Archive by Author

The Long Study Night

28 Nov

The winds are cooling… professors are plotting… assignments are piling… Winter is here. Prepare yourselves, the long study night is coming. 

So you’ve made it to the final stretch, Wildcats. Congrats! You’re not quite finished yet, though. With the last two weeks of the semester quickly coming to an end there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Exams, projects, essays, and finals are all going to come at you like a train but it’s nothing you all can’t handle like pros.

In the midst of essay and exams it’s crucial that you remain well taken care of and healthy. Relaxation should always be a key part of your game plan for success: plan for it and enforce it. A strung out body and mind will produce unsatisfactory results that will make all of your hard work feel wasted. It’s even been scientifically concluded that a getting rest betweens study sessions helps the information stay better stored within the brain. If that’s not motivation enough for a little break, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re having some trouble racking up some good relaxation ideas, here are a few to get the gears moving:

  • Power naps: Power naps are one of the best ways to get your energy up during long study sessions (weeks). There is even some evidence that sleeping after bombarding your brain with new information helps it soak up the knowledge even more so.

  • Meditation: This is my personal favorite. Meditation is all about being aware of yourself and your surrounding and learning to approach it without the negative emotions that may accompany them (stress, fear, anxiety…). Youtube is a cool place to get some guided meditative practice if you’re new to the business.

  • Exercise: Many people say that exercise is a great way to shed the stress of everyday life. It gets your adrenaline going and your mind focused only on your body. It’s definitely a good way to take a break from reality.

  • Writing: Some people may giggle at the idea of journaling, but journaling is an awesome way to release any pent up frustrations or anxiety. Letting go of any feelings of “silliness” and writing out everything that’s on your mind helps to reflect on what you are doing and what you can be doing.

With that, fellow Wildcats, I leave you with some (hopefully) helpful tips for these upcoming finals. Remember, a burnt out brain is not capable of producing what your fullest potential has to offer.

-Diana

Advertisements

#NovemberToRemember: Tennis

22 Nov

This November we were prompted to do something memorable. Because I happen to think the most memorable times are spent with good people (good people, good times, right?), I decided to include one of my oldest friends in this memory making process. Jess and I met when we were fourteen our freshman year of high school and have stayed good friends ever since. Of course, my decision to move to Tucson and her decision to stay in Phoenix has made it so that our time spent together is few and far between: we’ve grown into our own selves over the years but have thankfully managed to stay close.

That’s why when Jess called me up a few weeks ago to invite me to a show her favorite band was playing in downtown Tucson, I was instantly game.

One of our favorite things to do together when we were younger was to go to as many shows and concerts as possible. Sadly, with the business of school and work I stopped making shows a priority. Fortunately, Jess’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only was I going to get to see my dear friend, but I was also going to go enjoy a great live performance (one of my favorite things in the world) and get some good blog content for this month!

All in all, the evening was great. We caught up, I met some of her new friends, and we all enjoyed a sweet show by a little band called Tennis. Definitely a cool sounding and even cooler looking group of people, let me tell you. The really great part of the night though was for sure getting to hang out with friends, both old and new.

-Diana

 

An Arizona Horror Story: Waitlisted

8 Nov

If it hasn’t already happened, it probably will in the future… You plan a week in advance, you wake up at 6:00 AM, you hit that “submit” button, and it’s all downhill from there. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us. Sometimes it just so happens that our semester schedules don’t look exactly the way we wish it would. So where do we go from there?

Well, like many students I’ve also been in that same boat. Even now, in my senior year, I have to deal with not having taken the right classes or being waitlisted for graduation requirements with only a semester before graduation. A bad schedule, closed classes, and waitlists can put a damper on your day. Sure, it’s a little bit stressful feeling like you don’t have many options left to choose from and you’re short on time but with a little bit of perspective you can take a step back and find an adequate solution!

Finding ways of fixing the problem, no matter how daunting, is the first step in paving the road to better days. The first suggestion anyone would give someone who is having schedule troubles is obvious: go see an advisor. Advisors know the ups, downs, and turn-arounds of scheduling. They understand that things happen and they always seem to be ready to provide a number of good alternatives. Who knows? Maybe the one class you thought you had no option of replacing has an alternative or an equivalent that can you can substitute for. And waitlists? Those aren’t forever. In my case, my advisor was great about walking me through the steps of getting on the waitlist and, more importantly, was great about assuring me that the department was working on a way to resolve the issue for everyone expecting graduation in May. Point is, there are solutions.

