Insider: A Look Into My Planner

As far as organization goes, I am a fanatic. I am constantly looking for new tips, tricks, and hacks to better organize my life. And it may come as a surprise that I wasn’t always this way. Up until my junior year of high school, I was your ordinary slob. My bedroom floor was camouflaged with shirts and pants and my bed was just as unidentifiable. The worse part is – my grades were just as messy as my room was!

It was junior year—arguably the most important year of high school—and going to college was something I wasn’t willing to give up. I decided I needed to take control and get my life in order. The next day I went to the store and bought a planner for only 10 dollars and it honestly changed my life!

After realizing how much being organized and keeping up a planner changed my life, I never stopped. To this day I live by my planner and I truly believe it got me to where I am today. Over the years I’ve come across a few tips that have made keeping a planner easier and less stressful:

Tip #1: cross out completed tasks.tip #1 picture

I’ll admit, seeing a million and one things written on your planner can be extremely overwhelming. However, there is no better feeling than crossing those completed tasks off your planner. This isn’t only satisfying; I find that it motivates me to get more things done because I cannot wait to see my list of things to do dwindle down to me watching Netflix.


Tip #2: use sticker labels for items/events that are subject to change.

tip #2 pictureI found that there were a few things in my planner that I was constantly crossing out and moving. I wasn’t happy about this because I had to cross things out that weren’t completed and it was making my planner messy and hard to follow.


Tip #3: color-code.

tip #3 picture

I am a big fan of color-coding similar information. For example, using the stickers mentioned in tip #2, I color-code certain things that have to do with my job as a RA on campus. Stickers that are orange have deadlines on them, pink stickers let me know the nights I have duty, yellow stickers tell if I have a one on one meeting with my boss, and finally, green stickers remind me when there is a staff meeting. This “color coding sticker system” would also work great for any job!

Tip #4: plan ahead.

tip #4 picture

As soon as I get my syllabi for all of my classes, my work schedule, and the meeting times for my club, I fill in my planner. From week one of the semester, my planner is filled out until May. Obviously there are things I have to add here and there but for the most part I have everything mapped out. This tip is crucial for not over loading my schedule. For example, if I know ahead of time that I have a lot of meeting a few Wednesdays from now, I won’t plan to get lunch off campus with some friends.


 Tip #5: highlight or box out important information.

tip #5 pictureIf there is something in my planner that I want ton jump out to me when I open it, I will either highlight or box out this information. Sometimes between all the crossed out words it is hard to see important information right away. For example, I make sure to highlight when I mark down that a class is cancelled so I see it and remember to not show up and be the only one in the class! Also – if I have an important meeting with a professor or my advisor, I will box it out in a different color so it is easier to see at first glance!





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:

– 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.


Pop Culture Pop Quiz: UC Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff at Utica College are in a league all of their own. Professors’ doors are always open to stop in and ask questions about class or just to chat! It is not rare to find a professor or a staff member in their office well before hours and far beyond the day has ended. The professional staff here at Utica College truly make a difference in the everyday lives of students, and they are very down to earth and friendly. While the UC professors and staff members are masters of their own kind, I decided to turn the tables and quiz THEM on MY area of expertise!

When I asked Alane Varga, Dean of Diversity and Student Development, to name the celebrity in this photograph, her response was: “Justin Bieber? I have no idea!”


(Correct answer: Seth Myers)


When I asked Mary Agnew, UC’s Copy Center Specialist, who was photographed her response was: “Diddy …?”

Mary (Correct answer: Kanye West)


When I asked Dr. Thomas Rossi, Professor and Chair of the Management Department, who was photographed his response was: “I’m not sure… He looks like he could be John Travolta’s Son.”

Rossi(Correct answer: Nick Jonas)


When I asked Scott Welch, Assistant Coordinator of Communication Services, who was photographed his response was: “Paris Hilton. Oh wait, the ‘Hunger Games’ Girl!”


(Correct answer:  Jennifer Lawrence)


When I asked Frank Percacciante, Academic Coaching Expert (ACE), who was photographed his response was: “Andrew Garfield”

Frank (Correct answer: Harry Styles)


When I asked, Dr. Daniel A. Barr, Associate Professor of Chemistry, who was photographed his response was: “Some Rap person”

Barr (Correct answer: Justin Bieber)


While my participants were all good sports, it is safe to say that some of the faculty and staff of Utica College need to brush up on today’s celebrities. It was hilarious to hear some of the responses I got and shared a few good laughs with some of the professionals on campus.


