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Finals Study Tips

25 Apr

With finals coming up, it’s easy to get into bad study habits, procrastinate, or even just not know how to study effectively. It’s also the most important time of the year to make sure that you’re on top of studying and assignments, since there’s so much going on. Check out these 8 tips below for how to study well and make the most out of this finals season.

  1. Don’t procrastinate! Study a little bit each day as opposed to a lot the day (or night) before a test. It’ll save you a lot of stress, you’ll remember information better, and you’ll probably do a lot better on your finals.procrastinate.jpg
  2. Prioritize your hardest or most important finals. If one finals is worth 5% of your grade and another is worth 50% of your grade, you should focus more time and energy into the one that’s worth more. Acing an exam that’s not worth very much at the expense of failing one that’s worth a lot isn’t a good trade off.
  3. Make a master study calendar. This could mean planning out how long you’ll study for each test each day, what you’ll work on during a specific time block, and what needs to get done by when. This way, you won’t forget about anything and it makes it easier to focus if you don’t have to decide what to work on.
  4. Block social media. It’s so easy to turn on your phone and end up losing an hour of your time just aimlessly scrolling. It’s best to either block social media, delete the apps from your phone, or control the amount of time you spend online.media.jpg
  5. Utilize library databases and citation organizers for papers and projects. Google isn’t a very effective study tool when you’re looking for quality sources. The library and online databases have great sources and save a lot of time scrolling through web pages.
  6. Plan healthy breaks. This could mean taking a walk, eating a snack, taking a quick power nap, etc. Like number 3, just make sure you aren’t blowing hours taking “breaks”.
  7. Utilize different study methods. Try rewatching lectures, reviewing notes, reading the textbook, watching online videos, taking sample tests or doing practice problems. What works for one class might not be what works for another and having a variety of study methods helps you retain information and learn it in different ways.
  8. Stay positive. Stress doesn’t help productivity and if you tell yourself you’re going to fail all of your tests, you’re a lot more likely to. Keep a positive mindset and you’ll be a lot happier, more productive, and have a more successful final season.positive.jpg

Good luck and happy studying!

-Jess

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Supporting Your Students through End of Semester Stress and Registration

12 Apr

As the semester is coming to a close, this is the point in time when students are usually feeling mixed feelings of excitement at the thought of the end of the semester, but also feeling of a lot of stress, both with classes and preparing for registration. Here’s a glimpse at what your student might be feeling and how you can help.

The last month of school is packed with tests, papers, homework, and finals. Often, over half of a student’s grade in a class is determined by things they are doing in this last month. This can bring a lot of fear, anxiety, nervousness, and uncertainty regarding their classes and grades. This is also the time when it’s hard for students to find motivation to continue working hard since they’re so close to being done for the year. Furthermore, some students have never been under stress like they are now, a fact that can be very difficult to manage. Encourage your student to take care of themselves by trying to get enough sleep, eating well, and doing their best to manage their stress. You can also point them towards resources such as Campus Health, Think Tank tutoring, and professor office hours to help them manage all their schoolwork and stress in a healthy manner.

Another milestone of the month is registration. Students are planning and registering for classes for next semester. While the prospect of the future is exciting for many students, it can also be daunting as they aren’t sure what they want or need to take, how to make sure they’re on track, or when and how to register. The best advice you can give them is to point them in the direction of their academic advisor. Their advisor knows exactly what they need to take and when to keep them on track for their degree. They can also help students know when and how to register.

After registration is over, be sure to follow up with your student. Many students don’t get the classes that they wanted or have difficult schedules coming up in the fall, so it’s important to support your student, even if it’s just by offering a listening ear. It’s also important to remind students that even if they’re in a rough position regarding next semester that they still have to finish strong this semester with finals coming up. Registration and finals mark the busiest time of the year for students, so it’s important that they know they have a good support system that’s there for them. Take the time to be that support system for your student today.

#AdventurousApril: Spring Break Traveling

12 Apr

My boyfriend, Tyler, is a college baseball player and for our freshman and sophomore years, he was at a school only a few hours away. This year he transferred schools and is currently at a school in Idaho, about a 19 hour drive from UA. Needless to say, we don’t see each other much, so for spring break I decided to fly up to Idaho and spend part of the week with him. Take my word for it though when I tell you that small town Idaho isn’t the most exciting place to spend your spring break. That’s why for my Adventurous April, I set out to have an adventurous spring break in Idaho.

