Five Study Tips for Surviving Mid-Terms

Five Study Tips for Surviving Mid-Terms

Posted by: on October 6, 2015   |Comments (0)|Writing Center

MarlaGagneGUEST BLOGGER: MARLA GAGNE, ‘ 18
Hi everyone! My name is Marla Gagne, and I’m from West Haven, Connecticut. I’m a sophomore English major and am currently living the suite-life on campus (pun intended). I am a news co-editor on The Cowl and love writing stories about what’s going on around PC. I’ve also volunteered with campus ministry and love getting involved on campus. College life can be crazy, but chicken nugget Thursdays, Friday night hockey games, and PC friends make it all worth it!

 

 

October is finally here, and we can celebrate that we have survived our first month of the school year. Getting back into college-mode can be difficult and balancing laundry, fun, and reading Aristotle can be a challenge.  While we like to think everything will slow down, we still have to keep midterms in mind. The next few weeks are filled with constant studying, three papers due in a week, and never ending reading. But before you decide to quit school or dip into that emergency bag of chocolate, here are some tips to keep your sanity during midterms.

  1. Get organized:

It may seem like the most obvious tip, but it can really save you a lot of time and stress. Make a list of when every assignment is due and feel free to even color code for each subject. You will feel like your world is organized and centered, and you’ll avoid the dreaded moment when you realize you did your CIV paper that’s due next week and forgot about your English paper due tomorrow.

  1. Switch Up Places to Study:

Staying in the same place to study can make you feel like you’re in a prison cell. Don’t be afraid to mix up your study spots and have a change of scenery. The library is always the hot spot on campus to study, and it has everything-computers, single cubbies, tables for groups, and couches. The Dominican Center is a secret gem and the perfect place for when the library is packed and you need a quiet spot. Feel free to do work outside (but beware: people watching is tempting) or got grab a classroom in Ruane.

  1. Take a Break:

The never-ending list of assignments often makes you feel like stopping is impossible. But really, there is only so much reading you can do before you have no idea what you’re actually reading. Work for an hour or two and then take a ten-minute break. Grab a snack, call a friend, walk around, or just check your Snapchat. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the never-ending pile of work.

  1. Do What’s Right for You:

During midterms, it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. You’re stuck writing a paper, while your friends are at McPhail’s getting milkshakes. There’s always the one person who has everything done in advanced or the friend that has no midterms and is binge-watching Netflix instead.  Don’t feel pressured to have more done than you do or to abandon your work so you can hang out with friends. Everyone has a different schedule, their own study habits, and their own priorities. Keep in mind what is important to you and stay focused on your own goals. That milkshake will be there next week and will taste just as good.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help:

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with work and feel like you have nowhere to turn for help. But, remember there are resources all around you. It can be intimidating to talk to a professor for extra help, but make the move and go to office hours. They know exactly what you need to know and it doesn’t hurt to have help from the person grading you. Your own friends and classmates are a great resource. Reach out to them for help on a theory you just can’t get or even organize a small study group before the big exam. Finally, don’t forget the Office of Academic Services (OAS). OAS has tutors to help with every subject and can help you with reviews, practice problems, or even just organizing your notes. There are also writing tutors who can help you brainstorm ideas, outline your paper, or just look at the finished copy. Or you can send your paper to the Write Site!

Good luck on your mid-terms!

GUEST BLOGGER: MARLA GAGNE, ‘ 18 Hi everyone! My name is Marla Gagne, and I’m from West Haven, Connecticut. I’m a sophomore English major and am currently living the suite-life on campus (pun intended). I am a news co-editor on The Cowl and love writing stories about what’s going on around PC. I’ve also volunteered […]MORE

Lost Among the Trees

Posted by: on April 6, 2015   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

 

I am an analytical thinker. It is something that I have accepted about myself: I like to break down material into its component parts, understand how it fits together, and I tend to compartmentalize it. I can tell you individual quotes from my favorite television shows or books, but ask me to follow a map and I am more than useless (seriously—do the opposite of what I tell you if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner). If you have read my posts before, you know that I am in love with schedules because they help me look at the individual tasks I have for the day, week, or month and plan out the best way to tackle them.

