Posts Tagged 'Noel Hincha'

To the Next Freshman: Remember to Call Mom

nature-field-summer-quantity.jpgBy Noel Hincha – A nervous student rushes into a classroom to sit down amongst a sea of others tapping their pens against fresh paper. Another student races with sandals beating against scorching pavement, trying to make it to the first education class. Now, fast forward about nine months. A sleep-deprived-coffee-high student parades out of the last final exam and into a liberating summer vacation. Another student waves goodbye as their roommate packs up the final box and waits for the congested elevator to make it to the ninth floor. The first year is done, and freshmen transform into sophomores.

Here are words of wisdom from one class to the next:

  1. Procrastinate less. Take charge and dominate the syllabus. Manage your time wisely, as in focus on school and prioritize. Visit your professor’s office hours.
  2. Stay humble. Your grades constantly ebb and flow, so try not to be overly confident with one good grade. Always study.
  3. Group projects. Whether you are a follower or a leader, eventually you will have to own up to responsibilities or crash and burn with your manufactured squad.
  4. Be involved. Join clubs and talk to the awkward guy next to you. Build yourself a network both personally and professionally – it all begins your first year. Have fun.
  5. Deep breathing. It takes time to adjust, try not to sweat it; however, always remember: mental health is just as important as physical health. Be healthy, sleep well.
  6. Stay true. Try not to compare yourself to others. The college experience is unique and, rightfully, all yours. Be yourself.
  7. Explore Milwaukee. Pop the Marquette bubble and venture out downtown, at the beach, in the bus, and around the South Side. This is your city, now.
  8. Love learning. Isn’t that why you’re here?

Love for Academia: A Major Problem

hands-1080792_960_720.pngBy Noel Hincha – I enrolled at Marquette as a pre-physical therapy, exercise physiology major. Then upon preview, I switched to be a biomedical science major. Then in August, I changed to the biology major. Then, once orientation started, I became an unofficial English major. Then, as days flew by, I finally turned into an anthropology major. I traded in my chemistry textbook for a sociology one, and my biology textbook for a French one.

To put it succinctly, I don’t know what I’m doing; let’s be real and strip away all the formalities. It’s been a year, and I’m still standing in a fog at the beginning of an unbeaten path filled with the thorns and perils of being “multi-interested.” I fled from the hard sciences – if you love her, let her go – to be met by Shakespeare, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Neanderthals. Frankly, I love them as much as I loved learning about human pathology and walking through cadaver labs. I think truly being multi-interested is a problem.

I take interest in almost every subject. I wanted philosophy, biology, speech-language pathology, architecture, history, English, journalism, anthropology, physics, education, law, marketing; so, I spent a year dillydallying around core courses and electives. I joked to my friend, “I might as well get a Ph.D. in every field, never get an actual job, and then pass on the debt to my children.” It’s an internal catastrophe to love academia.

Maybe, I can label myself as merely another delusional and indecisive millennial addicted to travel and social media uprisings; however, for the sake of adhering to social norms and following a field that encompasses as many passions as possible, I’m an anthropology major. I suppose all the rambling above could be more concise: It’s okay to be undecided. It’s okay to take time and truly discover one’s successes and challenges. It’s okay.


A Feminist’s Perspective on Campus Life

maxresdefault.jpgBy Noel Hincha – Like every other first-year student at Marquette, I felt a little culture shock in the transition from high school to college. I sat in lecture halls of 100 peers, roamed around campus on my own schedule without the help of bells and hallways to find my way, had to make even better decisions of time management and association; however, the greatest culture shock was the other gender: men. I came from an all-girl’s Catholic high school. Now I attend a co-ed Jesuit University.

A little background: I cannot say I lived inside a “woman-cave” for four years without the presence of men, nor can I say my high school was particularly special. Our hallways, although, highly decorated and vibrant with light wafts of unbaked cookies and putrid, bathroom odors, were normal. Our classrooms, although, filled with the screens of iPhones, smell of taco dip, and an amusing but respectful atmosphere, were normal. Our school, although, a winner of awards in sports, academics, arts, and theatre, was normal. It was the girls and faculty who made my high school special, if anything; it was them who made me become confident and capable, to see the world through a feminist’s perspective. Allow me to share.

