Archive by Author

The End (Really, the Beginning)

8 May

I’m graduating! This is supposed to be awesome, and it is, but leaving Tucson is really hard too. Despite my best and misguided attempts to not establish a community in Tucson for fear of losing it, I have! I’m losing it. I’m going home again.

Except, I am going home (really, but not really, but really…). I’m from Washington state. I’m looking forward to being close to family and friends again, but leaving Tucson is really leaving the place I’ve called home for four years.

Additionally, I’ve got a job lined up after graduation!

Tangled's protagonist Rapunzel being excited

Awesome, right? I’m super excited about it because it’s exactly what I wanted – it’s close to home, it pays more than minimum wage, there may be room for growth within the company, and there will likely be opportunities to gain amazing experience and use my creative juices.

But, I’m leaving two days after graduation.

Tangled's lizard making a shocked expression

That means I have to pack everything I’ve come to own over the past four years, I need to pay my final two months of rent prior to leaving, and I still have to finish final exams, present my honors thesis and go to graduation ceremonies. After graduation, I have to get my family back on flights home and pack all I own into my little car in hyper-speed (I hope it fits). Then, I’ll be road-tripping it back to Washington with my mom to start my new job ten days after I graduate.

There won’t be any downtime for final goodbyes, or even temporary ones. My boyfriend is staying behind. He has a job here in Tucson, and he’s from Tucson. We’ve got plans for a long distance relationship and he’s looking for a job in Washington, but it’s going to be really stressful. It is really stressful, actually.

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz crying

Now, I hope I haven’t bummed anyone out. Graduation is stellar! Getting a job is awesome too! But, good things can be stressful, and I’m learning and growing still, even though my academic career is ending (for now). Endless possibilities are on the horizon. While changes are hard, I know that as one chapter ends, a new chapter is always on the next page of any good book.

Bilbo, from The Hobbit, running down a path -

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Senior Year: Challenges and Lessons Learned

6 May

Every year is a learning experience, every moment even, and my senior year has been no different. The biggest challenge I’ve faced this year is learning to self-regulate and manage my time on a tight schedule. I took on two jobs this year, and also completed my honors thesis, which involves two independent study classes supervised by an advisor.

Charlie Brown screaming "augh" with baseball mit

Since I believe in paying it foward, these are some tips that have kept me sane and on target over the past four years. I hope they work for you too!

Time Management:

  1. Respect your schedule: Set one and stick to it. If you are busy at a certain time, don’t double-book yourself. If you have ten minutes to get to class, don’t try to get coffee. If you said you’d be at work, be at work. This will keep you from losing valuable time intended for study, sleep, or eating because of disorganization.
  1. Sleep for at least 7 hours (or more): I shoot for going to be at least eight hours before I need to get up. I do this every night. Sleeping protects your immune system and allows you to concentrate for longer periods.

Boo, little girl from "Monsters Inc." movie, falling asleep

  1. Set aside time with friends or loved ones: We aren’t machines. The most rewarding part of being alive is often the time we spend with people. Don’t cut that out of your life because you are a student. “Student” is just one of your many identities. Respect and set aside for everything. I promise, it will fit in your schedule!

Blanche, Sophia, and Dorothy, from "The Golden Girls" laughing

  1. Don’t take on too much: I decided not to participate in a club because I took on two jobs. Even with this adjustment, I didn’t have time to apply for any master’s programs, which I intended to do going into senior year. I have a job lined up after graduation, so things have worked out, but at winter break I was feeling a little insecure about my decision not to apply for graduate programs.

