesser known, Sweet Art Bakery and Cafe (a personal favorite of mine) just north of Tower Grove Park on 39th St.

In the Delmar Loop neighborhood there’s Meshuggah Cafe and Blueprint Coffee. In the Central West End there’s the Coffee Cartel, Palate Coffee Bar, and Cafe Ventana. Also, in random places around the city, you have Park Avenue Coffee in Lafayette Square, Benton Park Cafe on Arsenal and Lemp, The Mud House on Cherokee Street, and Comet Coffee on Oakland. Each establishment has something a little different to offer its patrons. I would highly recommend taking some time out to try the different, local coffee shops that St. Louis has to offer.


Crushed Red is Crushing it!

by Claire October 19, 2015

Although I have been quite a few times before, I thought I would let you all know of an amazing restaurant that I attended this past weekend. Crushed Red, located at 8007 Maryland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63105, is an “urban bake and chop shop” that serves cuisine that is fresh and delicious. The food […]

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Falling Into Place

by Raven October 16, 2015

Hey there Griffins! Back with more advice and a story to tell. We all have dreams right? For some of you, that dream may be becoming a doctor, politician, athletic trainer, or even a first generation college graduate. Whatever your dream is, know that it is achievable and you have every right to chase after […]

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5 Things Under $10 that Every College Girl Needs

by Claire October 12, 2015

5 Things Under $10 that Every College Girl Needs 1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens These pens are the most amazing pens I have ever used. They come in a variety of colors and I have the neon pack. They are great for color-coding notes and your planner. These are a little over $8 and can be […]

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Favorite Study Spot

by Quinn October 12, 2015

When it comes to studying at Fontbonne, which is something I have to do a lot of, my location of choice is one of the corners of the second floor of the library. It really helps to be in the quiet atmosphere of the library in a secluded space. When I’m uninterrupted I can focus […]

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My favorite place to study

by Karen October 8, 2015

My favorite place to study is in my home office. I enjoy my office because it is quiet, relaxing and I can close myself off from the family to study uninterrupted. Everything that I may possibly need to study without leaving the room is in my office.  I have a refrigerator stocked with water, soda […]

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My Study Spot

by Max October 7, 2015

In college there are a lot of distractions, be it electronics, or even other people. We all need a location where we can get away. So it is important to find your one location where you can really lock your mind in and focus on what needs to be accomplished. For me, it’s on the […]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.