Plan a Skill-Building Summer

It may only be spring, but summer will be upon us before you can say April Fools’. Have you thought about what you’ll be doing this summer? Some think of summer as a time to hang out with friends and work on the old tan. Others use it as an opportunity to get ahead and work on their resume. One of the best ways to do that is by acquiring skills to put on it. How do you know what skills to acquire?

The best way forward is to work backward. For example, say you know you want to go to graduate school for forestry. What sort of skills would help you get into forestry school—skills you CAN’T get in a classroom? Can you volunteer at a state park or intern at an environmental agency?

The important concept to understand is that while having a college education is important, the degree itself won’t be enough. Take action now to think about how you can use those hot and lazy months to your advantage. You can still use your summer to work on that tan—just make sure you have a plan!

 

 

 

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How to Listen up in the Lecture Hall

So you’re sitting in your astronomy lecture trying to learn about the intricacies of outer space, but instead…you are spacing out.

How can you center your attention on Saturn when all you can think about is your supper? Fortunately, you can remain engaged and learn as much information as possible.

Before coming to class, look at your notes from the previous lecture and read the material that pertains to the current lecture. This way, you can anticipate what will be covered and be prepared to ask questions. Another helpful strategy is to sit in front of the room so you can fully attend to the instructor and take notes without being distracted. To create self-motivated internal interest, demonstrate outward interest in the material by assuming attentive posture— this will help you focus like a laser beam!

 

 

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Catching Some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzs Will Likely Help You Net A’s and B’s

We have all heard the expression, “Get a good night’s sleep.” While this might be sound medical advice, it is also excellent academic advice. Studies have shown that students who consistently get a good night’s sleep can remember almost 20% more on tests of newly learned information than students who don’t.

Not only is regular sleep beneficial for cognition, but cat naps can also be helpful. Numerous studies have shown that even a 10-minute nap can enhance energy and concentration.

The Mishaps of Memory

How many times have you begun an exam thinking, “I’ve got
this!” and ended it muttering, “Maybe it’s not too late to drop the class…”?

Such calamities occur because of our metamemory—or how we think about our memory. In general, people are not very good at evaluating their own ability to memorize information. So essentially, we are overconfident and we think that we have
memorized information sufficiently when we really have not.

The best way to overcome this typical human error is quiz yourself on the meaning of the concepts, their relation to other concepts, and their overall context. When you start to quiz yourself like this, only then can you ascertain whether or not you have truly encoded the information.

 

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Go Head-To-Head with Your Mind

How many times have you heard that “your mind is your own worst enemy”? Research has shown that there is truth to the saying; students who believe intelligence and academic ability are set in stone will have a tougher time excelling than students who believe their abilities are malleable.

The difference lies in the fact that students who believe in growth potential
are more likely to redouble their efforts and try new strategies in the face of
adversity. Conversely, students who believe that intelligence and academic
abilities are fixed are likely to give up more easily.

So if you are struggling this semester and questioning your abilities—don’t check out mentally. Do check in on your thoughts. What messages are you telling yourself? What problem solving strategies are you not coming up with because of these messages? The mind is a powerful tool and it can master you… or you can master it.

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Leave Time for Assignments!

We’ve all done it. We’ve all pulled the all-nighter where we started a project that was due the next day the evening before.

To prevent yet another scenario where you are cursing into your fifth cup of coffee at three in the morning, break the project down into smaller steps.

Write the final due date on your calendar, and working backward, fill in the appropriate dates for the small steps, including dates for finding research materials, writing first drafts, revising second drafts, etc. A little planning will save you a lot of time and will make those all-nighters needless!

 

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Skim Please! And We’re Not Talking about Milk…

Before every lecture, it’s good to know what you’re getting
into. That is why skimming the relevant chapters before class can be very
helpful to become acquainted with the material even before the professor
discusses it. After the lecture, go back and read the material more closely
with the aim of trying to understand, as opposed to simply reading through
words.

A 24-Hour Review Makes Information Stick Like Glue!

Did you know that reviewing new material within the first 24
hours of learning it helps you increase your retention of that knowledge by
60%?

So while it may be tempting to close your notebook after class and let it
collect dust, you’ll be doing your brain a world of good by reviewing your
notes pronto.

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Confused by Confucius? Consider Questions!

So you’re into the first few weeks of your philosophy class and lectures on Confucius are downright confusing.  The solution? Seek clarity by asking questions.

Oftentimes, students feel embarrassed about making queries for fear of sounding unintelligent. However, if the great sage has you dazed, it is likely that your classmates are also feeling befuddled. In fact, they will probably be relieved to hear somebody ask for clarification. And remember, no one can know everything–not even philosophers!

 

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Enduring the Final Flurry

The collegiate equivalent of Judgment Day is here: finals.

Getting through them, however, doesn’t have to feel like divine punishment.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make the process more bearable. Some
students spend equal amounts of time preparing for each final. Instead, proportion
your study time to how difficult the final is likely to be and how well you
have mastered the material.

Another important tip is to be clear about is what materials are going to be on the final. Are text readings included, or is the final going to focus entirely on lecture material? Will it be comprehensive or cumulative final? Knowing the range—and the limits—of the final will make it easier to organize and structure your study time. Taking time to employ these tips may very well be your saving grace!

 

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End of Semester Stress-Busting Strategies

Papers are piling up. Test prep has you restless. Your head feels like it’s being hammered. While the end of any semester is stress inducing for even the most steadfast students, there are steps you can take to tame your tension.

Work off your frustration by working out. Even if you don’t have time to do a full-blown gym visit, a brisk walk around campus can do wonders.

Spend time with people who energize you. We all know the type—after you spend time with them, you simply feel better. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and meditate can also help you to find calm and focus.

 
 
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Countdown to Crisis: Time Management in a Crunch

So you’ve got a 20-page paper on the 2008 financial crisis due in a couple of weeks. But you’ve got a crisis of your own: You actually haven’t even started the paper yet.

Before having a meltdown, turn your bust into a boom. There are tried and true steps you can take to get back on track if procrastination plagues you.

  1. In the short amount of time you have left, set realistic goals, and don’t demand perfection from yourself.
  2. Only work on your project when your energy levels are at their highest.
  3. Break larger tasks into smaller ones—this will keep you from getting overwhelmed.
  4. Work for realistic amounts of time. Do not attempt to finish the project within a three hour time window if you know you are the kind of person who can only work for one hour at a time.
  5. Budget extra time in your schedule for unexpected hiccups in your project.
  6. Start now. The longer you put it off, the more anxious it will make you.

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