Tag Archives: tips

7 Changes for Spring

31 Dec

Every student goes through trial-and-error phases at the beginning of their college education. I have tried a lot of new ideas this fall and the successes they brought have shown me some areas where I’ve been doing things the hard way. Here are a few of the changes I’m bringing to my Spring semester to make my life easier. Try them out to save yourself the trouble and avoid unnecessary struggle!

1. Wait to see if I need the book for a class before buying it
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In previous semesters, I have always felt pressured to buy all of the required textbooks for my courses. I end up spending hundreds of dollars for all of my classes together and some, I hardly use and end up returning them. I have decided to wait until the professor clarifies if we need a book or if I could buy a different edition of the book. This way, I won’t spend unnecessary money if I am able to buy the cheaper version or if I do not have to buy the book at all.

2. Do not pull all-nighters
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There was a few time this semester that I lacked on sleep. It was mostly caused by procrastinating and it ended up with me getting a lower grade on the assignment. I have realized from this semester that I need to start my assignments earlier or work on them a little each day in order to prevent pulling an all nighter. This semester I am going to set a deadlines. If my assignment is due at 11:59pm, I am going to have it done before 8pm (at the absolute latest) to make sure that I get an ample amount of sleep.

3. Talk to my advisor moreadvisor

As it becomes closer to my graduation, I have realized that my advisor is the best person to talk to if I have questions. This semester, she has really helped me get into classes that I have need in order to graduate. She also informed me about internships and independent studies. I want to continue to have this close relationship with her because she has told me about classes and options that I didn’t know before as well as help me stay on track with graduation.

4. Go to office hours
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Since I have been at the university, everyone has told me to visit my professor during office hours. Honestly, I had never visited them until this semester. This semester I made an appointment because I was worried about a grade and I was really glad I did. My instructor let me know that one bad grade is not the end of the world and I would still finish the semester with a good grade. After the way that this went, I realized that it was not as scary or as intimidating that I made myself believe it would be. She really cared about my performance in her class and she had great feedback of how I can improve. Next semester, I plan to utilize office hours of my professors to get to know them and to ask questions if I am struggling on a project or in the class.

5. Make my lunch the night before I go to classlunch

When hunger strikes between classes you have no choice but to stop and feed your brain. But what you feed your brain makes a big difference! Instead of grabbing a greasy burger or tasty wrap that will add up to more than my food budget, I’ve learned that packing my lunch is worth its weight in financial aid. Taking a few minutes to pack it before bed lets me grab and go in the morning.

6. Use checklists more often
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In the past I’ve tried keeping mental notes on homework and assignments each day with plans of getting things done as soon as I get home. I think we all know how that works out. Even if you do remember that day, Netflix and a nap on the couch come calling and all the details fade into a cloud of “I’ll do it later.” Instead of letting my memory turn into a hot mess this semester, I began to use checklists in my planner to organize ideas. Not only does it keep things in order, but it’s satisfying to cross things off as you accomplish them.

7. Utilize Writing Workshops
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I am not the strongest writer. I have improved over the years, but the time it takes me to write a paper is ridiculous. It’s hard for me to organize my thoughts and get a good solid idea that goes along with the prompt. By using the Writing Skills Improvement Program workshops, I was able to improve my writing skills free of charge.

Overall, changing a few things here and there make a big difference in the amount of time, money and effort it takes to meet your goals each semester. Try out a few of these tips and tricks to simplify your academic life so you can focus on the things that matter.

Good Luck in Spring Semester!
Courtney

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

 

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.

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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

 

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.

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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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Vacation vs. Staycation

12 May

Every summer I am met with the same struggle, should I spend a ton of money going on a vacation and having fun with my friends, or should I stay at home and work. Let’s be honest, usually I stay home. Not only do I not have the money to go on vacations, but vacations, at least mine, tend to be more trouble than they are worth.

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It doesn’t matter who I go with, whether family or friends, there is always so much drama that I would not have had to deal with if I had stayed home! I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they tend to bring out the worst in people. This year though, I have decided to brave the dreaded vacation, but only for a weekend. I am going to go to California for 3 days with a few friends, and hopefully it won’t be a huge mistake.

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Usually though, I have a staycation. For those of you who do not know, a staycation is a vacation you take without going anywhere. I tend to be a bit more strict with my staycations than most, I don’t allow myself to use social media, I do not watch T.V. shows that are currently on; instead I re-watch classic movies, I get caught up on books, and I sleep and sleep and sleep. Now, my staycation only lasts about a week because I take summer courses and work, but for that one glorious week I have no worries and no one can bother me. I am not trying to say that you have to do your staycation the same way I do, that’s the beauty of the staycation, it differs for every individual!

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The rest of my summer is usually spent working and taking classes which for some is not relaxing, but having the same routine I have during the school year is quite nice for me. I tend to take online classes so I can do my homework by the pool or while watching A League of their Own for the thousandth time, and work tends to be a bit more relaxed in the summer, so in the end I do have a nice relaxing summer.

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Now, whether you choose to vacation with family or stay at home and relax there, just make sure you do relax a little bit this summer. Students really do need the time to reenergize themselves.

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-Christine

#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