Archive by Author

How I Prepare for Summer Session

5 May

summer-school

Let’s be honest – no one wants to spend their summer taking classes.  However, summer classes are one of the best ways to catch up if you’re behind, get ahead, double major, or add a minor. While it may seem like you have to dedicate your whole summer to school if you take classes, if you come into the summer session prepared to stay on track, you’ll end up staying on top of your assignments and have more time to enjoy your break in the long run. Here are my tips to prepare for summer session classes and make the most out of your break.

  1. Check D2L in the week leading up to new classes. A lot of professors assign work that needs to be done by the first day of class, and you don’t want to start off the first day already behind. Even if your teachers don’t assign any work, many put up the syllabi, contact information, or textbook information. It is especially important to stay on track with how fast-paced summer sessions are.
  2. Read syllabi as soon as you get them. If professors put them up early, make sure to at least read through once and understand what the expectations are for the class. It’s a lot less stressful going into the summer if you know what to expect rather than waiting for the first day of class. I know how stressful it can be to show up to the first day and go over all the tests and dates and assignments in the syllabi when you’re fitting a whole class in such a short session. Get a head start to avoid this calendar shock.
  3. Start perusing the internet for textbooks. While I often like to wait till the first day of class to see if the professor suggests actually buying the book, it never hurts to find the best deals online ahead of time.
  4. Postpone making plans with all of your friends until after the first week of classes. The temptation to go into full summer relaxation mode is strong if you don’t stay motivated right from the beginning of the session. If I’m trying to make plans and hang out with everyone right away, it’s a lot easier to fall behind on those intro assignments that are really easy to forget about.
  5. Keep up with your normal routine and avoid falling into summer laziness. If you spend the whole first week staying up late, hanging out with friends 24/7, and watching Netflix till 3 am, it’s going to be really hard to adjust once classwork starts piling up. Keep your routine from the semester to make the transition as easy as possible once assignments start flowing in.

As long as you focus and plan right from the beginning of the summer, you’ll have jumpstarted your classes perfectly in order to keep up with the quick pace. As easy as it is to take advantage of the first week or so, you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re summer session goes smoothly. Plus, the more on top of your school work you are, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy your summer!

Tips for a Better Registration

14 Apr

Registration is right around the corner. If you aren’t prepared, registration can definitely be a stressful time and you might not end up with the classes that you need or want. However, if you prepare ahead of time so you’re completely ready the day of, registration is sure to go smoothly. Here are my 9 top tips for a better registration.

  1. Meet with your advisor at least the week before your priority registration date. If you wait until the day before, you might not get in to see them. If you don’t see them, you might not get the classes you need. No matter how sure you are that you know what you should take, seeing your advisor never hurts and will make sure that you’re 100% on track.
  2. Have all your classes in your shopping cart ahead of time. This way, when 6:00 on Monday morning hits, all you have to do is click enroll and go back to bed. Plus, if there are any potential scheduling conflicts between classes you have to take, you’re aware of them and can figure out an alternative plan.
  3. Wake up at 5:45 on your registration day. Yes, it’s early and yes, it isn’t fun. But this way, you’ll be awake and alert, able to make sure your shopping cart is 100% ready, have your computer on, be logged into UAccess, and give yourself a little buffer if something were to go wrong with your computer or UAccess. Although we always hope that everything will work with technology, sometimes that isn’t the case. That 15-minute buffer before the official registration time will give you some breather room in case your computer decides to restart or some other issue.jim.gif
  4. Have a backup plan. Sometimes classes fill up as soon as the clock hits 6:00. If you have a backup plan for all your classes, you at least have something to fall back on before you can talk to your advisor so that all classes aren’t full by the end of the week.
  5. Click enroll right at 6:00 and don’t refresh your page. You might have to wait a few minutes due to the traffic on the site, but refreshing will just start you all over. Be patient and eventually it will enroll you in your classes.tom
  6. If you don’t get the classes you need and your backup plan fails, email your advisor right away. Be specific about the class you’re having problems with and what UAccess is saying that the problem is. If you’re detailed with the problem, they’ll be in a better position to help you quicker.
  7. Be patient with your advisor. During registration week, they’re swamped with emails, appointments, and phone calls. If you email, give them a couple days to respond. They will as soon as they can. If it’s getting to the point where your priority registration window is about to close and you still have issues, make an appointment to see them or go to walk-in office hours.patient
  8. Remember that your advisor is the expert and trust them. Just because your roommate’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin said that you don’t actually need that class to graduate and to just skip it, if your advisor tells you what to take, listen to them.
  9. Don’t panic if things go wrong and you don’t get the class that you want or need. There are usually a lot of alternative options or plans that will keep you on track to graduate on time. If you stay calm and seek out help as soon as possible, there’s a good chance that things will get resolved smoothly.

