How I Prepare for Summer Session

5 May


Let’s be honest – no one wants to spend their summer taking classes.  However, summer classes are one of the best ways to catch up if you’re behind, get ahead, double major, or add a minor. While it may seem like you have to dedicate your whole summer to school if you take classes, if you come into the summer session prepared to stay on track, you’ll end up staying on top of your assignments and have more time to enjoy your break in the long run. Here are my tips to prepare for summer session classes and make the most out of your break.

  1. Check D2L in the week leading up to new classes. A lot of professors assign work that needs to be done by the first day of class, and you don’t want to start off the first day already behind. Even if your teachers don’t assign any work, many put up the syllabi, contact information, or textbook information. It is especially important to stay on track with how fast-paced summer sessions are.
  2. Read syllabi as soon as you get them. If professors put them up early, make sure to at least read through once and understand what the expectations are for the class. It’s a lot less stressful going into the summer if you know what to expect rather than waiting for the first day of class. I know how stressful it can be to show up to the first day and go over all the tests and dates and assignments in the syllabi when you’re fitting a whole class in such a short session. Get a head start to avoid this calendar shock.
  3. Start perusing the internet for textbooks. While I often like to wait till the first day of class to see if the professor suggests actually buying the book, it never hurts to find the best deals online ahead of time.
  4. Postpone making plans with all of your friends until after the first week of classes. The temptation to go into full summer relaxation mode is strong if you don’t stay motivated right from the beginning of the session. If I’m trying to make plans and hang out with everyone right away, it’s a lot easier to fall behind on those intro assignments that are really easy to forget about.
  5. Keep up with your normal routine and avoid falling into summer laziness. If you spend the whole first week staying up late, hanging out with friends 24/7, and watching Netflix till 3 am, it’s going to be really hard to adjust once classwork starts piling up. Keep your routine from the semester to make the transition as easy as possible once assignments start flowing in.

As long as you focus and plan right from the beginning of the summer, you’ll have jumpstarted your classes perfectly in order to keep up with the quick pace. As easy as it is to take advantage of the first week or so, you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re summer session goes smoothly. Plus, the more on top of your school work you are, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy your summer!

4 Ways to Take Advantage of Summer

3 May

Summer break here at U of A provides you with 14 full weeks to do with what you will. You can take these weeks to just hang around at home and finally catch up on sleep, but it is a great idea to take advantage of this time to gain some valuable experiences. Here’s my list of the best ways to make the most of your summer vacation.

  1. Volunteer
    There are so many ways to get connected to an organization and volunteer here in Tucson, or even in your home community! Think about what causes you are passionate about and see what opportunities are out there such as local food banks, animal shelters, or libraries. What’s most important is that you are giving back to the community and are passionate about the work you’re doing. You can even put this on your resume!
  2. Work/Intern
    No matter what stage you’re at in your college career, apply for internships in your field of study. Getting one early on as an undergraduate can help you build a relationship with an organization or company that will last well beyond graduation. Working or interning in any capacity builds valuable transferable skills such as time management, communication, timeliness, customer service and overall professionalism.
  3. Take Summer Courses
    Summer courses can be a great way to efficiently complete your degree and can be completed at a community college or right here at U of A. Check out the Transfer Credit Guide and meet with your academic advisor before registering for courses to ensure that they will apply to your degree. Summer classes are fast-paced and rigorous, but can be helpful!
  4. Travel/ Study Abroad

    Travel and study abroad can be applicable to your future! Traveling helps gain more perspective about other cultures and communities if you are thinking critically while you are there. Study abroad opportunities are also often a service-learning opportunity that can help guide your future career and show you passions you didn’t know existed. Plan for a study abroad opportunity well in advance if possible to ensure enough time to go through the application process and secure scholarships and other funding. It may be too late for a trip this summer, but you can start planning ahead for next spring semester or summer.

I hope this helped you brainstorm plans for this summer or even next summer! Good luck on finals, and Bear Down!



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.


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.

how about no.gif

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.


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!


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

~ Mandi



30 Apr

Everyone lately has been saying, “Hit the gym so that summer body is ready!” am I right, or am I right?


But before I cram 4 days at the gym and expect rock solid abs, I realized something: I need to be healthy.


See, I’ve been blessed with high metabolism for a good portion of my life, but being healthy hasn’t necessarily been my thing.

So, I decided upon myself, that LILI VU NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY.


The thing is, you’re on Pinterest or tumblr or Instagram and you see all these “How to Be Healthy” articles, but they’re SUPER UNREALISTIC – like cutting out all carbs from your diet – SO, I decided that being REALISTICALLY healthy would be my spring prep for summer.




