All You Need Are Friends!

Yes, we are all here for an education, but honestly, all you need are friends. You need the educational background to further your own life, but really, you just need friends who will set you straight when you stray from your norm.

When entering a new place or new beginning for the first time, I have to find some sort of friendship to guide me through it. When I first stepped onto the Utica College campus, I began befriending people who were in the same major as me. We went to meetings together, dinner together, and even ended up in the majority of the same classes our very first semester. I got lucky. It doesn’t always end up that way, but it was definitely nice that it did. Sometimes making major changes are necessary, but it’s nice when you have friends to help you through it.Blog Post 4 - All You Need Are Friends! Pic 2 Blog Post 4 - All You Need Are Friends! Pic 1

Personally, I’ve made some major changes this semester alone, including moving off campus and completely changing my schedule. Those two things caused me more stress than I ever thought possible, but I’m finally happy with where I am at. Luckily, I did it with the help of great friends! I moved in with two of my good friends. Though it was a major change, it was a pretty smooth transition with their help.

Thus far, we’ve celebrated birthdays, made dinner together, sat down and did our homework together, and we even watch tv together. So, when you’re going through changes, just do as I did and find happiness in friendship because it will make things much, much less stressful.

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A New, Innovative Way to Study

Recently, I have discovered a new app for my iPhone that allows me to combine my study habits and my use of technology; StudyBlue. StudyBlue is an application, available for iOS and Android that allows you, as a student, to make flashcards, study guides, and even practice quizzes from the flashcards to input! Crazy, huh?!

Luckily, for you, StudyBlue is 100% FREE for the most general user! Of course, you can pay for a subscription in which you get “premium” benefits such as unlimited shareable flashcards that you personally make or borrow from others! Not being able to send and borrow unlimited flashcards has been the only downfall to the free version that I have found thus far and I have been using the app for a few months now!

 

UntitledAbove are a few pictures that I have from my “blood” flashcards within the app. My “blood” flashcards contain information from some of my Biology 102 lectures in which I have linked the cards to Utica College within the app as well as my professor. By linking the cards to the school and professor, others are able to search for Biology 102, or Utica College, or a professor’s name and find cards that others have created for that specific class. From the cards, you can then create practice quizzes and study guides!

Likewise, you can also search my name in which you will end up in what StudyBlue calls my “backpack.” My backpack contains class notes that I have uploaded, multiple virtual decks of flashcards and a few practice quizzes that I have generated from certain cards. By finding my “backpack” within the app, you are enabled to use my materials to a certain extent with the free version. You will only be able to see some of my cards, a few of my notes, and some of my quizzes unless I personally share them with you or you sign up for the paid version.

 

All of the cards shown in my “backpack” currently revolve around my Biology 102 lecture and lab. Believe it or not, these have actually helped me to earn much better grades this semester through memorizing the information from my flashcards. You can select right or wrong once you flip the card and when you reach the end, it will even tell you the percentage you got right. From there, the app will also allow you to re-study the entire deck or just the ones that you got wrong. It makes memorizing, in an organized way, very, very simple and helpful.

For many classes, memorization is key. This app has definitely seemed to help me out with Biology this semester and I don’t know as if I will ever go back to regular flashcards after this. I love the features it has and most of all, I really like that it’s completely FREE!

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Bored this weekend? Airband 2016.

Let’s face it: It’s the weekend before the last week of classes and, more than likely, you’re going to be bored from being studious and such… right?! Well, there’s plenty of fun to be had Saturday night in the Athletic Center.

 

Airband 2016

 

Chi Beta Sigma is hosting their annual event – Airband. It’s one of the longest-standing events on this campus, and it’s tons of fun every year! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy comedic singing, dancing and acting by students? It’s hilarious!

Airband is a lip-syncing competition featuring a number of acts, including Chi Beta Sigma. Each group lip-syncs to a chosen song in attempt to steal the show and “wow” the audience! Whoever does it best, according to the judges, wins! The top 3 acts will win prizes, provided by the sorority.

Don’t forget, if you attend, to bring a few bucks with you! Chi Beta will be hosting their annual “Hundred Dollar Minute” during intermission. This small event at intermission is meant to collect money from the audience that will then be donated to a local charity.

So, if you’re bored this weekend, DON’T BE! Get to the Clark Athletic Center at 7pm on Saturday for a hilarious show that NOBODY on this campus wants to miss!

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Being Frugal When You Need to be Frugal!

For some of us, it’s easy to fall into bad spending habits and purchase things that are completely unnecessary just because we feel like it. Unfortunately, it’s a really bad habit to fall into and it can run your bank account dry before you know it!

While in college, it’s important to remember (even if you’re a working college student) that money doesn’t just appear in your bank account and that you can only work a certain number of hours each week around your class schedule to earn some extra cash. Therefore, going out and spending it all on pointless items is completely unnecessary and a complete waste of money that you should be saving.

