5 Things I Wish I Knew Freshman Year

Before coming to college, there are quite a few things I wish I knew sooner. As a first-semester freshman, I never really thought about a lot of things in regards to my college experience including living on campus, taking college classes, and maintaining a social life. But I soon began to think that I had it all under control, when I, in fact, did not.

If I knew freshman year what I know now, I would have done things much differently. My grades were pretty good, but my study habits and things like that were horrendous. All I wanted to do with my free time was nap and that actually leads to a lot of sleepless nights and stressful mornings. So, while thinking about what I could do differently, I compiled a list:

  1. Go to the library between classes

The more free time I have, the better. I now go to the library more to get work done in the daytime. It keeps me from napping and I get more work done so I have less to do when I get home at night.

  1. Work, but save your money

It’s extremely tempting to go shopping and such when you have a campus job. Finally, you have an income while in school.. but don’t let it fool you! Save the money you make because sometimes things pop up and you have to have money for them right on the spot. You may have an unexpected textbook that you need or a computer program and unfortunately they’re super expensive in most cases.

  1. Research your professors

There are websites out there that students can rate professors and write reviews on them. Use them! Not that any singular professor is “bad,” rather, everyone learns differently and students frequently talk about learning styles and such on these websites. Choose your professors according to your learning style and preference. You’ll be much happier and more successful!

  1. If you have anxiety over office hours, email for a private meeting

I used to despise going to office hours because I never really liked asking questions in front of others. It wasn’t until my second semester that I had figured out that it was possible to ask for private meetings with professors simply by emailing them.

  1. The writing center in the library is a real thing

I honestly had no idea what the writing center was in the library. I’m usually pretty good at writing papers, but I never really liked having my friends read them over for me and correcting them. The writing center is always available for that reason, to help you with your papers! Who knew?!

These are just a few tips that I wish I had known about in the beginning of my freshman year at UC. I’m sure there are plenty more to add to this list, but these are the main ones that I could think of that would have helped me be a better student overall.

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You Can’t Spell Success without ‘UC’

Three years into my college career, I finally decided to become a peer tutor after not even beginning to utilize the resource when I should have in my previous two years here. After seeing the opposite side of the same coin, I now see how rewarding the FREE service is to our students!

Believe me, I’ve experienced it, I’m sure your thoughts running through your mind when you are told you should get a tutor are, “Tutor?! I don’t need a tutor!” I’ve been there and have frequently said the exact same things. However, it’s the wrong mindset to have when something like your academics could be in jeopardy, or in need of the slightest little boost. Having a tutor is NOT a bad thing, even if peers make it seem that way!

After becoming a tutor, I’ve realized a few key things:

1. The library is always available as a quiet space (if you’re upstairs).

2. If you do not prefer to go to the library, many of the academic buildings have open classrooms that you can go into and study

3. Tutoring allows for an extremely flexible schedule and your tutor is generally pretty lenient with meeting times.

4. Tutoring gives you one-on-one attention on a specific subject that you might not otherwise get. It gives you the ability to ask questions on a specific topic and/or question that you may have.

However, there will be some people who still do not want to request a tutor and that’s completely fine. But UC provides services in the library learning commons that allow students to consult a tutor for one-on-one things such as help with writing, math, and science. Within the library, on the first floor, there is a writing center and a math center in which students can consult other students about those things for quick help.

You Know It's Finals Week When 2
One half of the learning commons, located on the first floor it the library

Therefore, for those of our students who need a little boost with their academics, remember, you can’t spell sUCcess without UC —and success is possible with the services that are available for our students.

 

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My Spring Break Checklist

In the near future lies the middle of the semester, and most importantly, Spring Break! Needless to say, I, like many other students, cannot wait! The sun, the beach, warmth, friends and family await me in Daytona Beach, Florida, in just one short week. Until I leave, I have quite a few things to complete so I can have a relaxing week in the sunshine.

Homework, completing an online class, a biology exam, and two papers are between me and break.

 

Blog Post 3 - Pic 1 Blog Post 3 - Pic 2Daytona Beach, Florida, taken May 2015

Currently, my to-do list before leaving for break looks like this:

  1. Complete final project for AGE 218 online and submit it.
  2. Post final discussion for AGE 218 online and comment on other’s projects.
  3. Take second Biology exam.
  4. Complete and submit next research paper for HLS 113 online.
  5. Finalize discussion forums for AGE 411.
  6. Post discussion questions for HLS 113 online and respond to four people.

