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#StudiousSeptember: Meal Prepping

29 Sep

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Bust out your aprons and get ready to start cooking! Whether you relate more to the show Worst Cooks in America or Master Chef, I can guarantee you have the capability to prep your meals for the school week. I know right now, everyone is talking about meal prep to get in shape, but there are many other benefits than that. It saves you time and money during the week.

If you are a full student, like I am, it’s very hard to find time during the week to cook and fast food ends up being the majority of you food intake. Meal prepping eliminates this because on the weekend (I usually prefer Sunday) you can cook all of your lunches for the week and put them in tupperware containers. Like I stated earlier, no matter your skill level, you will be able to do this! Meal prepping doesn’t have to be fancy and you can use your simplest recipes to save money and time.

There are many ways you can start to meal prep, but this is a break down of what I usually do for the week:

Before or on Sunday, I will plan out what I will buy at the grocery store for my lunches. (Even though I usually meal prep for just my lunches, you can use meal prepping for dinner if you have late courses, or for breakfast if you are an early riser) Remember that any meal you can make can be turned into a meal prep recipe, just cook more servings! As a college student, I have to budget constantly, which usually is one of the largest factor that controls what I buy. Along with a strict budget, another thing that controls what I buy for the week depends on my appetite. I sometimes get bored with my food during the week so I like to try to have slight variations. For example, if I cook chicken for the week, I will sometimes put green beans with it for one day and on another I will substitute the green beans for wedged potatoes.

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After a trip to the grocery store, it’s cooking time! Instead of dreading cooking a meal for the week, my boyfriend and I try to make it as fun as possible. We will put on music and make an afternoon of cooking. We will prep all of our ingredients and incorporate new spices, while trying to imitate the lovely Chef Ramsay’s cooking (we’ll also try to do our best Ramsay impressions!). Once we are all done, we will divide the meals into tupperware dishes, place them into the refrigerator, and in the morning grab our meals before we are on our way to work and school. Meal prepping is pretty straight forward and is also very versatile once you start learning how to cook more foods. 

Even though now I would rather cook than go to a fast food place, I was not the biggest cook when I first started college. I was busy with classes and I didn’t know how to make anything other than grilled cheese and the boxed mac and cheese. Cooking was a very daunting and difficult task for me until I started to meal prep. I started by looking up different recipes on Pinterest and All Recipes that were easy and simple to make. After a few months of copying recipes, I started to go off of my judgment of spices and food pairings that I like rather than just what is on the internet. I learned I really love to cook and there is so many different things you can do with meat and veggies. Now, this is one of my favorite times of the week because I am creating something new and learning how to use kitchen appliances that were once foreign objects to me like a cast iron skillet and a wok. Cooking is something I think everyone should at least try because it is fun and has a great reward: an amazing meal! Not only is it yummy, but you feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you are the one who created it!

Below I have provided a few simple recipes for you to try whether you are a veteran in meal prepping or trying it for the first time! Have fun and cook on!

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Meal Prep for Breakfast:

     Mason Jar Oatmeal                                                                          Breakfast Burritos
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Meal Prep for Lunch:

        Mason Jar Salads                                                               Pesto Chicken Sandwich

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Meal Prep for Dinner:

Chicken Fried Rice

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I have attached a recipe for chicken fried rice on the title and the photo I included is what my boyfriend and I made this week! Instead of traditional chicken fried rice, we decided to put our own spin on it. For the veggies, we used green onion, carrots, yellow squash, and sugar snap peas and we put in extra chicken! Even if you start out with a recipe, put your spin on it and include what you like!

Best,
Courtney

 

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#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

#StudiousSeptember: Old habits die hard

28 Sep

This year is my fourth and final year as an undergraduate student at the U of A. At this point, I am fairly comfortable with my study habits. However, as I have taken on more extracurricular commitments than I am used to this year, the first few weeks presented a time management challenge for me. Suddenly, everything that helped me be successful in the past wasn’t working anymore. Here’s three easy strategies that I’ve been trying for the past few weeks.

