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#NovembertoRemember: Treat Yo’self

27 Nov

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Sometimes all you need to do towards the end of the semester is Treat Yo’self. This is one thing I always forget to do, especially when finals are approaching. This time of year is so hard to do anything other than school because I feel like I do not have any free time from prepping for finals to the holidays. This month, I have decided to challenge myself to do one thing for myself every day. I know this may seem easy to do, but surprisingly, it has been a very difficult task.

I’ve been going through a very hard time lately with family issues and I have been encouraged by a lot of people to focus on myself, rather than worry about things that out of my control. This is something that is very difficult for me to do, hence why I am trying to slowly integrate things to just focus on myself into my day-to-day schedule. As you can see above, I have created a fun calendar that lists everything I am trying to do for myself throughout this month to keep myself accountable. After the day has passed, I look on my calendar and mark if I accomplished my treat yo’self task or not. If I don’t complete giphy-downsized.gifthe task for myself, I try really hard to do the one for the next day. The things I have put on this calendar are things I think are realistic for me to accomplish with my hectic schedule; some of these include: painting my nails, sleeping in, using a facial mask, and sitting out by a fire. All of these things are simple, but are fun and relaxing to me (which is much needed!).

The first week of the month all about doing things for myself, I did very well! It was fun to do things for myself and acknowledge the impact. I started to be happier throughout my day and I had something to look forward to every day that was not for anyone else or for school. I let my coworkers know about my challenge and they would do a great job asking what I did for myself that day/week, which was not just helpful for keeping myself accountable, but also encouraging to keep doing the fun tasks on my calendar. As the month continued on, honestly, I started to slack on treating myself every day. Schoolwork and family started to dominate (like always) and looking at my calendar, I was disappointed I missed out on doing things I was really looking forward to. Some of the things I was really upset about not completely were going to Mt. Lemmon (I’ve been trying to go up all semester, but have not gotten there), do my nails (I haven’t done them since September), and meditate (I’ve wanted to try this for awhile now). Even though I didn’t get to do these things this month, I always have time to do this AFTER finals week.

I have learned a lot about doing this little challenge. I’ve learned to list things out I really want to do for myself and remind myself to take a little time out of my day to do it! It was amazing to set a time of free time for myself, during all of the chaos. I’ve learned to set time to check in on how I am doing and to take a break. After this month, I definitely am going to try to keep this going from here on out.

It is so important to take time out of YOUR day to TREAT YO’SELF!!!

-Courtney

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Falling into Autumn #OutrageousOctober

16 Oct
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This is my goal!

Bring on the Fall! For once in my college life, I am completely aware the seasons are changing and autumn will be among us soon! Every year, I somehow let October slip through my fingers and by the time November hits, I question if October even occurred. From Halloween fun, to Midterm stress, and my father’s (and my) birthday, this month is probably the most hectic time for me. However, THIS October will completely different. I am preparing for my favorite season and going to fully embrace the fall. Below I have made a list all of things I am going to do to welcome the new season and I invite you to embrace fall with me!

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I NEED this! I wonder if it smells better than other pumpkin ones I’ve tried.

1. Make my home smell like Fall
I love candles to the point where my boyfriend says I shouldn’t buy anymore, but I do it anyways! They are so peaceful and also gives my home an amazing smell, which is always nice. This one is also a great and simple way to embrace the wonderful season because anyone can do it – if you can’t use open flames, there are diffusers, plug ins, sprays, and so many more options! If you like the aroma of fresh-baked goods, the woods, or other autumn scents, I can guarantee it is out there!

From online shopping to your favorite grocery store, there is always a section for candles, incenses, and air fresheners, which has all of the smells. There are seasonal fragrances that are great to fill your home with in order to enjoy the seasons even more. This year, I want to buy candles that smell like apples, cinnamon, and even find a pumpkin one. Unfortunately, I have not had any luck at finding a good smelling pumpkin candle, so if you know a good one, please let me know!

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My inspiration!

