Surviving Finals Week: Stress Management Tips

With finals season approaching, it is not surprising that stress levels are rising. For a lot of us this is the most stressful time of year. From final exams to group projects and presentations, it seems like the work will never end.

I did some research to see what we can do to help reduce our stress levels and finish out this semester strong. Here are a few tips that I found:

1. Sleep. I know that sleeping when it seems like you have endless amounts of work to do seems like a bad idea. However, getting a good amount of sleep every night can actually help you feel less stressed during the day.

If you are someone who works better at night, schedule time for a nap during the day. Your body needs to rest. Getting sleep can help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the schoolwork that you need to accomplish.

2. Make some time for fun. If you are spending all of your time in the library studying all day every day, you are eventually going to get burnt out. If you schedule a few hours in your week to just hang out with your roommates or watch some Netflix, you will start to feel less stressed.

While it may seem like a good idea to stay in and study all the time, your brain needs a break too. With the weather getting nicer, find a friend to just sit outside and talk with. This way your brain is getting a break from all of the educational stuff and you’re getting a chance to relax.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you have that assignment that you just can’t figure out. Whether it’s coming up for a topic for your big paper, or just getting some pre-presentation jitters out. Your professors are there to help you. They have office hours for a reason. Go in and talk to them, chances are they’d be more than happy to work through your problem with you so that understand what you are doing.

Ask your friends for help. If you haven’t been there already, you probably will in your time here. Friends are there to help you practice your presentation and tell you that you are saying “um” too much. Plus, chances are they’re going to ask you to return the favor someday.

4. Remember to eat. From experience I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than spending all night studying and then remembering you didn’t eat. Is it worth it to eat right before bed, or do you just wait until the morning? The decision is never easy. Even if you are just snacking while you are reading your textbooks, or creating a presentation. That is better than nothing.

Your body needs food to function. If you forget to eat, then you will lose any momentum you had in studying and you will have to spend refueling yourself. Also make sure that you don’t just go on a diet of Toppers and McDonalds. Treat yourself to some nice fruits and veggies everyday so that you are making sure you stay healthy.

5. Manage your time. If you are like most college students, you will have more than one project to work on or more than one exam to study for. Make sure that you are spacing out your time wisely. If you know that one of your exams is going to be really difficult and you are going to need to put a lot of time into studying for it, start early. This way, instead of spending hours at a time studying for just that one exam, you can break it up over a few days and study other things along with it.

Doing this will help you not only not get bored with the topic you are studying for, but will give your brain a chance to retain the information. The breaks that you give yourself can be used to nap, sleep, or have some fun. This way both you and your brain are getting the breaks that you deserve.

While finals are a stressful time of year, it is not impossible to keep your stress levels down. These are also not the only ways that you can help calm your stress. Everyone handles stress differently, so figure out what works best for you and do that.

C&LD Internships: A Day in the Life

In present day, it seems like every entry level position out of college wants to see some sort of experience. This experience is usually gained through an internship. While the internship search can be daunting and challenging, there is a department on campus that offers great internships. As current interns for Career & Leadership Development, we spoke to other interns in the office to see how working here has not only given them job experience, but so much more.

We started in the SEAL office, where we talked to a few interns about what it is like being a part of SEAL and C&LD:

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“I love being an intern because of how connected we all are yet our jobs are all different. I also like working in such a busy atmosphere.”

-Shawn Giese, SEAL Homecoming Chair 

“I have really enjoyed my internship position with Career & Leadership Development. It has helped me grow as an individual and has really shaped the person I am today. The endless amount of opportunities and experiences that I have gained throughout this internship has helped me further my education and career path here at UW-Whitewater.”

-Kayhla Sadowski, SEAL Social Media Intern

“My time in Career & Leadership Development (C&LD) has changed my life. I know that sounds cliché, but I have a family in C&LD on the SEAL team. While I have only worked here this year, I have learned so much about entertainment, marketing, and students on campus. Working as the Large Event Intern has been one of the best decisions of my life, and I hope to learn more and grow as a student while on campus for the next two years.”

-Jessica Faust, SEAL Large Event Intern

After talking to those SEALS, we decided to go over to the PB Poorman Pride Center to see what the PRIDE Interns had to say: 

“The past 2 years being a PRIDE Intern in Career & Leadership Development have been so crucial to who I am as a leader. Every opportunity I’ve had has shaped me in ways that will not only help me in my career, but throughout the rest of my life.”

-Alyssa Reetz, PRIDE Intern

“Working as an intern in C&LD has helped me value myself and develop a professional identity.”

-Lisa Helms, PRIDE Intern

“C&LD has adopted me into their family!”

-Connell Patterson, PRIDE Intern

The next stop on our journey through C&LD brought us to the Student Involvement Office, where we talked to Hope Schmidt, the Community Service Intern:

“The confidence I have gained as a C&LD intern has been tremendous. Things I never thought I could do…I can now say I do.  Because of this internship opportunity, I feel like a better-rounded individual. I have learned skills that I can now take with me wherever I go after I leave UW-W!”

