Higher Education Blog

  • Summer break in the midst of a pandemic

    For those who are students, summer break just might be around the corner for some of you.  For many, this may mean staying in your community instead of taking a road trip or flying out to a distant destination.  With that being said, what can you do to connect and work better online?  Here are a few ideas:

    Develop your contacts and better understand potential career opportunities

    For those of you who are looking to increase your chance of professional success, engage in opportunities that will help you increase your professional network. Sign up for sites like LinkedIn to connect with other professionals online. Collect the presentations and publications you may have already developed and showcase them. If you are working towards a degree in a certain field, take the time to research those that have stood out in that area and send a quick email or a hand-written note asking them to take some time to engage in an informational interview.  While some professionals may not respond to the offer to share their knowledge, others will.  Make a short list of questions that will help you gain the knowledge you need to develop the roadmap for a great start to your career.

    If you are working towards a degree in a certain field, take the time to research those that have stood out in that area and send a quick email or a hand-written note asking them to take some time to engage in an informational interview.

    The virtual interview

    So now that you made the initial connection with professionals in the field, what about the virtual interview?  Whether it be for an informational interview or for a new position, it is important to become familiar with the technology used. If you haven’t yet done a virtual interview, now may be the time to practice as there are a number of organizations that are choosing to conduct these during the pandemic.  If you do have a virtual interview coming up, practice with a friend to ensure that you can do your best. 

    If you haven’t yet done a virtual interview, now may be the time to practice as there are a number of organizations that are choosing to conduct these during the pandemic.

    Improve your virtual work skills

    “Hey, sorry I was on mute...” begins a blog post by Ashley Peterson-DeLuca that focuses on digital soft skills.  She goes on to quote Pearson’s Global Learning Survey which indicated that 77% of respondents believed that teleworking during this time has taught “that working remotely requires different skills than working in an office”.  She goes onto share some tips from two Pearson researchers to “...build more on empathy and keep your soft skills sharp while working at home”.

    With virtual work and education becoming the norm rather than the exception, take some time to sharpen your virtual work and collaboration skills for better results.


    Written by Sophia Guevara, MLIS, MPA. Sophia is a columnist for Information Today and a member of the Special Libraries Association and the Nonprofit Technology Network. 

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  • 4 Study Tips for Students Who Left Studying to the Last Minute

    Whether you’ve fallen behind because you’re a master procrastinator or missed a lot of classes, not all is lost. In university and college, cramming is unhealthy and unsustainable.

    However, if last-minute studying is your last resort right now, you can still use whatever time you have left to your advantage and learn better time management next time.

    Here are 4 tips and tools you can use to make the most out of studying last minute:

    1. Focus only on topics you’re struggling or unfamiliar with

    When studying last minute, you may not have time to review all your class materials and study notes. Focus on what you don’t know yet.

    To identify what you don’t know, take a practice test. It may not be fun to realize how much you have to study for, but this preliminary assessment will let you clearly see where you need to spend time studying.

    After you’re finished, review all the questions you got wrong and see if there are any trends. Maybe they are all from the same chapter or involve the same concept.

    If you’re using MyLab or Mastering in your course, use Dynamic Study Modules to save time. It will not only learn what topics you’re struggling with but also adapt its questions to give you get extra practice on topics you’re not familiar with.

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  • 7 common student procrastination excuses and how to overcome them

    “Nothing is so fatiguing,” famous 19th century philosopher William James explains, “as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” This fatigue of procrastination is a university and college student’s worst enemy. When we asked what your biggest struggle is as a student on Instagram, most of you said procrastination and motivation.

    Here are 7 of the most common procrastination excuses we hear from university and college students and how you can overcome each one:

    1. I’m too tired, lazy and stressed.

    Tell yourself you only have to do 10 minutes of work today. Find an easy task (i.e. read over your assignment, write one paragraph) and just start. When you finish, you can put it away guilt-free.

    Chances are, starting will create a momentum for you to do more. Even if you don’t, doing a little every day is better than not starting at all.

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  • Feeling stuck? 3 ways to better your mental health

    By: Madison Kriege 
    I have trouble managing my mental health.  I push it off like a check on my To-Do list and tell myself I’ll come back later; however, I know that I never will and new priorities will take its place.  This mindset is something that I am confident I am not alone in.