I found 5 tips in which I found to be useful in helping me save some more money this semester in order to prepare for graduate school:

  1. Even if you have a car, learn to carpool with your friends. Don’t fall into the trap of being the only one who drives. It will use your gas and you will more than likely be the only one who pays for the gas. Change it up once in awhile!
  2. Use coupons for items that you need such as toiletries. Quite often, you can find a few coupons online to save you a few extra bucks when shopping for necessities.
  3. Do NOT buy coffee every single day. I fell into this trap my entire sophomore year and it’s MUCH cheaper to brew it at home!
  4. If you purchase things on campus, use your student ID! If you use your student ID, you do not get charged tax. If you run out of money on your student ID, you can add more to it on the UC Dining Commons website!
  5. When you go to buy new clothes (only when necessary), check the clearance racks first! Quite often you will find a few nice things on those racks and they will be much cheaper than some of the new releases on the other racks in the front of the store!

These 5 tips are ones that I constantly have to be mindful of but they have honestly helped me tremendously with my past spending habits! I used to shop all the time and go out to eat at least 3 times a week. It’s a bad habit and it ends up costing much more money than simply being more frugal and saving some extra cash where you can!

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The Downside of My Coffee Addiction

I cannot go one day without having some sort of caffeinated beverage, particularly coffee. I am going to attempt to slowly remove caffeinated beverages from my daily routine and here’s why:

Blog Post 1 - dunkin cupCaffeine raises blood pressure. Caffeine tends to cause blood pressure to rise for 2-3 hours after finishing the drink.

Caffeine is often linked to insomnia. Quite frequently, I find myself lying in bed at night unable to fall asleep. This could possibly be linked to the amount of caffeine that I consume on a daily basis.

Headaches, and lots of them. If I go without my morning cup of coffee, I end up with a caffeine-related headache. Sometimes, the lack of caffeine results in a migraine that ends up making me sick.

Caffeine is addictive and leaves people wanting more sugar and even more caffeine. This is particularly true to my lifestyle. I consume coffee (more than I should) and certain sodas. I crave the sugar and the caffeine, which is really bad for my diet and nutrition.

How many of us have heard that “caffeine stunts your growth”? It’s true. I’ve researched it numerous times. Caffeine decreases ossification in your bones, which can result in more fractures and decreased bone growth – hence “stunting” your growth. This is why you really shouldn’t consume much caffeine as a kid.

After really thinking about how much caffeine I consume on a daily basis, I honestly became a little nervous and decided to research it to find these five things. I am hoping that I can slowly wean myself off of the excess caffeine to avoid many of these issues in my later life. Let’s see how it goes after spring break and you can expect a blog post discussing my findings!

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The 5 Realities of Having a Roommate

Upon your arrival to college, I’m sure you’re extremely nervous and uneasy about the thoughts of having a roommate. This person will share the same room as you, probably some of the same belongings, and eventually they may end up using some of your stuff with or without permission. Living with a roommate isn’t always the easiest of college tasks, but it’s one of the best lessons and experiences I’ve ever had!

Did we just become best friends?

So, here’s a few realities that happen with nearly every roommate you’ll have at some point through your college career:

  1. Your room will often look like a crime scene unless you have established a set day in which you will both organize your things and clean your room.
  2. Whether you know it or not, your roommate will know your entire life – especially if you are close friends.
  3. Your shared space will quickly become disorganized with two people frantically panicking to get up and ready for class in the morning.
  4. They will more-than-likely see you at some of your worst points throughout the year.
  5. And though the last four seem to be breaking points about having a roommate, that same roommate will always be there to comfort you when you need them! I mean, after all, they do live with you.

Having a roommate, in my opinion was one of the best things that had happened upon coming to college. Of course the five things mentioned above are from personal experiences here and each persons experience is different, but my first roommate was my first friend here at UC.

Having someone to talk who is going through the exact same obstacles as you in the beginning is comforting. Your roommate also allows you to find your first friend while you go out and explores the college experience. Your friend group will grow, but your roommate usually will be the one to keep you grounded for a while.

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See ya spring break ’16!

Last week was such a tease for what summer ’16 is about to be! Sunshine, warm weather, friends, no homework – I mean, it honestly can’t get much better, right?! Spending a week in Florida, on the beach, with friends, with temperatures at 80* or above – it was honestly heaven! I was in no way ready to come back here and get back into a routine of classes and homework. Let’s be thankful for those of us who are not graduating that we get to have at least one more spring break! 🙂

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With five weeks left of classes and a week of final exams, many of us are not sure how we will ever reach the end after a full week of leisure! For many of us, there are still numerous homework assignments, a few exams, and probably a few pop-quizzes left to complete before we can be on our way to summer break – so let’s hope for the best and hope that we will get through it!

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Here are some thoughts that many college students have when spring break is coming to a close:

  • The weekend before school starts back up – “is this really happening?!”
  • While traveling back to school – “I’d much rather stay home with my pets and never move for the rest of my life”
  • First opening your planner/schedule – “so about that assignment that I was supposed to do over break…”
  • The first Monday morning class – “I can go back to sleep in roughly 3 hours and 27 minutes.”

