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Showing posts from 2011

last final

Awww...such relief!  I always love that feeling after you turn in your last final. All of a sudden you feel like the stress has been lifted off your shoulders.  So, that leads me to the question- what do you do to relax?  Some people like to just lounge on the couch and watch movies.  Others get another wave of energy that carries them downtown to go shopping or out to eat.  Personally, I like to do nothing and maybe hang out with friends.  Then, that extra energy kicks in and I want to go do things that I never have time to do during the semester!  Unfortunately, I have work this week, but I did get to relax over the weekend and it was absolutely amazing (no exaggeration!). So, tell me what you do in your free time!

Exam Week

Well, exam week has arrived unfortunately. I absolutely hate taking exams- multiple choice, short answer, essay. I would much rather write a paper or do a presentation than take an exam. Some of you may share my dislike and it is likely because you have test anxiety. Then again, is anyone perfectly calm when they're about to take a test? Probably not too many. A few nerves are helpful because they get your adrenaline flowing, which helps you stay alert. A lot of nerves do just the opposite of helping you. You may notice your heart beating rapidly, heavy breathing, inability to focus, and continuous thoughts about whether you are answering questions correctly, the amount of time left, etc. Here are some tips to help conquer your test anxiety.

1.) Try to get to the room early and choose spot to sit where you feel most comfortable.

2.) Wait until after the exam to drink caffeinated beverages (it doesn't hurt to bring a water bottle, however).

3.) Try not to talk to others…

Software Schedule

The ARC recently added asoftware schedulefor your convenience. Tutor name and the software they can help with are listed. A rating scale is also included to determine level of expertise (5-Expert to 3-some knowledge). Remember these tutors are working on different subject tables. Please ask the monitor for additional help.312.567.7959
1 week until finals' week.About 2 weeks at the most until your last final of the semester.That means you have at least a little over a week to prepare for your final exams.I know, they're not fun to think about, especially when you don't actually have to start studying right now.Nevertheless, it is highly beneficial to begin reviewing material ahead of time rather than cramming the night before.I'm sure you've heard this advice before, but do you really know why cramming is ineffective or what may be a helpful alternative?Cramming: Using the last few hours (or even the last day if there's a lot of material) to study for an exam.Studying usually occurs non-stop without many breaks and results in loss of sleep.As I wrote the definition, I thought to myself—this method makes no sense! Yet, I have used it many times (okay maybe almost all of the time in undergrad).Let's face it, it is hard to motivate yourself to start studying when you have homework due the ne…
Every Thanksgiving break I run the same dilemma through my head.  I have a few days demands (besides helping my mom prepare the Thanksgivings dinner) and no homework due the Monday I get back.  Perfect chance to relax, spend time with my family (who I haven't seen for a few months), see that movie I've been wanting to see, etc.  On the other hand, I could take advantage fo the free time by getting ahead. I could start studying for my stats final or continue writing the methods section of my master's thesis (which has been neglected the past month).  So, which one to choose?  Do a little of both? Easier said than done.  I'm sure a lot of you are in the same position as I am.  My solution?  Don't push yourself to do something you know you're unlikely to do.  If you say to yourself- I'm going to finish that paper that's due during final's week, you're probably setting yourself up for failure.  It's better to tell yourself you're g…
The past couple of posts have been about energizing yourself in various ways.  Well, I am going to give you one last post along the same lines...energizing foods! Let's face it, we all like to eat, but sometimes the foods we put in our body don't have the nutrients we need to get us through the day.  Sure, that bag of chips will fill you up for the next half hour, but doesn't it make more sense to eat something for lunch that will keep you satisfied for the next few hours?  Here are a few super foods that will do the trick.

1.) Whole grains (bread, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)  Whole grains keep you full longer because the blood absorbs their nutrients at a slower pace than high sugary foods.  So, instead of grabbing a candy bar and experience that sugar and crash that follows, whole grains will keep you going for longer without the plummet.