That is not to say that I am just a math and science person, although those academic areas are dear to my heart. I also have a soft spot for literature and music, and while I cannot draw much more than a (granted, supremely awesome) stick figure, I appreciate the visual arts. Each of these areas of learning has a distinct place in my day and in my mind.

But is that the beginning and end of it? My dad asked me today, talking about next year, how it will feel to be “the big cheese” (i.e. a college senior). I was not sure what to say to him. I knew what I planned to do over the next year—apply to medical school, finish the Providence College core curriculum, continue working in Academic Services as a tutor, and (gulp) graduate—but somehow that did not seem to answer the question. The discrete activities of my day-to-day life somehow did not encompass the feeling of being a rising senior. It did not encompass the journey I had taken over the last five-and-a-half semesters at PC or the direction in which I was going. I could see individual points of interest, but in that moment I could not draw the map of my college experience.

spring8In the often high-stress environment of college, particularly for people already prone to this style of thinking, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. We get caught up in the papers, the exams, the homework assignments, and we forget what the point of it actually is. Why are we here, taking eighteen credits a semester? Why do I have my to-do list for Easter break laid out, with due dates and assignment priority color coded? I personally get very wrapped up in the tasks I need to do throughout the day. Often, it serves me well—assignments are completed in a timely manner, and usually with good results. But how does that fit into the larger narrative of life? Is stating the goal—to get a job, or into graduate school, or into professional school—the same as seeing it?

I want to challenge myself and my fellow analytic thinkers to look for the forest when we are lost among the trees. Take a moment, especially when you are stressed out, to step back and draw a map of your life as you see it right now. Understand how everything we do, from that cup of coffee at 7:30 in the morning to shutting off the light before bed, and all the steps in between, not only fit into the larger narrative of life, but create it. Those individual experiences shape the story of our lives. Look for the story that you want to tell.

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, […]MORE

Spring Semester – Now What?

Posted by: on February 3, 2015   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

I’d like to offer a huge “Congratulations!” to all the first years. Way to go—you survived your first semester of college! You survived your first semester of DWC! You came, saw, and conquered, and now you’re ready for another semester at PC.

Now what?

The jump from fall semester to spring semester can be especially rough for first years. Many of you have transitioned from taking four classes to taking five. While it may not seem like a huge difference, the extra three hours of class and consequent extra six hours of homework (as per Undergraduate Catalog recommendations) quickly eat into the free time you enjoyed last semester—or worse, the time you used doing homework for those other four classes. Many of you may also have transitioned out of introductory classes into higher level work. It can very easy to coast by in some first semester classes if you have a background in AP classes—the material is a review, so the homework moves faster and there is less investment in studying before exams. But when you are suddenly confronted with new material in a college setting, it can be overwhelming.

This is the point in your life where, if it hasn’t already, time management becomes really important. With more of your time beholden to a schedule and more things you need to do in your unscheduled time, it becomes harder to send your homework into the impenetrable ether of “later.” I don’t mean to say you need to have every second of every day accounted for, but for those of you who are not accustomed to planning ahead, there’s no time like the present to start. Get a calendar. Get a planner. Write a To-Do list. Having even a general sense of what you need to have accomplished and when puts you in a better position to tackle the extra work—or the new work—you have taken on.

Finally, include something “for you” every day. I know that I’m tempted to stay locked in my apartment all day if I have a lot of work to do, but it’s just as important to have some fun too. Balance is key—use this spring to figure out what balance works for you.

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, […]MORE

5 Things to Stop Stress Now

Posted by: on September 19, 2014   |Comments (0)|Tutoring Center

christina-perri-blogGUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!

College students revel in early September. Classes are just starting, material is often a review or simple enough that it does not take much effort to keep up, and there is plenty of time to ease back into the grind of schoolwork before that first round of exams and papers. But the habits you establish during the early weeks of September can make or break your semester stress levels. Here are some ways to start off strong so you don’t end up stressed come mid-October.