  1. Keeping a more detailed online calendar
    There are a lot of online calendars out there, but the one I’m using is Outlook. I like having this tool to keep track of my hourly schedule, while my paper planner is to track completion of readings and homework assignments. It’s been helpful for me to immediately put meetings and appointments that come up into my calendar so that I don’t miss anything important. I tend to be very forgetful, so this has been instrumental in keeping my life together.
  2. Turning my phone off for brief periods of time when working on homework
    I never realized how much of a distraction my phone could be until I started doing this. My friends send me lots of random texts, memes, snapchats, and group messages. Checking all of those as soon as they come in turns out to be a huge time drain. What I’ve started doing now is turning off my phone or putting it on airplane mode for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Taking advantage of lunch breaks
    This is the first semester that where I’ve had true lunch breaks that lasted more than enough time to wait for food and scarf it down before the next class. I’ve been able to really take advantage of those few hours to get ahead on readings, review notes, and even take the occasional nap. Attempting to get as much done as possible during the day has been helpful in maintaining a healthy, balanced life.

If you are noticing that some of the things you tried in high school aren’t helpful or are even holding you back, don’t be afraid to try some of these strategies or research other time management tips online. Best of luck with the rest of the semester!

-Gabriela

#StudiousSeptember: How to Stay One Jump Ahead

27 Sep

Happy September, my fellow stressed out Wildcats!

It’s grind time, or moreover, time to get things moving if they aren’t already!

And for y’all who haven’t started getting to it, don’t worry, I haven’t either! And much like Aladdin had Genie, I’m here to help you stay one jump ahead!

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we’re all in this together, am I right or am I right?

PLAN

Let’s not lie to each other. I rarely plan things. I honestly am in the habit of going on a whim or just winging it. So, when I say we have to stay one jump ahead, WE NEED TO STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD.

So grab your handy dandy planner, and write things for the week! Assignments? Quizzes? Discussion posts? Write it all now so you won’t have to later! TRUST ME. THIS WORKS.

Don’t you want that satisfying feeling of checking stuff off your list, or do you want that pitting feeling at 11pm about the assignment you forgot about?

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DO YOUR WORK EARLY

What??? Early?

Yeah, yeah, I know. But, I promise you, if you do your week’s notes on Sunday and just relax and reread them before lecture, you won’t be in such a flustered mood during lecture to get things down!

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Class will then be a debriefing period for you to ask questions and recall what you actually learned from notes!

DAY SCHEDULE

Schedule some YOU time. Make sure that you actually give yourself some time to nap, snack, or just go on a jog. BUT MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT spending TOO much time on you and not enough on schoolwork. It’s a balancing game, but this is how you physically and mentally stay ahead. DON’T overwhelm yourself!

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put your thinking cap on, and start going.

SLEEP

My favorite tip to stay one step ahead is to actually sleep. Put the phone down, you can stop playing PUBG an hour earlier than you need to be, and sleep. Try to let your body stay ahead. A week’s worth of only 5 hours of sleep a night adds up, and by Thursday you’re going to be needing more than a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

SO SLEEP!

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So there are my favorite tips and tricks to staying ahead! Make sure you leave room for fun, and for your mental health!

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Stay beautiful,

Lils xx

#StudiousSeptember: Let’s Get Involved

27 Sep

Hey, Wildcats! We’re about 4 weeks into the semester now, and things around campus are falling into a nice, steady rhythm! You know what to expect from your classes now, and how much time to dedicate to each. Exams are coming up and midterms will be just around the corner. While it’s exciting to reach a comfortable point in the semester, it can be easy to get too comfortable.

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Every semester, I find myself reaching the point of exhaustion around this time. Staying motivated can be difficult and it can be easy to procrastinate your homework! The first exams are crucial to your grades and understanding of course material, so it’s important to keep your brain and health in good shape so your can do your best.

One of the best ways I have found to alleviate the exhaustion is to take “me time.” As many of you already know, “me time” classifies as anything that may be relaxing or enjoyable to you. Some people may take a nice warm bath while listening to their favorite music. Others may go for a jog, or read a book. People like me may want to hop into some extracurriculars – such as joining a new club!

