Staff members share their reading preferences
First, a note. I’ve received emails from quite a few people in the last two weeks wondering when they’ll hear from us with the decision on their applications. The answer is: not for a while! We’re still mid-process — seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, for sure, but far from done. Hang tight!
Liz and I are both at home reading today. More accurately, Liz is reading, and I’m reading when I’m not writing a blog post. Dan and I have already told you about our reading days. Today the rest of the staff chimes in, survey style. (Thank you to Kristen for providing the survey questions!)
Do you listen to music while reading?
Christine: Yes, something that is not distracting, though. Taylor Swift’s “1989” has been great background noise! I’m also a fan of the iPod Genius mixes for anything moody and 90s (Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, etc.).
Kristen: On and off. I find that some well-timed lively Latin American pop can help get me through a long afternoon.
Laurie: I find music very distracting when I am reading applications (or reading anything for that matter). However, I do like the steady hum of my space heater. The extra heat is a real plus as well.
Liz: I actually don’t. I like silence, though sometimes a little background noise is nice. More recently I’ve been reading during “snow days,” when Tufts has closed due to inclement weather, which normally is a rare occasion. Given the weather, lately I’ve had the news on in the background while reading to keep up with the storm! But usually, I don’t have any music, etc.
Favorite beverage to accompany your reading?
Kristen: Coffee, followed by some more coffee and perhaps a cup of coffee after that.
Laurie: I alternate between hot and cold beverages all day long. Coffee in the morning (of course), cold water throughout the day, and then tea in the afternoon.
Liz: This depends a bit on the time of day! I’m a big fan of hydration, so I tend to have a large water bottle that I refill throughout the day. In the morning I also will have a nice hot cup of coffee, and in the afternoon, I sometimes will make a fruit smoothie. It breaks up the day and is a nice treat to look forward to!
Christine: Water, always water. Sometimes a nice hot tea when the mood strikes.
Pet peeve while reading applications?
Laurie: My biggest pet peeve is when I misspell or mistype words when I am writing my notes. Our new system does not have an auto correct and I always need to go back and edit my work.
Liz: My biggest pet peeve when reading is when an applicant doesn’t follow directions or pay attention to details within the essays. We’ve seen it all as readers — including applicants whose essays are written for other schools. A word to the wise: stick to the word limit, answer the questions we have asked and read through your essays to ensure you’ve uploaded the essay for the right school! Attention to detail is important, and is something we keep our eye on.
Christine: Applicants not filling out their academic information completely.
Kristen: A cold room and a shoddy application.
What incentive do you give yourself to help make it through a pile of applications?
Liz: For me, my incentive is always food! I won’t let myself eat breakfast until I’ve read at least a few files on a long read day. The same thing is true for eating lunch or a snack. I always make a “hot” lunch on read days as well, since I don’t normally do that during the week. I usually will give myself a goal and when I meet that goal, my reward is a tasty treat.
Christine: If I get through five applications, I can take a stretch break. If I get through 10, I can have a snack break!
Kristen: Coffee. Is the coffee thing coming through?
Laurie: Reading days are all about incentives! Throughout the day I set reading goals to meet before getting a drink, eating lunch, moving to a new reading location, taking a shower, etc.
Your reading “mascot”?
Christine: Not really a mascot, but reading means I can cuddle up in my favorite blanket on the couch, and have the fire on when it is chilly. It is especially idyllic when the snow is falling, which has happened a lot this reading season!
Kristen: I’ve got two little kiddos, so seeing them (or even a picture of them) livens up the day.
Laurie: I do not have any mascots, but I do need my reading space organized to maximize comfort and efficiency before I can start. I need pillows, a blanket, a place for my water, a stool for my feet and a surface for my mouse. I rarely read at a desk or on a table because it is uncomfortable and slows me down.
Liz: I unfortunately don’t have a reading mascot; I do however have a favorite chair I sit in with my lap top. The key to a great reading day is yummy food, a good lap desk, a warm blanket and cozy socks. Reading days are one of my favorite things about my job! We get to learn all about amazing applicants and help build, what we hope will be, a truly remarkable Fletcher class!
Since none of us have mascots that can top Murray for cuteness, here he is again: