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Surviving Priority Advising: Your Recipe for Success

8 Mar

The priority advising period can feel really stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Planning ahead can help you get the most out of your time with your academic advisor. If you are thinking of switching majors, start the process early so that you won’t run into issues during registration.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared student
  • 1 insightful advisor
  • 1-19 units (add to taste)
  • 1 list of possible classes
  • 1 list of questions
  • 15 minutes of 1:1 time

Instructions

  1. Find a time to meet with your advisor. Check Wise Advising to see when your advisor has appointments. Most advising offices email out a schedule of when you can come in for advising, so look in your CatMail if you aren’t sure. In general, this will be the week before you register. Some advising offices also switch to walk-in only during priority advising, so plan ahead! Walk-in hours are on a first come, first-served basis
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  2. Open your advisement report. Getting there is simple: log into UAccess and click on “My Academics” to the left of your course schedule. Click on the first link “My advisement report”.
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  3. Create a draft 4-year plan. Some departments post sample 4 year plans that you can use as a rough guideline. If you’ve already created a plan with your advisor, skip this step. Some things to take into consideration: Pre-requisites for upper division courses, total units needed to keep a scholarship, pursuing multiple degrees, any minors, and completing all Gen Ed requirements. Your plan may look different from the sample one depending on your math placement, or any transfer/exam credits counting towards different requirements, that is ok!

  4. Decide which requirements you absolutely need to complete next semester. Use the search function in UAccess to see when any pre-requisite courses are offered. Try to get them out of the way, if possible. This will help you stay on track to graduate on time. I like to use the “browse course catalog” feature that lets you search by letter, but it’s all up to personal preference.

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    There are two ways to search for open courses in UAccess!

  5. Find those courses on UAccess and add them to your shopping cart. Just click the green “select” button and then hit next and it will be added. This is helpful for your advisor because they can see what’s in your shopping cart and give you advice based off of what you’ve selected.

  6. Decide which other courses you want to fill your semester with. Pick ones that sound interesting and fulfill requirements. Add multiple back-ups to your shopping cart in case they fill up on registration day.

  7. Make sure you will have enough travel time to make it to class on time. Sometimes there’s no way around it, but if you can avoid running from one class to the other because you only have ten minutes to make it across campus you will thank yourself later.

  8. Check for any holds on your account. You can see thesA by going to your homepage on UAccess and looking at the right-hand column. Click the “details” button to see more specifics and get information about how to clear a hold. If you aren’t sure what to do, be sure to bring it up to your advisor and they will point you in the right direction.
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  9. Write down any questions you have for your advisor and bring the list with you to your appointment. I often forget at least one thing I needed to ask my advisor, having it all ready to go beforehand helps me get the answers I need quickly. If you do forget a question, email them as soon as you remember and follow-up if you do not get a response in 24-48 hours.
  10. Get to your appointment early. This is especially true for walk-in hours, if you have limited availability you will want to get on the list as soon as possible. Most departments also have a check-in process for appointments, so arriving early helps make sure that does not cut into your time with your advisor.

-Gabriela

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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

 

Stay Organized, Wildcats!

28 Aug

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time! There are so many events to attend, new people to meet, clubs to join, and a full schedule of classes to adjust to. As college students, we get to decide how we want to use our time. It can be overwhelming to keep track of everything, but having an organizational system helps make it easier to manage. Ultimately you will have to find out what works best for you. Here are my top 5 tips to stay organized in college.

mike with backpack

Arriving on campus is so exciting!

1. Get a planner- and use it!
It may seem obvious, but having a planner is essential to getting by in college. There are so many types of physical planners to choose from, and lots of templates if you want to create your own customized one. If you’re going to use a paper planner, it is helpful to have one that shows the whole month and then has space for each day to write down homework assignments, meal plans, things that you need to remember to bring, work shifts, etc.

Paper planner isn’t your thing? That’s okay! There are a lot of online options to help you stay on top of assignments. Google calendar is available through your Catmail account to help you keep track of time commitments and you can set reminders. Google keep is also a free service that allows you to keep to-do lists and also has a reminder function. If you decide to stick to a strictly digital planning system, try to stick to one or two that work really well for you so that assignments don’t fall through the cracks.

2. Your syllabus is your best friend

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Everything is better with support!

