Author: Danielle Balzano

Finals Survival Tips from Your Fellow Huskies

Finals week is stressful. As the dreaded week before winter break rolls around, I’m sure everyone is asking themselves the same question, “what should I be doing to prepare?’

Instead of Googling “Tips for Finals Week,” I decided to go old school this year and ask students on campus what they actually find helpful for them before or during finals week.  Here are some of their favorite stress relievers and go-to study tips:

STRESS RELIEF

“Meditation definitely helps me. I have this app called Aura and it’s amazing for stress and anxiety.” – Sidney Rochlin ‘19 (CLAS)

“It always helps me to talk things out to someone else.” – Ellie Grafstein ‘19 (BUS)

“If I have a chance to, Yoga really helps me clear my head.” – Katie Grigely ‘20 (ED)

“Don’t pull all-nighters, get sleep!!!” – Julianna Vinciguerra ‘19 (NUR)

“I actually clean my apartment as my stress reliever.” – Kelly Pagoto ‘19 (BUS)

Sometimes I just say to myself ‘I’m doing nothing and I deserve it’…that usually ends up with me watching Netflix and a face mask!” – Joni Cotter ‘19 (CLAS)

“My go-to is cooking or baking. Then I binge eat most of it…” – Amanda D’arbanville ‘19 (BUS)

 

STUDY TIPS

“Hand writing a study guide with the most important things. Handwriting is really helpful with memorization.” – Nicole Williams ‘19 (BUS)

“I really try to start studying at least a week before and devote around 30 minutes to an hour every day for that one exam until the actual test day.” – Kwaku Gyasi ‘19 (CLAS)

“Quizlet’s test mode is really good for studying! They make it so simple.” – Liz Gallucci ‘19 (BUS)

“I plan out step-by-step what I need to do for the week on my calendar to make sure I stay organized.” – Marisa Nazzaro ‘20 (ED)

“Well first I have a good cry…just kidding! But using color coded highlighters is definitely my lifesaver.” – Avery Adams ‘19 (CLAS)

 

I hope by reading about how other students on your campus use their time to succeed during finals week was helpful—and, at least, comforting, to know you’re not the only one, and we’re all in this together.  I know I’m definitely am going to try some of their study tips and stress relievers!

While taking advice about this upcoming week it is important to remember, no matter how many articles you read about tips for studying, everyone is different and not everything will work for you. Even though studying is important, taking breaks is important, too. Taking stock of HOW you spend those breaks, might help you make the most of them and get the maximum benefit.

I hope one of these tips from your fellow Huskies will help you get through these exams and onto the holiday break that you so very richly deserve. Good luck to all!

 

Time Management Tips

By: Meghan Farrell

Communication Major & Economics Minor, 2019

As a student who juggles multiple jobs, a full-course load and community involvement, I had assumed that simply having many responsibilities would be enough to make me “good at time management.” However, in college I quickly learned that time management skills do not come automatically from the addition of more tasks, but the quality and impact of your work really matters, too. My work experiences have taught me that careers in communication require excellent time management ability as one must manage multiple deadlines, competing priorities and diverse audience needs—all while ensuring a high standard of attentiveness to detail.

 

One of the most important tokens of advice I received was to consider time management not as a standalone skill, but a combination of them. In the spirit of paying forward, I offer my own tokens of advice on time management.

 

Start with the Work That Matters Most. My first tip is to identify the work that energizes you, particularly when there are pressing demands on your time. Deadlines are going to conflict, emergencies are going to arise, meetings will be rescheduled, someone is going to hate your first draft; however, if you are passionate about the work you will find the energy to push through and move to the next task.

 

Make a Working List. I also recommend keeping a fluid to-do list. Planning and organization are among the most obvious time management skills, but it is easy to get overwhelmed if you are resistant to adapting your plans. I often block out time for specific work and school responsibilities, but I also ensure that I evaluate my task list at least twice daily. Reflecting on your to-do lists can also help you come up with creative ways to take advantage of the “slow” parts of your day. I listen to recorded lectures or relevant podcasts on my commute to my internship to reinforce material from classes, and I spend time between classes strategizing article or design ideas.

