Author: Amanda Henderson

Amanda’s Approach🌈 – Analyzing My Study Habits in College

Amanda’s Approach🌈 – Analyzing My Study Habits in College

” If you are nervous, it’s good because it means you care. If you are anxious, it’s good because it means you are concerned for the quality of your content. If you are scared and stressed, it means you are unprepared.” – Man at MSU

When I was a Freshman, I was quickly submerged in the “harsh” reality of college test taking. This isn’t high school, where I could quickly do the homework during passing periods before class or get good at guessing at Multiple Choice Exams. In college, it is a whole different experience. You get to learn not only how to learn, but how you learn best and what you are interested in learning. Read ahead to hear about my take aways from learning how to study at Loyola!

Why Cramming is the absolute worst:

Yes, like other Loyola Students, we are all guilty of those late nights in the IC, trying to cram 8 weeks of lecture the night before the final. Bad. Bad. Bad. In reality, cramming does very little for you in the long run. Especially if your major is one that counts on applying previously acquired knowledge! While you may do “okay” on the exam, you will most likely forget everything you crammed the day after the exam. And when you have that scary cumulative final, you will have to reteach yourself everything that your forgot due to cramming. Do damage control and save yourself!

How memorizing gets you nowhere:

It is amazing how some of us are like sponges – soaking up every single word that is on a PowerPoint slide (talking to all you fellow Pre-Meds!). But how useful is regurgitating knowledge when you are unable to present and apply it? I find that making things more interactive – watching Youtube videos, asking questions, and researching topics not only enhance my understanding but also enhances memory simultaneously.

Wait, the Instructor isn’t the only one who teaches you?

In my opinion, we learn best by teaching ourselves and others. I view my professors as presenting information critical to my understanding of the class, and it is my job to translate it. For example, in my Abnormal Psychology class freshman year, I quickly discovered this harsh reality when I got a C on an exam I did not study for. Baby Amanda realized that I would need to get my brain into if I didn’t want to keep up this trend. And through trial and error, I found what works for me.

And finally, it is all about your headspace!

Learning doesn’t have to be a chore! As a total self-proclaimed nerd, I try to make it enjoyable and less of a hassle. This for me is:

– Making my notes colorful and accessible
– Using fun apps like Tiny Cards to make memorizing more effective,
– Listening to the best study music! For me it is piano, but for my roommate, it is heavy metal. Whatever works!
– Making study groups with my friends to not socialize but to help each other better understand the content
– Racing myself with a stopwatch to try to get practice problems done as quickly and correctly as possible.

Of course, these may not work for you when you go to college. But ultimately, it all comes down to understanding yourself – arguably the main take away of college. So just sit back, relax, and remember that it will all click for you eventually!

Happy 100th Birthday Sister Jean!

Happy 100th Birthday Sister Jean!

Yesterday, I had the lovely privilege of attending Sister Jean’s 100th Birthday!

As a rising Junior at Loyola, Sister Jean and I have been through it all. From Final Four status to the polar vortex that canceled class for the first time in decades, Sister Jean has become symbolic of the resilient rambler spirit. Even through the heat of basketball season to the deadly cold of Chicago Winter, Sister Jean will always be there for us Ramblers!

To thank her for years of dedicated service to the institution, Loyola threw her an awesome birthday party to celebrate the rare occasion – only 14 out of 1,000 live to be centenarians! A lot of surprising guest stars:

Jo Ann Rooney

Okay, not so surprising. But she introduced a new Sister Jean Scholarship to Incoming Loyola Studies to promote Worship, Work, and Win.

JB Pritzker

Our Governor declared August 21st Sister Jean Day!

After the speeches, all of us in the audience gathered to watch a video of Celebrities, Illinois and beyond, wishing Sister Jean a Happy Birthday.

Celebrities Wish Sister Jean a Happy Birthday!

Then, the queen herself blessed us all with her words of encouragement for the incoming school year. While she is the example of a life well lived, she remains humble and so supportive of all of us. To me personally, she demonstrates loyalty, faith, and passion associated with devoting your life to service. And as a Leadership Studies Minor, there is nothing more fulfilling then Demonstrative Leadership.

Here’s to a happy 100th Birthday Sister Jean! We look forward to spending next year’s with you as well!

(The cake was super delicious!!)
Declaring My Double Major!

Declaring My Double Major!

When I applied to Loyola, I was given a drop down list of choices for my future major.

My typical angsty teenage self did not see this as a life altering decision, and since I took AP Psychology in college and did well in it, I decided to go for it. I also chose Pre-med to accompany it, which I am thankfully that I at least made one smart decision that day.

A reminder that I only spent 15 minutes on my applications before applying to Loyola – perhaps my biggest regret to date. Tragic.

My First College Psych class was Abnormal Psychology in Cuneo at 7:00 pm every Tuesday. I remember it being super awesome, I loved learning about the differences of sociopaths versus psychopaths, as well as learning more about autism. My teacher was awesome, and we had to do a research paper to accompany a topic you found interesting. I chose to do the correlation of urban living and schizophrenia.

Then came developmental psychology my second semester of freshman year. Overall, kinda meh, it just felt we zoomed straight from birth to death without making a lot of pit stops. Plus I didn’t like babies at the time, and if you can guess, developmental classes have to include the little guys.

Then came psych stats. As a mathy person, ANOVAs (analysis of variance) were the coolest thing! Plus we had to do a lot with analyzing data on computer programing which was a lot of fun.

Then came Research Methods for Psychology Majors. Any “psychology  momentum” I came running in with went to a screeching halt. I entered a class that was extremely challenging for me to grasp. Not intellectually, but rather motivationally challenging- to learn a subject that I just could not absorb.

