UMaine CLAS Advising Center

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Summer Plans

Summer vacation is almost upon us, with only a few weeks to go until finals are done and the Spring semester is a memory. But that leaves us with the question of what to do during the long break. For some students, the ideal summer vacation involves just resting and relaxing. Perhaps get a place at the beach for the summer with some friends. Or just sleep in and focus on some fun hobbies. That sound like a lot of fun…but…it would be a grave mistake. The reality is that once you start college, everything you do impacts your future because it all goes on your resume. After you graduate and begin submitting your resume to prospective employers, you’ll be competing with others, many of whom spent their summers strengthening their academic and/or employment background. Since most students have a number of different options of how to spend their summertime, in this post we’re going to discuss a few of them.

Option number one is the most traditional: get a summer job. There are lots of reasons to get a summer job, most of which revolve around making money. And that’s a completely legitimate reason to get a summer job. But once you’re in college, both the act of having a job and the nature of that job take on greater meaning. Many students had jobs in high school and go back to that job during the summer. That’s great, as it shows hard work and dedication to an employer, both excellent qualities. Another option, though, is to get a job in the field you hope to end up in after graduation, or at least one tangentially related. Doing this builds your resume, helping you achieve your end goal. And, by giving you experience in the field, you receive a taste of what you have to look forward to. The earlier you do this, the earlier you know if the reality of the field matches your idealized version of it.

Related to the job option is finding an internship. An internship is similar to a job. You’ll be getting work experience within the field you’re aiming to get into. The difference is the pay and the college credit. Depending on your field, an internship may or may not provide a salary. Many internships don’t provide any remuneration excepting the experience you get. Many internships, though, can provide you with college credit (check with your department). So, you’ll be working, getting experience, and getting credit towards your graduation. That’s a win-win-win situation. Much like a job, you’ll be gaining skills and experiences in the field you’re interested in. You’ll be able to put the book learning you’ve gained in class into practice and see how the field actually works. You’ll also find out first hand what skills are most important, giving you time to get them before you go out on the job market.

Of course, if you’re looking to get credit over the summer, you can also take summer session classes. Summer classes can help you catch up on credits, if you’ve fallen behind for some reason. Or they can help you gain credits faster, so you can graduate faster. Or they can help you get credits towards a minor or a second major. Taking summer classes keeps you on task and focused on your education. Plus, the campus is a completely different environment during the summer. It’s quieter and more conducive to getting your studying done. You’ll likely learn more and build relationships with your professors, seeing them in a more stress-free environment.

Another phenomenal option is to study abroad. There are few careers or fields where spending time overseas or in another country wouldn’t be a huge plus for your resume. Doing a summer study abroad means you don’t run the risk of falling behind in your major or minor requirements, but you gain all the benefits, including learning and experiencing a new culture. With the modern world increasingly centered around a global economy, direct international experience will give you a boost on the job market. It shows you to be less provincial and more cosmopolitan. It shows that you’re open to new experiences.

So these are some of your options. You can sit back and relax, hang out with friends, brush up on a hobby. Or you can start gaining real experience and building your resume. While relaxing may seem more fun (and in the short run, may well be), working towards a goal is going to help you in the long run. It’ll show to your future employers that you are a hard worker, that you are motivated, and that you know how to plan ahead. And those are excellent traits to possess and to be known for.

Calendar for the Week of 4/21/2014 to 4/27/2014

Monday, April 21
The Tutor Program is offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – PSY 100
2pm-3pm -CHY 121
4pm-6pm – BMB 208
6pm-7pm – MAT 232
7pm-8pm – PHY 122

Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It is located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm – French Table
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table
12pm-1pm – German Table

Tuesday, April 22
Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
10am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 100
1pm-2pm – FSN 101
2pm-4pm – MAT 232
4pm-5pm – MAT 228
5pm-7pm – CHY 122
7pm-8pm – PHY 112

Wednesday, April 23
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
12pm-2pm – BUA 202
4pm-5pm – PHY 122
5pm-7pm – PSY100

ML&C
1pm-2pm – Italian Table

Thursday, April 24
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
11am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – BIO 222
3pm-4pm – CHY 121

Friday, April 25
ML&C
2pm-3pm – Arabic Table

Sunday, April 27
Drop-in Tutoring for Sunday:
4pm-6pm MAT 228
6pm-8pm BIO 100

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

The Exam Cram: Why Stress Can Hurt Your Test Scores

Finals are just a few weeks away, and while many people have goals to start studying early, many others will find themselves in a familiar situation- cramming to study for finals just a few days before they occur. You don’t have to wait for Fogler Library’s extended hours to begin reviewing for finals. Today’s infographic shows how cramming can actually hinder your ability to learn material. So, get studying!

final-exam

Thursday Tip of the Day

Don’t let account holds keep you from preparing for next semester! If you have a hold on your account, you can still make a wish list and get it approved by your advisor.

Guide to Good Study Habits, Part II

Study

In our previous post, we talked about some study tips, including studying in a group, finding good places to do your work, and setting up a studying schedule. But studying is rarely a one-size-fits-all activity. What works for some may not work for all. So today we’re going to explore a few more study tips.

Many study tips seem rather obvious, but often obvious things get overlooked. For instance, one of the most important things you can do is keep up-to-date with the material you’re studying. Don’t fall behind. Falling behind and playing catch-up is a sure-fire way to add stress and frustration to your life. As I mentioned in the previous post, you need to create and follow a studying schedule. Another reason for this is that it breaks the studying up into smaller, more easily digested pieces. Instead of seeing a mountain of material that needs to be learned over the course of the semester, the month, or the week, you can focus on a few specific things for that study session. It makes studying more manageable and less intimidating. It keeps you on top of the material, so you can participate in class. And it means you won’t have to stay up all night cramming before an exam. Better, happier, healthier.

Another obvious tip is to ask for help if you need it. If you don’t understand something in the lecture or the textbook, ask the professor in class. Odds are, other students don’t understand it as well. Or if you don’t want to ask in class, go see the professor during his/her office hours. The vast majority of faculty would be thrilled to have students come see them with questions during their office hours. If the class has a teaching assistant, you can go see them for questions, too. You can also contact the Tutor Program, see if they have Drop-In Tutoring or semester-long Group Tutoring available. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, as some students seem to view it. Instead, it’s a sign of intelligence, that you know where to look for answers, and shows that you’re not afraid to use the resources at hand to find the answer.

Good studying means good organization. And the basis of good organization is making lists. Write down everything that you have to do and then prioritize the list. List by day, week, month, and for the whole semester. Convert each task into real time. That is, if you have to read 20 pages, figure out how long it’ll take to read 20 pages. Once you’ve figure out a total time amount for your list, it’s a good rule of thumb to add an extra 20% longer. There’s almost always a hiccup along the way, something that takes longer than you assumed. Then go through the list, checking things off as you do them. But you’ll also be adding things to the list as you get more items to do. It’s a constant, on-going process, and mastering it in college will benefit you once you get out into the work world.

Here’s another counterintuitive tip. Common sense would say that if you want to become an expert in a topic you should immerse yourself in it. After all, as I mentioned before, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master something. However, according to this New York Times article, immersion is not the best method. Instead, studies show that varying the material studied within a single session actually increases retention. So don’t just sit and study for one particular class in one particular way. Change it up, study different things in different orders. You’ll learn more and retain more, which sets you up for greater success.

One key to college success is time management. You have classes and the necessary studying that goes along with it. You have family and social engagements to think about. There’s campus events to go to and organizations to get involved in. And many people have part-time (or even full-time) jobs. The reality is that when people talk about college students finally getting real jobs after they graduate, they miss the truth that going to college is a job. As a college student you are employing your time in gaining an education. So treat going to college as a job.

When you treat college as your job, you make different decisions. One popular method is to get to campus at the same time every day. Don’t assume you can just sleep in if you have a later class that day. Give yourself a set amount of time on campus every day, putting in the work. Optimally, you’ll be spending roughly 35-40 hours per week in class or studying. Though that might seem like a lot, you’ll be surprised how much you retain when you put that time in. By setting a work-like schedule, you’ll then have the rest of your time free to socialize or get involved in campus activities without the stress of thinking about how much you still have to do. It lowers your stress and allows you to relax, which is an incredibly important component of college success.

