McKenzie Ross by McKenzie Ross

If you’re anything like me, this is the week you’ve got “Survivor” (s/o Yoncé) on a constant loop in your head, ready to catch those elusive A’s. Yet all you really seem motivated to do is lay in bed with your dearest friends: Netflix, Tumblr, and Pinterest. But desire does not an A make.

“But how do I avoid the entrancing snare of the Internet?!?,” you cry.

Not to worry, there’s an app for that. The appropriately titled OSX app “Self Control” allows you to block your best procrastination aids (Facebook, I’m looking at you) for as long as you need while still allowing access to the rest of the Internet. Similarly, if you’re the type to alternate between your text book and your phone every five minutes, apps like “Focus Lock” for android will help keep you off your phone.

My next tip makes use of a timeless cliché: Location, Location, Location. Move to an environment far from the allure of your bed. Romance yourself a little, take yourself on a study date. Go out to your favorite coffee spot, buy yourself a latte or some tea and start checking off that to-do list. By making an event out of studying you’re more likely to actually do the studying you promised yourself you’d do, even if your fluffy pillows and warm blankets are calling your name. The Valley Library is a wonderful resource, however, it tends to become over crowded during finals week. So avoid spending more time looking for a table than doing any actual studying. Checkout the Beth Ray Center for Student Success or choose a local business like Interzone or The Beanery.

Your next question might be “If I’m not on Insta, what will I do when I actually need to take a break?” My first suggestion would be to AVOID THE INTERNET. “Unplug” as adults call it. Do something active, take a walk, ride your bike, dance to the new Bruno Mars song. The last thing you need is a two-hour Twitter-fest to ruin all of your productivity. This time to recharge is crucial; becoming one with your couch feels good in the moment but may leave you more lethargic than before.

Lastly, take a deep breath. The end is in sight. I’ll leave you with Beyoncé’s motivational words and a picture of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, otherwise known as the Notorious RBG.

Happy Studying.

rbg

 

Melissa Salmeri     by Mel Salmeri

There is no away around the dreaded finals week but there are ways to help you get through it.

I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty but it is incredibly true when people tell you to get a good night’s rest before a test. It has been proven that staying up all night trying to study is no better than not studying all the material and getting some shut eye. In order to keep yourself from the anxiety of not having enough time to study all you need to learn is how to manage your time. Your planner could be your best friend during this time. Make a list of everything you need to get done or classes you need to study for, then make another of what you are going to accomplish that day. This way you are able to cross off, hopefully, the majority of that days list and feel productive. A long list can seem very daunting, so save the belly ache and start small. For many there are several late nights or all day study sessions and it seems like you have no time for other things. My best advice is do not neglect your stomach! Bring snacks or pack easy meals to make sure you have it when you need it. There is nothing more distracting than a grumbling stomach; for you and for others. Again it’s not a lie that you and your mind do better when fueled up and ready to retain all the numbers and words you’re about to be staring at for hours. When you take care of yourself, mentally and physically, you’re much more likely to be successful.

 
Now that I have covered the basics, let’s talk about some not so mainstream tips. By now most of us should have found that one thing that you have to do every now and then to distress and make yourself slow down. If you haven’t yet, not to worry, I have faith you will. If you’re a freshmen or new at the whole finals week thing don’t sweat it, you have time to figure it out. To give you an example, my distressor is getting into comfy clothes, lighting my favorite vanilla candles, and turning on my Christmas lights. There is nothing more calming or serene to me than that. It makes me slow down, think more clearly and relax. I become much more productive and efficient after doing all of that. Another tip would be for you coffee drinkers out there. Every once in a while treat yourself to your favorite coffee because we all know Starbucks and Dutch Brothers is an expensive college student habit. However, sometimes a brewed coffee from home just isn’t going to be the boost you need and everyone deserves a treat. It doesn’t have to stop there though, for you non coffee drinkers the same tip applies to you. Treat yourself to your favorite meal or snack, it’s amazing what eating you favorite comfort food can do to your finals week moral. Keeping yourself happy is probably the most beneficial way to invest your time and money.

 
The most important thing to remember and live by during this time of stress is that eventually it will all be over. Remember that your hard work will pay off and if it doesn’t, at least you can say you did your best and move on. No matter how long you’ve done this whole college finals thing each person learns something new about themselves every round. No one is an expert at how to be best prepared or best survive it but you can learn how to manage and find things that help you get through the dreadful time. Also remember that there are so many other individual’s going through the same thing as you, so you are never alone in this. So just do your best and try; key word try, not to worry too much.

Logan Pedersen by Logan Pedersen
This past week I was given the opportunity to travel to an international conference to give a presentation. Over the past three years I have been working in a psychology research lab under the supervision of Dr. Mei-Ching Lien on my own personal research project while collaborating with professors from other universities. Last year I was invited to present this research at the international Psychonomics conference in Long Beach California. Professors from around the world attended the conference to learn more about the cutting edge research that graduate students and faculty have been working on. I was one of only a few undergraduates who was fortunate to be given the opportunity to present at the international conference.

It was at the conference where I met world renowned professors whose work had influenced my research. I also was able to meet my second professor I had been collaborating with in regards to my own research who was from Purdue University. By talking to grad students from other universities about my research I gained incredible insight on graduate programs from universities across the United States within my field of interest. Professors from Australia, Europe, Asia, and from all throughout the US visited my poster to discuss my research with me. The conference was an opportunity that has vastly increased my knowledge within the field of psychology and has provided me with incredible connections for graduate school and beyond. For anyone interested in further education after your undergrad degree I would highly recommend getting involved with undergraduate research. It can provide you with opportunities beyond what you may have ever imagined.

Blair Bowmer     by Blair Bowmer

We’ve all noticed the recent changes in the weather, but perhaps you’ve also been noticing changes in your mood that aren’t changes for the better. You may be experiencing a common type of depression called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. Symptoms usually appear during late fall or early winter and may include tiredness or low energy; oversleeping; changes in appetite or weight; difficulty concentrating; withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities; irritability; and more. All of these lead to depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness, and lack of pleasure.

If you are experiencing these or similar symptoms now that the frigid weather is upon us, fear not! There are several things you can do to fight SAD. One of the most common is light therapy, where you sit in front of a special type of light for a set amount of time. You can find one of these lights in the Mind Spa, you can check one out at the Valley Library, or you can buy one yourself (I’m using mine now)! Other treatments include medication (which you can get a consultation for at SHS), Ionized-air administration (available in the Mind Spa), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (available through counselors at CAPS). You can also supplement any of these treatments with plenty of vitamin D and exercise, and by making your home environment brighter and spending more time outside.

It’s normal to have a day here and there where you don’t feel your best. However, if you feel down for days at a time and can’t get motivated to do activities you normally like, see a doctor at SHS or a counselor at CAPS. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation. SAD is usually an indicator or specifier of a larger issue like depression or bipolar disorder, so if you experience SAD, it’s important that you talk to someone about it and treat it so it doesn’t worsen and lead to other problems. I personally suffer from SAD every winter. I was having trouble coping, so earlier this week I saw a CAPS counselor. We discussed different strategies and tools for me to use to help manage SAD and I already feel much better than before! If any of the SAD symptoms sound like they could apply to you, I suggest you do what I did. It makes a huge difference, and it will make it a lot easier to finish the term strong! Good luck!

 

Jon Bosworth  Jon Bosworth

One of my favorite things about being a student at Oregon State is the amazing opportunity to work closely with faculty. I feel like I am surrounded by people seeking to make my time in college as beneficial and transformative as possible. Through interactions with advisors in the College of Liberal Arts, and with my major advisor, I have formed relationships with people who want me to succeed in all of my endeavors. I feel the same way about my time in the classroom. The close emphasis on interactions between professors and students has allowed me to get to know many of my professors and further my learning.

As a Political Science major and member of the University Honors College, I am lucky to take classes with a small number of people. These small, discussion-based classes allow me to connect more directly with professors and enhance my learning. Recently I’ve connected with professors more than ever: utilizing their office hours to ask questions and clarify concepts, speaking with them after class, and starting the process of completing an undergraduate thesis where I am working with a tenured professor one-on-one. Working with a professor allows me to sharpen my research and writing skills and gives me a greater understanding of my field of study. It has been an amazing experience so far and I can’t wait to continue building the relationship with my professor.

If you are at all like me you’re reading this and thinking, “well, this is just a special case, professors don’t actually want to work with undergraduate students, they have better things to do.” That is plain wrong. I’m continually astounded by professors’ willingness to work with students and foster their knowledge. Oregon State University is passionate about creating an environment conducive to collaboration in the learning process. Working with professors and faculty so closely is an opportunity unique to Oregon State and has been one of the highlights of my time here thus far; I encourage you to take advantage of it.

