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Relaxation, Adventuring, and Goals

10 May

There is nothing more exciting than getting to the end of the school year. When the textbooks come to a close, the door to summer relaxation and adventure open wide and with that, the chance to set some new goals. This is the best time for students to take advantage of their freedom to get in some good times and some even better goal setting!

After a long and busy year, it’s only fair that our future biochemists and school teachers take a well-deserved break. Whether it’s between work or internships or if it’s between 12 hours naps, the summer is the perfect time to go out and have some fun. Of course, it’s important to stay busy (work and school are practically a year round thing), but it’s also important to take some time to sit back and soak in the sun.

And what better place to soak in the sun than good old Tucson? For students staying in town during the break, it may feel like there’ll be nothing to do in this impending ghost town, but that’s just not the case. From hiking to road trips up north, there is definitely more than enough to keep one busy if they’re willing to brave the heat. For those going out of state for the summer, well the possibilities are just about endless there too!

Students should also take advantage of the upcoming break to start thinking about what goals they want to accomplish for the fall semester. Many students begin to think about research positions or internship opportunities for their second school year but don’t realize the amount of planning and time it takes to find one, let alone schedule meetings and interviews! Many professors, graduate students, and organizations begin recruiting undergrads pretty early on, so it never hurts to start thinking about what’s next with a bit of wiggle room between semesters. Whatever it is students are looking forward to doing their second year at the university, there is no time like the present to get prepared.

The last day of classes is fast approaching us here at the university and it’s more than safe to say everyone is ready to wrap up. It’s time to make summer break worthwhile!

-Diana

Summer is Coming…

20 Apr

As the thousands of university students on campus pull themselves up from their creaky lecture hall seats, professors pack their belongings, and high school tours groups wipe the sweat from their brows… there is a shared moment of awareness. Quiet sighs break out throughout Tucson. Soon the now bustling college town will come to standstill for eight weeks. The Ubers will retire for the time being. In that moment, everyone begins to feel the energy creeping back into their bones. The air is buzzing again and the sun beats down on campus in the foretelling that summer break is finally near.

While the sun foretells of summer break adventures and the local Ubers prepare for a well-deserved vacation, the university, as always, demands that all students’ T’s are crossed and their I’s dotted. That means following up with registration, preparing for finals, and getting summer plans in order.

Most students should have already registered for their summer or fall semester courses by this point. It’s important to make sure this is done before students leave school in order to have the opportunity to speak with a school representative in person rather than over the phone or by email. Everyone knows how frustrating things can become when the lines of communication are made tough due to distance. Typically, students who have issues with registration may simply have a balance on their account which prevents students from finalizing their course selections. Check in with students to ensure that they are ready and excited for their next semester on campus. Remember, most problems can be fixed in a matter of days!

Not only should students be looking to make sure registration is secured, but they should also begin thinking about final exams. Finals are typically the most stressful part of the semester for many students and although many of us would rather not think about them for as long as possible, it’s better to prepare with a good amount of time than to be freaking out the week of. Scheduling out final exam dates and looking into exam material are the best ways to get a feel for what a student’s final exam week will look like.

Unfortunately, for some students, the pressure of exams can get to be too overwhelming whether they prepare early on or not. Taking the time to relax and taking care of any emotional or physical distress is vital. A healthy body and mind make for a much more productive and successful outcome in stressful situations than would otherwise be likely to happen. A good routine that involves healthy sleeping, eating, and exercise habits can wildly benefit students during this busy time in the semester. As always, calling your student to make sure they’re holding up well can also help in making a difficult week a little bit better.

The closer summer break gets, the more students begin to think about what they’re planning to do during those two months. Many students like to take this time to relax and vacation somewhere with friends and family. A good way to make the summer a little bit more productive is to look into internships, job opportunities, and school-affiliated travel projects. The sooner students begin building up their resumes with great experience history the easier their future years in school are likely to become. By the time they graduate, they’ll have a good year or two of job-related experience to back them up in the workforce.

Wherever your student finds themselves at this point in the year, be sure to offer your help and support. It’s likely that they are doing well and are excited to finish up their first year on campus with a bang. As always, it never hurts to double check important matters and to get prepared for the upcoming weeks with a comfortable time cushion in case any emergencies pop up. Better to be safe than sorry!

