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Molecular Environmental Biology major
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Environmental Sciences major
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September 22, 2008

1st round of midterms

It seems like we just got back to school and yet midterms approach us so fast! I guess the best method to prepare for these upcoming midterms is to keep up with the material on a daily basis. It can be extremely overwhelming if you start studying in the last couple of weeks before midterms. Lately it has been hard to keep up with my work because I have been busy with other activities. Each week comes and goes by so quickly, you just cannot keep a hold of the time. Hence, it shows that time management is key to our success. Plan everything out accordingly if you know your schedule is hectic otherwise you will fall behind easily!


November 28, 2007

Honor: Why you should not enroll in 19 units and work three jobs.

The opportunities made available to me at UC Berkeley are beyond my wildest dreams (although, to be honest, I never dreamt about them ^_^). This May, I got injured and had to stop competing in the martial arts until I healed. Shortly thereafter, I got in a bit of a car accident while on a new scooter (read: don’t get one). While training 24 hours a week, in order to stay on top of my competition in the ring and class, I had to say no to all of those exciting academic and extra-curricular opportunities that pop up. So, once I had healed, I realized I could say YES, YES, YES!

Somehow, this has resulted in me taking 19 units this semester, auditing two additional classes, taking on three jobs, and being involved in numerous other programs. Beyond that, I’m taking the GRE next weekend, applying to four very special graduate programs and interviewing for two full-time jobs that would start next year. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to fulfill my commitments thus far in the semester. Unfortunately, as the semester’s end nears, the cumulative requirements of my involvement seems to be peaking, ACK!

Here is where my blog title, honor, gets involved. Wikipedia has a nice long article on honor. I was taught, however, a more simple definition: the ability to recognize and fulfill my obligations – both to others and oneself. Additionally, my capability to do this is most important when times are at their toughest – it means the most to come through for people when my life is at its hardest. To everyone stressing out – remember this. If we can follow through at our best now, during the semester’s peak, we will surely be ready to handle life under lower levels of stress. This is our time to shine!

Continue reading "Honor: Why you should not enroll in 19 units and work three jobs." »

January 29, 2007

Time Management Resolution

If there is one aspect of my life I can adjust this semester it would be time management. Looking back on last semester, I realized that even though I would stay up late and eventually accomplish what I had set out to do, I wasn't as efficient with my time as I could have been. Trying to read with background noise or having to stop what I'm doing to have a two minute conversation may not feel like much, but in fact my time was being wasted.

I feel I can remedy this problem this semester by studying and spending more time in a quiet area where distraction is limited. By accomplishing this resolution of time management, I feel other aspects of my life such as sleep length and happiness will also benefit.

October 5, 2006

How to keep your stress level to a minimum?

Hi everyone~I'm sure after the first wave of midterms, you are all quite stressed out and somewhat relieved. Midterm seasons at Berkeley come and go but no one can deny that they can get quite tulmultous. I remember how i used to get so worked up right before a midterm when I was a freshman. And I still get nervous, but from my past three years of exam preparation experience, I now know how to prevent my stress level from exploding and spiralling away.
My most sincere piece of advice to everyone is to be diligent and look over your lecture notes EVERY week instead of the day before the midterm. Although it has been emphasized to the point of being hackneyed, preparation is really one of the main components to academic success at Cal. And it is very important to discover what type of studying strategies work for you. For example, I sometimes study better in cafes rather than at the library and I can concentrate better at night. Also, I find that studying with my friends and classmates relieves pressure and gives me a chance to interact and learn from them. But if you ever find yourself stressed from too much studying and in desperate need for an outlet, you could try the RSF..^^..or simply take a long walk on campus. You might even discover how graceful and pretty the campus can be around autumn. Finally, I suggest that within the immediate hours before each midterm, you take a deep breath and have confidance in yourself! Because hard work and tenacity always pays off ~_~
I hope these suggestions will help you in your next round of midterms....good luck!!

