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Parent Blog 11: Mid-Semester Lull

22 Mar

With Spring Break being over, and less than 8 weeks left in the semester, students often struggle with getting over the “mid-semester lull.” Most students find themselves being a little ‘slow’ when it comes to getting things done because they’re exhausted from midterms, stress, and day-to-day responsibilities.

Your student may be feeling this way at the moment.

Although this may be, there are three important areas that students need to focus on this semester.

Fall 2018 Registration

The most stressful thing about the middle of the semester for most students is the need to register for Fall courses. Your student may be stressed because they don’t know what courses they need for next semester, or how to find out. The first thing your student needs to do is to make sure they are keeping up with the credits that they need to have to stay on track for graduation. Your student can make sure they are on track by meeting with their advisor, or checking UAccess. Students often forget that they can add classes to their shopping cart before the registration date. Adding classes to the shopping cart makes registration morning much easier and less stressful. Registration opens at 6am; this means that students can click the ‘register’ button for all of their classes in their cart. Although this doesn’t seem too stressful, many underclassman classes have capacity limits, and more than likely, your student may not get the classes they are looking for. Do not worry, though! Students can register for the waitlist for those classes, and they can also speak to their advisors about what to do next.

Ensuring your student that it isn’t the end of the world, is the most important step. Your student’s stress levels may increase, but it’s important that you remind them that where there is a will, there is a way. The University has many different ways for students to stay on track!

Getting Over the Semester Lull

The weeks after Spring Break and before Summer Break are the hardest weeks for students; they have been working hard and stressing for almost a whole year. Students find themselves low on motivation, and slow when it comes to staying on top of their duties. This is the part where parents need to remind students that they are so close to the finish line. The first year of college is almost done! Keeping your student motivated may seem like an odd request, but oftentimes students forget that other people believe in them too. Reminding your student that you believe in them and that their efforts are not unnoticed may give them that morale boost they need.

Spring Fling

The best thing for your student to get over the mid-semester lull is to relax! Spring Fling is the opportunity for your student to have safe and adventurous fun! Spring Fling is an event the University has where carnival rides, games, and food are brought on campus for one weekend. Many of the student clubs work the different booths, and it’s an event that rallies the entire student body. Your student will be able to buy tickets for food, games, and rides, or wristbands to ride the rides for an unlimited time for the day. Spring Fling is a great opportunity for your student to relax, unwind, and have some fun! It is open to the entire community (at an entry fee if you are not a University of Arizona student) and is happening from April 13-15th! The website has more details if needed, and we hope to see your student and you there!

With that in mind, I hope you will be able to help your stressed student!




The Priority Registration Burger

14 Mar

When I was a freshman, I thought I could handle registration on my own. I could use my own judgment on which classes I can take because it’s ultimately up to me right? This was my mindset as I went into registration week and I had no idea that I was completely unprepared. I only had my five classes in my shopping cart without any backup and to my dismay, they were all filled a few seconds after it hit 6:00am. I tried to reassure myself that everything was ok, there was still time!
After refreshing the page, the whole system was offline because there were so many other freshmen trying to register at the same time I was. As this happened, I called my friend who was also up to register if she got into any of her classes and if she was even able to register. She and I were in the same boat of being helpless.giphy.gifOnce the system came back online, another bomb is dropped, all of the 8:00am sections for my BNAD class were full. This meant I had to rework my ENTIRE course schedule. At this point, I was over the entire registration process and almost decided to quit. giphy-3.gifFeeling frustrated, I decided to step away from my laptop and ask my older sister what to do because she has been in my shoes before. She recommended me to see if there is a waitlist for the section I want and to make an appointment with my advisor. She said I was overreacting and:giphy-1.gifI appreciated her advice, but I was a little uncertain about actually going through with it. I knew I could see if there was a waitlist on UAccess, but meeting with my advisor was another story. At this time, I was very shy at talking to anyone so any interaction, especially with someone who had high authority, made me very nervous. giphy-4.gifI decided that the best option would be to speak with my advisor, so I sucked it up and made an appointment. Walking in, I felt embarrassed. I was curious what my advisor would say and maybe they would laugh at me because I was a college student who couldn’t even register for classes correctly. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My advisor was very nice, helpful, and reassured me that many students had difficulty with registering. My advisor helped me reorganize my schedule in order to make sure I was enrolled in BNAD as well as kept my other classes in my shopping cart that could work if the 8:00am section opened up. I WAS THRILLED! Not only did I have a complete schedule, but she said I had through the first week of classes to revise my schedule. Meeting my advisor was definitely the smart thing to do and the next day I thanked my sister a million times.giphy-2.gifFrom that point on, I have never tried to register for classes on my own. I ALWAYS seek advice from my advisor before my priority registration date. I make an appointment even though everyone else in my major is trying to do the same thing because I want to make sure the classes I am taking are bringing me closer to graduation. I have had three different majors during my time here at the U of A and thanks to great advisors I am still graduating in four years which was my goal! There are so many things I have learned from meeting with my advisor especially about priority registration, so do yourself a favor a make an appointment before your priority registration date!


