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How attendance versus remote lectures can help you stay on track…

Here are some simple reasons why going to class can help you be successful:

  1. You have to get out of bed every day (yes, really!)

  2. You get to listen to today’s lectures today! And not wait and procrastinate for a later time.

  3. Going to class forces you to get dressed and perhaps even shower.

  4. Going to class forces you to interact with people.(yes, really!)

  5. Going to class requires a different kind of attention. You must listen closely and should take notes.

  6. Its easier to tell if the professor is excited, and easier to see animation in person.

  7. Questions that are asked are easier to hear and you can see who is asking the question.

  8. Your professor is real and not an avatar. It makes it much easier to get help because you are there experiencing learning in real time.

  9. Anything that seems easy when it comes to learn should be treated with suspicion. And when students tell us why they don’t go to class, they usually say -its easier and more convenient!


The Downsides of Perfectionism and Ways to Overcome It

In a world where we all live in everyone else’s highlight reel, it makes it hard to feel like setbacks or failures are a normal part of life.  So much so that many people find themselves in a constant strain to be “perfect”.   Additionally, there has been a rise in rates of perfectionism over the last few decades, and tendencies can begin to appear in young children (Ruggeri, 2018).  In a recent study by Curran and Hill (2016), they found there were significant increases in perfectionism tendencies among undergraduate students in the US, UK, and Canada in most recent years.

Perfectionism can be damaging to someone in more ways than one.  It may begin as a disappointment or falling short of a goal, followed by negative self-talk.  Eventually, it can lead to more serious consequences.  According to Ruggeri (2018), perfectionism is linked to health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, chronic headaches, fatigue/ insomnia, stress disorders, and even thoughts of suicide, just to name a few.  There is also a distinction between being a maladaptive perfectionist or an adaptive perfectionist (Curran & Hill, 2016).  According to many researchers, those that are considered adaptive perfectionists are conscientious, hard-working, and use setbacks or failures to help make them stronger and persevere.  While maladaptive perfectionists use negative self-talk and are very stress-sensitive.

So if you suffer from perfectionism, what can you do? According to Ruggeri (2018), perfectionism is hard to treat, however, using self-compassion in a therapeutic setting (with positive peer influence or group setting) has shown great benefits to those suffering from the negative cycle. Additionally, it is important to practice kinder talk as well as trying to not criticize or overreact to mistakes (with others or yourself).  It must be a conscious effort to overcome these struggles, and it is also important to surround yourself with a good support system and positive influences.

For more information about the downsides of perfectionism as well as additional resources, check out the article here:

What’s Your Identity Motivation?

Did you know that researchers at Northwestern University found that people’s responses can improve if they can look forward to a better life for themselves? During times of adversity, this positive visualization appears to be especially helpful for students from low socio-economic status. Now you might not be from a low SES background but we can all benefit from positive thinking and visualization of a successful future ahead. Are their strategies that you can use to make the most of what you believe can happen in the future? One way might be to document your goals and place them in a visible place in your home. Or you might write down your fears on a piece of paper and then crumple them up and toss it in the trash, metaphorically trashing your worries.

        Figuring out what your future identity should or could be, allows you to dwell on all you can be, not on immediate problems. Believing in your ability to get through a difficult task or test is far better than predicting failure and humiliation.

For more on this topic visit:

Imagining a successful future can help students overcome everyday difficulties at

Buy Some Time With Grocery Delivery!

The most important thing you can do to build new habits, become more efficient at studying, or implement some other beneficial practice in your life is to set yourself up for success.  This includes making sure your basic needs are taken care of so you have the most energy and focus possible to accomplish your goals.  One thing that often falls by the wayside in the scramble of getting out the door on time, showing up to class, meeting with faculty, studying, family time, and everything else you have to do is getting in enough healthy food each day for maximum brainpower.  Oftentimes, I hear students say the culprit is finding enough time to get to the grocery store.  That’s a valid point!  What can you do about it?

Have you considered getting your groceries delivered?  There are several apps and services that allow you to choose your groceries online and either have them bagged and waiting for you at the store or delivered all the way to your house.  After you build your first list online, it’s easy to save time by shopping from your history.  Although there is usually a small fee for delivery, you can actually save money this way because you can quickly compare cost per weight to get the best deals and stick to your budget by watching the price of your cart change as you shop.

Here are a few services to check out:

Smith’s ClickList

  • Shop online and pick up at the store
  • Get discounts with your Smith’s card
  • Get your first few pickups free, $4-$5 per pickup after that
  • No tipping necessary
  • Select locations only

Walmart Pickup

  • Shop online and pick up at the store
  • No fees, but a $30 minimum order
  • Delivery available for a fee
  • Save favorites for faster future checkout
  • No tipping necessary
  • Select locations only

Vons Pickup/Delivery

  • Shop online and choose a window of time (as small as an hour) to pick up or have your groceries delivered
  • Get discounts with your Vons card
  • Pick up is always free
  • Get your first delivery free, plus $25 off your groceries; $10-$12 per delivery after that (with the option to save on fees if you choose a bigger delivery window)
  • No tipping necessary
  • Available to most areas, enter your address to check


  • Choose from multiple stores near you (Smith’s, Whole Foods, Costco, CVS, etc.)
  • Not able to apply store/club discount cards
  • Get your first delivery free, $5-$10 per delivery after that depending on how fast you want your groceries
  • Option for Express account, pay one monthly delivery fee for unlimited deliveries
  • Tipping is expected, 10-20% of your order according to etiquette sites

These are just a few of the many options available.  If getting to the grocery store is a roadblock to your success, think about grocery pickup or delivery.

