Thursday, February 26, 2015

Managing Your Time

Knowing how to manage your time is a key component of a successful college career. College is a place where you’re likely to have your hands on a bunch of stuff at the same time and, to be honest, it can be really stressful most of the time. This is why knowing how to manage your time will make your workload seem less stressful and you will feel 
more at easy when completing all of your work.

Here are some tips on how to manage your time:

Make a list!
Organizing your work is really important. Having a planner or even using your phone’s calendar can be very helpful in reminding you of due dates. If you have a several things due on the same day, try to order them according to difficulty. The earlier you’re done with those troublesome tasks, the less stressed you’re going to feel as the due date closes in!

Keep your work with you.
It is really nice to get some work done on your assignments whenever you find some free time during the day.

Know what time works best for you.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Knowing at what time of the day you work best is really important. Try to find out at what time of day you are the most productive and able to focus.

Say no to procrastination!
If you want to finish your work on time, you need to put aside all possible distractions that could get between you and your work. I know that checking Facebook, Instagram, or even staring at the wall can be more exciting than doing your homework sometimes. The best thing you can do is turn off your phone and find a place in which you can work easily without any distractions.

Take a break.
If you feel overwhelmed and/or unable to do your work, STOP! Put your books aside and rest for a while. Doing your work is important, but if you don’t feel capable of doing it and you push yourself to do it for the sake of finishing it, you and your work will suffer. So, take a break, go for a walk, or eat something. Let those brain juices flow and bring those new ideas to you!

Until Next Time!

Diana :)

"8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time - High School and College." 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time - High School and College. The College Board, n.d. Web. 20 February 2015.

Friday, February 20, 2015

An Element of Fun

“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” 
–Mary Poppins
Just like Mary Poppins said, there can be a bright side to everything that has to be done. It is not always about just getting things done. Whether it is finishing homework, working a part time job, or just cleaning up your room, you can always make fun a part of it.

When doing homework or studying for a quiz, you can team up with a friend and break away from your usual routine. You can quiz each other on the material at hand and interact. At work you can decide to smile at everyone you encounter to see who might smile back or to just make someone’s day a little better. While cleaning your room, you could sing to your favorite songs or if you like basketball, like me, shoot some hoops into the laundry basket or trashcan. Whatever the task may be, something positive can always come out of it.

This past weekend, I was able to perform at City Light shelter with the youth group from church. Seeing how our songs and worship dance brought smiles to the audience’s faces was a great blessing. We sang with them, ate with them, smiled with them, and were able to listen to their stories. I had a lot of fun while being able to help others out.

The worship dance

Having fun while doing anything does not only cheer you up, but allows the happiness to flow to others as well. So next time you are working on something, remember to have some fun and enjoy it.

Until Next Time,


Friday, February 13, 2015

Tips to Relieving Stress in College

From 100 question exams to 6-page papers, the college life tends to be stressful and overwhelming at times. Stress plays a huge role in how well you do your schoolwork. Overcoming this stress is a mystery that most college students cannot solve. This blog entry is a guide for you to follow so that stress can be resolved as you progress in this semester.

There are three main areas you need to focus on when reducing stress in college. The first is the most cherished thing of a college student’s life… sleep! Studying all night for an exam or cramming in a paper is an easy way to increase stress levels. Everybody should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Those couple extra hours of sleep can work wonders when it comes to stress levels.

The second main area of focus is eating well. I know that it is tempting to go to Taco Bell or McDonalds every day, but that is not helping your stress levels. Eating three healthy meals a day can increase your energy, which can lead to a more efficient completion of schoolwork. Having the energy to get your work done will greatly decrease your stress levels.

The final area to focus on when reducing stress levels is exercising. I know how easy it is to marathon a season of Breaking Bad every day, but that is not helping your stress levels at all. Exercising regularly can help relieve your mind and, of course, reduce your stress levels.