Good Luck! -Courtney


Tips for Traveling Safe

2 Mar

Spring Break is finally here. I’m sure you all have some great plans lined up — whether that be returning home for the week, staying here and relaxing, or taking a trip with your friends. Hopefully, wherever you end up and whatever you end up doing is both fun and allows you to destress from the semester. One awesome thing about Spring Break is that it allows you to recuperate your energy so that when you return, you’re ready to tackle the rest of the semester. But also, it’s time to have fun!

If you are taking a trip with friends, please do your best to stay safe. There are so many ways you can prepare before heading off on your adventures and taking these precautions is the best way to ensure your break runs as smoothly as possible. Below are some tips on how I personally like travelling with friends.

  1. First off, how are you getting there?
    • If you’re flying, who is picking you up? Do you have your passport or other form of ID? Check and check again before leaving. Print your boarding pass or at least double check to make sure your airline emailed it to you, and you can access it from your phone.
    • If you’re driving, are you taking a reliable car? Consider having your car or your friend’s car checked out especially if you know you will be driving a long ways. Also, are you and your friends splitting the cost of gas? Pro tip: If you don’t have Venmo… Get Venmo.
  2. Make sure you’re travelling with trustworthy friends. At this point, you probably can’t exactly change the group you are travelling with, but my hope is that you are with a group of trustworthy individuals! Be a good friend is what I mean here. Don’t leave anyone behind if you’re going to a club or something along those lines. Use the buddy system at the very least. Establish some kind of protocol for ensuring everyone is safe — it doesn’t have to be complicated, maybe it’s just a quick text check in! Also, consider adding your friends on Find My Friends!
  3. Don’t way until the last minute to pack! If you’re going to be out at the beach or in the sun, pack sunscreen. Try to think about what you all are planning for each of the days you will be on vacation, and pack according to the needs of your activities per day. If you’re feeling especially organized, make a check list!
  4. Be cautious of your surroundings. This may sound a little obvious, but if you’re in a new place, and you seem lost — you become a target of sorts. Try to do your research on where you’re going, and plan out your day to day activities to the best of your ability. Keep your head up and look out for one another!

All right, that’s all I have for now. Have a great Spring Break, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂


It’s The Future You Can See

1 Mar

Everyone has goals, whether they are aware of them or not. Whether your goals are academic, financial, health and fitness, or something else – your choices determine whether you will achieve them. No matter where you are in your goal timeline, it is always good to check in with yourself periodically.

Step 1: Evaluate your current situation
Think back to the original goal that you set for yourself. Now look at where you are in relation to that goal at this current moment in time. Sometimes, you’re going to have an “OH SNAP” moment when you realize that you are wayyyyyyy off track. That’s okay, it’s better to know that what you’re doing is not working than to keep going on your current path. Now evaluate what you need to be successful, do you need more accountability or are you lacking the resources to succeed?


giphy (1)

Sometimes it feels like life hits you like this. It’s totally normal, you just have to get back up.

