Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Beauty of Helpful Listening

attentive-parenting-listening-to-your-kids-2-size-3Do you have a friend or loved one who seems to understand you better than most others? That person probably shows you respect and has an accurate understanding of how you feel. The ability to demonstrate an accurate understanding of how someone else feels is called empathy.  And at this time of the semester, when pressure and stress are both increasing some empathy – both given and received – means a lot!  At the Counseling Center, we understand how to help students through empathic listening and genuine care.

Most of us have tried to talk things over with a trusted someone when we are struggling — it’s a universal human need. Talking about problems with an empathic person can help us to clarify how we feel, and what we need to do to resolve our problems. Feeling genuinely understood by someone else also offers hope and helps us to feel less alone with our troubles.

But things don’t always go well. We can tell right away when we aren’t being heard accurately after taking a risk to talk with someone. And it can be quite a challenge for us to be a good listener for someone else. Here are some dos and don’ts for helpful listening.

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Helping Don’ts

106498-104125Many of us haven’t really learned how to listen well to others. We easily may become distracted by our own feelings when called upon to hear the problems of a friend. Instead of listening carefully for understanding, we might ask too many questions, making our friend feel criticized. Or we might give advice too early, implying disrespectfully that our friend’s difficult problems would be easy for us to solve. Talking about our own similar situation risks takes the focus off of the speaker, leaving them feeling unheard and misunderstood. Besides, our own experiences might not be so similar after all to our friend’s.

Helping Dos

Helping effectively means listening more and talking less — offering our time and attention to the person who needs to talk. A good listener suspends judgment and focuses in on the meaning the other person is communicating, connecting with the other person’s feelings, not only the words that are being said. A good listener is patient and tries genuinely to understand the difficulties of a friend instead of offering quick advice. With accurate empathy, our friend can often resolve the problem in their own best way after thoughtfully self-examining with the help of a good listener.

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Professional Counseling

Many people choose to talk over problems with professional listeners like the psychologists and other clinicians at the TU Counseling Center in the Ward & West building on campus. You can count on your Counseling Center counselor to be friendly, confidential, concerned, and unbiased.

The Counseling Center is for everyone facing the many difficulties of living and the stress of academic pressure, not just for the few with serious psychological problems. In addition to individual counseling, group counseling is also offered, in which students work on their own personal goals, while at the same time practice helpful listening to others.

Students who take advantage of counseling services can become more effective in their lives in general, as well as more able to understand and empathize with others. Check out the Counseling Center for more information. And if you would like to check us out further, just call 410-704-2512 to schedule an initial appointment.

Greg Reising, Ph.D.
Counseling Center

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Hook Up with Albert S. Cook This Semester

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The beloved institution of the Albert S. Cook library is a prominent fixture on our campus. You probably know it most fondly as the place you watch the sunrise during finals week or by the wooden study cubbies you carve your frustration into. But the studying struggle needs no longer to be solitary, Cook library is a vibrant hub of knowledge and educational interactions—and it’s time for you to start engaging in it.

The library offers a variety of resources to take advantage of that can help relieve the stress of a large looming research paper, or a rushed frantic morning assignment. No matter what kind of student you are, and what situations you find yourself in, here is how Cook Library is the perfect place for you to accomplish all of your goals.

The Nervous Student:  You have a huge research project due at the end of the semester, and it wasn’t exactly on your radar for the first month. Now your professor is bringing it up again and it may be a good time to actually start. The only problem is: How?

1If you know the course subject—you know where to start. On the library’s home page,  click on the subject gateways tab on the search box. Once you select your course discipline, it will take you to research databases that are relevant to that subject.

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A-LIST students:
Conor Reynolds, Kelly Langford, and Becca Hertl

So you’ve retreated back into your wooden cubby, but you’re still a little lost about the research process.  Keep an eye out for students in bright gold shirts walking around and be sure to flag them down. These are the members of Cook’s A-LIST, student research assistants that will come to you to answer any research questions you may have. Remember, if you don’t see an A-LIST student, you can always visit the Research Help desk.

