Tag Archives: Back to School

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

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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

Essential Essentials

15 Aug

Here you go, off to college, finally going to be on your own! You have probably been waiting/ dreading this moment all summer, but now it’s finally here! Here are a few things that we think are essential for Wildcats to bring to make living away from home comfortable.

Residence Hall

Living in the residence hall is an experience unlike any other. You simultaneously get a feeling of immense freedom, followed by slight suffocation. A common mistake first year students make is bringing too much stuff all at once. Trust me, you do not need your entire semester’s stock of food in your room the first day you move in. Try to plan your meals ahead of time, that way you know exactly what you need to buy at the store and nothing goes bad.  You also don’t need to bring pots and pans because you will be able to check them out from the front desk in your residence hall. But you will want to make sure you have dish soap and sponges to clean your borrowed equipment. The biggest thing to remember when living in the hall is the importance of preserving space, so instead of bringing your entire wardrobe with you, try to bring clothes that are seasonally appropriate and swap them out as you need them. Having a printer in your room will be welcome, but you’ll want to find a small one because space is limited!

Apartment

Living in an apartment is completely different than living in a residence hall! You will again be tempted to bring absolutely everything you own to your new apartment, but you should think about that first. While this new space is larger than a shared room in a residence hall, it still has a spacial limit. You should try to coordinate with your new roommate(s) for kitchen items such as pots and pans, dishes, and storage containers. It gives you an opportunity to reach out to your roommates before you move in and prevents you from having to buy, pack, and lug all of your own stuff. No one needs three sets of pots and pans! If you are living in a student apartment, chances are it comes furnished. If you aren’t, then that will be another necessity for you to think about.

The overall theme here is don’t get carried away. Bringing too much stuff to your new place will make it feel crowded and messy, and no one wants to live in that! Leaving some of your stuff at home will also make it nicer when you visit!

-Chrissy

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

 

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

The iliad

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.

Do androids dream of electric sheep

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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#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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Glass 2

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

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.

planner.jpg

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.

Calendar final

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

Get Excited About Spring!

22 Dec

So you got through last semester and it was alright, but this coming semester is going to be a little different. Here are a few things to look forward to this semester.

so-you-think-you-can-dance excited jason derulo lets go impatient

Spring Fling

The University of Arizona is home to the nation’s largest student organized carnival. In April, Spring Fling will bring in over 25,000 guests to campus to enjoy rides, games, and a variety of tasty food options.

lsfair fire works

Spring Break

Despite a couple of days off here and there, last semester ran nonstop from beginning to end. This semester we all have an entire week to ourselves and take a break from the stresses of the semester. Go on vacation with friends, Make the trip home to see your family, or do nothing at all, the choice is yours during the magical week of spring break.

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Basketball Season and March Madness

One of my favorite things about spring semester is basketball season…. for obvious reasons. basketball sleep signs eat arizona
33 Signs You Eat, Sleep, And Breathe Arizona Wildcats Basketball

As you can see there are a few exciting things to look forward to this semester, but maybe the most exciting is a three month long summer vacation waiting at the other end. Good luck this semester, Wildcats!

Bear Down

-EO

Chrissy’s Declassified Midterm Survival Guide

21 Oct

It’s that time of the semester: when all-nighters are a must, the libraries are packed, and anyone hoping to survive can be found with notes in their hands. That’s right, it’s midterms!

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For those just starting out, midterms can be a frightening thing, but with these tips you should be able to get through them without too much trouble.

1) SLEEP

This is honestly the most important thing a student can do. Not only does your brain get a chance to rest and sort all the information you are going over, it also keeps you healthy. While you sleep your body rejuvenates itself. Staying healthy during this time of year is difficult enough without adding this obstacle, and you need to be healthy for your midterms!

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2) Start studying in advance

This is one tip I have trouble with, but it really does work. You know at the beginning of the semester when your midterms will be, so be sure to start studying at least two weeks in advance. I know that you won’t have all the content of the class by then, but if you start refreshing yourself on the old content earlier, then it you will only have to refresh yourself on the new content closer to the exam!

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3) Drink lots of water

Water is very important especially in Arizona. Drinking lots of water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also help with your attentiveness in class. Try replacing one of your coffees a day with a bottle of water, you’d be amazed by the difference.

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4) Don’t stress out

I know that this seems a bit hard, but honestly by stressing yourself out over midterms you are really psyching yourself out of doing well. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take midterms seriously, but stressing out will only take time away from studying. Be sure to take breaks and let yourself breathe.

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Good luck on all of your midterms!

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-Chrissy