So yeah, not everyone gets the schedule they believe they deserve. It’s not always fair but it’s the way of the world and in the world, the things that matter the most are not the hardships that come your way but the manner in which you respond to those hardships. Be the person that goes out of their way to find a solution! You’re a Wildcat, you’ll find a way!

-Diana

#OutrageousOctober: Duvalin or Werther’s Butterscotch?

25 Oct

I like to consider myself a little bit of a non-conformist. Whether that’s true or not, who knows? But I definitely like to go against the grain once in a while, even if it’s only my own grain I’m going against. Sometimes, it’s on impulse (and let me tell you those decisions sometimes happen to be the best) and sometimes it’s with a little push from my friends.

This month, the ladies at Wildcat Connections were tasked with doing something out of the ordinary. I’m usually all for some out-of-ordinary experiences, but let me tell you… This month I just couldn’t come up with any good ideas. Fortunately for me, I have some pretty cool friends with some pretty random last-minute whims.

And that’s basically the story of how I ended up getting sprayed down in a giant metal box.

Let me just say: I’m not the type to go and get spray tanned at all. I may be down to go do some questionable things here and there but spray tans where never on my “must do” list. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with them (if anything I could use a good tan once in a while). I just somehow always thought of it as something that was cool for other people to do.

Either way, I went and got spray tanned and it was totally fine. I paid, I stripped down, and I got in the big metal box. If I’m being honest, the only thing that freaked me out about the whole ordeal was making sure I was turning in the right direction — once that thing starts spraying there’s no going back. I was not about to walk through campus looking like a chocolate and vanilla Duvalin (haha). I was going for more of the Werther’s Original butterscotch candies look.

Image result for duvalinRelated image

However, I am happy to report that I managed to successfully complete the task of turning to my right side every couple of seconds. I walked out of there a little sticky and smelling heavily of spray tan but I woke up the next morning in a beautiful shade of medium tan. Not so bad! Would I do it again, though?

Probably not.

I don’t mind getting some color on me but I do mind paying for something that only lasts a little over a week long. I would rather sit out in the the sun for a few hours (or slather on some self-tanner when I’m really in need of some tan) than pay $25 every two weeks. I have bills to pay!

It was definitely something new for me to try! Maybe next year I’ll come up with something a little more outrageous, though. Who knows?

-Diana

Finding your F R I E N D S

17 Oct

One of the most difficult things about college for some people can be trying to find a good group of friends to hang with. You would think it’d be the opposite with all the thousands of students roaming campus day and night, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not. For some, it can be one of the scariest things to do. This is especially true for those who aren’t quite sure what type of people they want to associate themselves with.

When I first got to the UA, one of my biggest concerns was similar to what I opened this blog with. For me, making friends was honestly kind of an insecurity of mine. I was a very different person when I started my freshman year compared to the person I am now. Looking back, I’m glad I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone–I’ve learned a lot about myself and have embraced myself in my entirety. Some of this, I will admit, was easily a result of my mingling and interacting with a wide variety of people.

The most meaningful thing I did during my first ever week on campus was taking the initiative to approach the girl down two doors from mine in the dorms. I think many of us forget that everyone here is pretty much on the same boat; a good majority of us are excited to meet someone completely new. All it takes is a tiny bit of courage to walk up and be able to say “hey, what’s up?” You may find that a few years down the line, those are the people you share laughs and pay bills with (roommate stuff, you know?). You’ll also come to realize that those are the people who help your inner circle grow just as you will probably do for them.

Of course, not everyone feels comfortable just approaching their neighbor like nothing. This is where campus programs themselves can come in as a life saver. Clubs, Greek life, academic organizations… the list goes on. Even work! All of these things can be great options for students to come in contact with other students who are more than likely open to building new friendships. Generally, people seem to like people. And those who don’t like people, well they always have at least one person they like.

My point is, everyone needs a friend. Why not put yourself out there?