September 29, 2006

Managing Your Time

I don't think I ever had time management problems in high school. But the hectic lifestyle and freedom that comes with college makes it difficult to stay on top of things. There are a few important things I learned about juggling schoolwork, friends, and extracurriculars my last two semesters at Cal. One thing is to prioritize your tasks. Getting your most important tasks done and over with leaves you feeling less stressed out.
Another thing that I find very helpful is to make a list of the things you need to do. It helps to see everything written down, and you can group your tasks in categories or in order of importance to have a better idea of how you want to tackle each thing. (And I get a lot of satisfaction by crossing off things on the list!)
Also, make the most of free slots of time you have in between classes. Most people don't have back to back classes, and a lot of time can be wasted during those time slots. I find it helpful to go to the library or even a bench (anywhere but my apartment) and get reading or homework done.
And finally, try to stay on top of things. This means not procrastinating. Work tends to pile up pretty quickly, and it can be overwhelming if you get behind. Breaking up your work into smaller chunks can prevent it from feeling too daunting as well.
And most importantly, don't forget to take time to relax! It's wonderful to take a break after you've been working hard all week. As Berkeley students, we tend to be perfectionists and workaholics. But that doesn't mean you can't stop and enjoy whatever free time you do have. Make sure you set aside time for yourself to unwind and hang out!

September 27, 2006

Tips on Time Management

Often it can seem very overwhelming when it’s 9pm by the time you finally get home after class and meetings and you know you have papers to write, lab reports to finish, and reading to get done. There is a way to handle this stress—one piece at a time! My personal strategy has been to keep up-to-date with events, homework, and studying by recording them in my agenda, which I carry with me to and from class. I like to know what I have to do every day and how that fits in my whole week; for me, it lessens the feeling of being swamped down with massive amounts of studying for that bio midterm on Monday or from stress I get for thinking about the future (graduate school). Another tip is learning to prioritize (very important). However, something I have learned is that it is one thing to be able to prioritize, and another to actually get things done. Once you start, it is much easier to keep the flow going of studying.

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September 26, 2006

Managing time at Cal

I understand most of us have a busy schedule at Cal. You feel like not having enough rest? not enough time to study? I felt the same way! It is not easy to handle a lot of things, at the same time having a life! I feel the same way when people are saying "You can't have a life at Berkeley!". After years being at Cal, I found it is not impossible to enjoy your college years. If you can well manage your time, you will get the best out of it!

For choosing classes, I would talk with advisors on my schdeule each semester. I would group heavy loaded class with lighter class. I would try planning my schedule so that I can best utilize my time. Talking with the peers in your major for their opinion and find out how the classes are about. It is easier to figure out what combination of classes is the best for you.

Always being at top of things would never let you down! Try to spare enough time before the due dates for assignments or projects. It is always better than catching up in case of anything happens suddenly. I would mark down the due dates for every homework assignment and make sure I finish it days before the deadline.

Learn to say "No" to unnecessary duties. Never overload yourself. This is the hardest thing for me to learn. I used to say "Yes" to every thing other command me. I thought I would be able to finish all the things at one time. I remember one time I cried because I was just too busy to cope with every thing at the same time. It was not because I cannot do it, but there was not enough time and energy to do it. It also made me feel really bad. I would rather not do it, or I will do the best!

At last, not to forget yourself to take rest. Doing one thing in hours straight is not going to work well. So it is all about striking a balance!

Managing what little time I have...(kind of)

With work, classes, studying, and extracurricular activities, who has time to relax? Not me!! But really, with everything going on in our busy lives one has to find time to just relax. I think the key to getting through all crazy, hectic busy lives we are living today is to relax and try not to stress out too much (easier said than done right?).

What helps me find the time to de-stress and relax is to schedule my week out and have a calendar in my room that shows all the upcoming important deadlines for the month. It helps me to see what I need to accomplish and when they need to be done by. Don’t get me wrong, this system is not perfect. I run behind my schedule often, but it helps keep me motivated to make sure I get my work done on time. I make a goal for myself to get things done early, so sometimes it gets done early, but usually it is done right on time. I think setting a goal before the deadline is very helpful that way if you do get behind you have some cushion to complete it before the actual deadline. The fall back is that since I know when things need to be done I can see what days I can goof off before I really need to start working on stuff (DO NOT DO THIS). This also helps to know when you should ask for time off or to switch shifts (if you work) so that you have time to study before a big test, instead of all that time being taken up by work.

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Time Management Falls into Place

Suddenly, midterms are approaching. Quick! What to do? Study, of course.

But do you ever feel like all your studying efforts are not helping you for the exams? If so, ask yourself, “How do I study?” Do you study alone, with friends or classmates, in your room, in cafes, in libraries? At what times do you study? I recommend studying in different locations at different times with different people or solo. This will help you figure out where, when, and how you study most effectively. For me, I like to study certain subjects in certain libraries, and I like to be near windows. I like to study where I get a good vibe, man. I can relax and let myself become immersed in intellectual paradise. By finding a place where and a time when you can focus your energy on studying, you are managing your time effectively.