2.) Nuts (try to go for raw/dry roasted and unsalted)  Nuts are a great source of protein and magnesium, which helps convert sugar into e…
Ok, it's time for some more energy boosting activities and tips!  
1.) Sitting all day in a classroom or at your desk can make you feel sluggish.  So, get moving!  Take a walk, do some jumping jacks, or get up an stretch every now and then to get your blood circulating.  
2.) Get a change of scenery.  Whether that means doing those jumping jacks outside or taking your work to another room in your house doesn't matter.  The new surroundings will help give you a quick lift.  You may want to choose a spot near a window or with bright light to boost your energy even more.
3.) Drink water.  Make sure you stay hydrated during the day.  If you notice you're nodding off in class, grab your water bottle and take a few big sips- that should wake you up!  Put a slice of lemon in your water to perk you up even more.
4.) Take a power nap.  A 30 minute nap is enough time to let your body rest without it going into deep sleep. You're brain will be ready to work again!
5.) Caffeine.  Yes c…
Get energized! It's been a long day of classes and work, but you still have to finish that assignment for tomorrow...what can you do do regain some energy?  There are actually many quick and easy fixes...thank goodness, right?  First, I'm going to introduce you to the Women's Health's instant energy tips.  And by the way, they don't include Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy.  They do include the 5 senses, which you're never without!
1.) Sound: Listen to music; talk to a friend in person or on the phone
2.) Touch: touch something smooth like a ring or flat stone ("researchers found that people view socializing as tougher after touching a rough object").  Keep this tip in mind for when you'd rather go to sleep than hang out with your friends!
3.) Sight: Colors and light will help keep you alert as well as improve your mood 4.) Smell: Orange, peppermint, or cinnamon scents may help you stay alert when you start to get tired
5.) Taste: Chew gum or eat something wi…


If you live on campus there are numerous study locations.  For instance, the library is the first location that comes to mind when I think of studying.  It has been the "go to" study place for years and years.  It makes sense, of course. It's quiet, there are resources, such as text books and computers, and there are plenty of tables to spread out your papers and books.  Yet, some people feel that libraries can be too quiet.  They work better in a quiet, but slightly more active area. Sometimes that extra buzz in the background of others working gives us a reminder that we should be working as well (instead of on Facebook or dozing off).  This type of atmosphere is a little harder to come across, however.  A coffee shop sometimes serves as a good option, depending on who happens to be there at the time. I'm sure everyone knows about Starbucks on 35th! Another option is coming over to the ARC or if it's warm outside, you may want to try to find a nice grassy area.…
Just as people have different learning style, people's ability to concentrate in various settings differs as well.  For instance, some people focus better in quiet areas with no one else around, while others work well in crowded, noisy places.  So, where is your ideal place to study?  There are many options available for each individual's preference. I posted the question on the ARC's Facebook page and on the IIT undergraduate Facebook Group page.  Even among the few people that responded, study preferences varied.  One student said she likes studying outside, while another prefers a "secret" room in the library.  One other student said that he can study anywhere besides his room.  My roommate only studies in her room!  Personally, I have trouble working in one place for a long period of time.  More to come on this topic!

I am going to sidetrack from my usually tip giving blog entries and discuss something equally important.  What makes a good tutor?  Sure it helps if your tutor is an expert (or advanced) in the subject area in which you are needing assistance.  That's the whole point of coming to the ARC for tutoring!  Yet, even if one is an expert in a specific area, it does not mean he or she is a good tutor.  I have witnessed a great deal of tutoring while being a monitor at the ARC and there are some tutor qualities and strategies that really stand out.  One helpful strategy is for the tutors to ask students questions as they lead them through the problem they are working on.  This way, tutors become aware of what the students already know and can provide them with individualized help.  Furthermore, being asked questions makes students think!  The other day I heard a math tutor tell a student, "I can't just give you the answer.  What would be the point of that?"  Clearly, this tu…
With the economy on the rocks, some students may be worried about their finances.  Take a look at this New York Times article from last winter (link below).
I know for finances are something my fellow graduate classmates and I worry about.  Some of us have taken out loans and others work on top doing school work.  Some people feel that setting monthly budgets is a helpful money management strategy.  The website is a great, free resource for doing just that as well as keeping an eye on your bank account and making sure bills are paid on time.  What are some other money saving strategies?  
Some things are simple, such as making a list when you go to the grocery store and sticking to it.  It's easy to find yourself wanting to buy things that you can live without.  Cutting or printing out coupons is another easy way to save at the store.  However, don't buy something just because you have a coupon for it!  
Sometimes things you learn in class may seem a bit confusing maybe you realize you have gap in your notes from lecture yesterday.  Such instances are a great reason to come over to the ARC and receive help from a tutor.  Another option and something I've recently witnessed at the ARC is to engage in a group study session.  This option can be especially helpful when there is no tutor around.