Do you have experience with one of these services or a suggestion?  Leave a comment below!

Smart tips before bedtime

       Did you know that there are many simple things you can do before you go to bed at night? An article by Tory Johnson called 10 Smart Things to Do before Bed Each Night has some easy tips. You can find it at

I have included some of her ideas and some others taken from what students have shared with us.

1. No caffeine after 7 p.m. If you decide that you need it to study, then you are consciously interfering with your sleep. What other alternatives are there? Decaffeinated coffee or tea is still a better choice.

  1. Review your calendar for the next day early in the evening; identify two must-do tasks or goals.
  2. Shower before bed instead of the next morning.
  3. Choose the next day’s wardrobe to expedite morning preparation.
  4. Shut down all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Blue screen devices in particular should also be far enough away from your bedside to not disturb you. Consider an old fashioned alarm clock.
  5. Take 10 minutes to tidy up so you wake up to a neat space.
  6. Spritz pillows and sheets with lavender spray, a scent associated with calm. Or if this doesn’t appeal to you, try some other scent.
  7. Read before sleep. (not a textbook)
  8. Dim all lights an hour before lights out. Some students have used LED candles to help them get used to dim light before bed.
  9. Spend some time reflecting on what went right during the day.

Failure, Whose Fault Is It?

Many students, or people in general, often blame failure on external factors. When asked, “Why did you score a 70% on the last exam?” students might reply with:

  • The professor just doesn’t teach
  • The material isn’t interesting
  • It’s impossible to make time to study
  • The exam was poorly written

Notice these are all factors students have no control of which allows them to justify the grade as something besides themselves. This also protects an identity they might hold about themselves such as, “I am intelligent and don’t get C’s.” It’s likely some truth can be found for the reasons listed, but students may not realize a whole line of research, called Attribution Theory, points to the fact that reflection about what factors a student has control of that led to a poor grade often results in better future performance. So, the next time you receive a less than desirable grade ask yourself these questions while reflecting deeply on the answers:

  • Did I really keep track of the time I studied? How much time did I really put into studying?
  • Are there times I chose to relax when I should have reviewed?
  • Did I ever seek help from the professor?
  • Was the time spent studying with friends productive enough?

Many more questions can be asked. In the end, remember to focus on what you can change versus what you can’t.


Note Taking: it is your bread and butter

The following advice is extracted from the book Learn How to Study and SOAR to Success by Kenneth A. Kiewra, 2005, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

There are three parts involved in the Note Taking Process. The first part is before the lecture. Kiewra advises students to follow four rules. They should “be there, be on time”, and “be up front” and to “be on the edge”. It seems simple, doesn’t’ it? But what he means is that students have to physically attend the class, be on time, and sit close to the action and to be mentally and physically ready to learn.

The second part of this process occurs during the lecture. Once again Kiewra breaks this down into four parts. Students have to get all of the material that is important (easier said than done). They have to do this quickly, and immediately. Then they should have a method to record the lecture in case they have to repeat steps 1-3. Part one of note taking includes recording the main ideas, examples and making note of the lecturer’s cues. This requires a student to pay attention to their body language, emphasis and to use social knowledge. Most learners can develop a feeling for what is important to a lecturer, but sometimes it only jells after a test when the student can actually see proof of what matters.

Recording notes quickly can be helped by developing abbreviations and notations. Also if you have questions, ask them, or take advantage of question time to fix your notes. Recording a lecture can help clarify areas that you missed. Students can write down the time and question that they missed during class and then later go back quickly to that section. Students only record 40% of what they hear in class, which means there has to be a follow up process after lecture to recoup some of the missed information.

Kiewra, suggests that after lecture students do two things. You should make a habit of “filling up your notes and fixing your notes”. If you can make time to review your notes after lecture, you will be able to add information and also correct your notes. This helps to plug the holes. Another technique is to review your notes with another student. Together you can make your notes even more complete.

Students that take note taking seriously, learn and retain more. If you don’t take notes, you are fooling yourself. Active participation in learning keeps you on task, awake and aware. Students that take notes, are forced to be alert. Challenge yourself- if you go to a lecture and just listen, compare your recall with a friend that took notes. You will be shocked at how much you missed. If you feel that the lecturer goes to fast, then also record the lecture and go back afterwards or share notes with a friend. If you can’t figure out any cues from the lecturer, go and see them during office hours. The more effort you put into your learning, the better the process will be for you.