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Getting back into the swing of things can be hard and definitely emotionally taxing. However, we’re only a few short weeks from summer and you can consider that an extended, fun-filled, and awesome spring break!

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Conquering an Online Class

For me, my very first online class was extremely stressful. Taking an online class pretty much forces you to become best friends with Engage, UC’s online learning platform, and follow every single discussion post posted by your peers. Personally, I was getting more and more discouraged by the day. It was difficult for me, but now, I’d be happy to take more online classes.

At first, it’s extremely difficult to figure out what you are supposed to be doing. Discussions are confusing, the syllabus can be confusing, and even Engage can be confusing. However, little did I know, Engage actually simplifies your life in regards to what you should be doing and when you should be doing it by. The next time you log into Engage, check out the “upcoming events” section on your main page. This houses all events coming up for your courses listed on your Engage page. This portion of your Engage page includes dates and times for when things are due, and you can even set it to include reminders! Personally, this saved me while taking my first online class because it simplified things in a way that was easier for me to understand and pay attention to.Blog Post 6 - Conquering an Online Class!-2

Not only is it hard to comprehend what is due and when it is due by, it is also extremely difficult, in my opinion, to stay motivated in the class. For online classes versus on-ground classes, it can be hard to stay motivated and focused on the material. There isn’t a professor available that is lecturing at the front of a classroom. Rather, there are PowerPoints and class discussions in regards to a textbook chapter with the occasional video that reinforces what you were supposed to have read. However, I found that no matter how much you may not want to read the book nor look over the notes, just like in a typical on-ground class, you have to in order to pass the class! Reading is crucial for an online class to be effective and also for you to pass. It was difficult for me to understand at first, but now it’s much easier to grasp certain concepts, and if I don’t understand something, there’s a section to ask questions to the professor.

And lastly, stay organized! Take the notes from your “upcoming events” section on Engage and add them to your planner, calendar, or whatever else you use to stay organized. It’s easy to get ahead of the work for online classes if you read ahead, and pay attention the “upcoming events.”

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Is it too late now to say…um, I have homework?!

I’m sure it’s probably pretty easy to assume that many of us college students procrastinate. You’d think that by the time I reached the Spring semester of my Junior year that I would have that figured out by now. I mean, I do use a planner and I am extremely organized with my school work, I just can never seem to get ahead of my work because I always wait until the last minute – BAD IDEA, I KNOW.

The cliché, “I always do my best work while under pressure” used to be my motto for so long that it’s honestly kind of ridiculous. It’s not true, but was easier to say than, “well, that assignment was terrible.” That’s probably why it’s so important to not procrastinate, Tyler!

Procrastinating frequently causes more stress on a college student than what they already have. So why do I continue to do it to myself? I’m not totally sure. When the clock reads 11:25 pm and I’m furiously typing an assignment that’s due a midnight, I rack my mind to find out WHY!

        So is it too late to say I have homework at 11:25pm? Probably!

So, I’m currently learning how to avoid this constant rut that I have been stuck in for most of my college career, and here are some tips that have worked for me so far:

  1. Be mindful that there’s always more to be done than what you have already completed. You’ll be further ahead that way.
  2. Tune out distracting items. If you find yourself constantly distracted by your phone/tablet/computer, leave it in another room while you’re doing homework.
  3. Hold yourself accountable. If you fail to complete something when you want it to be done, eliminate one of your favorite activities that day until the task gets completed.
  4. Break the task down into smaller tasks so you are less likely to become stressed and overwhelmed.

Thus far, these few things have worked for me. I have changed the way in which I write my tasks in planner. For instance, if I have a paper due next week, I will frequently begin the paper on a Sunday and break up the page limit into a do-able amount each day. It’s prolonged, but easier that way! And by simply changing these few things, I am starting to see more work completed ahead of time and less procrastinating. In turn, I get to bed earlier and find myself to be much happier in the mornings!

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You Know it’s Midterm Week at UC when…

You know midterms have begun at UC when the campus comes alive and the library reaches it’s max capacity. Midterm week, in my experience, is a stressful time for all students as they have many things to complete and study for in a very short amount of time all while awaiting Spring Break. While walking through UC’s campus at this time of year, it is possible to tell that midterm week is well underway when you see these things…

  1. The library is so full that it’s nearly impossible to find a seat.

IMG_15212. Everyone is frantically trying to print their midterm papers at the same time.

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3. You have meetings with professors so you can try and figure out your grades.

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4. You overhear people in the library saying things like, “I definitely just failed that,” or “I haven’t slept in 4 days.”

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5. The coffee shops on campus are full of students because coffee is necessary to survive midterm week!

 

You Know It's Finals Week When 5

Midterm week may get the best of most students, however, we’re almost done & I promise you that we can make it to Spring break next week!

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