yes

Registration isn’t always fun, but if you’re prepared ahead of time, things are much more likely to work out and be stress-free. Take a little bit of time ahead of time to save yourself a lot of headache in the future! Happy registration!

-Jessica

#AdventurousApril: New Food

12 Apr

I’m a pretty picky eater, so I don’t really like trying new foods. Being a college student, I especially don’t like spending money to try new foods, so I typically just stick to the type of food and restaurants that I’m used to and know that I like. However, over spring break, a good friend of mine had me try Thai food and I ended up loving it. This really made me interested in trying other new types of food that I never would have before. One that my friend suggested was Indian food. So for my Adventurous April, I decided to try a local Indian food restaurant.

When I got to the restaurant, I was a little unsure of the menu. I had no idea what a lot of the dishes were and there were no pictures so I really had no idea what to order. I really like to ask people that work at restaurants what their favorite dishes are (considering they’ve probably tried most of the options on the menu) so I asked my server and ordered tikki masala (mild because I’m a wimp when it comes to spice) and naan with cheese. My friend ordered the same thing (except medium spice). When our food came out, I can basically describe the dish as chicken in a lot of red-ish curry or sauce (sorry I forgot to take a picture because I was really hungry, so the following picture is just similar to what it looked like).

food

After tasting the food, I really liked it. It was very flavorful, not too spicy, and all around just really tasty. The naan bread was delicious (I mean bread with cheese, how can you go wrong?), especially in the curry/sauce. I’m glad I got it mild, because there was a minimal amount of spice so I was really able to focus on the flavor of the food. As far as taste goes, I’d give the whole meal an 9/10.

As for the whole experience in general, the one thing that kind of disappointed me was the quantity of food that I got for the price that I paid. The food wasn’t necessarily expensive, but the main dish was just the chicken and sauce. The naan was a few dollars extra and if I wanted any rice, that was extra too. I’m definitely a bang for your buck kind of shopper, so I was a little disappointed that I spent almost $15 with tip and didn’t have any leftovers. Not only that, I wasn’t even super full. I wasn’t still really hungry, but I definitely wasn’t full from the meal either. This could have been just that specific restaurant I tried, but the quantity of food for the price left me wanting more.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience trying Indian food. I’m glad that I did and would be open to trying different Indian restaurants in the future. It’s also continued to open my eyes to try even more new types of food as well. I would definitely recommend that if you’re a picky eater like me, take a step out of your comfort zone and try a new type of food or even just a new dish at a favorite restaurant. I would recommend asking people that work at the restaurant what they like, friends who have been to the restaurant or tried the food, or consulting Yelp or another review site for their recommendations. Happy eating!

-Jessica

#MiddlingMarch: Free and Cheap Things I do to Have Fun

3 Apr

It’s easy to get into a rut during the middle of the semester. The homework piles up, the studying hits hard, and it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of midterms. It’s important to take breaks and have fun so that you don’t get overwhelmed by all that’s going on. But as college students, we often don’t have room in our budget to spend a lot of money on fun and entertainment. However, there are so many things to do to destress and have fun that can be super cheap or even free! Here’s my 10 favorites.

