GRWM Spring Semester 2016

Often times, the start of the semester can be challenging with lots of transition—move-ins, registration, book-buying, adding/dropping classes, and then actual classes. We thought you could use a few tips to help you with getting and staying ready.

Produced by: Academic Advising
Courteney Cline, Student Academic Advisor
Tricia Raysor, Academic Advisor
Robert Karp, Academic Advisor

Self-Care Part 2: Finals Edition!

self-careSee if this sounds familiar: last Saturday night, I had a final paper to write, a final presentation to prepare, and chapters to read for Monday class.

What I actually did: I put up my Christmas tree while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

When I posted about this on Facebook, I was shocked by the overwhelmingly positive response from my classmates, family and friends. When I got to class on Monday, some of my classmates told me it helped them step back and evaluate how they were operating. It reminded me how powerful it can be to take time for yourself.

In my first post back in October, I talked about the steps to practicing self-care, and I hope it was helpful. But even when we practice self-care regularly, there’s something about this time of year that makes it really hard! Many people feel stressed about the holidays coming, and then as students, we have the added stress of finals. We feel like we are being pulled in so many extra directions, and it is easy to let other peoples’ priorities overtake our lives. So what extra steps can we take to take care of ourselves this season?

  • Be extra-aware of your own needs, and put them first. I know that putting ourselves first can feel tough; but especially during the season of giving, it can feel selfish. But it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, it’s essential to your well-being! Taking care of yourself makes you perform that much better at the other things you have to do. If you pull an all-nighter for a final, how do you think you will feel when you’re taking the test? Will you be rested and performing at peak level, or will you be exhausted and barely able to write one sentence? It’s worth it to do what will help us feel prepared for the tasks ahead.
  • Remember what really matters. In a busy season, and especially with finals, we can feel like one paper, one exam, one meeting, one present, or one party is the most important thing in the world. We can worry about getting it right, obsess over the small details, and get angry when something doesn’t go our way. But in reality, how much does that one thing matter? Will this one paper impact what happens for the rest of your life? In most cases, we’ll probably forget about that paper the second that the semester is over! That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to do well and put our best efforts towards it. But it’s helpful to keep it in perspective.
  • Procrastination is the opposite of self-care. If someone has a final on Monday but decides to see a movie on Saturday night, are they practicing self-care, or are they procrastinating? From the outside, it can be tough to tell. The difference is all in a person’s intention.
    • If I’m practicing self-care, I’ve decided that I need some time to recharge before this final, and that seeing the movie will help me relax and put me in a better mindset for the exam. I’ve decided it’s OK to not study for the night, and that I’m okay if this means I don’t know absolutely everything on the exam.
    • If I’m procrastinating, I still want to do well on this exam, but I’m putting off the studying that I feel I have to do. I may feel fine when I’m at the movie, but I’ll probably start feeling really stressed about the final the next day, or I might start stressing when I’m at the movie, so I won’t enjoy it as much!

They key difference is that with self-care, we make the choice to put things in perspective, and we accept the choices we make. With procrastination, we don’t change our perspective on the task, and we can feel even more stressed because we have to do the same amount of work in a shorter timeframe.

So as we plow through the rest of this month, let’s take some time to step back, breathe, and decide what really matters. Let’s give ourselves permission to take time for ourselves, and instead of stressing, let’s enjoy a little bit of the season!

Lauren Drinkwater
Graduate Assistant
Counseling Center

Hunger Games: Finals Week – May the Odds be Forever in Your Favor

 Welcome to the 150th Hunger Games! You have been selected as tribute in the next week of final exams throughout your courses, may the odds be ever in your favor. While you will be on your own for the exams, you should remember these few tips to help you study, and ease your mind while you are preparing. Take note of what you can do to help you make it through to the other end, and become the next Hunger Games champion!

Don’t Panic

Finals are here! Take a couple breaths and remember don’t stress! The best thing you can do is to study smarter, not harder! Study your material in chunks, and not cram. Make a study schedule for the next few weeks to help you build a good routinehunger
including classes, finals, eating, sleeping, etc. You will want a routine to help keep you less stressed, and remember that you can do well!

If Necessary, Get Help

You don’t need to fight through the finals arena alone!  It is important to make allies that are fighting inside the arena along with you, which would be your classmates.  They know your pain, as they are going through it with you, and you can team up to form a strong alliance that will help you both achieve your study goals.  It is important to pick allies that will help you achieve your study goals and not just your friends, remember there is a lot at stake in the finals arena.  Don’t forget about your sponsors in your time of need, remember that they can send game changing gifts down to the arena.  In the finals arena the sponsors are your professors and academic resources on campus, like the tutors from that Academic Achievement Center.  It is important to make sure that they see you during the vital stage before the fight through the arena begins.