-Diana

#AdventurousApril: Solo Date Night

18 Apr

The past few weeks have felt like an extremely busy time for me in comparison to other months. Because of some annoying but very necessary time-consuming activities, my adventurous side had to take it a bit easy for this month’s blog. Despite how much I wanted to go sky-diving or back-pack through the jungle for a few days, I decided a much better and more efficient use of my time was to go see a movie. Solo. A solo date night at the movies, if you will.

Now, I’m not against spending time alone. In fact, I absolutely love it! It’s actually incredibly beneficial and important for people to learn to spend time alone comfortably. However, I had yet to go out and do things, other than grabbing a bite to eat, I would normally do with friends by myself. So, the movies seemed like a great way to get started.

It was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I watched Beauty and the Beast (again, because I love it so much), had my own little popcorn and drink, and no one to focus on other than myself. Of course, it’s normal to feel a little bit uncomfortable at first. You’re in a public place, doing an activity that is usually done in pairs if not larger groups of people. But you soon realize that it doesn’t matter and, in all honesty, that the people around you don’t even care.

If you’re ever bored or just want to spend some alone time with yourself, I highly recommend going out to see a movie. Maybe even start out a little more slowly by grabbing lunch or dinner. There’s really nothing better than being comfortable in your own space doing whatever it is that you feel like doing!

Take it from Alan, he has a right idea…

-Diana

#MiddlingMarch: The Ides of March

4 Apr

So how exactly does one handle March? It’s likely that thought has probably never occurred to you. Brutus and Cassius chose to lead more than 50 conspirators in the murder of Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare’s famous play… Luckily, in the modern age, the ides of March don’t require such brutality like the kind that stabbed poor Julius in the back. No, for a college student March just brings the overwhelming sense of “so much to do, so little time.” Of course, midterms require our undivided attention especially when as many as three can pile up on the same day (suspicious professor conspiracy perhaps?).  However, this doesn’t mean that a mental health day can’t be squeezed into our rigorous schedule of coursework. In fact, it’s quite the necessity if you want to keep your head securely on your shoulders!

When it comes to mental health days, I would humbly pronounce myself the queen of relaxation. Getting through midterms can be no easy task, even more so when you add a part-time or even full-time job into the equation. That is why at least one day a week, if possible, of “me” time actually brings so much more towards academic performance than it takes away. A mental health day can get just about anyone back into a state of clarity so that they can jump back into schoolwork refreshed and ready to succeed. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow for a full day of relaxation, even a nice afternoon can make all the difference!

If you still need a little push to help you put down the flashcards, here’s a step-by-step guide to a fabulous midterm madness study break:

  1. PUT. DOWN. THE. SCHOOL. WORK.
  2. Put the schoolwork in a place far, far away from you
  3. Set your cell phone on “Do Not Disturb” (trust me, you’ll thank me for this later)
  4. Gather your mental health day supplies: food, blankets, Netflix, food,
  5. Food
  6. Climb into bed/a couch, turn on your favorite show or movie, and enjoy

– Diana

Spring Rush!

3 Apr

The return from spring break can be a difficult hurdle to get over. I mean seriously, a week off from school and then just when it starts to feel nice you get tossed right back into the lion’s den. Up for 8ams and back to cramming for exams it is… But with the return to class come even more fun times and on the other hand, more responsibilities to take care of before the year comes to close.

First on any student’s to-do list should be finding ways to get pumped up to finish the semester with a bang. Contrary to popular parent belief, spring break does not actually get students excited to come back to class. It gets us excited for school to be over—and can you blame us? Sunshine and sandy beaches can be quite the tease! So, it’s right around this time that most students are dragging themselves out of bed before noon and trying to get their blood flowing. Hiking, working out, and whatever other activities one can come up with do to with a friend are a few great ways to keep the mind and body occupied. A nice activity to break up the routine of books and exams can be super beneficial to academic production and quality.

One awesome way to take a step away from the books is to check out the upcoming Spring Fling. Campus is definitely more alive during this time of year. We even get to have a fun little carnival down on the UA mall; it’s always a great time for students, families, and the local Tucson community. If families are planning a visit anytime during this semester, April 7-9 is the perfect time to drop by.