My first day, I woke up at 4:00 am to head to the airport. I flew from Phoenix to Seattle and from Seattle to Lewiston where I landed at around 11:00 am. Originally I was going to Uber to my Tyler’s apartment since he had to be in class for a big test review, but he surprised me by picking me up at the airport and we went to lunch together before heading back to campus for his next class. He toured me around campus and it was cool to see a school so different from ours and get to see where he spends a lot of his time. We also walked along the river where Lewis and Clark came through.IMG_5904.JPG

The rest of the day, we had dinner (we shared a burger bigger than my face, I’m not even kidding), watched a movie (The Emoji Movie per Tyler’s request, so bad), and went bowling (we both bowled personal bests). While not the most “adventurous day”, it was nice to be able to just have a normal day together.

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The second day was mostly school work. Tyler had a midterm the next day so while he prepared for that, I caught up on some online homework I was behind on (I’m a huge procrastinator so online classes can be both my best friend and my worst enemy). That evening though, we went up to a hill overlooking the city. It was so beautiful to see the lights over the whole city and the mountains in the distance. We also danced to The Greatest Showman soundtrack and Disney music which was so fun.

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After that, we went to the grocery store to get ingredients to make tacos. Making dinner turned out to be an adventure in itself, because as we got back to Tyler’s apartment and asked for a knife and cutting board to cut the onions and garlic, I was handed a butter knife and plate. Apparently Tyler doesn’t cook much because he actually didn’t even own a cutting knife. So I spend the next 10 minutes cutting an onion and garlic with a flimsy butter knife. Even I was impressed that I was actually able to do it and pull of a decent dinner.

My third and fourth days were the more adventurous days of the trip. The third day, Tyler and I went up to Washington State University in Pullman because my mom wanted me to visit the campus as I’m thinking about grad school. The drive from Lewiston to Pullman was beautiful, and it was fun to walk around the campus. After that, we went to Tyler’s favorite BBQ restaurant and then went swing dancing. Now, if you’ve ever met me and/or Tyler, you’d know that I’m an awful dancer and he’s a great dancer. So it was both fun and hilarious having him try to teach me the various swing dances and line dances, and it was really fun to be able to meet all of his friends and see what his Thursday nights usually look like. The only downside to the evening was that Tyler dropped and broke my (very expensive) glasses. Luckily, I had packed my contacts but Tyler felt horrible. Side note: don’t worry, I got the glasses replaced for free under my warranty a couple weeks later.

The last day we woke up and had breakfast together, then Tyler took me to the airport. It was a sad goodbye, since we weren’t (and still aren’t) sure when we’d see each other next, but it was a great week to make up for it. From Lewiston I flew to Seattle and from Seattle to Portland. In Portland I had a 6 hour layover, but this was actually perfect because my Godparents live in Portland. I was able to see them and walk around downtown Portland. We went to a rooftop bar and had some delicious appetizers and got to see the city from a few hundred feet up.

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We also had an amazing dinner at an Italian restaurant that was probably the best food I’ve had in a while (which is saying something because I eat a lot of good food). This was really fun because I’ve never been to Portland and it’s such a different city than Phoenix or Tucson. I really liked enjoyed it and it was great to be able to see my godparents.  From there I headed on a plane back to Phoenix and landed just at midnight.

It was a great spring break trip, even if it wasn’t the most adventurous trip I’ve ever been on. It showed me that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can have adventure in doing anything as long as you’re having fun and with the ones you love.

Hope the rest of your April can be filled with fun and adventure!

-Jess

Find Your Zen

4 Apr

One of the most useful things you can do for yourself in college is finding a stress relief method that works for you. Too often though, “stress relief” turns into binge watching a whole season of Friends on Netflix. While TV and movies aren’t a bad way to relieve stress, reliving Ross and Rachel’s whole relationship over the course of a weekend probably isn’t the healthiest or most effective method to deal with your stress.break.gif

So how do you find a way to relieve stress that’s effective, healthy, and also fun? Ask yourself these questions to help find that answer:

  1. When do you feel the most stressed? What situations cause you stress? If you’re stressed in large crowds, don’t use hanging out with people as your de-stressor. If you’re stressed when it’s loud, don’t go to a concert. Avoid stressful situations when you’re trying to relax.stress.gif
  2. When do you feel the most relaxed? Try to utilize those situations or mimic that type of environment to help de-stress.
  3. Are the ways that you normally try to relax healthy? If you relax by binge watching 15 episodes of your favorite show and then partying all weekend, you probably aren’t doing yourself any favors. Try some healthy alternatives for relaxation.
  4. Do you have any hobbies that can help relieve stress? Exercise, arts and crafts, baking/cooking, etc. are all great options to take your mind off of your stressors.cook.gif
  5. Not sure what helps you manage your stress? Try some things out. Go to the gym, watch a movie, take a walk, take a short nap, cook and eat a good meal. You never know what will work for you until you try.

