faculty profile

Frank Guarini

PEER MENTOR
Email: fguarini@stevens.edu

Class of 2016

Major(s): Visual Arts and Technology (VizTech) and Science and Technology Studies (STS)

Extra Curricular Activities:

  • Writer for The Stute (School newspaper)
  • Member of the Honor Board (Upholds the Honor System and investigates potential violations)
  • Member of TechCreative (Freelance student-run design firm, e.g. Logos, websites, etc.)
  • Vice President of the Art Installations Club (Helps organize art installations and other VizTech events)

Advice you’d like to share with the Incoming Class: “Time management is key!” “Don’t be afraid to try new things!” These, and a dozen other clichés, have been thrown at you all for the past two marking periods of your high school career. Maybe not these exact words, but you definitely recognize them, and you definitely rolled your eyes at them, just as you did when teachers, parents, or returning graduate students told them to you in your final days of high school. I hate them, and clichés themselves for that matter, but when I asked to give the Class of 2017 some advice, well, ironically, that would be to not only abide by these clichés but embrace them. Time management is the essence of succeeding in college, and there is so much to do, especially at Stevens, that you really should try new things. To give you a legitimate frame of reference for why I say this, let me illustrate my high school years in contrast with a mere one year at Stevens. In high school, only in high school, I was timid, cautious, and feared ridicule when it came to extracurricular activities. I wanted to write in the newspaper but feared dealing with the jerky kids involved with it. I'm a comic book reader and collector, and I would never dare to read it in the open, again, because of the jerks. At Stevens, I'm one of the more active writers for the school paper, I'll read my comics wherever I want. There is no need to fear ridicule anymore, and if you haven't yet, it's time to be yourself (another cliché) — to the max. If I can walk around playing Pokémon and wearing my professional wrestling t-shirts, you can do your equivalent to my weird interests. If your interests are the same as mine, then give me a call so you can face my Chandelure and talk about why Wade Barrett isn't getting a push. If none of that made sense, stick to the last sentence. It's definitely more inspirational (and less weird).

MY BEST STUDY TIP: Most of the other mentors, I'm sure, are engineers, so as a Humanities major, I'll speak on behalf of Humanities courses. Whether you take only your required six courses or take more, Humanities courses will entail quite a bit of reading and writing. With that being said, there are two things you need to do: Read and write. Although this may sound both redundant and simple, if you don’t read, you’ll end up resorting to SparkNotes or some other summary service. If you read summaries, you’ll probably be rushing to begin writing since you waited so long. And, finally, if you wait too long to write, your final product will be subpar. Reading a book: A few hours. Writing a paper: A few more hours. Failing an introductory Humanities course: Not priceless. Once you bear through it, you, and your GPA, will be thankful you did, because having regrets about your academic potential is the worst.

My Time Management Strategy: For my first semester I had little to no time management strategy. As a result, not only did my GPA suffer (especially when comparing it to what would be the next semester), but I was constantly extremely stressed, exhausted many days, and ended up missing over six classes – six classes right off the bat. For my second semester, I’ll admit, I didn’t do so much to change my time management strategy, but I did change it. I ensured that I had homework and readings done before my classes, actually invested time into making sure my work was quality, and ended up increasing my GPA by .2 points, which is the difference between being on the Dean’s List or not. More importantly, I decreased my stress a lot and allowed myself much more extra time to do things that I was personally interested in. I got to enjoy the world much more, and life was just better. There is going to be a lot of free time now that you’re in college. Therefore, you’ll need to avoid temptation and occasionally just put on your headphones, head to the library, and work. Isolation for a couple of hours or so, or whatever you need to finish work, isn’t bad, because it allows you to live stress-free for the remaining hours. Just do it. I promise it’s worth it.

Resources at Stevens I’ve Used: Although it sounds odd to call them a resource, the faculty at Stevens is your best educational tool in existence. Not only do you not have to purchase them (or illegally download them), but your professors are the most knowledgeable there are. If you have a problem in-class or out, they are there to help. Now, this all sounds like generic praise, but I’ve had numerous experiences where I was able to meet with a professor during his/her office hours, one-on-one, and resolve all of the problems I had. Out of class, there is so much to learn from your professors, that you would be, in the most blunt way, stupid not to. In regards to your future careers, your professors are, or have been, engulfed in those fields that you’re interested in and know first-hand what skills you need to get involved. And when you’re getting overwhelmed with the multitude of paperwork and other official “school business” you’ll have to handle, the administrative staff is always there to walk you through things. No matter what your trouble is, there is a faculty member who not only knows the problem but is willing to help.

What Do You Like Best About Stevens? Its size. Although it can sometimes work against the school when you’re looking for somewhere to hang out on campus during the weekends, the small stature of Stevens makes it such a close-knit environment that fosters a lot of personal connections. From the faculty-student ratio to the closeness of dorm buildings to class buildings, there is a much more low-key atmosphere that allows for a lot of relaxation and, on the weekends, “socializing” (I’ll leave that open to interpretation). You’ll get to know everyone very quickly and will feel at home in no time.