Tag Archives: Academic Success and Achievement

Prepping Makes Perfect

7 Aug

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that includes summer. As this summer ends, why not make sure you are as prepared as you can be for next year? Last summer you were probably freaking out about what you would need for school, but this time you are much more prepared! Here are some helpful ideas on how to prep for your second year!

Figure out where your classes are…before the first day

This one might sound a little odd, but it really does help! The first day is stressful no matter what year you are in. Not only do you have a new Professor with their own teaching style, but you are receiving all your syllabi on the same day! This can be  vastly overwhelming, and any way you can help relieve that stress will be good!

Plan out your meals

This is something I always struggle to stick to. Often after I plan them out, I don’t feel like eating that meal on that day, but after all my classes it is nice to know exactly what I will be making for dinner. Additionally, if you are able, try to invest in a Crock-Pot or another type of slow cooker. This will allow your meals to cook while you are in class so that you can come home to a cooked meal! You can also use the left-overs for lunches for the rest of the week!

Actually use a planner

You will be reminded of this every semester. Planners are a great way for students to plan out their time and feel like they have a little more control. I cannot use a traditional planner because I never remember to check them or write things down, but I do utilize a teacher’s desk calendar. I take all my syllabi at the beginning of the semester, and write down the important dates and assignments. This allows me to see what I need to do for the entire month so I can plan ahead. You don’t have to use the portable planners, but you really should have some method for staying on track.

Have a designated cleaning day

This is super important for all students. There are points in the semester that you will feel like you have no time for anything else but school, but this is an unhealthy way to think. Letting your living space become too dirty will distract you, and cause your work to suffer. Additionally, cleaning is a great way to clear your mind for a little bit, it is very important to maintain balance.

Make sure to have some fun

While we are at college to learn, remember to take some time to have fun. Now I am not saying you should go out partying all the time, but I am saying that you should take some time to treat yourself to dinner, or read a fun book, or just hang out with some friends on the mall! No matter what your fun entails, make sure to have some!

-Chrissy

 

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What’s One More Language?

8 Jul

To the eyes of a child, summer is the epitome of freedom. There’s no school or homework, they can sleep in and not have a care in the world. Unfortunately, the older a person gets,the more they wish they would’ve done during those long glorious summers. I am not going to sit here and say that I have utilized my summer to the max and not wasted a single minute, because let’s face it, I have spent a good amount of time vegging out in front of my T.V., but I have also begun something I vowed to do three years ago: I am teaching myself German!

Some might ask why I don’t just take German as my second language in school, but as it stands I am already taking both Greek and Latin and adding anything else onto that would be too much (trust me, I tried it).

Why German you ask? Originally it was because I really liked the way it sounds. I also figured it might be easier to learn since English is based off of it, I was wrong in this aspect. It did not hurt that I was informed I would have to learn it in grad school, and so learning it now would provide me with a leg up!

Actually learning the language was interesting. I found a surprising amount of similarities between it and Greek and Latin, this was a relief since I know those languages. As with all languages, the hard part was the vocabulary. I am an audio learner, and so not having an instructor was hard. This was more of a problem because unlike my other two languages, this one is not dead! While I feel like I am starting to understand the language, there is quite a bit more I need to do before I am proficient, none the less, I am proud of the progress I have made and I think I will keep casually learning the language!

Auf Wiedersehen zur Zeit! (Goodbye for now!)

-Christine

Chrissy’s Summer Reading List

10 Jun

Summertime,  the most relaxing word a college student can hear, say, or think. Summertime opens up a plethora of opportunities that are not available during the school year: sleeping until 1pm, going on random road trips, and of course reading fun books. I don’t know about y’all, but I find that during the school year I am way too busy reading the various assigned readings to  actually get any fun reading done! So, I made a list during the school year of all the books I would like to read during them summer and I am now steadily working my way through them! Here are my top 10 books that I would like to have read by the end of the summer. I included short summaries of the books that I found on the publishers’ websites.

Please note that most of these contain adult themes and violence. Please read at your own discretion. 

10. Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine

How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.

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9. Dracula: Bram Stoker

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

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8. The Blood of Flowers: Anita Amirrezvani

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers’ imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing.