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.


‘Tis the Season (For Stress)

Have you ever noticed how filled the library becomes when December hits? Well, it’s that time of the year again. The library is mobbed, the lines to get coffee are longer than usual, and the printers are heating up.

Tis the Season-2There is always that really, really thin line between being extremely stressed out or just officially checked out by the time the end of the semester comes around. You’re either zombie walking to your classes or leaving the library with bloodshot eyes from intensely studying. Or there are the complete opposite types of people who basically have just reached the end of caring. They either feel very confident or just cannot take the overwhelming feeling of the term “end of semester” gives them.

What does help the anxious feeling of finals are the events Utica College has during the final weeks of classes. As classes come to an end, Utica College’s Greek life throws an event called “Midnight Breakfast.” Midnight Breakfast is something I look forward to during the last weeks of hell. The cafeteria serves the most delicious breakfast at midnight on the last day of classes. At some point each student who attends Utica College makes their way to enjoy waffles loaded with syrup and Oreos or anything of your choice. It is something to take your mind off exams, and students are able to take a break from studying.

Because it is the last weekend of the semester, of course it would not be a great weekend without a Chi Beta Sigma bar night. The girls host the final bar night of the semester, “Naughty or Nice” in honor of the holidays approaching, which is another way students take their minds off the books and focus a little more on themselves. Over-studying is never a good idea, so why not celebrate the closing of yet another semester with friends?

But, if you’re not in the mood to get out of the dorm but you need something to take your mind off of the books, Jakki Pickett, a counselor from the UC Counseling Center gave me some good advice on how to manage stress and relax. She said, “It’s all about balancing your time with making sure you take a break for self-care: eating, sleeping, and exercising and setting out specific study times.”

After talking with Jakki, I tried some of her tips. When I feel a little overwhelmed, I take time for myself and nap. When I eventually wake up, I feel motivated to get more done. I also really enjoy exercising; I believe it is a great way to relieve stress and get one’s mind off of finals. Jakki also gave me a pamphlet that I thought was very useful. It gives students a couple of more tips such as diet, sleep and exercise plan. Students should visit the health center during a break to learn how to take care of themselves during this time of year.

The most important thing to do is to remember to be happy. Though it may not be the best time of the year, remember that everything comes to an end and to take time out for yourself.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”


Life as a Business Major

So what’s it like to be a business major at Utica College? Well, for anyone who’s wondering, I’ll be happy to tell you: It’s great. To be entirely honest, I would say it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I am half way through my junior year here at UC, and I can honestly say that I have no regrets.

I grew up in New York Mills, a village right next to Utica, and my high school was a ten minute walk from Utica College. At first I chose UC for the convenience factor, but I soon realized how much I underestimated the potential of the school. After about a week and a half of classes, I quickly developed strong working relationships with all of the professors that I had.

In fact, I was lucky enough to have James Norrie, Dean of the Business School, as a Teacher’s Assistant in my Business Management 101 class; this turned out to be one of the best strokes of luck I had ever had. We got to know each other quite well in a short amount of time, and he has become a bit of a mentor to me. I can’t imagine that there are many other colleges in the country or even the world where the dean of your school is able to be a TA in one of your classes.


With my classes going well, I chose to join one of the many different club and organizations on campus: the Utica College Investment Club. I was interested to learn more about finance and stock trading so I simply showed up to a meeting. Within weeks, I learned more about trading stocks than I could have ever imagined. What was truly fascinating about the club was that it was ran by students and they manage a $100,000+ portfolio of real money.

After my first semester, I began to take a far more active role in the club. At the end of the year, I was elected to vice president of the Investment Club; next semester, I’ll be taking over as president. We meet every Wednesday at 4:00 in the trading room (shown above). Meetings always begin with some type of food, as the club has decided that business should always be mixed with pleasure.

Thanks to the Investment Club, I was even able to secure my first financial internship after my freshman year. I learned so much over that summer that I came back to UC feeling ready to tackle anything my professors could throw at me.

The Investment Club aside, the faculty here at UC are just as great. Because of the small class sizes, you get to know them quickly and often have many of the same professors multiple times, which is actually quite nice because you know what to expect each year.

Just recently, we had a speaker come to the campus to talk about his career in management and how he started his own business. I was lucky enough to be invited to the cocktail hour and dinner held beforehand.

