How to Manage Self-Management

University life requires that a student must accept the importance of effective use of time. How students choose to spend their time can make the difference between success and failure in their academic career. It is especially important to self-manage your time, even if you don’t feel like it, which, let’s face it, there are many times that we do not feel like doing the things we know we should.

There are various management methods that can be employed to make the best use of your time; each has its own unique benefits and purposes. The following are some ideas of time management tools that can be used on a daily basis to improve productivity and help you manage your limited time. Some students resist using a written self-management system and believe that they can store it all in their heads. If that is the case than they are probably not doing very much! Experiment with a few ideas from below and see what works for you. You might be surprised by how easy it is to design a useful self-management tool that works for you.

Make a To-Do List:

  • A to-do list will ensure that everything gets done, including things that might otherwise be forgotten.
  • Organize the to-do list in order of priority! This is key, understand the things in your life that are urgent such as studying for an exam the next day, or not urgent such as watching Netflix till 4:00 A.M.
  • If a task cannot be completed in one day, it can be put on the next day’s list. It’s important, however, to complete as many tasks as possible.
  • Studies show that creating a to-do list can significantly increase productivity.

Priorities and Deadlines:

  • Setting deadlines can help accomplish tasks that would otherwise be set aside or forgotten.
  • Make sure that you keep deadlines practical and accomplishable.
  • Organize priorities so that the tasks that must be delivered soonest are first on the list (again understand what is urgent and what is not).
  • Set deadlines so that you stay on track.
  • Set deadline appointments on your cellphone or laptop to remind you a day in advance of an upcoming due date.
  • Google Calendar is an excellent place to set deadlines, as every UMaine student is given a Google account.

Meeting those Deadlines:

  • In college, as well as in all of life, tasks usually need to be completed within a set time period, which makes meeting deadlines very important.
  • One way to help meet a deadline is to break a project down into pieces, which makes an larger task easier to accomplish. One great example of this comes from Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life where she writes:

”Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Although it is not recommended that you try to get a report that you have been given three months to finish done overnight, the key concept is not to let a large project immobilize you.

  • Another way to meet deadlines is to schedule things so that extra time can be taken if necessary.

Set Goals:

  • Similar to creating a to-do list, goal-setting is another important part of time management, because doing so not only organize one’s day and helps accomplish tasks, but also provides a sense of accomplishment.
  • Ensure a goal isn’t too large or unreasonable by dividing complicated task into multiple, smaller goals.
  • Use a sheet of paper, or a computer program to track your progress.
  • Goals should be based on performance, not output.

Put Time and Effort into Achieving Those Goals:

  • Be practical and realistic with goals by giving a reasonable amount of time to complete them. You cannot do everything at once!
  • Set goals in accordance with priority, and tackle them one at a time. Each goal should be handled separately.
  • Giving undivided attention and time to complete each goal not only results in a faster completion time, but also a higher-quality product.
  • Putting time and effort into goals is an important part of time management, as it allows for both quality and efficiency.

Begin A Daily Routine:

  • Getting a daily routine down will go a long ways towards keeping you organized and on task.
  • Adding time to relax is also important. This not only provides something to look forward to, but may also satisfy things that would otherwise be distracting.
  • Eliminate or economize anything that may not need too much time to complete. (Procrastination comes in all shapes in sizes- thinking about doing a project can sometimes take longer than the project itself)
  • Organizing a daily routine is important because it not only helps to organize the entire day, but also allows time to satisfy distractions (schedule in a little time for Facebook or your favorite blog?) and recuperate!

Avoid Procrastination:

  • Always decide in favor of the things that are most important. Some things may need to be put off until later to accomplish the most important tasks.
  • Decide on what needs to be done first, and accomplish that task. Don’t give time to anything else. This will make you feel empowered to complete more tasks
  • Making right decisions is an important part of time management as it prevents procrastinating and helps to prioritize and give a sense of accomplishment when you are finished.

Calendar for the Week of 9/15/2014 to 9/21/2014

Monday, September 15
Today is the last day to drop a class and receive a full refund. After today, you will only be able to receive a portion of your payment back.

