Thursday, February 27, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Types of Schedules

Once you begin college/university, your schedule can vary from quarter to quarter.  It is definitely different than high school where you go to the early morning and then go  home mid-afternoon.

You should consider the types of schedules you choose.  Sometimes you have no choice but to take early courses or late courses.  However, when you do have a choice, it may be better to choose the slightly early classes.

These are the types of schedules I have observed:

  • Morning to noon schedules (Classes/labs are typically from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm)
  • Noon to late noon schedules (Classes/labs are typically from 1 pm to 5:30 pm)
  • Spread-out schedules (Classes/labs are spread out throughout the day)
  • Mix of the first and third or second and third schedules.
Personally, I try to avoid spread-out schedules.  The reason for this is because I find it very inconvenient having to go to class then wait around for an hour before going to another class.  While the break is sometimes needed for catching up on sleep, getting some studying done, or eating, I still like to take my classes consecutively.  That way, I finish all my classes and I'm free for the rest of the day.  No need to worry about going to class later on.

This leads me to the other types of schedules.  Noon to late noon schedules may be advantageous to people who like to sleep in.  However, I don't like these types of schedules also.  The reason for this is because students with late schedules have the tendency to sleep in.  If you sleep in (let's say until 11 or 12) and then wake up just to go to class, you already missed out on half the day.  Of course, if you are the type who gets up early then this may be the type of schedule for you.

My personal favorite is the morning to noon schedule. The reason for this is because I'm forced to get up early.  I finish all my classes by noon and I am free for the rest of the day.  I think I am most productive and stress-free with these types of schedules. 8:30 -9 is a bit to early for me.  I prefer classes on or after 9:30. 

These are the basic types of schedules.  There are also mixed types of schedules.  For example, there is the mixture of morning/spread-out schedules, where you have two classes in the morning and one in the afternoon.  These classes are fine to since you already finished the majority of your classes in the morning.  All you have left is either a class or lab in the afternoon and you are free for the rest of the day.

The type of schedule you choose is ultimately up to you.  There will obviously be times when you can't choose the times you want and you will end up with undesirable schedule times.  Nevertheless, if you had an option of choosing class/lab times, I would recommend taking earlier classes so that you are free for the rest of the day.  You can accomplish so much more, both in and out of school, just by waking up early - even if you sleep late.  Yes, you may lose sleep but that's what weekends are for!

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 24, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Staying Awake in Class

In college and university, you honestly don't get much sleep.  It can be difficult for most students to get even 7 hours of sleep during the weekdays.

As a result, students end up sleeping in class, no matter how hard they fight to stay awake.  This is obviously a bad thing since you are missing out on lecture and it gives the professor a bad impression of you.

So how do you stay awake?  There are a couple things that can help you to stay awake.  I will be sharing my personal strategies for staying awake.
Please note that the results may vary from person to person and some strategies are more effective than others.

Things to avoid:
  • Being near the air conditioner.  The cool breeze may be so relaxing that you just drift off into lullaby land.
  • Coffee.  It gets costly and addicting.  Make it a challenge to stay awake without coffee!  If you really need coffee, fine.  But try the items on my list first.  
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Other things that can induce sleep in you.
A list from least effective to most effective based on my personal experience:

  • Stabbing yourself with a pencil.  I tried it.  It only worked for a few seconds. 
  • Wetting your face with cold water before class.
  • Having your classmate beside you wake you up whenever you nod off.  This sort of works but from experience, it doesn't help if your classmate falls asleep too!.
  • Think about something to get your heart rate up.  This isn't for everyone.  However, I have discovered that you will stay awake if your heart beats faster.
  • Exercise.  Whether it's before class or the day before, exercising often gives you the energy to stay awake
  • Drink during class.  
  • Eat during class. Bring candy or some other quiet snack.  Eating will help you stay awake.
  • Plenty of rest the night before.  I know this may be hard but this is the best solution for staying awake.  Plus, getting plenty of rest helps you retain the things you learned.
As you may have noticed, I didn't include anything about coffee because I don't drink coffee and I don't need that to stay awake.  From my experiences, the most effective methods of staying awake are eating during class and getting plenty of sleep.  

Hopefully these tips help you to stay awake during class!

- VerusAnimuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Save All Physical & Digital Documents

It is good to always back up your things.  This tip is about backing up everything throughout your college and university years.

What should you back up?

  • Homework assignments (often in PDFs provided by the teacher)
  • Your homework 
  • Homework solutions
  • Lecture notes/slides
  • Practice midterms and finals
  • Midterms/finals solutions
  • Lab specifications
  • Lab reports
  • Data, Excel spreadsheets, relevant pictures
  • Codes - intermediate and final
  • Everything else
Additionally, if you know what classes you are taking in the future, you can visit those class websites and save the important files from those websites if need be.

How do you back up your files?

  • Download the files
  • Be sure to label them appropriately with the course number
  • Email the files to yourself and organize them in online folders, or
  • Save the files onto a USB and organize them there
I personally prefer backing up my things via email because I can access it from any computer without having to carry my USB around or worry about losing it.

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 17, 2014

Colleversity Opinion - Housing Preference - Dorm vs Apartment

During my four years of college and university, I have lived in both the dorm and apartment settings.

For my freshman year, I lived at my house since the college was only 20 minutes away.
For my sophomore year, the campus was farther and I chose to live in a dorm.
In my junior year, I transferred to university and I lived in an apartment for one quarter than moved to two other dorms.
Presently, in my senior year, I still live in a dorm.

