Stress Buster: How to Avoid Stress when Studying

Congratulations! You have reached the final stretch of the term! This accomplishment often comes with the burdensome papers, assignments, and the dreaded exams. This is the time when students generally feel pressured, so much so that “exam stress“ has become an official condition[i] (subset of test anxiety). However, the amount of stress students experience can be managed if not reduced if they are prepared and make effective choices. Here is how to be a STRESSBUSTER!

  1. Always Be Prepared!

The Boy Scouts seem to know something important about facing big challenges. Whether you are camping in the forest or writing a final exam, being prepared is key for success. Planning your studying schedule early and creating an outline of how you are going to approach studying for the course(s) is important. For example, if your exam is covering the entire course, plan out which day you are going to study each topic. This makes studying manageable and ensures that you have enough time to learn the material instead of cramming the night before.

  1. Just Do it!

Even Nike knows that excuses are useless. As a student myself, I know how easy it is to get distracted by laptops, television,  family, and friends; however, following the plan you’ve created when studying will help you reduce stress and will ensure that you are prepared for your exams.  With that being said, if you are beginning to feel stressed out, take a break and talk with someone to help you put everything back into perspective. Studying with high levels of stress helps no one! 

  1. I am what I am!

This elusive Reebox slogan helps to remind us to focus on our needs, not our friends. Every student studies and learns material differently. Your friend may need to read a textbook 14 times to retain and understand the information and you may need to write the material out. Determining an approach that works best for you is important. If you are not sure, feel free to book an appointment at Learning Services Centre and we would be happy to help you explore different options.

  1. Because You`re Worth it!

Even though exams seem to be all-encompassing, remember that you are MORE important! Take time to eat well, exercise, and sleep for 8 hours, because L`Oreal knows, too, that taking this time for yourself is well deserved. 

  1. Beauty Outside. Beast Inside.

While I have never heard of this MacBook Pro slogan, the slogan reminds us that some stress can help us harness our inner beast to achieve success. A little bit of stress can help us focus on studying and accomplish the task at hand. When stress impacts your ability to perform at your best, you need to address it and get it back under control. This can be done by taking a break, getting a reality check, or visiting professionals such as the counselors at our Wellness Centre (https://www.lbstudentaffairs.ca/student-support/healthservices.htm) to get support.  

  1. Outwit! Outplay! Outlast!

Exams are just like the show Survivor. You may feel overwhelmed and unable to ever escape from the world of exams, but remember the exam period only lasts one month! Remind yourself that the end is in sight and that you can outlast this period. The self-affirmation “I can do it” has been proven to help people actually accomplish the task. 

So take deep breaths, plan things out, and be confident that you can survive this exam period. If at any point you feel that you would benefit from some extra support, please remember to contact the Wellness Centre or visit us at the Learning Services Centre.

 

Good Luck!

Marshal

Senior FSG Leader

 

[i] http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/advice/factfile_az/exams_stress

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Setting Goals

“Without clear academic goals, you may drift along until suddenly you realize that tests are looming and assignments are due, and you have to scramble” (Fleet, Goodchild and Zajchowski).

With the term quickly coming to an end, it can become a time of stress and anxiety for students. Forgotten assignments and exams come creeping up on the best of us. Instead of letting the term get the best of you and your nerves, take some time to organize the rest of the semester by making some goals for your academic success.

A goal is simply what you are trying to accomplish. Your goal may be to complete an assignment by the assigned due date. However, you can create mini-goals, or subtasks, for each assignment to make that huge looming goal of completing an assignment seem much more manageable.

It is important to make SMART goals for yourself to ensure success this term. This means making your goals specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound.

Specific
What exactly do you want to achieve?

Measureable
What evidence will you have when completed?

Action-Oriented
What actions or task words will set you in motion for working on your goal?

Realistic
Is your goal attainable?

Time-Bound
When is your deadline?

By picking a goal that clearly states what you need to do, that can be measured to indicate you have completed it, that has action words so that you actively have to do something, that is not too ambitious, and that has clear timelines, you will be setting yourself up for academic success.

