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7 Changes for Spring

31 Dec

Every student goes through trial-and-error phases at the beginning of their college education. I have tried a lot of new ideas this fall and the successes they brought have shown me some areas where I’ve been doing things the hard way. Here are a few of the changes I’m bringing to my Spring semester to make my life easier. Try them out to save yourself the trouble and avoid unnecessary struggle!

1. Wait to see if I need the book for a class before buying it

In previous semesters, I have always felt pressured to buy all of the required textbooks for my courses. I end up spending hundreds of dollars for all of my classes together and some, I hardly use and end up returning them. I have decided to wait until the professor clarifies if we need a book or if I could buy a different edition of the book. This way, I won’t spend unnecessary money if I am able to buy the cheaper version or if I do not have to buy the book at all.

2. Do not pull all-nighters

There was a few time this semester that I lacked on sleep. It was mostly caused by procrastinating and it ended up with me getting a lower grade on the assignment. I have realized from this semester that I need to start my assignments earlier or work on them a little each day in order to prevent pulling an all nighter. This semester I am going to set a deadlines. If my assignment is due at 11:59pm, I am going to have it done before 8pm (at the absolute latest) to make sure that I get an ample amount of sleep.

3. Talk to my advisor moreadvisor

As it becomes closer to my graduation, I have realized that my advisor is the best person to talk to if I have questions. This semester, she has really helped me get into classes that I have need in order to graduate. She also informed me about internships and independent studies. I want to continue to have this close relationship with her because she has told me about classes and options that I didn’t know before as well as help me stay on track with graduation.

4. Go to office hours

Since I have been at the university, everyone has told me to visit my professor during office hours. Honestly, I had never visited them until this semester. This semester I made an appointment because I was worried about a grade and I was really glad I did. My instructor let me know that one bad grade is not the end of the world and I would still finish the semester with a good grade. After the way that this went, I realized that it was not as scary or as intimidating that I made myself believe it would be. She really cared about my performance in her class and she had great feedback of how I can improve. Next semester, I plan to utilize office hours of my professors to get to know them and to ask questions if I am struggling on a project or in the class.

5. Make my lunch the night before I go to classlunch

When hunger strikes between classes you have no choice but to stop and feed your brain. But what you feed your brain makes a big difference! Instead of grabbing a greasy burger or tasty wrap that will add up to more than my food budget, I’ve learned that packing my lunch is worth its weight in financial aid. Taking a few minutes to pack it before bed lets me grab and go in the morning.

6. Use checklists more often

In the past I’ve tried keeping mental notes on homework and assignments each day with plans of getting things done as soon as I get home. I think we all know how that works out. Even if you do remember that day, Netflix and a nap on the couch come calling and all the details fade into a cloud of “I’ll do it later.” Instead of letting my memory turn into a hot mess this semester, I began to use checklists in my planner to organize ideas. Not only does it keep things in order, but it’s satisfying to cross things off as you accomplish them.

7. Utilize Writing Workshops

I am not the strongest writer. I have improved over the years, but the time it takes me to write a paper is ridiculous. It’s hard for me to organize my thoughts and get a good solid idea that goes along with the prompt. By using the Writing Skills Improvement Program workshops, I was able to improve my writing skills free of charge.

Overall, changing a few things here and there make a big difference in the amount of time, money and effort it takes to meet your goals each semester. Try out a few of these tips and tricks to simplify your academic life so you can focus on the things that matter.

Good Luck in Spring Semester!

My Registration Nightmare

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!



Stay True, Stay You

5 Feb

At some point in our lives, we face hardships with the ones we care about the most. How do you face conflict or uncertainty with your friends, roommates, or significant other? The truth is, you have to stay honest and really stay true to yourself.

I recently came across an insightful post from Phylicia Rashad. The post stressed independent discovery. In other words, you have to put yourself and your development first. Now that is not to say to shut out your support system. In fact our support systems help us in our growth and development more than we think. One section of the post really had me thinking. 

“Everything you do, every thought you have, every word you say creates a memory that you will hold in your body. It’s imprinted on you and affects you in subtle ways.”

Take the time to really reflect on these words. When we face challenges within our relationships think about how you as a person of your beliefs and stance will handle them. Now especially, we are going to have to deal with bad experiences. It is within the journey of finding our selves.

I recently had to walk away from an unhealthy romantic relationship. For years I felt trapped between making him, my friends, and my parents happy. It wasn’t until recently that I finally realized trying to keep up with everyone’s needs distracted me from my own. I wasn’t becoming the person I was striving to be. Once I stood my ground with my boyfriend at the time and my friends, I finally felt free. I refused to let such struggles leave a negative imprint on me. You will find that once you stand up for yourself, those who respect you will stay. Those that don’t, will leave. Sounds harsh but the truth of the matter is you need to surround yourself with people that will help and support your development.

If you are in the process of trying to juggle your relationship with your significant other, roommate(s), friends, or parents take the time to really listen to your inner voice. It is okay to not know the answer, but that is why so many stress to take care of yourself first. You will discover hardships are easier to handle once you find your own truths and justices. Find things that will reflect a secure imprint on you and that will soon be noticed by those around you.