College is something worth making memorable. As it turns out, some of the most memorable things in life happen to involve good friends and good times. Whether it takes building up a little bit of courage or joining a number of new activities someone or something will click. It’s safe to come to the conclusion that most people will no doubt be friendly to begin with.

-Diana

A Guide to Managing Time Management

2 Oct

I bet I can guess your current, or at least your recent, situation.

You have five classes a week: two of them have assigned essays within two days of each other, one of them scheduled an exam for Friday morning, one of them requires you to complete weekly quizzes on D2L, and who even knows what’s going on in the fifth class? You had two weeks to prepare for those essays and that exam has been scheduled since syllabus week but you STILL procrastinated and you’re STILL scrambling to get everything done the night before. Shame on you.

Just kidding, LOL. We’ve all been there (more so than we’d like to admit probably!).

So, if we’ve all been there and we’ve all wished we’d made better decisions then why haven’t we learned?! Odds are, if you’ve struggled with procrastinating on schoolwork once, then it’s happened twice. By this point we should all know what to do in order to stay up to date with assignments and responsibilities — I’m not here to repeat everything all over again, I’m just here to try and make it easier to get things done during the week. Enjoy.

Google Calendar

Google calendar is an awesome resource to help you keep your life organized. If you’re a student at the university then you likely have a university email through Google. Basically, if you have an email through Google you have complete access to the applications offered in a Google account including Google Calendar. GC is a great tool for scheduling events, assignment due dates, setting reminders, etc. in order to make sure that your week is planned in an orderly and attainable fashion. This is definitely one of the easiest and most efficient ways to make sure you’re never rushing to get things done again.

iPhone Reminders

iPhone Reminders is one of those apps that everyone has but no one really uses. Most of us probably wish that we could get rid of it and use the extra storage for just about anything else, but the thing is Reminders can come in pretty handy! It’s like a to-do list that literally sends you reminders of when to do whatever it is you need to get done. As soon as it gets done you check it off and that’s it!

Set yourself up with a weekly schedule

It may seem too obvious to even be a thing, but it is in fact a thing. The sooner you accustom yourself to a set work schedule during the week the sooner you’ll notice a change in the way you get things done. Say, for example, you put yourself on a 9-5 schedule: Wake up, get work done, go to class. Dedicate those eight hours to getting all of your responsibilities taken care of and you’ll likely have more time to relax and less stress to take on the night before assignments and exams.

School shouldn’t have you losing countless hours of sleep every week! There are SO many ways to get things done without stressing about whether they’ll be done well or not. It really is just a matter of trying different things out and seeing what works best for you. There is something for everyone.

-Diana

 

#StudiousSeptember: It Starts With You!

28 Sep

Every year, the Wildcat Connections team is asked to write a blog for the month of September that focuses on preparing for classes. This means exams, quizzes, assignments…the works. The thing is, there are tons of people, in addition to blogs, out there that can guide you on what to do. In fact, it’s almost common knowledge at this point (And if it isn’t, no big deal! There’s always someone to help!). It just so happens to be my opinion that during these busy midterm/project/absolute-chaos times many people understandably forget the importance of a little bit of self-care, including myself.

Preparing for classes goes beyond buying a few notebooks and some textbooks. Of course those things are necessary for success, but what is also necessary are the measures being taken to make sure your body and your mind are ready to achieve the year’s goals. Eating right, staying hydrated, and taking the time to sleep should all be things that students keep in mind beginning, during, and ending the school year. Here are a few things that I like to do to keep myself going during the school year!:

Stock up on groceries:

Making sure that you’re eating the right things will make sure that your body is on the right track for success. I like to keep a nice healthy, stocked fridge and pantry more often than not. Of course, cooking always takes time: buying the ingredients, preparing, and then cooking. Not everyone has the time to get lunch or dinner made before having to hit the books again. But the thing is, not every meal has to be gourmet! Buying fruits to snack on, easy-to-prepare meals, etc. can make all the difference in the way that you feel on a daily basis. Eating right fuels your body with the calories it needs to get things done.