  1. What is makeup? The first thing I tried to ease the transition into college was to wear makeup. It lasted a week, and I was through with petty eyeliner, stabbing myself with mascara wands, and frantically trying to find brushes. Back in the day of an all-girl’s school, I and everyone else were relatively comfortable being bare-faced and beautiful without artificial compounds. I suppose the confidence carried over to college; I can impress someone with a little wittiness better than with a little Cover Girl.
  2. Pride and a lot of prejudice. Walking around O-Fest, I noticed the diverse array of student organizations ranging from Fencing to Gender Sexuality Alliance to Latin-American Student Organization and everything in-between. A few days later, I mentioned GSA to a friend of mine. A relatively meaningful conversation about the gay community within our society ensued, but ended abruptly when I was confused about something to which he replied: “Shouldn’t you know about that stuff? You know, coming from an all-girl’s school.” I proceeded with a rant about women and sexuality. It was one of the first wakeup calls I encountered about prejudice toward an all-girl’s school.
  3. Choosing wisely. At the end of the day, an all-girl’s school personally taught me to love my friends because boys come and go. I see girls – whether they went to a co-ed high school or not – fawn over boys and ditch their friends only to end up lost and heartbroken within a few weeks, but “been there, done that.” A school where the best support comes from girls who encourage and love each other changes one’s social perspective. The world no longer revolves around boys and begging for their affection. One facet of feminism I learned taught me to be confident and capable, independent and strong. I find it cliché, but I can follow my own ambitions efficiently with or without someone by my side.

An all-girl’s school is an educational choice, and perhaps, this is merely a platform for me to express gratitude; a thanks to my high school education for instilling in me a sense of confidence to love myself, a capability to find pride in my identity.

Signs from the Past: A Montessori Education

download (43).jpgBy Noel Hincha – I went to a Montessori school – Milwaukee Montessori – until high school. Some consider it a liberal or “out there” and progressive, educational system. It is a place of no homework, minimal tests, independence, and varied structures; however, to me it was a place of freedom and responsibility, community and memories. My mother insists I would have imploded at any other school and continues to insist that I am the way I am because of my Montessori education – I take it or leave it to my independent streak and liberal attitude. Nonetheless, I must admit that a Montessori education, if nothing else, is unique and quite wonderful.

Tactile: Everything was hands on – literally, everything. How did you learn math? With beads and abacuses. How did you learn to write? With sandpaper letters and wooden shapes. One’s fine motor skills were refined to the nth degree, and then some – remember the pink towers. I learned to crochet and knit by the third grade. I could write in cursive and read in kindergarten.

Community: Until high school – senior year, in fact – I did not know that class grades were divided individually: one class for each grade. Since first grade, I was stuck in a classroom with three other grade levels. Class structure was divided into groups: first to third grade, fourth to sixth grade, and seventh and eighth grade. To what extent did this help? I understand and value community, respect age differences, learn to guide and be guided, and become comfortable with diversity. I would venture to say that these are values others learn at later points in life, not in the first grade.

No homework: Again, it was not until high school that I was harshly awoken to “the real world.” Not to be mistaken, I did have homework every now and then. Maybe a daily writing assignment, a reading assignment, some extra research and refinement; but, my time after school was spent playing outside, watching TV, making snacks, hanging out with friends, doing chores, and having an actual childhood – not one with my ten-year-old-nose dug in between the pages of a math book. Admittedly, I took this for granted.

No tests: It probably would have been nice to know what a scantron was before my high school entrance examination, but have no fear, my hand endurance was exemplary due to cursive writing. Although, my first high school test –English literature for freshman – had so many wrong answers, I thought red meant it was right. Never again did I fail a test to that extent. I still have not figured out if this is a pro or con of a Montessori education.