2. Update my wardrobe to match the changing seasons
Do not be mistaken when I say, “update my wardrobe”. I am not trying to change my whole wardrobe around to make it all fall attire because: 1. I am a college student who has bills and 2. I don’t have time for that. All I want to do is incorporate a few pieces that can give off a fall vibe like cute booties, a few shirts with dark fall tones, and maybe (if I’m feeling adventurous) a fun scarf with plaid on it. I think this is always a fun thing to do because you don’t have to spend a lot of money on changing your wardrobe. Just buying a few things that are something you don’t typically wear, vamp up your whole wardrobe. 

This doesn’t exactly relate to wardrobe, but I also want to incorporate fall colors and Halloween images into my nails. I use to do this all of the time when I was in high school (because I had time then), but I definitely want to at least change my nails twice to match the season. Also it’s a little difficult to do this now because I am a sculptor and my nail polish chips off WAYY too soon. 

3. Dye my hair to fit more in with the fall colors
This one is probably the most bold, reckless, and permanent thing to do on this list, but too late, I already did it! The reasons I wanted to dye my hair in the first place were: I’ve been really into changing my hair lately, I’ve never tried an auburn/red/orange color before, and Pinterest. There were so many creative things that were popping up on my feed to embrace fall colors with hair and I could not resist. Also, with my blue eyes I knew I had to give it a shot because it would make them stand out A TON.

After four hours of sitting in a salon, two ladies drying my hair at the same time, and a little pricey bill at the end, it was TOTALLY worth it! I love my new hair and to my surprise I love it more than my natural hair and all of the other experiments I have tried (blonde and purple balayage, for example). This new look also gave me a huge boost of confidence and a little more sass throughout the day. If you have ever been skeptical about changing your look, just go for it! Worst case scenario, if you’re not in love with it, express that to the person who did your hair and they will change it for you to like it once again. You may also find you love yourself with a new look and it will bring you more confidence than you had before. 

4. Eat/Drink all things pumpkin

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I love PUMPKINS! This turtle is too cute 🙂

Okay, okay. I know everyone thinks pumpkin spice is very overrated and “basic” when fall season hits, but I have no problem indulging in pumpkin anything. At first, being the cool person I am (just kidding), I did not want to participate in purchasing pumpkin items because I disliked that everyone went overboard with it, but after trying my first pumpkin spice latte, because my friend made me, I actually loved it and still do today. It brings warmness and nostalgia whenever fall comes around because I treat myself to this every autumn.

Other than the typical Pumpkin Spice latte at Starbucks, there are other goodies out there that are great to enjoy in this fall season. For the first time, I found pumpkin pie ice cream at the store, which was to die for! Not only did it taste exactly like pumpkin pie, but there were also pieces of pie crust which was a lovely surprise. There are pumpkin spice Oreos (?? which I guess is a thing now), pumpkin creamer (if you like to make your coffee at home), and pumpkin spice cereal (lol who knew?) out there to try. Unless you’re allergic to pumpkin, I would suggest trying some of these new pumpkin items if you haven’t already. Even though it is overrated, you may actually find you like pumpkin things and that’s great!

5. Go ALL out for Halloween
Usually I am putting together Halloween at the last-minute and last year it got so bad to the point my boyfriend and I got our Halloween costumes the day before. This year, it is not going to be that way. Because I am a planner (good joke), I have already took the initiative to plan what I am going to be this year with my boyfriend and started putting up Halloween decorations. We are going to be creepy clowns this year, thanks to the inspiration from IT (even though we haven’t seen the new one yet… lol)! Being an artist, I love to have costumes that incorporate face paint. For example one year I was a scary bunny, a skeleton, and a wolf. All of these costumes, I went all out on my face paint and it was a lot of fun! The Halloween fun does not stop there! Like I said we have started to put up Halloween decorations up (thanks to my boyfriend’s mom for letting us use some of hers). We are going to have scary decorations up for the majority of October, which might be terrifying or bring in more holiday cheer. 

