Sunday, August 28, 2011

[Important] Blog assignment for this week: How to be happy at a university...[Blog Response Required]

[This was sent on Friday; apparently the mail only got posted to the mail archive, but wasn't sent to the student
email addresses or posted on blog. Thus this re-send..]


 Among the many advice articles on college life, here is one that I have found to be interesting (probably because its number one advice 
is something about us faculty folks ;-).

Your assignment for this week is to read this article, originally from New York Times (it is just 1500 words), and post a comment on the blog 
(as a comment to this post).  Your comment should be at least 150words--but can be longer if you want. You can focus on which of the suggestions
the article provide were most surprising/helpful etc for you. You can also add other suggestions. 

We might discuss your comments bit in the beginning of next class. 



  1. This reminded me of a time when I was in high-school, at running start. Me and my best friend, let's call him Mr.Bean, were in many of the same classes, probably because we were both aiming for the same physics degree. He was that person in class that somehow always got 100%, not A+, 100%, and these were college level classes.

    I tried to compete with him academically, and did pretty well, but I could never manage 100%. I talked with the teachers constantly, sometimes when I misunderstood a concept, but mostly when I wanted to discuss my ideas.

    As a result, I completely understood every single concept my teachers taught me. But was never quite conscious enough to notice that I, for example: accidentally wrote a plus instead of a minus.

    Mr.Bean, on the other hand, programmed on his calculator whenever he got the chance, almost always left classes as soon as they were over, and did all the homework last minute, if it counted for a grade.

    I tried to figure out why he was able to get 100% without even trying, and the answer came swiftly.

    It was obvious, he was in band, soccer, and church, at the same time, and he was interested in all of those activities. He was a bit more outgoing than I was.

    Eventually I decided to join a soccer class, which helped some. If I found a study group it probably would have helped much more. Also sun, I've noticed being outside, in the mornings before classes, seems to help as well. Oh yeah, being legitimately interested in what's being taught helps immensely, I didn't have any problem with that though.

    So, to add to the list: sun and curiosity.

  2. This article in the New York Times suggests that to do better in your academic studies for college, you should set aside large amounts of uninterrupted time to study. The study suggests that college student’s grades and understanding improved when they set aside a few hours of uninterrupted time to study. I agree with this study and that it is better to study in long stints of time, but I think the study overlooks how difficult it is to fit these long study times into a busy college schedule. I also find that if I take a short nap after studying I retain the information better as discussed in this article which suggests breaking up a study session by taking a small nap and when you wake up you will be able to memorize more information when you wake up and not forget the information that you studied directly before your nap.

    -Michael Gutierrez-

  3. Surprisingly it had never occurred to me how important it is to network with faculty members. Not only will doing so enable a positive relationship that could lead to better understanding of course material and the inner workings of the campus but it will also provide a roster of important friends who can give recommendations to potential employers. I know I'm going to work hard to build a great network so I can do better as a student and be more prepared for the real world as a graduate.

    In addition, I definitely agree on the point that studying in groups can be very beneficial to one's learning. I feel like I really reinforce the material I'm trying to learn when I discuss and attempt to teach it to others. In my experiences however there is definitely a balancing act that must occur between studying alone and studying in groups. For me it is best to tackle a new subject by myself at first, and then finalize my learning process by reviewing the material with others.

  4. I've always had a problem with not getting work done or slacking off when I should be doing homework of studying. This got especially bad after I quit marching band my senior year because I had nothing else to do. Since coming to ASU iv made sure to join clubs, be social, and get involved as much as possible. The feeling of always doing something has tended to carry over to schoolwork as well and I have studied more now than I ever have in high school. So I can understand how the study makes sense in that the activities you engage in outside class are just as important as the class itself. The feeling of always doing something tends to make me more willing to start studying, do homework, or even go ahead in some classes that I actually enjoy taking. Which also helps my interest in the work considering this is what I want, and chose, to do.

