Monday, December 12, 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!

Monday, December 5, 2011

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 who have not prepared for the exam- their doubt and negativity will only increase your anxiety.


4.) Eat something before the exam.


5.) Make sure to get enough sleep the night before.


6.) Take deep breaths - count to 5.


7.) Imagine yourself taking the exam and feeling confident.


8.) Budget your time while taking the test.


9.) Focus on answering one question at a time rather than thinking about how many you still have left to get through.


10.) Don't panic if other students turn in their exams before you. It's not a race!


Good Luck!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Final week schedule

We are open during finals week Dec 5 to 9. View final week schedule at Tutoring Schedule page. ARC is open limited hours Mon – Thu: 10-4pm and Fri: 10-3pm. 


Meet Your People

Have you checked out the people page for your ARC scholar. You can view schedules and much more.

 

Software Schedule

The ARC recently added a software schedule for 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

Monday, November 28, 2011

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 next day and the exam isn't' for another week! 

 

So, why exactly is cramming ineffective?  Our brains need time to process information and store it in long term memory.  This process called consolidation requires sleep!  It is also beneficial to take a lot of breaks when studying to give your brain time to rejuvenate.  For instance, it has been shown that studying 20 – 30 minutes and then taking a short break helps the learning process rather than studying for 3 hours straight and taking a break, and then studying another 3 hours.  Also, if you want to retain what you learn after you complete the exam, cramming won't help.  You will likely forget what you learned shortly after the exam.  Lastly, you will do much better on an exam if you have a good night's sleep.  Taking an exam while you're half asleep is obviously not going to help you succeed.

 

I don't want to encourage cramming, but it can be effective when you know none of the material and you only left yourself a short time period to study.  In this case, taking the exam while you're sleep deprived, but know some of the material (as a result of cramming) is better than not knowing anything and being rested.

 

That said, good luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Every Thanksgiving break I run the same dilemma through my head.  I have a few days free...no 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 going to try and work on it here and there, but if you don't get to it, that's okay.  There's no use in beating yourself up over the fact that you wanted to go Black Friday shopping instead of doing school work.  Bottom line: have fun, it isn't called "break" for nothing!  If you need to do work, then do it- just don't plan for more than you know you can accomplish.

Monday, November 14, 2011

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 energy.  I make a trail mix to eat during class when I start to feel a bit hunger and tired. It includes almonds, peanuts, a few walnuts, soy nuts, raisins, and sometimes pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

3.) Fiber (found in beans, whole grains, whole fruits and veggies, and some cereals)  Fiber gives you a more study energy supply by slowing down digestion.  You can get fiber enriched granola bars and cereals like Fiber One that taste yummy and give you a great source of fiber!

4.) Fresh fruit is full of water, which hydrates and energizes you.  Skip the pretzels and grab a juicy apple or celery sticks instead.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

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 caffeine.  No one said it was all bad.  Don't overdo it (stick to 1-2 cups of coffee per day) and try to just drink it in the morning.  Otherwise, you may feel jittery and/or have trouble falling asleep at night.  Drinking green tea is a great alternative to coffee with slightly less caffeine.  You may also want to try a nonfat latte in the morning.  The protein from the milk will provide you with energy in addition to the caffeine boost.



Sunday, October 30, 2011

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 with a citrus flavor (or an actual orange or grapefruit)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Re:

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.  What about those who like a noisier spot?  I would suggest the dorms (if you live on campus) or the MTCC.  If you live off-campus, you may need to do some exploring.  A restaurant (sandwich shop or fro-yo place) may have more conversation than a coffee shop, but if wifi is necessary, make sure you check if the place has it first! 

It all comes down to what works best for you.  If you realize you don't get much accomplished in a coffee shop setting, then save coffee for a study break rather than a study place.  I admit that I like the idea grabbing my latte and typing up a paper at Starbucks (or whatever coffee shop I happen to be near), but in reality I end up getting distracted by the people around me.  The next thing I know, an hour has passed by and I hardly have anything typed. Likewise, people may have told you they are much more productive in the library; however, you have tried it a few times and seem to be bothered by the silence.  Then, don't go to the library.  Just because it is the typical study location does not mean it's the right spot for you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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!

Monday, October 3, 2011

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 tutor has the right idea of what tutoring is all about!

Monday, September 26, 2011

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).  

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/education/27colleges.html

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 Mint.com 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!  

College is a great place to just hang out with friends and guess what?  This activity is free!  Try making dinner with your friends instead of going to a restaurant or renting a RedBox movie instead of going to the theater.  Sure, nights out are fun and a nice thing to treat yourself to every once in awhile, but if money is tight, staying in can be just as enjoyable.  Chicago also has a number of free things to do- festivals, museums, the zoo, etc.  Go to www.explorechicago.org for some ideas.