Stay hydrated:

Arizona is hot. Pretty basic stuff. Everyone always stresses the fact that drinking water consistently throughout the day in important for a reason! Water bottles can get expensive and drinking fountains aren’t always the tastiest options for hydrating but there are ways to go around these things. Lots of people nowadays have a hydroflask or something of the likeness and it really does make staying hydrated much, much easier. Not only does it save you money, but water is one of the nature’s energizers: drinking lots of it keeps your body working right and your energy level steady so that you can through any part of the day.

SLEEP:

You would think that emphasizing sleep wouldn’t be necessary for many college students but the truth is that yes, it is. Understandably, many of us put our responsibilities or our social lives over the fact that getting a good night’s rest is a lot more important than one would think. It absolutely is possible to get things done in day and still be able to sleep for at least 6-8 hours a night. It’s all about managing your time and your responsibilities well! From experience, I can say that the way my days go and the things I am able to accomplish when I’ve slept well do not compare to the lack of energy and the lack of focus of a day following two or three hours of sleep. Sleep is a mood enhancer, a beautifier, and a necessary part of staying energized when it comes to being successful in everyday life.

Do these three things (in addition to whatever else you may find useful) and the path to accomplishing great things becomes a lot more enjoyable. There’s no fun in succeeding in certain aspects of life and finding that you didn’t enjoy the process or that you can’t celebrate the results. To reach the finish line, one needs to ensure that the runner is always ready to go!

-Diana

There’s a Solution!

8 Sep

One of the coolest things about taking college courses is the freedom to pick which classes will make up your schedule. Maybe you end up in a cooking class or a class about serial killers (I mean whatever floats your boat, right?). Really, the end goal when making a course schedule is to have it be a nice balance of both your academic requirements and your personal interests. It’s also a great opportunity to explore topics that spark curiosity! Sadly, it’s totally possible to find yourself having chosen something that just doesn’t quite fit with your personality or perhaps isn’t quite what you thought it’d be when you first signed up for it. Fear not, young student! It happens to lots of us and there ARE ways to either make the best of the situation or find good alternatives to “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus” (it’s an actual class offered at a college in New York).

Make some friends!

If there’s anything to consider when thinking up ways to making a class work out, it’s finding people in those classes to make the course work a little bit more bearable. Sometimes the best way to make a bad situation better is to have people around you that make it fun to be there in the first place. Making friends in your least favorite class will not only expand your social group, but it can also give you some pretty cool study buddies. Just because the material is boring doesn’t mean that class time/studying should be boring too!

Of course, sometimes even meeting new people can’t make the class bearable enough to stay enrolled in it. There may be times when you simply come across a class that, no matter what, there’s no way to get excited about it. Maybe this is because the course is too challenging. More often than not, students don’t initially like their courses because the material pushes them beyond what they think themselves capable of. Take for example Gen. Chem. Hundreds of students take this class their freshman year but there are a number, including myself, who can’t stand thinking about oxidation-reduction equations. Chemistry is an incredibly complex subject! But whether you think the material is complex or not, those who do have a hard time with it tend to feel discouraged a lot of the time. Classes like Chemistry are typically required courses for one’s major and that’s where the issue arises. What do you when the course you’re just not feeling AT ALL is necessary to complete your degree?

The alternatives:

The best option for most students is to get familiar with their professor. This means emailing, office hours, a quick conversation before or after class. Not only do most professors like getting to know their students, but it can also develop a pretty beneficial relationship with the person in charge of whether or not you pass the course. It’s more than okay to not like a class because of feeling discouraged but that doesn’t mean it should stay that way. Sure, you may not fully enjoy the material but at least you’re giving the class your full effort and that’s something that your professor will likely appreciate.

Another option, and one that most people don’t like to bring up, is considering whether a class is right for you. Many times the courses that people absolutely hate are a pretty good reflection of what the rest of your academic career will look like. A prospective medical school student who doesn’t like mathematics or any of their chemistry courses? Yeah… that might not play out so well within two years. It’s important to keep things like that in mind; certain degrees require certain types of courses in order to be completed. In other words, it’s okay to take the time so that you can think about whether you prioritize taking courses you actually enjoy to complete a degree or whether you prioritize a career goal more than anything. Not saying that one is better than another, but looking into different options could help situate you with material that won’t have you wishing you were somewhere else for the next four years.