The decorations will be perfect addition to our small get together we love to do every Halloween where our friends come over all dressed in costumes. In the past, we lacked the decorations because we shopped for Halloween last-minute and it was a little weird that the only Halloween aspect of our part was our costumes…but this time will be a lot more fun! I am also going to tap into my baking skills for this event to make Frankenstein cupcakes and Ghost cookies!

Another aspect that ties into the Halloween theme that I love to do is watch scary movies. Rob Zombie has incredible movies he produced, the SAW movies are intense, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and great because you can watch it over the course of two holidays! Other Halloween favorites include Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and Casper the Friendly Ghost (I know they’re kids movies, but I just can’t resist). Watching scary movies really gets me in the Halloween and October spirit, especially when there’s actually a Friday the 13th this month!!!

6. Take time to enjoy it all
Last, and especially, not least I am going to go out of my way to actually enjoy this month. With my hectic schedule (and I am sure you can relate) time goes by way too fast and I hate it. Honestly, I can’t even get over the fact we are already in the third month of the semester; where did the time go?? I am going to try my hardest to enjoy each and every day of this month to not only celebrate the fall season, but to also make the time go by slower. 

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I hope this blog inspires you to try to embrace the fall months, even if this is your least favorite time of year. It is great to at least try to enjoy every moment of the year, especially when you are in college. These years you are spending in college will go by quickly (trust me, this is my last year) and it is important to enjoy the path rather than to try to race to the finish line

Enjoy the Fall Season!
Courtney 

Writing is Coming.

30 Apr

So, I was casually scrolling though Facebook, as one does, and I came across a blog that was written by a girl I went to high school with.

Now I knew just looking at the title that it was going to be some absurd journaling experience about fitness or health. So, of course I just had to click on it and see what the hype was all about.

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This girl from high school was always really fit and brought super fantastic lunches to our club meetings, therefore I was sure the blog would not disappoint. And disappoint it did not. She started her introduction about how she was getting more “fit” this year, and I rolled my eyes at the thought that this already VERY fit person was trying to reach yet another goal. But then as I continued through the very short post, she described something that caught my eye: Journaling every single thing you eat, everyday.

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Now at first this sounded pretty outrageous. How could someone possibly write down everything they’ve eaten in a day. A handful of grapes? 27 chips? I mean how viable would it be to actually calculate all this stuff. But as I looked at her posted picture of her color-coded eating habits, I was enthralled by the organization of it all.

I didn’t immediately decide to start journaling my food at first. That is, until I went to Office Max  weeks before school started and laid my eyes upon the most gorgeous looking notebook in the entire store. I just needed an excuse to have one, and this was the only thing I could think of at the time.

And so it began…

Everyday, since the 9th of January 2017 I have journaled every single thing I have put into my body. And wow. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Now I am not one of the people who count every single calorie, or never indulge in sweets and chips, but what I have discovered about my eating habits after journaling everyday has been an eye opener for sure.

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If you start writing things down, you realize a couple of things. 1. That there are generally patterns in what you eat and when. 2. You may or may not snack insistently like myself. 3. You are skipping really important meals due to time. 4. You have wwwaayyy too many sweets for one day.

Since journaling, my eating habits have improved exponentially. I am more mindful about the wholesome foods I am putting into my body and I am more mindful when I deserve a good treat.

I highly recommend journaling to anyone that is considering changing their eating habits or who are trying to reach a goal.

Plus putting in my entries every meal is like a really fun puzzle everyday! I can’t even imagine my life without my notebook!

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Here are some pics of how things have progressed in my little book so far!

~ Mandi

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Work Smarter, Not Harder

15 Jan

super_strength-512Spending Time on Strengths

Everyone is their own worst critic and we often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. While we challenge those expectations in college, it’s important to keep it real and use our time in school wisely.

It’s hard for us to see a weakness in ourselves and accept it as is. This makes it very tempting to work harder on our room for improvement instead of maximizing our strengths.

To work smarter, not harder in college, we have to identify our strengths and focus our energy on developing them even further. Weaknesses will fill in and follow suit over time while you evolve as an individual.

