New Semester Resolutions: How I Did!

In a post at the beginning of the semester, I listed my new semester resolutions. Now that the year is coming to a close, I’d like to return to the list and reflect on what I have accomplished over the last several months:

My New Semester Resolutions/ Senior Year Sentiments:

1. Attend as many of my favorite (and free!) UC events as I can- including UCPB nights, Crystal Ball, and Mooseapalooza!

I definitely accomplished this! Some of my favorite events were the hypnotist during Moose Madness week, the Utica College TEDx talk, the Eh440 concert, Crystal Ball, and the GSA Annual Drag Show!

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The UC Gay-Straight Alliance snaps a picture after the show (above). 3BL at Crystal Ball (below).

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2. Win at Tuesday night trivia! (Hey, 4.0 Laura, I’m going to need your help with this one, lil sis)

While we didn’t win, we did get third place! Mainly because 4.0 Laura had night class and couldn’t be on our team to save us.

3. Do something fun over Spring Break- even if it’s not very far away or tropical!

We went somewhere both far away AND tropical- St. Thomas! It was gorgeous and so much fun!

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3BL in paradise!

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4. Take advantage of the open swim hours at the UC pool to add variety to my workouts.

Mission accomplished! Karita and I love to swim, and Laura and I tried spin classes, zumba, yoga, step, and tabata to switch up our workout routine. Photographic evidence of Karita and I at open swim can be found below.

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5. Take a Saranac Brewery tour, and check out any other local attractions that I have yet to see before I leave Utica.

The brewery tour was great! I went with Rachel, a Burrstone RA, and a few of her residents. I loved learning all about how beer has been made throughout history right here in Utica.

6. Get a good night’s sleep (most nights, at least!) so I am more alert during my 8:30 AM classes!

While I don’t have photographic proof of me sleeping, I can attest to the fact that I made sleep more of a priority, and my grades definitely prove it!

7. Make it a priority to do more volunteer work in the area.

This is one area that I was not able to accomplish nearly as well as I wanted. While I stayed very active on campus and was involved in many orgs that help area charities, I didn’t ever find the time to do my own, separate volunteering in the Utica area. There’s definitely always room for improvement, so I still plan to keep this goal in mind for the future!

8. Take a trip to NYC to see museums and eat tons of new foods!

This is another one I didn’t cross off the list. St. Thomas was a huge trip, which made finding time for NYC difficult. Luckily, I have some time this summer to try to accomplish this goal!

9. Allow myself more down time and fun, rather than over scheduling every moment as usual.

Check! I worked very hard on balancing my life more this semester. I gave myself more down time, had a great time with my friends, and was more spontaneous. This allowed me to enjoy every moment instead of trying to over-plan everything all of the time, as I am often tempted to do.

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Sunny days and good vibes in Utica with Karita (above) and Rochester with Ryan (below).

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10. Graduate summa cum laude and go on to graduate school next fall!

I am very excited to be the Class Marshall for the School of Arts & Sciences at this year’s graduation ceremony. In the fall, I will be beginning at the University at Buffalo in the Social-Personality Psychology PhD program.

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So there you have it! I’d say I did pretty well accomplishing most of the things on my list. It was a lot of fun to both create a senior year bucket list and to work towards checking it off. Though my time at UC is almost finished, this list helped me make some awesome memories in my last months here.

Time passes much faster than you think, so I invite you to ask yourself what you want to do before you graduate, make a senior year bucket list or new semester resolution list of your own, and have exactly the college experience that you imagine for yourself!

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Goodbye Moose-a-Palooza, Hello Moose Madness!

Each spring, the Utica College Programming Board hosts an entire week of events that are totally free for UC students. This week has always been known as Moose-a-Palooza, and in years past, it has often included BBQ food, sunny weather, frisbee and volleyball tournaments, and inflatables in the quad. I look forward to it every year, because it’s a great way to enjoy the spring weather and spend time with other students before the craziness of finals week kicks in!

This year, UCPB revamped Moose-a-Palooza. First, they held a content to rename the week and design the tshirts that would be given out to students. While I was disappointed that my suggestions did not win the contest (C’mon, Trax wearing sunglasses would have made for a great shirt!), I was quite fond of the winning name: Moose Madness!

