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Midterms, Registration, and More!

11 Oct

Fall is finally here, and with the changing of seasons comes the onslaught of midterms! This can be a very stressful time for students, but I would say it’s an especially stressful time for first-year students. I remember that for me, personally, just the prospect of midterms would bring on anxiety my freshman year.

Think about it: in high school, students are tested essentially every other week on a relatively small amount of material. Now, they have to account for a month and half’s worth material, and in addition to that, they can’t even be sure of exam formats since this is their first time testing with a particular professor. These are the first round of tests that freshman will be taking as college students, and that is a big deal!

However, there are ways to plan preemptively and make it through midterm season! For example, students can take advantage of the University of Arizona Think Tank. Think Tank offers a wide variety of services for a multitude of subjects. Additionally, many of these services are of no cost at all. So depending on a student’s level of need, they can get whatever kind of assistance they require! Additionally, to stay on top of their assignments, students should be taking advantage of the library’s resources, like the Assignment Scheduler! The library also has free study rooms that students can book for group and/or individual work.

In addition to thinking about midterms, students must also think about next semester since registration is upon us! The place to get all of a student’s registration information would be uaccess.arizona.edu. In the blue boxes along the right side of UAccess Student Center screen, students will see when registration opens up for them and if there are any holds on their account which may not permit them to register for courses! In addition to that, their academic advisor will be listed in one of these blue boxes. As a senior at the UA, I cannot impress upon students enough how important it is to visit your advisor before registering for courses!

Lastly, while seasons are changing, a lot of students are catching small (or large) colds. Getting sick in college is rough – you no longer have your parents readily available with warm soup and warmer hugs!! Even if you’re not feeling ill, it is completely normal for students to feel homesick during this time of the semester. Personally, as an out of state student freshman year, October was when the glow of being “independent” started wearing off, and I started counting down the days until Thanksgiving break!

To avoid feeling isolated and to confront homesickness, students should consider talking to a peer mentor at the UA. For example, ASA Peer Mentors has an excellent staff of students who are willing to listen, guide, and assist in the best way they can! Additionally, if students are living on campus, then they can always speak to their Resident Hall Advisors (more commonly known as RA’s)! If they are looking for additional support and would prefer talking to professional on campus, CAPS is an amazing resource offered by the UA as well. The Center for Counseling & Psych Services (CAPS) exists so students can discuss their personal problems, find personalized treatment, and stay on track with their academic goals.

That’s all for now — as you can tell, the beginning of Fall can be quite a stressful time for students, but if they take advantage of the multitude of resources around them, they will be just fine!

-Amna

 

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How To: Hack Registration

9 Oct

As chaotic as it might seem, registration for the spring semester is just around the corner, Wildcats! I don’t know about all of you, but I feel like the semester just started, so the idea of already planning for the next one has me a little frazzled! Luckily, there’s nothing to worry about because if we all just take a few of these preliminary steps —————————————————–>> we should be golden for registration!

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So let’s get started!

  1. GO SEE YOUR ADVISOR. This is my third year registering for classes y’all, and let me tell you I have made every excuse to avoid doing this. (Don’t get me wrong, I really like my advisor, but sometimes it feels like such a hassle to make the appointment, you know?) But please, just do it! It will be worth it. Your advisor will talk you through all the courses you need to take for graduation, major, scholarship, and financial aid purposes. All you have to do is sit there, listen, take some notes, and OH YEAH, make the appointment.If you still have to fulfill your gen ed requirements, ask around for some interesting ones! Trust me, there are some great gen eds out there and you do not want to get stuck taking one that you’re not going to enjoy. Do your research; ask around! reaction adventure time interesting tell me more GIF
  2. Before signing your life away to a class, check your professor out on ratemyprofessors.com. This site provides you with the student perspective of particular professors. Each student post contains the course taken, grade received, as well as personal input regarding the professor or class in general. Make sure to read through a good chunk of them to get the most unbiased review! In addition to ratemyprofessor, utilize UA’s Teacher Course Evaluations. After logging in with your UA net ID, visit this site and input all the data for the course and professor you want to search.
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  3. Become more familiar with UAccess! My hope is that all of you are already placing your courses of interest in your shopping carts. If that’s not the case, don’t worry – there’s still time! Go to UAccess.arizona.edu —> Click on your Student Center —> and hit “Search” on the drop-down list on the left side of the screen. Remember, if you ever feel overwhelmed in this process, refer back to my first point: make an appointment with your advisor! In addition to loading up your shopping cart, also make sure to check the blue boxes on the left side of your Student Center for any holds or notices on your account that might stop you from registering. cartoon adventure time high five jake the dog finn the human GIF

