Tips for a Successful Semester!

I can’t believe we are already a month into this semester!  Spring semesters always seem to fly by!  This is around the time people start losing motivation and lack on the skills they need to succeed.  So here are some tips to keep you on track this semester!

  1. Make time for yourself! Sure, homework is important but every one needs a break from school work.  Take some time to step away from school and go on a walk, call your parents, or watch some Netflix to give your brain a break.
  2. Connect with your professors! Now I’m not saying go to their office every single day but, I know many professors that genuinely like to get to know their students.  Once they connect your face with your name it will be a lot easier for the both of you and you may even use them in the future for a letter of recommendation!
  3. Slow down and actually understand what you’re learning!  I’ve been there when I am just trying to get the homework done and not really understanding the answers.  However, that will hurt you once the test comes.  Instead, make time to actually do your homework and read the book if you need to.  What I found that helps me is teaching others what I am learning.
  4. Eat healthy!  Yeah that ice cream or Snickers bar may look delicious but try cutting junk food out of your diet especially during late nights.  Instead, reach for a handful of almonds or grapes.  You will be able to focus more and it will actually satisfy your hunger and keep you full!
  5. Take advantage of planners and sticky notes! I use my planner all the time to keep track of assignments and due dates.  It is a nice place to see everything that is coming up for the semester.  I definitely recommend you getting one!

Best of luck this semester!!

-Courtney

Hello again!

Hello, Griffins, and welcome back!  My second semester at Fontbonne is now nearly one-fourth completed, which is pretty hard to believe that much time has flown by already.  Homework, tests, deadlines, and learning new things is in full swing. I’m taking 18 hours this semester, so my time is much more limited.  It’s amazing how last semester has been put into perspective, and what I thought was busy three months ago pales in comparison to busy now…hello, 1:30 a.m. bedtimes! Overall, though, I have settled in and am pretty happy with my classes.  It’s nice to be in some that directly pertain to my major (dietetics), too.

Here’s a quick recap of what I did in the past month: We celebrated Christmas, my favorite holiday, and immediately afterwards headed to Colorado for a family ski trip.  I’ve been a snow-lover and ski fanatic since the itty-bitty age of two, so you could say it’s inherent to my nature.  This time, we tried out a new place for the first two days, Telluride.  We also skied a day each at Snowmass and Sunlight Mountain.  Amazingly, we were blessed with glorious sunshine and comfortable temperatures for all four days!  That’s a record for us.  It’s always amazing to be in God’s beautiful creation with my loved ones, and I’m so grateful we were able to find the time to get away for a bit before the craziness started.

After we got back, I did some unpacking and catching up on various tasks, and it wasn’t long before the spring 2017 semester began!  That brings us to the present, as I’m juggling work (I operate a house/petsitting business), class, and homework…annndddd not much else right now.  I still have my two horses, Blondie and Pearl, although I haven’t gotten a chance to do anything with them (other than feed them twice a day) for awhile.  Somehow, though, at the end of the day, it all works out.  Assignments get completed on time, critters get fed and cleaned up after, and the next day is a new day…a fresh start, a new chance to learn, grow, and be more.  (that just came to me…thank you, Fontbonne motto!)

~Anna

Five Things for College Success

This is a subjective list of what I think is important or even essential to college life.  You may have some different thoughts, and that’s okay!  Maybe you’ll find one or two items from this list that you hadn’t thought of before.  Just remember, everyone is different and what works for one person may not for another — that’s okay!  A common theme for all college students, though, should be organization.  I know there are various methods for achieving this, but here’s what works for me.