Step 2: Evaluate the quality and importance of your goal.
Now that you know where you are, take a hard look at the goal you’re trying to achieve. Is it realistic and achievable? Read about SMART goals and consider revising your goal. You may need to completely abandon your goal and try something new if you realize that it isn’t that important to you, or it could be helpful to break up a larger goal into several short-term ones. Visualize what it will be like when you achieve your goal to find your motivation.


Step 3: Determine what changes need to be made
This is the hardest part, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself. In order to achieve goals, there will be changes that need to be made in your lifestyle. This is why you need to set achievable goals because making change is HARD. You’re going to have some days that are extremely successful and other where you have some setbacks.


giphy (1)

Step 4: Get your game plan together
Congrats, you’ve already done the bulk of the work! Now you just have to lay out what changes you will implement when, get your support system ready to go, and get started TODAY. Trust me, do not put it off because you will not be as motivated if you wait, I know it from experience.

Repeat this process as often as needed until you’ve achieved your goals. Good luck!



Registration Preparation

28 Feb

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

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

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


The Ten Commandments of Safe Spring Breaking

28 Feb

Welcome, freshmen, to your first college Spring Break! One of many that you will spend either happily wasting time in your bedroom, running around another city with your friends, or visiting your hometown. Whatever it is that you ultimately end up doing, know that it is of the upmost importance that you stay safe. You may have completed midterms last week but that doesn’t mean we won’t need you around (all parts included) for the remainder of the semester!

Commandment Number 1:

Don’t you DARE take a drink from a stranger, from someone’s personal container, or from anywhere near you if it doesn’t belong to you (trust me, people have done it).

(Not even this guy would do it)

Commandment Number 2:

Keep yourself hydrated. This is a good idea anytime, anywhere. Especially if it’ll be hot wherever your staying and especially if liquor laws allow you to drink.

Commandment Number 3:

If you’re traveling outside the country, make sure you leave your valuables at home. Cell phones and tablets can be exceptions, but anything more like jewelry or watches can make you a target for muggers.

Here we have an example of what not to take with you on vaca

Commandment Number 4:

Research the place you’re visiting. Get familiar with the layout of the town and where the best areas to stay in are. It’s better to be safe than sorry, friends.

Commandment Number 5:

Work on a buddy system because you just never know. Two people are less likely to be targets than one–keep each other safe at all times.

Commandment Number 6:

Emergency cash is a must in case you run into some trouble. Most of us tend to carry cards nowadays, which is great but take it from me: those suckers are easy to lose. Backup is essential.

Commandment Number 7:

Not everyone likes talking about, but we need to. Spring break can get wild and hook-ups sometimes do happen. No matter what you feel comfortable with, always make sure to be safe and to set clear boundaries.

Commandment Number 8:

Give yourself a break while on break. If you’re planning on partying it up it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a good day or two of nice, easy, clean relaxation. Your body will thank you for it.

*Actual footage of your body speaking to your brain*

Commandment Number 9:

Have a designated driver/sober friend in the group every night. People can get carried away and it’s always a better idea to make sure there’s at least one person you trust that can help you in case you need it. If you see that you’re designated friend isn’t staying sober, step up and take their role.

Commandment Number 10:

If you’re driving to your destination make sure you’re not traveling alone and trade off drivers. Road-tripping is fun but it’s definitely tiring.

We hope you have a fun and safe spring break, Wildcats! See you next week!


Midterms, Goals, and Spring Break

26 Feb

This can be a stressful time of year for students. In my experience, the middle of spring semester of Freshman year is when you have the realization that you’re no longer “new” at this. At this point, you have a grasp of what the expectations are so far as your classes and how you will examined. Along with that, you probably have a good idea of campus and how things work around here.