Hopefully asking yourself these questions helps you find a way that works for you. And if you try something and don’t like it, that’s ok! You don’t have to stick with something just because it’s what works for everyone else or because it’s what you think you should do to de-stress. Try some things out and do what works for you!chill.gif

-Jess

#MiddlingMarch: Time with Friends

15 Mar

We’re at the point in the semester when things just seem rough. Spring break is over but summer seems so far away. With every assignment you finish and test you take, there’s another one right around the corner to take its place. It can be really hard to find motivation and not get stuck in a rut in the middle of the semester. It’s really important to find things that are going to help motivate you and keep you going through the second half of the semester. For me, that’s making time to hang out with my friends.

I have a really busy schedule, so if I’m not intentional about seeing my friends it doesn’t happen. This makes it really hard to get through my week because it means a lot of times alone in my routine. While it can be so easy during this part of the semester to bury myself in work, hen I make the time to see my friends it really make a huge difference in my week. It helps me de-stress, relax, have fun, and get poured into. My friends are great about encouraging me, supporting me, and just loving me well. This not only improves my mood, but gives me a much needed break and puts me in a better mindset to be productive.

What helps you get through the mid-semester rut? If you don’t have something, you should probably take some time to explore what works for you. You don’t want to burn out before the end of the semester. Try a new workout routine, a hobby, meditation, arts and crafts, reading for fun, or something else to get your mind of school and work. You’ll be surprised how much happier and more energized you’ll feel to help you finish the year strong!

Happy Spring!

-Jess

Registration Preparation

28 Feb

With registration right around the corner, it’s hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done in order to be ready and get the classes you want and need. Getting everything done at the right time is key, so here’s a timeline to keep you on track.

  • As soon as possible– find out when your registration day is.
  • 1 week before the shopping cart opens– make an appointment with your academic advisor to go over what you need to take and make sure that your 4-year plan is on track. After this appointment, nail down what you’re going to take for the semester.
  • The day the shopping cart opens– find what days/times the classes you want are available and make a list or spreadsheet of all the times your classes are offered.
  • The week before registration– plan out 2-3 possible class schedules with all of the times/days your classes are at and make sure everything you need to take can fit in your schedule. It’s important to have several schedules planned in case classes fill up before you can register.
  • At least one week prior to registration– see if any of the classes you want to take need special permission to enroll (department or advisor permission). Also, make sure you have no holds on your account that will prevent you from registering.
  • The weekend before registration– put all of your classes form your top choice plan in your shopping cart.
  • The morning of registration– wake up at 5:45 to get your computer up and running and make sure that all of your classes are in your cart.
  • 6:00 on registration day– press enroll! Don’t refresh the page after you do. It’s loading even if it take a few minutes and refreshing the page could make you have to start over.
  • Later on registration day– if you didn’t get into all of the classes you wanted, refer to your backup plan and try to get into as many of your necessary classes as possible, even if it’s not the time/professor you want. If you needed further permission that you didn’t know about, email your advisor with issues. BE PATIENT for them to get back because this is the busiest time of the year for them.
  • Months following registration– if you didn’t get into the classes you wanted because they were full, check periodically on UAccess to see if spots have opened up. With everyone moving classes around, spots open up in the class you want.

I hope this can help you have a smooth and successful registration! Good luck!

-Jess

Midterm Mania

21 Feb

Midterms are in full swing this week! There are so many different ways to successfully prepare, and a ton of campus resources to help you. Here are some tips of how to prepare and succeed on your midterms and where to go for help.