Sleep

It is hard to find the time to sleep while fighting your way through the finals arena, but it is vital to your survival.  Your mind and body won’t have the energy it needs to make it until the end if you are not giving it its proper rest.  The night before each of your big battles it is more important to get your proper rest than it is to stay up preparing all night.  If you show up to the fights sleepy and off your “A Game” than you will surely not arise from the finals arena as a victor.

Start early

Real, or not real? Unfortunately, just like Peta’s paranoia, finals do exist. So, the best way to get through them is to start preparing early. This means go to tutoring, check out the library, open that text book you have refused to acknowledge all semester. Review your notes. Do all the things. You should start preparing for finals 5-7 days in advance. District 1 didn’t make itself in a day, and we’d all love to hide out in District 13 bunker until finals are over, but… you can’t. So, 5-7 days in advance. 20-45 minutes at a time, every day, per subject. Give yourself breaks, eat well, sleep well, go to the gym. Take care of yourself, so that you can perform at your best.

Has anyone seen Finnick? … Odair he is! In the library!

Relax

hunger2Take a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to five slowly on the inhale, count to five slowly on the exhale. Now, repeat 5 times. What are you doing to take downtime during finals week? We all know that Katniss spends 95% of her time saving the world, and 5% of her time on everything else. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about saving the world. You do have to worry about saving yourself – from yourself. DO NOT: pull an all nighter, study for more than an hour without at least a 10 minute break, stress-eat/drink/whatever-it-is-you-do. Be your best self. Run, eat well, lift weights, socialize, journal, draw, reflect, sit quietly, and listen to music [Adele playing in the background]. Chances are you have gotten through similar situations. Think about what has worked for you in the past? What is working now? Do more of those things. What hasn’t worked or is making you more stressed out? Do less of those things.

You’re in for the fight now, so may the odds be ever in your favor. Remember you can be the new Hunger Games champion if you start your studying now, get some sleep, and relax. Take advantage of all resources that you may need in the next few weeks, it is the gifts from your sponsors (or campus resources) that will help you get the best grade you can and be the 150th Hunger Games winner.

Graduate Assistant: Eddie Lomash
Learning Specialists: Tabatha Beck & Jeremy Boettinger

The Secret Side of Google and Google Scholar

Where would we be without Google? For every little question we have, Google is there to guide us to the right answer. But sometimes, a basic Google search just isn’t enough. Every student can relate to the frustration of searching through multiple pages of the search engine and not finding exactly what you need. Luckily, tblog1here are secret tips and tricks to upgrade your search to get more precise results.

Let’s say you can’t possibly wait to find out what happens in the next episode of Scandal –a quick Google search will get you filled in. You probably wouldn’t even have to use special search terms, just Scandal spoilers 2015 would provide ample results, but what about when Google lets you down? What do you do if aren’t finding your answer?  Let’s learn the art of tweaking your search terms to get a more specific search.
Here are some easy additions to the search bar that can completely change your reblog2sults:

Using a dash before a word will remove that word from the search results. If you wanted to searc
h for Scandal but leave out any possible spoilers that might come up, you would search Scandal -spoilers

~ This symbol allows for similar words to be included in the search results. Doing a search like TV ~schedule would also provide you with results on TV listings, TV guides, and other synonymous phrases.

An ellipsis can be used when searching for a range of numbers. For example, you could search Scandal news 2013…2015 to find a more broad range of information about the show’s past updates.

site: Site: is used to limit your search to a certain website domain. For example, let’s say that watching Scandal has gotten you interested in REAL politics. Maybe you think, “hey, I wonder who’s the real life White House Press Secretary?” You could search for information about the White House press secretary on government websites by limiting your search to site:gov

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Google Scholar

For academic searches, Google usually doesn’t stack up. Whether the results are few and far between, or plentiful but unreliable, regular Google isn’t cut out for scholarly sources. This is where Google Scholar comes in.  Like Google’s more studious cousin, Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) locates academic articles and other scholarly sources like books, theses, and court opinions. Google Scholar can also help generate citations for those tedious Reference pages.

Just like with Google searches, there are also advanced searches available for Google Scholar.

blog4Author: If you’re searching for works by a specific author, use “author:” at the beginning of your search to narrow down your search.

blog5

Intitle: Remember part of a source’s title but not the whole thing? Use “intitle:” followed by the key words you remember to find title’s including those words.

