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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blog Post 7

I have had the date of the CAS test written in pen, circled, and underlined in my planner since we have been given a syllabus at the start of the semester. I knew that in this class there are not a lot of assignments that are graded, so doing well on this test is crucial. Over a week before the exam I have already started to look through notes and re-reading chapters. I plan to make flash cards for the terms I am unfamiliar with. I have had much success using the online Norton website. The website provides summaries, practice quizzes and online flashcards. I also take the online quizzes after each chapter I read. Next week I plan to attend all three of the study sessions for this test provided by my ASC class.
I chose to study this way because in ASC I was taught that it is not effective to cram a semester worth of knowledge into a night of studying. I am able to testify that this is true, as I myself have experienced only studying the night before, which resulted in a poor grade. To start studying a few weeks before helps me not be so anxious or stress when I go in to take the test. I also learned that students who are more familiar with the material on the test are less likely to feel anxious during test time. I have been looking at past chapter overviews as we continue to learn new material. I learned in ASC that it is important to go back and recall that information regularly so it can be stored in your long term memory. It is easy to forget everything that was taught at the beginning of the semester, so I made a goal to read through the all the chapter summaries once a week. I have gotten into the habit of looking over my notes before and after class. According to the Cornell Note Taking strategy this is a habit that active learners do. I found that it is helpful for me to review my notes prior to class to help me familiarize myself with the material again. In a way it is preparing my brain to get ready for class and to learn new information.

While studying I put myself in a quiet or semi-quiet place. I like to study with music on, but after reading an article in ASC I learned that multitasking is not affective studying. I try to avoid studying in my room because that is where I have the most distractions. I ignore my phone when it buzzes and close out all the social media websites that might distract me while I study. After 15 minutes of solid studying I allow myself to take a 5 minute break. It takes willpower at first to ignore my phone when it keeps buzzing because your friends are asking you to hangout. However, as time goes on the willpower strengthens. I no longer car if my phone rings because I am focused on what I am studying.
My biggest distraction is my cell phone 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blog Post 6

The Cornell Note Taking Strategy can be very effective if students use it correctly.  In the Cornell strategy you start by taking regular notes, but later on after class, you transfer them to the Recall column you created on your paper. In this column you can write review questions, or main concepts. This helps because it forces students to transfer things into their own words. It creates for a deeper understanding that helps these topics store into your long term memory. This strategy might work for me if I remained diligent in recalling questions. I believe in the long term I am actually learning the material, but it is going to take time getting used to putting things into my own words. 
Cornell Note Taking Strategy is more than just a method on how student could takes notes during class. It looks at what the student does before and after class. A student who correctly follows the Cornell strategy uses the time before class to review over previous notes and lectures. I believe that this is good for some people because they are in a way “warming up” their minds. They are preparing themselves mentally for the class by familiarizing themselves with class material. I usually get to class early to look over my notes, old homework and lectures. For example, I do this for my Spanish class in the morning to get my mind awake and thinking in Spanish. These are great tools for me to look over to refresh my mind on what we are going over in class. 

Another trait of active learning from students using the Cornell strategy is that they look at their notes immediately after class. After sitting in class the notes that were just taken are still fresh in one’s mind. It is easier to learn material right after you had just learned it. Students can take the time after class for a moment and underline, highlight and star important concepts and terms. 

5 Review Questions for Ch.5 :
1. Two components of Mise-en-Scene
2. Compare and Contrast Design vs. Composition
3. What are the 5 elements of design?
4. Explain what Framing is
5. Open vs. Closed Frame - what is it? 