Students can benefit from sharing ideas and knowledge with others.   For instance, you can not only gain a better understanding of the material by learning from your peers, but you can also master a topic by explaining it to others.  Furthermore, group studying gives you the opportunity to support and encourage one another.  However, it's easy to get off topic and begin discussing your weekend plans or the recent Bears game.  So, it's helpful to assign someone the task if keeping everyone on track.  

To get the most out of group study sessions stick with the following guidelines:

1. Keep t…
Many undergraduates, especially freshmen, live in a dorm with a roommate whom you may now know.  Sometimes your new roommate may end up becoming your best friend, while other times you may not want anything to do with each other.  Still other times, your roommate may be just that- someone with whom you share a living space. You may get along with the person, but not associate with him or her besides "good morning" or "hey, would you mind taking the trash out? I'm running late" type of exchange. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this type of roommate relationship nor the best friend type.  Roommate problems can come about in all of these scenarios- whether you like or dislike your roommate.  The key to keeping things pleasant is communication.  We all have those little things that bug us, but a lot of times, strangers, such as your new roommate, may have no idea what pushes your buttons. 

So, what should you do?  Talk about it!  Set aside a specific time…
Well, another year has officially kicked into gear.  We've been through the, "how was your summer," and "it's so good to see you." Now it's time to get back to work- class, homework, clubs, etc. (not that there won't be any time for fun). How can you make the most of your time in college?  How do you make time to go down town without sacrificing your grades?  What about that call home mom wanted you to make at least once per it really necessary?  There are a lot of questions that you may ask yourself as you move through the school year.  Maybe, some of the upper class students have already figured it all out, but for freshmen, there be some difficult things to figure out.  It is important to remember that you're not alone.  It may sound cliche, but it's true! It typically takes some time for students to adjust to college life- to living away from home, taking harder classes, leaving their old friends behind, and becoming more respon…
Another school year has started.  It was my twentieth first day of school.  Sadly, I've gone from being excited and anxious about my first day to "here we go again" mindset. In elementary school, I enjoyed all aspect of school, not that I was opposed to a few snow days.  In high school, I loved talking with my friends before and after class and playing on the tennis team. Then came college.  Of course it was exciting and new at first.  I enjoyed many of my classes and engaging in various activities that Ohio State had to offer.  Yet, as I reached my junior and senior years, college became the gateway to my ultimate goal of becoming a clinical psychologist.  I was so busy with classes, my senior thesis, and applying to grad school during fall quarter of my senior year that I had to miss the Mirror Lake jump (a tradition that occurs every year before the OSU/University of Michigan football game).  Now, here I am in my third year of grad school.  Even though I enjoy my clas…
I am currently visiting Shanghai, China.It is a very modern, interesting city and I appreciate the opportunity I have been given to explore it.As I walk down the streets I take in the environment—the people, the cars, bike, and mopeds rushing by me, the stores, and the buildings—I interpret everything I see, hear, and smell in relation to what I'm used to experiencing in the United States (or rather in the mid-west).I find the fruit markets on the street exotic and the men carrying cardboard boxes and trash on the back of their bikes unusual.I want to take pictures of the clothes hanging from a clothes line over the side walk and of the melon being sold on sticks.Yet, to the people who live here, these things are ordinary.I try to be discreet with my picture taking and hope I offend them when I snap a picture of them or their every day lives.Do they wonder why the White girl is taking a picture of their home or their fruit stand?I think I need to consider what it feel like if the …
Remember my post a few weeks ago about moving?Typically you dread the packing and everything else that goes along with moving, as I mentioned in the post.Typically you also feel a great sense of relief when the last box is unloaded at your new place and all of the other annoyances don't seem as horrible as they previously did.I wish I could say this was the case for me.To those who have had a negative experience moving, I now understand how you feel.So, for those you about to move, here are some helpful tips (most of which involve U-Haul).1.) Make sure you know the exact location of U-Haul or another moving company (do not type Logan Square U-Haul into Google map and assume it provides the correct directions to your destination.It took me to a drop off location, which was 13 blocks away from the actual location!).2.) Do not assume that U-Haul will have the truck you reserved, especially if it is a busy moving day (weekend, end of the month).3.) Do not assume that the truck/trailer…
Well it at least cooled down to the high 80s. But it's still hot and it's still very humid.   So, how else can you stay cool? Some ways are obvious. Wear the least amount of clothes possible or if you live alone, just wear your birthday suit (just make sure you close your blinds).  Surround yourself with fans and place a large fan in an open window.  Some people say that opening a window in such heat is just letting hot air into the house/apartment, but Chicago tends to be breezy (thank goodness!)   Wrap an ice cube in a wash cloth and hold it to your face or wherever you need to cool off.  Drink plenty of ice cold'll cool you off and keep you hydrated.