Below is an example of breaking down a long term goal (completing an assignment) into smaller, more manageable tasks. By creating these mini goals for yourself you have motivation to stay on task and be successful in completing this term.

EXAMPLE:

Assignment Instruction: Write a 5-6 page paper examining a topic of your choice that relates to course content. Include a minimum of 5 academic sources, a properly cited reference page and a title page. Due Friday April 4th.

Mini Deadlines

  • Pick a topic – February 28th
  • Find academic sources – March 5th
  • Read through sources –March 8th
  • Formulate a thesis – March 9th
  • Create an outline – March 12th
  • Write first draft – March 19th
  • Complete additional research if necessary – March 22nd
  • Edit first draft – March 24th
  • Create a reference page – March 25th
  • Create a title page – March 26th
  • Final revision – March 28th

This gives one week before the final due date as contingency. If you get behind on a deadline or want to do multiple revisions, this additional week will help to ensure you can hand in your best work on time.

 

Works Cited

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. Learning for Success: Effective Strategies for Students. 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning, 1999. Print.

Learning Services Centre. “SMART Goal Setting.” Handout. Wilfrid Laurier University. 2014. Print.

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Stress Buster: How to Avoid Stress when Studying

Congratulations! You have reached the final stretch of the term! This accomplishment often comes with the burdensome papers, assignments, and the dreaded exams. This is the time when students generally feel pressured, so much so that “exam stress“ has become an official condition (subset of test anxiety). However, the amount of stress students experience can be managed if not reduced if they are prepared and make effective choices. Here is how to be a STRESSBUSTER!

 

1. Always Be Prepared!index
The Boy Scouts seem to know something important about facing big challenges. Whether you are camping in the forest or writing a final exam, being prepared is key for success. Planning your studying schedule early and creating an outline of how you are going to approach studying for the course(s) is important. For example, if your exam is covering the entire course, plan out which day you are going to study each topic. This makes studying manageable and ensures that you have enough time to learn the material instead of cramming the night before.

2. Just Do it!
index2 Even Nike knows that excuses are useless. As a student myself, I know how easy it is to get distracted by laptops, television, family, and friends; however, following the plan you’ve created when studying will help you reduce stress and will ensure that you are prepared for your exams. With that being said, if you are beginning to feel stressed out, take a break and talk with someone to help you put everything back into perspective. Studying with high levels of stress helps no one!

3. I am what I am!
images This elusive Reebox slogan helps to remind us to focus on our needs, not our friends. Every student studies and learns material differently. Your friend may need to read a textbook 14 times to retain and understand the information and you may need to write the material out. Determining an approach that works best for you is important. If you are not sure, feel free to book an appointment at Learning Services Centre and we would be happy to help you explore different options.

4. Because You`re Worth it!
index4Even though exams seem to be all-encompassing, remember that you are MORE important! Take time to eat well, exercise, and sleep for 8 hours, because L`Oreal knows, too, that taking this time for yourself is well deserved.

 

5. Beauty Outside. Beast Inside.
While I have never heard of this MacBook Pro slogan, the slogan reminds us that some stress can help us harness our inner beast to achieve success. A little bit of stress can help us focus on studying and accomplish the task at hand. When stress impacts your ability to perform at your best, you need to address i20110102092657-2f243d33t and get it back under control. This can be done by taking a break, getting a reality check, or visiting professionals such as the counselors at our Wellness Centre to get support.

6. Outwit! Outplay! Outlast!
index6 Exams are just like the show Survivor. You may feel overwhelmed and unable to ever escape from the world of exams, but remember the exam period only lasts one month! Remind yourself that the end is in sight and that you can outlast this period. The self-affirmation “I can do it“ has been proven to help people actually accomplish the task.

So take deep breaths, plan things out, and be confident that you can survive this exam period. If at any point you feel that you would benefit from some extra support, please remember to contact the Wellness Centre or visit us at the Learning Services Centre.

