Student Blog: Destination Graduation
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?
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, 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.
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:
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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:
Do 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
- Do you like to be scared? Go see the Blair Witch Project at the Egyptian Theater on Friday, October 14th at 8pm.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do you love dogs? Go visit the South West Idaho Pug Rescue Fundraiser from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, October 15th.
- 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.
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:
- “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?”
- “Where did you go to college? What did you study?”
- “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?”
- “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?”
- “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, http://aae.boisestate.edu
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?
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 aae.boisestate.edu.
Registration is the time you select the courses you will enroll in for the next semester. Please check your BroncoMail, as the Registrar’s Office sends communication your enrollment date and time. Monday, October 31st registration for continuing students begins for Spring 2017 (by appointment)
Mid Fall semester the Spring 2017 schedule will become available online. Students you are encouraged to explore course availability so you are ready to enroll on your enrollment date. To find your specific enrollment date, check your BroncoMail for the Registrar email or log in to your Student Center and look under “Enrollment Dates” on the right-hand side (See pictures below). Pro tip from seasoned students to avoid getting waitlisted: fill your shopping cart prior to your date of enrollment, set an alarm for the minute you can register, and register from your shopping cart.
Registration happens within your Student Center, through your my.BoiseState account.
It is important to be proactive regarding future semester planning. The best chance of getting not only the courses, but the schedule you want, lies in starting early and being aware of your enrollment date and time. DON’T MISS OUT!
In this blog post, we wanted to celebrate our graduating peer advisors in Advising and Academic Enhancement and let them share their triumphs, challenges, and overall college experience. Featured here are AAE peer advisors Trevor Vaughn (Supply Chain Management, Graduate of 2016) and Monica Martinez (Information Technology Management, Graduate of 2016). They have put forth their time and effort and want to share some tips and strategies to support you in your academic success. The tassel truly is worth the hassle!
Please identify an unexpected challenge you faced in your college career and describe any strategies you used to overcome it.
Choosing a major that made sense was my largest unforeseen challenge. I had a plan, and then I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I took an intro class in a prospective field, and then I met with professors and an advisor. I chose Supply Chain Management, and it was the best decision of my life.Trevor
“I think struggling with math was unexpected. In high school, math was my favorite subject. I didn’t think taking a year off in high school would be such a big deal or that my favorite subject would become my worst. But I was able to overcome having to get through MATH 170 by attending tutoring sessions and meeting with my instructors regularly.”Monica
Please share something you wish you would have been aware of earlier that may have supported your academics and college experience.
Degree tracker is great planning tool that helped guide me to graduation. Meet with an advisor, and review it together. It is completely customizable, so even if it isn’t accurate at first, you can make it accurate.Trevor
It’s okay to ask for help! I struggled to ask for help. I liked to think that I would be able to figure it out eventually; I later figured out that wasn’t working and it was taking too much time. It’s silly; if I am not willing to ask for help no one is going to know that I need it. It’s something that I have worked on and has helped me. Monica
Any resources that you found helpful in your college career that you would encourage fellow students to use?
Degree tracker is great planning tool that helped guide me to graduation. Meet with an advisor, and review it together. It is completely customizable, so even if it isn’t accurate at first, you can make it accurate.Trevor
I’d really encourage all students to make use of their instructors study hours and take advantage of tutors provided to you by Boise State. I wish I would have also taken advantage of the Career Center more to land internships and jobs– I’ve visited with them to go over my resume, but they offer so many other resources for students. The Advising and Academic Enhancement website and the Career Center website were very helpful to me!Monica
What does it mean to be a “learner” to you and what are some skills you will continue to use after you graduate?
A learner is someone who wants to learn. A learner doesn’t go to class or do their homework because they have to but because they want to. Everyone is a learner; it is just a matter of finding what you want to learn about. Once you find your passion, education becomes a want rather than an apparent need.Trevor
To be a learner you should always be curious, be an active learner and engage in the learning experience. The following are skills that I will continue to use: Technical skills, time management, organization skills, public speaking, etc.Monica
Prepare by studying daily and avoiding cramming. Also prepare yourself by understanding what test anxiety feels like, what is happening in your brain, and how you reduce the build up of anxiety.
Learn about your stress response:
Stress is normal! Your body is having a reaction to the stress you are under when you take a test. Our brains have adapted to respond to threatening situations to help keep us alive. High stress situations, like threats to our safety (think: saber tooth tiger, driver who nearly hit you), actually shuts down the area of our brain that is responsible for problem solving, critical thinking, judgement and planning. And those are all super important to test taking!
What does anxiety feel like?
During a stress response our brains funnel all of our energy into our ‘fight or flight’ system, our very best option for quick, life-saving action. Our heart rate increases, we start breathing rapidly, and begin to sweat. We feel tingly and vigilant. We might not be able to remember what we studied while we take an exam or “go blank”. Does that sound like what you’re experiencing? Great! It’s good to know that your body is in good working order. You are simply responding to high stress. Now, to convince our minds that this exam is not actually a threat to our lives… and get our frontal lobe back!
Avoiding cramming is critical.
Set aside regular study time to identify and remember key course concepts and skills.
- Create a routine and have a plan.
Tie study time to other routines. (After class, I will rewrite my notes for 30 min).
- Plan for short, frequent study sessions throughout the week.
For example, 1 hr a day for 5 days/wk is far more effective then 5 hrs in one day.
- Take breaks, the adult attention span is only about 20 minutes:
Give your brain short breaks during study sessions. Set a timer for 5 min and let yourself daydream to truly recharge and refocus.
- Make connections with the content:
For example, how do you relate to the concept, how does the concept connect to society, how does the concept relate to other concepts from the course.
- Utilize peer study groups:
Get with people from your class to talk about concepts, practice problems, and review notes.
- Use our 7 Day Study Plan to support your test prep game plan.
- Always attend class.
- Go to office hours to discuss your strategies and understanding of content.
Managing the Anxiety before the exam:
- Be aware of negative “self talk” (I suck, I always fail)
Replace it with statements in the 3rd person that focus on strengths. For example, “Taylor, you have done your best to prepare”
- Vizualize like an Olympic athlete: imagine in great detail being relaxed and prepared for the exam for at least 10 minutes a day, 10 days prior to your exam.
- Take good care of yourself: get adequate sleep and moderate exercise, don’t over do the caffeine, and eat a healthy diet for maximum brain power and reduced anxiety.
Anxiety during the exam: Turn that frontal lobe back on!
- Calm your breathing- do this breathing exercise right before the exam and at any time during.
- Boost your confidence: dress up and do a superman pose for 2 min before the exam
- Arrive early and take 10 minutes to write out exactly why you are worried.
- Grounding: Use your 5 senses to get back in the room. Count 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel.
- Use positive self talk. Think about what you are grateful for, what you value, and what strengths you have as a student.