Though it does not seem like that much, I’m trying to complete it all before leaving so I don’t have to do anything other than relax!

Most of my to-do list covers the first few days back from Spring Break, as well. By planning to get ahead and not procrastinate, I am hoping to make the best of this vacation!

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The New Purple Lokai

I recently spent the best $18 of my life on the new limited edition purple Lokai bracelet. Why? Because it holds something of extreme value to my life. I purchased a traditional Lokai bracelet a year ago and ever since that day I have gotten endless emails from them. Usually, like most emails, I just delete them unless they are of importance to me. However, this email had the word “Alzheimer’s” in the subject and I automatically opened it to find the new purple bracelet.

lokai

The new purple Lokai is for Alzheimer’s disease awareness. This disease affects an individual’s memory. My grandmother has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, so what better way to show my support for her while I am away than wearing the new purple Lokai?

By purchasing the new purple Lokai, the company has agreed to donate $1.00 from each bracelet sold to Alzheimer’s Association with a minimum donation of $300,000. This money is then used to help Americans suffering of the disease with their health services, their caregivers, and these funds also contribute to the on-going research of the disease.

So, by spending $18.00, I am funding a group that will benefit many people like my grandmother who suffer of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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The Best Way to get BAKED!

When I got home from work today, my roommates and I were talking about how it’s national chocolate cake day. We had been talking about it for nearly 20 minutes when we decided that we really did want to make a chocolate cake, but on the next level. What’s better than simply chocolate cake? Chocolate-covered chocolate cake pops!

Though chocolate cake is great and all, chocolate cake pops are much better. They are like bite- sized pieces of an entire chocolate cake! So, that’s exactly what we decided to make.Untitled

How to make chocolate cake pops:

  1. Beginning with a traditional chocolate cake: We made the cake according to the box and then let it cool for an hour.
  2. We then broke the cake up into a bowl and mixed it with one package of cream cheese. We then rolled this new “dough” into small circles and poked lollipop sticks into them before placing them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a half hour.
  3. We then melted chocolate to dip the cake pops in.
  4. After dipping the cake pops in chocolate, we placed them back on the cookie sheet and let them cool for about twenty minutes. And then…… VOILA! Chocolate covered, chocolate cake pops!

It’s like chocolate cake, but better on national chocolate cake day! And what makes that even better? My roommates and I made them together and even shared with our friends!

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Last Semester To-Dos: Preparing for the PT Grad Program

Just a few weeks ago, I began my last semester as an undergraduate student—quite surprising, to say the least! Also, the thought of entering graduate school in June is quite nerve-racking. So, I will spend this semester preparing by doing a few things:

  1. Completing all necessary paperwork and requirements:

Before entering the graduate portion of the physical therapy program at UC, each student must complete a few key things. As a student set to enter the   DPT program, I am required to submit paperwork stating that I completed a minimum of 40 observation hours, update all health information including shots and physicals, as well as papers stating that I understand the basic layout of our program (the 3-year track).

  1. Meeting fellow classmates:

Though I am pretty sure that I know each of my PT classmates, it is important to ensure that feeling. These people will be people that I will spend the next 3 years of my life with. If I do not know them, especially on a personal level, it will be extremely awkward in class when we are all required to practice on one another.

  1. Researching the curriculum:

I am aware that our graduate work is roughly 3 years long, though I am not exactly sure how the courses are organized within the curriculum. Therefore, I plan to research the graduate curriculum in order to stay organized and determine what I will be completing each year.

  1. Staying involved, yet focused:

As an undergraduate student, I am involved in many, many things that take up a majority of my free time. However, as a graduate student, I may not always have that free time, so I will have to give up a few leisure activities in order to remain focused on my studies. Therefore, I will be spend a few moments this semester determining what I wish to stay involved in and what will have to stay in my undergraduate years in order to accommodate for the course load that I am going to be taking on in graduate school.

  1. Making plans for life after graduation:

Though it seems a little far-fetched, it’s always important to plan ahead! I have 3 years to truly decide on my post-graduate plans, but I want to explore all of my options and find what I like best. So, I plan to spend more time this semester exploring the large sector of physical therapy in medical practice in order to determine which route I would like to take after graduation.