Good Luck!
Marshal
Senior FSG Leader

Exam Stress Information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/advice/factfile_az/exams_stress

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Transitional Expressions

Transitional Expressions

                Have you ever received feedback on a paper transitionsaying that your writing lacks “flow” or that the reader cannot tell how your ideas connect? If so, transitional expressions are definitely a beneficial tool to help clarify and enhance your writing.

What are Transitional Expressions?

Transitional expressions can be one word or a small group of words that help readers understand how ideas work together and develop.

Read the Following Paragraphs and Consider which One Sounds Better (from Wyrick 70):

1. “Working in the neighbourhood grocery store as a checker was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had. I had to wear an ugly, scratchy uniform. It was cut at least eight centimetres (three inches) too short. My schedule of working hours was inconvenient. My hours changed each week. It was impossible to make plans in advance. Getting a day off was out of the question. The lack of working space bothered me. Except for a half-hour lunch break, I was restricted to less than a square metre of room behind the counter. I felt like a cog in the cash register.”

2. “Working in the neighbourhood grocery store as a checker was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had. In the first place, I had to wear an ugly, scratchy uniform cut at least eight centimetres (three inches) too short. My schedule of working hours was another inconvenience; because my hours were changed each week, it was impossible to make plans in advance, and getting a day off was out of the question. In addition, the lack of working space bothered me. Except for a half-hour lunch break, I was restricted to less than a square metre of room behind the counter and consequently felt as if I were no more than a cog in the cash register.”

Done reading? Which paragraph did you prefer?

You would have most likely preferred the second paragraph. The second paragraph is better because it incorporates transitional expressions to show readers how ideas link together whereas the first paragraph seems to be simply a compilation of thoughts.

Tips for Using Transitional Expressions:

  • Include transitional expressions at the beginning of paragraphs. Doing so illustrates that each paragraph is part of a whole. However, try to avoid labelling each paragraph as first, second, and third because these numerical transitions can make your paper sound amateur and mechanical (Wyrick 76-77). Nevertheless, do not completely disregard these numerical transitions, because they can be a great tool to organize your writing within some paragraphs.
  • Try to vary the placement of transitional expressions (Wyrick 70). For example, they can appear at the start or the middle of a sentence.
    • When a transition word is at the start of a sentence, a comma must appear after it.
      • I.e.) I ate a large breakfast. However, I was still hungry.
    • When two independent clauses are joined by a semi colon and a transition word begins the second independent clause, a comma must follow that transition word (Learning Services Centre).
      • I.e.) I ate a large breakfast; however, I was still hungry.
  • Use a variety ofvariety transitional expressions in your writing. As illustrated below, multiple transition words can be used to show a relationship. By using a variety of words, your writing will become more interesting.
  • Arrange transitional expressions in a logical order. Remember, if you choose the transition “as a result,” you must then say something that has occurred because of something else.

Transitional Expressions Show Many Different Types of Relationships:

To Add
In addition, also, additionally, furthermore, moreover
To Compare
In comparison, however, on the other hand, in contrast
To Indicate a Sequence
First, second, next, lastly, to begin with
To Prove
As a result, therefore, thus, consequently, since
To Show Exception
However, yet, nevertheless, despite
To Give an Example
For example, to illustrate, in this case
To Summarize or Conclude
In sum, therefore, overall, ultimately, finally

Overall, once you start using some of these transitional expressions, the clarity and flow of your writing should improve. Trust me, readers will thank you for your clear, organized, and professional style!

Good luck!

Kayla Goetz (Peer Mentor)

 

Works Cited:

Learning Services Centre. “Transitional Expressions.” Handout.  Wilfrid Laurier University. 2011. Print. Wyrick, Jean and Sarika P. Bose. Steps to Writing Well: With Additional Readings. 1st ed. United States: Nelson Education Ltd., 2010. Print.

