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Student Blog: Destination Graduation

Summer Vacation Reading List

Courtesy of Jane, English Major, Writing Emphasis, Creative Track, & self-declared marathon reader

Congratulations on finishing up another semester!  You’ve worked hard throughout the school year, so you deserve to relax and decompress a little this summer.  Hopefully, if you’re taking summer class, it’s not a huge workload.  

That said, summer can be a perfect time for us avid readers to catch up on big titles we missed while we were working hard during the semester.

So, what should you pick up?  It depends on what you like.


If you like fantasy and adventure…

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

This duology is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, but set two years later with a whole new cast of characters. This is essentially a fantasy, heist, adventure, romance, and political hybrid of a YA series that’s sure to win over just about anyone.  It’s very different from a lot of typical YA fantasies and subverts a lot of tropes. Plus, there’s only two! So, easy to jump in and you don’t have a wait a million years for the next one, as current A Song of Ice and Fire fans are doing, ever so patiently.  


If you like memoirs…

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

This is a gorgeously written memoir about the author, coping with the death of her father, training a goshawk. I cannot understate how beautifully this is written. Beyond that, she details the history of training goshawks, T.H. White’s infamous attempt in doing so, and how she manages to come to terms with her father’s death. It’s dense, packed with so much, and is just marvelous.


If you like a good ol’ romantic comedy…

Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys) by Amy Spalding

Okay, this book is impossible to read without laughing hysterically. This is basically like binge-watching Parks & Rec, but set in high school (and Leslie Knope was in a band instead of working in the parks department). I think we can all appreciate a good romantic comedy when it’s just the same thing being rehashed over and over again. Real life is a whole heck of alot more awkward and Amy Spalding doesn’t hold back, for our reading pleasure.  


If you like drama…

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This is a contemporary read that, if you’ve ever wanted to experience self-inflicted rich people problems, allows you to live vicariously through its characters. It’s about a group of siblings who are to be given an inheritance by their father upon his passing. Although he has instructed them that this is not to save anyone but meant to give them a helping hand, each sibling ends up completely ignoring this factoid causing drama to ensue. It’s a good domestic read to kick back with for fun, but it also has some interesting stuff to think about, too.  


If you like science fiction…

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

This book is pretty darn amazing. The main character is frequently abducted by aliens, not exactly Kate McKinnon style, but close. During these abductions, the aliens present him with the opportunity to save the world. And all he needs to do is push a button.  That’s it.  

But, he doesn’t really think the world is worth saving. His boyfriend committed suicide, his family is pretty dysfunctional, his grandmother’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and he’s bullied at school because he was honest about his alien abductions and no one believes him. So, is it the world really worth saving? This book is fantastic, hilarious, and will probably make you cry.  


If you like graphic novels…

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

If you followed gingerhaze, you know she went to school for art and got pretty darn popular drawing Avengers and other fanart. So, when one of her school assignments became a full-fledged graphic novel, fans like me were STOKED.  

Nimona is hired as a henchman for the villainous villain Lord Ballister Blackheart but is actually quite a bit more evil than he is. The plot takes off from there and it’s a fun mix of middle-ages knights and science fiction technology that proves a fantasy can be whatever crazy adventure the author comes up with!   

So, have fun catching up on some good reads before the fall semester begins!

Finals Week Guide

It’s hard to believe but Finals Week will be upon us soon. From one procrastinator to another, I know just how stressful it can be. So we’ve compiled some self-care tips for you to keep close as they draw near.

Gif from Hamilton the Musical, Jefferson saying don't act surprised you guys

The Basics:


This seems like a no-brainer. When you have four or five tests to cram for and a paper to write, three extra shots of espresso to power through the night can seem like no big deal.

However, it is actually much more effective to get a full night’s sleep. When you do crack open your books to study, it helps your brain to be well-rested. You remember more and are less likely to be overcome with stress and anxiety. Try going to bed earlier and studying in the morning!

Gif of a cartoon koala saying I have to rest for twenty hours a day


It’s very important to stay hydrated! Water is the best, but if you’d rather, grab a juice or a Gatorade. Coffee can be okay if it’s not used to push yourself too far and avoid sleep.


Eating healthy is important, regardless of finals. But it is especially good to do during this hectic time. If you’re craving a snack, grab a fruit or a vegetable instead of potato chips or fries. For dinner, try fish instead of a hamburger.

Gif of Winnie the Pooh saying what could be more important than a little something to eat


This doesn’t have to be super intensive
. You can run or just ride your bike or go for a walk. Or do ten jumping jacks right next to your desk. It’s good because it gets your blood flowing for better studying.