That’s all for now! Good luck with upcoming registration, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂

 

#StudiousSeptember: Stick to the Syllabi!

26 Sep

We are officially in the thick of September, Wildcats! Likely by now, a lot of you are just about to or already have taken your first midterms of the semester. However, before you let the stress get the best of you, remember: the semester is just starting! Take the time to get organized ahead of time so that when the time for your exams comes you can … Get your head in the game?

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Okay, I really wanted to get that high school musical reference in there, but you see what I’m trying to say LOL. Anyway, for me personally, when I’m getting ready for the semester, I always dedicate time to studying my professor’s syllabi.

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So no, that does not mean that I quiz myself on the percentage worth of clicker points in classes! Here’s a more detailed list of exactly what I look for:

  • Does this professor have a time table laid out for when assignments are due?
    • If so, it’s time to whip out those planners! Or if you’re not into planners, then maybe even go print that page of the syllabus. For me, having my planner filled out ahead of time with important due dates is really important. I can check at the end of the day that I’m not forgetting anything! This is a major key, especially for freshman in my opinion, because it can be hard managing so many different classes in college!
  • Are the exam dates listed?
    • Same as my last point: opening your planner on Monday and seeing that looming “CHEM EXAM” on Thursday might not be the best sight to behold, but it sure beats forgetting about that Chem exam, am I right? dancing angry reactions zac efron feels GIF
  • If it’s a points based class, how many points do I need to get an A?
    • This is more important than you might think! All classes are set up uniquely. In some classes, quizzes are just a quick check for the professors to make sure the class has a general understanding of the material. In other classes, the culmination of all your quizzes could be worth more than 25% of your grade! Make sure to check out these details.

That’s all for now — don’t stress too much this semester and try to get prepared ahead of time!

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-Amna 🙂

 

My Not-So-Irrelevant Gen Ed

11 Sep

We have all been in that one class where we basically sit there with our eyes narrowed wondering, “Why though?”  It’s almost a freshman rite of passage at this point! And I must say, I was feeling the salt my freshman year in some of my classes.

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^ Although, I wasn’t smiling like the Morton salt girl (ha ha), she helps lead me into my next point: One of the gen eds that I found particularly hard to swallow (salt pun continued?) my freshman year was my Weather & Climate class.

I would like to start out by saying that I’m a business major (MIS, specifically), so this Gen Ed was not exactly applicable to my field of study. Additionally, my professor LOVED all things weather and climate. Like he would absolutely chase a storm or something just to see it. So sitting in class, I guess I could say I was entertained to some extent, but at the same time, I knew if he walked through the calculation of dew point temperature ONE more time, I was going to lose it.

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Also, his absolute love of the subject led to him assigning quite a bit of work to the class. Our quizzes were extensive to say the least. I genuinely felt like I was putting a lot of work into this gen ed – potentially more work than I was putting into my Accounting class (as a business major!). I was feeling the frustration, people.

One day, however, I was doing some homework at a cafe, and the people next to me were discussing global warming. Not to get political, but they were discussing how there was no “real proof” for it, and my eyes were absolutely rolling to the back of my head. However, instead of festering in my quiet rage/contempt, my mind was shifting to topics like “air quality index” and the low heat capacity of the ocean. In that moment, I realized that I was actually retaining a lot of the information from my gen ed.

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Now, obviously even before taking this gen ed, I realized that our atmosphere and general things like weather, are important to understand and have a definite effect on my day to day life. But sitting there across from these randoms (who no, I did not lecture – although maybe I should have?) made me realize that if I genuinely try to take everything I can from these gen eds, I can come out of college a more diverse, well-rounded, and intelligent individual.