Find cheap text books!  Go on to Amazon.com or Half.com to find used textbooks for great prices instead of buying them new at the bookstore.  You can also come to the ARC or go to the library to check books out instead of buying them.  One of my classmates checked his a textbook out at the library for now and figured that if he decided the book would be useful to own, he could always buy it later.

Those are just a few ways to help you start saving!  Feel free to add to the list!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

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 the group number to about 4 - 6 people
2. Work with others who share your motivation to succeed academically
3. Limit the session to about 2 - 3 hours
4. Plan the session ahead of time so you have a chance to prepare and review some of the material
5. Take turns teaching each other in order to reinforce learning

Monday, September 12, 2011

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 to discuss what is on your mind.  Make sure to listen to your roommates response or to any complaints he/she has.  Then, agree to make changes to accommodate one another.  Remember that it may take some time to change, so don't get too annoyed if your roommate slips up a few times!   If you feel uncomfortable talking directly to your roommate, make sure you speak to your RA.  The key thing is to not let it go if it really bothers you.  Sometimes it's okay to be laid back and go with the flow, but what you don't want to get to the point where you become passive aggressive toward your roommate or let the annoyance build up until you end up starting an argument.  Most likely, your roommate will appreciate your assertiveness and be happy to pick his towel up from the floor, lock the door when she leaves, or whatever it may be that has been bothering you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

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 week..is 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 responsible in general.  I hope that you take a minute to read the ARC blog, which will hopefully help you answer some of those questions I mentioned above.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

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 classes (well, not stats), I find myself wishing the summer would last forever.  It seems harder than ever to get back into my studying routine and I am not sure why.  Maybe it's because I don't have anything pushing me to get the work done as I did in high school and college.  For instance, today I am supposed to work on my masters.  Will I actually get to it today, though?  There is no actual due date, so it tends to go on the back burner- there's always something else that gets in the way.  I should write this blog first.  I need to go work out now.  If I finish the novel now, I won't have the urge to read for fun instead of read these articles tomorrow.  Basically, it all comes down to motivation.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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 tables were turned. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

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 is ready to go just because you are given the keys and told that it is ready.  Check to make sure there is no lock on the back of your trailer/truck!  (Yes, we drove the U-Haul from Logan Square to Uptown and realized that there was a lock on the back with no key to open it. 

 

4.) Measure door widths and the width of your furniture to make sure it fits before you ever even think about loading it in the truck. (My couch is now sitting in the alley behind my new apartment because it was too wide to fit through the doorway).

 

To those who are moving in the near future…I hope your move goes much better than mine!

Monday, July 25, 2011

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 water...it'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 course, but it will be a nice break from sweating.  Another option? Go to the beach...there's likely to be a breeze by the lake and you can go for a swim if you get too hot. Let me know if you have any other ideas!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

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 coffee shops (i.e. not Starbucks or Caribou).  There was one I'd past a few times called Beans and Bagels, so that was the chosen "cool off" location.  I even called them to make sure they had a/c (a little ridiculous, I know) and they claimed they did.  Well, when I got there, it did not feel much better than my apartment!  As you can imagine, I was quite disappointed and still hot.  Point of my story?  Coffee shops are a great place to go to do some school work, talk with friends, listen to music or even watch a movie on your lap top when it is hot out, but be careful that you choose a place that actually has working a/c!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

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 I am now writing about it
and thinking, maybe it wasn't all that bad. Either way, hindsight is
a funny thing that always should be taken with a grain of salt.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quick 10 minute relaxation video.  You might feel a little unsure about listening to someone telling you to relax, but it will help when you're stressed.  Just give it a try!

http://youtube/Xz-KDXWsepI 

Or if you only have a few minutes, try watching  one of these videos.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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 look these up online if you're interested.  

Hope these help!  

Monday, April 4, 2011

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 notice yourself being overly self-critical, take a minute to think of an alternative, more positive thought to replace the criticism.  You will feel better about yourself and feel less stressed as a result. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

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. 
      
        http://www2.fiu.edu/~oea/InsightsFall2004/online_library/articles/drinking%20to%20relieve%20stress%20a%20dangerous%20choice.htm
        http://www.ce-credit.net/articles/100623/Does_Drinking_Reduce_Stress.pdf


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 you continue reading for easy stress relief strategies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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 (www.apa.org)

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 most important thing is to learn ways to manage your stress.

3.) Stress is everywhere, so you can't do anything about it

Truth: Nope! You can plan your life in ways to reduce stress, so you don't feel so overwhelmed all of the time.  Try prioritizing what you need to do and attending to the simpler things before the really overwhelming things on your list.

4.) No symptoms, no stress.

Truth: You may still be experiencing some stress even if you don't have specific symptoms.

5.) Only the minor symptoms of stress require attention.

Truth: Pay attention to any and all symptoms.  Minor symptoms are a sign that your life may be getting out of hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.gl.iit.edu/doi/10.1002/job.699/pdf 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. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

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.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

test

This is a test blog.

ARC

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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.