Take Breaks

It’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Study for twenty to thirty minutes at a time and take fifteen minutes to decompress. That can be surfing social media, playing a game, or watching an episode of Bob’s Burgers.

Animal Love

It’s a true fact that petting animals, like dogs or cats, can reduce stress levels! If you have a friend or family member with a beloved pet, ask them if you can pet sit a little bit and soak in the love. Boise State also has puppy therapy during finals week. Isn’t science amazing?

Gif from Parks and Rec of puppy licking faces

Study Smarter

Utilize the resources available to you here on campus. Talk to your professors, form a study group with your classmates, or look into tutoring options. If you have a paper to write, don’t forget about the writing center!

Gif of anime character saying it's such a pain when I don't understand any of the questions

Reward System

Don’t go too crazy, because this can be a dangerous rabbit hole to fall down. But, if it makes you motivated, why not treat yourself to a movie, a lunch out, or a book you’ve been wanting to read? You can do this for studying or save it for something extravagant after you’ve finished your tests!

Above all, just take care of yourself! These tips will help you study efficiently but also ensure you don’t neglect yourself in the process. And then it’ll be summer!

Gif from The Office of Kevin saying I just want to lie on the beach and eat hot dogs

Good luck!

Cooking 101

It’s hard to both go to school and work and have time to feed yourself on top all that!  Unfortunately, most of us don’t have animal friends that can help us with cooking.
So while we may all admire Snow White’s delegation skills, most of us have to rely on ourselves for sustenance.
Gif of Snow White trimming a pie









This does not include being controlled by a rat, no matter how excellent a chef they are.


Gif from Ratatouille, flipping pancake







So, we have compiled some tips and great resources for finding recipes.  If you think you can’t cook, think again, because you can!

Gif of fairy godmother baking a cake






These tips are like magic, but better.

  • Prepare all of your ingredients – nothing is more stressful than searching for an ingredient while you’re in the middle of cooking.  Read through the recipe and measure everything before you start so that when you do, you’re ready to go!
  • Flavor it up – adding a favorite spice, herb, or sauce makes just about everything better.  True story:  I did not realize how heavenly scrambled eggs could be when I added rosemary.  Try it out and see for yourself what you really love!
  • Keep it basic – this might seem contradictory to the previous tip, but they really go hand in hand.  You don’t want to completely overpower the taste of your dish by adding every herb you have – that’s a little much (unless that’s your thing, then go for it!).  If you have the essentials, it’s really easy to substitute if your recipe calls for something that can’t be found in Boise.  Making sure you have the essentials goes for both ingredients and kitchen tools.  Don’t go for crazy gadgets when one tool can do the trick.
  • Variety – don’t let yourself get burned out from eating the same meals all the time.  A cooking rut can make going out to eat an everyday habit instead of just occasionally.  It’s great to have go-to meals for a quick dinner, but make sure you introduce new ones too.  It helps me to create a week-by-week plan so I can move stuff around and not stress over figuring out what to cook.  There are some cool printable calendars online that help!
  • Cooking liners – if you love slow cooker meals, make sure you know about these because they will change your life!

Cooking doesn’t seem too scary and difficult now, does it?  We can all be as talented as Tiana, but we can learn from her passion and improvisational skills.  

Gif from Princess and the Frog, main character powdering pies








So, what should you cook?

Well, a quick Google search will give you an incredible amount of options, but it can also become overwhelming very quickly.  So, here are a list of resources for finding recipes and ideas for you to explore:


Damn Delicious

Foodgawker (this site is like Pintrest, but JUST FOOD!)


Student Recipes

After all, what’s better than eating at home where you can relax and be yourself?

Gif from Beauty and the Beast, Beast eating with face in bowl








Balancing Life: School and Work

It can be brutal trying to balance your school load while working.  You need to earn money, make dinner, and complete all of your assignments for tomorrow – sound familiar?