Hannah Whitley Hannah Whitley

If you’re a chronic procrastinator like myself, you may relate to the stress and agony which accompanies putting things off. The act of physically avoiding something on your to-do list is a very challenging task; before we commit to active procrastination, we convince ourselves (with worthy reasoning) that we can delay the task at hand until the very last minute. Collegeview.com claims that the reasons we procrastinate are easy to identify, “We might feel overwhelmed by the task, we may be perfectionists, we may get distracted easily, or perhaps we are just plain lazy.” No matter your justification, there are simple remedies for your “procrastinatory” condition.

Here are a few tips to assist in your eradication of a procrastination lifestyle:

1. Rid your environment of disturbances

a. That’s right – turn off (or silence) your cell phone, exit out of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, turn off the television, and get stuff done.

2. Find a quiet space
a. Physically move yourself to an area without loud conversations and distracting behavior. At OSU, favorite study spots include the MU lounge, Valley Library, cultural centers, and coffee       shops!

3. Set time limits
a. For some procrastinators, it is helpful to divide study time into sections to provide for optimal focus. To start off, tell yourself that you will spend one hour on a subject. Once your hour is    up, take a fifteen-minute bathroom and snack break. Once your break is over, repeat!

4. Find an accountability partner
a. Many students find it helpful to pair up and be responsible for keeping each other on track. Once your study session is over, you can all take part in tip #5!

5. Reward yourself
a. Once you have finished all of your tasks for your study session, reward yourself with a treat; grab some frozen yogurt, take a nap, go for a bike ride – just make sure you celebrate a job well done!

beaver pumpkin by Breanna Balleby

Hello all! Midterms are upon us, Homecoming is in full swing, and Halloween is tomorrow. It seems like there is plenty to do in the next few days…but what is this list missing? Academic advising! Every year, Halloween is the midpoint of the term that is used as a good reminder about when to make an appointment with your academic advisor to check in and to plan Winter Term classes.

So, how do you get this process started? First off, make sure you know who your advisor is. Start by checking the “First-Year Advising Syllabus” that was given to you at START and lists the name and contact info for your advisor. If that doesn’t help, search through your college’s “Current Students” page for information on who your advisor is and how your college or school prefers to make appointments. The College of Liberal Arts even has a “Find Your Advisor” page that can help you get in contact with the right person. Be sure to make your appointment prior to your registration date. If you don’t know when that is, check out the “View Priority Registration Status” on the MyOSU Portal for an exact date and time.

After the appointment is booked (be sure to do so in a timely manner since they fill up fast!), these are some of the main things to think about when meeting with your advisor during Fall term:
• getting your registration PIN (you’ll need one of these to register for every term)
• talking about how your classes are going this term—this is a time for you to reflect on your experiences thus far and let your advisor know how the term is going
• planning which courses to take for Winter 2015, which is something you can start thinking about yourself prior to your appointment (MyDegrees, located in the MyOSU Portal under the “Student” tab, is a fantastic way to see what you still need to complete and then you can look through the OSU Course Catalog to get an idea of what courses might fill those requirements)

Finally, keep an eye out for Valentine’s Day and Cinco de Mayo later this year as reminders to make an advising appointment for following terms (Spring 2015 and Fall 2015)!

Holly Briggs  by Holly Briggs

You may be beginning your midterms this week or next week. For some, the first ones have already happened. This first midterm is a big deal! If you completely bomb it, that’s okay but you need to study hard for the next one. If you want to ace it here are some strategies and tips that I have learned to live by while filling my brain with unbelievable amounts of information.

Tip #1: Identify what confuses you, and fix it. Something that is really helpful when there is so much daunting information is to sit down and find out what you don’t know. Once the things that are confusing have been identified you can use resources around campus to help you solve them. Some resources are all the different holes around campus. Mole hole for chemistry, vole hole for biology, there is also a physics and math help center. Obviously a great resource is your professor! Attend their office hours and ask them what they meant when they were teaching something. Meeting with a professor gives you an opportunity to get the help you need but also to make the connections that could be useful later for things like letters of recommendation.

Tip #2: Don’t cram. No matter how hard you don’t want to study right now, start studying. Its been proven over and over again, the more times you practice and see information the better you are at remembering it. That means that if you study little bits at a time over a long period of time, like a week, you will have a better chance of remembering information for the exam!