  1. Rent a movie from the library or Redbox. This is free (from the library) or costs $1.50, but is a great way to spend some time with friends, have a good laugh, and take a couple hours off from studying to relax.
  2. Write in a journal. You can buy a nice journal very inexpensively, or you can just write on regular paper. Writing in a journal is great for getting all your stresses or thoughts out on paper, and it can be a fun way to keep memories of college to look back on in the future.
  3. Go to a Farmer’s Market. I love farmer’s markets because you get to walk around outside, try some free samples, hang out with friends, and support local businesses. While these can become expensive if you’re buying something from every vendor, it’s fun to go into the day setting a small spending cap (if you want to buy anything at all), and seeing what you can buy for that amount.farmers market
  4. Learn to cook a new recipe. Learning to cook something new is fun, cheap, and a great skill. While you will have to pay for food, you have to pay for food anyway so it’s not a big expense outside of your normal budget. And if you cook extra, you have leftovers for the week!
  5. Window shop downtown. Often, the best part about shopping isn’t buying a ton of stuff you don’t need, but spending some time with friends walking and talking and looking around. Like the farmer’s market, you can even set a small money cap and treat yourself a little.
  6. Go thrifting. Thrift shopping is great because you can sell clothes and use that money or credit to buy things at that store. Not only do you declutter your closet, but you get some awesome new pieces to wear.thrifting
  7. Go to a free or cheap sporting event. If you’re part of the ZonaZoo and get into sporting events for free, go to an event that you wouldn’t normally attend, like softball, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, etc. If you don’t have a ZonaZoo pass, tickets to these events often are less than $5 and are a great way to have fun and show your school spirit!
  8. Volunteer. Tucson has so many amazing non-profits and volunteer organizations that there’s a place for everyone. These places can always use the help, it’s a great resume booster, and it’s just plain fun!
  9. Go for a hike or bike ride. Arizona, and Tucson specifically, has so many trails to explore for any level of hiker or biker to enjoy. They’re often free or very inexpensive, and it’s a way to get outside with friends and enjoy our beautiful state.

hike.jpg

-Jessica

10 Ways you Know You’re in the Right Major

5 Mar

happy-turtle-2

In the first four weeks of my first semester of college, I knew I hated my major. I had a list a mile long of all the reasons I didn’t want to stay in it, so I changed majors from engineering to business. And while I didn’t hate my new major, I knew I couldn’t see myself having a life-long career that I enjoyed if I pursued business. So the summer before my sophomore year, I switched to animal sciences: science and preprofessional emphasis in the pursuit of becoming a vet.

It’s pretty easy to tell when you don’t like what you’re studying, but sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s right. So here’s the 10 ways that I knew I was in the right major that are probably a pretty good indicator that you’re in the right major too.

  1. I got excited when I talked about what I wanted to do after school. Going to work in the future didn’t seem like it would be work, but instead something that I enjoyed.
  2. I didn’t mind taking the hard or boring classes like chemistry and biology that I had hated before because I knew they were going towards something that I wanted to do.
  3. I was eager to get internships and volunteer in my field. In my previous major, I dreaded the thought of having to take on internships or research, but now I was actively seeking them out.
  4. Future classes that I had to take in my major seemed really fun and I couldn’t wait to sign up for them.
  5. I made long term goals that I wanted to accomplish after college like vet school and a career at a zoo, rather than having no idea what I wanted to actually do after graduation.
  6. I wasn’t scared of professional school after graduation. Even though I know how competitive vet school is even harder once you’re there, I was eager for the challenge.
  7. I applied the things I was learning in core classes, or even gen eds, to my major, rather than just learning the concepts to pass the class.
  8. I was passionate about what I was learning. I don’t know how many animal facts that I learned in class I made my family and friends listen to, but I know that it was a lot.
  9. I felt like I was clicking with my professors. Before, they were just teachers that I had to listen to, but had no desire to make any sort of professional relationship with outside of class. Now, I was interested in my professors’ research and in getting to work with them.
  10. I was (and am) happy. I felt confident about my future, I liked my classes (even the hard ones), and I was excited to see where I would go in my career.

If any of these sounds like what you’re feeling, chances are that you’re on a pretty good track for your future. I love my major and am currently interning at a ranch with plans to intern at a clinic next year. I love helping animals who can’t help themselves and knowing that I’m making such a big difference, even if I’m only doing something small. I hope you love your major as much as I do, but if not, it’s never too late to change to find something that you really are happy doing! I changed twice and I’m so glad that I did because it led me to a path that I’m really happy with and excited about. Remember, this is your life, so make the best of it by doing something you love!