And lastly, with the upcoming summer comes registration! For those who are planning on taking classes over the summer, registration has been open since March 20th. For students enrolling for fall classes, registration should be opening up in the upcoming weeks. Make sure to have students on the lookout for their assigned dates so that they can get the best options available! If students aren’t sure where to start, they can always go talk to an advisor to get some advice on what courses to sign up for next.

These next few weeks will be full of busy, busy, busy!

-Diana

 

GET REENERGIZED

26 Mar

Spring Break is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things! Here are a few ways to get pumped up about being back in school again.

  1. Take a hike with some friends!

2. Try out a new Tucson food spot!

3. Blow off some steam at the gym!

4. Get creative!

5. Start a new book! (or catch up on some assigned readings)

Whatever your plans may be to get reenergized for class, make sure you start the second half of this spring semester strong! There will be many office hours, exams, and assigned readings to tackle so bear down, Wildcats–there’s nothing we can’t surpass by applying a little bit of effort. Only a couple of months left before summer break, let’s finish with a bang!

-Diana

Spring Break, Baby!

10 Mar

After weeks of hitting the books and acing exams, it’s finally time to relax. Spring break is right around the corner and the kids can smell the ocean water and sand already! Spring break is the perfect time to have fun and enjoy the world without having to worry about the next homework assignment lurking around the corner. Unfortunately, with this also comes every loved ones’ concerns about safety for their students during such an exciting time of year and students’ potential stress about preparing for summer and fall registration.

College students understand pretty well the importance of staying safe during spring break, especially if they know they’re traveling. However, there’s nothing like a reminder of some basic advice in order to keep the information fresh in their minds. It’s always better to travel in groups and to stay with people you know if you’re in an unfamiliar area. For those who are traveling out of the country, the smartest choice is to keep near the tourist areas and away from unsupervised places. Keeping a fully charged cell phone on hand is the best way to ensure that there’s a way to contact friends or another person in case of an emergency. One of the best ways to do this is to charge the cell phone before leaving the hotel and to carry a portable charger. Cell phones are great for writing down important addresses and phone numbers to hotels, local police, etc. Spring break is one of the most fun times of the year for a lot of college students, but too many times you hear of students being injured or in trouble in the midst of blowing off some steam.

But even if spring break traveling isn’t at the top of your student’s to-do list, school usually is. Mid-March is usually the time when students begin to look at summer classes and even upcoming fall semester courses. One of the biggest issues students have with this is not being able to register to begin with. If there is a balance on your student’s account, UAccess may not allow your student to register for new classes. This can always be taken care of by simply paying off what is due or stopping by the financial aid office to speak to someone about options. This is also a good time for students to visit their advisors to make sure they’re on track with their major or to make modifications to their declared or perhaps undeclared field of study.

With only three months left in the school year, things can get pretty hectic pretty quickly. It’s best to take care of things sooner rather than later in case any surprises come up along the way. Either way, don’t hesitate to check in with your student on these topics and to remind them about safety during the break.

May you and your student have a safe and fun-filled spring break!

-Diana

#FearlessFebruary: Meet the Professor

21 Feb

Do you want to know what makes me nervous? It’s not really heights or bugs. It’s not talking to people either. It’s talking to a specific kind of person. Talking to professors has always kind of been a daunting thought to me. Really, it’s not that I’m afraid to ask them a question or approach them with a comment, but the thought of approaching them with the intent of building a student-teacher relationship is a little bit stressful. What do I say? How do you even begin to build a relationship with a busy, professional scholar? So for this February blog, I decided that enough was enough. It’s been known that initiating a good student-teacher relationship with a professor is important and so that’s what I set out to do.

The whole experience was actually a lot less of a big deal than I thought it would be. It just seems like such a big step for me because I know these professors are busy people; I also happen to have a lot of respect for them. I feel a little out of place—intimidated you could say—approaching them.

Anyways, I waited until the end of class to introduce myself. He’s my Criminal Justice Administration professor and his class is one of my favorites so far at the UA. I admire the way he approaches difficult subjects and his brazenness and humor when speaking to the class as a whole. I find that I really admire professors who I feel I can understand in that sense. So that’s exactly what I told him. And then I told him that I would love to work with him if he ever needed someone to help out around his office or in his classrooms. I probably sounded like a fan girl, but I mean he’s a CJA professor… he probably appreciated it and doesn’t hear that too often. At least I hope so. He seemed to welcome my comments and that was that.