Tip #3: Find friends, study groups, or review sessions. I have always found it helpful to study with other people because if I have questions they might know the answer. It is also helpful because teaching the subject to another person is a fantastic way to study the material and make sure that you know it very well. Most professors for larger classes will hold review sessions a couple of nights before the exam; this is a great opportunity to get help and to receive more study materials.

Tip #4: Stay healthy. Do not throw all your eating habits out the window because you are spending all your time couped up in a room with a can of red bull and some potato chips. Make sure you are eating fruits and vegetables as well as exercising. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and to help improve brain function. Eating healthy and sleeping regularly will also help fend off any sort of cold or flu that may be coming your way. No one likes to take an exam with the sniffles!

Tip #5: Take a break. Studying continuously for 12-hours will do nothing but make you go insane. Take 10-15 minutes to yourself on go kick around a soccer ball or take a walk. Doing something active will keep you awake and stimulate your brain. Whatever you do though, stay away from Facebook, Yik-Yak or any of those other brain-mesmerizing social media sites.

Good luck on those tests, and SCOOO BEAVS.

Melissa Salmeri by Mel Salmeri

As if being a full time college student weren’t time consuming and stressful enough, for some students working is a necessary evil. For some working is a way to earn some extra spending money, text book money, or rent money. Finding the time to do it all can be overwhelming and if I’m being honest I have fallen victim to the stress. However, to make a point, I am still alive and well, eventually you find time for everything. You learn a great deal of time management and prioritizing skills.

College students don’t have it easy, juggling classes, homework, sleep, and a social life can be a tricky thing on its own and working can add a great deal of pressure but it is possible to do it all. Getting to know the resources on campus can be a wonderful asset to help you through the hard times. I am only going to talk about the three resources I use most but there are so many more around campus.
My number one favorite is the library. Sometimes all you need is to get out of your room. If the café or the first two levels of the library are a little too loud for you there are designated quite areas around the library as well as the top floor being the quite floor. The library is also open 24 hours Sunday through Thursday and until ten Friday and Saturday nights. My second favorite is coffee or tea. Sadly it’s true but for most college students caffeine is a must, not that it’s required but personally I wake up with a cup of coffee every morning. Thirdly, sometimes you have to just stop and catch your breath. Everyone needs a break and you have to allow yourself that time. These things have helped me immensely but it may not help for everyone but I would say there great places to start. The best part of being a college student is that we are all learning so many things about ourselves and eventually you will find what helps you most.
What helps me through the more stressful times is I tell myself that it eventually all gets done. It may not always seem like you have enough time in the day or weeks but somehow it all works out. You will get to that math assignment, read those two chapters in your psych book and study for your first econ midterm. Just remember that everyone deserves and needs a break every now and then.

Jon Bosworth by Jon Bosworth

 

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling, and the dreaded rain is returning once again. While fall brings memories of pumpkin patches, choosing costumes, and Pumpkin Spiced Lattés, it also marks the start of midterm season. Unlike high school, many of the classes here at OSU place a great deal of emphasis on tests during the middle of the term (commonly known as midterms). These are an opportunity for professors to check your progress in the class as well as make sure that you are up to date on the material. Midterms can also be extremely stressful, with students feeling that their entire grade depends on the success of this one test. While this is often not the case, there are a few helpful tips that you should know to do before taking your midterm.

• Make a Plan: All too often students study for the wrong things or even aren’t able to review all the course materials. When you make a study plan and follow it, you are able to cover the full   course and gain a better understanding of what you will be tested on.
• Start Early: When students start the studying process early it can significantly reduce stress and allow your brain time to fully learn the subject matter. When you cram for an exam at the last minute you are less able to remember everything and study all the course material. Starting early can guarantee this won’t happen.
• Sleep: In an era of coffee, caffeine, and insomnia no one is getting enough sleep. Sleep is crucial to your academic success and health. An adequate amount of sleep also reduces stress and allows your brain to fully remember all you learned in that intense study session. Plan for 7 to 8 hours of sleep, make it a priority, and enjoy!

Regardless of your understanding of the course material today, following these three pieces of advice is sure to significantly increase your grade and decrease stress. Through hard work and dedication midterm exams can be a success, setting you up for a positive and relaxed rest of the term.