UMaine CLAS Advising Center

Helping UMaine students achieve success. It's what we do.

Month: September, 2014

Steps for Choosing a Major

» Experience General Education: General education is your gateway to higher learning. More than just requirements to “get out of the way,” these courses will expose you to a wide variety of disciplines and put you in a situation to meet other students whose interests may be quite different from your own, effectively broadening your education and your experience. Through these courses, you can also learn about various majors that you may be interested in pursuing.

» Self-Assessment: Do some inner-reflection, assessing your interests, values, strengths, dislikes, abilities, personal qualities, and skills. Evaluate what you find most important for yourself. Look at what you want. Try to imagine the setting that enhances who you are, such as climate (hot, cold, dry, humid, etc.) or locale (small town, city, etc.). The Career Center has assessment tools that can help you pinpoint some of these things.

» Cast a Broad Net: Don’t think in terms of choosing a major or department. Think of an area of study that interests you. There are many jobs out there that you haven’t even thought of and some jobs that haven’t even been created. Don’t limit yourself.

» Talk with Others: Talk with your advisor, professors, and professionals in various fields, family, and friends about majors and how they match your interests and skills. Talk with department chairs and faculty in departments you want to explore. Talk with people in careers you want to explore. Make an appointment and see a career counselor at the Career Center.

» Network: It is never too soon to start building a networking system. Get to know your professors and academic advisor. Build relationships with students in your classes. Join clubs and activities on campus. Join a professional organization (student often receive discounts) in an area you find interesting. Work with the Alumni Association on campus to hook up with alumni in areas that interest you or contact the Career Center to get involved in the Maine Mentor Program. Go to a Career Fair (watch for announcements).

» Set Goals: Focus on your main goal: graduating from college. Your indecision about a major should not deter you from moving toward completing your college degree. Set monthly and weekly goals, go to all your classes, and treat your college education as you would treat your career.

» Gain Experience: Working in an area you are interested in is a great way of testing whether a job or major is right for you. You can test your perception of a field against the reality of it. Working also helps you discover your strengths, interests, and skills. Don’t overlook the value of volunteering your time. The Career Center has a job board and information on various paid and unpaid internships.

» Make a Choice: It is fine to stay undecided for the first year or so of college. But a point comes when you need to make a decision and work to make it successful. Indecisiveness can create a lack of motivation and be a self-destructive cycle. When you are indecisive, you don’t take action, when you don’t take action, you can become depressed and this can lead to missing classes, which results in more depression and inaction.

» Evaluate and Modify: Get past the fear of making decisions by reminding yourself that few things in life are irreversible. Evaluate your decision as you go along. You can always change majors again. Bringing closure to your undergraduate degree in any major is better than going to school for years and living in fear of choosing the wrong major. You can always go back for graduate work in another area of study. By focusing on one area now, you can direct your energies.

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Calendar for the Week of 9/29/2014 to 10/5/2014

This week from September 29 to October 3 is Commuter Week! Commuter Week is a week of events designed to meet the interests and needs of UMaine commuter students. The events include a Lunch and Learn series on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with topics such as planning healthy, inexpensive meals, managing your finances and renters’ rights and responsibilities. On Wednesday a free pizza lunch is provided for commuters.

Monday, September 29
Sign up for small group tutoring is ongoing. The Tutor Program is also 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:
12pm-1pm – MAT 115
2pm-4pm – PHY 122
4pm-5pm – PSY 100
5pm-7pm – MAT 228

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 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

Tuesday, September 30
Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
11am-12pm – CHY 121
2pm-3pm – SMS 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

Wednesday, October 1
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
9am-10am – PHY 121
10am-11am – AST 109
11pm-12pm – SMS 100
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – PHY 121
4pm-5pm – PHY 111

ML&C
12pm-1pm – German Table

Thursday, October 2
Classes dropped before 4:30pm today will not appear on your transcript. After today, you can still drop a class, but it will show up as a “W”, indicating that you spent a significant time in the class before deciding to drop.

Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
10am-11am – CHY 121
1pm-2pm – MAT 232
3pm-4pm -PSY 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

ML&C
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table

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

What Kind of Learner are You?

As we all know, there are different types of learners. Some people learn best by reading, some by seeing, and some by doing. Do you know what kind of learner you are? If not, today’s infographic may help you figure it out!

Find out what kind of learner you are

Thursday Tip of the Day

As first exams begin to arrive, you may find yourself becoming much more stressed, which can make you sick. Remember, you can visit Cutler Health Center anytime you are feeling under the weather or just need a quick check up!

What’s Your Motivation?

Students attend university for various reasons, but the most common reason is that, on average, a student with a college education will make more money throughout his or her lifetime than a student without one. A college degree means increased earning power. Not only does it command more earning power but it can open the doors to many desirable opportunities and professions. According to the Institute for Higher Education, college graduates enjoy…

  • Higher savings levels
  • Improved work conditions
  • Increased personal and professional mobility
  • Improved health and life expectancy
  • Improved quality of life for offspring
  • Better consumer decision making
  • Increased personal status
  • More hobbies and leisure activities
  • Personal satisfaction and accomplishment
  • A More open-minded outlook

With all of these future benefits is should be easy to stay motivated while in school right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, almost a third of first year students do not make it to their second year. The reasons for this can run the spectrum from personal issues to money problems, but undoubtedly the number one barrier to student success is lack of motivation! Student’s who experience Lack of Motivation (LOM) may exhibit various symptoms such as:

  • they arrive late to class, if they even show up
  • they turn in assignments late (perhaps sloppy quality) or not at all
  • they miss appointments with advisors or faculty
  • they ignore campus resources such as the writing center, the tutor center etc.
  • they do not participate in class activities or discussions

All of these symptoms can lead to a widespread outbreak of first year students vanishing from college within the first year.

The good news it you don’t have to be one of those students, you can improve your resistance to LOM and thrive in higher education! Successful students learn to create their own inner motivation, providing the drive to persist toward their goals. They design a life plan and commit to their dreams. Think about it, if your life was as good as it could be, what would it look like? Design a road map that takes you where you want to end up ten years down the road. Keep this map in mind as you make your way through the next four years. The most important thing about motivation is goal setting. So begin to set small goals for yourself such as earning an A on your first Math test, or meeting with your academic advisor early in the semester, or plan on turning all your papers in a day or two early. Once you tackle and master these little goals the larger ones seem more attainable.

It is also equally important to identify what type of motivation works for you, is it extrinsic or intrinsic motivation that keeps you going through the tough times? The primary difference between the two types is that extrinsic motivation arises from outside of the student while intrinsic motivation arises from within.

Examples of extrinsic motivators include:

  • Studying because you want to get a good grade
  • Attaining a high GPA in order to see your name on the Dean’s List
  • Participating in a sport in order to win awards
  • Competing in a contest in order to win a scholarship

These motivators are fine and usually work for students, however they often lack a much needed internal desire to participate in an activity for its own sake.

So What exactly is Intrinsic Motivation? Here’s how some experts define it:

“Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation to engage in an activity for its own sake. People who are intrinsically motivated work on tasks because they find them enjoyable.” –Paul R Pintrich & Dale H. Schunk, Motivation in Education

“Intrinsic motivation is the innate propensity to engage one’s interests and exercise one’s capacities, and, in doing so, to seek out and master optimal challenges.” –John Marshall Reeve, Motivating Others

“Intrinsic motivation is choosing to do an activity for no compelling reason, beyond the satisfaction derived from the activity itself–it’s what motivates us to do something when we don’t have to do anything.” –James P Raffini, 150 Ways to Increase Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom

“Intrinsically motivated action is that which occurs for its own sake, action for which the only rewards are the spontaneous affects and cognitions that accompany it. Intrinsically motivated behaviors require no external supports or reinforcements for their sustenance.” –Raymond J. Wlodkowski, Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn

Intrinsic motivation is not only a harbinger for success, it is also more psychologically rewarding. Psychologist Edward Deci completed research with two groups of children to see the effect of extrinsic rewards on learning. Group one received an extrinsic reward (money) for solving a puzzle; the second group received no rewards. Afterwards, both groups were left alone and secretly watched. The group that was paid stopped playing; the group not paid kept playing. Deci summarized his findings: “Stop the pay, stop the play.” He concluded, “Monetary rewards undermined people’s intrinsic motivation…. Rewards seemed to turn the act of playing into something that was controlled from the outside: It turned play into work, and the player into a pawn…. Rewards and recognition are important, but as the research has so clearly shown and I have reiterated many times, when rewards or awards are used as a means of motivating people, they are likely to backfire.”(Edward Deci, Why We Do What We Do)

So what works for you? Immunize yourself against LOM, find what keeps you moving towards your goals and cultivate these actions. Know your motivators; whether they be extrinsic, intrinsic or a combination of both.

Calendar for the Week of 9/22/2014 to 9/28/2014

Monday, September 22
Sign up for small group tutoring is ongoing. The Tutor Program is also 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:
12pm-1pm – MAT 115
2pm-4pm – PHY 122
4pm-5pm – PSY 100
5pm-7pm – MAT 228

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 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

Tuesday, September 23
Lecture: The Ecology of Games
Alenda Y. Cheng – Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut
4pm – 5pm, presented by the University of Maine Humanities Center

Contemporary games may offer quantitatively and qualitatively distinct opportunities for representing pressing ecological problems. Games not only meld the computational advantages of programming-driven processes with the aesthetic range of literature, cinema, and other arts, but more importantly render environmental outcomes and ethics into powerfully playable scenarios.

Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
11am-12pm – CHY 121
2pm-3pm – SMS 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

Wednesday, September 24
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
9am-10am – PHY 121
10am-11am – AST 109
11pm-12pm – SMS 100
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – PHY 121
4pm-5pm – PHY 111

ML&C
12pm-1pm – German Table

Thursday, September 25
Lecture: X-raying Active Galaxies: Exploring the Environments of Supermassive Black Holes
Neil Brandt – Professor of Astronomy at Penn State
7:30pm – 9:30pm, 140 Bennett Hall

Powerful X-ray emission is a universal property of actively accreting supermassive black holes. Studies of this emission probe the black hole’s immediate environment where mass accretion black-hole growth occur.

Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
10am-11am – CHY 121
1pm-2pm – MAT 232
3pm-4pm -PSY 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

ML&C
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table

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

Discussion Board Etiquette

With so many classes occurring online these days, the use of internet discussion boards is becoming more and more common. In fact, even traditional classes often incorporate technology into their classes, allowing students and professors alike to communicate on the web. Today’s infographic focuses on some tips to make sure you get the most out of your online communications.

Discussion Board Etiquette

Tip of the Day

Sign-ups for small group tutoring have begun and will continue for several weeks. If you are interested in getting some extra help, check out the tutor program’s website!

How to Manage Self-Management

University life requires that a student must accept the importance of effective use of time. How students choose to spend their time can make the difference between success and failure in their academic career. It is especially important to self-manage your time, even if you don’t feel like it, which, let’s face it, there are many times that we do not feel like doing the things we know we should.

There are various management methods that can be employed to make the best use of your time; each has its own unique benefits and purposes. The following are some ideas of time management tools that can be used on a daily basis to improve productivity and help you manage your limited time. Some students resist using a written self-management system and believe that they can store it all in their heads. If that is the case than they are probably not doing very much! Experiment with a few ideas from below and see what works for you. You might be surprised by how easy it is to design a useful self-management tool that works for you.

Make a To-Do List:

  • A to-do list will ensure that everything gets done, including things that might otherwise be forgotten.
  • Organize the to-do list in order of priority! This is key, understand the things in your life that are urgent such as studying for an exam the next day, or not urgent such as watching Netflix till 4:00 A.M.
  • If a task cannot be completed in one day, it can be put on the next day’s list. It’s important, however, to complete as many tasks as possible.
  • Studies show that creating a to-do list can significantly increase productivity.

