Today’s tips come from a staff member and former faculty member:
1. Take care of yourself. Juggling school, work, family can be difficult. Be sure to include time for yourself and your well being. Even a five minute walk on a beautiful day can work wonders.
2. Keep your study time focused. Watching the third season of Breaking Bad (again), texting friends and trolling on Facebook, all while you are reading the required chapter in your textbook, is not an effective way to study. A short block of focused study time is much more effective than an hour of “multitask” studying.
3. Know thyself. When you tell yourself, “I do better under pressure,” know if that is really true or if it is a rationalization which allows you to put things off. Do you really study better at night or are you studying at 1:00 a.m. because you have Netflix?
4. Allow imperfection. Being a “good student” doesn’t mean you should know everything. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It is okay to earn a B or a C if that is as much mastery as you are going to get in a particular subject. Do your best and accept that your best isn’t perfect.
5. Stay organized. Find a system you can maintain over the long haul, not just the first week of class. Your pockets or the backseat of your car is not your best option for filing papers. Check your school email every day so you aren’t surprised by a due date or a changed class location.
Last week I received two thank you notes. One was from a friend whose husband had died the week before, thanking the library for sending flowers. The other was for a birthday present, sent by a friend suffering from dementia.
I mention these two things because formal thank-you notes seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur. I am not a formal person, but more than once in the past few years, I have wondered if a present sent for a birthday, graduation, wedding, or baby shower ever arrived because the gift was not acknowledged. Since I was not able to attend the events, there was no way to know. I was in the awkward position of not wanting my gift to have been lost, but also not wanting to appear like the grumpy aunt who wants to know why the thank-you notes haven’t been sent. A quick email or text would have been more than sufficient.
I am not Miss Manners, and my point is not to have everyone go out and send a thank-you note. But the fact that two people with many cares and worries managed to send one reminded me that I need to be more aware of the kindnesses that people do for me on a regular basis and express my appreciation.
And by thanks, I don’t mean the mumbled word that really just means “Okay, we’re finished with this transaction.” I mean an actual expression of heartfelt gratitude for the person.
I’m going to try (meaningfully) thank five people this week. Why don’t you join me?
This week’s tips are from the students in General Biology:
- Study 2 hours for every one hour of class.
- Stay organized.
- Do class work.
- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
- Make flashcards
Years ago, I was at Vandyland with a friend. We decided to have a milkshake and asked the waitress if we could share one or if we should each order one. She said as only Southern waitresses in diners can, “Well, if you are a piggy, you should order a whole one. Otherwise, you can share.”
I thought about that this weekend as I tried to fill up my car. I was stunned by the lines and the stations with no gasoline. If what I read was correct, there was no real reason for it. We created the shortage by panicking. Apparently, some people were not only filling up their cars, but also filling up lots of those plastic red jugs as if the zombie apocalypse had just occurred.
But folks, let’s face it, if the zombie apocalypse happens, most of us, whether we have a half a tank or gallons in reserve, are going to die in the first wave. Zombies are tenacious creatures.
And for those times that aren’t the zombie apocalypse, just relaxing, not going overboard, and being willing to let others get some needed supplies should get us through.
In other words, don’t be a piggy.
Today has not been a great day:
- I went to the doctor where I waited for more than a hour and then received a minor but painful treatment.
- I thought I had come up with a perfect activity that would remove 90% of the clutter in our office but found the plan wouldn’t work.
- I discovered that there was a good chance that all my plans for the evenings this week will have to be scrapped.
- And I’m hungry. But we’re three people down in the library, so I have to wait for lunch.
Unfortunately, I broke one of my rules about being unhappy: Being unhappy doesn’t give you the right to spread the feeling to other people. I was grumpy and made other people miserable. So now I’m trying to make it up to my poor colleagues.
My dad had a saying every time my sister and I were upset: “Well, you’ve got the same pants to get happy in.”
And I have gotten happy. Now I just need to remember to do it before I ruin other people’s day.
Today’s suggestions are from an instructor in one of our medical programs:
- Get to know a secretary, and visit with her/him often.
Set up one, central, calendar for your class schedule and deadlines, and make sure you can access it from anywhere.
Schedule time to study the same way you schedule dinner with your friends or your kid’s athletic schedule.
Form a group of students you meet on campus and share your experiences and challenges.
Study with someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject—you will learn a great deal because you will have to explain everything.