After all this traveling, we ended up back in our office that we share with Jamie Hinze, the Human Resources Intern and she gave us some insight into her experience in the department:

“During my first year with Career & Leadership Development, I was employed as a Customer Service Associate working at the front desk. This was a fun and flexible position that taught me how to provide exceptional customer service and significantly strengthened my interpersonal communication and problem solving skills. Later, I earned the title of Human Resources Intern – a new position in the department in which I assist in the coordination of departmental student employee experience, specifically in selection, professional development, and evaluation. This internship has allowed me to explore my interests and career goals while giving me the opportunity to network with employers, students, and UW-Whitewater staff. My supervisors are incredibly supportive of my goals and needs as a full-time student and they have tailored the experience to fit me.”

As you can see, there are many different facets of C&LD and each offers a different experience. Whether you are looking to be a social media guru, coordinate community service events, or just learn something new about UW-Whitewater and what it offers to students, C&LD is a great place to gain all these experiences and many more.

The applications are open until March 3rd! If you are looking for an internship and want to be a part of the C&LD family, then go to uww.edu/cld and apply today!

Taking the Risk

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In high school, if you had asked me to point out Whitewater, Wisconsin on a map, I would have had no idea where to look. I was just a girl from the North suburbs of Chicago looking for a great place to go to college. I would have never guessed that I would end up in the small town of Whitewater at this University.

Making this decision was not easy. I knew that Whitewater had a great business school, there were not too many students, and it wasn’t too far from home. However, being from the North suburbs of Chicago, there were not a lot of people who came here for school. I would most likely be the only person from my high school coming here, a scary thought to any freshman.

With that in mind, I decided to take the risk and attend this University. My random roommate ended up being from another North suburb that was just around 15 minutes from mine. We were both in the same boat. We knew that if we wanted to get the most out of our college experience we would have to get involved.

This brought us to sorority information nights. We went through recruitment and joined Delta Zeta. As a new freshman, I would have never thought that joining that organization would bring me to where I am today. My sorority sisters never failed to encourage me to take risks, like the one I had taken when I chose to attend Whitewater.

My junior year, I was elected as a co-recruitment chair for the Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Through this role I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Fraternal Values and Leadership conference in Indianapolis last winter. This conference gave me great insight into what it means to be a leader and how being Greek can help that.

Shortly after returning from the conference I decided to take another risk and apply to be on the Homecoming Steering Committee, something I quickly realized was nothing like I thought it was going to be. As the first semester of my senior year was coming to a close, I quickly realized that all these leadership positions that I had held were ending. I knew that I wanted to spend my last semester on campus giving back to something that had given me so many opportunities and helped me grow from the scared, lonely freshman I was to the confident senior that I am now. So I took my final risk and accepted this position as a Social Media Intern.

I am excited to spend my last semester here representing Career and Leadership by writing for this blog and posting from our various social media pages. I will be providing a student perspective on the scary process of searching for, applying to, interviewing for, and accepting jobs and internships.

Big Buildings to Open Roads: Jonathan Fera’s Journey to Happiness at UW-Whitewater

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Being born and raised in a big city, I became naïve of what was outside the Milwaukee city limits. The city was so fast and so vast that any other area seemed unexciting in comparison. That mindset did not last past the age of eighteen.

I decided to come to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater during my senior year of high school. My advisers informed me of the College of Business and Economics at this institution and it’s positive reputation, so it seemed like the perfect fit. That career path only lasted two days into my time at UW-Whitewater until I switched to a communications major with an emphasis in public relations.

During the fall semester of my freshmen year, a strong depression caused by missing home and wanting to be around my family took over my life. I was socializing with people in my residence hall and in my classes, but it was never enough to be happy.

The city was calling my name to come home. After all, I missed the quick pace environment and diverse culture.

How was I going to spend the next three and a half years here? It was not until I opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities at UW-Whitewater that this attitude changed.

After talking to my Resident Assistant, she mentioned attending the spring involvement fair to look for student organizations to join. I had an interest in political communications after dropping the business major, so I joined the UW-Whitewater College Democrats.

I immediately got involved with the organization and started to make friends outside of my residence hall and classes. It was refreshing to have conversations with like-minded individuals that were passionate about the same things I was.

During my sophomore year, I joined the organization’s executive board as their Communications Director and the next year, was elected President.

Besides the College Democrats, I found the Whitewater Student Government (WSG) and the University Marketing and Media Relations Department.

I started attending Whitewater Common Council meetings because of my role as Intergovernmental Affairs Director for WSG. This allowed me to become more engaged in the community and be able to call Whitewater a new home.

It all happened so fast and I was so overwhelmed by my professional involvement that I began to lose sight of why I got involved in the first place: to be happy.

I was asked to join the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity my junior year from some WSG colleagues. I did not think I was the kind of person to join a Greek organization.

When looking back at that decision, I wouldn’t take it back for the world.

This past semester, I assisted in coordinating the grassroots efforts of the WarhawksVote campaign for the gubernatorial election. This allowed me to have a say in promotional material, strategic messaging and online content through both WSG and University Marketing and Media Relations.