Screenshot of movie Princess and the Frog, with main character balancing dishes

It’s a real struggle.  I have found the best way to keep it together is to stay organized.  It sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget and leave your planner at the bottom of your bag. Here are some tips and other resources to stay  organized throughout your hectic school career:

  • PLAN AHEAD – If you know your work schedule ahead of time, try to do your work on campus so it’s not waiting for you at the end of a long work day. Work breaks can also be good for getting some extra assignments done. If you know when your midterms and finals are scheduled, see if you can request off an extra day or two for extra studying. Bring healthy snacks to munch on if you’re short on time until you can eat an actual meal.
  • PRIORITIZE – Plot out your assignments as you go through your classes.  What needs to be done right away?  What can be done tomorrow instead?  Go through your syllabi and find out when the big assignments or tests are.  Highlight them in your planner, your calendar, or add a notification on your phone.
  • TAKE A WALK – Put in your headphones and talk a five minute walk wherever you are to decompress and revitalize your brain pan.  Drink some water, move around, eat a snack, and take care of yourself!  Self-care should not be put on the back-burner when juggling so many to-do’s.
  • WRITE THINGS DOWN  Utilize your planner, Google calendar, whatever works for you. If you don’t, it can be too easy to lose track of assignments or work commitments.  Plus, you get to cross it off your list when you’re done, and who doesn’t love that feeling?
  • REMEMBER YOUR GOALS – You’re going to college to better yourself, open your mind, and begin a career.  The job you have right now is a stepping stone leading to better opportunities in your future.  Don’t let a paycheck now distract you from your goals for the future.  Think long-term to motivate you when working another late night with class again in the morning.  For example, with a college degree, you can make more money to support all the dogs you’d want to adopt!
  • YOU CAN ONLY DO WHAT YOU CAN DO – cut yourself a little slack!  Remember that you can only do so much in a day.  Turn off your academic brain a little when you clock in for work.  If you’re tired, just go to sleep.  Request a day off once in awhile to catch up and catch your breath.

Screenshot of movie Princess and the Frog, with main character sleeping

Other sources to utilize:
* Interactive Learning Center, Advising and Academic Enhancement, and the Student Union Building have microwaves if you brought lunch and need to heat up your food.

Workshops for Time Management and more:

Quick exercises:,,20580068,00.html


Thinking Ahead: A Plan for the Future


The semester is nearly spent and many students are planning for another term at Boise State or getting ready to graduate and begin their careers. Before you throw up your loose paper and graduation caps, take a quick look at the future and ask yourself a few questions: Do I feel prepared for my upcoming future? Is there something I can do today to make myself more prepared?

These questions can be tough questions to ask and even tougher questions to answer. Nevertheless, they are questions you should consider as you bustle through college life. As an upcoming graduate, I am extremely excited but also a little scared about my future and how near it suddenly seems. Luckily, I have a network of resources on campus that have helped get me through these confusing times.  

Questions to Consider:

Have you established a professional network? Perhaps it is about time you take a walk through the Career Center or the Albertson’s Library and meet some of those important people who may provide you employment opportunities in the future.

Do you have a clear five-year plan? If not, now is the best time to formulate that plan. Having some idea of where you’re going in the future really helps you make choices today on how to get there.

When was your last visit with your advisor? Whether your advisor is a professor in your college or an academic advisor by trade, these people can answer your questions and assuage your concerns, so take advantage of their time. Make an appointment today.

Have you looked into internship opportunities? Nearly every college on campus provides its students with internship opportunities in a variety of subjects, including; science, business, english, education, and more.

Continue to ask yourself these important questions as you move through your college career and slowly transition into your career path. They will only help bring you closer to the dream that you have in place for your future.

Preparing for Final Exams


It’s week 12 and finals are soon upon us. The study rooms in the library are all booked up with groups of students motivated by a single goal: to pass. But do these groups of students really know how to effectively study for final exams? Or are they going about it all wrong and don’t even realize it? Hopefully it’s the former, but just in case, I’d love to provide you with 5 helpful study tips that have worked for me in the past.

Tips for Studying

  1. Plan ahead. Don’t procrastinate and wait until the day before the test to cram a bunch of knowledge into your noggin, only to have it evaporate while you sleep. Set up a plan, specifically, a 7 day study plan. Give yourself enough time to study in shorter, more productive bursts. Ultimately this will help you retain the information and think more critically about the content.
  2. Assess your learning preference. Everyone has approaches to learning content that feel comfortable and productive to them. Knowing your individual learning preferences can help you identify study strategies that you may likely choose to adopt rather than ditch. It is very important to be conscious of the ways in which you learn best. Take this online questionnaire to help get you started.
  3. Learn new study skills. Perhaps you’re finding that none of the methods you are employing in your study groups seem to be helping you learn. Maybe you need to explore some new study options. Advising and Academic Enhancement has compiled a list of the top study skills to help you be more successful.
  4. Let yourself relax. All too often, we get stressed out about upcoming tests and presentations and we don’t give ourselves the proper time to take care of our minds and our bodies. It’s important to pay attention to what makes you nervous so you can learn to cope with or avoid those scenarios. Here’s a fun video to help you understand why we get nervous.
  5. Tackle test anxiety early. If you’ve experienced test anxiety in the past, you know how detrimental it can be to your test performance. Avoid anxiety early and learn some tactics to help you overcome the stress and frustration that comes with it.

