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December 27, 2009

Break

Well Christmas has come and gone and New Years is on its' way. And I'm here in Morris spending time with my sisters and my nephews. I can officially say the stress is gone from all the finals. I've checked my grades and feel like I did okay. Now comes the planning for next semester. I'm surprised to say I can't wait to be back at the U and back into my classes. I need the structure. I've got way too much time on my hands here. I'm plenty busy with the nephews but I feel the need for more people around. I already am looking for cheap books and finding them slowly. I've got to stop writing for a second to clear of the spit from my screen. My nephews are hanging by my computer. Anyway, now I feel that I've got some planning and relaxing to do. I guess I will just have to find a healthy balance of the two. Well I guess I will head out.
-Catch Ya Later

Enjoying the Holiday

It's been about a week and four days since I've have my last day in Morris. I made the trek back to Twin Cities to spend a relaxing month and a week with my family and friends. Even a week and some days later, I'm still enjoying being out of school. It was time to get my brain a well-deserved break. A couple of days after my last final, I was eager to get my first grades. Nerdy, yes, but I wanted to see how well I did my first semester as a college student. It was hard to wait for all my professors and instructors to post my final grades. I literally checked my grades about four times a days, once I finished my last final. But about four days I finally was relieved to see all my grades. I could finally stop holding my breath, and realized I survived and thrived my first semester of college finals. I was so glad to see that all my hours of making flashcards, reviewing and studying paid off. Then, I was really ready to relax and join the complete bliss that is winter break. Now I've just realized I've already got a whole list of things, I want to complete BEFORE going back to Morris. One huge task, is ordering my textbooks! So even on break, you can't escape the books, but this is a lot less stressful and more intriguing. It's intriguing to see all the books for my fresh new spring semester classes.

See ya next year-
JO

December 16, 2009

DONE!!!

I'm finally done. The weight of finals is finally off my shoulders. I'm done with all the late nights studying and trying to sleep. I'm done with the two hour exams that feel like they take forever. So now the fear of how I did sets in. Ha... Just kidding, now I get to relax. All the time I want to relax lies in front of me and I don't know what to do. Maybe I can spend time with my friends. Oh but it is so hard to spend time with people who are off in their home towns that are far from my own. I'm going to miss all the friends I have here at school but I'm sure I will be able to find someone to hang out with back at home. I will have to take in a movie or two. Maybe make a trip to a lake to go fishing. Who knows, there is no limit to what I can do over break. I am working though so that puts a damper on some plans.
I'll be back....
-Catch Ya Later

December 15, 2009

Is it Spring Semester yet?

Is it over yet? This probably my least favorite time of the school year. Finals week :P
Finals week isn't fun-plain and simple. There is a ton of last minute projects, essays, tests, and studying to do. Plus its also the last week of the semester so that means goodbye to most of my college friends and sparring until mid-January. Sure there are some bonuses of break, no classes, no real homework, no food service and yes, there will be X-MAS and New Year's shindigs to attend plus real food, high school friends to hang out with but...its just not the UMM.Plus being at home gets really boring after all the holiday stuff is over with. So although I can't wait to finish my last final on Thursday and then head home to see my dogs and go snowshoeing. I will also be counting down the days until I return to the UMM for new adventures during Spring Semester. Plus each day that passes brings me a little closer to May 17th when I go to Iceland to study Icelandic sagas and environmental science.

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You Can Survive Finals As a Freshmen!

After hours of studying, indistinguishable amounts of coffee, heaps of candy and scattered piles of flashcards...I have made it through my first semester finals as a freshmen. Though I was dreading this finals week, it's not too bad. You don't have to get up for classes. For me, I've only have one final each day this week. So even though I studied hard this past weekend, once I finished a final, I'm free to do fun stuff with my floor the rest of the day.

Some advice for studying I can give is the following:

The sooner you start studying, the better off you'll be. Never underestimate the power of studying a little bit each night, even two weeks, before finals if you feel proactive.

Also, making flashcards and testing yourself can make test time less stressful. Writing done practice questions and writing out a full response to it does wonders. Believe me, if you get stressed out when taking hard tests, it is so beneficial to essentially "test yourself" in a quiet environment. It truly makes taking the real final so much easier simply because you've done it before. Plus, it makes answering questions less nerve-racking because you've been exposed to questions. So you don't get shocked or numb when faced with pages of questions/ a blue book for writing in-class essays!

