Tag Archives: Winter Break

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



#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.


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!


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


2. Clutter of emails and documents from the previous semesters


3. Bad eating habits developed throughout the break


4. Lack of necessary materials for upcoming courses

5. Lack of motivation


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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.55.27 PM

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.


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!

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

Bear Down and Clean Up: Move-out Cleaning Checklist

8 Dec

We are approaching the end of the semester and with finals, grades, and winter break on our minds we tend to forget one small task… CLEANING. Many dorms and apartments require spotless rooms, so better get a head start and avoid any outrageous fees!

Cleaning GifI remember cleaning up my dorm before winter break, and let me say cleaning that room was no joke! I was aware that we had to dust and vacuum, you know the basics. There were other sections of the room that needed extra attention like our trash cans and recycle bins. Fees ranged to $40-150! Uhh, no. Cleaning a room can get serious people! But it’s better to see it in a positive light. Once you come back from break you’ll come back to a spotless living space.

Cleaning a room or area can have its therapeutic advantages. If you need a break from studying try sorting out your closet, or dusting your shelves. Think of it this way, you will give your brain a break and two save yourself from having to clean an entire space all at once.

1) Sort Out your Closet 

You would be surprise by all the things one can accumulate in just one semester. Sort through your closet and see what really needs to stay and what really needs to go. Props from Halloween are always a laugh, until you have a collection of sailor, cowboy, and cop hats. BUY. SELL. TRADE. Let’s all admit… extra cash is nice and so is more space. Check out: Buffalo Exchange on Speedway for some assistance in that department. 

2) Dust, Dust, It’s a Must! 

The Arizona heat is great, but behind that greatness is a bundle of dust and dirt! Remember to dust and wipe down your counters and shelves. For desks and other wood surfaces, use a damp wash cloth or an old t-shirt you found after sorting through your closet!

3) Vacuum

I find that everyone suddenly becomes on vacuum patrol once cleaning for winter break begins. If you live in one of the dorms, claiming the vacuum for those 30-minutes is like trying to get to Starbucks before the morning rush: A MISSION. Take advantage of early mornings and late afternoons to check out a vacuum and save yourself the wait. As for you apartment and house dwellers, sharing is caring.

4)  Scrub SCRUB your Trash Cans?

I mentioned earlier how even the smallest of objects, like a trash can, requires a wipe down or two. I am scared from the fact that I had to scrub my trash and recycle bins at the dorms to avoid a fee. Although it was already clean, I did not want to take my chances. This goes for any object. Mirror? Windows? Door Knob? Desk and drawers? SCRUB and wipe down! You can use any damp wash cloth, I prefer using disposable cloths. Just add some soap and water and you are good!

Handi Wipes

5) Recycle 

We all know we tend to put papers and other things here and there throughout the semester. Don’t forget to recycle, donate, or throw away miscellaneous things before you leave. Save yourself from the clutter and more importantly save the planet!


Here is another checklist from Apartment Therapy that will hopefully remind you of other important cleaning tasks! Best of luck during finals, remember a clean space is a happy space, my friends. May the Swiffer be ever in your favor.


Student Affairs Outreach: Our Winter Bucket List

13 Dec


December has to be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable months in Tucson. The heat is nowhere in sight, which is lovely, even if it’s fifty degrees and windy outside. Campus becomes an Instagram-frenzy with everyone taking breathtaking  pictures. And when I say everyone, I include myself. I don’t mean to brag, but check this one out 🙂


However, December is also the month we all seem to wish wouldn’t come because we have to complete finals. But hey, let’s not stress, Wildcats. Finals don’t last all month, and winter break is soon approaching.

Some of you will be going back to your home states to get cozy with your pets or see friends from high school and visit your old hangout spot that you love.

There are many things to look forward to if you’re going back home for the break, but not all of us are from out of state, or even from out of city, right?  And not all of us can go home for the break. Well…this blog goes out to those of us staying in Tucson.

Your Outreach Facilitators wrote a bucket list for winter break activities in Tucson. Even though Tucson doesn’t experience much snow, we do experience lots of December awesomeness. Below are our top four things to do in Tucson this winter break.

The Outreach Facilitators will try to complete this bucket list this winter break, but we need your help. 

Share your #5  (or all five, if you’re really in the spirit) from your winter break bucket-list items and use the hashtag #winterbreakbucketlist. We’d love to see what you’re up to.

1. ZOO LIGHTS – December 23 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm @ReidParkZoo


Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo is guaranteed to put you in the winter spirit with jingle bells, twinkling lights, animal-light sculptures, and, yes, desert-Wildcats, falling snow. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children and children under the age of two are free. There will be free cookies and $1 cookies. How could you not attend this wildly wonderful event?

2. Winterhaven Festival of Lights December 14-28 at Ft. Lowell & Prince


This will be the 63rd year for the Winterhaven Festival of Lights – one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the country. The Festival of Lights celebrates the holiday season in Tucson and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from all over southern Arizona. Moreover, the Festival is one the most important events for the Community Food Bank in Tucson. According to the Festival’s website, in 2012, over $20,753.00 and 33,905 pounds of food were donated to the Food Bank through the Festival. You know you want to attend this magical festival and give back to the community. We do! Just be sure to wear warm clothes, as it can get chilly strolling through the neighborhood. 