Though I have a lot to do, I’m ready to enjoy my last semester as an undergrad all while preparing for grad school in June!

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10 Things Only Coffee Lovers at UC will Understand

As a college student, coffee is frequently a go-to when you’re feeling less than fully functional. Every morning before class, I find myself stopping in the Pioneer Café to grab a cup of coffee just to wake me up for class! Here are 10 more things only coffee lovers, like me, at UC will understand:

  1. Before your morning cup of coffee, you experience feelings like this:

Blog Post 2 - 10 Things only Coffee Lovers at UC will Understand 1

  1. And after your first cup, you’re already set to order your second cup.
  2. You frequently reward yourself for getting out of bed with a large cup of coffee.
  3. Dunkin Donuts on Burrstone Road has become a second home for you. UC Runs on Dunkin!
  4. You find yourself going to the Sangertown Square mall and you still end up at Dunkin.
  5. You make time in your schedule to get coffee before class or else your day is simply ruined.Blog Post 2 - 10 Things only Coffee Lovers at UC will Understand 2.jpg
  1. You always say you’re tired just so you can have another cup!
  2. You find yourself resorting to studying at alternative locations, such as Dunkin, only because you want to make sure you have coffee while doing so.
  3. You stayed up all night working on a term paper, so coffee must be the answer to keep you going throughout the day.
  4. During the cold winter mornings, coffee never fails to keep you warm while walking across campus!

Luckily, there are multiple places across UC’s campus that offer coffee. However, Dunkin is generally my go-to, and like many UC students, I make multiple stops a day!

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The “Can’t-Live-Without” Items in My Backpack

As college students, there are things that we must have with us at all times for our own personal success. College is a series of triumphs, hardships, and sometimes reckless behaviors that can lead to trouble. However, let’s hope that you experience more triumphs than hardships and reckless behaviors.

As a junior PT major, I carry my backpack with me every day, no matter where I go. Within that backpack, there are definitely things that I CANNOT live without:

backpack
Planner
– There’s no better way to stay organized and stay on top of your assignments than using a planner. I use my planner daily to track my assignments and I also keep a weekly to-do list in my planner so I know what to accomplish by what day.

Highlighters – You never know when you may need one. You may have to highlight an assignment in your planner, you may have to highlight key terms in your notes, or you may have to color a picture to relieve some stress and highlighters are the next best things when you don’t have markers at your disposal.

Pencils – Though most work you will do in college is in pen, it is always necessary to have a few pencils on hand. I find myself using pencils quite frequently for exams, quizzes, homework, and outlines for papers just in case I make a mistake.

Computer – It is useful to take notes on, look things up, begin a class assignment, write a paper, or simply for fun or to relax.

Computer charger and phone charger – You never know when one or the other will have a dead battery, so it’s always best to be prepared. This is most useful charger is for the computer. You do not want your computer to have a dead battery when you need it for things, so always have your charger ready and available in your backpack.

Calculator – Yes, you have one on your phone and computer, but that can be distracting and hard to use depending on the calculation you are doing. Unless you’re in a math class, you will probably be calculating something simplistic, such as your grade on an exam, but it’s always useful to have a calculator if you need it.

Mini-notebook – These are useful for note-taking. Some professors do not allow you to take notes electronically, so a pen and paper is the next best thing.

Flashcards – THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO STUDY… or at least in my opinion it is. You can never have too many flashcards in your backpack. They’re also extremely useful in taking small notes on or making a quick to-do list if you prefer to not use a planner.

Headphones – You may be asked to listen to things on your computer and headphones are always useful. Like in the residence halls, headphones are useful in maintaining respect for other residents on the floor and other classmates in your class.
These are just a few things that I find to be extremely useful in carrying with me each day in my backpack. I believe that they truly are a part of my success and may be useful for you to consider carrying with you.

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It’s Not too Late to Motivate!

No, a squirrel didn’t knock out your power… You’ve just lost your motivation!

Blog Post 5 - It's Not too Late to Motivate 1With finals week upon us, it is extremely easy to lose your motivation and slowly, but surely, slip into the Winter Break mindset. Nope, it’s not break just yet, and the finals won’t be going anywhere until they are completed.