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7. The Iliad: Homer

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace

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6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.
Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

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5. 13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

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3. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future- of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpieces.

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2. The Other Boleyn Girl: Philipa Gregory

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

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1. Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dusté and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear—.

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#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

#MiddlingMarch: Chrissy Gets Her Groove Back

29 Mar

Of all the breaks and days off we have, Spring Break is the worst. It is just long enough that we delude ourselves that we can put off doing school work for a few days, but not long enough for that to actually be the case. Please, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Spring Break, I cherish the fact that I don’t have to be at school at 7:30 in the morning everyday, but coming back from break is always the hardest thing to do.

Personally, to avoid the awkward phase of getting back into the swing of school, I do school-type things over the break. This break, I visited the University of Washington to check out their graduate program. I was able to talk to the Professors I could potentially be working with to get my PhD. Doing this helped me refocus my vision. Throughout your school years, you might forget why you came to college in the first place, and it is a good idea to remind yourself. If graduate school is not in the books for you, spend some time talking to people in your field. Sometimes you have to focus on the end goals a bit to stay motivated.

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Of course, I did not visit Seattle without visiting the sites! I was there for three days, and while one was spent at the University, the other two were spent touring around Seattle. I visited the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike-Market Place (where we saw them throw fish at customers) and of course the Space Needle. It was the right amount of school and relaxing.

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It’s not always easy to flit off to schools you’re interested in, but looking up programs is a great way to focus your mind on the future and to remind yourself what you are working toward. It is never too early to start planning your future!

-Chrissy

#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

#JumpStartJanuary: Organizational Tools Galore

29 Jan

There are a lot of different ways people organize their life. As a college student, finding the way that works best for you can be quite challenging, but it is essential to college success. I am going to go over a few different kinds of organizational tools and how they could potentially be used.

The Planner

  • This is one of the most commonly used organizational tools in college. Students go through and write down assignments that are due each day. Ideally, the student will carry it with them everyday and add to it as more assignments get added. This tool is great for students that are on the go; it allows them to double check assignment due dates on the drop of a hat.

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The Post-It Notes

  • These tools are less common. Many times students will use these to make lists. This is more of a short term tool, meaning most students will use them for day to day lists, but they will not have their entire semester planned out on one. This tool is useful for a student trying to stay focused. Having a to-do list right on their desk often helps students remember what they need to do immediately.

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The White Board/ Mirror

  • Much like the Post-It Note, the white board is often used for lists, but on a much bigger scale. Obviously, there is a lot more room on a white board or mirror compared to that of a Post-It. Often times students will utilize this tool when they have large projects, or many assignments in various classes. This helps organize assignments into a bigger picture.

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The Teacher’s Calendar

  • Personally, I find this tool to be the most useful. I have used a teacher’s calendar every year I have been at school and it has helped me tremendously. The teacher’s calendar or desk calendar as some refer to it is a larger than normal calendar that one can hang up on the wall or put on their desk. Many times, students will go through their syllabus and write down important dates (such as exams), assignments (including but not limited to readings and essays) and note important dates for the class. Using this tool can be helpful because it allows students to see upcoming assignments well in advance and can aid in planning for projects.

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The Carrier

  • While this might sound like a contagious disease, the carrier is actually just a name for a person who carries (get it?) around their syllabus to their classes. While most people don’t use this tool, those that do have an added benefit of always having access to assignments. Most people do not carry physical copies of their syllabus to class, instead they have them saved on their phone or other electronic devices.

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Now, of course these are only a few of the many many many different kinds of tools that students use to become more organized. While I strongly promote the use of a calendar, that might not be the best tool for you, but it is important to find what does work and to utilize it; there is no point in having a planner if it sits at home collecting dust. So go out there and get organized!

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-Chrissy Ellis

Spicing Up Your General Education Courses

24 Apr

General Education courses.

We all have opinions on them. Some people love the idea of Gen Eds, others not so much.

But one thing’s for sure: we all have to take them.

So why not make your experience a more memorable one?

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Here is a list of a few Gen Ed courses offered at the UA that might intrigue you, suggested by fellow ASA Peer Mentors.

Remember, some courses are not for everyone.

This list is meant to open your mind to the many courses you can partake in.