-Jessica

happy turtle 1.jpg

#FearlessFebruary: Early Spring Cleaning

23 Feb

If you’re anything like me, you keep things way too long and have a hard time ever getting rid of anything. This is especially true with clothes. I constantly buy new clothes (I’m a chronic sale/thrift shopper), but I never can seem to bring myself to get rid of any old ones. I always think “Oh, I’m sure I’ll wear this again” or “what if I need this for some future event/costume/whatever else”. Things that I don’t even like anymore just sit in my closet because they still fit and are in good condition and I always hold onto the thought that someday I’ll wear them again, even though I know that I won’t. So for Fearless February, I decided to tackle my fear of giving things up and clean out my wardrobe.

I decided that instead of setting “ground rules”, like giving up things I hadn’t worn in a certain amount of time, that I would first start off by giving up things that I didn’t actually like that much anymore. This was really hard because I kept thinking “what if I’ll like this again someday”. I especially struggled in parting with things that still fit. It seemed silly to give up a perfectly good piece of clothing like that. It took a lot of willpower and convincing myself that no, I wouldn’t actually wear that ever again, to part with a lot of the older items in my closet.

The next items I tackled were things that didn’t fit me very well, be it too big, small, or just wrong for my body. Let me tell you, I have a very loose definition of the word “fit”. To me, I tend to define it as anything that will physically zip, button, or otherwise make its way on my body, regardless of if it is on properly or comfortably. So I really had to make decisions on what I felt was actually comfortable and looked good as opposed to what I could actually force on. This may not seem like a big deal, but let me tell you, I am a master at convincing myself that I need something or that it fits, even if I clearly don’t need it or it doesn’t fit at all.

In the end, I was able to part with quite a few things that I definitely did not need (and probably should have gotten rid of a long time ago). As much as I hate getting rid of stuff, it actually felt good to have more room in my closet and part with some stuff that I knew I didn’t actually want anymore. I plan on taking all my stuff to consignment stores first to see what I can trade or sell, and then just take the rest to Goodwill or some other clothing donation place. If you’re thinking about cleaning your closet, I’d say just do it. You won’t regret getting rid of things you don’t need and you’ll thank yourself later for the extra closet space.

-Jessica

clothes

Getting Involved on Campus

22 Jan

Freshman year, one of the most important things for a lot of students is finding ways to get involved on campus and in the Tucson community. Getting involved is important for so many reasons: making friends, building your resume, helping out your school and community, having fun, and so much more. However, U of A is a huge school so finding out how and what to get involved in is often daunting for students their first year. Here’s my experience and advice with getting involved in both the U of A and Tucson communities.

The first thing I did was to go to the club fair that U of A holds on the mall, typically at the start of both semesters. This really helped me explore the different types of clubs that were out there. I picked up flyers and talked to people from a few different clubs and ended up attending their meetings. Something that a lot of students don’t know is that most clubs have membership dues. It can be intimidating when you’re told you have to pay for a club you aren’t even sure you want to be in, so my advice is to talk to an officer of the club at one of the meetings and see if you can just sit in on a couple of meetings before paying and making your decision. In my experience, clubs are more than happy to give you that opportunity to make your decision and pay at a later date.club-fair

One thing I highly recommend is to get involved with a club that is specific to your major or college! Almost every major (or at least college) has a club specific for its members. This is an awesome way to get to know people that you’re very likely to have classes with in the future, as well as upperclassmen who have been where you are before. It can even be an opportunity to meet faculty from your major or department outside of the classroom and on a more personal level. If anything, they’ll at least be able to recognize you in the future which can never hurt for your professional development. And often times, these clubs are a great way to get involved around the community and in professional sectors of your field, as well as build valuable job skills that are relevant to your major. Emailing your advisor or asking a professor in your major are great ways to find out what academic clubs would be relevant to you.