So the next time you are chowing down on a double cheeseburger or heading to bed at 5 a.m., remember that the best way to reduce your stress is to get enough sleep, eat appropriately, and exercise often. Your semester will be much easier to handle if you follow these stress-relieving tips.

- Justin Smith

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life Lessons You Learn in College

1. Responsibility. 
As soon as your parents leave your dorm room on move-in day, the responsibility is entirely on you. You decide if you are going to class. You decide if you are going to complete your homework. And you decide if you are going to do well in your classes. The responsibility of every decision is yours, but it is whether you make the appropriate one.

2. Take advantage of your resources. 
In college, there are endless different types of resources that you are able to use. Here at Berks, we have the Writing Center, Learning Center, Career Services, Student Tutoring, and professor’s office hours. Not all colleges have these opportunities, so it is extremely important to take advantage of these. They will not only help you connect with the campus more, but they will also help you do well in your classes.

3. Time management. 
No one truly knows time management until they experience college. You have classes, homework, clubs/activities, sports, studying, sleeping, socializing and eating all to make time for. At college, you learn how to manage this time and how to prioritize all of your activities. Life is asking a lot of you, but if you master your time management skills, you will do well in college.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. 
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” Every single person fails at one thing in their life. It might be a math class here at Berks, or your driver’s license test that you took years ago. Failing is how we learn and grow in order to succeed the next time. It’s like the saying “fall seven times, get up eight.” Sometimes being successful takes longer than we expect, but it is truly not failure if we learn from it. 

5. Take pictures. 
Every moment you share with your friends, your roommates, and your peers, take millions of pictures because that moment will only happen once. College is only four short years, and it is the best time of your life. After I graduated high school, my family would always tell me to cherish every moment, good or bad, because your college days only happen once. So here are some of my moments.

Until next time Penn Staters,

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finding Your Place

Ali and her sister
I got my sister to do the
THON Diamond!
Being out on your own for the first time can be terrifying. No Mom and Dad waiting at home, no little siblings annoying you, and no more snuggling up with the family pet. It can be very hard transitioning from living at home to living at school.  Sure, you get your first real taste of freedom but in addition to that is your first real taste of being an adult. You have to learn to take care of all aspects of yourself. Planning when to do schoolwork, how to spend your money, and remembering to clean your place can seem so overwhelming at first.

The bright side of all of this is that you find out what you are capable of and where you belong. The new freedoms allow you to find things that interest you. Whether it’s trying new things or meeting new people you have the freedom to choose what you are going to do and who you are going to be. It’s really worth it if you think about it!

Being at Penn State Berks gives students a leg up in my opinion. The variety of clubs, people, and opportunities cater to almost every type of person. Whether you love comic books or public speaking, there is an activity for you do here on campus. Through whatever activity you choose, you end up meeting people who share your interests. This can result in making some of the best friends you’ll ever have. All that you have to do is be open to doing things you enjoy.

Ali and her friend Shannon
Here I am at a Reading Royals
game with Shannon (left).
For me, I enjoy helping people any way that I can. This led me to the groups Lion Ambassadors and THON. In Lion Ambassadors, I get to meet prospective students and show them the campus. I get to tell them about the opportunities here and talk about their interests.  For THON, I serve as an executive to plan and help with events for the club. I get to hang out with fun people and help a great cause while doing it. I have met some of my favorite people in these groups and I would not trade that for the world.

From my involvement, I have had the chance to gain some awesome friends. From my friends I have had the chance to try new things. I met my boyfriend in my first year here and he has helped me to discover things I never thought I would like. From professional wrestling (WWE style) to every concert we have attended, I have discovered new things about myself and have found someone I will always be able to count on.

I have also met a few other people I know I can always count on. I met my good friend Shannon through Lion Ambassadors and I can always count on having fun and laughing until it hurts when she is around. I met my suitemate Katie here as well and I can always count on her for a friendly smile, thoughtful notes, and good style tips.

