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Bounce Back from Post – Midterm Blues

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Midterms got you feeling down?

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You know the semester is well underway when you’ve already gotten your first midterm grade back. One thing I’ve found after a long summer break – I never do as well on that first midterm fall semester… But, you can’t let a bad grade on an exam, paper or assignment discourage you. Here are some ways to bounce back:

• Remember that this won’t decide the rest of your life.

• Meet with your TAs and Professors to see how you can improve.

• Work in study groups so you can get help from your peers.

• Don’t dwell on the bad grade, because that won’t help.

• Make sure you are getting all the notes and understanding all the homework.

• Try a different study method, maybe yours doesn’t work as well as you thought it did.

• Go over the notes from the midterm you did badly on so that the information won’t be back to bite you on the final.

One last thing to remember after getting a bad test score is that college is HARDER than high school. You will probably have to change your study practices from high school. In college, while getting good grades IS important, it’s more important to really understand the material.

HOW TO: Study Groups

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studygroups1Utilizing the “study group” can make or break your semester grades. Although generally college students aren’t a fan of “group” stuff (such as work, projects or presentations), the “study group” is the unique situation in which students, like yourself, may actually find more helpful than harmful.

Step 1: Find a Study Group – if you can’t find one, make one. Email the people in your class (who you can find on a class website or in class). Find people who can work with a similar schedule to your own and then schedule.

Step 2: Meet up – Find a place to meet that is central or well known. Also, if you are expecting a lot of people, make sure you meet in a place that has the capacity for that amount of people (don’t meet up in the library if you are expecting 20 people to show up)!

Step 3: Get people’s names and emails – Make a list, with people’s names, emails and numbers so that they can be contacted. A good way to do this is to use Google forms and send it out asking for this information.

Step 4: Get Studying! – Once you have a list of people’s names and numbers, rather than complaining about the class, or discussing how much you hated what the dining hall served for dinner you should get down to business. People have lots of work to do and other classes so try to be as productive and efficient as you can.

Step 5: Get Notes – If you’ve missed class or don’t understand something a study group is the PERFECT time to get this information. Your classmates might understand better than you did and you will be able to discuss information until you do understand it.

Step 6: Wrap Up – Don’t spend longer than 2 hours (unless studying for a test or midterm, in which case take a break after 2 hours) in a study group. 2 hours is a good block of time that you can get through information, but with reasonable amount of other time so that people can hope to get to there other homework as well.

Study groups are a good place to discuss, understand, and organize information from class and lecture. If you bounce information off other students in the class, you’ll likely do better in the class yourself!

Classic College Cinema

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With “sweater weather” on the horizon nothing is better (and cheaper) than skipping the movie theatre, inviting the significant other over to the dorm (within visitation hours of course), slightly burning a bag of popcorn and watching a movie. Whether you still stack DVDs to the ceiling or you are a total Netflicker, there are some classic films about “the four best years of your life” that every undergrad should go out of their way to watch. Here are a few of my “oldies but goodies.”

Animal House

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If you’re in a fraternity, then this is your Godfather. Though this is a film set in the 1960’s, many of the movie’s events are time honored college traditions; from the toga party to the random road trip. Fun fact; during filming, the actors portraying the Delta fraternity were encouraged to have rambunctious parities (resulting in a piano being stolen from the hotel lobby) to promote cast bonding. The Delta actors also harassed the actors portraying the Omega fraternity in order to fuel their onscreen rivalry.

 Best time to view: The beginning of pledge semester.


Roadtrip

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A cheating boyfriend on the east coast accidentally mails a videotape of his sexcapades to his girlfriend on the west coast. What is the logical next course of action? If you said getting your buddies together to go on a cross country excursion to intercept said tape while making a bunch of hilarious stops along the way, then this is the movie for you. When I came to college, this was one of the only DVDs I owned. Needless to say, it was viewed at great frequency. This movie is also proof that, at one time, Tom Green was actually funny.

Best time to view: Right before your weekend road trip to the party school one state over.