Once you get your syllabi, look for the section with your assignments and exams and put them into your planner. With longer projects and papers, it can be helpful to work backwards from the due date and give yourself deadlines to finish certain tasks since your professors won’t be checking in to keep you on track. Remember to keep looking back for instructions on how to complete assignments. I like to cross assignments off each week, and it helps me stay motivated.

3. Keep workspaces simple
Keep your desk surface as clear as possible so that you have room to spread out books and notebooks while you’re doing homework. It’s much more difficult to focus on the task at hand when there’s too much going on at your desk. Consolidate your school supplies to one place that is easy to reach from your desk. I like having a pencil cup on my desk with pencils, pens, and a pair of scissors and keep extra paper and index cards in a drawer nearby. Putting everything away after you’re done working helps keep your workspace feel peaceful.

4. Avoid the mountain of papers

paperwork

Don’t forget to file your paperwork.

As the semester goes on, you will be receiving lots of papers from your professors and getting assignments handed back. It is very easy for those papers to become unmanageable and end up all over your desk, in the inner hidden corners of your backpack that you never knew existed, behind your bed, or under the couch. Some of those pieces of paper could be really important- you could need those tests and papers in case something isn’t put into D2L correctly and get back the points you earned. Even if there isn’t a grading mistake, your TAs do leave useful feedback on your assignments to help you improve the next time around! Set aside a day of the week to sort papers into their appropriate folders, and if you need to take action on something (for example a change of schedule form), keep it easily accessible in your backpack so that you don’t risk missing a deadline.

5. Keep classes separate
In high school, it was easy to use one binder for all of my classes. When I got to college I realized that each class takes up a lot of space and the one-binder-fits-all method was not going to work anymore. Some people are more visual and like to color code, so if that helps you out use it! I like to have a different color notebook with a matching folder for each class so that it is easy to grab the materials for the different classes each day when I’m in a rush!

Getting organized can be a fun process and it’s a great time to try out new things and see what fits your needs the best. Once you have something that works, you will realize that you save a lot of time and can focus on what we’re all here for- to get that degree! Best of luck with the new year, Wildcats!

-Gabriela

#AdventurousApril: Archaeology Adventures

18 Apr

April is one of the hardest months in the school year. Everyone is ready for school to be over and yet there is still a ton to do! Added on top of all this is registration for classes, which inexplicably comes with thinking about the future.

Personally, I have always known what I wanted to do both for my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree, but suddenly out of almost no where, I was not so sure. Essentially it started with my school tour last month. It got me thinking about things, always dangerous, I know. What it really came down to was that I did not think I could be happy being a Professor for the rest of my life, not that I did not want to teach, but I did not want to do research (a big part of being a professor).

Equipped with this new-found information, I had a decision to make: what the heck was I going to do now? I had come into college with a sure-fire plan of what I wanted to do, and now here I was at the end of my JUNIOR year with no idea about what I want to do?! So, I did what anyone would do: I stayed up all night watching Ted-Talk videos trying to come up with a semblance of a plan.The videos actually ended up helping because during one of the videos, I heard someone talking about classical preservationists, who preserve ancient artifacts. I started researching the requirements for this job, and it turned out that all my hard work in my undergrad would not go to waste! I would need the exact same classes that I had already taken, so I was not as hopeless as I thought I was.

The truth of the matter is that most students will change their minds about what they want to do sometime during their undergraduate career, it is just a fact of college. As we grow as people, we find out more about our interests and limits and have to adjust for that. If you find yourself in my shoes, with no idea about what you want to do with your life, don’t fret. Start researching, do some personal digging and figure out what interests you. Take a class that sounds interesting, you never know… maybe Psychology is your thing, maybe you were born to be a Criminologist!  Whatever excites you, go for it!

Christine Ellis

#FearlessFebruary: Filing Fears

29 Feb

This month, I did something just about every adult in North America does this time of year: taxes. While this might seem to be a mundane task, it was quite frightening for me, as it is for many first time filers. Now that I have filed though, I see that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be and I started wondering where the stigmas and fears come from.

Part of the fear stems from the fact that this is something “adults” do. While I am over the age of 18, it has not seemed to hit me yet that I am considered an adult. I am still in school and doing many of the same things I was doing when I was underage; as a result, I have not yet fully transitioned into “adult mode”.