  • Binder & Color-Coded Dividers:  This is so important for keeping all your important papers (and trust me, you’ll get plenty) organized and easy to find!  I like a binder with a clear sleeve on the front so I can put my schedule in it for quick reference, a campus map, and anything else I might need to have ease of access to.  Inside the binder, I have tabbed dividers in five distinct colors for each class — all of my psychology-related work is in the red tab, my history documents are in the blue tab, etc.  This way, I never have an issue finding information when I need to, and it’s really helpful when I’m studying for a quiz or test to have everything in the same place.  Saving time is valuable for a college student!
  •   Folder for Homework:  While my binder is great, I reserve it for the syllabuses, notes, in-class activities and discussions, and any hand-outs or readings.  All of my homework, from essays to math problems, goes in a separate folder reserved only for it.  Then when my professor asks for the work due, it’s readily accessible and there’s no chance of me accidentally giving the wrong paper.
  • Laptop:  If you take notes on a laptop, you obviously have one!  I prefer to take handwritten notes because it helps me engage and think more critically, but I still use my laptop plenty.  Many instructors have information or homework only available on Blackboard, and it’s a lot easier to read an article or take a quiz on a laptop than a small phone screen.  You’ll also want a laptop for writing papers, and Fontbonne offers Microsoft Office for free to all of its students.  Can you do all of this in the computer lab in the library?  Of course!  But there’s going to be times where you’ll want to be in a cozier setting, like your dorm room or bedroom, and then that laptop will come in handy.  Go ahead and spend a little more money on a good one if you can; it will pay off.
  • Highlighters/Pens/Pencils:  Yeah, it’s probably pretty obvious…but it’s worth reminding!  Always have at least two pens, two pencils, an eraser, and a highlighter with you.  You’ll have your bases covered for note-taking and emphasizing important ideas.  There’ll be no chance of panic setting in when you’re taking a test and your pencil runs out.  Also, even if you take notes on your computer, you’ll eventually need to write something down in class.  Be prepared!
  • Snacks & Water:  You have plenty of options for purchasing food on campus, I’m not denying that.  But if you’re ever in a rush to get to your next class and you don’t have time to grab lunch, you’ll probably be hungry before class ends!  Find something with nutritional value, like a Macrobar (my favorite), that fits in your backpack and can be eaten quickly.  And always have a bottle of water with you to drink in and between classes.  Staying hydrated and fueled will keep your energy up so you can pay attention in class!

Blessings,

~Anna

Procrastin…..I’ll tell you later….

Procrastination. We all do it! It is everyone’s best friend yet an enemy at the same time. You never get things done, leave it to the last minute, and so on.  Here are a few things you could do to step up your organizational gameimage & avoid procrastination . 1. Use a planner of some kind; keep due dates of important events, assignments, tests/quizzes and large projects in that planner. It is scientifically proven that if you hand write something, you are more likely to remember it better. But what if a planner isn’t your thing? 2. In that case, most (if not all) digital calendars have several helpful features: A. Re-occurring events is one. I200_sf you know for a fact that you have a test in a class every Wednesday, have that calendar push a reminder every week so that you never forget about that important test. B. Another great feature is the frequency of the reminders. Here’s a real world example: I have Board Meetings that I need to constantly attend. So I have my phone remind me several times about it in this exact order: 2 hours, 1 hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes prior to the Board Meetings. This not only lets me know that I have a meeting coming up, but it also give me an idea of how much time I have left before I have to leave for the Board Meetings. C. To go even further – have the calendar remind you in advance (i.e. Due date is Dec. 5; remind me on Nov. 20th @ 8 AM). 3. And finally, one EXTREMELY helpful tip that I don’t know if everyone uses is: Let’s say you have a project or a 12 page paper due within a month or two. No one ever told you that you had to complete it in one sitting. Break it up! Divide the project or paper up into smaller sections so it doesn’t look so overwhelming. Completing smaller parts = less stress. Until next time guys, stay classy!

How I Tackle Finals Week

While I’m writing this post about Finals Week in particular (since it’s on the horizon) this generally applies to every week for me. Never in my life have I made so many to-do lists. To-do lists might be a bit cliche and I never used to make them–but I found a really cool way to make them that helps me a lot. And it’s just one simple thing!

Here is a to-do list I made a couple of weekends ago. I know it’s tempting to push all of your work to Sunday but spreading out your tasks across the weekend(week) will make it so much easier on you. There’s some buffer room if you don’t want to complete all the day’s tasks. It can run over into the next day if need be.

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But what really helps is having a “done” list as well. After I complete a task, instead of just crossing it off I add it to another list. This gives me a boost of confidence, as the done list is a list of all that I’ve accomplished.