If you and your librarian find the best article that matches your topic precisely, but it’s only available at another school. Since you still have a decent amount of time until it’s due, you can use interlibrary loan (http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/ill.cfm). When you make an interlibrary loan request, the school that has the article will email it to you so you can read it and use it in your paper.  Interlibrary loan is available for books too, but if the book is available at another public Maryland university, you simply need to press the request button in the catalog or in OneSearch.  When you turn in your paper at the end of the semester it will be filled with perfect sources that every other student in the class did not even knew existed.

The Procrastinating Student: your professor may have mentioned the research paper a couple (hundred) times but you never thought the due date would come. Well, it did and it’s due tomorrow. The clock is clicking down, how do you pull it off?

Cook library’s website has a great tool for when you’re racing the clock. Type your topic into the search box on the main page.  Cook’s OneSearch tool instantly retrieves articles and books related to your subject.  Just one search will look in many of the library’s resources at the same time, because frankly, you just don’t have time for individual databases.

Having trouble getting your search words right and still not finding what you need? Well you don’t have time for a full blown appointment with a librarian, but luckily for you there are still ways to contact one.  You can always stop by the Research Help desk, but if don’t want to leave your computer or aren’t in the library, there are two resources availa3ble: IM chat and texting.  Online chatting is available through the Cook library website (click on the “Ask a Librarian” button). Librarians will help you find sources and will give you search tips. If you’re too on-the-go to even sit down at a computer, you can text the librarians at 410-774-1398. This is a quick way to get basic questions answered when you are in a bind.

If you find a book you want that’s in the Cook Library stacks or just want to get out of your loud dorm room, you’ll be relieved to know that Cook is open until 2am Sunday through Thursday, and 24 hours during midterms and finals.

The Busy Student: You’re going to be on campus for a billion hours today and you have such a long list of things to accomplish. Where can you go in one stop to get everything done? Cook Library, obviously.

Need to print a paper for class? The new WEPA printing system allows you to print wirelessly to any of the systems through one of the library’s computers or your own. You can also select colored, black and white, and double-sided printing options.

Need to fax something? Copies Plus on the third floor will help you fax. They also have options for making copies all different kinds of ways, and printing if you only have cash.

Need to scan? Scanners are available free of charge on the first floor in the Student Computing Services lab. Photo copiers are also available; pay with either a credit card or your OneCard.

Have to fit in a meeting with a group for a project. Cubicles on the right side when you enter the 3rd floor are a perfect place to meet. There are plenty of chairs, a computer, and even dry erase boards to brainstorm on. If those are full, check out room 512 which has additional group computers and whiteboards.

Finally, some quiet time for you to get some studying done. Make sure you’re extra productive. At the back of the second floor (room 200C) is a quiet lounge where silence is assured.

No matter what kind of student you are, Cook Library has resources to make your life just a little bit easier. The successful student is our number one goal, so don’t ignore these valuable services any longer. Let the resources at the library help you achieve your highest grades yet!

Kelly Langford, Becca Hertl, and Conor Reynolds
Albert S. Cook Library Institute (A-LIST) Students.

Registration Crises: The Quick Fixes to Every Student’s Worst Nightmare

LCL_ESP_REGISTRATION_IMG_1The first couple months of school came and went in the blink of an eye and now in addition to thinking about impending term papers, you also have to think ahead to classes for next semester. Given the nature of this time of year it’s no surprise that things are falling through the cracks, emails are going unread, and you’re a half-cup of coffee away from losing your sanity. As the days tick down and you see a lot of little blue boxes telling you that the class you absolutely had to have is full and your student center tells you that you still have a hold that only your faculty advisor can take off, it’s easy to feel like the entire world is caving in around you in a dramatic, apocalyptic fashion. Is it? Absolutely not!  Will you have classes for next semester? Yes, you will. Take a deep breath, and get ready, because you’re about to go into class registration crisis management mode.

