How To Ace This Semester
01.07.2017 | Classes Source: @smashleytime

How To Ace This Semester

You can do it!

For whatever reason, going back into the spring semester can be hard. It might be because we only have a month off versus a few months or it might be the winter blues kicking our butts, either way, there are ways to get motivated and do our best for school again. Here's how:

1. Think happy thoughts.
Surely there is one thing going on this semester that you are remotely excited about. Is it a class you're taking with a friend? Are you not working as many hours this semester?

Whatever happy thoughts you can think of, hold on to them and don't let go. At least not until the end of the semester. Optimism is a powerful tool if used correctly, and I can certainly say no one has ever had a panic attack from happiness.

2. Eliminate as much stress as you can.
Considering that this seems to be the idc semester, this one shouldn't be too hard. However, if you have any hopes of getting motivated into getting any work done, you need to get rid of any baggage that will slow you down.

For example, having a tiff with a friend? Try to get that resolved before the semester starts, otherwise you will sabotage your motivation because you will feel depressed/pissed.

3. Identify your weak spots.
Do you tend to shake off math homework for Netflix? Then you may want to think about either not subscribing for a few months or limiting yourself on screen time.

It's an adult world we're going into, so we need to make adult decisions. It's tough, I know, but your grades will most likely thank you later for seeing what your weak points are and planning accordingly for this next semester.

4. Set goals.
Cheesy, yes. Effective? Also yes. If you set a goal for what grades you would like to get in your classes or how much time you are going to study a week, this gives you an idea of what sort of effort you are going to put into this semester.

Even if you're goal is a get a B in a subject where you normally get a C, this is a wonderful goal to think about adopting. Any goal is better than no goal.

5. Remember, you are capable.
One thing that can instantly kill your chances of success is lack of confidence. Remember that you have done well enough to get into college, if you can't think of any other achievements in your life (of which I'm sure there are many)!

Look a hard class in the eye and tell it what's up. You can handle any class college gives to you; you just need to remind yourself (maybe on a daily basis) that you mean business and you will do well.

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11.02.2016 | Classes Source: @juro_zmatek

How to Get Back on Track This Semester

It's hard, but it's worth it.

In high school, I was not a great student. It's not even just that I copied homework in study hall, I just literally just ignored homework altogether. I didn't care about my GPA, (clearly, I misunderstood college admissions at this time), and I refused to stay up past 10 p.m. to do homework. Usually I was just lounging around, watching Netflix.

Once I got to college, I realized I needed to make a huge change. I worked my ass off and spent tons of time in the library. I actually got good grades. It was truly a shock to myself and everyone that knew me. I then became psychotic about grades and refused to get less than an A.

I continued to get great grades until I hit a tough semester - my classes were harder than normal, the grading seemed unfair, I was falling behind. Worst of all, I couldn't get myself to care. I would look at my grades and be pissed off at myself, but couldn't seem to drag myself to the library.

It took a few weeks and a lot of stressing to put myself back on track but there are a few important things I learned:

Email your professor and go to office hours
If you're falling behind, your professor is grading really tough, or you just know your grade sucks, talk to your professor. Either email them and express your concern, or better yet, attend their office hours. Putting in that small amount of effort can go a long way, and they may give you options that help you improve your grades almost automatically.

Set your alarm early, get a coffee, and force yourself to go to the library
Block all distractions, i.e., turn your phone on airplane mode and actually study. Sit down, take notes, and look at what assignments are coming up in the next few weeks. Prepare to actually put in time for them and hit the books. There is only one way to fully get back on track, and that's to study.

Go through your agenda
Label days that you have tests, days that assignments are due, and days you should study. Find a day you are less busy and make that your study day. Then, every designated study day, force yourself to spend time in the library completing your work and getting ahead. (Or, back on track.)



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03.23.2016 | Classes

Seven Reasons Why Spring is Detrimental to a College Student's Motivation

It's nice out, don't make me study.

We've been waiting for spring since probably the first day of winter; and it's finally on the horizon. It's all sunshine and blooming flowers until we check our grades. Let's face it: our GPAs don't welcome spring as willingly as we do.

Spring Break drowns all motivation.
One bad thing about SB (besides what it does to your bank account) is that it takes every bit of your focus and drowns it in the ocean. A break is great, but it's hard to get back in the groove after a week of fun and sun. The seven-day hangover following SB definitely doesn't help, either.

March Madness brings drunken gladness.
What's better than basketball every night? Having an excuse to drink for weeks straight is a total win--unless you consider what drinking every night instead of studying and multiple mornings of hangovers does for your GPA.