5 classes, 5 exams, 3 papers, 2 presentations, and finals week. Stressed is an understatement and to go in typical college-student fashion, I’ll be running on mass amounts of coffee and Red Bull. And it’s true; anything that could go wrong, will go wrong RIGHT NOW.

 

However, there are ways around all of that.

If you find yourself struggling to regain your motivation, here are some tips that I have found to extremely useful in my own experience:

  1. Focus on what will impact your life the most.
    • That’s why we’re all here, right? We aren’t here to have a glorified, expensive gathering; rather, we are here to further our education. Rank the 5 exams, 3 papers, 2 presentations and the rest of your finals in order of importance. Then, re-rank them in order of the time that they are due. Finally, only take necessary breaks and get your work done!
  2. Create a new challenge.
    • For me, I find that if I challenge myself I am more likely to remain interested in whatever I am doing. Changing how I view something, such as an assignment, forces me to think about the assignment in a different way. Different ways of thinking will keep you interested in the topics and that interest will be what keeps you going.
  3. If you’ve met your previous goals, establish new ones!
    • Goals are essential to keep your motivation strong. For me, if I am struggling with something, such as writing a huge term-paper, I break it into smaller sections. I will designate a certain section to be “due” on a certain day of the week and by “due,” I mean that I want to have that section done by that set day so I can complete another section as a later time. Therefore, the entire term-paper gets completed in little sections and does not overwhelm me nearly as much as it would if I sat down and tried to write the entire thing in one sitting. Projects, papers, and presentations become much more easy to handle if they are broken into smaller sections.
  4. If you find yourself struggling, don’t dwell on it!
    • There are quite a number of people on UC’s campus that are here to help you. I have found that I lose my motivation more and more if I become discouraged about something. Rather than getting discouraged all of the time, I find people to help me with something I may not understand or something I need an opinion on. Sometimes it’s necessary to just talk things out with others. So, don’t dwell on it, learn to deal with it in meaningful and useful ways.
  5. When you accomplish something, acknowledge it!
    • If you accomplish an assignment, a final exam, a presentation, those 3 papers that are due all at the same time, acknowledge your successes. If I complete an assignment early, I usually reward myself by relaxing that night and watching Netflix. Therefore, by getting ahead, I open up more time for myself, which is also necessary when my stress level is at an all-time high.

So when you think you’ve lost your mind and that you may have lost all of your motivation, just remember… it’s true that finals week can be extremely overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going through finals week. However, with the right tips and tricks, it’s easy to overcome. Stay strong, stay motivated, and finals week will soon become a thing of the past.

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When All Else Fails… Communicate!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that it’s extremely hard to perfect the art of communication. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the correct form of communication that conveys the message you wish someone to receive.

In my experience, I have found that it is extremely hard to communicate in one way that everyone can interpret. So, I hosted an event for my residents on Tuesday that was focused on effective communication that poses a variety of issues that people must overcome. It was called, “Let’s Talk About ___ Baby! An event based on effective communication and the struggles that go along with it.”

When I was thinking of an event that could help my residents with communication skills, the first thing that came to mind was something that I did when I applied to become a Resident Assistant: structure building.

When one thinks of a structure, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably a building of some sort. However, communication is a structure that truly underscores the human race. Communication is what makes us, and it’s what could potentially break us. Without effective communication, life would be extremely difficult.

This event asked residents throughout North and South Halls to make groups of three to four people until they were given directions on what to do. I separated small bags; four bags filled with broken spaghetti noodles and four bags filled with mini marshmallows. Each group was given one bag of spaghetti and one bag of marshmallows and asked to build the tallest, self-sustaining structure possible within 8 minutes. However, it comes with a few challenges.

One member of each group was told that they could not use their dominant hand. Their dominant hand had to be placed behind their back at all times, and if it was observed that they used their dominant hand, they were disqualified. Another member of the group was told that they could not speak unless another member of their group had asked them a question. Lastly, another member of each group was told that they could not use their hands at all. Each of these rules posed challenges for the groups and revealed that various forms of communication were necessary to accomplish the common goal of building the structure.

Here’s one of the finished structures:

Untitled

There’s always more than just verbal communication. Sometimes it’s true that actions speak louder than words and the nonverbal messages sent through body language and gestures speak more to the audience/group than any verbal communication ever could!

So when all else fails, communicate!

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