Monthly Archives: February 2014

Manage your time; don’t let it manage you!

Did the midterm sneak up on you, too?!  As a professor, I sometimes forget to pay attention to when the midterm is.  Suddenly, students are asking me about study guides, what the exam format will be, and how much material it will cover.  I think to myself, “How did I schedule a midterm but lose track of time!?!”  It happens to the best of us.

One of the tips Heidi and I talk to students about on a daily basis is effective time management skills.  Similar to time management skills listed here, we highly recommend keeping a calendar.

First, take the time to sit down and chart out your weekly routine – from 6 AM on a Sunday through 2 AM on a Saturday (7 days, 15 hours a day).  Put in when you are sleeping, commuting, eating, sitting in class, hanging with friends, working and studying.  Be sure to schedule 2 hours of study time for every 1 unit of class you are enrolled (12 units should be 24 hours of study time!).

Second, take out each of your class syllabus and make a chart of due dates:  write down what assignment (or exam) is due and on what day.

Third (and finally), take out your personal calendar (diary, phone, PDA, etc) and write in your class times and days, your study times and days, and your due dates. If you have a big paper due, then figure out what day you should START the paper and put that in your calendar (“start History 101 paper today!”). Be sure to schedule leisure time, too!

Making and keeping a calendar is a life skill, not just a college skill.  It will allow you to look forward and prepare for leisure time in the same way you do deadlines and other important dates (like graduation!).

Happy Calendaring.

A Little Motivation

It’s that time of the term where you find yourself in a slump. Academics are frustrating, your social life is lacking and you’re just not sure how or why you ended up on this campus. You know what?  You’re not alone! BUT, finding others who would readily admit to feeling these same emotions isn’t always easy. Here’s a short article from Laura, who wrote this reflection last May, just before graduating. We hope you find a little motivation in it: ‘College, an experience that goes beyond the classroom.’

First Year Experience

The 33rd Annual Conference on the First Year Experience (FYE) is underway. Thousands of leaders in higher education have gathered to learn, share, and generate fresh ideas to implement at their home institutions. I, Heidi, am one of them.

Great sessions and conversations on:
* conference origins
* tailored campus programs
* specialized mentoring
* common books (books read by the whole campus/first year class)
* current treads, issues and research
* authentic and value laden education
and so much more, have my creativity overflowing. I am excited to return to work!

John Gardner’s mission for FYE was ‘to teach students to love the university,’ for me, that is inspiring! This conference has lead me to formulate a purpose statement for my return to my home campus; it is ‘create community amongst first year students.’ I look forward to updating you on how this statement is transformed into action!

The Career Fair, as a First Year?

Yes, first year students should go to the career fair. You are only a few years away from wanting a full-time, well-paying, post-graduation job, which means there are only a few more career fairs to attend. Put on some respectable clothes and go! Take a few cues from this article (imagine yourself as the ‘lower-profile business’).

Let the networking begin! Research the companies attending the career fair in advance, seek out connections at the ones you would be interested in working for. Ask about internships, part-time jobs and volunteering. Schedule a time to go to the company to conduct informational interviews. Being on-site is your best way to get a feel for the business since you will be able see the facility and observe the staff. Collect business cards and write ‘thank you’ emails within 1-3 days after the event. Make sure to confirm the upcoming informational interview date and time.

A Mentor

You have probably heard teachers/professors, school/college staff, or students, talking about ‘having a mentor.’ When people talk about mentors, the conversation is nearly always positive, and the mentor ends up being a hero! Now you’re wondering “where can I find a mentor and what is s/he supposed to do for me?”

A mentor provides advice, insight from their first-hand experiences, motivation and moments of accountability. Mentors are great people!

Mentors are all types of people. Your mentor could be
* an inspiring professor
* a compassionate campus advisor or staff member
* a motivating upper division student – in your major or not – it doesn’t matter
* an uncle or aunt or cousin who has provided advice in the past
* a friend of your family who has a career in a profession you’re interested in
* an encouraging religious leader
* a great boss

When you select a mentor, choose someone you admire, and will have your best interests in mind!

Take note of the findings on note-taking!

Why should you take hand written notes when you have the latest technology at your fingertips? You’ll do better on exams, really!

Recent findings, reported here, demonstrate that old fashioned pen and paper note takers did better on quizzes and exams.  Which type of student are you (based on the type described in the article)?

Take time to develop your own note taking system (symbols, codes, underline, letter size, etc.). Later, when you are studying on your own, you will recall which details require more focus and attention. While paying attention in class you are deeper processing the information, and making your notes work for you!


FAFSA Blues 2

In order to qualify for financial aid, a student must demonstrate “basic student eligibility.”  The criteria includes:

Demonstration of financial need;

A high school diploma (or equivalent) completed or in progress;

US citizen or permanent residency status;

Hold a valid Social Security Number (SSN);

Plan to enroll in an eligible degree or certificate program;

Men (18 – 26 years old) must register for selective service (the FAFSA itself has a box to check in order to do meet this requirement).

The SSN is critical to the FAFSA as it is how you obtain a PIN (personal identification number). Having a PIN allows you to e-sign the FAFSA and submit it online. If you do not have a SSN, you can apply at your local post office or Social Security office.  If you are a under the age of 24 you will need your parents’ SSN, too. If your parents do not have a SSN, you should enter all zeros when asked for the number. You can still apply for, and be granted, financial aid even if your parents do not have a SSN.  Do not use an invalid SSN; this could seriously damage your ability to receive financial aid.