It’s that time of the season where the weeks are winding down and winter break is approaching. However, this is usually the time when everyone begins to stress about their assignments and cram for exams. As a freshman here at Juniata College, I was nervous about the college workload and my problems with procrastination taking a toll on my academics. Yet this semester I have managed to remain calm and organized with my schoolwork, which was a very pleasant surprise. I’d like to share my tips for managing assignments and reducing stress, while still being able to enjoy the semester!
Make a to-do list
I love being organized (color coding is really helpful!) and sometimes things tend to slip my mind. I like to take large sticky notes or pieces of paper and write out every assignment that is due that week, along with the due date and how long I plan to spend on each assignment. This way, I can get everything out of my head and on paper, and I can see potentially how much time I need to spend to complete my work.
It’s completely unrealistic to stay in your dorm room for nine hours straight writing an essay. People definitely do that, but I would not recommend it. Your brain can only focus on academics for so long. I like to set a timer, and work for a limited amount of time before I close my computer and do something else. For a distraction, I will watch an episode of my favorite show on Netflix, go to the gym, or go for a drive with my roommate. After a half hour or hour break, I will then return to my assignment, or work on a different class. I also really enjoy yoga because it’s physical and relaxing at the same time.
I cannot function if I’m not listening to music. A lot of people I know can’t focus with music; so if that is the case for you, continue your work in silence. A website I enjoy using is 8tracks.com, which has thousands of personalized playlists you can listen to. You can choose moods or activities that customize a playlist for you. When working, I like to listen to indie calm study playlists, but with this website you can listen to anything you want! I just know that music really helps me focus when I’m stressed or trying to work on big assignments.
One of the most important things regarding work is the classes you take. One of my favorite things about Juniata is the large number of classes, varying in all departments that we are able to take. At some schools, you can only take classes relating to your major. At Juniata, professors and advisers want us to broaden our horizons and take different types of classes. Although Juniata does have requirements across all departments, there are so many options of courses to take! It’s really important to take classes that will interest you, so completing work for these classes isn’t impossible. Right now I am enrolled in courses that I am incredibly passionate about, so taking ten pages of notes isn’t difficult at all, since I am interest in the topic. Taking classes that you will enjoy will definitely make completing assignments easier.
I hope these tips helped pick courses and plan your time for the rest of the semester and for future terms! Keep on working!
Within growing educational fields, I believe that the opportunity for rigorous research and discussion is absolutely vital. I have blogged in the past about my appreciation for the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) department here at Juniata College, and now from my senior vantage point, I think that it is important to mention a little something about research and how I have personally seen the department evolve. After all, an academic institution cannot remain static in its curriculum without falling behind in the ever-growing wealth of knowledge that exists in the world.
The field of Peace and Conflict studies is so exciting to me because its existence opens many, many doors when it comes to collaborative efforts towards peaceful campuses, societies, and interactions. As a Juniata student who has had the opportunity to work with the PACS faculty here, I feel lucky to understand that there are major shifts occurring in Conflict Resolution practice around the world. It is my belief that Juniata’s PACS representatives work hard to keep the curriculum extremely relevant to current work in the field. For example, this year Dr. Polly Walker has integrated a new course into the department’s repertoire that focuses entirely on the newer resources that are being developed for effective peace work. As a student in this new class, I feel as though the work is so important because it pulls us young, aspiring peace practitioners into the current dialogue of the field.
I could sing the praises of the PACS professors here for hours, but in the interest of maintaining a readable and coherent blog, I’ll restrain myself. I do want to add, though, that for anyone who wants to be actively involved in the current undertakings of the peace research world, Juniata has many resources. The work of the PACS initiative here at Juniata also spreads far beyond the Oller Center building on campus (where the department is located) and is working in exciting ways towards strengthening the fabric of our campus in a collaborative manner with other departments and the school’s administration.
My experience with the Peace and Conflict Studies department has helped shape who I am as a student and a person. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Every year, sometime between fall break and the beginning of December, dozens of students pitch tents on the pathway leading to Ellis Hall, competing for the best tickets for the Madrigal winter dance. The date of tenting is a secret until the students organizing tenting gather on the Ellis steps and blow air horns to signal the start of tenting. An email is then sent out to the entire student body stating that tenting has started and explaining the rules for tenting. The first tent to be pitched becomes “Head Tent” and the students in that tent are responsible for organizing events throughout the week and doing roll calls. Tenting is a popular, long-standing Juniata College tradition that is meant to be fun. Sometimes, though, it’s stressful, frustrating, or just not enjoyable. For anyone considering tenting next year, here are some essentials you should have (in addition to a tent):
A sense of humor
Head Tent will probably call roll at 3:30 in the morning, interrupting your precious REM sleep. You might play musical chairs at midnight. You will get very cold or, if you’re not so lucky, wet in the tent. I’m not trying to scare you away from tenting; rather, I’m saying that a sense of humor will help you get through tenting. You can get through it and you can have a good time with tenting, but you need to let the small things just roll off your shoulders.
And when I say “warm,” I don’t just mean sweatshirts. I mean leggings, Under Armour, thick socks, hats, gloves, and other winter gear. Make sure you have multiples of all of these items, as well as sweatshirts and sweatpants because, chances are, you’ll be wearing several layers every night. While we’re talking about warm clothes, don’t forget about your sleeping arrangements. Heavy, warm blankets and a sleeping bag are extremely helpful.
Chances are there will be a talent show of some kind during the week. It’s helpful if someone on your team (or several people) has a talent or, at the very least, can make something up. There are also lots of other challenges conducive to talents. This year, we had a rap battle, dance competition, cooking competition, and talent show. It seems that, if you don’t have a talent, all hope is not lost. As long as you’re willing to make a complete fool of yourself of 100 of your closest peers, you too can win the competition.
Whether they’re in your tent or laughing at the fact that you’re actually tenting, friends are the single greatest asset to an awesome tenting team. This seems obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway: make sure the people you tent with are close friends. Through all the stress of tenting week, it’s easy to get grumpy or frustrated with your tentmates or with tenting in general. If they’re close friends, it’s easier to repair the friendship or let the small stuff go (see #1). It’s also important to have friends who aren’t in your tent. When they’re not laughing at all the ridiculous stuff you have to do, they might just bring you late-night hot chocolate.