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September 25, 2006

Time Management – An Essential Skill

As most students out there, when I came to Cal I did not really know what to expect. I thought I did a pretty good job staying on top of my work in high school and maintaining a good balance. However, college (especially a top/competitive university like UC Berkeley), is very different from high school. Learning the skill of time management in college is essential and will continue to play an important role in the rest of our lives.

When I began my first semester here, I easily became stressed over the work load I was faced with and frequently would call my mom nearly in tears saying, “I don’t know if I can do this?!” She would do her best to calm me down and assure me that if this was something I really wanted (and it was/is) then I could do it. So whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, just remember all your hard work will pay off in the end. Doing this always helps motivate me.

What I found to really help de-stress me is to work on time management. If you follow these seven easy steps, I guarantee you will be a lot more productive with your time.
1. Make a list of everything you have/want to do.
2. Prioritize your items by what is most essential or what is due first.
- Priorities may differ from one individual to the next. However, major priorities are things like studying for midterms/finals or completing homework/projects/labs/papers on time. It is important to stay on top of your reading, but it may not need such a large chunk of time as you might think. Try squeezing reading in between classes, on the bus or Bart (if you don’t get car sick), at the gym, while you have some down time, etc. I always carry some form of reading or studying material on me just in case I find some extra time for it.
3. Use your planner! Write down your goals: what you want to accomplish on a certain day, you can even break it down hour by hour. Also, make sure you write down all important dates, i.e. midterms, lab/paper/project due dates, finals, etc., so they don’t sneak up on you.
4. Find what works best for you. What time of the day are you most focused and efficient? For example, I have a hard time studying at night. So instead of staying up super late getting work done and sleeping in the next day (like my housemates) I go to bed early and wake up early because I know I work much better during the day after a good nights’ rest.
5. Knowledge is power. Talk to your peers who have already taken the class you are taking and ask them for advice about how to do well in the course. Also, once you have taken your first midterm or turned in your first lab report you should get a better idea about what is expected of you. If lecture material, not reading, is the main focus of the exams, allocate your time appropriately.
6. Make sure you have “you” time. Everyone needs down time and a little fun to de-stress, so don’t overwork yourself. Whether it’s making time to watch your favorite T.V. show, going to the gym, catching up with your friends, going to the movies, shopping, going to Cal sporting events, it doesn’t matter, just make sure you have time to do what will make you happy.
7. Make sure you get enough sleep. The amount of sleep one needs varies, but if you don’t get the amount of sleep you need, you could get sick or run down and then you really wouldn’t be efficient with your time. When I start to feel really tired or run down, I make sure to get some rest because I know I won’t get much done if I continue to do work.

The bottom line is time management comes with experience. It is a process of trial and error and finding what works best for you. College may be a high stress time, but whenever I find myself stressing over the little things I look at the big picture. Do we realize how lucky we are to be students at UC Berkeley?! So many people would love to be in our shoes because it is such an amazing opportunity. Time management is a skill we can prefect during college so that we can make the rest of our lives go a little more smoothly. I urge you to try one of my tips today! :)

September 22, 2006

Time! Where does it go...

Time management continues to be a long struggle for me even after being at Berkeley for a year. However, in many ways, I have learned more about my study habits and what limits I need to set for myself.

I think the trick to time management is planning and definitely knowing your weaknesses, especially how you waste the most time. A lot of it also has to do with being realistic; you can definitely plan to do a certain amount of work, but I think in the back of your mind, you have to know that you probably won’t achieve the amount you set out (or if you do reach that goal, it’s always a great surprise). But it isn’t all about work. It’s also about having time to just have fun and do stuff you enjoy. (All of this seems vague, so I guess I’ll have to use myself as an example, though I’m not very good at time management stuff).

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Taming Your Time

Here at Berkeley, effective time management is key to success. There's never a shortage of things to do--if classes aren't keeping you completely occupied, there are student organizations to get involved in, and the whole Bay Area to explore during your free time. The way in which you organize your daily routine has a great effect on how much you get accomplished, and how frustrated or composed you'll be come "midterm season."

What I've found to be most effective is coming up with a general idea of what I should accomplish every day. After factoring the time you spend in classes and extracurricular activities, divide up your remaining time between homework/studying and "hanging out." For example, after a day of class, I'm assigned two chapters of reading and homework on biochemistry, and an English paper that's due next week. My goal tonight will be to finish one chapter of biochem, come up with a decent thesis for my paper, and to fit in some studying for a bio midterm I have next week. At the end of the day, go over what you've done and haven't finished, and plan what your next day's schedule will include.

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