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SO, after all that, here are some of my tips on how to combat GEN ED INDIGNATION:

  1. Try to sit down with the perspective of someone with a genuine interest in the subject. Having an open mind and at least feigning interest to some degree can make a difference.
  2. Do your best (with the help of tools like ratemyprofessor.com) to find professors that are passionate about their subject. I genuinely believe that my Weather & Climate professor’s love for his own class contributed to my ability to retain information.
  3. Make friends in your gen eds! It makes it a million times better studying for a topic that don’t have a lot of interest in if you have someone sitting through the struggle with you.

Alright, that’s all I have for now! Good luck with your gen eds, Wildcats!!

-Amna 🙂

Don’t Cram, Calculate!

23 Aug

Perhaps a multitude of things come to mind when you hear the word “cram.” Maybe you think of Jensen Ackles cramming food in his mouth..
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Or maybe, like most college students, you think of cramming for school — test, quizzes, homework, EVERYTHING.

Honestly, I cannot sit here and say that I am not guilty of cramming myself. It’s almost inevitable in college when you have a million and one things on your plate. However, one sad Thursday last semester, I happened to learn my lesson.

As I said, it was dark, dreary Thursday morning. But, that’s a lie (lol) — it was actually really sunny and a pretty typical day in Tucson. However, it was the day of my second midterm in Finance — a class that was notorious for difficult and most importantly, random exams. In the week leading up to that exam, I must say that I was feeling the pressure. But like most of my classmates, I wasn’t quite sure how I should go about preparing for this exam. A lot of these looks were passed around in class that week:

Anyway, I let other classwork come first and before I knew it — BAM, it was the night before the test. Already the resolve was clear in my mind: Yeah Amna, you’re not getting any sleep tonight. And true to my word (thought?), I did not sleep. I stayed at Eller for most of the night with one of my best friends and finest studying partners, and needless to say, there was a lot of coffee.

I have to say at about 4 in the morning my absolute fear and terror began to disspate. Finally, I was gaining a good understanding of the material. There was a light at the end of the tunnel! By 10am, I was back at Eller and helping other students with problems — and not going to lie, I was feeling pretty prepared for this exam!

As I settled into my seat, I reached into my bag to grab all my necessary tools: pencil, formula sheet, and most importantly, calculator. Suddenly — panic. I couldn’t find my calculator! I kept rifling through my bag and coming up empty! I thought I would faint in that moment.

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Earlier, I had been running through problems with my calculator outside of the auditorium so that must have been where I left it! I booked it out of that auditorium to check my previous spot. It was no where to be seen. I ran down to my professor to see if he had any spares — he didn’t. Maybe one of my classmates had an extra? Nope. I felt like my spine was frozen in place. I was going to have to take this exam without my calculator.

After the exam, I walked out of the room looking like quite the zombie. My best friend ran up to me asking how it went — she looked pretty stressed herself. As I was telling her what happened, one of the students I was helping earlier walked up to me with my calculator in hand. Apparently, in my exhaustion I had left my calculator with him earlier and he placed it in his bag thinking it was his own!

Upon this realization, I have to say I was pretty upset. But after some time (a long time), I realized that it was my fault. I was too tired coming into this exam and was running purely on caffeine. On any other day, there was no way I wouldn’t have triple checked my bag for my calculator before walking into the exam auditorium. I shouldn’t have crammed!!

So yes, after some major reflection I realized I didn’t have anyone to blame beside myself. I couldn’t blame it on the dark, dreary Thursday..

Anyway, here are some tips to avoid being in a situation like mine:

  • Don’t wait until the night before your exam to start preparing. Sometimes it happens, I know, but try to avoid this at all costs!
  • If you’re unsure about how to best prepare for an exam, visit your professor during their office hours.
    • Pro-tip: Sometimes it’s even better to get advice from TAs and preceptors because they very recently went through the same course.
  • Form a study group with the right people. You need to find people that are motivated (just like you!). This way, you can motivate each other to stay on top of your studying.