But what else? I don't think there's any magic answer to our question, unfortunately. Along the same lines as my previous post, I am a fan of going somewhere cool if you can't be cool in your own home.  Go to a coffee shop, a book store, campus, a friend's.  It won't be a permanent fix of cours…
Today's status can be summed up in a few words: it is HOT! 91 degrees and it "feels like" 94!Thank goodness for the window unit a/c I have in my room.As for the rest of my apartment, all I can say is—ugh it is hot as hell (excuse my language).Last year, I spent half of the summer without a/c (which was horrible not only because I felt hot and sticky constantly, but also because I was covered in hives for a couple of weeks—that's a whole different story and made the heat pretty much unbearable!) so I had to get a little creative in my methods of staying cool.I'll start out with a story from earlier this summer in June when a heat wave decided to pass through the Chicago and I had not installed my a/c at that point.I wanted to get some work done (read some articles, etc.)So, given my love for coffee, a coffee shop was the first idea that came to mind.However, I was sick of going to Starbucks and had vowed that this summer I would make it a goal to try independent c…
Well, we have reached the end of another semester and another school
year. I don't know about you, but at the end of every school year
(and this is the end of my 19th year in school counting kindergarten!)
I have the same conversation with people. This dialogue usually
begins something like this, "Can you believe the year is over--it went
by so fast!" You'd think we would have learned by now that things
seem to go by a whole lot faster in hindsight. On the other hand, in
the moment, we seem to dwell on the never ending assignments to
complete and studying required to get a decent grade in that
ridiculously difficult class. I remember in January, I was trying
balance classes, collecting data for my masters, practicum, a
part-time job, and fitting a work out here and there. At the time, I
felt stressed, sleep deprived, and as if I had no free time. Although
those feelings weren't completely subjective-- compared to some of my
friends, my life was pretty busy. Yet, here …
More stress relief tips!
When you're in the middle of a stressful situation (e.g. studying for finals) you can use these tips to feel better.
-Take a break from what you're working on and do something you enjoy- a hobby, watch TV, just sitting, etc.  Leaving the stress behind even if it's just for a little bit will make you feel a whole lot better.
-Get some exercise!  Research shows that exercise is a great stress reliever.  You don't have to go to the gym- just do some jumping jacks or run in place for some quick and easy exercise or make it fun and play a group sport.
-Get a good night's sleep.  Staying up all night and studying isn't going to pay off in the end most likely.  A decent sleep will let your body and mind rest, so you can be ready to conquer whatever tasks you need to do during the next day.  Not getting enough sleep is just going to engender more stress.
-Laugh!  Can't get much simpler than that.
-Deep breathing exercises and relaxation.  You can…
Okay. Let's get to the actual stuff that will help you!  I want to introduce a few quick and easy tricks to help you feel more relaxed over these last few weeks of the semester.