With a new name came some new programming for the week. I took advantage of as many of the events as my night class and desk duty schedule would allow, and was able to attend an event almost every day of Moose Madness! Here are just some of the things I checked out during the week:

Monday, I scored my free tshirt with the new Moose Madness design and was on a team that won 3rd place in the campus-wide scavenger hunt! Since it was my birthday, our team was named Happy Birthday Elaine. (Side note, my friends rock!)

Jason, Laura, and I competing in the scavenger hunt! Thanks, Karita, for taking the pic!
Jason, Laura, and I competing in the scavenger hunt! Thanks, Karita, for taking the pic!

Tuesday, team Happy Birthday Elaine won 3rd place in Battle of the Decades Trivia in the Pioneer Pub. Hey, at least we are consistent with our 3rd place winnings! 3BL loves trivia, and this event had a fun twist, because it featured questions from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and today!

Wednesday featured the hypnotist Seilesh. I saw him last year when he came to UC, and loved him just as much this time around! He is an amazing entertainer and puts on a hilarious show. It is so funny to see fellow students under hypnosis! I never laugh as hard as when I see a good hypnotist show.

Saturday was the big WPNR and UCPB concert- the Royal Tongues and the X Ambassadors! The show was right in the gym and was totally free for UC students! We had a huge turnout, and students loved the unique sounds of both bands. The musicians were all immensely talented and really did an amazing job performing. I was so grateful to see both bands in person, as it made me appreciate their music a lot more- these guys are the real deal!

Group pic! UCPB and WPNR with The Royal Tongues and The X Ambassadors!
Group pic! UCPB and WPNR with The Royal Tongues and The X Ambassadors!

Overall, it was a busy week for UCPB and definitely a great time for the UC students who came out and enjoyed all of the events offered on campus. I loved all of the events I attended during Moose Madness and was really grateful to make some awesome memories during my last spring fest at UC!

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Awards Season (HOMW 11)

Another week has passed us, friends! I would like to share a moment with you all from this past Sunday.

HOMW 11: AWARDS SEASON

As the semester is quickly wrapping up, there have been many festivities celebrating the successes of the academic year. I love getting together with students, faculty, and staff and reflecting on all of the progress that we made during the last two semesters. This past weekend was especially special to me because of the Student Recognition Brunch that took place in the library concourse.

The brunch was a special ceremony that celebrated an array of students, from those with academic achievements to individuals who have contributed to areas such as Greek life, theater, and diversity on campus. I loved hearing the achievements of my fellow students and congratulating them on their hard work.

Some of our lovely UC GSA members! Lindsay, me, Imani, Maryellen, and Courtney!
Some of our lovely UC GSA members! Lindsay, me, Imani, Maryellen, and Courtney!

 

The Gay-Straight Alliance won the Outstanding Club/Organization Award from Student Senate, which was a huge honor for us. I myself was also recognized for several awards that noted my scholastic merit as well as my involvement on campus. Overall, the brunch was a very enjoyable event and was a great start to my week!

My boyfriend Ryan and I after the brunch!
My boyfriend Ryan and I after the brunch with some of my awards!
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You’ve Got to Have Nerve (HOMW 10)

Hi, everyone! My highlight this week happened on Thursday and Friday, and once again relates to my awesome poetry workshop course, ENG 407.

HOMW 10: YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE NERVE

One of my favorite things about Utica College is that there are many excellent guest speakers who present at the college each semester. I have been to cyber security presentations, poetry readings, etiquette dinners, biology seminars, and musical recitals, just to name a few!

This past Thursday evening, I attended a poetry reading by Suzanne Cleary. She was awarded the 2014 Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, and when she read excerpts from her book Beauty Mark, it was clear why she was chosen for this award! Cleary’s writing was hilariously entertaining, and her energetic delivery of her work added to its charm. Every person in the Carbone Auditorium (which was so full that extra chairs had to be brought in!) found themselves laughing out loud during the reading. Cleary was by far one of the most entertaining and fun speakers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I was surprised by how quickly the hour presentation flew by.