These are just a few ways that you can create more focused searches for academic papers or just for general research. Of course, you can always use Cook Library’s OneSearch and other databases, as well as course and subject gateways along with Google for a complete range of searches. Visit the library’s website: http://libraries.towson.edu

Ada Leonard
A-LIST Student
Cook Library

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Whatta Plan, Whatta Plan, Whatta Mighty Good Plan!

LHScanner2@towson

You have probably seen it in a T3 post, on a flyer, or even as a hold in your Student Center (in Peoplesoft). During the month of October, Academic Advising even asked students to tweet #IDCP to tell us what it is.  It’s out there, it’s been seen, yet many people still do not know what it is or what to do with it. Don’t worry, we’ll help you.

IDCP stands for Individualized Degree Completion Plan. This is the plan now required once of all students to complete and submit, indicating the courses to be taken during the semesters remaining to complete a bachelor’s degree at Towson University. This has become a university requirement as a result of Maryland Senate Bill 740, the Career and College Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013, and it will be a requirement for all University System of Maryland students.

The Individualized Degree Completion Plan takes into account not only the courses you need to complete, but also appropriate sequencing (prerequisites) and timing (offering) of the courses. Since it is individualized, the plan also takes into account your unique goals and needs—personal circumstances, employment, internships, Study Abroad, caretaking, etc. It is important to remember that the Individualized Degree Completion Plan really serves as a road map and can change depending on success in coursework, course availability, addition of or change in major/minor.

We have outlined cases where you might see the IDCP (Degree Completion Plan) hold show up on your account as well as tips for preparing a plan.

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Ultimately, as you are approaching the 45-credit (or more) mark, here’s what you should be doing:

  • check out Towson’s online undergraduate catalog for the recommended plan of study for your major;

  • review your Academic Requirements Report to see which graduation requirements you have met and which you need to complete
  • go to the website of your College or Major Department to find information about how to file a Degree Completion Plan with your advisor or academic department.
  • Special note for students who are studying abroad or LHScanner3@towsonparticipating in a National Student Exchange this semester. Some academic departments require submission of the Degree Completion Plan to allow removal of the Academic Advising hold. Be sure to check with your Towson advisor about this requirement.

So now, if you see IDCP, in a T3 post, on a flyer, or in your Student Center, you not only know what it is, but what to do. Nobody plans to fail, but some people fail to plan.

Tricia Raysor
Academic Advising

Love Your Body, Love Yourself

1You only have one body. Your body, your one and only body, is the house of your brain, mind, soul, and spirit. Without bodies, we could hardly exist. Though who we are is absolutely more than our bodies, it is important to treat our bodies with kindness, love, respect, and care. However, in the age of Instagram, Facebook, and other mass media, it often feels like an individual’s appearance is constantly being judged, liked, or scrutinized. Our friends, the media, and ourselves can all become sources of negative self-talk about our bodies. Just look at any magazine cover and you will probably find some message about how it is time for you to change your diet, how you exercise, or some other aspect of your appearance. Though everyone seems to be talking about how should look, very seldom do people celebrate the body!

Despite having only one body, many people are often convinced by the bully that is the media to wish they could have a different body. You may, in fact, be thinking right now that you wish you had a different body, or can recall a time where you had wished your body was different. When we compare ourselves to others, it becomes increasingly difficult to practice self-love. Luckily for you, the Body Image Peer Educators (BIPE) are here to help. BIPES can be found all over campus at various events advocating for positive body image. Here are a few tips from the BIPES on how to increase your love for your body.

Question Expectations From The Media

UntitledRecently, and historically, Victoria secret has been under fire for completely photoshopping out a models butt cheek and chuck of her right arm. This glaring error somehow made it to press, and highlights how twisted the media’s perception is of what bodies should look like. Indeed, 100% of magazines are photoshopped in some way. If you’re interested in learning more about how the media is influential in our cultural in how it impacts concepts of body image, health, influences eating disorders, and body satisfaction, check out the film The Illusionist coming to Towson University on November 18th at 6:00pm. Be sure to RSVP online!

Be Your Body’s Biggest Fan, Not Its Enemy

One of the best ways to practice self-love is to think of your body as a friend. Before engaging in fat talk, or negative self-talk, consider if what you’re saying to yourself if something you would say to your friend. If not, maybe reconsider what kind of message you’re sending to yourself. Some days we might feel badly about our bodies. On days like this, remind yourself how much you love your body by putting notes of affirmation on a mirror or somewhere visible. Remember, you are worth more than your appearance! Keep a list of the things you like about yourself (not including your appearance). Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.