So good luck this semester, Wildcats! Stay prepared and ahead of your classes and you won’t regret it!

-Amna 🙂

The Most Important Meal of the Day?

30 Apr

For years, we have all been hearing, “Don’t skip breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day.” A lot of us (I) have been ignoring these words for years. And the reason for that, to put it simply is: I’m lazy. School starts early (you know what I’m talking about 8AMers). Why would I wake up even earlier than the sun just to stomach a few Cheerios? It just never seemed worth it.

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When I look at the concept in the grand scheme of things, it obviously makes sense. Start your day with a well-balanced meal and kick start your metabolism. Also of course, there is that side benefit of not being completely starving in your 11am class. So recently I thought to myself, why not give it a shot? Let’s see. Will it really make an impact in my overall life?

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So to promote starting my day off right, I decided that for one entire month I was going to force myself to make time for some breakfast. Now just for the sake of reality, as great as the eggs and toast from above look, that didn’t quite happen each day. BUT, I did make sure to put something into my system. I wanted to make sure it was something healthy, however, because I didn’t want to just overload myself with sugar. Mostly, it happened to just be half a grapefruit.

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That’s probably not the most balanced breakfast, but I figured it was better than nothing. Initially, it was weird eating that grapefruit… But overtime, I definitely did start seeing some change. My body started craving breakfast in the morning. Also, I noticed the cravings that I used to have way later in the day and towards the night, started going away. And most significant (and something my poor mom has been trying to beat into my head for years) is that I finally had some energy during my 8am class!!

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So Wildcats, just to summarize, I definitely recommend it! I am really going to try to keep this up throughout the year. I used to be the person that woke up 15 minutes before I had to hit the door that desperately threw on my clothes. Now, I am the person that wakes up 20 minutes earlier, and puts grapefruit in a ziploc. 😉 LOL, okay hopefully I’ll soon move on to making eggs and such. Anyway, give it a shot, Cats! Maybe you’ll see an improvement in your energy too!

-Amna

#AdventurousApril: Trying a Hot(?) Pepper

15 Apr

Hi everyone!

So this April I wanted to do something a little adventurous but also kind of fun! I have always wanted to do the hot pepper challenge. Growing up in a Pakistani household, I’m definitely no stranger to spicy food. However, I still thought it would be fun to straight up eat a hot pepper and see if I could handle it!

So I decided, why not now?

I headed down to the NRich store in the Student Union with my beloved coworker, Shannon, and low and behold- peppers! I knew it was a sign, so I had to buy it. Shannon expressed some concern though, and neither of us were quite sure if serrano peppers were actually hot. (Hm, if only there was some way for us to magically search and figure out the answer to that question…)

But anyway, we decided to ask the other college student who was working as cashier. He seemed pretty certain that I should be good to go, so I made the purchase! By the time we got back to the office, a lot of my coworkers were working. When I told them what was happening, they too were skeptical.

However, I’d like to say this: They were hot. Not “kind of hot” as I might have said six times in the video below, but quite hot.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I failed my ancestors. I couldn’t handle the spiciness, people! Please watch as I completely lose it at work.

Shout out to Shannon for recording the video and coaching me through it!!

Best Wishes, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂

Keep Pushing!

7 Apr

We finally made it to April, people! March seemed endless for sure, but we aren’t quite through with the school year yet. I know how hard it can be to stay motivated at this point in the semester. It seems like professors pile midterms and papers on at the same time, on the same day, in the same second (do they meet together and do this intentionally? probably not, but feels like it!). But to make it clear, it sometimes feels like at this point you’re just getting trampled with the load.

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I’m here to tell you though, keep pushing! Whatever your dreams or aspirations are, hard work and dedication pay off in the end, and I really believe that. Now, I can understand if you don’t necessarily buy my word on that- as I, too, am just a mere college student- however, here are some really smart people saying stuff to the same effect:

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Disclaimer: I don’t really know who said the last one, but it’s a pretty background, right?

So whatever it is that motivates you: money, family, glory (or all of the above), keep going. You might not think that the Spanish quiz on Tuesday has any impact on your life overall, but study for it! Do great on it. Then, do the next thing on your list. And keep going. I really believe that our work ethic now will determine where we will land in the future.