Motivation and Self-Regulation

Love interest from Disney's "Mulan" in the middle of his motivational song - "Let's get down to business"

  1. Study Your Passion: I was able to motivate myself to work on my honors thesis even though I didn’t have a regular class time or weekly assignments because I really enjoyed working on it. I wrote and revised several short stories. This is what I love to do and hope to do forever. Working with a professor on the project was my best experience to date at the U of A.
  2. Take Breaks: Again, we’re not machines. If I’m not feeling motivated to read for a class, I’ll promise myself that after an hour of reading I will watch one episode of The Golden Girls (which is on every week night). If an hour is too much, start with ten minutes. Promise yourself you’ll work for ten minutes. Either you’ll get ten minutes of work done, then take a break, or you might find that once you get started you’ll be able to work for a half an hour or even an hour.

Those are my best tips as a senior! However, the most important thing I’ve learned during my time here at the University of Arizona is that, whether it’s during college or in that murky place called the real world which I suspect we are already a part of, the best part of life is the people we share it with. My final golden nugget of wisdom is to cherish the friends and loved ones you find here at the U of A, and let them know you appreciate them.

Four-Year Plans Aren’t For Everyone

7 Apr

the words "four year plan" on a calendar or day planner tabSometimes the standard four-year plan doesn’t cut it. Some majors are nearly impossible to finish in four years, even if you’re taking the maximum credit load. Sometimes you’re so interested in multiple majors that you decide you need  five years to finish. Sometimes, you learn in your first year that taking 18 credits a semester is not your thing, or at the end of the first year you realize the major you thought you would love is not the right fit at all. Maybe you are working full-time and trying to be a full-time student, and it’s stressing you out (it would stress me out).

Honor yourself as an individual and build your undergraduate experience to fit your needs. There are many different ways to complete your college degree. The list below only begins this list. Think of it as your leaping-off point for thinking outside the box when planning your best college experience. Always talk to your academic advisor about whether these solutions will work for your major.

Some Alternatives To The Four-Year Plan

1. Taking community college classes that will transfer over

Scenario 1: Dual-enrollment at Pima and the University of Arizona

Scenario 2: Taking a year or more off to complete credits at a community college

  • same as above
  • Check out #3 too

2. Being a part-time student

  • Talk to your advisor to make sure your program allows this
  • Talk to an advisor from Financial Aid if you get any aid that is contingent on credit load or four-year completion of your degree

3. Taking a semester off with the plan to return to the UA

Scenario 1: I am in good standing (above 2.0 cumulative GPA)

Scenario 2: I am on academic probation (below 2.0 cumulative GPA)

First Year Concerns: Sometimes Transferring Won’t Solve Anything

4 Apr

“Avoid transferring to run from a problem or to run to a place because it’s in your comfort zone*”

Maybe your first year didn’t go as planned. Many students struggle as they transition from high school to the university. Blaming the school may be your first instinct, and maybe the UA has let you down in some way. No institution is perfect. But, if you can, figure out the main reason you want to go somewhere else. Did you have a hard time finding friends or a club that interested you? Is your major not what you expected? Are you struggling financially? Some reasons are great reasons to transfer. Andy has written about those in his blog this week. Some reasons may not be solved by transferring to another university.

“One student…had transferred five times [and] finally realized that the problem wasn’t the college – the problem was her. She came to the conclusion that what she was looking for wasn’t at one particular college – it was inside herself.*”

Financial Issues:

Nanny Fine being shockedCollege is expensive. I’m not going to argue that point. But, the UA has various resources for funding your education. Just make sure you exhaust them all. If you have, and the UA is still too expensive, make sure the school you transfer to will be less expensive.

Did you contact financial aid? They are pretty quick about replying to questions via email. You can email them here: askaid@email.arizona.edu

Have you explored Scholarship Universe? If you fill out a complete profile, you have the best chance of finding scholarships that you are qualified for.

You can look at UA student jobs available through Wildcat Joblink. You log in with you NetID and password. You will have to opt in once to access services. The fee is $5.

Academic Concerns:

If you are struggling with college-level courses, transferring to a community college for a semester or a year might be the time you need to develop your academic skills. Make sure you talk to an advisor before transferring to discuss how best to prepare, what classes you can take that will transfer back to the UA, etc. But, make sure you give it your best effort over the final six weeks.