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  • Combat procrastination with these effective strategies

    By: Zoë Banen
    Procrastination is usually a student’s favorite hobby in college. Waiting until the last minute is rarely the best idea and leads to stress and panic. To be successful and remain stress-free, it is important to stay motivated when completing assignments and studying. I too, fall victim to the temptation of procrastination at times. However, I have found that using these two strategies can help.

    Using a Study Timer

    The Pomodoro Technique is my favorite secret weapon to combat procrastination. It was developed by productivity consultant Francesco Cirillo to help improve focus and concentration on the task at hand. The technique helps you commit 25 minutes of your time to working or studying without becoming distracted. The specific amount of time dedicated to working allows for high levels of motivation. Studies have shown that our maximum attention span in work is between 20 to 45 minutes if a brief break was taken before. Using a pomodoro timer takes advantage of this information by allotting 25 minutes to work followed by a 5-10 minute break. The breaks in between are purposely made short in order to maintain a constant rhythm of progress. This flow helps me stay motivated and focused without allowing me to procrastinate beyond the given break time. The Pomodoro Technique changes the user’s mindset about time, so it can now be seen as a way to achieve something. I become more conscious of how much time goes by and am determined to stay concentrated until the 25 minutes have ended.  

    Staying Organized

    Another strategy that I use is keeping myself organized because it increases my motivation to get my work done. I make checklists for myself and feel a sense of accomplishment when I am able to check off a completed task. I am a visual person, so writing down all of the assignments I need to complete is a great way to see what I need to get done for the day. When I am organizing my to-do lists, I break up larger assignments, like projects, into smaller and more manageable tasks. I also make good use of the calendar app on my phone in order to stay organized. I insert deadlines into my app for any future assignments or projects that I need to complete and it gives me alerts when due dates are coming up.

    Procrastination can be a difficult thing to avoid, but it is important to find a way to motivate yourself. Each person is different, which is why it’s best to figure out what strategies work for you!

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  • More Than My Disability

    By: Ashley Dittman
    When I was 15 years old, I began having frequent and horrible headaches. By the time I was 16 I was diagnosed with chronic migraines. When people think of disabilities, migraines are not usually what come to mind or even thought of as a disability. However, migraines are the 6th most debilitating illness in the world.* A migraine headache is defined as an extremely incapacitating collection of neurological symptoms that usually includes a severe throbbing recurring pain on one side of the head*, but most people just think it is a really bad headache. In school, it has always been hard to find people that understand what I am going through and that are accommodating. In high school, they did not believe that migraines were a good enough excuse to miss the amount of school I missed. Now in college, I am registered as a student with a disability that has special accommodations, but still some professors are not willing to understand.

    Learning from hardships

    Although there is a lot of frustration and hardship with my disability, I am thankful for what it has taught me. Missing class is never fun, and missing class because you are at home in bed with all the lights off, a pillow over your head, and in excruciating pain is even worse. The hardships I encounter only push me to be a better student. I miss a lot of class, but because of this I know I have to work hard to not get behind.

    Partnering with professors

    Most students don’t attempt to make relationships with their professors, but in order to stay up to date on everything, I must. These relationships are beneficial not only with my accommodations, but looking toward the future, like when I need letters of recommendations. I want to show my professors I am more than my disability.

    Maintaining good time management

    I probably would procrastinate more if I didn’t have migraines, but with them I have to use good time management skills because I never know when one will strike. I use the free help resources that many students don’t take advantage of; it has been beneficial in helping me understand what I have missed. Even if you don’t have a disability, establishing good relationships with professors and maintaining good time management are helpful in succeeding in the long run. You never know when something could come up and you would already be prepared because you are ahead or you can easily contact your professor. There are so many times when I have wished that I didn’t have this disability, but now that I reflect on it, some good things that have happened because of it.

    Looking for the silver lining

    If you have a disability or know someone with a disability, I know that it can be frustrating that people don’t understand. Don’t let that stop you. Power through and stop to think about the silver lining in your disability. Whatever you do, don’t be ashamed of it. You’re not alone and you’re not the only one going through this. Talk to people to help them understand. Show others that you are hardworking. Don’t let your disability define you. You can do anything. If you don’t have a disability, try to understand those that do and what they go through. Don’t belittle them or ask why they are never in class, but instead celebrate the little victories with them. They are not their disabilities.

    *Source: https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/what-is-migraine/

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