Though, studying with friends can be helpful, it often times is distracting when you get to talking about your plans for break, holiday shopping, and much more. So although, it's always nice to split up the study work/review, it can also create more distraction if you aren't too careful. A simple solution is to have a healthy mix of partner and individual study time.

Furthermore, finding different spots to study can beat the studying blues. It's nice to sit in a quiet library, but finding other nooks, wherever you are, can help prevent monotonous studying spaces. Also, limit studying in your bed or comfy couches. This is important because especially in college, when you are faced with textbooks, notebooks, and flashcards on top of a sleep-able surface....you're doomed to fall asleep. Or you somehow talk to yourself into taking a nap to benefit your studying for finals. So watch out! Don't be too tempted. It's a battle, but it's worth the fight for a great grade you can show off to your parents over winter break.

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Set a time for when you will begin and end a study session! For me this past weekend created for me a challenge. I needed to study enough, but I also knew taking breaks and having fun was also something I wanted for my last weekend at Morris. What I did was set my cell phone alarm to go off after 30-45 minutes of studying. This was really helpful because I also planned a reward, like getting a hot chocolate from Turtle Mountain Cafe, or when it was later at night, I planned watching a movie with my floor. It was these little rewards, that break up the days and hours of studying. Besides, your brain needs a break from memorizing, analyzing, and problem-solving. Instead of cramming, give yourself a time limit to achieve maximum School Information Retention, as I call it.

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I hope these are some helpful tips, but above all make sure you figure what the best study method is for you. Just remember that the end of finals, is the reward of rest and assurance you did you best, by studying your best. Above all after taking any exams, be proud of the work you did and don't be afraid to show off your good grades. After all, you've earned it:)

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~JO

December 13, 2009

T-Minus 4 Days!

Yes, that's right folks!
In exactly 4 days, I will be done with my first semester of college here at UMM, and I will be that much closer to traveling back to Cambodia (more on this later).

FINALS ARE HERE!
As you've read in other blogs, it is indeed that time of season. The time where large amounts of sugared, caffeinated beverages are consumed, stress fills the air, and the library is packed... yes, Finals are here.

In other news, there have been many things happening on campus and off campus.
-On campus: studying and presentations and dances and concerts and pancakes.
-Off campus: traveling and snow ball fights and Sarah Palin.


Wait.

"Sarah Palin?!" you ask?

Yes. I, along with three other brave UMM students traveled to the big town of Bloomington (Mall of America) to loose sleep, camp out at the International House Of Pancakes, and meet Sarah Palin. Now, to remain bi-partisan, I will not comment on the level of dislike and fuming anger I have for Sarah Palin. Instead, I merely want to inform you on the facts of my experience:


FACT: I waited in line for more than 7 hours. I walked across the stage, got my book signed, and "met" Sarah Palin in about 7 seconds (this included her shaking my hand, signing my book, asking my name and scowling at my "I love my Co-Op button).

FACT: I bought her book (yes, I gave into Capitalism) and she signed it.

FACT: UMM was given press coverage when I was interviewed several times while at the Mall of America.

FACT: I lost a lot of sleep.

FACT: I am being "disowned" by several family members (well, not really...but, you know).

FACT: I now feel as if my "liberal arts education" has become more complete.

FACT: It was the Morris Student DFL group that went to meet this lipstick wearing figure head. Ironic, isn't it?

***Check it out:
http://www.startribune.com/politics/78679387.html?page=2&c=y
(I feel as if this interview does not show my feelings towards this woman...)

http://wcco.com/video/?id=71457@wcco.dayport.com.
(It was early. There were many supporters around. I tried to remain calm. I was "excited" to get my book signed)

PANCAKE TIME!

It's here. The dreaded finals week.

I can take it though. With awesome distractions like the Jazz Dance last Saturday (Oh, my goodness...SO FUN!) in Oyate Hall with the live jazz band consisting of the UMMers themselves, and the free pancakes at ten o' clock tonight served by the professors, I have a feeling that I will survive.

Seriously, I'm really excited about these pancakes. I love pancakes. I've been ranting to Jackie and Naomi about pancakes for the past three hours I think. I wonder if it's getting annoying...