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March 5, 2014 · 11:36 am

Staying on Track During Reading Week

Staying on Track During Reading Week

We are halfway through another semester and the end is in sight! A lot of hard work has been put into the last six weeks and there is a lot more work to come, but does that mean it’s not important to stay on top of your studies during Reading Week? No, unfortunately not.  Whether you have made plans to go on a vacation or you’ll just be spending time relaxing at home with your family and friends, staying on top of, catching up with, or getting ahead on homework is still beneficial. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. Here are some ideas on how to balance your time during Reading Week:

1. Organize Your Time

          

  scheduleStart the week off by making yourself a schedule. This schedule should include the times you are going to do homework, any events you will be attending, and anything else you plan to do throughout the week. Here’s a template you can use! Even if this is a tentative schedule, it will help you stay on track during your time off. When deciding when to study, keep in mind your daily pattern of life. Do you feel alert in the morning? When are you likely to get started? Your schedule will be more successful if it’s realistic. If you need help making a schedule, book an appointment at the Learning Services Centre and we would be happy to help you. Here’s an example to get you started:

2. Motivate Yourself

If knowing you’ll get ahead in your work isn’t motivation enough, try gummy
the work and reward technique. For every homework session you get done reward yourself with something you enjoy (or maybe the new clothes you’ve had your eye on for a while!). Another cool trick one of our previous Peer Mentors tried was setting up a non-flexible study group session during the week after Reading Week. This way everyone is held accountable for at least getting some work done over the week! You can read more on that technique here.  I’ve also found that weekly/daily “To Do Lists” help keep me motivated. Here is an example of one. If all else fails gummy bears and other treats always make good motivators!

3. Take Time for You

This seems like a simple idea, but it’s one that many people forget. Take time to relax, catch up on sleep and recuperate during the week so you are at your best for the rest of the term!

Have a happy, safe and relaxing Reading Week,

Shannon

Peer Mentor

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February 12, 2014 · 1:35 pm

Presenting for Success

Presenting for Success

Throughout your university career and beyond, you will be called on to speak spookedpublically over and over again. Therefore, it is important to master public speaking skills, especially in your presentations, in order to be prepared for your future job and other opportunities. Effective preparation is extremely important in order to deliver a successful presentation and the following strategies will help you achieve success:

Know Your Audience- Be mindful of who your audience is. For example, if your audience is university students, make sure that you tailor your presentation to fit their needs, abilities, characteristics, and the level of their knowledge and understanding.

Have a Time Limit- Understand how much time you have to deliver your presentation and map out a time frame on how long you think it will take to state your introduction, main points, conclusion, and answer any questions. Then, you will want to rehearse a few times prior to presenting to the audience in order to have a rough idea of how long your presentation will be. This is especially important when presenting as part of a group.

The Purpose of Your Presentation- Think about what the purpose of your presentation is. Do you want to inform others of your research? Do you want to start a class discussion? Do you want to inform others of a problem and possible solutions? Do you want to persuade others to be convinced that your findings are accurate? Therefore, the purpose and goal of the presentation will also impact how you choose to present your information.

Research, Research, Research- This point cannot be stressed enough. booksYour whole presentation will revolve around your research and how much you know about the material. Therefore, take advantage of the different scholarly and popular sources you can to find academic information appropriate to your topic and purpose. Next, read the information you’ve gathered, and write down important information from each source that you can use to deliver an excellent presentation.

Reevaluate Your Research- Once you have finished your research and have started to put together the important findings for your presentation, make sure that you eliminate irrelevant information, common sense information, and anything that is not important. Again, consider your audience, what they already know and what they would like to know.

The Introduction- It is wise to begin with a hook at the beginning of your presentation that will engage the audience. Afterwards, you can state the topic of the presentation, why you chose this topic, why this topic is important to acknowledge, and the outline of the presentation.

The Middle of the Presentation-Present a convincing argument and support your argument with examples. Make sure that your presentation has a limited scope of main ideas in order to not “over load” the audience with too much information. Rather, look at a few main points in greater depth in order to back up your argument. In addition, show visuals, analogies, and examples that strengthen your argument. Furthermore, restate the points of importance in order for the audience to understand the framework and the purpose of your presentation.

The Conclusion-It is important to make sure the audience knows that you are wrapping up your presentation. Therefore, use a statement such as, “To conclude…” or, “In closing…” so the audience is aware that the presentation is coming to an end. Also, restate the main points of your argument and end the presentation with a strong statement that will get the audience to remember your presentation.