One room: Yes. I stayed in one room for each “class division” – one room from first to third grade, one room from fourth to sixth grade, one room from seventh to eighth grade. There were three grade levels in one room with maybe two teachers. Interesting architecture, no backpacks, no textbooks. In other words, I think I lost ten pounds when I entered high school from maneuvering around three flights of stairs and gained some serious back muscle from lugging around backpacks half my weight.

Time management: Whether alumnae of Montessori schools wish to admit it or not, we all possess the ability of time management and – maybe – ambition to work hard, play hard. Since a young age, the rules were merely guidelines and it was our own hearts and minds that pushed us forward. I remember having all the free time in the world to discover my ambitions and interests because I had sufficiently allocated my time and learned to work hard independently of an outside source’s commands – and hey, I still have some free time because I maintain this characteristic.

If nothing else, a Montessori education allowed me the freedom of expression and work ethic. I follow my own path at my own time, responsibly. No one pressured me to strive for A’s – because we did not have them – and I experienced holistic learning for the sake of knowledge and being a decent human being. Because of a Montessori education, I am in love with learning, for I fell in love with it at a young age; or maybe it was the pink towers – they were pretty cool.

Teaching is a Calling

6276586123_62b8be09c0_o.jpgBy Noel Hincha – When I was young and impressionable, I wanted to be a teacher. I liked the idea of being a role model and an innovator to progress the education system. Well, I liked the romance of being an ESL – English as a second language – teacher: to travel the world and engage in cultures. Then, I volunteered for two weeks at a school my senior year of high school. Teaching was more than the ideals I had, for it was a calling, and I was not called.

“Vocare” in Latin means “to call.” The service-experience-program was implemented into my high school’s schedule and fulfilled the mission of service and a Catholic education – at least, of learning to be a decent human being. 173 excited, relatively privileged girls ventured out into the world to serve the “poor and vulnerable,” the unprivileged: those who considered the latest iPhone and memorizing a Starbucks order the least of their worries.

I was placed at Journey House, then relocated to their partnering school: Albert E. Kagel Elementary School. I spent two weeks with K-4 children, one section bilingual and the other monolingual. It was two weeks of perpetual smiles and laughter with a side of fatigue; of running after kids who didn’t want to play at their designated stations and wandered off; of opening chocolate milk for those with the dexterity of plywood and eating MPS school lunches; of channeling both my inner child and inner mother; of having to keep a straight face while the boys called each other “butt heads.”

So, what did I learn – theologically, professionally, educationally? Theologically? I learned I’m still not comfortable calling or labeling others “poor and vulnerable” because in the end, the most privileged are actually the poorest of spirit and most vulnerable to unhappiness – wallowing in materialism, consumerism. Professionally? I learned I’m not cut out to be a teacher because it truly is a calling; it’s a profession relying on those with specific characteristics: patience, organization, discipline, passion. Educationally? MPS, statistically, is not the forefront of education, but it’s not the fault of teachers who still maintain a sparkle in their eyes after all the years.

L’École, Xuéxiào, La Escuela

images (1)By Noel Hincha – School is school is school. Education is education is education. From the cavemen, since the Greeks, and to modern day, learning proves to be important – if not essential – to developing decent human beings and cultivating intellectual advancement. However, not all schools or educations are equal, and so vary from city to city and country to country.

It’s no secret America does not place considerably high in education rankings; when compared to the rest of the world our system is not the best, but it is not the worst. On a global scale, countries simply possess different educational systems that produce different educational outcomes.