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Another part of the fear comes from the stigma that filing taxes is hard and takes a long time. Growing up, at least for me, February-April was a time of stress and anxiety. My parents would pour over every receipt looking for ways to get more money back, and as a result they noticed all the frivolous money they had spent over the year and the tension in the house was high. Luckily for me, I keep a pretty good track of what I spend, and the actual filing was fairly easy because I used an online program. I filed mine within two hours, which considering I had no clue what I was doing, it went pretty fast.

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The final fear people have when filing their taxes is that they will mess up and they will owe money or be accused of fraud (or at least this was my fear). In the end though as I said before, filing was fairly simple and while you may end up owing some money, every case is different, at least you’ll know that you passed this large milestone.

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-Chrissy Ellis

New Year, New Me?

21 Feb

Starting Spring semester is always a wake up call for me. I am not sure why, but I am never as motivated in Spring as I am in the Fall. This Spring semester seems to be the worst one of all because I am taking a lot of units and I have my annual laziness epidemic going on. Personally, I think I, and students in general, have a harder time staying focused in Spring because the weather gets better, and everyone wants to be outside. Regardless of the causes, what I need to do this Spring is to get myself organized and set up personal goals.

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The most important aspect of a goal is that it is achievable, so while it is nice to think that I can take 21 units and work 20 hours a week, this is really not possible for me. So, my first goal is to work enough to keep me busy, but not so many as to overwhelm myself. I have actually already achieved this goal, I found that working 13 hours a week is best for my current schedule.

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My next goal for the semester is to study on the weekends. Often, I have the mindset that the weekend is my time to relax from school, and while I might not have to go to school, I can still do school work. Doing work on the weekend will make my daily work less stressful and help me stay more motivated.

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My last goal for the semester is to socialize a bit more. I am not sure how it has happened, but since I have come to college, I have become a recluse. It doesn’t matter if it is just hanging with friends at my apartment, having any kind of social interaction will help me not procrastinate as much.

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Look, I know motivation in the Spring semester is hard to come by, but if you make goals for yourself, we will find a way to get through it together!

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-Chrissy

Fununteer: Is that a thing?

19 Feb

Think about volunteering and giving back to the community. What do you picture? Maybe a hot Tucson day picking out weeds at a local park or cleansing the streets of Tucson from the littering habits of careless individuals. Yes, these are very common volunteer options, but what if these ‘typical’ volunteer activities weren’t the only way? What if there were fun ways to volunteer? Call me crazy, but having fun while still giving back to the community doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all!

So what are some of these magic ways to volunteer? Well, they’re endless – but here’s  a few ideas to get you started.

1. Hospitals

Volunteering at hospitals can be a fun experience! If you’re into the healthcare scene, this is a great opportunity for you to get hands-on experience with all the intricacies of hospital settings. Maybe the hospital system isn’t what you’re into and you’re looking for more interactive volunteering. This is still a great environment for that too! Some volunteering may include direct interaction with the patients. Whether you chat it up with patients, read to them, or put on a program for their entertainment, you can still have those meaningful interactions in a hospital! If you want more information from a local hospital check out: Diamond Children’s or The University of Arizona Medical Center as both are conveniently located close to campus. 

2. Animal Shelters

So maybe people aren’t your number one choice for species. How about animals? Animal shelters are great places to volunteer if you’re an animal lover! This opportunity might involve a bit more preparation than other volunteering since you might undergo some training, but at the end of the day you could catch the attention of the cutest pup at the shelter! I don’t know about you, but playing with the animals sounds way better than cleaning streets! Keep in mind you’ll likely also help out with cleaning kennels, so trash might sound better after all…

Check out the Humane Society of Southern Arizona or Pima Animal Care Center for more information about volunteering.

3. Community Gardens

Let’s say by this point you discover a moving, breathing thing might not be your cup of tea. Maybe something less active to interact with is for you… how about plants? Tucson has a few community gardens which allow you to plant and care for your very own plants. This is a great way not only to lead a more  sustainable and green-friendly life, but you can actually donate the food you grow to community food banks or other organizations that give back to those in need. The UA actually has its own community garden around campus and the city of Tucson provides many opportunities for community gardening.

4. Working with Children

When looking for real fun look no further than the experts in fun: KIDS! What better volunteer work than playing and interacting with little ones? Tucson has a multitude of programs and organizations that are looking for volunteers to help out with children! From Casa de los Niños to Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteering with children is a fun learning experience that allows you to build interpersonal skills, expand your creativity levels, and let your imagination run wild and free as a kid’s!

