Friday, December 5, 2014

Blog Post 14

Dear student,

You are now just making the huge transition from High School to College. There are lots of changes happening, and more still to come. It takes time to get used to the flow of your schedule and classes. I have learned in ASC that building a routine is helpful when trying to get used to your schedule. I also advise you to use your planner. My planner has become my lifeline and is the main way I stay organized. I have gotten into the habit of writing down every assignment and its due date. My planner informs me of my to-do list and of other events or meetings I have that week. I found that I am more productive in my day when I have a consistent routine that I follow. When your routine is consistent it also can create keystone habits. These habits have become a part of your day because of the way your routine is set up. ASC taught me that in order to change a habit, you have to keep the cue and reward the same, but change the way you respond to the cue. In the routine should be time for a good nights sleep. Sleep is very important for your body and brain especially when it used actively everyday. Many students make the mistake of not getting enough sleep because they are too occupied with studying or hanging out with friends. A suggestion to you is to not sacrifice your sleep. I have learned that learn better and am more alert when I get a good nights sleep. I am more productive and produce better quality work when I am fully rested. College has really shown me that value and necessity of a nap. When you wake up early every morning for your 8 am class, and have class until late afternoon, you will crave your bed. Naps in the afternoon are so refreshing. However, ASC taught me that napping for longer than 30 minutes will actually make you more tired. The ideal nap length is 20-30 minutes. That is long enough to make you feel rested, but not too long to where your body goes into a deep sleep. I have found that getting to know your professor is really beneficial. It has been a lot easier to go ask my professor questions and to seek help since I have already created a relationship with him. Professors appreciate when their students interact with them because it show that the student is invested in the course. One thing that is so special about Calvin is the many resources available. There is free tutoring and academic coaches that are there to help you succeed. I recommend going to the rhetoric center to get help with writing and editing papers. ASC showed me that these resources exist and where to seek the help I needed. 
Here are my 7 pieces of advice summarized:
  1. Use your planner - it will help you stay on top of your homework, tests and appointments
  2. It is important to get a good nights rest every night
  3. It is best to only limit naps to 20-30 minutes
  4. The way to change a habit is by changing the routine but keep the cue and reward the same
  5. Build a relationship with your professor
  6. Make use of your resources such as the rhetoric center, free tutoring, and academic coaches
  7. Build a routine 
    Get a good night sleep every night and limit nap time

    My planner reminds me of what to do during that week

Monday, December 1, 2014

Blog Post 13

Things I am thankful for this year:

I am thankful for good health.
I am thankful that I have the opportunity to get an education.
I am thankful that I financially able to afford Calvin.
I am thankful for how supportive my parents ands relatives are.
I am thankful I was able to see my brother over Thanksgiving (he lives out of state.)
I am thankful for all the new friendships I've made this year.
I am thankful that I have been fortunate enough to travel and experience new things.
I am thankful that my parents live close, allowing me to go home on occasions.
I am thankful that I have a good roommate who helped me with the transition.
I am thankful for all of the challenges that have had to face this because those are what shaped me as a person.

I am thankful to have awesome parents 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post 12

The finish line is in sight, Ive got to keep on pushing myself so I can finish strong. Over the next couple weeks I have a paper to write in my English 100 class. I have already gotten a head start on it to prevent myself from getting stressed. I am most concerned about my final exam in my Spanish class. I have been reviewing vocabulary regularly and have been meeting with a tutor for additional help. I have Culture Points due in Spanish before the end of the semester. For these, I am required to go and experience Spanish culture. This could be going to a Mexican super market, or spanish church, or even sitting with the Spanish Table at dinner. Over break my goal is to work on getting some of these points. I am feeling confident about the ASC exam, but I am going to continue to study and practice applying what Ive learned to my lifestyle. CAS is another exam that I am going to have to prepare a lot for. I plan to meet with other students in the class and study the vocabulary and other concepts. The CAS exam has potential to have an essay attached. I hope that if there is an essay that Professor Romanowski will give us the prompt ahead of time. If he does, I plan to outline and write the essay before the exam. 
A way I manage stress is to not let myself get too far behind in any of my classes. I get started on my work fairly soon after it is assigned. I try my hardest to not procrastinate on big assignments. I have learned that when I procrastinate I do not do as well on the assignment. If I spend time preparing an outline and write my paper in sections I tend to do better. Getting started earlier gives me extra time to do several revisions and edits. I also have the option to take it to the Rhetoric Center for additional help. I am able to produce better quality work when I have more time, therefore I receive a better grade. 

