Module 7 – Keys to Motivation

Hello all,

I regret to announce that this will be my last post. My journey as a college student has come to an end and I have given to you all the tips and tricks that I have in my tool belt. You will surely develop your own along the way that will help you with your own specific journey. I want to leave you with something that I think will be the most important in your success and that is staying motivated. Some of you are living away from home, some of you are in extracurricular activities, whatever the reason may be STAY FOCUSED! Environment is something that impacts your motivation more than you may think. There are three different types of environment you should be aware of and those include Physical environment (distance, comfort, supplies you have readily available), Social environment (noise, other people), and Online environment (digital distractions, resources). Here are 4 key tips in managing these three things:

  • Find a Quiet Place Where You Can Concentrate
  • Find a Soundtrack for Your Motivation
  • Shut Out Distraction
  • Take Intentional Breaks

If you follow these things you should be on the right track to being motivated with your school work! If you are doing these things and still having trouble take a step back and analyze your well-being as this can be a component that affects your motivation in a negative light. Take care of your health and your mind and motivation will follow!

Module 6 – Searching & Researching

Hello Again! The subject of today’s discussion is something that you all probably think you are doing just right….WRONG! Don’t worry I was just as shocked as you when I found out that my research skills were lacking at the college level. Think back to your research papers in high school, many of your teachers just wanted you to relay information given online in your own words and call it a day. However, college professors want us to form our own inferences based on what we find online, eww. This common misunderstanding is that research is more than just simply finding facts from the internet.

Another common mistake is that we believe the words “search” and “research” to mean the same thing. This is super important in understanding our writing. Research involves more of taking a critical look at the quality of information you are finding rather than simply finding things that fit your topic. A search typically has a regular question that has a write or wrong answer while research has a research-based question and is one that can’t normally be answered in a yes or no format.  This is where all that stuff we learned in high school about reliability and bias in sources comes in handy! All in all, remember the difference between search and research, this will save your butt when it comes to forming actual research questions for your papers. AND always always remember to notate credible sources to back up your information because they WILL ask to see it. A place that has helped me look for scholarly works to cite is Google Scholar. Check out the click provided below on how and when to use it. Until next time!

Module 5 – Note-Taking

Hello again, back with a couple more tips on how to better prepare to be successful in a college course!

On this weeks agenda, note-taking. This is something you may have taken for granted in high school but let me tell you it will save your life on more than one occasion. Fine.. I’ll say it… note-taking can totally suck, its tedious and can seem like a waste of time. If you feel this way you are like how I was in your position, unaware of the technique that works best for myself. A huge reason why people hate taking notes so much is that they are doing it the wrong way.

HERE IS MY ADVICE TO YOU pick the technique that works best for YOU. Then decide whether you will do this on paper, writing on a tablet, or typing your notes. This most effective way I have found for myself in regards to memorization is to first handwrite my notes then type them after class. If you think your note-taking skills are fine but you’re still struggling I would suggest learning more about “active reading”. Active reading is where good notes begin. Take a second to familiarize yourself with what it means to be an active listener, it will most definitely come up in future posts.

4.3 Are You Really Listening?




Module 4 – Online Learning Strategies & Skills

Hello All! If you have been keeping up so far we have discussed tips on communication and a couple of strategies to battle our compulsive technological urges but some of the most important things are yet to come.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare for online reading! This is probably one of the worst things to ever happen to me when I got to college. It’s almost like nothing is on paper anymore. Get a comfortable reading on a device and for that matter get comfortable active reading. I promise this will save your butt in many situations. What I mean by active reading is simple, interact with your text in ways you don’t normally do.

  1. Use the margins or online note taking app to summarize key ideas
  2. Pause to quiz yourself to test your comprehension and reinforce important content
  3. Create and jot down mnemonic devices
  4. Draw symbols to identify important or confusing information
  5. Develop diagrams to support your understanding
  6. Highlight important information (and review it in 1 day, 1 week, 1 month)

If you do these things I promise assignments will become easier and testing will be a breeze especially when it comes to your English courses. I know I make it seem like sometimes technology is our enemy but it really isn’t if we use it in a way to benefit our minds. Technology can actually help to support your active reading and memory strategies. They allow you to learn new things, practice, review, and quiz yourself. Below I will link a source that helped me tremendously in finding a website that was not only right for me in boosting my memory strategies but also in helping me find some sweet college deals. Check it out and I hope you find something that works for you too!

Module 3 – The Digital Age

One of the most common distractions that students of our age face is the over usage and reliance on technology. When the pressures of school work get to us it can be quite easy to turn to digital formats to act as an escape. You can’t do anything about the problem until you admit that there is one! You can quickly do this by monitoring your weekly screen time. This includes facetime calls, app time, and the amount of time you spend watching television or Netflix. Regardless of what it is you are exactly doing, it is taking away from valuable time that could be spent studying or completing your weekly coursework. If this is you don’t worry! There are a few strategies out there that you could try.

Freedom – this will help you manage your temptations by temporary blocking your popular apps and websites.
Turn off notifications – if you are someone that doesn’t normally browse the web but for sure has their phone in hand at all times to answer emails and text messages, this is for you. This allows you to not be distracted during assignments because you won’t be alerted of the incoming ping.

I hope you find some time to try these two very easy and simple solutions to becoming distracted by the lovely digital age. Another great resource comes from The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. While you watch this Tedtalk practice turning off notifications so you can watch it fully interrupted!

Module 2 – Constant Communication

It is no secret that while you’re in college you will be flooded with emails whether those be from, your advisor, campus news, professors, Carmen, or most importantly when the bar crawls take place. Online communication is very important to maneuvering college in the modern day. If you are someone that doesn’t check your email regularly or if you don’t even have an email account you are in for a tough time. Your email should become your best friend. You should get in the habit of checking it once a day if not more. This will ensure that you are not missing out on any important announcements. Now, when it comes to you being on the other end of an email always always ALWAYS remember to be professional. I have learned this early on and it has been the biggest help to me when dealing with my professors. Think of it this way, if you need an extension on an assignment and you reach out with an email that looks like, “Hey, I don’t have enough time to complete this. Can you change the date for me?”. Do you really think your professor will grant you the extra time? From this point on all, you should follow this format and I swear it will make your life so much easier as it has mine:

Subject line (e.g., Potential Extension) 

Greeting (e.g., Dear Instructor/Professor/Dr./Ms./Mr. _____,) 

A context for your message (e.g., I am a student in your _______ class.) 

Closing and your full name (e.g., Best, Bob Smith)

Aside from emails, some classes will make you stay in constant contact with your peers. This can take the form of weekly discussion posts or group projects both of which can be stressful. While discussion boards can be on the easier side of things, group projects bring out…well, let’s say… the worst in people. One of the best things I have learned is that there are 5 tips to deal with lazy group members. I have provided the link below, take some time and reflect on the ideas shared and how you can put them to use. Also, I wanted to leave you when something that I have learned more about this last week. I have never gotten quite into the fad of using Google Docs however, it has recently come to my attention that this can be a quite valuable tool for collaboration and I look forward to trying it out in the future!


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