Make sure you have tried all of your academic resources, including visiting TAs, professors, creating study groups, and spending the recommended minimum of an hour per credit you are taking of study and homework time. For example, if you are taking 15 units, you should be studying for at least 15 hours a week, or more if you aren’t getting the grades you want.

man pointing and noddingThink Tank offers more resources than you may know about.

Do you need help studying, preparing for exams, or taking good notes that will help you study? Check out Think Tank Academic Skills Tutoring and Workshops.

Do you need help with science (like Chem or Bio)? Math? Writing? Spanish or French? ThinkTank offers help for that.

Need help, but can’t come in person? ThinkTank offers some Math and Writing tutoring online too.

The UA also has the Writing Skills Improvement Program, which offers free writing workshops for all skill levels. Check out the workshop schedule.

Social Disconnectedness

Your first year at the UA can be a tough one for finding friends. There are so many people, huge classes, and a huge campus for you to navigate. It’s easy to get homesick or miss your high school friends.

You probably expected it to be like this:

friends cast posing with milkshakes and ice cream

Eventually it might have started to feel like this:

Simpsons character playing frisbee alone

If you are thinking of transferring because you didn’t find friends, consider whether you made an honest effort. Did you go to social events? Did you go to clubs to meet people with similar interests as you? Did you talk to people in your classes? And, the final question, if you transferred, what would make your experience at another university different?

If you didn’t find your right group of friends this year, but do enjoy your classes and major, seriously consider staying. There are hundreds of clubs at the UA. What are you interested in? Even if you don’t think clubs are your thing, you might bond with someone else checking out the club who also doesn’t think clubs are his or her thing.

Or, if you get a job on campus, you might find a great group of friends in your co-workers, like I did.

Bottom line, you deserve to be in the best place for you. It takes courage to triumph over challenges, but you’re awesome, so I know you can do it.

main dancing and spinning: text caption reads "you're awesome"

Do everything in your power to make next year your best year in college. Good luck, and may everything go according to plan.

man putting sunglasses on: everything goes according to plan

*Quotes selected from The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

Home For The Next Four Years

25 Feb

I am from out of state, as many of you may be. When I came to study at the University of Arizona, I had no intention of making Tucson my home as I thought of it. But, living anywhere for an extended period requires that you make it your own and find the places that make you happy.

Picture of a beautiful room with lofted ceilings, wood detailing, wrought-iron bed frame and purple comforter

Not my room, but I wish it was!

I chose to move off campus after my first year because I wanted to have my own room, my own bathroom, and a kitchen. I chose an apartment complex that caters to university students. The employees are friendly and the shuttle to campus is fairly reliable. I finally decorated my room this year because I wanted it to feel like home. I did this knowing I only have one year left. I encourage you to enjoy the time you have in college, in Tucson, and make the next four years feel like home.

I also have a group of friends through work that are not in my major. Work is one of the places I feel at home. I work on campus in the Nugent building, so this is kind of cheating, but my coworkers and supervisors are my support network and social network in Tucson.

picture of three fingers with faces and arms drawn on them to make it look like three friends hugging

Finally, for me, I have several places that make my life in Tucson a place I can call home. I run and go for walks along a path near my apartment complex. I like to go to yoga, and when I have the time I go to Yoga Oasis. I like to enjoy trying new restaurants. I’m originally from a small town, so I think all the restaurants in Tucson are pretty awesome. Some of my favorites are Miss Saigon, Karuna’s Thai Plate, Papa Murphy’s (to eat in), and Rosa’s Mexican Food.

mexican restaurant - Tucson, AZ - Rosa's Mexican Food - Tacos

I encourage you to find the people and places in Tucson that make you feel at home because four years is a long time to feel like a visitor!