However, Spring semester can be challenging in many ways. To start, it’s longer. Additionally, there aren’t as many breaks to cushion the stress of midterms. For me, March of spring semester is when homesickness really hit. I didn’t even realize what was going on — I was taking midterms and of course, there was some drama going on with friends and such, but one day I realized that I really missed having family around. I missed having that constant and unquestioning support system. The important thing parents can do when students are stressed out with midterms and college life in general is just be supportive.

There are tons of resources around campus that students can utilize during these stressful times, and it can be nice to have a reminder of what they are. For example, if your student is very stressed, they can visit the CAPS center. Professionals there are equipped to find solutions specific to the needs of students in college. Personally, I think college can be isolating at times, especially for freshmen, so sometimes all your student may need is a third party that is willing to listen.

Along with coping with stress, students are coping with tricky classes. ThinkTank is a great resource during midterms especially. They have helpful tools and study groups allocated for specific courses and open, walk-in hours for subjects like English and Math. This is a resource that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be because there are ThinkTank offices all over campus. Additionally, the Campus Recreation center has more to offer than its giant gym. The Rec often offers free group fitness classes for students to try out and relieve stress (especially around midterm and finals periods), and additionally, they have an entire spa dedicated to caring for students.

March is a very busy and stressful time in college. I guess a good way to describe it is like college has formed this little bubble around you over the months, and March is when you realize you need to come up for air, but it’s really hard to manage it. If your student made goals at the beginning of the semester year, this is a point in time that they might be getting a little off track. Often times, we get so wrapped up in what is going on in the present that it’s hard to actually reflect on how we are handling and managing our goals. For me, I like writing them down – just to have them firmly on paper — and then, take some time to actually think about why I am making these goals for myself. Even if your student feels off track, let them know that it’s perfectly okay — there’s always time to get back into it, especially when they’re only freshman in college.

This year, Spring Break is coming a lot earlier than most of us are used to! I remember when I was a freshman I had some grand ideas about what a “college Spring Break” might entail, but honestly it just depends on your student! Maybe they’ve been really stressed out and homesick and they are just looking to return home for the week. They could even be getting some Rest & Relaxation right here in Tucson! Or, perhaps they are heading over to Rocky Point or California with their friends. All of these are viable options — as parents, you can support your students by doing your best to ensure they are vacationing responsibly. Are they taking a reliable and safe car if they are going for a long drive? Are they going with trustworthy friends that will be looking out for them?

I remember my parents were (understandably) a little concerned about the prospect of Spring Break. I just tried to be open and honest with them, and I think that having that trust established is what allowed them to relax. However, do remind your students that the semester isn’t over after the break. They should of course take the time to destress and all, but there will still be plenty of midterms and finals and essays waiting for them when they return! 😉



Midterm Mania

21 Feb

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

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


Good luck on your midterms!


How to ‘Midterm’

21 Feb

At this point in the semester, you may feel a little overwhelmed because you have looked at your calendar and you realize you have multiple midterms back to back. I know this feeling and it feels like a huge pit in your stomach.

Take a breath.

It is okay and totally normal to feel the pressure of midterms, but remember, you have tools and resources around you that will help you make it through this tough time. The following list will help you know where to go in order to make it through the midterm season along with small things to keep in mind while you are preparing.

This may seem a little like a bribe but that’s kind of the point. It doesn’t just make you WANT to study, but it makes you feel good inside because, after hard work, you will do something fun. You will be more motivated to bust out your notes and textbooks to study if you have something to look forward to afterward. This could also relate to stepping out of your comfort zone and attending a WSIP writing workshop or ThinkTank for an SI session or tutoring session. I know attending one of these alone may be nerve-wracking, but if you reward yourself after, you may have a little bit more of a push of actually going and benefiting a lot from it.