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Finding your Strengths

We all want to succeed, that’s why we came to the U of A. We hear a lot about “following our passions” and “doing what we’re best at”, but how do we discover these things? How do we know when our passion has been ignited, or when we’ve found our niche?

It sounds like we should just stumble upon these hidden strengths and know them when we see them, but it’s not always so easy to pinpoint. One way of finding out about this is by looking at a challenge and your skills to meet it.

When a challenge presents itself, our response to that challenge tells us about our skills in that area. For me, just a few minutes of algebra problems are enough to remind me that math is a weakness of mine. On the other hand, ask me to draw you a picture and I’ll handle the task with a smile on my face. You might be a person who is very comfortable with math, but stressed out by creative demands. Stress is just an indicator of how we evaluate a challenge, and how we think our resources can meet it.

When it comes to school we can identify areas of strength and weakness in ourselves by monitoring the challenge level and the skill level we experience from different subjects.

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Getting in the “Flow”

According to the “Flow” model presented by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the ideal scenario is a high level of challenge met with a high skill level. According to this model, a person can perform at their best and achieve their highest under these conditions while experiencing fulfillment from the task. He adds that you must have clear goals, visible progress, frequent feedback, and confidence in your abilities.

Keeping track of your grades can help with setting clear goals and watching visible progress. Visit office hours for frequent feedback, and keep up the hard work for more confidence in your abilities!

-Amanda

 

Start Strong this Spring!

31 Dec

Going back to school isn’t easy after a long winter of sleeping in, movie marathons, and enjoying the cool weather, but now it’s time to start the ball rolling on a bright new semester. With a little push at the end of your break, you can make the transition easier.

Here are a list of tips to help you get back to Bear Down mode!

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Start a Sleep Schedule

Instead of cracking the whip over your head with an alarm clock on the first day of class, give your body a break and prepare it for the new schedule you’ll be operating on once school starts. By setting your alarm a little earlier each day, you can work your way up to that 8am wake-up you’ve been snoozing through this winter.

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Pre-Spring Cleaning

Set up your study space before you need to use it and you’ll have less in your way when it comes time to cracking open those new textbooks. Getting the extra clutter out will help you clear your mind and get back to that razor sharp focus school requires.

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Do a Campus Walk with your Schedule

Nobody likes to walk into the wrong classroom on the first day of class. Try taking your class schedule on a campus walk before school starts to eliminate the kinks when it comes to finding your new classes.

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Review for the New

If you’re taking classes in new subjects, try doing a little research to get ahead. Buy a phrasebook before your first class in a second language, or review your notes if you’ve studied the topic before. Not only will your professor know you’re super smart, but you’ll be the best study buddy in your class.

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Start Making Meals in Advance

Start preparing lunches for the week now and you’ll have a healthy habit by the time school starts. Not only will this save money, but it will save you from a diet of fast food and vending machine snacks. Sometimes picking a day on the weekend to prepare meals for the week is the best way to streamline your schedule.

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Get Your Supplies Early

Getting those school supplies lined up before the semester starts will ensure your preparedness. If you’re like me, this will also kick start your enthusiasm with shiny new pens and notebooks you just can’t wait to use.

This also goes for your wardrobe! Instead of buying random items and trying to mix and match, lay out some outfits and see what you need to up your game fashionably.

heb_project_flow_icon_02_charts_and_calendar-svgBudget

Start making a list of your expenses and create a budget for yourself. This will help you when financial aid comes in and begins burning a hole in your pocket. It’s better to plan wisely and stick to your limits than to end up starving during finals! If your funding looks a little weak, then you’ll know in advance if you need a student job or a loan from a family member.

Try out a few of these ideas and Bear Down for Spring!

Happy 2017!

-Amanda

 

You First

22 Nov

The first semester of college can be a daunting experience. Maybe you went through this first part of the year with such ease, even seniors in high school would be jealous. Or, maybe you had a really difficult time navigating through your first semester, and you came out with a couple of bumps and bruises. Whatever the case may be, hopefully, I can lend you a little insight as I reflect on my first semester of my sophomore year.