One of the most rewarding things that clubs can get you involved in is the Tucson community. Various clubs I’ve been in have participated in neighborhood beautification projects, helping local businesses, helping to feed and clothe the homeless, and raise money for both local and national charities. Clubs I joined also got me connected to a church, local volunteer projects, and various business professionals in the area. This can lead to even bigger opportunities to serve the community and find out what our awesome city has to offer! Overall, getting involved has been one of the best things I’ve done in my college career. So many doors have been opened for me because of my clubs and organizations and they have really made my college career extend far beyond just the classroom. There are so many resources at U of A, all it takes is a simple google search of “University of Arizona Clubs” or “ASUA” to find a ton of options! And of course, your ASA Peer Mentors are always here to help too!

-Jessica

ASUA.png

#DreadedDecember: Packing for Break

20 Dec

holiday-packing

Somehow in my 19.5 years of life, I still haven’t mastered the art of packing. No matter how much I plan ahead to consider what I need to bring with me, I always end up either underpacking or overpacking. That’s why the thought of packing for a four-week break is one of the most dreaded things for me in December. How am I supposed to know what I will or won’t need three weeks from now? Especially in Arizona where one day you could be cold in pants and a big jacket, and the next, sweating in a t-shirt. Obviously, I can’t take home all of my clothes, but I also have to consider all that I’ll be dressing for: Christmas dinner, vacation, lounging at home, being outside in the cold, etc. Plus I have to consider space in my little car to take stuff home. All of this makes packing seem so fun, right? Yeah… no… So without further ado, here’s how I packed up for winter break.

start

Because I live in a dorm on campus, I don’t have a suitcase here, only a duffel bag and a bunch of tote bags. So I decided to get creative and use my big mesh hamper to pack. Luckily because it’s mesh, I was able to fit a lot of clothes in all the corners of the bag, especially t-shirts, socks, leggings, dresses, etc. For sweatshirts and heavy jackets, I decided to just throw all of them in one big tote bag because I knew it would be pointless to try to shove them all in a duffel bag and actually get it to zip up. While that took care of most of my clothes, it was time for one of my biggest challenges: shoes and boots. I’ll preface this by saying I’m 6’0″ tall and wear a women’s size 12, so my shoes are quite large. Add a few pairs of knee high boots and that’s a lot of cargo. I thought about just throwing them all in my car, but that’s a lot of trips carrying just shoes. So I decided an extra large tote bag (the kind you use for grocery shopping) would have to do the trick. Alternating pairs facing up and down to maximize space, shoving converse and sneakers between boots, and tying up the handles of the bag tight so nothing would fall out, I was surprisingly able to fit everything into one very large tote. All that was left was to throw bath stuff, makeup and hair tools into my backpack along with my computer and I was pretty much good.

Chances are I still under or overpacked. Luckily it’s a long enough trip that I’ll obviously be able to wash clothes which makes it a lot easier than packing for just a weekend or week. Packing honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be this year. Throwing on some Christmas music to get in the spirit and the whole process only took me less than an hour. It helps that I know a lot of what I’m actually going to be doing over break so I knew specific things I had to pack for. I’d definitely suggest thinking through what you’re going to be doing over break so that you can specifically prepare for that. It also helped to set aside a time to just get it all done at once so that it doesn’t take longer than it needs to. Starting a list about a week before you leave also helps. Honestly, packing is one of those things that no one wants to do so it’s easier to just get it done as quickly and painlessly as possible so that it won’t be that bad in the end. I hope your winter break packing can go as smoothly as mine ended up going!

-Jessica

meme1

8 Tips to Make the Most out of Your Winter Break

8 Dec

Christmas Cactus.jpgWinter break is almost upon us! That means nearly four weeks off without having homework, tests, projects, papers, classes, clubs, or studying. Winter break is a great time to relax, but if you’re like me, you have a lot of friends and family members that you don’t get to see much who want to hang out catch up over break. Or maybe you’re working, taking a class, volunteering, traveling, or interning. Those are all great ways to spend your winter break, but it’s important to get rest and take care of yourself over break. So here are 7 tips to making the most of your time off!