My notes this week from CAS 145
I kept track of all my assignments this week in my planner
Studying at the Fish House while rewarding myself with a Caribou latte. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Post 5

This Week's Reflection 

       Even just hearing the word, “test” can cause me to tense up, sending shivers down my spine as my body fills with anxiety. Tests have aways been a struggle for me in school. I can spend time looking at notes and feel ready for the test, then when the paper is in front of me my mind goes blank. I have had some help in trying to find a solution for this problem, and ASC has helped. 
      I know in order to not feel anxious for this test, I need to be confident in my knowing of the material. In order to prepare myself for this test I have pushed aside time in my schedule for studying. I printed off the notes, thankfully provided by my professor. I would quiz myself of the different topics on the notes, highlighting the ones I didn't know as well, or at all. I spent most of my time looking over the highlighted terms, sometimes finding more examples in order to understand something. I would quiz myself on the material in the notes. Another useful study tool I learned was using memory tricks and acronyms. 
     I regularly changed up the scenery of where I would study and looked over my notes. The most comfortable being my own room. However, my room also happens to be the most distracting. I also enjoy bringing my notes and study guides to Jonny’s cafe. The atmosphere can be distracting at times, but the short social interactions make for a nice study break. In the mean time while the weather is still nice, my favorite spot to study is at a table outside of my dorm. 
     I felt relatively calm going into the test today, which does not happen too often. The test had been about what I had expected and the material was all proved in the notes. I felt I could have prepared more in the way of creating my own examples of terms and applying them to my own life. The questions overall on the test were fair and straight-forward. 

     For the next test I will look into making flash cards as a new way to help me study. I will more effectively be able to quiz myself. I also may try meeting with other classmates to form a study group. 

Yet another busy week, good thing I have my planner to help me stay organized
Woohoo! Finally finished with my first college paper - CAS 145 Critical Analysis 

I hope I get a chance to go back down to Art Prize this weekend

Friday, September 26, 2014

Week 4

How I spent my time this week.

Week 4 Reflection

This past week I have been very diligent in recording how I spent my time. I noticed certain patterns of the way I chose to spend my day. I consistently wake up around the same time every day, roughly around 7 or 7:30. Most days I would wake up, get dressed and then I went to eat breakfast. While at breakfast I would look over my notes and do some studying before my first class at 9 am. Also while eating breakfast I made a plan of how I was going to spend my day. One thing I learned in my ASC class was that a person is more likely to follow through with their actions if there is a specific agenda planned ahead. I found this to be very true for me. In the morning’s I cross things off and update the homework assignments and projects in my planner.  This helps me know what assignments are due and how to prioritize. Making a plan for how I am going to spend my day helps me be more organized and productive. I have discovered it is very beneficial for me to give myself an hour in the morning to eat breakfast, plan my day and get organized. I noticed I am more awake for my classes and more productive if I wake up earlier to eat. If I know that if there is something fun going on at night with my friends that I need to have been consistently productive during the day time. That means there isn’t a whole lot of time for me to take a nap in the afternoon, or catch up with my friends in-between or after class. The time in between my classes is used to do my homework or readings. 

What I can Improve on...

I have found it is really hard to stay disciplined in doing my studying during the day when I see all my friends outside laying in their hammocks. I know I could join them, but I also know the reality of how much work I would accomplish, which is none. It takes a lot of willpower to say no to the other activities going on. However, I need to get better at prioritizing and choosing which actives I want to participate in the most. I am hoping I will improve on this over time with the new habits I am working on developing. That habit being waking up early every morning to plan out my day. 

A way I could spend my time more effectively is by limiting the time I spend looking at social media during the day. It is so easy for me to pick up my phone to reply to a text, then next thing I know 45 minutes go by and I have looked through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media website you can think of. Anything is more interesting that reading two chapters of a textbook. By rewarding myself with 5 to 10 minutes of social media time after I complete a homework assignment I found I am more productive throughout my day. 

I can also improve on my ability to limit my free time. It is so easy for me to reward myself with a 20 minute break, but soon that break turns into 2 hours. I get distracted by what my friends are doing, or get invited to do something more fun than doing homework. Yes, it is important to reward yourself by taking breaks, but also several of those long breaks add up. I need to improve on being more disciplined when I am rewarding myself with a break. 

My friend Bethany and I. She assists me academically through tutoring me in Spanish.