Let me give you some background about what my freshman year was like.  After I left college at the end of the year, I went back to my friends in my hometown and told them this…

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Now, I realize the immense gift it was to have a pretty easy and successful freshman year. Luckily my high school was really tough on academics, and it made my freshman year in college quite easy. I had no morning classes either semester, I lived on a great spot in campus, I had zero roommate issues, I had made tons of friends – it was a great start to my college experience.

Now coming around for my sophomore year, I did not expect it to be as easy as my freshman year since right from the gate my schedule was way more intense. But man-O-man, let me tell you, I could have never imagined the difficulty I was going to face this first semester. Hopefully, with these tips on my experiences, some of you can make peace with any issues

If you have roommate problems:

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Look. Whether you lived at home, in an apartment, or on campus, chances are you ran into a couple of issues with floor mates, roommates, or family members. The only thing I can say is, try you best to meet people in the middle, but always remember to speak up if you are feeling neglected or mistreated. This is a good life lesson, because at the end of the day there are just going to be people you don’t like, and there are just going to be people who don’t like you. You can’t control anyone but yourself.

If you had a busy schedule:

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Having to work alongside a full class schedule for the first time in my life was exhausting this year. I did not realize the meaning of time management until I had to frantically create a system to help organize my messy life. As you progress through college, you will find it is probably going to get more difficult over time. Especially if you decide to work along with your studies, being busy can seem like a struggle. The only way to get through this,in my opinion, is to stay positive and organized. Sometimes we are going to have to sacrifice time with our friends to study, or vice versa, maybe this quiz is not as important as something with your family or friends. This semester has taught me that not all decisions are clear, but they are important for you mental health and overall happiness.

If you got a bad grade (or a couple):

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Getting a bad grade is bound to happen at least once in your college career, if not more than once. For some of you, like myself, getting a less than stellar grade your first semester might be your first time. Honestly, it sucks, a lot. Sometimes you just have to accept that you aren’t a superhero and that you can’t succeed in everything. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options out there for you to try! Maybe you can GRO the class or work hard next semester to balance out the grade. Just try and remember to tell yourself one grade does not define your worth!

If you didn’t make as many friends as you thought:

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Now for some people, maybe this wasn’t a problem. Last year I had a really easy time making friends. But I know a lot of people who perhaps didn’t make as many as they thought and that’s ok! It’s ok for two simple reasons. 1. Even if you make friends, it doesn’t mean they will be around forever, or even past one semester. I definitely made friends last year that I don’t talk to now, and that’s ok, not everyone is supposed to stick around forever. And 2. It’s never too late to get out there and try! Try going to events on campus, joining clubs, or talking to more people in your classes if you can! I still find myself meeting new and interesting people and we are almost done with this semester!

If you had some Ups and Downs:

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Maybe you were told that college was going to be this fun party 24/7 and that you would have a nearly amazing time. The reality is, though, you are going to go through some struggles, some people more than others. College can be fun, and at times it can be a breeze. But like the wind, it can turn into a raging Haboob (Arizona dust storm reference ;)) in 2.5 seconds. Next thing you know you are living off ramen, writing your 5-page essay due in 2 hours while trying to keep  your life from falling apart. Just know that we all go through those trying times and that if you keep working hard and asking for help when you need it, you can get through it!

At the end of the day,the first semester is a trial run for the rest of your college career. We all learn from our mistakes, and we keep growing as we look towards the future. Reach out when you need it and help out when you can, because at the end of the day. We are all in this together. 😉

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~Mandi

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!

-Amanda

 

The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

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!

-Amanda

 

#StudiousSeptember: Satisfying Study Sessions

19 Sep

Now that the semester is underway and the homework is rolling in, it’s time to study! While we usually meet this challenge without much enthusiasm, it is possible to make it an event to look forward to.

Spoil Thyself!

Have a well-deserved treat when you put your study time in! Small rewards like this will give you a little boost in your day.