After the reading, copies of Beauty Mark were available for purchase, and many people had their copies signed by Ms. Cleary herself. My friend Nicole, who is also in my poetry workshop class, loves her personalized copy of the book!

Nicole and her autographed book!
The beautiful Nicole showing off her autographed book!

 

As if this experience wasn’t awesome enough already, the next day, Suzanne Cleary was our guest poet in our advanced poetry workshop class. We read our poems to the class and discussed them with one another as usual, except this class, Cleary was there to add in her own feedback and help us with the creative process. I learned so much from her, and was really grateful to have a different perspective. One of the things Cleary said that really stuck with me involved a poem I had written that was humorous and had a surprise twist at the end- similar to many of Cleary’s own poems. She said, “In order to embrace the pure silliness of poetry, you’ve got to have nerve. And you definitely have it here in this poem!”  She was extremely supportive of every student in the class’ writing and made for a very fun class.

Another shot of Nicole's personalized copy of Beauty Mark.
Another shot of Nicole’s personalized copy of Beauty Mark.

 

ENG 407 is always a highlight of my week (in fact, I’ve chosen it as the HOMW twice- here and here), but the guest poet this week made the class exceptionally wonderful!

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Freshman Me vs. Senior Me

As April flies by, and graduation approaches, I have found myself often thinking about how much I have grown over the last four years. My time at Utica College was everything I could have dreamed of and more, and I definitely had no idea the ride I was in for when I stepped on campus for the first time several years ago! There are definitely some big differences between who I am today and who I was when I started at UC. Let us reflect on some of those changes:

  • FRESHMAN ME: Woke up an hour ahead of class so that I could fix my hair, pick out a cute outfit, and apply makeup. Even at 8:30 AM classes, I was picture-ready.
  • SENIOR ME: I work out regularly, so I no longer find it worth my time to do my hair since I know I’ll be sweating in it and then washing it again later in the day. I try to wear jeans most days so that I know whatever shirt I wear will probably match it. Please no photos, you may break your camera. I am in class to learn and I swear my brain works more efficiently when I am comfortable.

 

  • FRESHMAN ME: Afraid to go anywhere alone, including but not limited to the gym, the caf, or any event on campus.
  • SENIOR ME: No longer intimidated by the athletes at the gym, as I think they are aware of the dynamic between us (I stay away from the 50 lb weights and they are polite while I struggle through my workouts that are kindergarten versions of their daily routines). And now, I don’t mind going to events alone, because that means it’s an opportunity to make friends while I’m there!

 

  • FRESHMAN ME: As a commuter, I felt like I didn’t know my way around campus well at all. Even though it’s a very small campus, I often felt lost and would go straight home after classes instead of sticking around to go to events or hang out in the lounges.
  • SENIOR ME: Becoming a residential student really changed my perspective of the school. As I became more involved on campus, it just made sense to transition to becoming a resident, as I was practically living here anyway with the amount of time I spent here! I know this campus like the back of my hand (not including last week when I discovered a new freckle on the back of my hand).

 

  • FRESHMAN ME: Struggled with my newfound independence. I had classes, a part-time job, social events, family and friends, and extracurriculars on my plate. Juggling everything was definitely a challenge!
  • SENIOR ME: I have learned a very important term throughout my four years: BALANCE. It’s still a challenge some days, but I am much better at handling life now. Both stress and time management are skills that every college student should master!

 

  • FRESHMAN ME: ALWAYS made class a priority, emailed professors whenever I would have to miss class, attended office hours, studied hard, raised my hand in class often, and finished papers early so I would have plenty of time to do revisions.
  • SENIOR ME: Still the same! Maybe I don’t finish my papers quite as early as I did freshman year, but I still make academics my top priority. After all, I’m here because I genuinely want to learn as much as I can! Being driven throughout my college career has helped me be successful and paved my path to attending grad school next year. It is well worth it to always do your best!
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EH440 (HOMW 9)

Another week has flown by already, can you believe it? It is bittersweet to only have a few weeks left of the semester. This week’s Highlight Of My Week is definitely something I will remember long after graduation!