College is supposed to be a fun experience for students–that includes classes as well. It’s not unusual to find yourself wishing you had taken a different course! That being said, it’s also not unusual to find yourself looking for ways to make the course fun or to reconsider the material that you’ll be working on for the semester, possibly even the next few years. Whatever the alternative turns out to be, the most valuable thing a student can do while in college is take advantage of the opportunities provided here. This isn’t high school anymore, with college comes the freedom to learn about anything and everything you choose to.

-Diana

 

Welcome to College

28 Aug

“Another year in Tucson, another year at the University of Arizona” or something along those lines is what I said my first day back from summer break. You could say I’m pretty accustomed to college life at this point… I’m up for graduation this May, thinking about what life after college will hold for me. Time goes by faster than one thinks!

However, I, too, used to be a freshman. I, too, used to roam the university’s campus wondering were my classes were, what the quickest route to class was, or if I would ever get used to being so far away from home and all on my own. A student’s first year at university truly is so exciting. There’re new people EVERYWHERE and a newly found freedom, different to whatever freedom existed at home, that more than likely is foreign to the incoming freshman class. Of course, with all the excitement that college brings there are the nerves and the fear of the unknown that can sometimes blind-side an unsuspecting freshman. Add to that the more than possible chance of academic underpreparedness and finally, to top it all off: unrealistic expectations of what college is and should be. These are all things can absolutely take a freshman student by storm their first year on campus—no matter how ready they may feel.

Transitioning from home-life to a college campus for the first time can be as overwhelming as it is thrilling. Moving into a college dorm is such a milestone for young people (it means mom and dad won’t be there to breathe down their backs anymore). Even students who are living at home are likely traveling farther to school, have an irregular schedule, and a number of other changes that mean life is just different than it was before. But no matter how excited they are to start this new period in their lives, sometimes the switch from the familiar to the unfamiliar isn’t so smooth; it can be as simple as having to learn to use a washing machine to feeling a bit anxious about making new connections with people. This is typically when the down-our-back breathing parents’ tips and encouragement are very much missed and appreciated. The early months of college are a prime time to hear from friends and family! It’s always the people we love the most that can make a bad day a little more bearable or help with adulting responsibilities. Even there isn’t some huge problem in urgent need of a solution it really is nice to hear from family back home—it reminds us that we’re missed and loved by people who are important to us.

On top trying to adjust to their new surroundings, one of the wildest things that students realize when they first start classes at a university: this ain’t high school anymore. Academic underpreparedness is absolutely something that students, both new and experienced, can stumble upon. Some of us can even fall prey to it more than once! The thought of having to play catch-up on class material or realizing that you have very little of the tools necessary to be successful in the course is something straight out of a horror movie for most college students. Unfortunately, with the excitement of starting a new school year many students fail to get everything done before classes begin. A good piece of advice for parents in this case would be to give little reminders to their students about things like tutoring and office hours—just two of many resources that can help students stay on track with class material that they may not feel completely ready to take on. Moral support is a huge must in cases like these. Sometimes, knowing that one is underprepared for school can be a blow to one’s perception what they’re capable of accomplishing. Remind students that it’s okay to not always be on top the game in the beginning—what matters is that they put in the work to get where they need to be.

And lastly, after making the efforts to adjust well to campus and working hard to stay on top of class material there is always that sometimes unrealistic expectation of what college is supposed to be like that gets torn down after a couple of weeks in. American culture has created a grand image of what college is: parties, never-ending fun, the ultimate freeing experience. And of course maybe some class time and some studying here and there. To some extent, yes college is somewhat like that. Of course there are parties, absolutely it’s a freedom like none other, but it’s also tons of hard work and dedication to class. On the social end, unless they’re the person that sparks up a conversation with anyone and everyone, some students find that the majority of peers don’t always interact with one another as much as they’d like to. Basically, some may find that they’ve overestimated certain aspects of the college experience. The important thing is for them to understand that there’s nothing wrong that and that, even if that’s the case, the only way to make college enjoyable is to make the best of the time, experiences, and people that they come face-to-face with. And hopefully, if they do that they’ll find that, although not a scene straight out of a movie, college still really is a pretty awesome place to be.