  1. Evaluate what works best for you. If you always try to study with friends but just end up talking, try studying alone. If you always get off task when studying alone, work with some motivated friends.
  2. Find a good space with minimal distractions. This could be your desk at home, a nice spot in the grass on the mall, or a private room in the library. Group study rooms can be reserved for up to 8 students, technology study rooms are available with computers and large monitors, collaboration rooms can hold groups of up to 16 people, or private quiet study rooms can be reserved if you need a place to yourself.modern family.gif
  3. Don’t cram! Everyone does it and everyone regrets it. Start studying early and periodically. If you have projects, make sure to plan enough time to balance those with studying for exams. The library assignment scheduler gives you step by step checkpoints and resources for completing papers and projects. Think Tank’s semester on a page can help you keep track of assignments and visualize when you need to spread out studying and projects.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s professor, TA, and preceptor office hours, Think Tank subject and and academic skills tutoring, SI study sessions, private tutoring, and more. But no one can help you if you don’t help yourself first, so help yourself by asking for help!how to study.gif
  5. Make sure you’re minimizing stress and getting enough sleep. Studying isn’t effective if you aren’t getting enough sleep to let the information settle in. If you’re stressed, you’re also less likely to retain what you’re studying. Check out Wellness at Campus Rec for some resources on how to keep yourself healthy, or the RecSPA for massage and other forms of therapy.chillax.gif
  6. Take your midterms as a benchmark for your progress in the class. Use them to evaluate your study habits and understanding of the content. If you’re doing well, keep it up! If there are some things you need to change, make this change before it’s too late in the semester. Your academic advisor is a great resource to help evaluate your progress and where to go from there.

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Good luck on your midterms!

-Jess

#FearlessFebruary: Creepy Crawlies

20 Feb

I hate bugs. I always have and I always will. For me, it doesn’t even matter the type of bug – scorpion, spiders, butterflies, lady bugs, crickets. I hate them all. They freak me out and give me the heebie jeebies. That being said, I recently got an internship at the Reid Park Zoo here in Tucson working with zookeepers to take care of the animals. As it turns out, diets for a lot of the animals in the zoo contain various types of bugs – crickets and worms to be exact. Also, one of the education tools is a colony of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. This is why for my #FearlessFebruary, I decided to face my fear of bugs.

Although I hate all bugs, I think cockroaches hold a special place of gross-ness. Even looking at them freaks me out. You know the people that breed cockroaches or eat cockroaches or actually like cockroaches in any way? Yeah I don’t understand those people at all. So at the zoo, there’s a self-sustaining colony of cockroaches that they use to teach kids about insects and exoskeletons and stuff like that. Even though it’s primarily self-sustaining, the zoo keeper still has to change out the food and water. My big step of facing this fear was looking at the cockroaches. I know, that sounds pretty pathetic. I’m sure you thought I was going to change their food or maybe even pick one up. Yeah… I couldn’t quite muster up that amount of courage. It actually took every ounce of willpower I had just to look in their container and not run away freaking out.

The next fear I had to face was crickets. Crickets are’t quite as bad as cockroaches, so I was able to convince myself to actually have to touch them. In the morning, all of the diets for the animals have to be gathered. Part of many bird diets is crickets, which are stored (alive) in a big trashcan with stacks of cardboard. When my zookeeper asked me to go collect the crickets for the day, I steeled my nerves, and approached the can. I’ll admit it took me a few tries to actually reach my hand in there, especially when they started jumping when I picked up the cardboard. Eventually I was able to collect some but I did jump every time one of them touched me.

My last experience was with worms. There are three different kinds of worms that are used as food. Collecting them isn’t an issue, since you just scoop them out of a bucket with a scoop and don’t actually have to touch them at all. However, there are four tamanduas at the zoo that eat these worms. A tamandua is basically a small (think raccoon size) anteater, so to hand feed them you have to put the food in your hand and make your hand into a tube so they can lick out the food with their long,  narrow tongues. This means that not only did I have to hold a bunch of worms in my hand, but I had to hold onto them pretty tightly and for a while while the tamanduas ate them. Talk about creepy crawly. The only redeeming part of that experience was that tamanduas are really cute and pretty fun to feed.

So that’s how I worked to face my fear of bugs. I think the most important part of this experience was that I worked to push myself outside of my comfort zone, but I didn’t push myself too far. For example, I was uncomfortable even looking at cockroaches, so if I would have jumped right into holding them, I wouldn’t have just stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would have blown right past it. This would have probably made a really negative experience for myself, instead of the one that I was in that was challenging but still allowed me to try something new. I think that it’s really important to challenge yourself, but also know your limits and not push yourself too far.

