Tag Archives: spring semester

Start Strong this Spring!

31 Dec

Going back to school isn’t easy after a long winter of sleeping in, movie marathons, and enjoying the cool weather, but now it’s time to start the ball rolling on a bright new semester. With a little push at the end of your break, you can make the transition easier.

Here are a list of tips to help you get back to Bear Down mode!

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Start a Sleep Schedule

Instead of cracking the whip over your head with an alarm clock on the first day of class, give your body a break and prepare it for the new schedule you’ll be operating on once school starts. By setting your alarm a little earlier each day, you can work your way up to that 8am wake-up you’ve been snoozing through this winter.

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Pre-Spring Cleaning

Set up your study space before you need to use it and you’ll have less in your way when it comes time to cracking open those new textbooks. Getting the extra clutter out will help you clear your mind and get back to that razor sharp focus school requires.

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Do a Campus Walk with your Schedule

Nobody likes to walk into the wrong classroom on the first day of class. Try taking your class schedule on a campus walk before school starts to eliminate the kinks when it comes to finding your new classes.

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Review for the New

If you’re taking classes in new subjects, try doing a little research to get ahead. Buy a phrasebook before your first class in a second language, or review your notes if you’ve studied the topic before. Not only will your professor know you’re super smart, but you’ll be the best study buddy in your class.

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Start Making Meals in Advance

Start preparing lunches for the week now and you’ll have a healthy habit by the time school starts. Not only will this save money, but it will save you from a diet of fast food and vending machine snacks. Sometimes picking a day on the weekend to prepare meals for the week is the best way to streamline your schedule.

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Get Your Supplies Early

Getting those school supplies lined up before the semester starts will ensure your preparedness. If you’re like me, this will also kick start your enthusiasm with shiny new pens and notebooks you just can’t wait to use.

This also goes for your wardrobe! Instead of buying random items and trying to mix and match, lay out some outfits and see what you need to up your game fashionably.

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Start making a list of your expenses and create a budget for yourself. This will help you when financial aid comes in and begins burning a hole in your pocket. It’s better to plan wisely and stick to your limits than to end up starving during finals! If your funding looks a little weak, then you’ll know in advance if you need a student job or a loan from a family member.

Try out a few of these ideas and Bear Down for Spring!

Happy 2017!

-Amanda

 

#JumpStartJanuary: Is It Time to Function Again?

21 Jan

Truth be told, I don’t have a defined way to jump start my semesters. They sort of just happen… most of the time without my approval or preparedness.

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This semester, however, I refuse to fall prey to the recurring cycle I’ve experienced for the past 3 years. This semester I will be prepared, I will be energized, and above all… ready to conquer it from day one!

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If I’ve learned anything from the 6 or 7 new college semesters I’ve experienced, it’s that I continually suffer from the.same.issues.every.time. And the following are what make me feel unprepared and dreading the beginning of the semester:

1. Screwed up sleep schedule

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2. Clutter of emails and documents from the previous semesters

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3. Bad eating habits developed throughout the break

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4. Lack of necessary materials for upcoming courses

5. Lack of motivation

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Don’t get me wrong… there are those semesters that I’m jumping up and down ready for the semester to begin. But quite frankly, I can already feel that this isn’t one of those semesters. Here’s my plan of action:

Dealing with a screwed up sleeping schedule

It seems that somehow during winter break our sleeping patterns get even more wrecked. Who knew that was possible?! Prior to winter break I would go to sleep around 1 in the morning and be up by 7 am, not too bad right? Now I go to sleep around 3 or 4 and wake up at 11am. I basically sleep through my mornings and sadly, this won’t fly with my schedule this semester. So time to buckle down and fix this madness.

The best way for me to fix this is simply by:

1) getting up at the crack of dawn wkae2) no naps (someone help me!)

3) physical activity to drain my energy out

4) sleeping before 11pm (are you kidding me???)