  1. Make sure you rest. First semester can be stressful and we often push aside things like sleep and relaxing. Winter break is a great time to take care of yourself and decompress from the semester so that you’re energized and ready for the new year.
  2. Have a plan going into break, but don’t plan out every second of your time off. Having a plan and sticking to it is a great way to make sure you don’t waste the four weeks you have off. But if you plan every second and fill all your time with things to do, it won’t feel like a break at all. Have a plan so you get the most out of your break but make sure you aren’t overloading yourself.
  3. Don’t feel like you have to make time for every single person you know at home. While break is a great time to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while, it can get exhausting trying to see everyone all the time. Obviously take the time to see your friends and family but don’t feel obligated to go to every single thing you’re invited to. Do you really care about seeing that girl you had one class with in high school two years ago? Probably not.
  4. Prioritize your time. Figure out what’s really important to you to do with this time you have. It could be resting, getting ahead for next semester, seeing friends and family, or any number of other things. But if something’s important to you, make sure to do it.
  5. Take time for yourself. At school, you’re surrounded by people and obligations almost constantly. It’s ok to take some time completely for yourself to do what you want to do. Everyone needs a little me time once in a while.
  6. Keep healthy routines or jump start new ones for next semester. If you have a healthy sleep schedule, workout routine, meal plan, etc., don’t let the time off break you of your good habits. On the other hand, if you don’t have any healthy routines, take this time to really establish some for next semester. If you’re going to bed at 2am and sleeping until noon every day of break, it’s going to make it really hard to wake up for that Monday morning 8am next semester.
  7. Get prepared for spring semester. Whether it’s ordering books, looking over any class information that’s been put up online, preparing a schedule of your time, or even just mentally preparing for your classes, don’t forget about next semester. Some classes have assignments due for the first week of class that they post online over break. Other teachers just want to know that you’ve at least looked at the course page. Make sure that you know what’s expected of you for classes or at least be prepared to come back and get down to business.
  8. Have fun and make memories! Take a day trip, go ice skating, check out a cool new restaurant, see a movie you’ve been anticipating, enjoy time with your friends and family. Whatever it is, have fun and enjoy it!

-Jessica

Desert Snowman.jpg

#NovembertoRemember: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

21 Nov

Being a born and raised Arizonan, I would have considered myself fairly knowledgeable on all things pertaining to our great state. From learning the 5 C’s in elementary school (for those of you that don’t know them, they’re cotton, copper, cattle, climate, and citrus), to visiting sites such as Kartchner Caverns, the Botanical Garden, and the Grand Canyon, I figured I was pretty well-versed on everything Arizona had to offer. So when one of my clubs offered free admission to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, I figured everything there would be pretty familiar but that it would still be a really cool opportunity to see some local wildlife (since I love animals) and plants and maybe learn something new, so my roommate and I signed up for the trip and went.

On a warm November morning, we loaded a bus and hit the road. Although the drive was about 40 minutes long, it didn’t feel that long at all. When we got there, my roommate and I immediately mapped out a game plan in order to maximize what we could see. We only had two hours there and upon seeing a map of the museum, we knew we’d have to be pretty thrifty with our time. The park was huge and had multiple loops of paths, all filled with animals and plant life. While the plants were pretty typical for what I was used to in Arizona, I was really surprised by some of the animals that we saw. While some were expected, such as coyotes, toads, snakes, and various birds, the presence of otters, stingrays, and beavers surprised me. What I really liked was that the museum addressed why these animals were there and how they could be native to the Sonoran Desert and it’s surrounding areas.

I really enjoyed the whole museum and probably can’t pick a favorite thing that I saw. There was an aquarium, reptile house, desert hike loop, two aviaries, various underground viewing areas, gardens exhibiting different types of plants and insects, and so much more. If you’re ever looking for anything to do in or around Tucson, I would highly recommend going. There was so much to see and learn. While I was only there for about 2 hours, you could definitely stretch your trip out longer. At only $20.50 a ticket ($15.15 if you’re an Arizona/Sonora resident), this is a fairly inexpensive way to spend a morning or afternoon. Rather than sitting at home watching TV or going to see a movie, this is a great way to get outdoors, be active, learn about something new, and see some amazing things. So if you’re new to Tucson and Arizona or if you’re an old native like me, I’d recommend checking out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for an afternoon of fun in your own backyard!

-Jessica