Quad "studying" becomes the norm.
Everyone loves studying on the quad. But studying turns into gossip, then flag football, and ultimately, afternoon naps in the sun. Your studying may suffer, but at least you're getting your daily dose of Vitamin D.

Is sitting in a dark classroom worth missing a pretty day?
Despite what your tuition bill may say, nope. Nothing (especially your monotoned chemistry teacher) is worth missing a nice day outside, especially when you've been cooped up inside all winter long.

There's a lot of drinking-themed holidays.
Spring is jam-packed with holidays. There's St. Patrick's Day, Easter, April Fools, and Cinco de Mayo. That means a whole lot of festivals, fools, margaritas, and partying. If you think you can keep your focus on school during all of this fun, I'll cheers to you tonight.

Hello, aller(geez).
Pollen is the nosiest of all of us; and every spring it welcomes itself. It's near impossible to convince yourself to go to class when you wake up with a nose so stuffy that you can't breathe and a sinus headache from down under. So what do you do? Take a 0 on your quiz or go to class with a tissue shoved up your nose? (Your choice, but personally, I'd take the 0 over my ego.)

Summer is so dang close.
They say to finish strong because you're almost done, but that's so much easier said than done. School work is annoying af any day, but having to go to class and do homework when it's warm outside and summer is weeks away just isn't an option.

So, hello spring and R.I.P. to my GPA.

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04.13.2016 | Classes Source: robertomefe

Don't Check Out Now

A guide to keeping it together during the last month of school.

We were fooled by a perfect, warm week of spring break, and now we are all back at school feeling lost and unmotivated. The road to summer seems miles and miles away, even though it's only a month off. Although it's easier to start kicking back and letting summer mode take over, we have to do our best not to totally lose it by the end of the semester.

Keep in mind, there's still a lot of weight left in your grades. Even though it feels like there isn't a lot left, getting a bad grade on a test or project will probably lower your grade significantly, and we all know that once it's down, it's so hard to get back up.

Don't ruin it for yourself. Just keep up on schoolwork and focus as much as possible. You'll be glad you did. And if you want to test the waters and see what grade you need to get on a test to keep a decent percentage, use this simple grade calculator from Conquer College.

Get used to not having a break. In the real world, there usually aren't spring breaks and slack off weeks. Pushing yourself through things you might not want to do is going to mentally train you for life after undergrad.

Make your summer plans your reward. Remind yourself that more lazy days in the sun aren't too far away! Working hard now will make relaxation in May a lot more rewarding. And if you need a constant motivator, check out these "countdown to" apps.

Be the leader of your study group. Nothing gets you in the mindset to work more than encouraging others to work hard, too. Getting together with a group of people and leading a study session will help you in more ways than one.

Set boundaries for yourself. If you have trouble keeping yourself on track, plan out how each day should go. Don't just assume in your mind that you'll study when you have time after your last class. Form a schedule that governs how much time you will spend on studying in one day. Knowing that there is a stopping point will make it easier to keep going, rather than thinking you can stop studying whenever you want.

Trade a couple of Netflix marathons and a few hours of sleep to save your final grade. It sucks and is so difficult to do sometimes, but remember the motivation you once (hopefully) had, and how much good it did for you. And then enjoy your above 3.0 end to the semester, followed by a satisfying, well-earned summer!

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03.05.2017 | Classes Source: @isaactaracks

Conquering Your Thesis

Just do the damn thing.

At the start of senior year you thought writing a thesis would be fun. That all your older friends who wrote theses (and tried to warn you) were just wimps who would take to melodramatic Facebook statuses to lament. And you figured you could write and be that second semester senior you always aspired to be. Because first semester thesis work wasn't so bad, was it?

That's cute of you.

If you haven't figured it out by now, writing a thesis is akin to walking uphill in the snow. It's like the fights of Russell Crowe in...well, any movie he's in. It's like getting that MOFO ring into Mordor. One does not simply write a thesis.

My thesis was a 110 page jaunt that seemed to accomplish nothing I had set out for, and that has, thus far, only entertained myself (if you're looking for a read on the theoretical conceptions of altruism, holla at ya girl). I had panic attacks in the library, literal nightmares, and moments where I thought I would fail. Yet, I did the damn thing.

Completing my thesis is one of the accomplishments I am most proud of and believe it or not, I wouldn't trade the countless all-nighters for anything.

If you are in the process of a second semester thesis exodus, fear not. It's worth it. You can do it and here's how:

1. Just write.
After all my research, I couldn't decide the exact perfect way to organize my writing. So, instead of writing I'd spend hours superfluously outlining and researching even more.