After the election was over, I wanted a new opportunity. I wanted a new project before entering the workforce. After all, this is the last semester to make the most out of what became the best four years of my life.

Fast-forwarding to present day, I am now the Career Social Media Intern for UW-Whitewater Career and Leadership Development. While WSG is a part of the Warhawk Connection Center, I have never worked for the department before.

I am excited by this new opportunity and exciting challenge to better myself and my craft, while helping others gain the skills, motivation and resources to find a job or student organization to join.

After the journey I had to pursue in finding my place at UW-Whitewater, I hope to make that process easier and less stressful for other students.

Career and Leadership Development has the resources and guidance to help students find their place at this institution. To motivate them to succeed and take chances. To help them be happy.

The Birth of a Student Leader: DeJuan Washington’s Journey

As I began my first semester as a first generation freshman here at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, I was plagued with various insecurities that forced me to question my value in higher education. Like many African American students at this institution, I struggled academically and saw little progress in my quest to mirror the academic performance of the majority population. I was lost. In search of guidance to aid me in my journey of academic excellence, I attended my first Black Student Union (BSU) meeting, a place where I would soon feel at home and culturally validated in an environment that was completely new for me.

As time progressed and I entered my second semester of my freshmen year, BSU became a place of common ground for me. I was able to connect with students who looked like me, thought like me, and more importantly we shared the same lived experience. It was almost as if we were a subculture within a larger culture that we had yet learned to conquer. The beauty of this experience was that even though we felt the clear division of cultures, we still managed to thrive and coexist with our majority peers.

It was during one of the weekly BSU meetings that a guest speaker, who I later learned was the Director of Career and Leadership Development (CLD) named Ron Buchholz, came in to speak about possible internship opportunities and the importance of getting involved on campus. Being the academically challenged freshmen that I was, I immediately skimmed over the information in the flier in search of the GPA requirement, and of course I didn’t meet the criteria. I did however skim over a position at the LGBT resource center that I knew would be great for me once I achieved the GPA requirement, so all hope wasn’t lost.

Following that meeting, I worked tirelessly to boost my GPA, spending long nights in the library, exchanging my thirsty Thursdays for study Thursdays, attending office hours and most importantly asking for help when needed. For the first time in my short lived colligate career, I felt like an actual college student. I taught myself how to properly prepare for exams, how to keep track of my progress in classes, and how to manage my time wisely. These self-acquired skills taught me to believe in myself and my capabilities. I also started to realize that although grades mattered, they didn’t define a person’s success. This realization gave me the motivation that I needed to apply for my first internship within Career and Leadership Development in spite of the many barriers that haunted me.

After completing the application and receiving a call back for an interview, I still had a tiny amount of doubt in my mind that I could obtain this position without meeting the criteria. As I walked into a tiny office to be interviewed, I encountered a warm greeting from a woman I’d later grow to love as Jan Bilgen. I immediately liberated myself of all anxiety, as she made me feel comfortable in her presence and I began to bare my soul as if my life (and bank account) depended on it. In what felt like only a few seconds, 30 minutes of conversation had passed before she informed me on the next steps to take if I were offered the position 2 weeks from then and we said our goodbye’s.

Two weeks later, as I sat in the basement computer lab of Benson hall typing away at my final English paper for the semester, my phone rings. At this point I figured it was a telemarketer as I’d forgotten all about the internship and quite frankly didn’t think I would get it.  When I answered the phone, I was greeted be the same welcoming voice I’d encountered two weeks prior, only this time she spoke with a level of suspense as if there was a purpose for her call. During the entire phone call, which lasted for all of 3 minutes, I still wasn’t able to convince myself that there was great news on the other side of the conversation. However, it was to my surprise that Jan Bilgen offered me the position as the new PRIDE intern for the PB Poorman Pride Resource Center located in Career and Leadership Development.

Obtaining a position in this office was critical to my development as a student leader for two reasons. For one, it thought me to always take a step out of faith, no matter if I couldn’t see what lies ahead. Secondly, it taught me to always believe that the impossible is in fact possible. If I had never believed in my capabilities, I would’ve never recognized my fullest potential; and if I’d considered my goal as impossible, I would’ve never made it to my current reality. These two things are vital to the success of student leaders, and this is why I’ll always be thankful for my internship experience with Career and Leadership Development.

After two years as a PRIDE intern and serving in various other leaderhip roles (Peer mentor, VP of BSU, McNair Scholar, ect.) , I’ve decided to take yet another step out on faith by accepting the position as the new Social Media Manager for Career and Leadership Development. While social media isn’t at all new to me, my lists of responsibilities are. In this position I’ll provide a fresh student perspective on topics ranging from career resources provided by CLD, leadership involvement opportunities, diversity and much more. Managing social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and a blog, I’ll be fully committed to providing the general campus community with an array of essential information. It is my hope that my story has inspired you all to be leaders in your own right in spite of the obstacles and that you keep following me on the new journey I’ve begun.