Simple enough right? Not really. Last night I gave it a go… was in bed by 10pm, teeth brushed and in pjs, but I had my phone in my hand. And that made all the difference. Needless to say, I occupied my time with anything and everything that Instagram and Pinterest had to provide so I actually went to bed at midnight. On the bright side, I know now how to make some fun decorations for my dorm room. To continue this failed attempt, this morning I set my alarm for 7am. This is what I did… saw it, groaned, turned it off, and went back to sleep. Next alarm went off at 7:30am. This time I got smart about it and turned all of the alarms off. At 10am I was up officially, which will mess with my bedtime tonight.

Dealing with the clutter of the past

This one sounds intimidating and let me tell you it is! I am one of those individuals who in fear of needing something in the future hoards materials from past semesters. I can’t bear the idea of throwing away the notes I worked so hard on throughout the semester. So I have binders and binders of notes, tests, and handouts that I will more than likely never ever use again! Same thing goes for my catmail. I have kept emails that I believed to be crucial and now I am at about almost a 1000 some emails in my inbox. Mind you some of these emails are not so much based on relevance, but on whether I ignored them or not and I’ve ignored quite a good amount of them in the past 6 months.

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So to fix this one… I simply need to sit my butt down at my laptop and go through everything and delete, DELETE, DELETE! No other way around it. You’ll find that my desktop also needs some tidying up, so that will be an adventure to undertake within the next couple of days.

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Dealing with bad eating habits

I can’t fully blame the break for this one, but I can definitely say it contributed to it extensively. All those tamales, menudo, pies, hot chocolate, and so many more amazing goodies that come with the holidays and being home definitely have further put me in an unhealthy place in my life. With this one, I’ve already started: smoothies for breakfast, no junk food (or at least less), and healthier meals. You might find this one hard to do, but honestly this one I am more than ready to undergo. After all that bad food my body has become nauseated with the idea of these foods and it actually craves something healthy. The beautiful thing is that with the change in diet it in turn changes my energy and focus levels. Bring on the excessive spinach and kale!
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Dealing with lack of necessary materials 

My plan: go to the store and buy it! Textbook? Buy it or rent it.

I simply need to get on to d2l and blackboard and look into the syllabi to see what I need.

Dealing with lack of motivation

Usually for this one it is a process of epic proportions. Truth is I am a very determined and motivated person most of the time, but depending on the environment and stimuli around me…I can become less than motivated. Even more truth is that being at home isn’t necessarily a place of stimulation or challenge. If anything, it relaxes me too much! Never thought the day would come where I felt too relaxed. This is what I must do: look at course materials, get on campus, start working on any possible assignment I can, and start to believe that I can mentally function at the college level again! I just need to get back to an environment that stimulates me and going back to the dorm will do that for me.

Winter break can bring the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I find that for me it has had both effects, but with the experiences of the past I will plan more effectively for the beginning of this semester to make sure that I am not once again taken by surprise! Like I said, this time I will be prepared, I will be energized for it, and above all… ready to conquer it from day one! Bring it Spring 2015!

 

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure,” –Confucius

 – Lucero

5 Steps To a Focused Finish

28 Mar

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Okay, so we all know we need some time to “recover” from our week of relaxing on spring break (#studentproblems, am I right?). I don’t know about you, but I have a few piles of neglected laundry to do and I probably should have gotten a head start on some assignments. Procrastination happens, but now that we’ve had a week to get back into the groove of things, let’s talk staying focused these last 7 weeks and finishing STRONG.

Because I will be graduating in May, this is my final semester here at the UA (hey, that rhymed!). That being said, my mind is constantly wandering elsewhere which means my immediate academic concerns keep taking a backseat. So if you’re feeling a little distracted, I feel ya, but have no fear! I have devised a strategic plan for us to get through this semester together and it even comes in list form (for those who respond best to information presented in the “BuzzFeed” format.)