The whole encounter may not have been much, but at least I finally approached a professor that I felt deserved it from me. The ultimate goal, other than facing my little intimidation of professors, was to make an impression on him. I wanted him to know that I’m there and that I enjoy his class. Now, lo que sera, sera. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it if there was something meant to ever come from it at all.

Make that first move with a professor you admire, let them know you’re there.

-Diana

 

Here’s to Spring!

19 Feb

All good things must come to an end. That’s why winter break only lasts about a month and it’s the reason that we’re back on campus running back and forth between this semester’s classes. Being back at school isn’t really so bad though. It’s kind of nice to be back in the swing of things after lounging around for so long. And not only that, but jumping into accomplishing some new goals this semester brings a whole new set of thrills.

However, for me, January was all about preparing for this spring semester. Like every new semester, the biggest thing on my mind is being financially prepared to take my new classes in stride. It’s more than just having a few extra dollars in my bank account to get me by. The majority of my break was spent putting in a few hours at my old job to save up for new textbooks, school supplies, groceries, and, if all goes well, maybe even some spending money. Part of this process includes budgeting out whatever saving I manage to put together and then taking the time to find the best deals on whatever new materials I need. Let me tell you, I am now the queen of bargain shopping. The ultimate goal for this semester is definitely to put together a pretty nice savings account. It’s a great way to take a bit more responsibility with spending in case of a future emergency. So far, so good for this semester’s food and school spending. Of course, I also have my parents to thank for chipping in with some much needed groceries.

Even though financial planning can be quite stressful and time consuming, there is another part of preparing for spring semester that is just as important. My sleeping schedule. I got so used to staying up pretty late during break that it was second nature for my body to stay up until 3:00am and to wake up after noon. Of course, this sleeping schedule may not be too much of a problem when I have limited responsibilities (and even then it’s a pretty bummy way to live), but it can really be a pain in the neck to correct before classes begin. That first week of classes took me some getting used to, but up until now it’s like my sleeping schedule has miraculously cooperated with me. I’m pretty stoked to say that I no longer wake up any later than 9:00am which is still a great time to be up and productive by. Another one of my goals this semester is to make sure I get a good night’s rest every night. Keeping a steady, healthy, sleeping schedule can really have a beneficial impact on school and work performance. Let me tell you, it really feels awesome to be awake early enough to seize the day.

Overall, I’m pretty excited to see how this semester plays out. I plan to continue to keep myself busy and on track to better taking care of myself, my goals, and my responsibilities. This spring is all about healthy living and high quality work!

Here’s to a great semester.

-Diana

Another Semester, Another Adventure

16 Feb

Another semester, another set of exams to get through. But also another chance to check in and another chance to explore options if students find that they’re not happy. At this point in the year, most students are just happy to have made it to February with all their hair and their minds intact. It’s the little things, you know? Checking-in, exploring options, and a new wave of midterms may be the last thing they want to think about but it’s a necessary evil.

February is probably one of the best times to check-in with students. Take this opportunity to see how they’re doing with their academic goals and to make sure they’re happy with their studies. Ask how they’re feeling about this new semester and everything that comes with it but most importantly, ask what you can do to help if they seem a little lost. If everything seems to be going as planned, then there’s one less thing to worry about! If not, don’t be alarmed. Say your student isn’t happy with their major anymore or they’re just not doing as well they thought they would in their government class. These are the kinds of little things that can be discussed and worked through pretty straightforwardly!  Sometimes all it takes is a little moral support from a loved one to reassure a student that they’re making the best decision for them, major wise, or that a few extra hours of work in that government class can make all the difference. If a change needs to happen, then so be it. Stirring up the pot can be fun too!

February is also the dreaded first round of midterms during the Spring semester. Depending on where your student feels they’re at, this can either be smooth sailing or stormy waters. There’s not a lot a family member can do other than to offer a lot of love, support, and encouragement if you see your student is a little on edge. Remind them that midterms are not the end all be all of their academic careers; there is always another opportunity to make a comeback! But it is also important to remember that students will be busy studying up to ace those exams so don’t be surprised to find that they’re a little preoccupied. No matter how busy students get, though, a phone call or text message from mom, dad, or whoever can really make someone’s day.

Help make the beginning of this new semester a little bit easier! Good things are coming your student’s way.

-Diana