Sign up for small group tutoring begins today and is ongoing. The Tutor Program is also offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  
Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
12pm-1pm - MAT 115
2pm-4pm - PHY 122
4pm-5pm - PSY 100
5pm-7pm - MAT 228

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It is located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm - French Table

Tuesday, September 16
Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
11am-12pm - CHY 121
2pm-3pm - SMS 100
4pm-6pm - BIO 100

Wednesday, September 17
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
9am-10am - PHY 121
10am-11am - AST 109
11pm-12pm - SMS 100
1pm-2pm - BIO 100
2pm-3pm - PHY 121
4pm-5pm - PHY 111

12pm-1pm - German Table

Thursday, September 18
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
10am-11am - CHY 121
1pm-2pm - MAT 232
3pm-4pm -PSY 100
4pm-6pm - BIO 100

12pm-1pm - Spanish Table

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

If you attended the Study Abroad Fair yesterday, you probably heard lots of good information on its many benefits. However, if you couldn’t make it, or still need some convincing, check out today’s infographic: Studying abroad is good for a lot more than seeing the world and having a good time- it also looks great to potential employers!

Important Resources on Campus

**Please be aware that the links on this page are currently not working, but will be soon! In the meantime, you can search UMaine’s website for any of the resources given below!**

The University of Maine has an abundance of resources on campus designed to help students succeed academically, socially, and personally. Here at the CLAS Advising Center, we aim to be able to point you in the right direction, to guide you to the resource that is right for you, right where you are.

The first resource I want to mention is the Counseling Center. For many students, going away to school is their first time away from home for any real length of time. Being on a college campus is a brand next experience. Students find themselves surrounded by new people in a new place with new expectations, all creating new stress. The Counseling Center is here to help students deal with these stresses. Their goal is to “promote the personal development and psychological well-being for University of Maine students.” And best of all, it’s free for students.

The Commuter & Non-Traditional Student Programs, based out of the Commuter Lounge in the Memorial Union, works to connect students who do not live on campus, or who fall outside the traditional college age, to the University community. The CNTSP offers programs throughout the year for these two populations, to help them get acclimated. The Commuter Lounge is the communal center for the program, and is a place where students can meet and socialize, with free coffee and tea, or do work at computer stations.

The Tutor Program is a very important academic resource, providing small group tutoring to students in 100- and 200- level courses. They also offer drop-in tutoring hours in the library during the evening for select courses. We at the CLAS Advising Center highly recommend that students be proactive in getting tutoring help. It is normally best not to wait until the semester is over half way finished to sign up for tutoring help. Earlier is better.

The Writing Center is another very important resource. More than just proof-reading your paper, they will completely take it apart and dissect it, to make sure it is as good as you can make it. You just need to be sure to have a rough draft done in advance, so that you have time to make an appointment and see one of their specialists.

The final resource I want to mention is the Career Center. The earlier you go to visit them in your college career, the better. If you are currently undecided, they can help shed light on career paths that might interest you. And while your faculty advisor is a wealth of information about your chosen field, the Career Center can give you a slightly different perspective on your field and the job market; they can help you make the jump from academia to the work world.

For more information on these resources, you can check their respective websites:

Counseling Center

Commuter & Non-Traditional Student Programs

Tutor Program

Writing Center

Career Center

Calendar for the Week of 9/8/2014 to 9/14/2014

Welcome back everyone! As we get back in the swing of things this semester, keep in mind all the events going on a regular basis, as well as some special happenings, all of which can be found in our weekly calendar!

Monday, September 8
Remember, today is the last day to add a class to your schedule.

The Tutor Program is offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
9am-10am - BUA 201
10am-11am - MAT 115
11am-12pm - BIO 208
1pm-2pm - PSY 100
2pm-3pm -CHY 121
4pm-6pm - BMB 208
6pm-7pm - MAT 232
7pm-8pm - PHY 122

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It is located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm - French Table

Tuesday, September 9
Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
10am-12pm - SOC 101
12pm-1pm - BIO 100
1pm-2pm - FSN 101
2pm-4pm - MAT 232
5pm-7pm - CHY 122
7pm-8pm - PHY 112

Wednesday, September 10
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
9am-11am - MAT 115
11am-12pm - BIO 208
12pm-1pm - BUA 202
1pm-2pm - MAT 111
4pm-5pm - PHY 122
5pm-7pm - PSY100

12pm-1pm - German Table

Thursday, September 11
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
11am-12pm - SOC 101
12pm-1pm - BIO 208
1pm-2pm - BIO 100
2pm-3pm - BIO 222
3pm-4pm - CHY 121
4pm-5pm - TME 152
6pm-7pm - PHY 112

12pm-1pm - Spanish Table

Sunday, September 14
Drop-in Tutoring for Sunday:
6pm-8pm BIO 100

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

Welcome Back

Welcome back from all of us here at the Advising Center! Due to the new semester and some changes in the office, we are currently working on getting settled in. Stay tuned for new posts beginning next week!