Sometimes as students it’s difficult to decide what Gen Ed courses would be best for you, what courses would be beneficial to your majors/minors, what courses would be interesting.

If you’re still looking for Gen Eds, take a look and see if anything sounds interesting.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be signing up for one of these courses soon.

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Kaelyn suggests AFAS 371 – Hip Hop Cinema. “It’s all online; you watch videos, lectures, and read articles then write discussion posts.  This was my favorite Gen Ed because the required movies were actually really interesting and fun to watch. I ended with a 100% in the course.”

An entire course centered around Hip Hop? SIGN ME UP.

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Erica suggests DNC 100 – Looking at Dance. “It was such an interesting experience being able to learn about the history of dance, along with also taking part in studio days! My favorite class was when we learned how to do African dancing! I even took this class as honors credit!”

Rebecca suggests DNC 152B – Modern Dance with Limited Experience. “It’s a studio but if you are passionate about dance and kind of want to get back into it, this class was tons of fun and a good workout as well.”

Dancing is ALWAYS fun. Shimmy, shake, success.

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Maddie suggests Nutrition Food & You (NSC 170C1). “I took the hybrid portion of the class where we met once a week and did online assignments. You obviously learn about food and their nutritional value ,but the material is very interesting and applicable to one’s future well being. There are 3 exams and weekly 10 question quizzes based on the information from the textbook. Three of my friends have taken this class so we shared the book!”

Christine suggests CLAS 160D2 – Classical Mythology. “It was really interesting to go more in depth into the myths I already knew, and to learn about a few new ones. There was not a lot of homework, and for a gen ed, the papers were refreshingly straightforward.”

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Briana suggests LAS 160D – Arts & Politics in Latin America. “Going into this class, I assumed that we would be talking about the effects that politics had on arts.  Instead, we talked about how arts actually ignited revolutions all around Latin American countries. Not only was the content interesting, but I had the opportunity to learn more about the history of my culture.”

Elena suggests PLP 150 – Mushrooms, Molds, and Man. “I took this class as a space filler and because the title of the course made me laugh, who would have guessed that I would come out with a world of knowledge. This class might not further my career but one day I will be competing in a trivia game and WIN (because of this course)!”

A little weird, but a little awesome as well.

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At the end of the day, general education courses are extremely beneficial to us as students. We get to be involved with ideas and themes that we otherwise might not have been involved with. Gen Eds give you a glimpse of the many things one can study more in depth at the UA, and successfully encourage students to try to explore new things.

These are tried and true Gen Eds, so give them a shot!

-Julian

 

So Now What?

29 Mar

Can you believe that we are half way through the semester? Are you happy with where you are in your classes? Do you know where you stand? These are all questions that should be on your mind. In the meantime, congratulations…we are almost done!

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When it comes to school, it is important to evaluate (or reevaluate) yourself and set goals for the rest of the semester.

Evaluation: How are you actually doing in all of your classes and where do you want to be?

Are your grades where you want them to be?

If you answered yes to this question, that’s great. You started off the semester strong! If you are doing well in all of your classes, it is important to think about how you achieved those scores in the past so that you can continue to be successful in the months to come. It is also important to avoid falling victim to the midsemester slump. This can be a downfall for many students. They did well the first half of the semester, so they believe that they can slack off for the rest of the semester. Start strong and finish strong. It may be a lot of work, but in the end it is so worth it.

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If you answered no to the previous question, it’s ok! Not everyone has the best luck at the start of the spring semester, but now is the time to turn those grades around. Self-evaluation is really important to pinpoint why your grades are where they are. Important questions to ask yourself are: Did I attend all of my classes? Did I schedule myself enough time to study? Did I keep up with my homework? Did I seek out any help from study groups/ TAs/professors? Whatever the case may be, you have to be honest with yourself and make the changes that you want to see. Now is the time for goal setting. Attend all of your classes and set up a structured study schedule. Keep up with all of your homework. Homework is not only points in the class, it’s also practice for the exam. Don’t be afraid to seek out help from someone. You can ask your friends, TAs, professors, and tutors. Set goals that will make you the most successful in the long run.

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In either case it is important to remember that you have half of the semester left to be the best you can be, and to ultimately end strong! Bear Down Wildcats!giphy-21

-Laura