Nadia’s favorite class: Intro to Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies 240 is a class for anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and the society we live in! The class covers a broad range of topics from reproductive rights, gender and the law and global feminism. We also talked about other social identities like class, race, and sexuality as well as gender identity.

I gained a lot of critical thinking skills and improved a lot as a writer as a result of taking this class.

This course also counts as a Race and Ethnicity course!

Great for first-year or any year: Psych 122 / Soc 122 / UC 122

Intergroup Dialogues – Psych 122 is a great addition for a first-year student “Looking for something different.” There are small, intimate class sizes (9-14 people); a great way to get to know people on a deep level. Lead by student facilitators emphasizing experiential learning both in and outside of class. Being able to discuss “hot” issues relating to Race and Ethnicity, Religion, Sexuality, Ability, Social Class, and Gender (amongst others).  This also is great a way to become involved with the Program on Intergroup Relations – a LSA and DSA supported program focusing on social justice in campus community and around the world.  [Nick]

Like Nick, Psych 122 is def. my of my fav. class. My topic was about United States vs International where a group of diverse students joined together and had dialogues over different identities and privileges. It was a great way to meet new people who share similar passion and cultivate relationship so they are more than acquaintances. This class serves as an entry point for me to learn about social justice and triggers me to explore more about it later semesters.  [Ginny]

Nick’s tip: Do Something Restorative Every Day

Getting caught up in the constant barrage of tasks, homework assignments, group meetings, and lengthy readings, it can be hard to leave some time to take care of yourself (let alone catch your breath!). Staying on task is very important in college, but so is being effective, and it is very difficult to be effective if you are low in both energy and morale.

My tip: choose one thing you want to do everyday – it doesn’t have to be big – whether it’s taking a quick walk through the arb, making a trip to the gym, or grabbing a cup of your favorite coffee/tea drink. Search for what’s restorative to you and make time for yourself to do that. Being able to de-stress in such manner will hopefully help you be more effective in your work and interpersonal relationships (and it can be fun!).

John on why procrastination is a baaaad idea

We’ve all been there; the night before an assignment is due, maybe even a couple hours before it is due.  I’ve been there many times!  Sometimes it can be fun to go down to the wire, to use some “brain adrenaline”, maybe kick back some caffeine and get to work.  Don’t get me wrong, it is fun.  Its fun because we like the rush and flirting with danger/failure.  However, this shouldn’t be a habit, because sooner or later you cut it too close to the wire and actually miss turning in that paper, or doing poorly on that test.

Instead, use distributed practice.  This means, instead of doing all 5 hours of studying for your test the night before, do one hour a day for the 5 days leading up to it.  You retain more, you stress out less, and you’ll do better.  This can be for tests, essays, or regular HW.  Studies show that cramming due to procrastination causes you to basically loose all that knowledge after the test is done.  Remember, knowledge is what you have left after you’ve done all that studying for the test.  So, build knowledge, and don’t delay in doing it.

Ginny on Time Management

The most important way to thrive (or I should put it this way- to optimize your tuition fee) at college is TIME MANAGEMENT. And this is definitely a subject that is easier to say than doing it!

Let’s start with why time management is important and then we will get into how that connects with study tip. I argue that one of the reasons why we are paying so much to attend U of M is not just to study, but have a holistic learning experience through being involved in different projects, utilizing resources that are only made available through U of M community. For example, doing research and participating in student orgs are all part of this experience. And such holistic experience is indispensible to become successful in the future!

Therefore, one of the incentives to study well, or manage your time to study efficiently and effectively is the fact that you will be left out from the fullness of opportunities otherwise.

Okay now that we know that importance of using our time wisely, here are some practical study tips:

1.       Start early. Bit by bit every day/ or even before or after each lecture. So many studies prove that our brain absorb new knowledge better when it is being absorbed incrementally and frequently. Don’t leave everything until the night before- not just ineffective but also unhealthy!

2.       Seek help. There are SO many resources out there to help you. Seriously, this University is not built to fail you, nor do your professors. Seek help EARLY and FREQUENTLY. This also ties back to the first point, you need to start studying early in order to identify where your problems are. For example, for organic chemistry, at least start doing your course packs about 2-2.5 weeks earlier. Do to office hour and ask questions. The relationship you built with your instructors and efforts you demonstrated will come handy one day when you need a letter of recommendation.

4.       Self-reflection.  Self-reflection is the key to improve. For example, if you have a time management problem- start a google calendar or something along the same line- RECORD how you spend your time, in 15 mins or 30 mins intervals. You will soon realize how much time you spent on stalking people on facebook or hanging out, gossiping with your roommate J The problem is never that you don’t have time, but that you don’t know how to spend your time wisely. The first step is to be aware! And the second step is to actively change the way you spent your time. For example, build in your study time as part of your class structure- make it a fixed schedule almost as if you have class at that spot. In addition, self-reflection also includes reflecting your performance of exams. The starting point is not the determining point; but your ability to learn and improve your weaknesses is.

Finally- Here is a link to Randy Pausche on time management, super insightful- (you don’t have to read my post, but you SHOULD def. spend 1 hour watching this video! )

Jen says Stay Healthy!

This time of the year is a prime time for illness. If you get sick it will definitely put some stress on your academics. By following these recommendations, you can reduce the likelihood of getting sick.

– Don’t share drinks – of anything. Think about what you’re drinking and whether it is germ free (if flying objects of any sort have landed in it, it is not clean).

– Dress for the weather. Don’t wait until December to get your coat out. If you are going out at night, wear enough clothing to keep warm.

– If you are concerned about whether or not you are eating healthy at the dining halls, consider taking a vitamin supplement. A diet of Ramen noodles will not supply enough Vitamin C to boost your immune system in times of stress.

– Learn now how to manage your stress before midterms get here. Stress weakens your immune system.

– Keep things clean. Clean your m-card, cell phone, ipod, etc. (use a slightly damp cotton ball and rubbing alcohol). These things carry germs, which most people don’t think about. Also, keep your rooms and bathrooms clean, as well as your hands.

– Listen to your body. If you are feeling run-down, schedule in some extra sleep, stay in on Friday night, or eat healthier. Also, if you start to feel sick, go to UHS. Don’t spread your germs to everyone else.

Demystifying Office Hours

Office hours are attended by hundreds of students everyday, so don’t be nervous or intimidated. Professors are people too, and they love when students drop by to learn more about their field of study.

When you arrive, be sure to introduce yourself and tell them what course you’re in. In the beginning of the semester, drop by simply to introduce yourself. You can even just chat about why you decided to take that particular course.

At any point during the semester, drop by and ask a question about the material, no matter how big or small. Feel free to go a little off topic during office hours: ask your professor’s advice about a course-related problem your student organization is facing or their research.

Office hours work best when they are a conversation about course material and related subjects. Remember that it’s okay to get a little personal: these people might be writing your recommendation letters one day!


Get Involved

Although academics are a huge priority during your time here at the University of Michigan, it is also important to get involved in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Student organizations are an excellent way to get involved.

There are over 1,000 student organizations on campus, each with a different focus and mission (search for them on Maize Pages). If there isn’t something for you, then create it!

Being a part of a student organization develops your organizational and leadership skills, which you might not necessarily learn from sitting in a classroom. Furthermore, getting involved is an excellent way to start applying what you learn in the classroom in more tangible and practical ways!