Get To Know Your Body

3As busy students, we often forget about our body’s needs. We might eat on the go, or event forget to eat. We might sit in the same position for several hours studying or writing papers. We might lose sleep over assignments. All of these are unavoidable in our college years, but it is possible to practice small steps that allow us to be good to our bodies. Be sure to be kind and to listen to its need without judgment. Stretch, and listen to the part of you that needs a break from school work. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Learn about how YOUR body works. One of the best ways to becoming more in touch with your body is through meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Stuck on campus? Campus Recreation Services often offers yoga classes, Zumba classes, and other fun options to help you get in touch with your body. The Counseling Center also offers a meditation room with an audio guided meditation available.

Loving our bodies can be difficult. When I am struggling with loving my own body, I remember a few words from an old song

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Visit the Counseling Center for more information on Body Image Peer Educators. And remember, love your body, love yourself!

Alex Shiflett
Graduate Assistant
Counseling Center

Good Grades No Scam

seuss1The semester is underway
Halloween’s coming soon
Here’s a few tips to study
You can start this afternoon!

Grab your binders and your books
Notes, highlighters, and pens
Get your studying in now
So you can hang out with your friends!

Not sure where to start?
You’re not the only one
Just keep reading along
And visit the AAC when you’re done!

Study Buddy

Do not: Study with your best friend in his/her dorm while listening to music and getting visits from the other people on your floor. You will literally get nothing done.

Perhaps the best study buddy is someone who is close, but not too close. Someone you get along with, but not someone who is going to distract you. “You can’t study with best friends because you end up talking, listening to music, and you can just get easily distracted unless everyone is on the same page, like ‘oh we have to study’ but other than that…” Ori Onazi, Senior Psychology Major. Unless you are on the same page, you cannot study with someone. Seriously though, you cannot go over the same information unless you are looking at the same page…

Anyway, I digress. Find someone who is compatible with the way you study best. Like any other relationship, don’t be afraid to try it out. Date your study buddy (not literally). Try it out, if it works, keep it going. If it doesn’t, break it off. Find someone who matches or compliments your learning style. Also, like any other relationship, you can’t rush perfection. If you can hold each other accountable, you are more likely to stay on track, and more likely to succeed in your goals. Set a solid time aside each week, and walk yourselves to Cook to be more productive.  There are group study areas on the second and third floors.

Hate to Wait

Procrastination is one of the easiest things to do for any student. When you know you have weeks, sometimes longer, to complete assignments; it’s easy to get side tracked and think you can still get your work and studying done on time. Then, as the days go by, you start to remember that you have other things to do and more assignments keep popping up and all of the sudden, you don’t have time to finish everything. This can cause tremendous stress and never ends well. Remember that the semester, and college in general, is a marathon not a sprint. You can’t learn everything you need to know for the test or write a paper in one night. Take it from someone who has done both; it never ends well. Even if you think the grade you got on the test was good enough, there is a difference between doing well on a test and learning your craft. Practicing good habits of planning ahead and learning for retention will serve you very well in your future job and in life.

Prudent Student

To be a great student, you must excel to get the grade! You should start by utilizing all resources that are available on campus; whether that is tutoring, the writing center, or the counseling center. If you are able, you should go to meet with your professor during their office hours, or before and after class. Always plan on attending every class, sit up front, and take lots of notes. Lastly, do whatever it takes to get the A!

Boats of Notes

Note-taking is an essential part of all of your courses.  There are many different styles out there and itsuess2 is important that you find a style or styles that best suit your own personal learning style.  You will need to adapt the way you take notes based off of the course that you are taking notes for.  Your notes for a science or math course will look different than your notes for your history class.  There are also plenty of apps available for your phone, tablet, or computer.  The one most utilized by the Academic Achievement Center is Evernote.  Evernote allows you to organize your notes in an online platform that you can access anywhere with an internet connection.  If you are looking for more information on note taking stop by one of the Note-Taking Methods workshops that we are hosting this week on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

The moral of the story is: have a plan! Make a study schedule and stick to it. Pick a study buddy who will help you achieve success, not necessarily your best friend. Take full advantage of the academic recourses on campus to help you excel in class. And above all else, don’t procrastinate! Get the assignments done ahead of time and you won’t feel as stressed.  The earlier you finish assignments, the more time you have to edit and revise your work. The earlier you begin studying, the more prepared you will be for the test and the more you will be able to commit the information to memory for long-term use. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Graduate Students
Kristy Gustavson, Steven Hand, Marissa Insinna, & Eddie Lomash

Learning Specialist
Tabatha Beck & Jeremy Boettinger

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