As I said above, studying is rarely one-size-fits-all. Some of these tips will work for you, others won’t. But to find out, you’ll have to give them a try. You might be surprised at how much success you experience when you do.

Calendar for the Week of 4/14/2014 to 4/20/2014

Course registration for Fall 2014 continues today, and will be ongoing for the next several weeks. If you haven’t done so, be sure to make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your plan for the upcoming academic year. Don’t delay, do it today!

Monday, April 14
Registration for Fall 2014 classes continues today, scheduled as follows:
First Years with 20+ credits- 11am
First Years with 18+ credits- 2pm

The Tutor Program is offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – PSY 100
2pm-3pm -CHY 121
4pm-6pm – BMB 208
6pm-7pm – MAT 232
7pm-8pm – PHY 122

Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It is located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm – French Table
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table
12pm-1pm – German Table

Tuesday, April 15
Registration for Fall 2014 classes, scheduled as follows:
First Years with 15+ credits-7am
First Years with 12+ credits- 11am
First Years with 10+ credits- 2pm

Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
10am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 100
1pm-2pm – FSN 101
2pm-4pm – MAT 232
4pm-5pm – MAT 228
5pm-7pm – CHY 122
7pm-8pm – PHY 112

Wednesday, April 16
Registration for Fall 2014 classes, scheduled as follows:
First Years with 7+ credits-11am
First Years with 0+ credits- 2pm

Today in Hauck Auditorium from 4pm-6pm, join guest speaker Mary Doria Russell as she gives this years John M. Rezendes ethics lecture. Her lecture will be titled ‘The Age of Discovery from Spain to Space’ which focuses on the ethics of discovery and other ethical issues brought up in her novel and this year’s Honor’s College Read, “The Sparrow”. Russell will also hold a book signing after the lecture.

Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
12pm-2pm – BUA 202
4pm-5pm – PHY 122
5pm-7pm – PSY100

ML&C
1pm-2pm – Italian Table

Thursday, April 17
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
11am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – BIO 222
3pm-4pm – CHY 121

Friday, April 18
Interested in jobs in international affairs? The University of Maine School of Policy and International affairs hosts Careers in Diplomacy and International Affairs, a discussion with Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.), today at 1:30pm in the Career Center, located on the third floor of the Union.

ML&C
2pm-3pm – Arabic Table

Sunday, April 20
Drop-in Tutoring for Sunday:
4pm-6pm MAT 228
6pm-8pm BIO 100

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

7 Day Plan to Stay Productive

Earlier this week we brought you tips on how to improve your study habits. We all know that these are great in theory, but who can stay productive for an extended period of time without getting at least a little distracted? For those of you who need a little more help focusing, take a look at today’s infographic, the “7 Day Plan to Stay Productive.”

7 Day Plan to Stay Productive

Thursday Tip of the Day

Registration for Fall 2014 is in full swing, and classes are filling up fast. If you haven’t done so already, schedule a meeting with your advisor ASAP!

Guide to Good Study Habits, Part I

By the time the average student reaches college, they have generally had over twelve years of experience in school. That’s probably in the range of 15,000 hours in school, not counting time spent on homework. And that’s well past the 10,000 hours normally required to become an expert on something. So you’d think that a college student should be an expert on going to school, studying, taking tests, and so forth. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Many students arrive at college completely unprepared for the rigor of the college experience. Despite all the hours they have logged, they haven’t ever developed solid study skills. This blog will provide some tips on how students can overcome this skill deficit and become successful at studying.

The first thing you’ll want to do is go to class. This might seem very obvious, but unfortunately it’s not. By mid-semester, many courses, especially lower level ones, can witness a 30-40% drop in attendance. That means that on any given day, only 60-70% of students show up for class. Going to class is the single most important thing you, as a student, can do. It gives you a better grasp of the expectations of the professor, a basis on which to begin the process of reviewing the material, and can give you hints as to what to expect on the exams.

Another great way to aid in studying is to participate in a study group. As long as you are focusing on the material and not merely socializing, working in a group can give your study time a serious boost. Check out the following percentages. We retain:

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what you hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we see and hear
  • 70% of what we talk about with others
  • 80% of what we experience personally
  • 95% of what we teach to others

So, when you work together, you are reading, hearing, and seeing the material. You are talking about it with others. And sometimes you are even teaching it to others. That is a massive boost to your retention of the material.