 

Presentation Style- In order to make your presentation effective you want to speak at a moderate rate, engage the audience with eye contact, and use appropriate gestures. In mirroraddition, you want to be confident, project your voice, avoid words like “umm” or “like,” always face the audience, and direct your attention to the less attentive individuals in the audience.

  • Some Advice: Practice Makes Perfect- Practicing in front of the mirror is a good way to prepare for your presentation beforehand.

Powerpoint Presentations- Some important points to consider when using a Powerpoint would be to use a readable font, use moderate sized visuals, and have no more than two or three brief bulleted points on each presentation slide. Titles and editing on each slide are also important aspects that should be taken into consideration before the presentation day. Furthermore, having a handout or cue cards are other suggestions to provide yourself and the audience with a guideline for the presentation.

Extra Important Advice:

  • Make sure the information you present is in a logical order
  • Dress appropriately depending on whether it may be a formal or informal presentation
  • Have a hook or interesting piece of information at the beginning and end of your presentation to captivate the attention of all the people in the room
  • Choose an effective and eye grabbing title that relates to the topic of your presentation
  • Try to prepare a single handout for the presentation outlining the objectives, main points and resources you used
  • Possibly write a script of what you will say during the presentation as a guideline
  • Make sure the audience can see you and your presentation
  • Make sure your cell phone is off
  • Bring water

Upcoming Events

We will be having a workshop on February 5th: Giving Effective Presentations. This workshop will start at 1-2 pm at the Aboriginal Student Centre AND again at Market Place from 5-6 pm. CCR creditable *

In addition, another series of workshops for English Language Learners (ELL) and International students will start on February 26th: Presenting with Confidence. This series will start at 5:30-6:30 and continue every Tuesday for 4 weeks (Grand River Hall, GRH 101).

Emily

Peer Mentor

Hay, Iain.  Making the Grade: A Guide to Study and Success. Canada: Oxford University

Press. 2012. Print.

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Understanding Assignment Types

Have you ever looked at a set of assignment guidelines and had absolutely no idea what was being asked of you, but chose to push through the assignment anyways? This is a common problem and can often lead to mistakes in the academic writing task. There is a wide range of assignment types and each one has a purpose. You may be asked to write an annotated bibliography, a research proposal, a research paper, a comparative essay, a position paper, the list goes on and on. So, before you push through the assignment, consider asking yourself these questions to help you understand what you are being asked to do:

1.       What is the question that I am being asked to answer?

Has the question been laid out for you? Are you responsible for coming up with your own?

 2.       What keyword(s) appear in the question and what do they indicate?

This step is very important! Acknowledging and understanding the keyword(s) in your assignment guidelines is a great way to pinpoint what is being asked of you. Some examples of these keywords and what they indicate are:

Define – give meaning

Compare – state the similarities between objects

Contrast – state the difference between objects

Research – find outside sources about the subject

 3.       What type of essay am I being asked to write?

Is it an analysis, a book or article review, a position paper, a comparative essay, a research paper, a personal reflection a research proposal, a case study, a literature review, an annotated bibliography, etc? Each type of essay has different guidelines. Check out the general guidelines for each one here.

 4.       What do I need to find out to answer the question?

Is there any background information that you need to know? What research has already been done on the topic? What are some of the sides or arguments that you could talk about or chose from?

 5.       What sources will I use?

The Online Laurier Library is an awesome resource for finding sources. If you need help with your research be sure to contact the librarians.

 6.       How long is the paper?

Knowing how long a paper is is key to the planning process. Make sure you chose a topic and thesis that can be managed in the length you are given. For more on your thesis check out this resource!

7.       When is it due?

I cannot stress enough the importance of planning ahead! You can have up to two appointments per assignment at the Learning Services Centre so make sure you plan ahead! Come in for a prewriting assignment or a writing consultation and one of our peer mentors will gladly help you!

Happy writing,

Shannon
Peer Mentor

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