I also plan to reduce my stress by taking short breaks in-between my study sessions. I tend to get really worn out after hours of flipping through flash cards and re-reading text books. Giving myself short 30 minute breaks is just enough time to reward myself for working hard. I plan to spread out my studying a week before each exam. I have learned through ASC that studying for a test the night before an exam is not very effective. Therefore, I plan to study a little bit of material every day. 

Music is my stress reliever 
My healthy snack 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blog Post 11

This week in class we talked about the importance of sleep. The brain functions better when it has a routine sleep schedule. I value my sleep very highly. I have noticed in the past that when I do not get enough sleep I am not function at my best. Getting little sleep leaves me grumpy, irritated and sometimes even physically sick. My body needs those several hours during the night to recuperate and prepare for the day ahead. I notice that when I am fully rested I am generally in a better mood and am more engaged in learning in my classes. It is difficult to absorb material and learn effectively in class when you are so focused on simply just keeping your eyes open. Sleep is one of my upmost priorities. I have learned that I am not very productive studying late at night. It is almost useless for me to read my CAS book after 10 at night because I wont remember anything I read. Instead, I found that I am more productive when I wake up earlier after I get a good nights rest. 
Exercise is also very important not only for fitness, but exercise also benefits the brain. I need to get better at putting aside time to focus on my physical well being. I often find myself so absorbed in my studies and school work that by the end of the day exercise is the last thing on my mind. After a long day of classes, I am both physically and mentally exhausted. My goal is to start taking breaks from homework and go for a run or do something physically active. Exercise is an effective way to relieve stress in a healthy way. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blog Post 10

Since I have been in the class ASC 112 I have learned how habits build and how to prevent bad ones from taking place. Good behavior should be rewarded. In ASC class I learned to give myself short breaks when I am studying. After I study hard for 30 minutes I will allow myself 5 minutes of free time to reply back to text messages, and check social media.I even notice that after 30 minutes I sometimes am not ready for a break. I have already started a paper and find it inconvenient to stop in middle of it. This is known as the Zeigarnik effect. 
One of the things I struggled with coming into college was that I have a hard time getting started on my homework or papers. Since I never want to start it, assignments were getting marked as incomplete, in result lowering my grade. Finding the willpower to simply get started typing an introduction for a paper took time, but over time it got easier. Will power is like a muscle, the more you practice and use it the easier it becomes. I found that once I got focused on my paper that I didn't want to stop until I got to a certain point. This focused state of mind, and my willpower made it easier to block out distractions.
Before ASC class I rarely set goals for myself. I realize now that I did not accomplish nearly as much because i didn't set goals. Writing down a specific goal with a time frame and hanging it in a place where you will see it frequently is an effective way to hold yourself accountable for the goals you’ve made. I even learned to set short term goals for myself. For example, I will set a goal for a list of things I need to do by Sunday night including doing all my laundry and cleaning my room and bathroom. 
I have found that using my planner is the best way for me to stay organized. I write down every assignment for each class along with the due date. This helps me not forget to turn something in and to stay on top of all classwork. I also use my planner to take notes and reminders of my appointments with professors and upcoming exams. Having a reminder to tell my there is a test in CAS in two weeks is helpful for because it reminds me to start studying ahead of time. 