Until next time,


When What Can Go Wrong, Goes Wrong

14 Nov

Registration comes and goes. All that stress, excitement, tears.


For some, registration is a success and celebrations happen. For others, not so much. If anything, the end of your registration period has left you even more flustered and confused than before. For those of you with success stories, congratulations… you have survived this madness that will continue to repeat while you’re here at the U of A.

Now for those of you who found yourselves stumped and couldn’t defeat this monster of registration… don’t lose hope! Sometimes, it happens to the best of us. The important thing now is to understand what went wrong and how to move on from those common registration hiccups. That way we can join those registration celebrations too!


These turn out to be the most common registration obstacles:

  • Classes are full and, therefore, closed
  • Holds
  • Pre-requisites
  • Time conflicts

For each of these evils, there’s a reason why it happens. They don’t simply exist to ruin your life (although it may feel that way). Journey with me as I break them apart and provide possible ways to proceed and potentially conquer the evil.

Evil #1: Classes closed because they reached their capacity.

For this one, there are a few different methods to best this evil. First and foremost, the reason that funky blue square appears under the status column is because the number of seats available have all been filled.    Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 11.37.42 AM


This means the following: 1) you either leave it in your shopping cart and await the glorious day that it might open up again or 2) talk to the professor and ask that they add you.

For option 1, there is a good amount of time between now and the first day of classes in Spring 2015. Students in the course may drop and change their schedules around. This means that if you are aware and ready, you can potentially enroll in the once someone drops it. My recommendation is leave that course in your shopping cart and check regularly to see if the status goes from a blue square to a green circle. Once that happens, enroll away! Also, keep in mind that the first week of classes is somewhat of a trial period for students. During this time you, still have the ability to change your schedule, so some people might find that the course you’re waiting for isn’t their cup of tea and will drop it… leaving it nice and open for you to enroll.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 11.43.15 AM

Option 2, on the other hand, is something you can do now by contacting the professor and expressing interest in being in his/her class next semester. Sometimes they’ll keep you in mind when seats become available. In order to proceed with the professor route, you’ll have to have them sign an Add/Drop form to then turn into the administration office. This is the manual method of enrolling in courses.

Evil #2: Registration holds on your account.

There are different types of holds and different ways to clear them. These are common reasons for such holds:

  • Past-due debts: You owe money.
  • Academic holds: You are mandated to meet with your advisor…why haven’t you?
  • Campus Health holds: did you ever turn in your immunization records?

These holds can range in complexity and reasons, but at the end of the day they won’t let you register so take care of them as soon as possible. For any of the holds, if you click on them on your UAccess account, you should be able to see what the holds are all about and who to contact to get them fixed. Usually, financial holds are good topics of discussion with the Bursar’s office or financial aid office. For academic holds go to your advisor or department of study. Lastly, Campus Health holds… well go to Campus Health for more information.

Evil #3: Pre-requisites.

For this one there aren’t many alternatives. If you don’t meet the requirements, you simply just need to do those things before you can enroll in such classes.


Evil #4: Time conflicts.

This one is another of those evils that you can take care of on your own or just will have to deal with. Time conflicts happen when your 9am Jazz class is at the same time as that 9am Puppets and Dragons class you want to enroll in. FYI- Not sure if that actually exists, but it serves the purpose of making my point. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too!


You’ll have to choose and hope for the best. Or find other courses that don’t conflict in time. If you’re not sure which ones are conflicting, UAccess let’s you know using the number of the class when it gives you the big red “X”.

All these hiccups are common and most of us will undergo at least one in our time as a Wildcat here. They might make you feel like this….


but the important thing is to not let them go unnoticed and unattended. Make sure that you look into them ASAP so you can enroll in all of the classes you need.

Final note: Make your advisor a primary contact. Save their number on your phone. Make them your homie, in the most respectful manner of course. I promise you that they’ll have the best answers for all of these registration mishaps!

Final note #2: Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ASK! If you don’t know how to fix something or what it means… simply ASK! Someone out there knows and it’s your responsibility to find these answers!

Best of luck Wildcats. Bear Down for Spring 2015.


– Lucero

Living Long and Prospering After Registration

14 Nov

Picking classes is pretty difficult. You have to find the class you want/need at a time you can manage, and hopefully with a professor you get along with. You then have to do this 5 more times with other classes and hope that they all line up! Managing this is enough to upset anyone, even Spock! Fortunately, after all of the madness, you get a perfect schedule that will allow just enough time to get from Social Sciences to Harvill without dying…or do you?

Spock 5

More often than not, students change their schedules after the initial registration week. Why you ask? Well, things come up. Some of those things are: getting a job, finding a better class/class time, changing a major. All of these things could cause a change in your “perfect” schedule, but an important thing to remember is to NOT freak out! Remember to practice the Vulcan ritual of kolinahr to keep calm!

Spock 4


Change happens all the time, and as a college student, knowing how to adapt could save your butt. Now that you have your first registration week under your belt, you’re a pro at registering for classes! Just take the skills you used during registration week and find that new perfect schedule.

Spock 6


Remember that registering for classes is the fun part! And as Spock says “Live long and prosper”.

Spock 2– Christine