Do you have a good attitude?  Is the glass half empty or half full? We tend to feel more stressed when we have a negative attitude about events/situations in our lives.  So, how can you improve your attitude? Positive self-talk: Don't be so critical of yourself.  It might sound silly, but it is helpful to talk to yourself as if you were a small child- give yourself a break!  Don't tell yourself that you should have done better on that exam or I shouldn't have gone out last night.  There is almost always a more rational/positive thought to replace your critical thought.  For instance, take the thought "I shouldn't have gone out last night."  Could you instead say, "I needed a break, so I went out to relax for a few hours.  I will try to be productive today," ?  When you noti…
Before I get to the positive, healthy ways of handling stress, I would like to review the not so great, but very common methods people use.

1.) Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can actually increase your stress response- this is exactly the opposite effect of what you hoped.  Likewise, always turning to alcohol when you are stressed can create a harmful pattern, which leads you to be dependent on alcohol when things aren't going your way or you're feeling overwhelmed.  These effects are subject to individual differences and family history of alcohol use, however.

2.) Sleeping too much

3.) Procrastinating

4.) Withdrawing from family and friends

5.) Taking your stress out on others

6.) Overeating (this is often called "emotional eating")

So, if any of these sound familiar, make sure y…
It's the first week back after spring break and the ARC is as busy as ever.  I don't know about you, but I'm already feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed about the rest of the semester.  I would like to explain what stress is, the symptoms of stress, and debunk a few myths about stress. Over the next few posts, I will provide I a few easy stress relief activities and include resources for more information and where to seek help. 

Stress: Physiological and emotional responses to an event.

Physiological Symptoms of Stress

1.) Increased heart rate
2.) Dry mouth
3.) Tight muscles
4.) Sweating
5.) Headaches
6.) Exhaustion

Cognitive/Emotional Symptoms of Stress

1.) Restlessness
2.) Trouble concentrating
3.) Negative self-talk
4.) Exhaustion

Myths (

1.) Stress is the same for everybody

Truth: Everyone reacts differently to stress.  Everyone does not get stressed out from the same situations or circumstances.

2.) Stress is always bad for you

Truth: A little stress is good.  The …
Sometimes we get into "go go go" mode.We are juggling classes, studying, that class project, fitting in a visit from mom and dad, a club meeting, and a million other things.As a result, we're skipping out on sleep and grabbing a bag of chips from the vending machine on the way to library instead of getting a full night's sleep and eating a healthy meal.Sometimes it seems like we don't even realize how exhausted we are until we finally get that break. Check out this recent article to learn more about the benefits of a taking a vacation and the positive effects of finding leisure time during your busy schedule as well.  According to the article, a vacation gives our mind and body a rest.  Yet, these benefits fade after about a month unless we strive to relax once we return to work or school.
Today, I witnessed something at the ARC today...something that helps make the ARC a unique and special place.  Now, that's silly you may think-- a tutoring center isn't special.  Maybe not on it's own, but the people (especially the tutors) prove otherwise.  Today a student came to the monitor desk in need of help with his physics homework.  As the monitor, I glanced at the physics help table and realized the tutor a physics tutor was not available at the moment.  I stood up and asked, directing my question to the left side of the room (where the chemistry and engineering tables are located) if anyone could help with physics.  The chemistry tutor, after asking which physics class to ensure his competence) readily volunteered to assist the student.  Even though he was in the middle of doing his own work, he put it aside to help a student in an area he was not assigned to tutor.  I commend him for stepping up in this situation.

Supplemental Instruction

The center is starting a new academic program to help students create groups, exam reviews and study sessions called Supplemenatal Instruction. An SI program targets traditionally difficult courses and provides regularly scheduled study sessions.