PCU

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This one is a little more obscure than the others on this list but it is an absolute cult classic. For many students, college is a time to take up a cause to be passionate and active about. PCU (Politically Correct University) humorously riffs on what happens when people take these causes a little too far.

Best time to view: Right before the silent, candlelight protest over the rising prices of chicken nuggets in the student union.


Revenge of the Nerds

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A quintessential 80’s movie, Revenge of the Nerds is a cautionary tale of what happens when you push people who are smarter than you too far. This film is pure fun as the war between jocks and nerds (before being a nerd was cool) spawns prank after hilarious prank.

Fun fact: Curtis Armstrong is the actor that provides to voice for the character “Snot” on the show American Dad. Snot is based upon a character from Revenge of the Nerds named “Booger”, also played by Armstrong.

Best time to view: After going pocket protector shopping.


Legally Blonde

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For the life of me, I can not remember which girlfriend talked me into seeing this; however I’m glad she did as this is easily the most inspirational film on the list. Underestimated by her jerk boyfriend, sorority president Elle, decides to one up him at his own game by gaining admittance in Harvard Law school. Despite starring the gorgeous Reese Wetherspoon and being hilarious, Legally Blonde carries the message that a girl can be beautiful, sociable and smart; excelling in one of the hardest collegiate program while being a master of the good old bend and snap.

Best time to view: When someone is telling you that “you can’t.

Healthy Studying

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We all know how important it is to spend time studying, but how effectively are you spending that time? If you aren’t using healthy study habits, your time could be wasted. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your study break.

 1. Keep Highlighters Handy

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Sometimes you don’t have time to rewrite what you’ve read in a summarized form. This is when highlighters come in handy. Having at least two different colored highlighters on hand while studying can make note taking faster, more efficient, and allow you to color code as an added bonus.

2. Skim

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Knowing how to skim a reading can be very useful during exam time. You should read the material thoroughly the first time of course, but when you want to review it it’s better to have a quick summary to recall facts. One way to do this is to read the introduction paragraph, the first and last sentences of each body paragraph, then the concluding paragraph. This should give you a broad overview of the reading.

3. Keep Neat Notes

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It’s important to keep your notes neat and readable, otherwise they can be next to useless as it will take you longer to decipher your notes than it would have taken to reread everything. If you must write quickly to keep up during lectures (who doesn’t?) then try setting aside time later on to re-write your notes legibly. It will pay off in the long run.

4. Be alert

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Pay attention to what times during the day you feel the most energized and motivated. Try to tailor your study sessions to these times during the day. Nothing is worse than trying to study with drooping eyelids! Plus, you probably won’t remember anything you read while you were tired anyway.

What are your sure-fire study tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Getting to Know People on Campus

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It can seem daunting to land on a huge university campus, much bigger than your high school, and just be expected to make friends for life. Here are some tips to meet people and get to know people so college will seem a little less overwhelming:

  • Meet People On Your Floor- you can do this by going around with a box of cookies and knocking on people’s doors to introduce yourself, stopping into a room with an open door or just leaving your door open when your in your room to let people know that they are welcome to stop by!
  • Go To Social Events- especially at the beginning of the semester, there will be a ton of events, whether fairs on the mall or festivals on the quad, homecoming or sports games there is always something to go to- check them out and meet new people!
  • Find A Club You Are Interested In- if you are too intimidated to go to a huge social event, check out clubs that interest you- you’ll meet people who like the same things you do, and who can introduce you to yet more people.
  • Introduce Yourself To The Person Sitting Next To You- in each of your classes. Having friends in class is vital to getting notes when you “accidentally” miss class. This also gives you an automatic study-buddy for midterms and finals, and homework-helper to bounce problems off of.
  • Hang Out With Your Roommate- Who knows? Maybe he or she knows other random people on campus who you’ll sit with in the dining hall and become super close friends with…
  • Share Chocolate Cake In The Elevator- this only works if you have chocolate cake and your dorm has an elevator, but this worked for my mom and her best friend from college!

However you decide to go about it, making friends will make your college experience that much more fun and exciting! It may also be really helpful when it comes to your GPA if they are helping you out in classes also. So, don’t forget to make friends and be social while in college!