Ali's cat at Christmas
My cat loves Christmas so much
he sleeps under the tree!
All of these opportunities gave me the chance to find things I like and the places I like to be. This is not limited to social events though. Through the classes I took as electives and even from talking to faculty and staff at Penn State Berks, I have found my declared major and even more things about myself. I love to write, speak, and plan events. This is what my Communication Arts and Sciences major offers. I have influenced my future just from taking classes that I found interesting. Classes and professors have played a huge role in my finding a place here. I can’t express enough how grateful I am for this. The opportunities I have received led me to my interests and what I would like to do for the rest of my life. 

The moral to my story is to be open to trying new things. Being out on your own can be the scariest thing you have faced, but by following your interests it can turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done. Remember to keep an open mind, talk to people who share your interests, and learn about things that you like to do. Although I miss my family and my cat at times, I know that I am getting chances to do and learn about what I love here and that makes it worth it.

Until next time,


Friday, December 12, 2014

Saturday with the Orange Canning Team

Being a student at Penn State Berks gives me the amazing opportunity to become involved in a plethora of different clubs, groups, and organizations.  You’ve seen many blogs lately about becoming more involved, and it’s all true!

But if for some reason you don’t believe them, here is my testament that becoming involved can truly change your life and teach you extremely powerful messages that you may have never considered before.

One of the clubs that I am involved with is Berks benefitting THON, which raises money for children suffering from cancer. One of the biggest ways that we raise money is through canning, which is when we donate our time to stand outside stores and at intersections to collect money.

So after canning on Satuday, December 6th for about 9.5 hours with some of my amazing Orange Canning Team (of which I am a co-captain) my life has definitely been changed. This is because during these hours I had some of the most empowering and inspiring interactions, with amazing life lessons.

1.) A man overheard the conversation between me and two fellow Orange Team canners about eventually graduating, getting a job, and starting our own families. (When you are outside for a long time in cold weather, random topics come up!) He walks up to us and says, "Think about marriage for awhile. I didn't. I married a girl eight years younger than me, you know what happened? She divorced me. While we finalized the papers she got pregnant by the man who she went to prom with." He had a sarcastic smile when he saw the looks of horror on our faces. "She had the nerve to ask me for help on her car. But ... I helped her anyway." We smiled and told him how nice he was. He shook his head and said, "No it means I'm stupid." He continued explaining, "She eventually got married to him and had another kid. Ironically, she divorced him too." He laughed again, "Then the poor guy asked me for help on his car. I helped him too." He shook his head. "Well that shows you're a REALLY good guy!" we said with a smile. He responded, "No it shows I'm REALLY stupid." He smiled, and we could tell that he didn't really think that. His smile showed that he had a genuine heart and wanted to do what's best for people ... no matter what they did to him.
Moral: Be kind to others, no matter what.

2.) I met a man who had his daughter with him that who had excited look on her face as she dropped a couple dollars in the can. Her father explained to Maria and I that his son was a THON child in 2001-02. His son was only ten months old when he was a THON child. Now, in only a few months his son will be turning 16-years-old and he said, "I have the Four Diamonds and THON to thank for that." He said between the aid financially, and emotionally, his family is forever grateful for what THON does.
Moral: Your hard work, as minuscule as it may seem, makes a WORLD of difference to someone else.

3.) A man walked up to us and dropped a dollar in there. He walked away, but then turned around. With a serious look on his face he said, "Remember they said such HORRIBLE things about Penn State? Of all of the horrible and rude things they said, they always failed to mention anything good." He pointed to the word "THON" on our can. "THIS. This is what they failed to mention. The difference you make in the lives of those who need it. Children. THIS is what people conveniently 'forget' and it makes me furious. Thank you for what you do to make those horrible statements false."
Moral: Don't let bad apples spoil the bunch. 

I hope these stories have proved to you that inspiration is possible if you only stop and take the time to utilize the opportunities Berks offers.

Have an amazing week, and happy holidays to everyone!