1)      Get a calendar.

A big calendar hangs on the wall of my apartment kitchen. My roommates and I have recorded everything from hockey games to Lessons and Carols to whose week it is to clean the common room on it. In my personal calendar, I have the dates and times of all my quizzes, exams, papers and homework assignments laid out. Midterm week becomes a lot less stressful when you can anticipate your work load – both in and out of class – and plan ahead for it.

2)      Stay on top of work now.

It’s tempting to slack off early in the semester because there isn’t a lot of work, and there seems to be a lot of time to catch up later. Unfortunately, workloads tend to snowball and before long you can find yourself drowning not only in the big assignments that are looming, but also in the work you put off earlier. Form a firm foundation of basic knowledge, whether it is in chemistry, economics or DWC, now so you will be better prepared for what’s to come.

3)      Learn when you learn best.

The flexibility of college scheduling is both a blessing and a curse. Many of us have come from a high school setting where we were in classes for six hours a day, five days a week. Consistency was key, and consistency is often lacking in college schedules. Every day of the week is a unique combination of lectures, labs and seminars, and that can make finding a study time challenging. Use these first few weeks to figure out when works best for you – studying in the morning before classes, mid-afternoon, or in the evening after classes are finished.

4)      Quantify your work, not your time.

“I’m going to do an hour of CIV reading a night” is something that freshmen may be proud of themselves for deciding. The problem students with that mindset will often run into, however, is that they will dawdle for an hour “doing work” (and checking Facebook, and scrolling through Buzzfeed, and texting, and…) and, when that time is up, they will immediately stop and go off to do something fun, despite making no progress in that CIV reading. Instead of planning around time, plan around quantity. Read a chapter a night. Do ten math problems a night. And commit to it to ensure the work is done consistently.

5)      Make “me” time.

I’ve bombarded you so completely with ways to work, when to work, how to work, work, work, work that now your head may be spinning. Will I spend my entire college career working? Are these really the best years of my life if all I do is work? This is why my parting thought to you is that you should schedule in some “me” time. Make sure that you have time every week to decompress. Watch a movie. Paint your nails. Play some Frisbee while it’s still warm out. Put the CIV book down and pick up that tattered copy of Harry Potter. Take some time to live in the moment of what you want to do before the alarm goes off again on Monday morning.

 

 

GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and […]MORE

Three Things You Should Do on the First Day of Classes

Posted by: on September 2, 2014   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

By Meghan Murray, Assistant Director for Academic Skills/Programming

The first day of class is an exciting time in Friartown.  To ensure you get the most of out this fall semester, be sure to do these three things.  


1. Look Up From Your Phone

No seriously, look up from your phone.  When walking across campus to class, be sure to pay attention where you are walking.  In addition to making sure you don’t trip or walk into a sprinkler (yes, I saw this happen today), you also get the chance to see some friends or new people.  For upperclassmen, you haven’t seen each other for a few month so take the walk to class as a time to reconnect and say hi.  Don’t be too busy checking out pictures on Instagram to check out the new updates to our beautiful campus!
2. Look at your Syllabi

Take the time to review each of your syllabi.  Be sure to check how your final grade is broken down – if class participation is 20% of your final grade, it is good to know that at the start of the semester.  Become familiar with each of your classes and what your professors expect from you.

keep-calm-and-read-the-syllabus 3. Update your Planner

During this first week, update your planner with major deadlines (test, projects, and research papers) from all your courses.  By putting all this information in one place, you can see if you have two mid-terms on the same day or a busy week with a group presentation and 2 quizzes.  By being more aware of these busy times (because it happens to everyone), the better you can plan ahead and stress less. If you want more tips for using your time wisely in college, be sure to check out our videos.

By Meghan Murray, Assistant Director for Academic Skills/Programming The first day of class is an exciting time in Friartown.  To ensure you get the most of out this fall semester, be sure to do these three things.   1. Look Up From Your Phone No seriously, look up from your phone.  When walking across campus […]MORE