• Using eTexts enhances the learning experience

    by Brian Weaver

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    As I stepped into my first college math class, I was terrified. My professor looked mean, the class had a 500-page textbook, and I was completely overwhelmed. On top of that, I couldn’t believe how much my book and access code were! Would every class be this expensive? Thankfully, an upperclassman quickly gave me the advice of buying the eText instead to lighten the load on my wallet and backpack. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I purchased the eText with Pearson and I haven’t looked back since.

    Highlighting advantages

    When I first opened up my online textbook, I admit I had second thoughts. I was already bad at anything technology related, so navigating through pages and topics seemed tricky. Plus, I was used to underlining and highlighting points for emphasis in my hard copy textbooks. Once I became familiar with the tools and features though, I soon found the eText simple to use to my advantage.The highlight feature became my best friend and I was able to leave notes for myself to review in the future. Having the ability to quickly mark the eText made it more valuable to me. Since I could navigate more efficiently than ever before, I could swiftly find key points that needed review.

    Searching with precision

    The search bar became my best friend. This simple feature is really a time saver. In a hard copy book I used to have to find the glossary, skim through hundreds of pages, and read until I found my topic. Within the eText, I can find any page, section, chapter, and topic in a split second. This greatly improved my study times and was huge in helping me adapt to college level courses. I would recommend the eText to any student who wants their materials organized, quick to access, and more personalized than what is possible with a hard copy textbook.

    If all this is not enough incentive, I ask: would you rather carry 5 hefty textbooks from class to class or be able to change books with the switch of a computer tab? Save your back, save your energy, and save the world by going paperless with eText!

     

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  • Embrace Every Experience and Opportunity: Learning from My Freshmen Regret

    by Brian Weaver

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    As college is a string of decisions, regrets are inevitable. My biggest regret was not something I did, rather it was an opportunity I did not seize early enough. It was a yearlong decision to stay in my comfort zone when opportunities were right in front of me. Staying trapped in my own bubble felt like a good idea at the time. The anxiety of new things seemed unbearable in a college atmosphere. 

    Go beyond your comfort zone

    I wasn’t completely closed off my freshman year. My best friends come from the people on my dorm hall, and I am still an executive member of the club I joined before classes started fall of freshman year. However, I became complacent with my college experience when I should have pursued even more opportunities.  I truly believed college was to consist of a few friends, maybe an activity on campus, and the rest of the time devoted to schoolwork and Netflix. Eventually I realized I was missing something. Sophomore year, it hit me. I had to branch out, step out of the proverbial comfort zone, and try new things on campus. Any college student knows how fast the four years go by, and I could not let the time slip away without getting my money’s worth.  

    Move from involvement to engagement

    I had already found my home at school, so I had the chance to try new things with that safety net to catch me. For me, reaching out landed me in a professional Greek organization that I love, has expanded my contacts to a much larger percentage of the student population (despite having 25,000 undergrads on campus), and overall increased my willingness to take on responsibilities within new clubs and organizations.  

    Having free time is my biggest regret, wasting away a year due to my lack of meaningful involvement. I URGE you to find a place worth your time and investment. Do not do what I did with my freshman year, being content with boredom and a tiny network of the college experience. There are so many opportunities out there, go find them!

     

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  • Dealing with the Stress of Finals Week

    by Brian Weaver

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    Coping with stress may seem like a bearable task, but finals week offers a completely different scenario. We all know the struggles of late nights in the library, excessive amounts of coffee, and constant fear of failure, but there has to be an escape. To survive finals week, you need to take a break; find some way your mind can forget the numbers and vocabulary pressing on the overall health of your mind. Without a break, stress can overcome your whole life. With a few tips, you can fight the stress and go through finals week with ease and peace of mind.

    What is that one hobby, one activity that gives you the euphoric sense of no stress? For me, it’s a round of golf and just being in the sun on a nice South Carolina day. Outside, no amount of schoolwork can ruin my happiness. It is valuable to create the time to do the things that make you drop your worries, as forgetting about the stress is vital to protecting your mind. Oversaturation of information will not only create more stress, but it will make the information harder to retain.

    Lastly, do not be afraid to get some sleep or take a nap. Too many of my friends spend their nights in the library, get 4 hours of sleep, then do it all over again. No amount of caffeine will give you the focus you need to get through finals. Rather, it will slowly break down your ability to think critically, degrading your overall mental health. Find 20 minutes to close your eyes, clear your thoughts, and replenish your focus for the studying ahead.

    As much as these steps are important, there may not be feasible time to get away from school. So how do you relieve the stress without getting away from the problem? Studying for finals is stressful by nature, but there are a few ways to ease your mind during the prep work for this dreaded week. Though it may seem less productive, study with peers. Not only is it helpful to bounce questions off those who are in the same classes, but getting off topic can be a great method to clear your head. For me, studying usually takes a back seat to Gamecock football for at least a few minutes. There is no harm in spending a few minutes away from the debits and credits or the calculus formulas that are filling your thoughts!

    No matter how you deal with stress, make time for yourself during this difficult week. Finals may seem like the time you have drop everything, but there are plenty of ways to clear your head. If you solely dive into your notes, your stress levels may not be healthy. Your mental health depends on finding some “me” time to fit into your schedule!

     

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