Anyone who knows me knows I can easily eat a large pizza with room for dessert. However, being healthy is all about portions. So, I mean, I guess two slices now, and two slices in a couple of hours is healthier than eating a whole pie in one sitting.



Veggies are important, and near any campus, are pretty expensive too. SO, what I have learned to do is to buy raw veggies, rather than those small little pre-packed things, and ration them throughout the week. Buying a whole head of lettuce is cheaper than a pre-packed salad. SO get creative!


Work out! I actually enjoy going to the gym, however, for those of y’all who don’t – and that’s me some days – try going to a class! If you’re having fun, you’re less likely to realize you’re actually working out! Zumba is my go-to fun class, because let’s be real, we ALL want to be Shakira.


  1. SNACK

Snacks are SOOOOO important!! Eat snacks throughout the day! Healthier options such as celery sticks, or granola, or almonds are great! Not ready to go full out health nut? Dried fruit, fresh fruit, or power bars are great! SNACKS ARE LIFE!



IT IS GOOD TO INDULGE! AS LONG AS YOU EAT EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. You don’t have to cut out sugar completely, and you sure don’t have to give up PIZZA for the rest of your life to be healthy! Just make sure you’re eating in moderation!


So, these are my top 5 REALISTIC tips on being a healthy college student!!! Good luck!

Stay rad,




The Most Important Meal of the Day?

30 Apr

For years, we have all been hearing, “Don’t skip breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day.” A lot of us (I) have been ignoring these words for years. And the reason for that, to put it simply is: I’m lazy. School starts early (you know what I’m talking about 8AMers). Why would I wake up even earlier than the sun just to stomach a few Cheerios? It just never seemed worth it.

Dark Igloo dance yes green celebrate

When I look at the concept in the grand scheme of things, it obviously makes sense. Start your day with a well-balanced meal and kick start your metabolism. Also of course, there is that side benefit of not being completely starving in your 11am class. So recently I thought to myself, why not give it a shot? Let’s see. Will it really make an impact in my overall life?

Ordinary Nadee animation illustration eating play

So to promote starting my day off right, I decided that for one entire month I was going to force myself to make time for some breakfast. Now just for the sake of reality, as great as the eggs and toast from above look, that didn’t quite happen each day. BUT, I did make sure to put something into my system. I wanted to make sure it was something healthy, however, because I didn’t want to just overload myself with sugar. Mostly, it happened to just be half a grapefruit.

orange fruit grapefruit

That’s probably not the most balanced breakfast, but I figured it was better than nothing. Initially, it was weird eating that grapefruit… But overtime, I definitely did start seeing some change. My body started craving breakfast in the morning. Also, I noticed the cravings that I used to have way later in the day and towards the night, started going away. And most significant (and something my poor mom has been trying to beat into my head for years) is that I finally had some energy during my 8am class!!

Sherchle art lol food design

So Wildcats, just to summarize, I definitely recommend it! I am really going to try to keep this up throughout the year. I used to be the person that woke up 15 minutes before I had to hit the door that desperately threw on my clothes. Now, I am the person that wakes up 20 minutes earlier, and puts grapefruit in a ziploc. 😉 LOL, okay hopefully I’ll soon move on to making eggs and such. Anyway, give it a shot, Cats! Maybe you’ll see an improvement in your energy too!


Finish Strong

21 Apr


Q: Why don’t I feel motivated anymore?
A: It’s the end of the year sometimes our wind blows out! It’s a totally normal thing we all have to face at some point.

Q: Can I get over this lull?
A: ABSOLUTELY! You just need to spark your motivation.

Q: How do I spark my motivation?
A: Reevaluate your goals! I’m sure we all started this semester with some objectives. They could have been elaborate or simple, whatever they might have been, reintroduce yourself to them to remember why you wake up every day.


Q: What steps can I take to be happy with what I’m doing? I’m so over school, work, and everything!
A: Are you over listening to music, playing a sport, or binge watching your favorite Netflix show? Give yourself a break! No one enjoys school or work all the time, so taking a break and relaxing can be just what you need to fall back in love with your major.

Q: How long will it be before I feel refreshed again?
A: As long as you need! There isn’t a set amount of time you need to give yourself. We get a whole summer and winter break to feel recharged about each semester. Finishing it can be tough with no breaks. Giving yourself a mental break for a weekend (long weekends are the best weekends) can be just what you need to feel motivated.

Q: What do YOU do to feel motivate?
A: I remind myself who I am and who I want to be. All the exams, projects, and papers are just a necessary step for me to get the future I want to get. I just need to get past those to succeed.