Here are all the obstacles that will stand in your way, and the action game plan for combating all of them:

THE CHALLENGE: “Um… what’s a faculty advisor and how do I get one?”

THE PLAN: Well, better late than never. Check your emails to see if any faculty has contacted you this semester saying something along the lines of: “Hello I am your advisor.” If not, no problem. You’ll just have to do a little digging yourself. On your student center page, in the blue boxes on the right hand side (under where it says you have this advising hold) is a box for advisors. In it is the name of the magical person, and the only person, who should take off your hold. If you have not contacted them before, you can find their email address and office phone number in the faculty directory on the Towson University main website.

THE CHALLENGE: You have emailed your advisor and a couple days have passed… no response. Time to freak out?

THE PLAN: No. Just as it is a busy time for you, it’s busy for faculty members, too. It’s important for you to be persistent but flexible in making a meeting time and to leave yourself plenty of time between the initial scheduling of the appointment and your registration date (just so that there’s no banging and screaming on office doors on the morning you’re supposed to be polishing up your future schedule). Just work with your advisor, and leave plenty of time to do so. They are the only, I repeat ONLY person who should take off your hold. If you walk into the advising center or your major department demanding your hold be taken off, you will automatically be told to go to your assigned faculty advisor. If both you and your advisor are as busy as it seems like so far, you don’t have to schedule a long “pour your heart out” advising session.  It can be as brief as a five minute meeting. Sometimes an advisor will have the conversation over email and will take your hold off after a few emails back and forth. Either way, it’s in your best interest to do your own legwork.

THE CHALLENGE: Your advisor will take your hold off but you need to know what classes to take and you’ve been staring at the catalog so long you’re pretty sure it’s written in Spanish now. How do you get someone with advising knowledge to sit down with you at a time that is flexible and works in your schedule?

THE PLAN: So now is the time to take advantage of the general advisors at the Academic Advising Center. More specifically, Student Academic Advisors who will take walk ins—no appointment necessary. Go to the Lecture Hall anytime between 9:30 and 4:00 Monday through Thursday. Stay for as little or as long as you’d like, there’s no set times and the informal setting will allow you to get all of the information you need—with none of the stress. The student advisor can go over with you your requirements for your major and for the core, how to navigate the online system, and anything else that your regular advisor would go over with you, just in a more personalized manner. By fitting this into your schedule wherever it is most convenient for you, you can now roll into your five minute faculty advisor meeting ready to wow them with your scheduling knowledge and get that hold taken off. Also, for any extra questions and some good interactive tools about transferring credits, your GPA, and core requirements, use the advising website: http://www.towson.edu/advising

THE CHALLENGE: So the day is finally here and you’re keeping your eye on your shopping cart. Unavoidably, the number of green circles is depleting and you fear that despite all of your successful missions, this might be the downfall.

THE PLAN: Make sure that you have a lot of different sections of the same class in your shopping cart, making different hypothetical schedules in your head or on paper.  That way when one section closes you still have others of the same class (go ahead take that MWF 8am—it won’t kill you). Another important thing is to not underestimate the power of the wait-list. If you’re getting down to the final semesters in your major and it’s very specific exactly what classes you need and when in order to stay on track, it’s important that you do whatever it takes to get these classes. If every single section is closed, put yourself on the wait list if it’s an option and email the teacher listed for the class explaining to them your situation. Usually, professors will be very accommodating and can give permission to add you to the class. Also, if you’re on the wait-list, when the class starts next semester make sure you go to the class and speak with the teacher after class.  If they hadn’t already moved you from the wait-list to enrolled there’s a good chance they will once they talk to you in persplit-test-success-kid-meme-300x300son and see your commitment.

Press enroll and CONGRATULATIONS! You did it!

Hopefully you feel like “Success Kid” or perhaps not.