The most important thing to remember is that many of you have been preparing for this moment all semester. You have the knowledge you will need to succeed and you have worked extremely hard to make it this far. Take a moment to feel proud. Take a moment to practice self-efficacy. Say this with me, like a mantra, “I know I can do this. I know I have what it takes.” You’d be surprised how far a little motivation can carry you. And if that’s not working for you, have a laugh:


The Final Ascent

Person climbing the side of a cliff

We’re coming upon the end of the semester and I’m noticing a new hop in everyone’s step as they rush toward the finish line. The end is in sight, but we can’t reach out and touch it just yet. So what should we do? My advice: Stay focused on your goals. Keep going to class, taking notes, and studying. If you start to feel disinterested, unmotivated, or overwhelmed, reach out for support. Talk to a close friend, your class learning assistant, faculty members, advisors, anyone who will listen and help connect you to the proper resource.

Another way to keep yourself motivated and out of bed is to create a weekly calendar of ALL your time. There are many types of calendars, hard copy and  electronic, so be sure you choose a mode which works best for you. If you have scheduled your week ahead of time, including; class, work, eating, sleeping, homework, and social time it will help you get the right amount of sleep. Read this article to learn more about the benefits of healthy sleep and look for ways to adjust your sleep routine to better fit your busy student lifestyle.

We all know that motivation is like a river; it ebbs and flows, rushes and becomes blocked. And this is okay, but it helps to have a game-plan. A personal mechanism for pulling yourself out of the ebb and into the current. For helpful tips, watch this fun video about the science of motivation to help you get back on track and stay on track. You can also sign up for workshops to help you prepare for tests, study more efficiently, and manage test anxiety when it rears it’s ugly head.

How’s this for an additional motivator? In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that, “Millennial college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn more annually—about $17,500 more—than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma.”

I’ll sign off with some wise words from Dory:


Learning to Live a Little

weekend-pandaDo you want to hear a secret? It’s a juicy one. Okay, come closer, IT’S OKAY TO TAKE BREAKS! I know, it’s a shocker. I didn’t believe it as a first either. But, it’s true. Breaks are good. Breaks are positive. Breaks aren’t lazy. Breaks are productive.

Studies have shown that taking short breaks throughout your study routine actually promotes the retention of information more than studying continually over a long period of time. Check out this video and learn more about The 20-5 Study Rule

Are you a regular napper? My guess is no. I stopped napping after kindergarten, too, when I realized I was definitely too old for “Mystery Mat Time.” But was that truly in my best interest? Scientists would say “nay.” According to PsychCentral, Power Naps Help Your Brain Retain New Information . So if it’s been awhile since your last power snooze, find some time in your schedule to rest your head for a quick 20. You’ll be surprised how good it feels.  

I want to add a little step to your study routine, though. My advice is, USE YOUR WEEKENDS WISELY. Make them count. If you’ve spent the last five days working hard; doing your homework, studying, meeting with professors, and working then you deserve a legitimate break. And, since I like you all so much, I’ve compiled a short list of fun things happening this weekend that might help ease the stress of midterms and upcoming final exams.

Your Wacky Weekend Forecast

  1. Do you like to be scared? Go see the Blair Witch Project at the Egyptian Theater on Friday, October 14th at 8pm.
  2. Do you like to laugh? Go see the musical production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at The Boise Contemporary Theater on October 14th at 8pm.
  3. Do you like to dance? Go listen to a local musician. The Steve Fulton Music: Eponym Album Release Concert with be in the Sapphire Room at 6:30pm on October 14th.
  4. Do you love dogs? Go visit the South West Idaho Pug Rescue Fundraiser from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, October 15th.
  5. Do you like to stay fit? Join in Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk marathon on Sunday, October 16th from 8:30am to 12pm at the Sandbar Patio Bar and Grill

Boise is jam-packed with exciting events and every weekend there is surely something that fits all lifestyles. After all, breaks are a necessity. Just ask this guy.

Building Effective Faculty Relationships


I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to answer it honestly. How many times have you met with a professor, in office hours or over coffee? My guess is, most of you answered never. Which is a poor, poor shame I doth proclaim! Because professors are the dopest.