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Clubs are one of UA’s most incredible features! 600 clubs, tailored to all kinds of different interests, activities, and hobbies are available to all students on campus. You may be thinking, “How will I be able to choose which club is right for me?” Luckily for you, I’ve come up with some steps you may want to take while choosing your club!

  1. Identify what your passions and interests are. You want to spend your time doing something your truly enjoy. What do you enjoy doing during your “me time”? If you want to do something pertaining to your major, that’s great! If you want to do something that you love as a hobby, that’s great, too! Maybe you want to reach out of your comfort zone and try something completely new.
  2. Explore the clubs UA has to offer. There are so many clubs to enjoy on campus! From cultural organizations to sports clubs to a cappella groups, UA will provide you with more options than you can imagine. ASUA’s Club Resource Center directory provides students with the resources to explore and join different clubs available on campus!
  3. Join A Club. Once you’ve found your perfect fit, join! While there is sometimes a fee, it is small in comparison to the experiences that your club will give you. Many clubs go on trips to many different places, perform for other people, help you create a network, or connect you to people who have similar interests as you! You can’t get the same experience anywhere else on campus, so reach out and try something new!

Even when things get a little chaotic during the semester, it’s important to remember that you’re only human. As a student, you have so many pressures around you, and taking time for yourself is healthy and vital to your success. Spend time doing the things you love, and explore what’s available to you during your college journey!

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-Elizabeth

#StudiousSeptember: Busy Schedule Organization

26 Sep

Staying organized and having good time management is really hard, especially after coming back from summer break. I know that it’s definitely one of the things I struggle with the most: balancing classes, work, homework, and extracurricular activities. But this year I really made it a priority to manage my time well and stay more organized on a weekly basis and for the whole semester. Through a lot of trial and error, this semester I’ve really figured out what works for me to keep myself organized and on top of things. While what works best for me might not be what works best for you, here are my top tips on how to keep track of everything that’s going on and stay organized for the semester.

  1. Utilize a planner for long-term organization. I’ve always bought planners and then failed to use them past the first week. This semester, though, I’ve been utilizing my planner to keep track of dates of assignments, exams, club meetings, and events. It’s really helped me not only remember what I have going on, but also be proactive in studying and doing assignments. It keeps me aware when I have a busier week coming up to do things in advance. Since I’m in multiple clubs that have lots of weekend events, it’s also helped a lot with scheduling and keeping track of what I have on the weekends.
  2. Use lists for day to day activities. Every week, I make a list of all of the assignments, exams, meetings, and events I have for the upcoming week. Because of this, I don’t forget that I have things due and can plan when to do school work between meetings.
  3. Break up tasks into manageable action steps. “Read pages 30-35 and do the first 5 practice problems” is a lot more specific than “study for math test”. This helps me make the most of study time by having a plan of action and limits a lot of unproductive work time.
  4. It’s ok to say no. Sometimes you can’t attend every club event, study group, or meeting, help that friend, and take on that extra project at work. You can’t always do everything (something that’s been hard for me to learn), and it’s important to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and making sure you have time for yourself.
  5. Plan times during the day for homework and studying and stick to it. If this means reserving a study room in the library for two hours, turning off your phone, putting on headphones to avoid distraction, or just being disciplined, making yourself use a certain block of time will make sure that you get stuff done. It will also free up a lot of other time that would otherwise be wasted and used for procrastination.
  6. Do work in advance. I am the worst procrastinator in the world and constantly put things off until right before they do. This causes stress, late nights, lower caliber work, and sometimes not getting things done. Do your best to do things in advance and save yourself this trouble.

Hopefully these tips help you either stay or get on track for the rest of the semester! I know they’ve helped me.

-Jess

#StudiousSeptember: Stick to the Syllabi!