Either way, you have classes for next semester so you won’t have to do this again… for a few months at least. Now stop stressing about this and worry about something else like the quickly approaching finals you remember vaguely hearing about during syllabus week. I know at this time of year you feel like you can’t seem to catch a break, but for anything advising related the advising center has your back. Stick to the game plan and if you have any questions feel free to visit, call, or email us.

 

Sincerely,
Your pals in the lecture hall.

Kelly Langford
Student Academic Advisor
Academic Advising Center

Noteworthy Ways to Make your Notes Count

Did you know? Taking organized lecture and textbook notes can enhance academic success!  If you don’t take notes…start!  It will help you stay engaged and interested in lecture and when reading your textbook.  Looking to advance your note taking approach?  Check out 3 of the most common note taking methods – Cornell Notes, Outlining, & Charting below & review our list of Note Taking Do’s & Don’ts!

Cornell Note Taking Methodnote

Developed in 1949 at Cornell University, Cornell is a multi-step process useful for several different types of courses.  Many law schools swear by this method and research suggests using Cornell notes can help improve academic performance.

Highlights of the Cornell Method:

  • Helpful for  taking lecture & textbook notes
  • Works with all courses
  • Use as a study guide & to practice recall of information

How to Take Cornell Notes

1) Prepare Notes

  • Draw a vertical line about 2” from the left to create space for notes & cues
  • Draw a horizontal line about 2 inches from the bottom of page to create space for summary
  • Write date, Chapter and/or Section Title & page numbers at top

2) Write Notes ( remember to leave some space between main topics)

3) Rephrase Notes: Within 24 hours, write in your own words a summary of notes in “Summary” section

4) Fill in Cue Column: Identify categories, line up key concepts or add questions that correspond  to notes

5) Self-Test/Study: Cover your notes.  Use the words & questions in the cue column to practice recall

6) Review/Reflect: Review your notes regularly & consider –

    • Making connections among topics & to what you already know
    • Applying concepts
    • What the information doesn’t explain
    • How it might be asked in an exam

Check out this video on how to prepare your notebook page for Cornell!

note2.jpgOutlining Method

This is a simple note taking method that can be easily added to your note taking arsenal.  This method organizes information into main topics, sub-topics, and other supporting points.  Indentations are made to separate each category.  The main topics, or general information, are located closest to the left margin of the paper with sub-topics and other supporting points being put towards the right. You can get creative with it using different style bullets, letters, or numbering, but the important part is the indentation. This style of note taking is great for reviewing for exam prep.

Charting Method

This is a method of note taking that is most useful for information that can be easily categorized.  You can use this method to break main concepts down into categories, and can also be used to separate similarities and differences, etc.  Charting is done by drawing a table, usually before your lecture starts.  This way you don’t waste valuable class time.

Note Taking Do’s & Don’ts

Do…

  • Look over previous notes before class
  • Write down all examples & things professor provides & writes down
  • Attend all classes
  • Use abbreviated words to make things easier
  • Keep notes organized
  • Skip lines to fill in missing material later
  • Use a combination of note taking methods when appropriate
  • Pay attention to verbal cues from the professor
  • Keep notes legible
  • Ask questions
  • Turn your professor’s statements into phrases & points
  • Start a new page for each lecture
  • Include date of lecture/notes & Chapter
  • Review notes within 24 hours: add information, highlight important topics, or reorganize/rewrite

Don’t…

  • Write every single word on a power point slide
  • Give up if the lecture is moving too fast
  • Abbreviate every word
  • Doodle or “disengage” from taking notes
  • get hung up on spelling
  • think you will remember it all and choose not to take notes

Find tips for taking PowerPoint lecture notes & more here!

There are many different types of note taking methods out there.  Every student’s mind works differently so feel free to experiment with a few different note taking method and then use the ones that work best for your style of learning.  The important part is that you are taking effective and organized notes that can be referenced later.

Academic Achievement Center
Gina Sabo – Graduate Assistant
Jennifer Wendt & Jeremy Boettinger – Learning Specialists

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