The number of volunteer opportunities that aren’t your typical clean-up style options are endless! The beauty about volunteering is that there are so many ways you can make a difference in someone’s life. As with most things, it’s about having an open mind and seeking those opportunities! Here are some good websites to check out to find volunteer options: VolunteerUA or VolunteerMatch.

Happy volunteering!

– Lucero

Secret Study Spaces

25 Nov

As UA finals week veterans know, the Main Library gets packed during finals. Efforts to book a room or find a desk with an outlet are often to no avail and as a result, tensions run high. In order to alleviate some of this stress, here is a list of some obscure but wonderful study spaces on campus.

1) Worlds of Words Library

Located on the 4th floor of the Education Building, the Worlds of Words: International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature is a perfect study nook for those of us who are still children at heart. This room is filled with comfortable seating and children’s books for when you need to take a study break. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. 

WorldsofWordsLibrary

2) The Arizona Health Sciences Library

The Arizona Health Sciences Library is open from 7 am to midnight during finals week. It’s most endearing quality is that it has the same amenities as the Main Library, but it tends to be significantly less crowded. There are several floors, some of which are only accessible to Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy, and Medical students (including all pre-majors) which really cuts down on crowding. It is located directly next to the University of Arizona Medical Center.

ArizonaHealthSciencesLibrary

3) The Fred A. Hopf Reading Room 

Located in the Optical Sciences Building, the Fred A. Hopf Reading Room is a cozy study nook with lots of windows. Despite its small size, this room is rarely ever crowded and its a quiet study area which is great for people who need their peace and quiet to concentrate. If you find that the Reading Room is not your style, there is also an expansive study area on the top floor of the Optical Sciences Building.

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4) The Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library

Aside from being absolutely gorgeous, the Law Library is huge. It is home to both quiet and collaborative floors so there’s a place for everyone. Like the Arizona Health Sciences Library, the Law Library tends to be much less frequented than the Main Library. Although it is called the Law Library, all students are welcome! It is open from 7 am to 11:45 pm on weekdays.

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5) The Michael and Helen Dobrich Library

The Michael and Helen Dobrich Library is housed in the Poetry Center. It has tons of couches and desks where students can hunker down for hours. This library is surrounded by windows and is located very close to a streetcar stop which is great for students who need to get back and forth from the main campus. Its hours are listed here.

PoetryCenter

Keep in mind that these are not the only secret study spaces on campus, a more complete list is linked here. As always, Wildcat Connections challenges you to expand your horizons and explore all that campus has to offer by seeking out new study spaces as seen in this video of us on a quest to find the best study spot ever. Take care of yourselves in your preparation for finals, we’re almost there Wildcats!

-Alicia

Expect the Unexpected: Registration Day

10 Oct

Registration day, I’m not going to lie, is a scary experience. It’s the one day out of the semester when every single student (in your cohort) is up at 6 am in order to get first pick for the classes they want/need. But you should be ahead of the pack and get up at 5:50 am so you can get signed in and ready to go.  When that magical moment comes, all you need to do is hit the button!

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Here are some tips to help you expect the unexpected and register like a pro!

1. When the website crashes!

I will guarantee you that 99.9% of the time, the UAccess website will crash because every student is trying to access it at the exact same time! Don’t panic…BREATHE! This happens every semester of every year, but we’ll just have to work with it. Unfortunately, you need to just wait. You’re basically “in line” to be able to register, so if you sign in again or refresh the page….you’ll get bumped until later in the line. So, sit back and relax and let your computer do its thing.                                                                                        

  *Who knew that a simple symbol could be the source of so much frustration?!

2. When the classes you want are no longer available!

Sadly, this happens very often. This is why it is good to have a back up plan in case you can not get into the courses you want. For example, if you really want the 2pm chemistry lecture, I hope you get in but, just in case you don’t…also add the 8am chemistry lecture. I know…YUCK! However, it is better if you get the course at a different time (even if it may not be so convenient) rather than not get into the class at all.
Just in case you don’t know when your registration day is, log on to UAccess. On the right hand side, you will see a blue panel with very important information along with your registration date.
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Lastly, good luck!
-Rebecca