Tag: Studying

My advice to you all before I graduate tomorrow

My advice to you all before I graduate tomorrow

For many of you, I’m sure the past 2 semesters were successfully a breeze, and for others, it may have been a tough adjustment from the all the summer fun. Whatever the case is, it is important that we don’t repeat fall semester and always leave some room for growth. Whether you had a good semester or a bad semester, my perspective on it, is that it can always be better and there will always be room for improvement.

A lot of what I struggled with was time management with my classes as a commuter. I had two difficult science classes and I had a hard time equally studying for both, as well as my other core subject areas. I found myself prioritizing one subject over the other, either because of my interest in one subject more than the other, or the difficulty of the subject. I believe I still did well in all classes; however, it could have been better and because of this, I find myself striving to do better this semester. It is important to have this mindset with anything in life because we naturally become used to a daily routine or what we already are “used to” that we barely leave any room for improvement. It can be either really easy, or it can be quite difficult to manage time, but if you force yourself to make a plan, it will definitely be better than “winging it”.

Regardless of what you’re struggling with or looking to improve, make a plan. What I plan on doing this semester is force myself to study within the first 1-3 hours of the classes rather than pushing it off a couple of hours later. If your classes are back to back or you don’t have time right away, at least review before going to bed. I didn’t believe in this at first, but it made memorizing content so much easier and it felt good knowing I actually retained and learned something. You don’t have to do this for too long, but a couple of minutes to an hour is sufficient to excel in a class.

I also struggled with catching up with readings, and tend to put them off last minute. I made sure I did not do that this semester because your upcoming semesters only get more challenging, and the class content/material is a bit more intense, so try to read as much as you can before your next class or after a class, so that you can focus on paying attention during lecture without feeling lost.

Another key thing you should do is get a planner and write out all the exam, quiz, papers, and final exam dates. This is extremely helpful because I found myself managing my time better and knowing when is a good week to go out or plan accordingly. Just looking at a syllabus is not going to help because you have to consider all of your other classes and make sure you are aware of instances where important tasks may overlap on a day. Finals week schedule is also important, making sure which classes have a final exam and when each are, so that you have enough time to study and not cram all the material.


Time to HIDE and STUDY

Time to HIDE and STUDY

You casually come back to class after a relaxing weekend and remember you had some exams this week. Particularly…finals. I think its best if you studied… but what is studying without a beautiful view and concentration? Its so important to know that the Information Commons Center is not the ONLY place to study. It will most likely be filled up because of its incredible view of the lake from through the window, but here are some other places to study at Loyola!

Of course, the Information Commons!


This is usually the first go-to place because its beautiful and has 3 levels to it. The first and second floor are a bit more interactive with computer and resources available. The 3rd floor is meant for silence, so if you really need to isolate yourself, take that elevator up to the 3rd!

 2nd floor of Damen

Damen Spaces

The second floor of Damen has many couches to sit back and be able to get some work done in between or after classes. If you go towards the back, it get’s really quiet so try staying in an area farthest from the dining/food court area!

1st/2nd floor of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES)


Not many people go here, and I’m not sure why! It is a small area, but it gets the job done! It is very peaceful, not to mention, you’re studying in one of the best buildings Loyola has to offer.

Cudahy Library


Of course the library is one of the best places to study! Be sure to check out the Donovan Reading room (Echo chamber, Harry Potter Room…)

3rd Floor of the Life Science Building (LSB)


This spot gets filled up pretty fast as well but it is relatively quiet and a great spot to catch up on some homework! (or review notes before your lab quiz)

Mundelein Center

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The first picture is Mudelein’s Palm Court on the 4th floor which is what you notice when you are outside looking at Mundelein from the western wing of the building. During the week it is filled with tables and chairs for students to study. The second picture is Mundelein’s Green House on the 7th floor where students can enjoy couches, sunlight and perfect silence for studying in this eco-friendly area.

Of course there are other places to study as well, such as The Coffee Shop, a local library, or even a friend’s place. However, if you need to stay on campus to focus, these should definitely help!

The Finish Line is Within Sight

The Finish Line is Within Sight

Business people cross the finish line

It was only a couple of days ago that I was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving break and not have to worry so much about schoolwork. Once I came back to school, I realized that finals were closer than I had expected. At this point in the semester, there are only two full weeks of school left which is the equivalent of 10 days. With that in mind, the finish line to ending the semester is so close!

At the same time, it is very critical that you do not slack off in these last few days. Around this time, most professors will have several things due for instance, papers, presentations, projects, quizzes, and unit exams. When you are like me and take 18 (or more) credits worth of classes, people better start calling you a warrior.


Things to keep in mind/start doing:

  1. Do ANYTHING you can NOW. If you are a procrastinator, this message should be a valuable and handy tip. For those who do not procrastinate, this is a helpful message so you can relax later on and not have to be so stressed. With today being Wednesday, there is only 7 days left of the semester, it is best to use up all the free time you have to dedicate to your studies or obligated errands. Time is of the essence!
  2. Make a DAILY checklist. Many people underestimate the power of writing things down vs. memorizing things to do. Checklists help you stay very organized and forces you to finish specific things ON TIME. Without checklists, you may want to procrastinate, which is a no-no. Having daily checklists help you to think within a day’s time frame instead of view the week broadly. Plus, for me, it is quite satisfying to physically check off boxes and have a good feeling of accomplishment!
  3. COFFEE might be your new best friend. As we near finals week, there will definitely be a lot of assignments due and exams to study for. Coffee, if it is your preference, will provide you with an extra boost of energy and motivation to study more and focus.
  4. CHRISTMAS SPIRIT officially comes AFTER finals week.  Unfortunately, this year we end the semester closer to Christmas than we normally tend to. However, that does not mean that you should direct your (full or partial) attention and focus away from your studies and schoolwork. This may affect you from boosting that B+ to an A… scenarios like this, people tend to regret not putting enough effort into their studying as they should have. If anything, go all out for New Years and celebrate hard; look forward to that holiday more than Christmas.
  5. If you are CONFUSED about anything, ASK. Asking does not hurt anyone. You will gain clarity on a certain topic and have more confidence when you are asked that topic on an exam.