HOMW 9: EH440

As a WPNR Production and Public Relations staff member, I sometimes get amazing opportunities at the Utica College radio station, 90.7 FM. This past week, my friends Laura, Karita and I were offered the chance to interview the Canadian a capella group Eh440 on our show 3BL. We immediately accepted the offer and eagerly anticipated the interview.

On Tuesday afternoon, we called the group from the road, since they are currently on tour. We spoke to Joe, a member of Eh440, live on the air, which was a little nerve-wracking, but definitely a lot of fun! It was especially exciting to talk to Joe because Eh440 was going to be coming to UC the next day to perform via the Utica College Programming Board, so we asked him many questions to help our listeners get an idea of what to expect at the show the next day. We also played a question game that had Joe naming the first thing that popped into his head when we said a category (for example, he answered that Eh440 as a color is red, as a type of weather is a thunderstorm, and as a major at UC is philosophy). The interview was a great experience and made me love my job at WPNR even more than I already do, which I didn’t think was even possible!

But my highlight doesn’t stop there! The next day, Karita and I ran into Eh440 when they arrived at UC before their performance. We spoke to them as they set up (mostly just about how funny our interview was since it was all live and we were all nervous of messing up and being immortalized forever on the airwaves as fools).

Once showtime rolled around, Karita, Laura and I ended up sitting front and center in the Pioneer Pub and dancing and singing along with the group from our table. They put on an amazing show full of catchy original songs as well as outstanding covers and even some fun song medleys. Each and every member of the group is insanely talented, from the beat boxers to the harmonizing female vocalists to the male vocalists with crazy vocal ranges. The students who packed the Pub to see Eh440 that night were all blown away! The group was funny, spunky, and always kept you guessing what would happen next. It was one of the best shows I have seen at a UCPB Pub Night in all of my four years here at UC.

After the show, we stuck around like the crazy fangirls we are and ended up talking to the group (can you believe they aren’t fans of Degrassi? I am still trying to work through the emotional turmoil of learning that. Good thing I am a psych major) and enjoying F’Real milkshakes from the Pioneer Cafe together. Going to a small college definitely has its perks, and hanging out with unbelievably talented members of a touring a capella group is definitely one of them!

Unfortunately, we never got a picture with the group, as we talked right until they had to hit the road again. So, I guess you will just have to take my word for it this time when it comes to my highlight of the week. However, if one day I end up in Canada as a personal assistant to an awesome a capella group and am being fed meals made by a certain part time culinary expert who is a member of the group, well… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Have a great week, everyone!

PS: If you want to learn more about Eh440, you can go to their website here! And you can stay up-to-date on future UCPB events by checking out their schedule here!

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The Weekend of A Thousand Events

The week after Spring Break is expected to be a busy one, as professors and students alike scramble to make progress in their courses as the time until the end of the semester draws closer. However, this weekend was even busier than anticipated, because there were TONS of fun events happening right on campus! Here are just a few of the things I did this weekend:

FRIDAY, 2 PM: OPEN SWIM

Karita and I love to take advantage of open swim at the Clark Athletic Center. It runs 12-3:30 PM on Fridays, so as soon as we are done with our afternoon classes, we like to head over to complete some laps, practice floating, and spend some time in the sauna. It’s a great way to kick off the weekend!

FRIDAY, 5 PM: WOMYN’S RESOURCE CENTER PUB & AWARDS NIGHT

We headed to the Pioneer Pub for the K Della Ferguson Womyn’s Resource Center Pub & Awards Night. The pub was packed with students, faculty, and staff who were celebrating the diverse women on the Utica College campus. I was honored to be a recipient of the Womyn of Substance Award!

FRIDAY, 5:45 PM: ORIENTATION BANQUET

The Orientation Banquet, held in the Library Concourse, was a fun way to reminisce with past orientation mentors. We watched a beautiful slideshow, had dinner, and all of the senior mentors received awards and gifts. I love all of my fellow mentors, and really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time all together as one big (slightly crazy) family again.