Finally, I took the advice of my mentor: just write. If you're having trouble starting or are unsure of where to go, just write what you think is best. It may not be a final draft, but it'll help get the ball rolling.

2. Set a deadline before it's actually due.
I'd recommend picking a day that is a week before the actual due date. This way you have flexibility and can take your time with finishing touches.

3. Schedule wisely.
I had a date for when my first draft was due (the day before spring break, so that I could chill the fuck out) and an amount of pages I was aiming to hit. I used this countdown to figure out how many pages I had to write everyday to reach my goal.

Figure out how many pages you want to write per day or per week, or set specific goals for specific time periods.

4. Make a routine.
Having a daily process, like a usual library spot, a coffee order (that the baristas memorized) or a habitual break spot helped me focus and feel grounded.

5. Find a thesis partner.
Seek out a friend or someone in your major who is also writing a thesis. This provides someone who is going through the same process to ask for advice, questions, or to have someone to sit next to you in solidarity when it's 4 a.m. in an empty library.

6. Seek help.
I had a committee with three professors to ask questions and receive help from, but I also sought out assistance for my thesis from other individuals: deans, professors, other students.

Initially, I worried that seeking help would be asking too much. However, I found that every one of them was happy to lend a hand and their help was truly useful.

7. Lean on friends.
If you're lucky enough to have great friends like me, they'll notice you are stressed, tired and on the brink of insanity. My friends offered to run errands for me, bring me food to the library, provide rides, calm me down when I was panicking, or practice presentations with them.

I felt bad accepting these favors, but they wanted to be a good friend. Plus, these small gestures really meant a lot to me. Don't feel bad accepting generosity from your friends and remember to pay it forward when they need you. *Cue Lean on Me*

8. Take breaks.
If you never stop working, this will surely result in you blowing up (literally and figuratively). Have designated break times during the day, set bedtimes, take days off to rest, meditate, and exercise. These breaks will help you work more productively.

9. Be proud.
I spent a lot of my thesis time second guessing, criticizing, and feeling disappointed in myself. When I finished, however, I realized how hard I had worked and how proud of myself I was. It was an accomplishment I could take the credit for.

Make sure to think about how much you have accomplished, take ownership of that, and celebrate your success!

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08.29.2016 | Classes Source: @eylenepirez

The Secret to Scheduling Your Classes This Semester

Don't wait until the last minute to schedule them.

You may not want to think about it, but the next semester is fast approaching - or already here. This means you'll need to take a break from whatever your summer consists of to plan what courses you would like to take. Here are some tips to make the process as smooth and as painless as possible.

Take the hardest and least exciting classes first.
Since it's the fall semester, immediately following the longest break of the year, your mind will be recharged and fresh. I know summer isn't really considered part of the school year, but a year is still a year. So perhaps consider registering for the most boring or difficult courses now. Don't wait until after Christmas break to delve into Nuclear Physics 404 - tackle those protons and neutrons now.

Ease into the day.
Consider setting up your course load so that the easiest selections come first. Nobody (at least nobody I've ever known) wants to be up at eight in the morning doing calculus, so save those kinds of classes for later in the day - preferably after you've had a bite to eat and a cup or two of coffee, or whatever legal stimulant you prefer.

Watch out how late your classes are, though.
A lot of people I've known have a tendency to become tired or lazy after a certain time. The most common was around three, and I noticed that a lot of my fellow students skipped classes after this hour. My advice to you, then, would be to try to guarantee the day ends at two.

Now, not all people are like this of course, and I can see the benefit of later classes for students who aren't morning people. If you're the type who just doesn't like being up before ten, consider taking mid-afternoon classes.

It might be tempting to have just two days of class, buuuuuut...
Similar to how people shut down after a certain time, I would be wary of those two-and-a-half hour, twice-a-week classes, if your school offers them.

At first you tell yourself, "That is pretty long, but, hey, a three-day break between classes is pretty awesome." Then, by the end of the third week, you dread your feet falling asleep just as much as the inevitable, awkward bathroom break. If the course is required, there isn't much of a choice. But, if it isn't, I'd consider shorter classes, unless the infrequency really appeals to you.

Don't wait until the last minute.
This happened to me too many times. I was the kid who forgot to register for almost a month. Then, when I got around to it, what I wanted, and sometimes what I needed, was unavailable. So make sure you avoid this situation by signing up as soon as the start date begins.

Write the date down on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet or purse, set a reminder on your phone's calendar, or even scribble something on a physical calendar if you prefer that. Obviously, it doesn't matter how you remember to register, as long as you do.

Happy scheduling, and good luck, folks!