The Quick and Dirty: Travel Tips for Spring Break

25 Feb

Road Trips:

– Get your car a check-up and an oil change before beginning your journey.image of license plate (green and white) that reads "road trip"

– Have an emergency phone number to call if you have an emergency (like your car breaks down, you get hit, your friend has an allergic reaction or gets food poisoning).

– Know where you’re going to fill up on gas and plan to fill up before you NEED it.

– Bring travel-friendly snacks like bottled water, mixed nuts, granola bars, fresh fuit (washed and sliced, if necessary).

– Don’t drink and drive, for real. FOR REAL. And, it’s illegal to have open containers of alcohol in your car. Know this.

Flying:

– Print your boarding pass ahead of time.

– Know what you can take in your carry-on luggage:

  • Generally, for carry-on luggage, you are allowed one personal item to go at your feet and one overhead compartment luggage item.
  • No liquids bigger than 3 oz. and all must fit in a ziplock bag (sandwich sized, approximately). TSA will throw away your fancy perfume or normal-sized bottle of contact solution, for example.
  • The size-limit of your carry-on overhead compartment luggage varies by airline, but generally the small rolling bags are the appropriate size (sometimes a little on the too-big side).

– Bring flight friendly snacks:

  • No liquids over 3 0z. though security (not even yogurt)
  • No, nothing too sticky or fragrant (not everyone likes the smell of tuna and broccoli, especially if they are not eating it).
  • Yes, fresh fruits and less fragrant veggies (like carrot sticks), string cheese, mixed nuts, and sandwiches.
  • Yes, gum for your ears.

Did you know? Babies cry during take-off and landing because they are more sensitive to the pressure change. Their organs related to hearing are not the same as those in adults (because they are babies!).

Vacationing In Other Countries:

– Know the laws and how they are different.

– Know where you’re staying (have it written down and know how to get back to it if you venture into town).

– Be wary of strangers. Just because you are visiting an awesome resort beach that looks like Paradise, this doesn’t mean shady people don’t live there full time (or that visitors like yourself can’t be shady too).

– Stay hydrated with water you know is clean. Getting horribly sick from the water really ruins a vacation. Know if this is a concern in the country you are visiting and prevent it.

For More Information:

– Read Campus Health’s Travel Tips for our Athletic Teams

– Check out Veronica’s blog on Spring Break Safety and new posts coming later this week!

Image

The Center for English as a Second Language International Festival

12 Feb

Image of poster: International Festival! Tuesday Feb. 19, 10:00-3:00

Looking for a Job? Wildcat Joblink And Other Resources

1 Feb

Wildcat Joblink is the Career Services job network site at the UA. You can upload your resume and they will share it with possible future employers. You can also look through available jobs on campus and surrounding areas. Student positions are frequently posted to this site as well, so if you are looking for a job on campus it is a great resource.

I found a job as a maintenance assistant for ResLife for the summer on Wildcat Joblink last summer. It was a good job, with good hours, and kind of fun. I learned how to fix basic things in apartment buildings and got a lot of experience with painting living rooms, bedrooms, and closets different shades of white.

behr-colorsmart-48

Umm… which one do you like? The one on the left?

All I wanted was a summer job to cover the cost of living in Tucson for the summer, and it fit the bill perfectly. I also learned tons of practical stuff about fixing things that I would never have been taught otherwise.

More recently, an employer also contacted me via email to let me know about a job opening that she was interested in interviewing me for. It was a job in the Phoenix area, so I wasn’t interested, but in principle that is pretty nifty.

Career Services has many other services including resume and cover letter guidance, mock interviews, and they host the Career Fair each semester.

There is a fee, as we said in our newsletter. It is $5 to opt in to their online services. Well worth it if you ask me.

*

Wildcat Joblink is not the only place campus jobs are listed, though. Job openings and announcements are frequently listed in many of the university listservs. For example, the two positions I have in the Nugent building were advertized in the Honors Listserv.