No matter what class you are studying for or how long you do it for, you ALWAYS need a break. ESPECIALLY if you have been sitting in front of a screen for hours trying to finish a paper or have your head stuck in a book for hours. Give your eyes a rest by walking outside or doing a fun activity on campus for a bit. Stepping away will not only give your brain a break but when you come back to your studying you will be more refreshed. Some of my favorite places to go to take a break on campus is going to the turtle pond, going down University for some coffee or a little shopping, or even sit down under a tree on the mall. Our campus is beautiful, so embrace the beauty that you may overlook. Another thing you can do for relaxation is visiting the RecSpa. They have different types of massages and time lengths at a very reasonable price. It is great to get out of your head a bit and go into relaxation mode. After you get a massage, you will be ready to get back to studying!

One of the best stress relievers is to focus on your body and participate in a little bit of fitness. If you are on campus, utilize the Rec Center because it is free to use and it provides for any type of fitness. If you like to lift weights, focus on cardio, swim, or just want to walk, they have an area for that. I know for myself, I’m not the fittest and going to the Rec is sometimes intimidating, but I encourage you to go and work at your own pace.

Even though you have to be productive, you still need to socialize with other people in order to maintain a healthy balance during midterm season. One way to be social AND productive at the same time you could form a study group! Ask the people in your class if they would want to get a study room at the library where you can all go over the study guide and other notes in order to prep for the exam. If you have the right type of group, these are very successful and a lot more fun than just being in your room by yourself. Another thing you can do to bring a little bit more socializing into your midterm prep is joining a club/organization or visit one of the cultural centers across campus. You will not only have fun, but you can meet new people.

The MOST important thing to remember when prepping for midterms is that you stay healthy both mentally and physically. Mental health is so important to everyday life, especially passing exams. It is important to relieve your stress in positive ways as well as be able to express yourself to people who you trust. If you feel overwhelmed during this time or schedule an appointment with CAPS. They are always there to help you out when you need someone to talk to! The same thing goes for physical health. If you feel like you are getting sick make sure to go to Campus Health. Midterms are twice as hard if you are not feeling well in the duration of the exam, so being on top of your physical health is vital.

All in all, during this time, make sure you do what is best for you and try to do your best with all of your midterms. It is very stressful so make sure you check in on yourself! Also, keep in mind that the UA has so many resources for you to use that are free from cost and can benefit you tremendously in your studies!

Good Luck with Midterms!


Ready, Set, Go(al)

18 Feb

Goal setting can sound intimidating and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be either of those things. Whether your goal is personal or academic, it can be nice to put it down paper. One thing that helps me is telling my close friends and coworkers about my goals so that I feel motivated (and let’s face it: pressured) to complete them. Obviously, everyone has their own method when it comes to setting goals, but just in case you need a little inspiration here is my method:

  1. Write it down. It can be hard to remember what your long-term goals are when you are caught up in daily life. If it’s in writing, it feels more real (at least that’s the case for me). You can write down the necessary steps that will lead to accomplishing your goal, and then place that gratifying check mark when you complete a step.
  2. Try to specify exactly what you want as far as an outcome. This is really important. For example, if your goal is to workout more, how exactly do you measure when you achieve that? Maybe you tell yourself to work out three times a week or maybe you give yourself a “goal weight.” Regardless, having a finish line can make your goal a lot more actionable.
  3. Give yourself some kind of timeline. Depending on the goal – long term, short term, academic, or personal – the timeline is subject to debate. But set something loosely so that you can hold yourself accountable for meeting your “quotas.”
  4. What’s motivating your goal? So this is a little weird, but I do like thinking about this a lot. If I want something very badly (enough to write it down in my planner of all things!! (lol)), I better have a good reason for it. Make sure you have a healthy and smart reason for pursuing that goal so that you can go for it without anything holding you back.
  5. Schedule a little time in to reflect on where you’re at with your goals. Just think back on it. Are you making progress? If not, that’s totally okay. If this is something that you are passionate about, start taking steps towards progress. Even if they are just baby steps! 🙂
  6. Don’t go overboard! I can’t stress this enough. We are still so young, and there’s no need to have it all figured out right this instant. I have a tendency to overextend myself, and I have realized in my three years here — college is supposed to be fun too. So chill out sometimes!

-Amna 🙂