The fact of the matter is college is a whirlwind of a new reality for freshmen. It takes time to adjust, it takes a lot of hard work to keep a handle on all of the new material being introduced, and through all of that they might find the legitimate college experience to differ from what they may have initially thought it to be when they moved into their dorms. They’ll figure things out eventually and they will be successful in the long run. Alternatively, parents may find that their relationships with their students will strengthen in the process. It’s important for students to have that support, even if it’s only over a phone call. The next four years will be huge in both students’ and parents’ lives—the best way to make the best of them is to work with each other, not against each other.

-Diana

Welcome to College: Don’t Be a Stranger!

17 Aug

A new thing can be exciting and refreshing. That’s the beauty of change – it’s what makes day-to-day life a little more exciting than it was the day before. But change can be a big hurdle for a lot of people, AND THAT’S OK. Learning how to adjust or figuring out how to best transition into college isn’t a cakewalk for everyone. In fact, it’s probably a bigger issue for a lot more people than one initially thinks. The reality is that change, as exciting as it is, is also pretty nerve-wrecking.

I remember being 18 and moving into my first dorm. Being from Arizona myself, I knew a few people from home that were on campus but if we’re being honest no one that I was close friends with. The excitement of starting college was real but so was the fear that I would never be able to adjust or find friends like the ones I had left back home. Fortunately, that was not the case.

Yes, it is possible to find your niche in college! Yes, it is possible to transition gracefully! It’s all a matter of putting yourself out there and facing that tiny fear of rejection that lies in the back of one’s mind. University is full of opportunities for mingling with other students: clubs, jobs, and tons of other social activities. The only thing left to do as a student is choosing which route to follow; truly the possibilities are endless when deciding on how to get involved on campus. For those that aren’t sure where to start, here are a few option to get you all going.

Joining clubs

One of the most obvious ways to get involved on campus is everyone’s go-to suggestion: clubs. The University of Arizona has over 600 available clubs on campus! Ranging from things like self defense, major related subjects, or cultural communities there is more than likely something to appeal to everyone. And honestly, what better place to find people who share the same interests? The best way to make the U of A home is to find somewhere that feels like home. Take some time to check out their website at clubs.arizona.edu!

Make some friends AND make some money

Aside from school, the second best place to meet new people is probably going to be work. Not only does work give students the chance to make some extra cash for whatever purposes, but it also allows students to connect with other people nearby. Campus offers a variety of jobs whether they be in the student union, in college offices, or doing odd jobs like transporting students in golf carts, assisting in the residence halls, or managing bike racks, garages, etc. However, don’t limit yourself to campus! There are plenty of walking distance jobs on University Blvd that can bring in loads of tip money as well. Finding a fun job to fill in the downtime is more than possible in a college town like Tucson!

Opa!

Greek life is HUGE here at the U of A. Campus offers more than 50 academic, leadership, and social greek chapters to help students connect with their peers, stay involved on campus, and gain some very beneficial community service hours all at once. Those who want to reside on the ever busy Greek Row can find a great house to join and those who prefer a less involved fraternity or sorority can find an equally fun leadership-focused organization. Greek life is just another awesome way for students to make lifelong connections with friends while getting in valuable and memorable experiences for the long run. The university also offers a website (greek.arizona.edu) where students can check out the many chapters available and their corresponding fees.

Give back to your community

Tons of students at the university are not only looking to meet new people, they’re looking to make good use of their time here on campus. For some, volunteering and community service work is an interest that not only lets them find a positive group of peers to surround themselves with, but it also provides them with some incredibly useful service hours that can help build their academic resume. The university has an easy to do interest form that can be submitted to ASUA to help match you with great volunteer opportunities at volunteer.asua.arizona.edu.

Of course coming to a new school or even a new state can be incredibly unsettling for some people. Realistically, it happens to most of us. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way forever! There is SO much for students to get involved in here on campus that there really is no reason to waste time wallowing in the first year jitters. It only takes a little bit courage to go out and find the perfect fit and the next four years will fall into place all on their own. Don’t be afraid to go out and find the ideal club, job, or social community! College is meant to be a fresh and exciting new adventure: let’s make the best of it!

-Diana