I understand that these things are leaning toward the more extreme and more self-disciplined methods to preparing for finals week, but nevertheless, they are ways to help you maintain or rise academically, which is the reason we go to school. We want to succeed, so we study for our classes by doing well on our exams and classwork. These all stem down to the basic essentials of how to study effectively and wisely.


A Short Ramble (no pun intended)

A Short Ramble (no pun intended)


35 days until Graduation Day, but no one is counting.  Wow, Class of 2015, we did it!  Guys, it is so hard to not make this a mushy post.  I really don’t want to, but I might have to.  The other day, as I was walking to my Tu/Thur 10 am class, I ran into an old friend who was just leaving Biochemistry class.  I spoke to her briefly and we caught up on our plans.

She asked me why I was not pre-medicine anymore, and I told her my interest in pursuing a graduate degree in something else.  She has always been so sweet and when I found out that she was still pre-med, I was so excited!  She has worked so hard and has gotten exceptional grades.  You want to know how?  She did not have to tell me for me to realize her smart techniques!  I know she tried very hard in each class, but she always…ALWAYS…made study groups.

If you are new to Loyola, or if you are already a Rambler, listen carefully: make study groups.  Besides the fact that it is much more fun (avoid going with your best friends because you will just end up having rap battles – true story), it is very helpful!  I am not sure why this makes us remember information better.  Perhaps because we are making connections between the time when Amanda sneezed while she was explaining the Krebs cycle?  (What is this: true story #2?)  All I know is that this is how I made many of my friends, as well!

I am going to get mushy, now.  When my friend told me that she was studying every day for the MCAT, it made me feel so proud and happy about being a Rambler.  I did feel sympathy because I remember studying for the MCAT, but the sole fact that she was studying was what made me happy.  I am so appreciative that I had the opportunity to study in such a prestigious University; nonetheless, the people here are beyond smart and helpful.  My peers are amazing people and it is such a great feeling to share a passion for education with all of these people.

If you are debating between which university to attend, let me give you a hint: pick Loyola.  You will not be disappointed! 🙂

Until next time!


Best Places To Study Around Campus

Best Places To Study Around Campus

It’s finals week! Which means that the library is extra packed and it can be hard to find a good place to study. Here are a few good alternatives to the library:

1. An empty classroom. Loyola leaves the classrooms unlocked until about 11:30ish at night. So as long as it is after normal class hours this will guarantee some peace and quiet to really crank out the studying.

2. USGA Office. Not very many people know about it, but USGA opens up their office that is in the student union to anyone who needs a quiet place to study.  It is also right by Rambler Room so you will not have to travel far to get a snack!

3. The Stacks. Looking to really seclude yourself from the outside world? Then the stacks in the library are for you. It may take a little wandering around to find the perfect place, but most likely you will find a desk surrounded by stacks of books with no one else around.

4. A Friends Room. CAUTION: this will only work if you are both committed to studying! But if you are, it can be the perfect environment to get a lot done. A friends room will not be stuffy and uncomfortable like other places might be. Be careful though! It can also be easiest to get distracted in this environment.

5. Center Stage Cafe in Mundelein. The cafe in Mundelein can be a great place to study if you are not looking for a silent study area but are afraid of the seductive powers your bed in your room has. It also is right across the hall from the cafe so you can load up on the snacks and get buckets of coffee.

Loyola Theater: My Exclusive Experience

Loyola Theater: My Exclusive Experience

This week I had the unexpected delight of being invited to a rehearsal of one of my good friends’ girlfriend’s directing scenes. She is a Theater major and a Senior, so I believe she is required to direct a scene for her class.

It was a pretty cool opportunity, and I was glad for it because I had been working in the IC (Information Commons/Library) all day and needed a break. I was told that it would only last a half an hour, so it seemed like the perfect study break to me.

I went into the room and met with 2 other mutual friends (I myself had brought along my study partner of the day.) The director told us where to sit and spread us out around the actors as if we were in a thrust stage. The point was just that the actors needed to practice performing the scene in front of an audience, so our job was to just be a set of warm bodies to act towards.

The scene itself was pretty awesome. They ran through it once and I was really impressed by the power it packed in under 15 minutes. There was some really funny moments and some really deeply disturbing moments. The second time they ran through it I got even more out of it.

But to me the real value was getting to see this little subculture of Loyola’s Theater Major. So rarely do I realize how many other things are going on all the time. Had I not been invited to this exclusive viewing I wouldn’t have realized that all over the place in classrooms at night are small groups of students meeting to work on their scenes. This has been going on since my Freshman year and I had no idea. It makes me wonder what else is out there that I still haven’t heard of.