I learned that it is not as effective to cram all studying into one night. Instead, it is better to break up studying over a course of a week or two. Studying a little bit every night helps the encoding process making its easier to recall information when it comes to a test. What you do while studying and how you study effects how well you retain information. Just re- reading notes and chapter overviews is a shallow processing strategy and is not enough to fully understand the concept. Self quizzing and writing test questions is a study method I have found effective.  Learning how to apply the concept to your own life, and the world is deep processing and i can be remembered in the long term. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Post 9

Reflection on my past goals 

One of my goals I made back in September was that I was going to get a job on campus by the end of the semester. So far I have not applied for any jobs on campus. However, I have had the opportunity to go home on some weekends to work for my old job back in Holland. I really enjoy being able to go home every now and then to work and earn some money. On the weekends I am able to make as much money in a day as I would if I worked everyday on campus. It works out well because I am able to focus on my studies during the week and am able to enjoy the free time I do have. I am still open to finding an on campus job for the winter and spring semester. I have thought about hosting students for Friday’s at Calvin on the weekends to make some extra money. I have somewhat maintained my goal of exercising twice a week. Even if it is just a walk around campus or through Calvin’s nature preserve, that is a healthy way to give myself a break from studying. I still need to work on building the habit of exercising and being healthy. I know from past experience that the more I work out the more my body craves that feeling of exercise. It is my willpower to exercise that I need to work on. The hardest part is getting myself started. For example, the idea comes across my mind, but the action of putting on my gym clothes and shoes is what turns me away. I am still going to have the goal of exercising because it is healthy for me, and I should do it more often. I am on right track to accomplishing my goal of playing a song on the guitar. I still have a long way to go, but I am making progress. I have little experience playing the guitar, so just learning a few cords is an improvement. Many of my friends I hang out with play the guitar, so I have been getting tips and help from them which has made this goal obtainable. I have not yet met my goal of becoming Belay Certified at the rock wall. I was sick for the first several weeks of school, and then became so busy with school that I have not had much time to go rock climbing. It is still on my list of goals to accomplish by the end of the semester. 

Smart Goals 

  1. End the semester with at least a C or better in my Spanish class. 
  2. Plan out my next semester and classes by Thanksgiving Break
  3. Become Belay Certified at the Calvin rock wall by the end of the semester.
  4. Exercise 3 times a week to maintain good health 
  5. Start attending a chapel service at least once a week starting in November.
  6. Start looking a church to attend on Sunday starting in November. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blog Post 8

Interacting and building a relationship with at least one of your professors can have lot of benefits. First of all, the professor will be more willing to help if they see that the student is engaged in the class. Going and asking the professor questions is a good start to interacting with them and it will show them that you care about the class. Once you build a relationship with a professor, they will be more likely to go out of their way to make sure you are on track in class. 
I really enjoyed meeting, at the start of the semester, my secondary advisor who happened to be my ASC112 professor as well. Just being able to meet and discuss how things were going in my classes was really beneficial. I had the chance to bring up any concerns or questions that I had about my schedule and classes. 

The transition from high school to college can be tough, so it is really helpful to have faculty and professors available willing to help and talk to you. I have noticed while being at Calvin that some professors will reach out to you, but that should not always be assumed. I have had the most interaction with my English 101 professor, Du Mez. I stay after class a few minutes most days to talk to him about any questions I may have, or if I am following the assignment criteria correctly. Asking questions and clarifying topics we discussed in class has improved the quality of my work, and in return it has improved my grades. Earlier this week I met one-on-one with Du Mez and we talked about my last paper I handed back on Monday. We discussed the feedback he left, and ways of improving my work. He also took a look at my paper I am currently in the process of writing for that class; and, he gave me suggestions for improvement. I found the meeting very helpful because now I feel like I am on track and keeping up in that class. After the meeting, I now have a clear idea of what my professor is looking for and expecting in this paper. Building a relationship and interacting with my professors has helped my my transition to college be easier and, so far, has prevented me from falling behind. I really appreciate the supportiveness of the faculty at Calvin College.

Classes that interest me: 

Business 160;  IDIS 110; Spanish 121; Written Rhetoric 101; Math 100; Psych; Introduction too International Development 201; Introduction to Photography 256