Having a little caffeine can help your brain along. Try curling up in a café to do your assigned readings in caffeinated comfort. Even taking yourself out for a long lunch can make a thankless homework task into the highlight of your day.

Make Peace, Not Grief

Find a spot that evokes a sense of peace so you can study longer without struggling to sit still. The summer is almost over and the lawns are cool and green. There are tons of hidden benches and shady trees to give you a seat with sitting in, they’re the perfect places to have a meditative study session.

Having a regular study space set up at home can really help. Once you’ve established a spot that puts you in study mode, your brain will automatically know what you’re up to when you sit down. Since the hardest part is getting started, this will make things much easier in the long run.

If you find yourself getting distracted, try putting your headphones on and listening to some music. This is almost like putting the blinders on a horse so that he focuses on the road ahead.

That being said, limit your access to text messages, Netflix, and social media while you work. Maybe make a post letting your friends know that you’re getting ready to bear down for an hour or two. They’ll totally understand.

Organize to Limit Suffering

Have you ever looked at all of your papers, folders, books and handouts in a pile and felt like your head was going to explode? Getting overwhelmed is a good thing to avoid and a simple problem to solve.

If you know what’s on your syllabus, you can break things into steps and prioritize. Is it more important to study for a quiz that’s worth 15% or and exam that’s worth 40%? Making lists, writing your syllabus dates and deadlines on a calendar, or using the library’s assignment scheduler can help you. Not only will you know what to do with your study session, but you’ll be able to look ahead. Check out Think Tank’s “Semester on a Page” for a cool organizational tool.

Once you have your to-do list made, it’s time to knock it out. If you’re taking your studies out for a night on the town, be sure to pack your chargers, writing utensils, scratch paper and all of your materials for the classes you’re working on. The last thing you want to do is to get settled in only to find that you’ve brought the wrong book.

If you know you’ll be struggling with the material from a class as you study it, go where the help is! Getting stuck or stumped can be an important part of the learning process, but you want to connect to the resources around you before you get frustrated. Study near your professor’s office during their office hours, bring your work to Think Tank, or make a study group to give yourself a support network.

By spoiling yourself, seeking out your study oasis and breaking big tasks into small steps, you’ll set yourself up for success this semester.

Keep calm and study happily!

-Amanda

 

The Big Switch

9 Sep

“What’s your major?” It’s basically the first question that you get asked when you meet someone on a college campus. When I graduated high school I was so sure of the major I’d selected when I applied and my career path after graduation. But when I got to orientation, something didn’t feel quite right. I had absolutely no passion for the major I’d chosen. Looking at the 4-year curriculum ahead of me just wasn’t thrilling. For me, that wasn’t what I came to college for. So I changed my major for the first time about a week later. Over the summer I added a second degree focused on my favorite subject in high school.

Throughout the course of my freshman year, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do with myself. I knew the sciences were a strong fit for me, but I couldn’t find anything that sparked something in me. I’ve always believed that you can truly see when someone has found the perfect thing for them because they will absolutely light up when they talk about it. I wanted that feeling more than anything. Instead, I was dragging myself from class to class to clubs every day. Truthfully I was so busy that I didn’t have much time to feel bored.

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Life is all about growing and changing

I started out as a pre-med student, but I wanted to be sure that I was choosing the right career path because pre-rec classes are different for different professional schools. So I signed up for a 1 unit health careers exploration colloquium, and it was one of the best decisions I made that year. I knew one of my club advisors was a graduate student in public health, but I never thought to ask her more about the field itself. Early on in the colloquium, we had a group of panelists from a variety of career paths including a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and public health professional. I was immediately drawn to public health because of its big-picture perspective on health. From there I talked to my advisor about what she was studying and then it clicked. I’d finally found that spark. That summer I changed my major for the fifth and final time.

I felt some pressure throughout the process of finding the right major to just stay the course for a year and see how it went. But deep down inside I knew that wasn’t going to help me enjoy my freshman year. I had already lost interest, so I didn’t want to waste my time. In the end, the process helped me to know myself better and ultimately led me to the perfect path.

-Gabriela

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