 

Keep Communication Channels Open. Working as a member of a team is common in many upper level courses, and it’s the norm in most office environments. Communication, delegation and empathy help you manage time in a team environment for efficient work flows. Clear communication and delegation of responsibilities, from the start, will help your team succeed. In my school projects, I create task communication documents in Google Docs that outline objectives for the project, allow people to sign up for the tasks that align to their strengths and track progress to hold everyone accountable. The tracking document also helps identify challenges early on, so that you can intervene effectively before tensions build or it’s too late to solve a problem effectively.

 

Practice Self-Care. One of the most important lessons that I have learned to improve time management skills is how to manage stress. Anyone who took Interpersonal Communication knows that stress can have damaging effects on both your mental and physical well-being. Understanding how you can respond effectively to stress and setbacks will make you stronger when you face your next challenge. Thus, it’s important to also develop your coping skills as a co-requisite of your time-management skillset.

 

Stress Doesn’t Breed Creativity. Especially in a career where you are called upon to think creatively, it is important to give yourself mental breaks to recharge. There are many ways to manage stress, so it is important to find what works best for you. For example, I love the outdoors, and I will often casually write content while sitting outside: I remember one article that I wrote in September at 4,580’ elevation, nestled in the White Mountains. Being in nature allows me to clear my head and broaden my perspective so that I can tackle my next assignment with a renewed focus.

4 Things I Learned From My First Internship

My first internship happened to be on the earlier side – the summer after my Freshman year. I had no idea of what I wanted to do as my career, let alone that summer. At that time I was currently a Spanish major and preparing to apply to the business school. However, I was fortunate enough, and an internship at a New York City Public Relations agency presented itself through a family connection. This PR agency happens to value its confidentiality and privacy of their clients. However, while searching for the other two internships I have had, I used primarily LinkedIn while also searching Husky Career Link.

This specific company had their internship set like a rotational program. They made sure that every couple of weeks, we switched from one area of the company to another. My ‘stops’ around the office were Social Media, Crisis Management, Public Relations and Events. Throughout this program the agency made sure to include ‘Lunch & Learns’ for us five interns. Those lunches consisted of us meeting with those in high positions, including the two founders of the company, and listening to their experiences and advice while getting to ask them questions we had. Lastly, the program also had the interns complete an end of the summer project where we worked together in groups, created and presented a PR pitch to six people from the agency.

I learned a lot that summer, but here are a few of the main takeaways from that internship experience:

1. Never be Afraid to Ask
Never having had an internship before, I was not aware of most programs and terminology in the Communication field. Jumping into something that fast-paced can definitely be scary and overwhelming; however, your supervisor is there to help you. By asking how to do something or what way they want something done can be extremely helpful to learning how a company formats their work. As the program progressed I became more confident, as l realized that I didn’t have to rely only on what I knew, but that I could rely on the collective wisdom of those around me.

2. How to Network
During a Lunch & Learns with one of the company founders, he stressed the importance of networking and challenge us to complete networking goals throughout our time there. Each rotation in the program, we were each placed with three or so people in that area of the company. I followed that advice, and set the goal of keeping in regular contact with everyone I’d worked with on my rotations. Whether it was saying good morning or stopping by during the day for a quick word, the simple gesture made my time there more enjoyable and it helped create connections for later. I also made sure to connect with those I worked with on LinkedIn and I made sure to get their email as well. I made sure to reach out to them when I was finished the internship, to make sure the relationship I built during my time with the company did not end once I left.

3. How to be Organized
Throughout this internship, we were constantly on the move, learning new things almost daily. It was important that with all the information we were gaining, we had to keep it separated into their specific areas of work—such as, for example, crisis management. In order to keep our work organized, this company gave me a folder to hold all of my information. In the folder, they had already placed some quick tips and helpful reference guides, in case I needed any clarification on general areas of work. From there on out, I would print out everything that I did, with approval of course, and put it into the folder. By doing so, I was able to see what I learned from each of the four sections of the company, as well as producing a small ‘portfolio’ of what I had done that summer.

4. Realized What I Liked and What I Didn’t
Even though this was my first internship in the communication field (or at all, for that matter), I was able to learn that I was heading in the right direction of what I wanted to do after I graduate. I was able to experience, first hand, some of the different possibilities that a communication major can offer. Because I enjoyed my experience so much, I even went on to find another PR internship the next summer, at another agency, which helped confirm my strong feelings towards a career in PR. In my second internship I was truly able to hone in on what I liked and what I didn’t. I realized that although I enjoyed working at an agency, I wanted to do something more specific, like a brand. I wanted to learn how to work for one specific company, to understand the brand identity and make relationships with the brand itself.

