For many students, with finals just a few weeks away, stress is at its peak. Although you may be itching to get outside and soak up some sun (which is a great natural stress-reliever!), spring can still give us bad weather.
So what can you do when you need a quick break to clear your mind and refresh yourself? The list below gives ideas for fun, relaxing activities without having to rely on the weather!
- Go to a lunch-time concert (the Conservatory has many free concerts this time of year–check out their events calendar)
- Visit the MindBody Connection in the Student Success Center
- Play pool in the Student Union
- Bake a treat for your neighbors or cook dinner for you and your roommates
- Visit a museum–there are three near campus, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Toy & Miniature Museum, and the Kemper Museum
- Go see a movie
- Get in a quick workout or walk the indoor track at Swinney Recreation Center
- Have a lunch with friends- off campus!
- Meditate, stretch, or try yoga for a half hour
- Volunteer a few hours on the weekend
- Clean- it gets your mind off school, and you feel much better when you’re done! It’s also easier for most people to focus on their studies in a clean environment.
But don’t confuse stress-relief with plain old procrastination! Stick to a schedule (another way to curb stress) and remember that these ideas are meant to be short breaks to relax and unwind so you feel energized and more focused on your school work.
Spring break is in TWO WEEKS! Going from mid-January to the end of March with no breaks is tough, but it’s tougher to take a week off with no plan for when you get back!
Over the next two weeks, sit down with your calendar and class syllabi and make a list of all the assignments due for the rest of the semester. This will help you put everything into perspective and give you set of short-term and long-range goals. For each assignment, think about how long it will take you to complete it–you should have an idea of your study habits and how long it takes to read class materials. And by thinking about this now, nothing should sneak up on you after break!
So, right now you should also be thinking about those assignments due just after break. Take some time now to work ahead and finish these assignments before you leave or make other plans for the week. That way, if something comes up and you want to go on a trip, you can go without feeling stressed about all the work you have left!
Spring Break is supposed to be relaxing, spending time with friends and family. But if you do need to catch up on classwork, make sure you plan some time to take a break. One idea is to work on assignments in the morning and then take the rest of the day to relax and get outside. But it’s always best to do your work first–then you can reward yourself with an afternoon movie or dinner out with friends.
Careful planning can make Spring Break a true break, whether or not you have assignments due, no matter where you go. Plan now and you can come back refreshed and energized!
[This study tip provided by Kendra Williams, senior Communication Studies major]
We are approaching mid-terms and spring break is around the corner! You may have already taken a first round of test or quizzes; however, before we head to spring break, we must accept the fact that studying is an imperative stepping stone for academic success.
There are numerous ways of studying, but everyone has to find their own style. Some choose to study alone in the library, avoiding the distraction of music or other people. Others may choose to study in groups (which can also be done in the library) or with music playing in their living rooms (and it happens to not be a distraction). Each and every student can develop one or more study styles that work especially for them to succeed.
Perhaps you are finding that it takes trial and error in order to find the studying style that works best for you. Here are a few detailed tips on the entire process of developing a studying style:
- Attend all your classes regularly. By committing to this, you become familiar with the course material and what you will be tested over. Some instructors post everything on Blackboard. Some attach assignments onto their student’s emails. Others simply lecture in class, with or without a PowerPoint. Therefore, you want to stay alert on how class material will be available to you, aside from your textbook.
- Develop a relationship with your instructor. Don’t just be a number in your classroom. When you care, they care. Perhaps you have questions about an upcoming exam or essay, and you don’t want to speak in front of the whole class, address them after class or during their office hours. Good instructors want you to approach them if you have a misunderstanding and they are more than glad to help you succeed.
- Set a specific time and place to study. Whether it is your room, your kitchen, basement or the library. Add “study time” to your agenda as you would add any other event or activity.
- Make sure you have eaten. It is hard to focus on an empty stomach. Therefore, you need to feed your stomach and your brain, in order to get the job done.
- Never study when you are overly drowsy. Some find it easier to study late at night, and others study better in the morning. Once again, it is all about trial and error. Figure out what time works for you.