SATURDAY, 10 AM: ACCEPTED STUDENTS DAY

Even in chilly temperatures, the campus was bustling with eager students and their families, as well as many student workers who woke up incredibly early on their Saturday to help the day go smoothly. I was a part of a student panel and helped answer questions on the commuter experience at UC as well as life on campus.

SATURDAY, 3 PM: RA EVENT

My friend Rachel, who is a Resident Assistant in Burrstone, took her residents to the FX Matt Saranac Brewery for a tour. I learned a lot about the history of the brewery, the process involved in making their beers and soft drinks, and some interesting facts about Utica, NY, too! At the end of the tour, we all received free samples of Saranac soft drinks. My favorite is the Orange Cream soda!

SATURDAY, 6 PM: WIND ALL GIRLS ROCK! GALA

The Women In a New Direction’s second annual All Girls Rock Gala was held in the Library Concourse and offered a candy bar, a delicious dinner, a very charismatic and inspiring guest speaker, and (of course) plenty of awards. It was great to celebrate many great women on our campus, from faculty to staff to students.

SUNDAY, 11 AM: GAY- STRAIGHT ALLIANCE BRUNCH

The GSA had an informal Sunday brunch which was free to all UC students and included some surprise performers. The brunch was a sneak-peak of our second annual Drag Show, which will be in April. Many students joined the GSA for breakfast and helped paint a canvas for the organization by putting their handprint on it in a variety of bright colors.

WHEW! That was only a few of the events from the weekend! One thing I love about UC is the variety of things that happen right on campus. There are still plenty of fun events ahead before the semester ends, so make sure to check them out!

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One Last Roll Call (HOMW 8)

This weekend was jam-packed with events, so it was tough to pick just one highlight for the week. By Sunday night, I had many happy thoughts running through my head, but the one that stood out to me the most was the Orientation Banquet that took place on Friday.

HOMW 8: ONE LAST ROLL CALL

The summer orientation program is one of the highlights of my entire experience here at Utica College. I am never shy about sharing my love for the orientation programs and my fellow mentors, as it was what really transformed my entire college experience. When I became an orientation mentor after my first year at UC, I was not very involved on campus and had made only a handful of friends from my classes. As a commuter, I often went to class and went back home without staying on campus to \check out things going on. However, orientation opened my eyes up to all of the things available on campus and allowed me to meet so many different current UC students, staff members, and incoming students.

Courtney, our orientation mom, me, Karita, and Laura at the Orientation Banquet!
Courtney, our orientation mom, me, Karita, and Laura at the Orientation Banquet!

 

After that first summer as an orientation mentor, I jumped into UC life head-first. I joined the Residence Hall Association, Psych Society, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Committee for Student Conduct; I went to more on-campus events; I branched out and introduced myself to people beyond my classes. I became much more involved on campus, which caused me to fall even more in love with Utica College and helped me have an even BETTER orientation experience during the summer after my sophomore year.

Karita, Elliot, and I! This picture makes me giggle.
Karita, Elliot, and I! This picture makes me giggle.

 

The summer after my junior year, I became a Student Orientation Coordinator and helped out with planning the orientation program. I also had the opportunity to write and direct the Transitions orientation play that the student mentors perform for the incoming students and their families. It was bittersweet to work my last summer orientation program, but I truly enjoyed each and every day, even when I was very hot (it’s mid-July, after all) and exhausted!

Laura, me, and Karita being dramatic as usual
Laura, me, and Karita being dramatic as usual

This past Friday, the first-ever Orientation Banquet was held. It included dinner, a beautiful presentation full of pictures from past orientations, awards, and some fun games. I had a blast spending time with my fellow mentors, and loved reminiscing on all of the crazy memories we had made together over the last few years!

Showing off our orientation awards!
Showing off our orientation awards!

At the end of the banquet, we recreated our “Roll Call” that usually occurs at the beginning of each of the orientation sessions. In the summer, we are introduced to the incoming students by being announced over the speakers as we run up the aisles where they are seated. It is a fun way to pump everyone up for the busy days ahead, and we all get hyped up and cheer when we hear one another being announced. At the banquet, we stood in the back of the Library Concourse and ran up to the front of the room as we announced one another and cheered. It was a sentimental moment for many of us seniors who wouldn’t be a part of orientation in exactly the same way again. However, orientation is something that changed us all and will be something we carry with us for the rest of our lives, long after that final roll call ended.