Similarly, read any assignments and do the homework in advance of the class period. By doing this you’ll be more familiar with the material and more able to participate in class discussions about it. And as shown above, talking about something boosts your retention, so being part of the class discussion will greatly benefit you.

The place you study is also very important. As mentioned in a previous post, you need to find a place that will be conducive to studying. Some place that is quiet and free from distractions. Feel free to listen to music if it will help remove noise distractions. Some researchers believe that you should actually find multiple places to study and then alternate between them. Different environments stimulate your learning in different ways, so alternating between locations can provide multiple learning experiences, again boosting your retention.

Make a learning schedule. Figure out when assignments are due and study periodically in advance, putting in time studying daily or every other day well in advance. Don’t want until the last moment or the night before to study. Cramming is all about rote memorization which doesn’t last. Conversely, if you take the time to really learn the topic, spreading out your studying over a period of days, it’ll stick with you, you’ll be learning the material and not just memorizing it. And when you understand the topic, you will be able to do better on exams.

The final study tip may sound slightly counterintuitive: don’t study all the time. Take breaks, socialize, have fun. As this New York Times article mentions, mental concentration is like a muscle that needs breaks. As you push yourself longer and harder, you’ll experience diminished returns. You need to give your mind some rest. During a study session, perhaps stand up and stretch on the half hour. Then get up and walk around for five minutes on the hour. And then, after you’ve put in a few hours, get up and do something else, giving yourself a mental break.

The key to studying is to do it in such a way that you’ll enjoy it. Pulling an all-nighter and cramming isn’t fun. You generally don’t as well and you’ll feel worse for wear. Similarly, studying in front of the TV or other technological distraction (computers, phones, tablets, etc.), will just make you want to ignore the studying and focus on the entertainment. Put yourself in a good environment, work with friends and classmates, and then give yourself a reward when you’re done; you’ll find studying considerably more enjoyable and productive.

Calendar for the Week of 4/7/2014 to 4/13/2014

Course registration for Fall 2014 continues today, and will be ongoing for the next several weeks. If you haven’t done so, be sure to make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your plan for the upcoming academic year. Don’t delay, do it today!

Monday, April 7
Registration for Fall 2014 classes continues today, scheduled as follows:
Sophomores with 50+ credits- 7am
Sophomores with 45+ credits- 2pm

Pride Week kicks off today with the annual flag raising on the mall at 12pm.
Pride Week: Beyond Binaries

The Tutor Program is offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – PSY 100
2pm-3pm -CHY 121
4pm-6pm – BMB 208
6pm-7pm – MAT 232
7pm-8pm – PHY 122

Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It is located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm – French Table
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table
12pm-1pm – German Table

Tuesday, April 8
Registration for Fall 2014 classes, scheduled as follows:
Sophomores with 40+ credits-7am
Sophomores with 35+ credits- 11am
Sophomores with 30+ credits- 2pm

Pride Week: Comedian Alison Grillo

Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
10am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 100
1pm-2pm – FSN 101
2pm-4pm – MAT 232
4pm-5pm – MAT 228
5pm-7pm – CHY 122
7pm-8pm – PHY 112

Wednesday, April 9
Registration for Fall 2014 classes, scheduled as follows:
Sophomores with 27+ credits-11am
Sophomores with 24+ credits- 2pm

Today by 4:30pm is the last day to withdraw a class and receive a “W” on your transcript. After today, withdrawing from a class will result in a failing grade (“F”).

Pride Week: Smashing the Ceiling/True Colors Concert

Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
10am-11am – MAT 115
11am-12pm – BIO 208
12pm-2pm – BUA 202
4pm-5pm – PHY 122
5pm-7pm – PSY100

ML&C
1pm-2pm – Italian Table

Thursday, April 10
Pride Week: No Place for H8, Movie showing: “God Loves Uganda”

Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
11am-12pm – SOC 101
12pm-1pm – BIO 208
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – BIO 222
3pm-4pm – CHY 121

Friday, April 11
Pride Week: National Day of Silence

ML&C
2pm-3pm – Arabic Table

Sunday, April 13
Drop-in Tutoring for Sunday:
4pm-6pm MAT 228
6pm-8pm BIO 100

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

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