  5. When I read this it seemed to be similar to what I had experienced in high school as a freshman. I chose as many diverse classes as I could such as biology, chemistry, law, graphic design. My work load was just as much or even more than others but with the diversity of my classes I truly enjoyed experiencing each one. Not only learning new material I never knew, but meeting the teachers and fellow classmates was the greatest. I wouldn’t have gone to rock concerts that my calculus teacher had extra tickets for, or meet the craziest friends I now have. The fact that struck me even more than having diverse classes was studying in groups, had I not done this I would have failed almost every one of my classes that year. As well as missing many opportunities to party and joke with my friends at each other’s houses after studying. To me at least, this article seems to have the guidelines for one to be happy while attending college, just only missing obvious ones like “Don’t party too much and procrastinate”. Otherwise if you did do that then you’ll be extremely sad or worried that you have to rush everything last minute and you might fail because of it.

  6. When I was a junior in high school, my English teacher would have his past students visit the class and give us advice about college. Most of them have mentioned the suggestions in the article. We were told that getting to know your professors has its benefits (like, as mentioned in the article, letter of recommendations). I learned by myself that if I didn’t take at least one “fun” class, I’d lose my mind. I also learned that it’s good to study in groups, but to not study with close friends. Otherwise, you’re not studying at all.

    There was one thing on the article that I hadn’t learned, however: How taking a language class can contribute to a happy college experience. Sure it’s engaging, but to me it just seems like a ton of work. It sure was when I took two years of Spanish in high school. But I guess, as research shows, learning a new language does indeed help make a student’s experience “happier”.

  7. I thought the article was actually somewhat interesting. I had never even thought about getting to know a teacher so well for after college recommendations... it seems like it’s still far away. I also really liked the point to learn another language. I've always wanted to learn another language, but had never really gotten around to it. I am also really glad that the article talked about how people that were in extra activities were a lot happier, because I have had every intention on joining many clubs/intramurals here at ASU. Now I am even more motivated to go out and join more that billiards club and the diablos (ultimate Frisbee team). I didn’t really like the advice on writing because writing is not my strong suit at all. I generally do anything I can to stay away from it.

  8. “Get to know at least one of your professors really well” is something I've heard a couple times recently, and for something that really makes sense, I've never really considered it before. Although I believe this advice is usually given with the goal of extending your network for job reasons more than making one's college experience better.
    I personally find studying in groups a bit hard since I'm more of an independent worker, which is something I should work on since a lot of jobs seem to include a lot of team-based tasks in this field. Although it is fun to work with other people, the part I don't like is when the work completed isn't exactly what I would have had in mind.

    In my opinion, the best way to make your college experience better is simply to try to get to know more people. People that you can get together with to go over homework and study with, as well as people to relax to release stress and enjoy what might over wise be time spent just sitting between your hour in between classes. Always have something to do.

  9. One of the most important aspects of attending college is extending your network of peers and establishing connections with all different types of people ranging from classmates to professors. Whereas the people you meet and associate yourself with in high school are important, the networks you form at the university level will undoubtedly be more beneficial as you progress. Taking a variety of classes is also very important so you can at least get an idea of what different fields may or may not have in store for you as you decide what you want to do with your life. Instead of focusing on one thing, branching out may help you find something you may never have encountered and you might find that it's more enjoyable than what you were initially interested in. Participating in study groups and working hard is another absolutely crucial element in the quest to become a well rounded college student. Learning with others always proves to be beneficial, and the whole point of being at school is to better yourself as a scholar.

    I believe in order to have a happy college experience, you must dedicate yourself to working hard, experiencing new things, and attempting to meet as many new people as you can. Balance is also very important, as too much of something is never ideal. As long as you work hard and keep an open mind in regards to course work and meeting people, college should be a very positive experience for you

  10. [I post this now due to late invitation and problems in posting]

    It is really surprising that attending other activities andvolunteering, is good for our grades. I thought that students with more freetime can study more and get better grades than others, but the article said, “Thestudy found that students who worked long hours at a job had the same grades asthose who worked a few hours or not at all.” That is new for me!

    Another thing, I strongly agree with considering time. Thereason is that organizing time is one of many important differences between thesuccessful student and unsuccessful one. The good student organizes his/hertime to balance between studying, sports, relaxing, and social work.

    Let’s talk now about studying in groups. I think it is veryimportant, as the article said, to study in groups. For example, when myprofessor asked me to join a group in the “Digital Design Fundamentals” class,that helped me a lot with the lessons that I didn’t understand. The classmateswill help you when you study with them in the group. Everyone will sharehis/her ideas to find better way to study.

    Abdulla AlBraiki


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