It could have been the professor, it could have been the class structure, heck, it could even have been that it was right before lunch and I got hangry.

But regardless, I hit my first ever wall in college, where I could not engage in a subject I thought I was interested in. I felt that the class forced me into a structure that I was not compatible with. And that started a fun existential crisis – Do I even like psychology?

Meanwhile, Crisis Amanda was taking classes such as physics, chemistry, and philosophy to fulfill the pre-med side to me. In Chemistry, I loved to ask my chemistry professor all the questions I had, be it entropy, antimatter, or just trying to understand what buffers were. And through all this discussion, and his encouragement to find the answers I was struggling to find, I finally identified the dilemma I was facing.

In Gestalt Psychology, they teach you that the whole is always greater than the sum of it’s parts. But my question in response is how do we even know the whole, if we don’t even know the parts. Yes, it may be greater, but if inexistent, remains inexistent.

This is what breaks psychology away from STEM classes. While STEM always begins with fundamentals (cells, atoms, gravity, algebraic equations), psychology looks at everything big picture. And while I love the core tenants of psychology, learning how people think and interact with their environments, I am just not a big picture person.

And that is why I decided to declare a double major for Neuroscience.

A Countdown Back to College – Looking Back at My Freshman Dorm

A Countdown Back to College – Looking Back at My Freshman Dorm

My freshman year experience all started with my dorm.

This is where I would be spending majority of my time sleeping, studying and socializing. Of course, I did not realize that at the time! Most people will tell you how awful and cramped the dorm rooms are, how you will need to get used to walking far distances, and how communal living is a hot mess.

But through my experience, all of that was a big fat lie. Let’s focus on debunking these dorm room assumptions.

Lets begin with location!

Room 1820, on the first Co-ed Floor of Mertz, my first college dorm. Mertz is not only a super social dorm, but also located very conveniently close to campus! I made a bad call when doing laundry right before to class, and I made it from the 18th floor to Mundelein in an impressive 6 minutes.

Good things come in small packages?

In terms of sizing, as a chronic claustrophobic, I felt my dorm was actually very spacious. In my dorm, we could comfortably throw in an extra person and set of furniture, and still have breathing room. My roommate was way more low maintenance then I was, so I was super happy taking in the extra space.

Neighbor or traitor, how does communal living work out?

And finally, communal living was not the horrible nightmare I expected it to be. Rather then a never ending sleepover with strangers, it felt more like vague cousins that lived with you . While we did have our moments (we had some very prominent personalities that could not get along), we all were close pretty close knit. Since I am a huge nerd, I fell into place with the Night Owls who stayed up until 2 am every night doing homework in our shared space.

Ultimately, dorms are not as overrated as people tend to think! I think its very important to have it capture your personality, and be a space designed for you and your needs in college.

Older Amanda still loves going on Pinterest looking at apartment d├ęcor nowadays, but nothing compares to the excitement of Baby Amanda planning her freshman year dorm! You are given several options to pick from regarding your room: Single, Double, Triple, or Quad; Bunk Beds, Junior loft, or Senior loft; the possibilities are endless!

I got lucky! I had a double with a high loft bed in Mertz on the 18th floor. I had the gorgeous sunset view, but I did spend a lot of time staring at the east view of the lake.

This is how I chose to design my dorm!

Totally did not get cluttered during the school year.

Not only did I love how color coordinated my room is (again type – A planner who relishes in perfect details), but I also loved how much of a conversation starter it was. During Welcome Week, I meet most of my friends from just running around, exploring everyone’s dorms.

Also important in your dorm is a plan for snacks!

Yes, that is a Walmart shoe self, full of snack suitable for bingeing on during Midterms.

And finally, a quick brag of how beautiful my view was:

I really do miss views like this.
All About Me

All About Me

Hello Blog Readers! My name is Amanda Henderson, and I am going to be a Junior at Loyola University in Chicago!

Total Disney nerd in their natural habitat

I am currently a Psychology-Neuroscience double major on the Pre-medical track with a minor in Leadership Studies. Yes, that is a mouthful, but it encompasses all that I am: a Type- A nerd who has a whole lot of different interests in a ton different fields.

I binge watch (and listen) to everything True Crime (I have seen every single Forensic Files and listen to My Favorite Murder), love learning about High Energy Physics and Antimatter, absolutely despise popcorn and cereal, and advocate for more visibility for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Growing up as a little gay kid in a small republican town way west of Chicago, I wanted to experience a more vibrant and exciting environment (more exciting then Oswego’s threshold of watching highways take 4 years to get redone). I knew I wanted to get my undergrad in Chicago, but because I was a stuck up teenager, I refused to apply anywhere my parents wanted me to apply. After finally receiving a death threat, I completed Loyola’s application in less than 15 minutes, and sulked away to my room.

Then came the fun time of touring after I got accepted. After a screaming match occurred to get me into the car to go visit Loyola, off we went past the corn fields to enter the land of sky scrapers and rat infestations.

But in reality, I was truly unprepared for what I was about to see. After being pushed out of the car and dragged to Sullivan Center for Student Services, I made eye contact with the vast body of water behind the IC.

And from that moment on, I was hooked.

(Took this after pulling an all-nighter in the IC – totally worth it)

I felt a weird emotion inside of me, which I later figured out was happiness (Yes, as an angsty teenager, I didn’t feel too much joy on a daily basis.) I realized that I could finally have a chance to explore who I am, and do what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I loved the idea of having a fresh start, to fall in love with learning again, and find my internal motivation to succeed in life.

Which brings us to the soon start date of my Junior year of college! Halfway done, but yet so much more to do! I hope you are as optimistic as I am as I take this next step into the magical and stressful world of Adulting.