It’s the last day of finals and the end of the academic school year, which means this will be our last post until the fall. Celebrate with today’s infographic on how you can spend the coming months; and from everyone here at the CLAS Advising Center, enjoy your summer!

So You Wanna Go to Grad School

Many undergraduates, especially those who are liberal arts majors, plan from the start of their college career to go to graduate school. They know that the career they want either requires a graduate degree or at least that a graduate degree will help them land the job they want. And so they know that their undergraduate graduation commencement is not an end to their education, but rather a time of transition, from undergrad to grad school. There is a large body of literature devoted to the question of whether or not to go to graduate school, so rather than address that question, this post will give you some pointers on how to prepare yourself, as an undergraduate, to become a graduate student.

The first thing you need to do if you’re planning on going to graduate school is get good grades. You need to demonstrate that you can excel at the undergraduate level before you should even contemplate graduate school, since grad school is far more difficult and rigorous than most any undergraduate program. Being a B or C student is not a sign of future success in graduate school. Plus, there’s the little matter of grades being important to the application process. For the more elite programs, you’ll be going up against students who have straight A’s, so you need to do that and more in order to stand out.

Pick your major, your minor, and your courses carefully and thoughtfully. Make sure that they work to help you achieve your goals. Plan ahead. Pick a major that sets you up for success in the field you’d like to break into. Pick a minor (or a second major) that either helps solidify your skill set or that demonstrates a breadth of knowledge and the ability to learn new and different things. Choose courses that will help you both now, as an undergraduate, and later, as a graduate student. For instance, depending on your field, many graduate programs have a foreign language requirement. If that’s the case, take those classes as an undergraduate. The earlier you plan ahead, the better prepared you’ll be for graduate school.

Get to know your professors. You want them to know who you are and the quality of work that you do. They may seem intimidating at first, but they’re people too. If you show a genuine interest in their topic or field, they will very often reciprocate that interest in your progress and growth. Remember, the better acquainted you are with your professors, the more they’ll be able to write a good letter of recommendation for you. Plus, they may know faculty at other institutions and provide some guidance as to good programs for you to apply to.

Get involved on campus. That could be getting into leadership roles in clubs or organizations. It could mean getting an internship on campus or working in a departmental office. And it could also mean volunteering at campus events. Campus involvement, and especially in leadership roles, demonstrates dedication and initiative. It shows that you can balance your time commitments and excel in multiple areas. And it shows that you can think beyond a narrowly focused topic.

Similarly, it’s good to get volunteer or internship experience in the field you’d like to work in. During your summer vacation, find a place a place to work that will give you experience in your field. This does at least two things. First, it gives you experience, which will help you rise to the top of the applicant pile when you’re applying to grad school. Second, and perhaps even more important, it broadens your professional network. You’ll know more people in your field who can write you letters of recommendation and help you find open positions. If you need help finding these opportunities, contact your faculty advisor, your major department chair, and/or the Career Center.

Generally speaking, if you’re graduating in May and planning on starting in grad school the following August/September, then you’d better be sending out applications the fall before you graduate. And in order to be ready for that, you’ll need to be taking one of the graduate/professional school exams. That would be the MCAT for med school, the PCAT for pharmacy school, the GMAT for business school, the LSAT for law school, and the GRE for most everything else. The best advice I can give you on these is to prep…a lot. Get a test prep book, study it, learn the test-taking skills it offers, and just go through the whole book. Then get a second one and do the same thing. There are different schools of thought as to the importance of these standardized tests. However, most will agree that while even acing the tests may not guarantee you a spot at an elite grad program, doing poorly on them could well sink your application.

So these are some of the things that will help you prepare for grad school. Just remember, start early, plan ahead, build relationships, and prepare for a lot of hard work.