End of Semester Survival Guide


Monday, December 5, 2016

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As students enter the final weeks of the fall semester post-Thanksgiving break, the pressure and tension seems to become ever insurmountable. However, a plethora of resources exists for students. While there are several campus resources, the Exponent chose to focus on three of the most accessible. Take advantage of these resources, stay on top of your studies and finish the semester strong. While there are several campus resources available, the Exponent focused on three major offices on campus that addresses general study habits, mathematics and writing.

Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success

Located in the basement of the SUB, across from the Rec Center, is the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success. Named for the late Allen Yarnell, lifelong student advocate and advisor to four presidents at Montana State University, the center exists to guide students and provide individual resources for academic victory. It is comprised of four offices: Career, Internship and Student Employment Services; the Financial Education Office; the Return-to-Learn Office and the Office of Student Success.

Although all the offices in the Center for Student Success are helpful in their own way, the branch which will come in most handy during this stressful time is the Office of Student Success (OSS). Through the SmartyCats program in the OSS, students can sign up for affordable one-on-one tutoring with peers in their field, at two dollars per session. Students can call, reserve a session online or visit the center in person to make an appointment with a peer tutor. Additionally, SmartyCats offers a calendar of drop-in tutoring at multiple locations on campus, available through their website.

Beyond simple tutoring, the OSS offers free consultation with advisors. Offering guidance and focus, advisors work to identify and remedy issues from concentration to effective academic habits. But what is a good, general strategy for maintaining motivation and focus these last few, stressful weeks? “Break it down, figure out what those questions are and get yourself into tutoring or a study group. Ask very specific questions,” Dr. Bill Kuba, an advisor working for the OSS, said. “You need to feel very comfortable in why you’re here in the first place. That’ll be the motivator for you to stay engaged,” Kuba continued.

If you feel like you need assistance with study habits and staying on track for a strong finish, don’t hesitate to contact the OSS. Kuba, along with the other advisors at the OSS, is confident that MSU has the resources to help. “This is a place where students can be comfortable enough to go in, sit down and be sent in the right direction,” Kuba said. “This institution is unique in that there is such strong support from the President’s office down. And that’s why it works.”

Office for Student Success

SUB 177

For hours and appointments contact:

(406) 994-7627

montana.edu/aycss/success/index.html

The Writing Center

Students of all disciplines can benefit from effective writing know-how and study routines. This is especially true at the end of the semester, when project after project piles up, and you have dozens of pages to turn in. Here are some basic writing tips and tools to help overcome the obstacles of the semester’s end.

When it is time to put pen to paper, students should ensure they are in the proper environment. This is almost guaranteed to be anywhere but in the vicinity of a television. The writing process can be enduring and, therefore, necessitates both comfort and focus. Consider every binged season through online streaming a drop in total GPA.

One such constructive environment is the Writing Center, located on the ground floor of Wilson in room 1-114. The Writing Center is an entirely free service and “is here for everybody on campus, not just writing and literature majors,” Tyler Barton, peer tutor for the Writing Center, said.

Barton also encourages basic organizational tips for students under pressure. “Get started early. The writing process should not just consist of writing something once and being done with it,” Barton said. “A lot of writers will tell you that writing is revision.”

To take advantage of the Writing Center’s help, schedule an appointment online. However, walk-ins may be available. If Wilson Hall isn’t a convenient location, the Writing Center has other offices on ground floor of South Hedges and in the Renne Library Commons.

One tactic writers should take advantage of as well is to simply read. Reading is fundamental to the writing process. If there is any secret to writing, it’s reading. There is no alternative when it comes to establishing a writer’s skillset. As a writer, reading provides the resources necessary for success: understanding the format, learning the language, expanding vocabulary and so on. This goes for both technical and creative writing. Anyone attempting to write creative non-fiction should read creative non-fiction. Students should browse through essays and research papers online or check with classmates to identify the characteristics of successful writing. Students should be reading in the genre they are writing.

Students at all stages of the writing process can come into the Writing Center for assistance. “Bring yourself and an idea, and we’ll work with you,” Barton said.

Writing Center

Wilson Hall 1-114

Hours

Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Finals Week:

(walk-ins only)

Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

montana.edu/writingcenter

Math Learning Center

For many majors, math can be a major pain. From entry-level to applied mathematics, some concepts can just make your brain hurt. A headache is the last thing you need going into dead and finals week. Thankfully, the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ Math Learning Center (MLC) is available to alleviate such pain.

The MLC can be found in Wilson 1-112, and provides drop-in tutoring services for 17 math and three statistics courses. A CatCard is needed to get in. No payment is required for the tutoring, and the services are paid via student fees for the courses the MLC focuses on. A swipe of your CatCard verifies your enrollment in one of the pertinent courses, and you’re good to go.

The MLC is extremely accessible. “I would definitely recommend coming to the MLC. Even if you’ve never been here before, it’s really helpful,” MLC Tutor Kendra Hergett said. “Students can come here with any questions.”

When studying math, Hergett emphasized keeping things focused. “Study the basics.

Study for small amounts at a time, on one specific concept,” Hergett said.

Math Learning Center

Wilson Hall 1-112

Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Finals Week:

Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 6:00 p.m.

math.montana.edu/undergrad/mlc

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