*

You can also look for jobs around Tucson. If you have a car, you can work anywhere you want within driving distance. If not, you’ll have to look for jobs near where you live or near campus. I am using Indeed.com to look for jobs for after graduation. I’m pretty sure they list all jobs posted online. It seems like that. I’ve applied for a few different jobs around Tucson and also back home in the Seattle area, and I’ve found jobs from all different types of businesses.

I hope these three resources were helpful and best of luck job-hunting!

How To Get That Homework DONE and still have time for FUN

22 Jan

Planners

Do you have a planner? If you answered ‘yes,’ do you use your planner?

a) I have one somewhere…

b) always, it keeps me sane

Well, I understand if you answered a) I have one somewhere. If you answered b) always, this blog will have tips even the most expert planner can find useful. When I was a first year student I tried to use my planner, but I soon realized I wrote too big and didn’t have enough room to put all my homework assignments in it. So, I abandoned it entirely. For those of you who have abandoned it entirely, try these tips:

  • 1. Use OneNote or calendar functions online or on your nifty phone (if you have a smart phone) to schedule homework and organize your to-do lists. This is what I ended up doing that year and it worked really well because I was always on my computer.

For more tips on list-making, check out our past blog: 20 Tips and Tricks of Time Management.

  • 2. Consider purchasing a larger planner next time you invest (or now, if you want a new one).

This year, as a senior at the UA, I bought a family planner. I am definitely not a soccer mom, but I wanted to be able to schedule all of my classes and both my jobs on each day, hour by hour. A big planner with the hours marked on each day allows you to time manage. To me, effective time management means being able to use every part of your day exactly how you need or want to use it and not losing hours to procrastination or poor scheduling.

A well-managed schedule should allow you to eat, sleep, dance, sing, and do your homework. Here’s the secret: Schedule in time to procrastinate, doodle, dink around on the internet, or whatever you need to do to stay sane.

If you can find time to take breaks but still keep to a routine that allows you to get your homework accomplished, you are golden. You have mastered time management and life will hopefully be much less stressful.

Setting a Routine

But, I’m a spontaneous person, you might say. I write that essay when inspiration strikes! If that is 2am the day before it is due, then it is a beautiful morning to write. Well, if that is truly your belief and attitude toward homework, and it is working for you (as in, you are getting the grades you need, get sleep, and are overall happy with your balance in life) go ahead and skim what I’m about to say anyways. Keeping an open mind is a beautiful thing, right?

Benefits of setting a routine:

  • You know if you have time for spontaneous coffee or lunch with friends
  • You know you have time to finish that assignment, because you’ve set aside that time
  • You know how to balance your time, so if you want to join a club or add a job you already have those skills in place
  • You won’t accidentally not show up for work and be fired (or reprimanded)
  • You won’t miss an assignment because you weren’t aware of it

Another way to make sure you have time to do great on all your big assignments is to put all of them on the Semester on a Page. I did this for this semester so I would be able to know when certain weeks are going to have tons of homework or exams. Now, I can plan for those weeks and start homework or studying earlier than I normally would.

Utilizing Your Best Time Of Day

When is the best time for you to start a big project? Worst?

My most productive time of day is Saturday morning. I find that the best time of day for me to begin a big project is Saturday morning around 10am. That way I have at least two or three hours to work on it before I get hungry, and I have the entire weekend to work on it if I need to.

I am basically useless if I get home after 7pm. I won’t get homework done. So, I usually avoid planning to do homework if I have a long day on campus (I live off-campus). If I can start work by 6pm I can keep going for a short assignment.

Everyone has their own working style. Many people I know can do homework at midnight. I can’t. If you are aware of both your best and worst times to get homework done and use this knowledge when you plan your weekly and daily schedule, you’ll be able to respect your preferences and get everything done on time.

MLK Week 2013: Renewing the Dream

10 Jan

Check out the UA’s African American Student Affairs event page on Facebook to learn more!

RSVP for the luncheon here.