- Make a studying playlist of music. This obviously only applies to those who are not easily distracted by music. The playlist should consist of only songs that will keep you motivated during your studying time.
- Study in advance. As cliché as it is, it is so important. Especially if you don’t like to study one subject for hours at a time. Reviewing notes and class material for 30 minutes or longer if needed each day, for every class, won’t hurt. This will greatly reduce the chance of you having to pull an “all-nighter” the night before the exam.
- Compare and contrast your studying materials. If needed, compare your notes to the class lecture, along with your textbook, and PowerPoint slides. If all four sources say the same thing, you are actually “killing a few birds with one stone,” because repetition helps your memory.
- Stay off social networking sites. Only for a few hours at least. Trust and believe that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumbr can surely wait! And the sooner you finish your studying, the sooner you can return to those sites.
- Reward yourself! This is the most important tip! Especially after completing your exam–and receiving a grade you were aiming towards–treat yourself to something that you like! Whether it is treating yourself to a bowl of ice cream, allowing yourself to take a long nap, or purchasing concert tickets, always give yourself a pat on the back. Besides, it’ll make you want to do it all over again and reward yourself all over again! :)
Countless students begin and end their semester preparing for class and exams in a manner that is counter intuitive to their learning style. You may ask yourself, “how is this possible”? Do you study and study, but can’t improve your test grades? But have you considered changing your study habits?
Everyone has a unique learning preference or style that benefits them. These styles are often described as auditory, visual, or tactile. Consequently, it is critical to understand how you process and synthesize information. Today, commit approximately 10 minutes to discovering your unique learning style by following the link to an online assessment http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm.
Once your learning style has been identified, begin incorporating this knowledge into your overall study plan. This approach will assist you in identifying effective and time saving techniques to preparing for class lectures and exams.
Your learning style is your strength! Use it to work smarter, not harder.
There is nothing worse than spending hours on end studying and then realizing you got nothing out of it! Sometimes, just going through the motions—especially when you are easily distracted— isn’t enough. As any coach would say: practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!
So how do you make the most of your time? First, make a schedule of when you will study what. It helps to keep you focused on one class at a time—try to ensure that you set aside time to study after each class period to help you keep on top of the readings and assignments. Next, make a study outline by reviewing your class notes and matching them with key points in the text book and other course materials. Rewrite your notes, not only to make them more legible, but also to take the time to really think about why you made those notes in the first place. If it was important enough for your professor to share with the class, chances are it’s important enough to be on a test (and it goes without saying that it’s vitally important to actually attend class so you can take these notes in the first place!).
Forming a study group is one of the best things you can do. Why? It gets you active in your learning by giving you opportunities to discuss the course concepts with your classmates! Take some time to get to know the people sitting around you in class. Get together over coffee at the Union or the Library to go over notes, make sure you didn’t miss anything, ask questions about material you didn’t understand, and help each other work through problems and difficult concepts.
Continue reading 'Make the most of your time–effective study tips'»
It is never too early to plan ahead! There are two crucial tools that can help you stay on track throughout the semester: the class syllabus and a daily planner.
When you get your syllabus, read through it carefully. This is essentially your contract for the course. It contains a ton of important details about each class—including your professor’s office hours and contact information if you have any questions, required and suggested readings, classroom expectations, grading policies, and Supplemental Instruction information (if offered with your class), not to mention assignments and test dates!
A daily planner (whether in Outlook, on your iPad, or a spiral notebook) is your next most important tool–it will help you visually and physically keep track of all your commitments. First, mark all your class periods each week. Note all the important dates from each syllabus—homework assignments, readings, and exams. Fill in time to study—a good guideline is two hours studying for every hour you spend in class. This time can be used to read the materials and review your notes, or go to an SI session to discuss concepts from the lectures. Next, be sure to set aside breaks, including time to workout or just relax (it sounds silly—but you can’t forget to take care of yourself!). Keep an eye out for flyers around campus advertising student organizations or events that may interest you—and put those in your planner, too.
Using the available tools—the syllabus and a planner—can help you be more prepared and less stressed as you approach the end of the semester. Making a plan for your time—and following it!—will pay off when you are ready for the final exam and you have your final project completed on time! Start the new semester off right!