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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-Amna 🙂

 

#StudiousSeptember: A Guide for the Dreaded Online Class

27 Sep

Everyone has a stigma that online courses are very difficult and people are warned to stay away from them, especially when you are a freshman. This idea makes sense because when you have an online course, there is limited contact with the instructor. This means that there are fewer reminders of when tests and quizzes are approaching as well as not having face-to-face contact to ask questions. It is inconvenient to meet your instructors in person. I have been in an online class every semester since I have been in college and I have learned a few things since I have been in them. Here is simple, helpful a list of things that you should prepare for and know if you are currently in an online course or thinking about taking one while you are in college!

1. Read your syllabus
Unlike standard courses offered at the U of A, there is usually no designated and beloved syllabus day in an online course. A good rule of thumb when you decide to take one, check to see if the D2L course page is up and if the syllabus is uploaded. Before the start date of the course, make sure you read it because there can be times that something will be due the first week you start. It is a good idea to write all of the dates down in a physical or an online planner/calendar so you can refer back to when tests and assignments are due. You can also plan out a specific timeframe during the week that you dedicate time to your online course. Even though you do not meet in person, you still need to dedicate around the same time you would to a class that you meet in person for.

2. Know how to use D2L and check it regularly
D2L is your classroom. Make sure that before you decide to take an online course, you are familiar with D2L. Don’t be embarrassed if you have to look at the D2L tutorials because you need to be an expert on navigating D2L. UITS has a fantastic tutorial for D2L that is easy to understand and I have linked it here. You should know how to add/reply/delete a discussion post, upload a big and small file, as well as know how to take a quiz. This may seem simple enough, but if for some reason you are short on time, you need to know how to do these tasks quickly.

Another thing that you need to know about D2L is that the syllabus is always subject to change. The professor may change a deadline and rather updating the syllabus, they may post it in the news section or content section. Know where to locate these objects when you review D2L and check it daily. When I have been in online courses, I make a habit to check it once or twice every day so I know what is going on and if anything has changed.

3. Do NOT procrastinate
It is very easy to forget about your online classes especially if you have many in-person classes. Unlike classes that meet in person, you usually do not have lectures and you have to rely on a lot of readings. Don’t wait to buy the book or to start reading your online coursework because you will fall behind. If the class is exam-based or essay-based, all of the material you will need to know is in those readings. If you wait until the last minute to read, you will scramble to get your essay done with little insight and it could result in a bad grade. If you fall behind in an online class, it is very hard to get caught up because the material is very dense and you have to rely on yourself to get it done on time.

Another thing that you should keep in mind when taking online classes is that technology is not always reliable. There are always random, unannounced updates on D2L that make it so you are not able to access your course. With this in mind, it is always good to give yourself at least 5 hours ahead of when a discussion post, a quiz/exam, or a dropbox closes just in case something goes wrong with D2L or your internet access. This also gives you more opportunity to email your professor with questions. The more time you give yourself to turn in an assignment, the longer you have time to fix a problem if (and, as is the case with technology, when) it arises.

 4. Screenshot! Screenshot! Screenshot!

If you run into any problems, especially in a quiz or exam, take screenshots of what is happening on your screen. These screenshots are not only great to send as you look for support, but also you can send them to your instructor. In the past, in one of my classes, all of the exams were online. My instructor always told us if D2L acts weird to send in screenshots and depending on the issue, she would be able to reopen your exam to fix it. This gave her validation that something did actually go wrong because we had physical proof rather than just sending an email explaining what happened.

5. Be proactive
In an online course, you do not have the luxury to get the number of the person who is sitting next to you just in case you miss a class or if you have questions on your assignments. You also are not able to get questions answered from your instructors immediately. You have to be proactive. Reach out to your professors by sending an email or possibly visiting office hours if they have any. I have noticed that online professors are very quick to get back to you within a few hours or the same day that you asked your questions, so take advantage of it. Professors want you to succeed in their classes so ask specific, clear questions.

Another way to make sure your questions are answered or if  you need help, there is a class list that visible on D2L. This gives you contact to other students that are enrolled in your class. With this, you could possibly set up study groups or bounce ideas off of one another. When I took an online fashion course, we were assigned groups and we always would ask each other questions about assignments. They were always very helpful and we all did very well in the class.