Q: Is it like this every semester?
A: There are no guarantees about the future. Feeling overwhelmed at the end of the year can be frustrating but if you know how to conquer it once, you can conquer it again.

Q: Does feeling unmotivated mean I don’t like my major anymore?
A: Finding a major is a challenge for everyone. If you’re feeling unmotivated but think you’d be motivated in another major, then evaluating your major wouldn’t hurt. If you’re feeling more burnt out, then it might just be from this time of year. Take the summer to research your major again and see if it gets you excited again!

Q: I’m terrified of finals week! How can I study for all those exams?
A: Studying for finals comes down to priorities. Think about whether or not you’re on the verge of getting a letter grade up, how much the final is worth, the day each final is, and whether or not it’s cumulative. Once you’ve decided what’s most important, study for those early and leave extra time for the not as important finals.

Q: Is there any daily habits you suggest to stay motivated? Some days I feel motivated and other days I just feel groggy? How can I stay motivated more consistently?
A: Developing a healthier daily routine can help with the grogginess. Have a consistent wake-up time and breakfast can be a ritual your body will thank you for! Also getting a good nights sleep after a balanced dinner can do the trick. I know we’re all busy college students, but developing even small healthy habits can start the motivation train for other parts of our life.

Good luck on the end of the semester!



Summer is Coming…

20 Apr

As the thousands of university students on campus pull themselves up from their creaky lecture hall seats, professors pack their belongings, and high school tours groups wipe the sweat from their brows… there is a shared moment of awareness. Quiet sighs break out throughout Tucson. Soon the now bustling college town will come to standstill for eight weeks. The Ubers will retire for the time being. In that moment, everyone begins to feel the energy creeping back into their bones. The air is buzzing again and the sun beats down on campus in the foretelling that summer break is finally near.

While the sun foretells of summer break adventures and the local Ubers prepare for a well-deserved vacation, the university, as always, demands that all students’ T’s are crossed and their I’s dotted. That means following up with registration, preparing for finals, and getting summer plans in order.

Most students should have already registered for their summer or fall semester courses by this point. It’s important to make sure this is done before students leave school in order to have the opportunity to speak with a school representative in person rather than over the phone or by email. Everyone knows how frustrating things can become when the lines of communication are made tough due to distance. Typically, students who have issues with registration may simply have a balance on their account which prevents students from finalizing their course selections. Check in with students to ensure that they are ready and excited for their next semester on campus. Remember, most problems can be fixed in a matter of days!

Not only should students be looking to make sure registration is secured, but they should also begin thinking about final exams. Finals are typically the most stressful part of the semester for many students and although many of us would rather not think about them for as long as possible, it’s better to prepare with a good amount of time than to be freaking out the week of. Scheduling out final exam dates and looking into exam material are the best ways to get a feel for what a student’s final exam week will look like.

Unfortunately, for some students, the pressure of exams can get to be too overwhelming whether they prepare early on or not. Taking the time to relax and taking care of any emotional or physical distress is vital. A healthy body and mind make for a much more productive and successful outcome in stressful situations than would otherwise be likely to happen. A good routine that involves healthy sleeping, eating, and exercise habits can wildly benefit students during this busy time in the semester. As always, calling your student to make sure they’re holding up well can also help in making a difficult week a little bit better.

The closer summer break gets, the more students begin to think about what they’re planning to do during those two months. Many students like to take this time to relax and vacation somewhere with friends and family. A good way to make the summer a little bit more productive is to look into internships, job opportunities, and school-affiliated travel projects. The sooner students begin building up their resumes with great experience history the easier their future years in school are likely to become. By the time they graduate, they’ll have a good year or two of job-related experience to back them up in the workforce.

Wherever your student finds themselves at this point in the year, be sure to offer your help and support. It’s likely that they are doing well and are excited to finish up their first year on campus with a bang. As always, it never hurts to double check important matters and to get prepared for the upcoming weeks with a comfortable time cushion in case any emergencies pop up. Better to be safe than sorry!


#AdventurousApril: Pink Hair, Don’t Care

20 Apr


Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to dye my hair. Unfortunately, I never did it because my mom would always give me reasons of why I shouldn’t. She never wanted me to damage my long brown hair. At the beginning of this year, I took a very large step and got a blonde balayage in August. I loved this look at first but after having it for awhile, I knew I needed a change.

Recently, I have been looking online and have fallen in love with hair that has dramatic rainbow colors in it. I think it is super bold to do and up until now, I was always weary of changing my hair dramatically. My favorite color is purple and after a long time thinking about this change, I finally decided to do it.