A few other things as finals week approaches:

  • Stay hydrated! I struggle with this one as I’m prone to drinking cup after cup of coffee to fuel my late nights. It’s also easy to forget to drink water so make sure you always have a supply nearby!
  • Consistency. Find a place that works for you and surround yourself with things that will help you focus. I have a spot at Fontbonne and at home where I go to get work done. I also have a Spotify playlist with both mellow and upbeat songs to help me focus and re-energize.
  • Take breaks. If I sit in my spot for long, I get acclimated and I don’t want to get up. Remember to get up and stretch and walk around! Or, what about a change of scenery?
  • Fun stuff. During finals week, it’s serious business. You feel like you can’t afford to do anything other than study and homework. I make sure to include something fun on my to-do list. I treat it like any other task–a must. So spend some time doing something you like to destress. (For instance, writing for fun really gives me peace of mind. I jotted it down on my list above).

Good luck to all! I hope some of these tips helped. Give the “done” list a try. I think you’ll find it pretty satisfying.

Tips for Your First Semester!

So you’ve finally made it. Whether you’ve just started your first semester of college living on campus or living in an apartment or a house by yourself, there are some things to consider as you take this academic year head-on.

1. Make a budget and follow it!

It’s easy to get carried away buying stuff online because you’re that excited about receiving packages or doing fun things or buying stuff from Target you don’t really need. Whether you are working and schooling full time or not working at all, planning a budget can help you manage your money while you live on or off campus! Using a budget app can help you look at your monthly expenses in many areas and help you save money in the long run.

2. Schedule time to sit down and do homework or study everyday.

I mean, let’s be honest, studying or doing homework isn’t that great. It’s easy to get caught up in extracurricular and social activities that leave you at the end of the week having accomplished little homework. But if you take the time to study every day for your classes or schedule time for homework, it will benefit you and help you achieve the best grades you can while managing your time wisely.

3. Do extracurricular activities!

Yeah, I know I just told you to schedule time to study and do homework and all, but doing extracurricular stuff is important too. Join clubs! Do sports! Work a job! Do whatever! Volunteer for stuff that will look good for a future career/graduate school applications later on.  You’ll probably have more time to do this now rather than later.

4. Be yourself! 

This is Lion King-esque I know, but it’s important. It’s easy to let yourself change your ideals to fit in with other people you first meet your freshman year. You don’t need to do that. I mean, people change and you might be still trying to find out who you are and that’s okay.  But you don’t need to go to great lengths to do so! Looking back now, I don’t even talk to the people I met when I started my first semester of college. You’ll find your niche and really great friends can come out of this whole experience!!

I could go on and on with tips and stories I’ve acquired over the past few years, but that’s for another day. These may as well be the best dang years of your life, so make the most of it! Let’s have a great year everyone!! 🙂

My Secret Study Spots!

The awesome thing about college is the amount of free time you have compared to what you had in high school! However, that can be a bad thing as well. With all this new found free time, it seems harder to get assignments done and study ahead for tests. In order for me to get everything done, I have to study someplace other than my dorm room. I feel that when I’m in my room, I get distracted more easily. So throughout my year and a half here at Fontbonne, I have found some great study spots that help me focus. Maybe they can help you as well!

One of my favorite spots to study is on the 2nd floor of the library in the little study rooms. I think they are perfect to hang out in for a couple hours because you can easily get your work done there. The study rooms have big tables that I use to spread out all my books and papers on. The study rooms are probably my favorite place on campus to study!

Another study spot of mine is the first floor of Medaille in the AMC. I like studying at the tall tables between the row of computers. While it is not as secluded as the study rooms in the library, I still find myself getting a decent amount of work done there. At least a lot more work than what I would get done in my room!

I hope that you check some of these study spots out on campus because I think you’ll find yourself getting a lot of homework done like I find myself!

Freshman Year vs. Sophomore Year

If I had to look back at freshman year and compare it to this year as a sophomore, for starters I would say that I am a heck of a lot busier this year.  As a freshman I was mainly confused as to what was going on since it was my first time in college just like everyone else around me.  I had to learn the ropes and the flow to the campus like how the semester was and such.  Sure I made mistakes and learned from those mistakes especially in terms of planning my time.  Now that I know the mistakes I have taken what I know and thought of plans to avoid them again.  I plan my time out as best as I can and make sure to seek help when things seem to become too overwhelming before it is too late.

