Adjusting to Culture Shock

College is different from high school and many students experience culture shock after two months. Culture shock includes feelings confused, frustrated, irritated, surprised, and disgusted by the new rules. For some students, culture shock leads to feeling isolated and depressed.

To ensure that you move through shock into acceptance and integration, get involved in your classes and in student activities. Don’t rely upon your high school friends and family to be your sole support. You are opportunities to meet new friends and to learn a lot. Work out in our fitness center. Play sports. Join a student club. Go to class and talk with your professors during their office hours for more assistance. Work with your academic advisor.

I’m giving a talk to international students to prepare them for culture shock here at NOVA this semester. Below are my tips for them:

Cultural Adjustment
Ms. Nan Peck
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
CM 306

Expect and accept that you will experience culture shock (normally 2-4 months after your arrival).

Stage 1: Honeymoon
America is baseball and apple pie. And football, Costco, Walmart, and junk food.

Stage 2: Disillusionment – Culture Shock
Expect and accept that you will experience culture shock (normally 2-4 months after your arrival).

 Culture shock includes feeling of irritation, confusion, frustration, fear, sense of loss, surprise and disgust. This is normal.

America is not like TV or the internet.
Americans love cars but hate traffic and other drivers.
Americans love guns but argue about gun ownership and gun control.
Americans love to argue.

If you don’t have good support systems (family, friends, counselors), you may experience isolation and depression.

Stage 3: Acceptance
Stay in touch with your family and friends. Get involved with student services and your classmates. Get support from your advisors and professors.

This will be one of the hardest and best experiences of your life.

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Welcoming a New Academic Year

Fall is a great time of year for academics. Like students, we get excited (and nervous) about preparing for courses. Most faculty spend their summer taking courses, reading journals, and experimenting with new educational technology. The new year gives us an opportunity to try out new ideas and ways of presenting these.

This is a good time to go shopping for school clothes and supplies as well.

What are you looking forward to most this new academic year?

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Suicide Among College and University Students

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has just posted online a new information sheet: Suicide among College and University Students in the United States.

This information sheet summarizes the data available on suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths, and describes risk and protective factors that are common among college and university students.

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NOVA Faculty Receive Honors

Congratulations to NOVA faculty who received 2014 NVCC Alumni Federation Faculty of the Year Honors from NOVA Alumni Federation. Recipients include

Andrew Bowen, Spanish, Alexandria Campus
Walerian Majewski, Physics, Annandale Campus
Johanna Debrecht, Calculus, Loudoun Campus
Jean Goodine, English, Manassas Campus
Megan Cook, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Medical Education Campus
Charles Taylor, Contracting, Woodbridge Campus

Adjunct faculty honors include
Abdullah Daouk, Arabic, Alexandria Campus
Timothy Hudenburg, History, Annandale Campus
Doriann Hildreth-Fischer, Physical Therapy, Medical Education Campus

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Taking the Challenge to Recite the Gettysburg Address

Take the challenge to learn and to recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This is a 2-minute talk, just 272 words… That’s the length of most songs, for which we learn the lyrics. (Don McLean’s American Pie is 8.36 minutes!)

Students enrolled in the Introduction to Communication course are stepping up to the challenge to memorize and recite Lincoln’s most famous speech.

NOVA students are not alone in this challenge. Learn the Address,


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VCCS New Horizons Conference

I’ll be away from NOVA starting Tuesday, April 8 through Friday, April 11, attending the VCCS New Horizons Conference.

On Wednesday, April 9th, from 4:15-5:15, I’ll present a session, No Tech Ways to Engage Students. This session is in Roanoke G

On Friday, April 11, I’ll make a presentation, “Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning” with Cheryl Huff, Germanna Community College, and Cindy Miller, Northern Virginia Community College. This session is in Brush Mountain

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Register for Summer Courses Starting April 1

Register for summer 2014 courses beginning April 1. Here are some exciting new courses being offered at NOVA:

CST 157 Ted Talks and Mary Listens
SCI 155 Nanotechnology
RPK 142 Submarine Racing II
ART 740 Basket Weaving
PED 740 Basketball: Pick and Weave
ENG 113 US Literature: How I Met Your Mother
PSY 189 US Psychology: Why I Met Your Mother

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Classroom Timer

Google now has a free countdown timer. Go to Google Search and type in “Set timer for x minutes.” You can turn off the alarm.

Nice tool for presentations and group work.

For more information, go to


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Career Services Workshops

NOVA’s Annandale Career Services Office is offering some helpful workshops for students:

Cover letters and resumes – March 4, 4-5 p.m., CA 317
Job interviews and foll0w-up letters – March 25, 4-5 p.m., CA 317
Job search techniques and occupations info – April 29, 4-5 p.m., CA 317

For more information contact Career Services, 703.323.3144

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Faculty of the Year Nominations

Have you an outstanding faculty member who has demonstrated

  • Mastery of academic discipline and
  • Commitment to the intellectual growth and development of students

One NOVA alumni and students may nominate full-time faculty for the NVCC Alumni Federation Faculty of Year Award.

Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 14, 2014.  Here is the nomination form and directions,

For more information, contact Bonnie Idle, alumni coordinator at 703.323.3749.



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