3. Mt. Lemmon  Year-Round off the Catalina Highway

Mt.LemmonFor those of you who need more than zoo-snow, we’ve added Mount Lemmon to our list. Getting to Mount Lemmon is a little difficult if you don’t have the appropriate vehicle because it’s the highest point in the Catalina Mountains, and depending on the weather, you may need four-wheel drive–check the reports beforehand. However, you can always carpool there with some of your friends if they are willing to drive up the Catalina Highway. The scenery is beautiful. Plus, you can take snowboarding and ski classes at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley. Click on the image to find out more information.

4. Gates Pass – Year-Round off W. Gates Pass Road 


Gates Pass is the popular sightseeing area known as Tucson’s best sunset-viewing site (and date spot). It’s one of the vantage points to watch the sun drop out of sight over West Saguaro National Park. Gates Pass has recreational areas for picnicking, hiking, wildlife observation, nature studies and camping. Get your phones ready to Instagram lots of fun sunset pictures. You know I will 🙂

Of course, there’s much more awesomeness going on during the winter break in Tucson. Click here to see a master calendar of all the events happening in Tucson.

Keep a lookout this winter break for our fun and quirky photos on our little (but very magical) bucket list adventure!

Make sure to follow us on: Instagram Twitter Pinterest | Facebook

On behalf of the entire Student Affairs Outreach team, we want to wish you a fun and safe winter break. Bear Down, Wildcats!


–Valeria Martinez

How the Grinch Stole My Motivation

6 Dec

Snowflakes falling, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, the sigh that escapes the breath as one reflects upon the sweet silence of winter break and the temporary closure of colleges classes.

This is it. This is winter break utopia.

You endured the fall semester with the home stretch in mind. Those long-awaited finals will end quicker than you think.  You have reached the light at the end of the academic tunnel.  You’ve gone through the fire and flames of the semester—conquering the Syllabi, demolishing exams, late nights of group study sessions, early mornings printing out essays and study guides—and you are now looking at several weeks of “free time.”

But beware. This glorious moment only lasts for so long before the Grinch of Winter Break cracks its evil grin.

Here’s what happened to me one year.

I was comfortably set on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa during my first winter break of college, joyfully watching the 25 Days of Christmas marathon on ABC Family when I realized what happened. The Grinch of Winter Break stole my motivation. I realized in that moment that I had little desire to go back to school. I was totally happy with the thought of sitting in my ‘jammies watching cartoons and holiday movies forever. Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I was pretty comfy.

So, what should you do if the Grinch of Winter Break gives you an unpleasant visit while you are wearing your ‘jammies this year?

It starts with the conscious decision not to sit in front of the TV for the duration of the break. Now, let’s not be mistaken: I intend to watch the 25 Days of Christmas, catch up on all of my other TV shows, and you should too. There is absolutely nothing wrong about going H.A.M on a marathon of Breaking Bad, True Blood, or Pretty Little Liars on Netflix during the winter break.


Go out and have fun! Spend quality time doing the things that you love with the people that you care about; do things that you haven’t done in a while, and of course, do something you’ve never done before.  Don’t let yourself get bored!

There’s nothing the Grinch of Winter Break likes more than lackadaisical Wildcats.

For instance, I intend to drive to the Grand Canyon and build a snowman on the Yaki Point overlook. Random, but worth it…

Pictures of my snowman-to-be coming soon to our Twitter page @WildcatConnect.

And, in addition to all the fun, keep in mind all of the hard work you put in this semester and don’t let that go to waste. Granted, while there are experiences you might want to forget, there are also gems of lessons learned and valuable knowledge that you’ve gained. Those classes that you took were not just for “funsies.” They represent the prerequisite knowledge you need for all of the courses ahead of you.

What can you do to stay a well-motivated Wildcat?

Stay updated on organizations in your field of interest. Let’s say that if you are a pre-business student that is interested in marketing, you’d want to pay attention to something like how businesses change their marketing strategies in response to the holiday season. Ask yourself: What do you notice? Are those strategies effective? What have you learned that helps you make sense of this topic?

Or, if you are a student in the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP), watch the news and read up on current events!!! As a political science major, this is a rule that I LIVE BY. I have had professors who, at the beginning of each semester, will talk extensively about events that developed during the break. They expect you to know what they are talking about and might even call on you to give your opinion.


We all know that feeling you get when you realize that you might just be the only person in class that has no clue what’s going on—and I try to avoid this feeling at all times!

Also, take some time to look over the assignments that you’ve turned in over the semester. I suggest that you first find that paper that you crammed a few hours before it was due-I’m sure you have one somewhere 😉 . It will definitely teach you the importance of getting things in on time. In addition to a lesson on procrastination, look at an assignment that received a high grade. Compare the two. You might be surprised by the quality of work you are capable of.

Another awesome strategy is to simply review and practice. Take time to look up practice problems from chemistry or math, keep a daily journal to record memories, but also practice your writing skills. Review important concepts you’ve learned by looking at notes that you took or re-rereading articles that were assigned during class.

None of these things take very long to do and you definitely don’t need to do them everyday. But let’s be real, Wildcats: this break is a long time to go without refreshing your memory about what you’ve learned. So do some reflection during the break and set some goals. Don’t lose the motivation to want to come back and do better. Winter break is for fun and relaxation, but don’t forget that the BEAR DOWN spirit of hard work is 24/7!

And no Grinch can compete with that BEAR DOWN power…


-Ciara Lowe