The following is a personal reflection and an explanation of why I chose to live in a dorm rather than an apartment.  Maybe this different perspective will help prospective students decide where they want to live.

(It is important to note that my opinion stems from the fact that I don't like wasting time and I try to spend as little money as possible.  I'm an Electrical Engineering major and I like to discipline myself when it comes to spending time and money.)

Why do I choose the dorm life over the apartment?  The main reason is convenience.  While apartments can generally be cheaper, if you are under financial aid (or if you win enough scholarships), your dorm is pretty much paid for.

Also, dorms are often closer to campus then apartments.  I personally don't like wasting precious study time so with dorms, I can get to and from class quickly.  You save on gas and you get exercise from all the walking!  Obviously there are apartments within walking distance as was the case with the apartment I lived in.

I compared the cost of when I lived in an apartment and my present dorm setting.  Taking into account the food  and rent of an apartment compared to the dining plan (I signed up for the lowest), snack food, and cost of a dorm, I actually saved a couple hundred dollars living in a dorm despite the fact that I lived in a singles room in both scenarios.  Maybe I was just lucky.  I know this isn't the case everywhere. I also know it's definitely cheaper if you can get an apartment with a roommate.

Perhaps the best reason why I prefer a dorm over an apartment is because you can be more "lazy."  With an apartment, you have to pay your monthly/quarterly bills.  While this is good practice, it's not hard to learn and there is plenty of time as an adult to pay your bills.  I'm trying to put that off as long as possible.

Additionally, when you live in an apartment, you have to buy and cook your own food.  Buying your own food can generally be cheaper than a dorm's dining plan but it all depends on how much you eat and if you can go shopping and find some good deals.  For me, the shopping and cooking takes up precious time.  The downside to this is that you can't really eat whenever and whatever you want because you have to budget yourself (this is good practice though).  My solution: I get snacks/extra meals for a fridge I have in my dorm.
Doing the laundry is the same with both the dorm and apartment.  However, you do save a lot if your parents do the laundry! ;)

All in all, whether you choose a dorm or an apartment all comes down to personal preference, what you can afford, and the location of the dorm/apartment.  Maybe students wanting a different perspective on housing preference will find this entry useful.  If not, then at least now you know the general reason why I moved out of an apartment and into a dorm.

- VerusAnimus

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Scan All Your Homework

Something I found useful during my University years is to scan all my homework before turning them in.  I suggest students do this as well.

When I do my homework, I often write extra techniques or steps on the sides that aren't found in my notes.  Because I scan my homework, I don't have to worry about putting it in my notes or losing my thought process after turning my homework in.  

Another reason for keeping a scanned copy of your homework is this: in case your professors don't return the homework in time for an exam (or they don't return it at all), you will at least still have a reference file you can come back to for studying.  

It is also a good idea to back up your homework via a scan in case you lose or damage the physical copy.  Plus, in the long run, keeping digital copies of your homework is better than keeping stacks of paper!  

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 10, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Always Keep Your Keys With You

Note: I'm still new at blogging so I'm still trying to get the hang of this.

The following is a little handy trick I learned for never forgetting your keys.  This may or may not apply to you if you live in an apartment or dorm with a roommate.  This tip mostly applies to people who can be forgetful (especially when in a rush to get to class).

I learned this trick when I was in college. On a cold winter morning, I woke up a bit late for a midterm. I quickly took a shower and as I was entering my room, I found out that I forgot to bring my keys.  I also didn't have my cellphone as it was locked in my room.  If I had a roommate I probably could have solved my problems then.  But I lived in a singles room.  My only option now was to go outside and look for the residential adviser.  Luckily, I happened to bring clothes to with me.  I ventured into the outside cold and found the adviser.  Eventually, she let me back into my room and I made it to class on time.

I was in a rush so I forgot my keys.  A couple days before I was thinking, "What if I accidentally left my keys in my room? It'll never happen."  Turns out, I jinxed myself.  Where I lived, there is a penalty for locking yourself out multiple times.  I wasn't about to pay any penalty for forgetting my keys.  From that day on, I decided to do this:
Whenever I sleep, stick my keys in my socks. My keys consisted of only the room/mailbox keys so it wasn't that bad.  When you wake up, you don't have to worry about finding your keys (unless you kick your socks off while sleeping or you don't wear socks...).  In the morning, simply clip your keys to your pants or put it wherever you put your keys and carry on with your day.  Repeat.  In general, the common sense thing is to always put keys where you habitually check every morning and night so you never forget them.

It's been two years since this incident and I now live in a different dorm at university in a singles room (with penalties for locking yourself out).  My strategy hasn't failed me since.

If you like this strategy, I recommend using it.  If not, that's fine. Just don't forget/lose your keys!

- VerusAnimus

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Enter Verus Animus

Hello world, I think I'm going to try out blogging.  This is my first blog ever so I'm still learning about how to write good blogs.  After a few entries maybe I'll get the hang of it, practice makes perfect!

Who am I?  I am Joel, known online as Verus Animus.  Presently, I'm an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Washington in my senior year.  I enjoy traveling around the world, taking photos and recording videos.

What will I be blogging about?  I'll be blogging about many things.  I hope to give advice about various things I've experienced in college/university and life in general.  I also hope to talk about whatever is on my mind.

Why do I want to blog? I want to be able to share some of my adventures, provide you with some entertainment, and give you some advice based of my personal experiences.

How's that for an introductory first blog?

Joel S. Atienza aka VerusAnimus

Connect with me: (this account is a wasteland but you can still like it =] )