During that time, nearly the entire faculty of the business school was gathered together and having great discussions about the happenings on campus as well as the economic events transpiring around the world. To be able to be a part of these events on campus is amazing. UC has so much more to offer than meets the eye.

Personally, I’m extremely excited for all of the business and finance classes to be moved to downtown Utica in the fall. The new classrooms look sleek and modern and the new trading room will certainly make the Investment Club even better. It’s really an exciting time to be here at UC.


Finals are Coming…

I’m not too sure about everyone else, but this semester feels as if it is going by so quickly. In a couple of weeks, it’s going to be thanksgiving break and as soon as we get back it’s going to be time for finals! Sucks to hear it, I know but we all want to make sure we end this semester on a good notuntitlede. Meaning, trying to do well on our tests and the only way that can be possible is by…. STUDYING! We’re all at this school for one thing, and that is to get a degree in our field of choice, so why mess all that up by doing poorly on our finals?

There are plenty of quiet places all over campus where you can study, starting with the library. You could always check out a room in the library, for up to 3 hours. Also there are many spots down in the basement where you could study as well. There are three different computer labs downstairs that are available, but if your going to do that I would recommend going late at night. There are usually classes down there, but at night they are typically empty. There are many other places on campus, you just have to search around until you find a place that makes you comfortable.

“To acquire knowledge, one must study…..”
―Marilyn Vos Savant

That is all I have for this weeks blog, good luck on your finals, for more information about events happening on campus, check out my twitter account @Jayson_UC.



You’ve Got This.

The last day of finals is tomorrow! And if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling pretty burnt out.  I have one more exam tomorrow morning and then I am done! (WOOOO!!) I know a lot of people that have exams tomorrow morning and night, so here are some tips to push through that last day.

Get a good night’s rest. Go to bed early tonight! Don’t stay up late trying to cram everything in. Wake up early in the morning and do a last minute review. I’m honestly exhausted from the entire week and have not been sleeping much…which is all adding up. I don’t want to be so groggy and tired during my last final that I can’t think properly. So I’m heading to bed as early as I possibly can. Plus, its easier to look over your notes when the sun is rising…it feels super productive, believe me.

Ignore all previously completed exams. Do not stress over any grades you may or may not receive. Pretend the exam yesterday and the paper you finished last night never existed. They’re done! Worry about those grades (if you must) after you are completely done with finals.

Eat a good (maybe bland) breakfast! During finals week I get into the bad habit of forgetting to eat for the longest time, and then eating too much when I did eventually sit down to grab a bite. My stomach is not thrilled with me at the moment, and I plan on eating oatmeal tomorrow morning to help make it feel better. Having a stomach ache during your last exam would not be the best physical state to be in.

Stay as long as you can! It’s tempting to finish your last final as soon as you possibly can and then high tail it out of there…believe me, I also want to. But. Don’t. Avoid temptation. Summer will still be there for you when you get out that extra hour later. Use that time to look over answers and be sure you fully completed every question. Don’t rush! I know that antsy feeling comes along, but ignore it. Only leave the exam room when you are completely sure you have finished everything to the best of your ability.

Good luck with the rest of your finals! You’ve all got this!


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!


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



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!


3BL in paradise!


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.


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.


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


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.



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!


The School Year Comes To An End


For some who’ve been looking forward to this since August, there’s nothing sad about the end of the spring semester. But for most, this is going to be a bittersweet moment.

Today was the last day of classes for the spring semester, marking the unofficial end of the school year. Of course, while you’re probably eagerly waiting to drop your textbooks and head home, the final examination period is underway.

Here’s the full final exam schedule, via

The next few days are going to be stressful, but remember, the last couple of months have prepared you to do well on the final exams.

When test-time rolls around, it’s time to get yourself into confidence mode. You’ve prepared as much as you could, and now it’s time to ace the test. The tip here is to do whatever works to convince yourself you are going to do really well. Again, I know this tip sounds a little crazy but you just have to try it for yourself. I think you’ll like the results.

Given the weight of the exams, getting anxious during test-time is inevitable. Still, though you know the importance of doing well, you’ve experienced the feeling before. If you prepare beforehand, then nothing should be a surprise on exam day.

For graduating seniors and those who have completed their online evaluations for their courses, final grades will be available on May 20th. For those who haven’t, grades will become available on May 23rd.

Summer break is almost here, but it’s important to buckle down and get the job done during the final exam period! Good luck to everybody!