Every morning I update my planner to help me stay organized.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Post 3 9.18.14

The Power Of Habits 

The Book Power Of Habits by Charles Duhingg is a great resource for students to read prior to entering college. The transition from high school to college can be tough. My daily routine and schedule changed from what it used to be. It is interesting to me how easy the process is of building new habits. 45% of what we do everyday is a habit. I learned that habits can be thrown off by simply assigning new cues. The process of building a habit is a three step loop. First there is a cue, then a trigger to tell your brain to go into automatic mode and decide which behavior to use. Then there is the routine which could be physical, mental or emotional. It is lastly followed by a reward. On average it takes a little over two months for a new behavior to become automatic. Here at Calvin I am trying to break some of my old bad habits. But in order to modify a habit, one must be willing to change. Cues and rewards are not enough on their own for a habit to last. Only when your brain starts expecting the reward is when a habit is formed. I learned in the book Power Of Habits that habits create neurological cravings. I am putting goals in place such as, exercising twice a week.My reward I get is the self satisfaction I get after exercising. Afterwards I feel healthy and refreshed. When I skip out on a workout my body physically craves the feeling after exercise. Within my first two weeks at Calvin I have started to form the habit of waking up an hour and a half early before my first class at 9 am. In that time, I shower and get ready for the day. Then, I go down to Commons and eat breakfast. Before Calvin, I used to skip out on breakfast, which is in fact the most important meal of the day. While I eat my bagel, or on occasion some scrambled eggs, I look through my reading and review for my next class. My intrinsic motivation is what motivates me to wake up early every morning. I know that when I wake up early I am higher functioning and am more prepared to learn. I built this habit into my routine because I know I would rather go to bed early and get a good night sleep than to stay up late half-asleep studying. Since I know it will be beneficial to me I have been able to maintain this habit. 

It's more fun to take notes when they are in color.

I learned that annotating readings helps improve comprehension. 

Sticking to my goal of exercising 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Post 2

What makes a good goal? 

A good goal is a challenge to yourself that is attainable. A goal should be specific and time limited. Goals should also be positive because we are much better at approaching things we do want than avoiding what we don't want. 

My Five SMART Goals

1) Get an on campus job by the end of the semester.
2) Get my belay certification at the Calvin rock wall by Thanksgiving.
3) Find time to do some exercise twice a week - start building healthy habits
4) Learn to play one song on the guitar by the end of the year 2014.
5) Volunteer once a month to serve the community - its good to give back

                                               My favorite reading spot 

I would be so lost without my planner to guide me through the week.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Post 1 - September 4, 2014

Hey friends! I am creating this blog as a part of my ASC 112 first semester course here at Calvin College. This blog to share with all my close friends and family about my upcoming adventures and past experiences. Im writing to keep all of you updated with how my college experience is going. 

About me 

I am Maggie Smith and I am just entering my first semester of college. I grew up in Holland Michigan, just a little over an hour West of Calvin College. I've always had a love for the outdoors and nature. I enjoy spending any free time I have outside. I played Varsity soccer in high school. I also have been riding horses since I was six years old. Over the summer I had a chance to help train a young horse. I spent close to every morning at the barn. 

Why I chose Calvin?

I chose to come to Calvin because of the large emphasis of community. Professors and the rest of the Calvin faculty are eager to help me succeed. I felt I would not get lost as easily being in smaller classes. There is so much academic assistance I am able to get here at Calvin that I would not be able to get elsewhere. I also chose Calvin because of all the study abroad opportunities. I hope to be able to experience studying overseas some point during my 4 years here at Calvin.

What I want from ASC-112?

1. I want to learn better studying and reading strategies
2. Start picking up better study habits 
3. To make the transition from High School to college less difficult and stressful. 

Getting Started Check List
I have…
x □ a printed copy of my class schedule
x □ purchased books for all my classes
x □ filled out the semester at a glance worksheet
x □ a planner that has my assignments and classes, study times, sports, work, exercise, social time already filled in
x □ a binder with places for class handouts and a way to take notes for each class (color coordination helps)
x □ my home space organized to start the semester – I have a home for all my materials
x □ found each of my classes and said something in each class
x □ written notes on what my professor said about the syllabus
x □ looked at the online site for each class if it exists
x □ connect with any offices on campus that have contacted you (Health Services, Financial Aid, Financial Services, Student Academic Services)
x □ exercised at least once to distress

My semester at a glance