Five Steps to a Focused Finish

 

1. Look it up. Write it down.

Remember that planner you got at the beginning of the year? Or…you know, maybe forgot to get? Now is the time to blow off the dust and put it to use. Also, while you’re digging around in your long-forgotten papers, find those syllabi!

It’s good practice to write down each and every deadline you receive at the beginning of the year, but now that we only have seven weeks left, getting those last assignment deadlines down is not only a good way to remind yourself about what you have coming up, but it also gives you a nice foreseeable timeline (with light at the end of the tunnel!).

Other ways to organize your dates and deadlines:

  •          Schedule it on your phone (with reminder notifications)
  •          Use Google Calendar
  •          Use sticky notes
  •          Make weekly to-do lists (and make sure to cross them off as you go! It’s sooo satisfying.)
  •          Use a whiteboard.
  •          Use your MIRROR (it’s hard to ignore things when they are literally staring you in the face…)

2. Prioritize

Okay, so now that you have all your to-do’s, dates, deadlines, and impending freak-outs (just kidding—you’ll do great), now it’s time to prioritize your tasks based on how much time they will require to do properly and how much time you actually have to finish them. Sounds like quite the process, but really it’s just about being realistic and disciplined with yourself.

  • First, identify which tasks are more “sit-down-til-you’re-done” types of assignments (i.e. math homework, quizzes, discussion prompts, etc.) and which are more like projects (group assignments, papers, presentations, etc.).
  • Second, consider all the outside factors that go into completing them:
    • are group members involved?
    • do you need to visit an instructors’s office hours?
    • will you need someone to look over your work?
  • Finally, consider all your personal factors:
    • do you know you work best in the morning? or in the evening?
    • how many editing days will you feel comfortable with?
  • And, moving on to Step #3….

3. Break down your time.

 Now, let’s get down to business. The key to an effective “master plan” is details, details, details. Now that you generally know when you need to be working on certain tasks, let’s break down each week, each day, and each hour. 

What’s that? You think that’s a little overboard? You bet your butt it is. And that is how we stay focused, team. Over-preparation. 

Thanks to Step #1 and #2, you now have your wonderful list of dates and deadlines, so let’s commit to a schedule!

  • First, map out a relative timeline for yourself. As you outline your “master plan,”  consider those external and personal factors that might affect your timing, determine which week and specific day(s) you plan to work on each individual assignment and how much time you foresee needing to complete them.
  • Second, write it down.
    • commit to periods of time that:
      • specify which tasks you are completing
      • when you will start and stop
      • how much you plan to have completed by the stop-time
    • Make it visual! There are many ways to organize your timeline, but here are just a few:

4.  Set Goals

Setting goals every step of the way not only automatically structures your time, it also keeps you from getting too overwhelmed!

For example, let’s say you have a paper, a bunch of little assignments, and an exam in the same week (ugh…you poor thing). Instead of cramming for the test, slapping together the essay, and frantically trying to complete the assignments all at the same time, setting specific time periods for each assignment has a built-in stress reliever (you get to stop once the time period is done, feel like you have accomplished what you set out to do, and move on to something else).

Tips:

  • make them specific
  • make them task and time based
  • completion shouldn’t be your only goal. Make sure your “progress checks” (i.e. finishing an outline, completing three math assignments, synthesizing data into a chart, etc.) are taken into account and celebrated, too!

5. Reward Thyself.

Don’t wait until you have finished an assignment completely to reward yourself! The beauty of your “master plan” is that you have little accomplishments sprinkled throughout each week. Obviously you shouldn’t go out for ice cream after you have picked out the theme for your PowerPoint slides. Let’s be judicious with our celebrations here. But keep in mind those mini “lights at the end of the tunnel” and use them to motivate you through these last couple of months.

 

So, yes. In the end it turns out organization and forethought are the keys to a focused semester. Not mind blowing, I know, but effective nonetheless. Take the time in between midterms and finals to get organized for this last push to the end. You will thank yourself later and yes….you get a reward at the end!

 

–Franny