Breakfast food is completely delicious. Even moreso when it's eaten during a meal that is not breakfast. I don't care what you crazy "I-can-only-eat-food-at-the-appropriate-appointed-meals" people say. For lunch today, I went to Don's Cafe, our local diner in Morris. I had french toast. It rocked my world.

If you come visit Morris, you have to eat at Don's Cafe and you HAVE to eat the toast. My tour guide told me this when I was a high school senior and here on a campus visit. I laughed then. But I kid you not. Your life will be changed for the better.

Liz :)
~~~

"Guess what, Liz. It's eight o'clock. And that's one hour until nine o'clock. And that's one hour until ten o'clock. And that means..."

"PANCAKES!"

December 10, 2009

In Other News...

You've heard it before. It's finals week at UMM. AAAARGH!

In other news, I'm going to Salamanca, Spain next year to study abroad at the University of Salamanca! I am going to apply for the Business and Liberal Arts program. I had a meeting today with the lovely Stacy Aronson, and I have an appointment to meet with Tom McRoberts tomorrow, the director of the studying abroad. He's supposedly going to talk me through the process and give me a checklist of all of the things I need to get done. I'm starting the process early enough that hopefully nothing will be too stressful and time demanding.

I feel like I've been completely obsessed with studying abroad lately. A word of warning, I'm probably going to continue to be obsessed with it until next fall, when I'm actually there.

And nearly everything is turned in for my ELTAP application. I'm so excited! Just a few more materials to gather before February 1st, 2010...Everyone that I've spoken to concerning the subject has been so encouraging.

Well, I'd better get back to work! Take care!

Liz :)

December 9, 2009

It's the Final Countdown

It's finally come, the countdown till finals. The week leading up to finals. Finishing up projects, perfecting presentations and papers galore. But it's not all work, work, and more work. On campus there are more than enough beacons of comfort during this challenging time. There's the Screamout which is hosted by Peer Health Educators and the Disability Alliance. The Screamout is planned for next Monday. All the college students gather around our large grassy area or "The Mall," and get to relieve their stress from finals, tests and life. This is the second annual Screamout and as a freshmen, I'm excited to take part of the action. Also, the night before, late Sunday night, Food Service also is open from 10 to Midnight to supply all the studious students with wonderful, yummy, and brain-healthy pancakes. It's the pancake feed to fuel your brain to do awesome on your finals. Well...I'm not sure if it's make you any smarter, but it supplies all of us students at Morris, a time to catch up with friends and an opportunity to fill your belly! To be honest, it's nice being a freshmen, knowing there is an outlets such as these to ease me into my first ever finals. It's a comfort to know the campus provides simple, but effective ways of dealing with the stress and challenges that come with finals week.

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~JO

December 8, 2009

So Close...

It's the final week, the final push of the semester. I've got lots of studying to do. Like most college students I'm freaking out about finals week. I have four finals to take and as every day passes, less time to study for them. I'm stressing out! Good thing I know a few ways to relax and keep myself from pulling out all my hair.


1. The first way I like to make sure I set aside and schedule the time I will take to study. Having a plan as to when I'm going to do it all really helps me study and not distract myself.

2. Another thing I like to do is make sure I set aside some time to relax and take a break. Studying too long makes a student tired and then it is easier to get frustrated.

3. I make sure I eat healthy meals to make sure I have all the energy I need to get through the time studying. Drinking too much soda and eating to much junk food just makes me crash later and then I end up studying less and remembering very little.

4. Getting enough sleep is very important as well. Not getting regular sleep tends to throw me off for entire days at a time. While I'm in class I can't seem to get over how tired I am and then don't concentrate the way I should.

5. Lastly I make sure that I get to my finals on-time and do what I can to relax. I make sure I'm not nervous by just taking a little time when I get to the exam to relax my mind. Another thing I make sure to do the day of the exam is to dress relaxed. I wear the most comfortable clothing I have to make sure that I don't sit there fidgeting because I'm uncomfortable.

Those are the tips I can think of for a better finals experience. I guess that is all I've got for now.
I'll be back after break.
-Catch Ya Later

December 7, 2009

Twas the week before finals...

Twas the week before finals, when all through the dorms
All the students were stirring, much more than the norm
The essays were written with care,
in the hopes that the professors would be fair.

The professors were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of equations danced in their heads.
While students look for quiet retreats, and I in my cap
Had just settled our brains for a sleepless night.