I hope that you take these tips with you as you go along in college. I remember when I was going to college, I didn’t think that I would ever have to take an online class. When I had to for a required class in my major, I second guessed it especially when UAccess asked me, “Are you ready for online learning”?  I was unsure if I could handle it, but now looking at online classes, I love taking them. I can get ahead of the class, do it when I have time, as well as do my readings wherever I want. It’s nice having freedom without going to a specific class at a certain time. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is with freedom comes responsibility, but it is definitely worth it in the end!

Best,
Courtney

 

 

#StudiousSeptember: Smart Purchases for Smart Students

27 Sep

Getting back into school mode can be challenging. We get so used to the long summer nights, staying up late, and no responsibilities. Then, when school starts we are supposed to drop everything and change our habits almost immediately. While being prepared for school can make the year go by smoothly, feeling confident and motivated is a great key to getting back into school mode.

Another key factor to feeling prepared is to feel confident. Buying materials that you love is actually important. The better you feel about yourself and about school the more positive you will be. For example, getting a backpack that you love can make you feel confident at school. Confidence can go a long way when meeting new people because it can make you more comfortable to start a conversation or to even get the bravery to walk into class. The saying “look good, feel good” does actually make sense because confidence comes from finding things that you like to wear or use and embracing it.

The last factor that attributes to getting back into school mode is to be motivated. Everyone needs a motivation to succeed no matter what it is. It could be buying ice cream after a big exam or watching an episode on Netflix after finishing homework, motivation is a powerful tool when heading to success. As school starts, it is important to find motivation in the little things. Buying a backpack that you love will not only make you feel confident, but it will also serve as a little motivation. I find that when I buy materials that I actually enjoy using, I want to use them more often. So spending a few extra bucks on the backpack that you love will make you want to use it every day, therefore giving you the motivation to go to school every day.

The important part is to get back into school rhythm and find what works for you. Preparedness, feeling confident and motivation can be a great tool in order to succeed, don’t be afraid to use it!

-Yolanda

 

#StudiousSeptember: Letter of Recommendation Stress

26 Sep

There will come a time in your life where you will have to ask someone for a recommendation, whether it be a boss, or a professor, it will still be one of the most intimidating things you will do. This is because they literally can make or break your endeavor. A good recommendation will go far with a potential employer or graduate school, but a bad one could be the reason you are not accepted.

So the real question is how can you make sure you get a good recommendation? The truth is, you can never really be sure. Most professors will not tell you what they write on your behalf, so you are never REALLY sure what they have said about you, but that does not mean that you can’t lay the ground work for a good recommendation. Here are 5 tips that I have used to get a good recommendation letter.

  1. Actually talk to your professor
    • This might seem like an obvious tip, but many students are intimidated by their professors. If you can’t make it to office hours, try staying after class or emailing them. If a professor knows your name, that is a good sign!
  2. Try working with them outside of sitting in their lectures
    • Try taking on independent studies with them, or preceptor one of their classes. This will give them something other than the one class you have had with them to talk about in the recommendation. It will also show them that you are a well-rounded student.
  3. Always be professional and polite
    • This is extremely important, especially in today’s culture when people are very casual in addressing professionals. They have earned their degrees and should be given the respect of that title. While some professors do not insist you call them by their last name, you always should. Also, making sure that your emails are formatted in a professional way will carry far with professors.
  4. Make sure you tell them what your goals are
    • How are they supposed to recommend you for something when they don’t know what it is? Make sure to have a conversation with them about your goals and what you hope to get out of this experience. This will help them format their recommendation.
  5. Let them know what you do besides study
    • It should be very clear to them already that you are a hardworking student, but letting them know what you do outside of class can help them get a better understanding for who you are.

It is very important that you start building these relationships in your first year because a professor who has known you for four years will be able to write a better recommendation than one who has known you for maybe a semester. I have recently asked three of my professors to write recommendations for me, and they have all let me know that they would be delighted, so start as soon as you can!

– Chrissy