Here is a mirror and pair of glasses:

  1. Freedom: Perhaps the basis of Americanism, but some students find the very aspect a major – no pun intended – difficulty in college when figuring out the meaning of their life endeavors at the ripe age of 18, especially within liberal arts. Almost incomprehensible to the American mind, other countries allow their students to choose a career pathway from as early as middle school age. France, in high school for example, sorts students into social studies, literature, or science concentrations where they consequently focus on their desired path. A system like the French may decrease “undecided-major-young-adult-crisis” stress. But what is better: depth or breadth?
  2. Language: Arguably, the most integral aspect of culture and a vital factor in an increasingly interconnected world. Of course, immersion and bilingual schools exist throughout America; however, numerous countries normally and absolutely require the learning of English as well as another foreign language. Some schools in France require two languages at a minimum: English and Russian, English and Spanish, English and Italian, English and Chinese – the list continues indefinitely. Then, in China and many Asian countries, English is a rigorous requirement. So, back to the mirror: most American high schools require only two years of a foreign language, and Marquette only requires a minimum of foreign language up to the intermediate level depending on one’s major.
  3. Price: In a most informal manner, all I’m saying is that Marquette’s collegiate expenses are about the equivalent of the America’s median household income while Germany’s tuition costs an acceptance or rejection letter – free; I’ll just leave this here, ponder the politics.
  4. Time: The allocation of time varies from culture to culture across the world, and the educational system feels the impact. In China, students take a noon nap to rejuvenate lost energy. In France, students take an hour to two hour long lunch break to appreciate cuisine and socialize. In Niger, students walk miles and miles to find water and bring it back to their home before school. In Israel, students attend school from Sunday to Friday. In America, students spend hours before, during, and after school working on extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. Schedules vary from sunrise to sunset. Priorities differ and a war between interest and requirement evolves, but in summary: every culture aptly uses their time.
  5. Tests: Sometimes grades cannot be the highest priority; sometimes grades are the only factor. In an ideal world, students are not their test scores and GPA; however, the world is less than ideal in this regard. An indefinite, ever-growing means of quantifying human intelligence persist throughout the international scene. In consequence, the stress and well-being related to such means persists. A question up to the leaders of education: what is better? Testing students consistently to adjust curriculums, stimulate competition, and conduct analytics? Making one test’s grade determine the future of a student’s career, socioeconomic position, and honor? Or, something in between?

With a capitalistic mindset, it is easy to make education a competition; with a stubborn attitude, it is easy for education systems to consequently lag behind others. There is not a simple answer as to what makes one country’s schools better than another’s; there is not a simple plan detailing how to advance American education. Infinite factors exist that contribute to the advancement or decline of a country’s educational system. What works in one country might not work in another without severe political and socioeconomic changes. So, where does one plant their roots or take a leap of faith?

For Now: Interviews with Marquette COED Students

_9596765_origBy Noel Hincha – A month and a half – almost two – flows by; it’s filled with exams, studying, socializing, and exploration. A first-year student walks about campus, her face burrowed in her book, trying to finish the last chapter of a reading assignment. A million thoughts compete for prominence amongst her daily tasks and schedule: What am I doing? Another first-year student strolls through the AMU, his face slightly sweaty and residue of crafts stuck to his shirt. A smile beams from his face, and his friends question the tape and glue adhered to his clothing; he just came back from service learning.

Students weave in and out of sidewalks, classrooms, dorms, and each other. Now, they are students. In a few years, they will be the new generation of gifted teachers weaving in and out of students, hallways, and their own classroom. For now…


Lupe Serna: Elementary Education and Spanish Major, Bilingual/Bicultural Minor

Why or what made you pursue teaching?

I want to help people and I love children, so I want to interact with children and show them – especially minorities – that they have the potential to succeed academically and outside the classroom. I’ve had good teachers that believed in me, that helped me excel and succeed as a student. My personal ambition and good teachers influenced me to pursue teaching.

How do you think Marquette will prepare you?

I think the Marquette education program prepares students well by allowing them to experience hands-on teaching as soon as freshman year. It exposes them to different classroom experiences and gives them an idea of what they will potentially encounter in the future. I think this helps students better prepare for their career. In essence, it gives us an opportunity to put into practice what we learned in the classroom.

What are you most excited about?

I am excited about spending time with kids, getting to know them, and showing them different skills that can help them in the future as well as help them realize their potential as a student. I also look forward to challenging them so that they can be open to new opportunities and different ways of thinking.