When out in the lounge there arouse a matter,
I sprang from my desk to see who dared to cause such clatter.
Away to the stairs, I flew like a flash,
Tore through the halls, at a mad dash.

Looking for the room, I searched for my phone
And revealed my frustrations to the unknown.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a prankster with all objects I hold dear,

With a little old ringer, such an annoying flick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Rick
More rapid than beagles his questions did come,
And he bristled, and shouted, and called me names!

"Now Lazy! now, Sleepy! now, Dancer and Ninja!
On to the summit, don't be stupid, or a whiner-on to the kitchen!
To the top of the dorm! you'd better give me a calll!
Now rush away! Rush away! Rush away all!"

Okay...okay, so maybe I'll never be a poet but hey a ninja's gotta try, eh? Actually, right now-excluding the facts that this is the last week of classes and next week there are tons of finals. But there also are a lot of fun stuff that I'm looking forward to this week, I have my last radio show of the year, Martial Arts club and Swing club to look forward to on Wednesday plus the Last Open Mic Night of 2009 on Thursday, the Jazz Dance on Saturday and a free Pancake feed on Sunday (mmm...pancakes :D ).Then its on to finals and then winter break!!! Yippee! Merry X-Mas! ~Ninja
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December 3, 2009

Clubs!

Hey all,

Last night a welcome relief to the seemingly nonstop studying was swing club. I go every Wednesday night with a good friend of mine. Neither of us really knew anything about swing dancing before this year, and honestly, I'm not even sure if we're any good or not at swing dancing. But we sure have a ton of fun, so it's hard to care whether or not we actually know what we're doing. I'm so excited to dress up and go to the Jazz Dance next weekend and show off all the awesome moves we've been learning! It'll be my first time going to the Jazz Dance, and I've heard nothing but good stuff about it! Seriously, jazz band, fun dresses, and swing dancing? How on earth could this not be absolutely delightful?

Tonight after I post this I'm going to American Sign Language club at The Common Cup (the delightful coffee shop here in Morris), and then a weekly yoga class taught off campus by one of the students here at UMM.

See you later!
Liz :)

December 2, 2009

The Calm Before the Finals

Coming back from Thanksgiving Break I realized how little left of fall semester there really is. This brings up feelings of relief and also anticipation of Finals week. Although Thanksgiving Break was really relaxing, coming back there's a somewhat calm. But yet...finals are coming up and everyone, including the professors know winter break is right around the corner. Right now I'm just biding my time trying to organize my end of the semester projects, and finishing up the last chapters of all my classes. So really it's the beginning of the end...or is it the end of the beginning since I've only been at Morris for four months?! Either way it's time to gather up all the loose ends.
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Ciao!
JO.

December 1, 2009

back but not for long...

and we're back at it again... back to the long days of class and the studying to the wee hours of the morning. Along with class comes the anticipation of finals week. I'm dreading them this year. I decided it would be a good idea to take two math classes this semester and boy is that tough. Yet, I also look forward to having a nice long break after finals. I plan on working over the break and make a little extra cash for next semester. That way I will be able to buy some groceries and snacks because every one in college needs a snack now and then. I also need a little money for Christmas presents for my family. I have no idea what to buy any of them. I could use a few ideas. I have two brothers, two sisters, and a mom. To add to that I have two nephews as well. I have so many presents to buy and no idea what to buy.


Well I'll be back in a week Adios

Back to School!

Hey, everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break. I know I did. I ate so much that I was sure I would return to Morris roughly the size of a small elephant. It was quite productive as well. I managed to get a good start on my paper about slang in American Sign Language and I got a huge chunk of my ELTAP application done.

ELTAP stands for English Language Teaching Assistant Program. You don't have to be an education major, you just need to be fluent in English and be willing to help people improve their English skills. I've been placed in an all boys school (Kindergarten-6th grade) in Bray, Ireland with three other girls from UMM for four weeks starting the week after spring semester ends.

Today after classes I had a meeting with Stacy Aronson, who is the director of the study abroad program for Spanish speaking countries. I'm planning on studying abroad in Spain somewhere next year for the duration of the academic year. I don't know where exactly I want to go, but I'm rather partial to Madrid. The idea of going to school somewhere smaller with less American tourists has its appeal as well. Stacy talked to me about a lot of different options I had, and I'm so excited to look at the different programs and figure out which one I want!

Talk to you later!