Take the time to do something that scares you today and challenge yourself! I hope you can face your fears this February.

-Jess

7 Tips to Deal with Toxic Relationships

31 Jan

Having healthy relationships, be it with your friends, significant other, coworkers, roommates, or family, can be one of the most important things in your life. The relationships you have with others has a huge impact in your life, especially in college when you have so much you’re trying to figure out. But what happens when that friend goes from supportive to critical? When your roommate only uses you for rides to school?Toxic relationships are one of the hardest things to tackle, but if you approach the situation from the right angle you can really help yourself and minimize your pain. If you think you may be in a toxic friendship or relationship, here are 7 tips to help deal with the issue.

  1. Evaluate the relationship and identify toxic behaviors. Do they only reach out to you when they need help? Do they constantly demean you or make you feel bad about yourself? Are they encouraging of your goals? If you’re having trouble telling if the behaviors are toxic, look online to see what things could be considered toxic.difficult.gif
  2. Talk with the person about what’s bothering you. Their behavior might be a simple miscommunication, or they might not even realize there’s a problem. Be open and honest about your feelings on the situation and have specific examples in mind.
  3. Don’t let your emotions take control of the situation. Obviously you’re upset about something, but don’t lash out at them. Talk calmly and keep a level head and use logic and facts about the situation, even if they respond with emotion. Nothing productive is going to happen if you both just end up in a yelling match.emotional.gif
  4. Bring in a mediator to the conversation if necessary. If you think you or them might respond over-emotionally or if you think the situation might get out of control, bringing in an objective third party is a great way to keep the conversation on track. This could be another friend, coworker, or other trusted individual. Just make sure the person isn’t directly involved in the issue at hand.
  5. Only include people in the conflict that are part of the problem or are going to be part of the solution. Don’t add to the problem by gossiping, making other friends choose sides, or trying to get too many people involved in the conflict resolution.
  6. Practice the interaction beforehand so you don’t get caught up in the moment and say what isn’t necessary. If you go in with no idea what you want to say, you’re more likely to let your emotions get the best of you and derail the conversation.sentence.gif
  7. Don’t be afraid to end the relationship if they aren’t willing to resolve the issues at hand. You can do your part by talking to them, acknowledging your flaws, and working on your side of the relationship, but you can’t make the other person change or meet you halfway. Ultimately, you need to do what’s healthy for both yourself and the other person, and sometimes what’s best for both of you is ending the relationship.                                       over.gif

I hope that this isn’t a situation that you’re in, but if it is I hope these tips can help you deal with the situation as peacefully and productively as possible. Just remember, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

-Jess

Opportunities for Spring Semester

12 Dec

Winter break is coming to a close and the spring semester is upon us. While I’m sure we’d all love another week (or more) of time off, I like to focus on being excited for the beginning of the new semester, instead of being sad for the end of the break. The start of the spring semester is one of my favorite times of the school year. It’s a new beginning with a ton of opportunities.

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One of the biggest opportunities that spring semester gives is academically. If you didn’t have a strong fall semester, spring gives you the opportunity to make up for it. The first semester is always difficult because you’re getting used to how college classes (and professors) operate, forming new study habits, acclimating to living on your own, and trying to navigate who you are in this new setting. By spring semester, you’re a lot more familiar with how classes work, hopefully you’re dealing with homesickness better, and you’re really getting a sense of who you are. If things didn’t go so well last semester, take this as an opportunity to change your study habits and set yourself down the right path.

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Spring semester is also a great opportunity to get involved if you didn’t last semester (or if you want to get involved more). It can be hard to join a club in the middle of a semester. At the beginning of the semester, clubs are expecting new members so it can be easier to integrate into a club. You could also get involved by getting a job or internship. A lot of places on campus are looking to hire and fill positions at the start of the semester.

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One of my personal goals for the spring semester is to be intentional with my time. It can be so hard to balance school, work, clubs, and leadership positions with spending time with my friends and taking time for myself. I know that if I’m not proactive in being intentional, I won’t see my friends very much or take time for myself. These things are both really important not only for the health of my friendships, but also my own health. I’m really going to take the opportunities I have to spend time with friends and spend healthy time alone.

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Whatever you’re looking forward to with the upcoming spring semester, I hope you seize the opportunities you have in front of you. Whether it be improving your grades, getting more involved, or being intentional with your relationships, be proactive with your semester and make the best of it right from the beginning!

-Jess