Priorities and Deadlines:

  • Setting deadlines can help accomplish tasks that would otherwise be set aside or forgotten.
  • Make sure that you keep deadlines practical and accomplishable.
  • Organize priorities so that the tasks that must be delivered soonest are first on the list (again understand what is urgent and what is not).
  • Set deadlines so that you stay on track.
  • Set deadline appointments on your cellphone or laptop to remind you a day in advance of an upcoming due date.
  • Google Calendar is an excellent place to set deadlines, as every UMaine student is given a Google account.

Meeting those Deadlines:

  • In college, as well as in all of life, tasks usually need to be completed within a set time period, which makes meeting deadlines very important.
  • One way to help meet a deadline is to break a project down into pieces, which makes an larger task easier to accomplish. One great example of this comes from Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life where she writes:

”Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Although it is not recommended that you try to get a report that you have been given three months to finish done overnight, the key concept is not to let a large project immobilize you.

  • Another way to meet deadlines is to schedule things so that extra time can be taken if necessary.

Set Goals:

  • Similar to creating a to-do list, goal-setting is another important part of time management, because doing so not only organize one’s day and helps accomplish tasks, but also provides a sense of accomplishment.
  • Ensure a goal isn’t too large or unreasonable by dividing complicated task into multiple, smaller goals.
  • Use a sheet of paper, or a computer program to track your progress.
  • Goals should be based on performance, not output.

Put Time and Effort into Achieving Those Goals:

  • Be practical and realistic with goals by giving a reasonable amount of time to complete them. You cannot do everything at once!
  • Set goals in accordance with priority, and tackle them one at a time. Each goal should be handled separately.
  • Giving undivided attention and time to complete each goal not only results in a faster completion time, but also a higher-quality product.
  • Putting time and effort into goals is an important part of time management, as it allows for both quality and efficiency.

Begin A Daily Routine:

  • Getting a daily routine down will go a long ways towards keeping you organized and on task.
  • Adding time to relax is also important. This not only provides something to look forward to, but may also satisfy things that would otherwise be distracting.
  • Eliminate or economize anything that may not need too much time to complete. (Procrastination comes in all shapes in sizes- thinking about doing a project can sometimes take longer than the project itself)
  • Organizing a daily routine is important because it not only helps to organize the entire day, but also allows time to satisfy distractions (schedule in a little time for Facebook or your favorite blog?) and recuperate!

Avoid Procrastination:

  • Always decide in favor of the things that are most important. Some things may need to be put off until later to accomplish the most important tasks.
  • Decide on what needs to be done first, and accomplish that task. Don’t give time to anything else. This will make you feel empowered to complete more tasks
  • Making right decisions is an important part of time management as it prevents procrastinating and helps to prioritize and give a sense of accomplishment when you are finished.

Calendar for the Week of 9/15/2014 to 9/21/2014

Monday, September 15
Today is the last day to drop a class and receive a full refund. After today, you will only be able to receive a portion of your payment back.

Sign up for small group tutoring begins today and is ongoing. The Tutor Program is also 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:
12pm-1pm – MAT 115
2pm-4pm – PHY 122
4pm-5pm – PSY 100
5pm-7pm – MAT 228

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 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

Tuesday, September 16
Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
11am-12pm – CHY 121
2pm-3pm – SMS 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

Wednesday, September 17
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
9am-10am – PHY 121
10am-11am – AST 109
11pm-12pm – SMS 100
1pm-2pm – BIO 100
2pm-3pm – PHY 121
4pm-5pm – PHY 111

ML&C
12pm-1pm – German Table

Thursday, September 18
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
10am-11am – CHY 121
1pm-2pm – MAT 232
3pm-4pm -PSY 100
4pm-6pm – BIO 100

ML&C
12pm-1pm – Spanish Table

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