An Elaine/Alane sandwhich. Laura, Elaine, Alane, Karita. Awesome.
An Elaine/Alane sandwhich. Laura, Elaine, Alane, Karita. Awesome.
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Registering for Classes

Registration for fall classes is soon approaching! Here are a few tips to help you create the best schedule possible for next semester:

  • Run a degree evaluation on BannerWeb (listed under “Logins” at the top of the Utica College web page). The easiest way I have found to do this is to search “Eval” in the search box, and click the option “Generate New Evaluation.” This evaluation will tell you exactly what classes you need in order to complete your degree requirements, and it will also tell you what classes you have already completed.
  • BannerWeb also has a Course Catalog which explains what each course means. If you have options between PSY 321 and PSY 322, for example, the Course Catalog shows that 321 is Infancy and Childhood, while 322 is Adolescence Psychology. The Course Catalog also tells you how many credits a class counts as and if it is offered as a lecture course, online course, or both.
  • After you have checked out what courses you need for your degree and what those courses are, you can go to the Class Schedule option in BannerWeb to see what times and days the classes will be offered in the upcoming semester. This allows you to plan potential schedules for next semester. It is helpful to know if two classes you need are at overlapping times, or if a lab is only offered once a week, or if your favorite professor is teaching an elective that you could fit into your schedule.
  • Meet with your advisor. Bring your degree evaluation and several potential schedules with you to show to your advisor. Your advisor might be able to help you decide which classes will be the most beneficial for you to take in the upcoming semester and which classes you should wait to take when you are further in your academic career.
  • Have backup plans! The day of registration, plan on logging on and completing your registration as soon as you are able to. If a class is closed out before you are able to secure a spot in it, have a list of several other classes you can take in its place that can still fit into your degree requirements, count as an elective, or are interesting to you. Don’t fret if you don’t get into every class you want, because sometimes the classes you don’t originally plan on taking end up being the most memorable!
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Eye of the Tiger

As the weather gets warmer and the end of the semester nears, it can be tough to stay focused on academics. It’s tempting to put off that term paper in favor of hanging on the quad with friends. However, these last few weeks of classes will be over before you know it, so it’s important to stay on top of your assignments now more than ever. Here are a few ways I keep focused when the end is near:

1. Make a list. Having a to-do list can help you prioritize and complete assignments before their deadline. You won’t forget an assignment or miss a meeting if you jot it down in your planner or on your list of things to accomplish for the week.

2. Give yourself a mantra. Repeating a phrase to yourself when you are getting frustrated can help you feel more confident and focused. I always tell myself to have the “eye of the tiger,” and usually follow that with a little singing and bad dancing.

3. Bribe yourself. For every page of your paper you complete, give yourself 5 M&Ms. Or, once you get your group project done, treat yourself to a white hot chocolate from Common Grounds. When you get that daunting study guide filled out, celebrate with a half hour TV show and a chocolate bar. (As you can tell, I use a lot of chocolate when I bribe myself). Set manageable goals for yourself, reward yourself for your progress, and keep the momentum going in order to complete even the hardest things on your to-do list.

4. Create a study zone. Try not to study somewhere that you know will be distracting. If your residence hall is hard to study in because your friends often stop by your room, go to the library. If the people walking around in the library snatch up your attention, consider finding a table in Gordon Science Center, the Romano lounge, or the Cybersecurity building. There are lots of hidden areas in the academic buildings that can be great for getting a paper written or a textbook chapter annotated. Find a zone you can really focus in and get it done!

5. Put away your phone. Stop hindering your success with your phone. Save the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Buzzfeed, and YouTube for later. Put your phone on silent, on airplane mode, or turn it all the way off, put it in your backpack, and leave it in there until you complete your work. Don’t let your phone be your own worst enemy; put it away to stay focused on your work. I promise, the world will not end because you are disconnected for a few hours.

Stay focused on your goals and what you need to accomplish in order to achieve them. Summer will be here before you know it, so keep the eye of the tiger until then!

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