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So, grab a bottle of water (or a Starbucks coffee) and get back on the track (or back in the library). Keep grinding and pushing. Hopefully, you’ll look like this guy up there^^.

Or… if you’re like me, you might look like this—->

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Whatever it takes though and however hard it is now, it’s going to be worth it! So good luck, Wildcats. Finish this semester off strong!

-Amna 🙂

 

#MiddlingMarch: We All Need Someone to Lean On

3 Apr

We are officially in the thick of the second semester as you all can probably tell. I’m sure, like me, you all are just trying to keep your heads up with all these midterms. Please know, that you will make it! Even though it’s hard now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. During my Freshman year, I made a fatal flaw that I want you all to avoid. I became so wrapped up in my studies and exams that I completely caved inward. I kept all my problems, worries, and stresses to myself.

I didn’t look too cute when I finally couldn’t cope. Everyone, seriously everyone, in my opinion, needs someone to lean on. So whether it be a family member or a close friend, talk to someone if you feel really stressed. Honestly, talk to someone before it even gets to that point.

So the first step is finding someone that is willing to listen. For me, that is my mom. I cannot believe that there was a point in time that I thought that it was excessive she wanted me to call her daily. She wants to make sure I’m doing well! Freshman year I would just give her cursory answers: “yeah, I’m fine,” “oh yeah, I sleep enough,” “don’t worry.” I’m sure you are all familiar. I urge you now, though: Confide! Take advantage. If someone, maybe not your mom, is willing to listen and care, talk to them. Sometimes sharing your burden with someone else lifts the weight off your chest, even if just a little.

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Make sure that you can be there for them too. Ask them how they are doing. Talk to a friend, tell them what your day looks like, ask them how their day looks, meet them in the library, knock out some assignments together, grab Starbucks. I promise, I promise, I promise you will feel better knowing you’re not alone in this.

So good luck, Wildcats! Don’t let the midterms weigh you down too much and reach out to your loved ones. They want to know how you’re doing.

-Amna 🙂

 

Being a Peer Mentor

31 Mar

Hi, my name is Amna Mazhar, and I am a peer mentor for the department of Academic Success and Achievement. Here is a little about myself: This is my second year at the University of Arizona, and I’m an MIS Major in the Eller College of Management. This was the first year that I have paired being in college and working at the same time. Just to start, I want to say that I love being a peer mentor. I have learned a lot this year, and I want to say a little bit about how rewarding this experience has been for me and could be for you!

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Being a peer mentor has taught me a lot. Not only do I feel more comfortable speaking with people I don’t know – we call about 50 first-year students each month – but I also find myself feeling more capable. There is a multitude of resources that our campus offers, and one thing that I always like to bear in mind is that first-year students don’t typically know about them. The knowledge and experience that we hold and offer students can immediately impact their daily life.

To give you more of an idea of what this job holds, I’ve listed out some of our routine tasks and responsibilities:

  • Working with a partner on specific features of our weekly newsletter (from formatting to contributing content)
  • Writing blogs on a regular basis regarding information that would be useful to new students on campus
  • Connecting with roughly 50 students monthly, on the phone or in person, to relay important information and touch base on how they are doing.
  • Keeping detailed documentation, written and online, of interactions with students
  • Updating first-year students about a number of campus resources, dates, and deadlines they should be aware of via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Organizing and administering, with the help of the team, monthly events for first-year students to involve them with campus

This might seem like a lot, but that is another great thing about this job. It has made me so much better at time management. Learning how to balance my school and homework schedule with my work schedule has really taught me how important it is to use time wisely. I find that I am more efficient and effective at any given task at hand.

Another great thing about this job, fundamentally, is being able to make connections with students. Sometimes all a student needs to hear is that someone is looking out for them and genuinely cares about how their day is going. We are here to help and facilitate the sometimes overwhelming transition into college life! If I haven’t expressed this clearly enough, this is an extremely rewarding job. If you like helping others and being creative, this is a great job for you, and I would encourage you to apply!

-Amna