Without having this first internship, I would have never been able to explore the field of communication represented by Public Relations, and understand my own particular interests within PR. Some people might worry about not having a positive or enjoyable experience, but I would say you still would learn a lot, even from the negative moments. I learned that even if this were the case, you still would learn that the job is not the best fit for you. Sometimes you have to learn what you don’t like, before you can learn what you DO like!

My Education Abroad Experience

Imagine it’s February and you’re wearing nothing heavier than a light coat. You’re walking on the cobblestone streets heading towards the Ponte Vecchio while eating the best gelato in the world and you have plans to travel to Spain the next weekend with your newfound friends. For me, I could never picture that being my life, especially in college. Before studying abroad, I was never a big traveler and had never left the country. I was born and raised in Connecticut, as well as attending UConn, so applying to study somewhere that was that far where people spoke an entirely different language seemed scary to me. After hearing my friends discuss the application process, I decided to join in and research. Soon after, I realized my interest was prominent enough to apply. The website made the checklist clear and manageable. As the application deadline came closer and I had officially applied, I became more and more eager to actually go. At that point I was unsure of what place was right for me but after speaking to the abroad advisors, I realized Florence, Italy was the perfect fit. I was drawn to how Florence was a city, but on a smaller scale. The history and unique culture made me feel like that place could be my home, all while learning about my family heritage. The city, people, and classes could not have done a better job of making that come true.

A couple months later, I got off the plane and was in an entirely new country. The first week was a blur, exploring new sights and settling into my Italian apartment. Soon, once classes started, a more structured schedule helped me make the most of my time every day. In my semester there, I took four classes: Social Media, Italian, Intercultural Communication, and the Art of Buon Fresco. Luckily for me, two of my courses provided valuable knowledge in my future career as well as my major.

Social Media took us step by step on how to create interesting, eye catching posts as well as how to build your audience reach. In that class, we took “field trips” and went to the major sites, such as the Boboli Garden, to take pictures for our Instagram account we created for the course. In Intercultural Communication, we discussed how important it is to be culturally sensitive and aware. Also, in that course, we interacted with students from the University of Florence regularly and discussed topics together such as stereotypes. For my Communication major, these courses helped me gain skills and perspective on what may be asked of me later on in my upcoming career.

While those two helped me with my career path, all four guided me through the culture while I was there. Italian, of course, gave me the basic understanding of the language that I was able to speak, or at least try to, with the locals (which they greatly appreciated). Florence is known for their beautiful artwork around the city, thus why the Art of Buon Fresco provided me with insight and background of the famous works of art I was seeing every day. One of our lessons in that class was a trip to Palazzo Pitti. We walked through the palace’s historic rooms and discussed the fresco’s we saw, their techniques and meanings. After that class, places like Palazzo Pitti are no longer just beautiful pieces of architecture, they tell a story through the artwork within about what life was like during that time period. Without taking these classes, I would have never known about the culture and everyday life in another country the way I do now.

Although my courses happened to teach me about subjects in my major, every course you take will still help you in the future. Think about it: you are in an entirely new country, whichever you choose, and you are in a classroom. The professor will be from that area and will be able to give you lessons from their local perspective. Already, you will begin to understand and learn what the people from that country think and think about. Also, once you live outside of the U.S. for a while, you are able to learn about an entirely new culture and find new ways to empathize with those not from your background. You are able to work on your ability to think bigger and outside of what you know. That alone will help you in the future. The independence, confidence and experience that you had there will follow you for a lifetime.

I was hesitant about going at first; however, thankfully I made the right choice for me as I would never take that time back. I believe this was the best adventure for me to grow as a person thanks to my informative classes and open mind each day I was there. So with the application deadline approaching, my advice to you would be to research more about studying abroad. What could it mean for you? Where would be your perfect place? If you think this could be right for you, apply for this amazing opportunity! If you are even thinking about, or want to know more about study abroad, speak to your academic advisor as well as the abroad advisors! You never know if it’s right for you unless you try.