When I scheduled my appointment, I was nervous and I had to wait a few days until they could get me in. During these few days, I kept going back and forth between what I actually wanted to dye my hair. I was debating between cutting it and going to a lighter blonde, adding purple, or going to a darker brown. After changing my mind for the 10th time, I decided to just go for it and add purple to it. I figured that this is the time of my life that I could change my hair dramatically before I have to worry about looking professional all of the time.

The day of my appointment, I was excited but nervous as well. I was nervous that I would not like it and regret changing my hair completely. My stylist’s name is Stephanie and when I told her what I wanted to do with my hair, she was super excited. She has worked with vibrant colors before and she assured me that it would turn out great, especially with a balayage. Unfortunately, it did not turn out exactly what I envisioned because my stylist did not have the purple that they usually use. Instead, she mixed colors together to try to get the purple what I was looking for. My hair turned out to be a pink/raspberry color, but I was not upset about it.

I love the color that it turned out to be and Stephanie made sure that I could go back in and get the purple that I originally wanted in my hair. She said that she could redo the entire thing, but I am just going to add some purple in and leave some of the wonderful raspberry color. I am so excited that I followed through with my plans of getting it dyed dramatically because I think it fits my personality perfectly.

I would suggest if you want to try to change your hair by cutting it, dying it a random color then to do it! There shouldn’t be anything holding your back because college is about finding yourself. It’s about expression and this is the best time to take risks and chances!


#AdventurousApril: Sorry Dad, I Got a Tattoo

20 Apr

April is a good month for being adventurous. The weather is nice, flowers are blooming, and getting over that mid-semester lull is essential. I decided April 14th, 2017 was a good day to get my first tattoo.

I am a Chemical Engineering major here at the U of A. I enjoy math and science (a little too much) so it made perfect sense to get a tattoo related to those fields. I decided to get a vector. In math, a vector is defined as having a certain direction and magnitude.


Since I’ve learned about vectors I’ve always found that somewhat poetic. I want to live my life with a certain passion and purpose, just like a vector. I wanted my vector to point forward to always look towards the future. I don’t want to dwell on the past I want to keep pushing forward to reach all my goals.  For all of these reasons, I decided to get a tattoo of a vector on my right ankle.

Getting the tattoo was a weird experience. I felt nervous but at the same time, I was very calm. I knew that this was something I really wanted so it kept me calm, but I was still very scared of the pain. The person giving me the tattoo could tell I was a little tense so he gave me a test run. He put the needle on my skin and it really didn’t feel all that bad. Once I gave him the okay he started the tattoo and it wasn’t that bad for the most part. The only thing that really hurt was when the needle crossed my ankle bone. At that part, it felt like my ankle was on fire! It hurt really bad, but it was only for a minute then it went back just to my skin which was a lot easier to handle. IMG_6322.JPG

The entire process didn’t take more than a few minutes. It only took a few minutes for me to do something scary and exciting. The next part was definitely the hardest part of the entire process, telling my dad. My dad is not a fan of tattoos and I knew he wouldn’t be too happy that I, his only daughter, got one. When I showed him, he didn’t overreact like I thought he would. He just asked me questions to make sure this was something I wanted forever. I assured him it was and the whole tattooing experience came to a close.

My tattoo is almost completely healed and I have to say, I love it. I love that it’s not perfectly straight and that the arms on the head aren’t perfectly symmetrical. I wanted this tattoo to be as real and unpolished as the person who has it. We’re both just doing our best. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. Any sort of discomfort or unpleasantness was completely worth it. I definitely have tattoo fever and am so excited for my next one!




#AdventurousApril: Exploring Tucson’s Culture

20 Apr

If you don’t already have a “Things to do in Tucson before I graduate”  bucket list, you should think about making one. For Adventurous April, I decided to cross one item off my list: explore food and art in downtown Tucson. My friend and I met up on University and took the streetcar down to Congress to find different murals from the Tucson Mural Program created by the City of Tucson. Many of them are tucked away, but if you search for murals in downtown Tucson in Google maps, their locations come up.

We spent the day wandering around to the various locations to appreciate the artwork. Pro tip: bring sunglasses if you are doing this when there is no cloud cover. I was blown away by how massive these pieces were! What I loved about the murals was how you could see that there is a story behind them for each artist. My favorite was painted by four different artists; their sections came together flawlessly while still showing off each artist’s individuality. Whenever we saw a restaurant nearby we’d never tried, we stopped in! I got to try Thai and Ethiopian food for the first time and I was surprised by how similar the flavors were to other foods I’d tried before.

If you have a spare weekend, I’d highly recommend grabbing a friend and heading downtown to soak in the culture!