My homework load as a freshman was not that bad I would say, since I was making sure to take enough credit hours that I could handle primarily.  So homework was never too much but also not too little.  Usually I always had something to do each night unless I was free and worked ahead on some courses.  This year I can say that I have a lot more homework since I am also balancing a practicum for the first time.  So far I know that I am doing well because my grades are still high, but once I finish an assignment, I always have another one just waiting for me to complete before the dead line.  Now I can say that I have not been waiting till the last minute to begin an assignment, though sometimes I have my little moments.  I mean we all do.

Last year I was not a part of any clubs or groups as much as I am now.  Just the other day I had a few classmates say “Sarah you are really involved and on campus practically all the time.”  Well I guess I can take that as a compliment because I like to know that people may think I am involved or see me a lot.  I know I see a list of friends at least once every day and if not then definitely the next day.  I am not saying that I don’t like being involved, but when a person is involved I believe that they really become a part of the campus.  That very person is actively giving a part of his or her time and talent into the university, whether it be by giving tours as an ambassador or being an officer in a club.  It doesn’t matter what exactly the person is doing on campus but just that they are giving of their time.

 

Staying Organized

If you’re anything like me, you start the semester with the best of intentions.  You vow to stay perfectly organized and file everything in its appropriate place before you go to sleep at night… and then September rolls around, and you’re back to your unorganized, I’ll-deal-with-it-later habits.

If you know anything about Pinterest, it’s a wonderfully addictive tool that you can use to find lots of fun DIYs for college and for other projects.  It uses boards to organize pins (think: links to website articles or images that that interest you) and lets you go back to those pins at any time via your Pinterest profile.  Just sign up for an account and search different DIYs, or utilize their huge number of Pinterest board categories to search a broad amount of topics.

A big thing on Pinterest is their DIYs on organization.  I searched far and wide on Pinterest’s DIY boards (so you could save your precious study time!) and found the best, most convenient organization-DIYs for college students.  Smartphone apps are another great way to stay organized, so I included one app to very useful links for college students.  I often use my phone’s calendar for study prompts and reminders.  I also use AnyList (one of the apps listed in the 3rd link below) to make To-do lists, grocery lists, and any other important reminders.

Stay organized this semester and enjoy the following links!

 

How to Stay Organized as a Busy College Student

Frugal Friday- Organization DIYs

18 Apps Every Student Should Download Right Now

The Balancing Act

I’ve recently come to the hypothesis that every college student is a circus performer. That is, while in college, one is balancing school, work, friends, family, and extracurricular activities. Up until this year, biology courses have dictated my life, meaning that my schedule was set. I’d go to school during the weekdays, come home to read countless chapters and finish assignments until I fell asleep (either in my books or in my bed – whichever was closer at the time), and spend the weekends catching up and attempting to get ahead.

However, this year is different. I’ve finished all of my required biology courses, so you’d think it’d get easier to balance out my schedule. Wrong! I’m actually finding it harder to do so. I’m working a lot more this year than I ever did before, so that means that most of my free time at school is devoted to tutoring and that I spend half of my weekdays in the lab, where it’s hard (sometimes nearly impossible) to get any studying or reviewing done, even during lunch breaks. I’ve been getting home later in the evenings due to work and classes, so, by the time I get home, it seems pointless to crack a book since I’ll literally just fall asleep as soon as I open it. Therefore, my homework is, once again, pushed off to the weekends.

Do I like this new balancing act? It goes both ways. I love having the opportunities to tutor and work in the lab more, which is something that the past three years didn’t give me a lot of time to do. And I am finding that I have more free time on the weekends to catch up on taped television shows. On the other hand, though, I miss the order and schedule that enveloped my life for the past three years. I’m definitely a scheduler – you should see my planner – so I miss knowing exactly how every day would be. I guess this year is a good experience in spontaneity, though it’s hard figuring out how to spontaneously plan out my days.