I’m serious. If you ever feel overwhelmed, confused, or simply worried, they are your best resource. I can honestly say the professors I have developed working relationships with have truly become the most inspirational people in my undergraduate career (which has lasted entirely too long because I just can’t get myself to leave this campus or these people).

Any-Houdini, professors can offer much more than guidance. Planning on going to graduate school? You’ll need recommendations for that. Planning on getting a job? You’ll need references for that. Who writes those recommendations/references you ask? Professors. So stop by their office and have a quick chat after class to establish a meaningful connection. Professors want to write recommendations for students who are motivated and active learners. You can also use this time with faculty to learn more about their background, the class, or simply show off your knowledge.

A list of potential topics to discuss with your professors:

  1. “I completed my homework last night, but I’m afraid I don’t understand some of the key concepts, would you mind reviewing them with me?”
  2. “Where did you go to college? What did you study?”
  3. “We have an essay due in two weeks and I consider myself a poor organizer, would you be willing to assist me in creating an outline?”
  4. “I have truly loved your class this semester and would like to take some more of your courses. What classes will you be teaching next semester?”
  5. “I’m feeling overwhelmed with my workload, do you have any tips for staying above sea level?”

Below is a link to an online workshop that will help you build the confidence to approach your professors.

Helpful Hint #1:

Check your course syllabus for your professor’s available office hours and schedule a meeting. This information is usually found at the top of your syllabus.


Helpful Hint #2:

If you have built an effective relationship with your professor, when the time comes that you inevitably get sick, they will be more likely to have your back. #yougotafriendinme #kickinitwithmyprof

Wait, am I not on Instagram?

About the Author

Hey Everyone! My name is Keleah Pinto and I’m a senior at Boise State University. My hobbies include, but are not limited to: watching icicles melt, clicking and unclicking pens, eating food backwards, chicken-sitting, and peeling potatoes with my grandfather. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming the first human to travel through space using only a fire extinguisher. I plan to make this dream a reality in 2020. When I’m not writing student blogs for Advising and Academic Enhancement, I’m wrestling desert snakes in a contest called, The Last Cobra Kicking. Check out my student blogs on our website,

How to Get Ahead, Early On

time concept, selective phocus point, special toned photo f/x

So it’s week five. People on bikes have begun to walk through the quad, aware of the obvious dangers (and the posted signs). Every line on campus is ridiculously long. Everything seems to be falling into place nicely. It’s like the whole world is riding tandem bicycles. What could go wrong?

Oh yeah.

Midterms… Finals… Grades… GPA… Transcript… Graduation… Grad School… Career… Student Loans… Marriage!

That’s right. If you’re anything like me, you worry about the future. You dream about the dog you’ll have, what kind of house you’ll live in, your dream job. We all worry.

But have no fear! Your peers are here!

This week, I want to discuss getting ahead. I know, it sounds impossible to get ahead with your workload, but before you slam your laptop shut and turn on Futurama, I have a list of tips for getting ahead in your workload to make future-self happy without making present-self insane.

Tips for Getting Ahead in Your Workload

  • Create an extensive calendar. By extensive calendar, I mean this:


*Notice how I included everything, even meals and relax time

  • Include your syllabi in your calendar. Yes, I used the word syllabi. It’s real. Look it up. If you include every single assignment and every single due date on your calendar, you will be surprised how few you forget come week 15.
  • Complete your reading assignments as early as you can. Don’t wait for your professor to assign it. Reading is generally the portion of your homework which requires the most time, so get it done early. And don’t forget to have a pencil in your hand while you read. Active reading is annotating!/li>


*Even Herman Melville annotated when he read. You know, the author of Moby Dick. One of the most famous books of all time.

  • Taking online classes? Pump them out! If your professor opens assignments early, complete them early. They aren’t doing this for them, they’re doing this for you. Appreciate the little things professors do for you. This also works for relationships.
  • Begin test prep now. It’s never too early to study. If you start studying for 20 minutes a day, every day, the test content will seem much less like a shock and you will avoid the pressures of text-anxiety. As Yoda would say, “The one who studies, the force is strong with.” Below is a link to a 7-Day Study Plan. Use it!

There you have it. Five tips for making your life easier as a student. The biggest tip of all however, is to simply stay passionate. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything. It just feels like you’re living. 

For more helpful tips and campus resources, visit our offices in the Simplot Micron Advising and Success Hub. Advising and Academic Enhancement is here to save the day, and take your stress away. Visit our website at