What do you think will be some obstacles?

It’s hard to think of any obstacles, but I think it will be difficult for me to teach students who don’t demonstrate a desire to learn; it’s not their fault, but it will still be hard for me to look past that trait and realize or sympathize.

Angel Fajardo: Secondary Education Major

Why or what made you pursue teaching?

What made me pursue teaching? It was a factor of a lot of things, but three in particular stand out. The one that planted the seed: I used to watch a movie called Stand and Deliver, it is about a teacher who leads a class of underperforming Latino students in Los Angeles to pass the AP Calculus exam – it always has a soft spot in my heart, and there’s a character named Angel in it; I wanted to be that teacher, the Edward James Olmos who could take hidden talents of his class and bring them to light. The second factor was during middle school when a substitute teacher came in, and I –a middle school, MPS kid – became a smartass, correcting the teacher. She told me, frustrated, “If you’re so great, why don’t you teach the class.” So I did, as well as a weeklong detention. The most influential moment, however, was during a weeklong community service by the seniors of my high school. My site was at an elementary school, and the kids and I took to each other immediately – I realized I could do this for the rest of my life.

How do you think Marquette will prepare you?

Quite a few of my previous teachers were Marquette alumni, and each had a unique way of teaching. They had high expectations yet were personable and inspirational, trying to shape me into the student I knew I could be – they weren’t just looking for a paycheck. I think this is how Marquette will prepare me; any college can teach someone the material, but Marquette is going to teach me not only what to teach, but how to teach.

What are you most excited about?

A student’s gratitude is probably what motivates me the most; success is relative. I am most excited for the moment a child looks at me, and says that I made a change in their life.

What do you think will be some obstacles?

I am my own worst enemy. I procrastinate more than I can afford and beat myself up when I know I have not performed my best. On top of that, not every student is going to accept me, despite my best interests; that rejection is probably going to hurt more than any circumstantial situation I could find myself in.

Emma Nitschke : Secondary Education and French Major

Why or what made you pursue teaching?

The reason I’m pursuing teaching is for the interest I have in the material and for the joy of teaching. I wanted to pursue French and have always been fascinated in languages; I figured if I loved it so much, I would probably enjoy sharing that learning with my students. As a Christian Formation teacher, I found interacting with students to be refreshing, and it would be different every day. I like the idea that I can help young people learn skills, potentially develop fluency, and help them become more aware of the world around them.

How do you think Marquette will prepare you?

I think Marquette will prepare me in depth and breadth of experiences it offers me. First, all my teaching courses will teach me how to be an effective and caring teacher by discussing theory of education and strategies to implement in planning curriculum and maintaining control in a classroom. My French major will allow me to deepen my knowledge on the subject so that I am qualified to teach it. Finally, service learning will allow me to remember social justice and implement it in my instruction. Student teaching will be the dress rehearsal, introducing me to the life of a teacher.

What are you most excited about?

The thing I’m most excited about is getting to know my students – seeing new faces, personalities, skills, and lives. Further, developing a positive relationship with my students and developing a rapport in the classroom will be an interesting journey to undertake each year.

What do you think will be some obstacles?

I expect there to be obstacles in education, like there are in everything else. I worry that my students won’t like me, that they may disrespect me, that they won’t understand my explanations, that they’ll hate my projects, that they’ll refuse to do homework. Teaching, as a career, can be easily overwhelming and consuming. There is also a fear of unemployment, especially for my intended path. In the past, public schools cut French languages out of their programs in favor of Spanish and Chinese. Also, unfortunately, in America, we don’t value education and teachers aren’t paid as much as other jobs. Even through all these doubts, I still choose to major in education and French; my desire to be a French teacher, to be called Madame and make high schoolers sing songs about verbs, is louder than these doubts.


For now, they are college students; their days are counted by exams, homework, late nights, and community. For now, they are young adults; their dreams are made through inspiration, determination, and a little leap of faith. For now.

What is a Marquette Educator?

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