Entitled to a Title

By Patrick

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This month we’re breaking bad writing habits, and this week we’re specifically talking about how important titles are to a paper. They convey so much in so few words, so it’s very important to take advantage of its power to entice your reader to read what you’ve written!

Check out what Patrick has to say in the video below, and then see our handout on creating well crafted titles to help you break this bad writing habit!

 

Combat your bad writing habits by visiting with one of our writing staff in The Learning Hub! Make an appointment today!

PROcrastination

by Sidney

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Full disclosure: I agreed to make this blog post about procrastination over a week ago and it goes up tomorrow.  And…. I am just now starting it.  The master procrastinator right here.  Me and procrastination go way back. We are old friends.  In kindergarten  I threw an assignment sheet into the trash because I had waited too long to start it and it was stressing me out. Throwing it away didn’t make the assignment disappear, but it did make me feel better.

Sometimes you just get to the point where you’ve waited too long and there is no chance to fix it. If you’ve reached that point then let it go, and do better next time. Learn from your mistakes.  There are ways to overcome procrastination. Sometimes they work, sometimes you still find yourself in the mess I am in right now.  So, be kind to yourself. If you messed up, remember that you are only human and that the end of the world really isn’t at hand.

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 I certainly do not advocate throwing away homework assignments. However, I do advocate taking a deep breath and keeping things in perspective. If you’ve procrastinated then the assignment is due soon and your torment is nearing an end.  However, here are some things you can do to battle the procrastination demon.

START EARLY!!!

You will be so happy if you do. Starting something can be the hardest part. If you have a big test coming up, set aside even a small amount of time (15 minutes? That’s doable, right?) every day for studying. If you have a paper to write, get started as soon as it is assigned. Even if you just write an outline or do some brainstorming exercises, getting something (anything) on paper can be extremely helpful.

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RESPECT DEADLINES

A deadline is the procrastinator’s best friend. They can keep us on track if we let them. Don’t blow off deadlines, especially when you set them for yourself. That reinforces the idea that deadlines are unimportant and breakable. Trusting in your own follow through is important to developing confidence in your ability to be a productive person.

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LISTEN TO YOURSELF

If you are having anxiety over an upcoming deadline, listen to that anxiety. It is telling you to be productive. Don’t watch any more Netflix!!!

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REWARD YOURSELF

We all respond to positive reinforcement. Give yourself a break, eat a chip in between each page of reading, take a five minute Instagram break in between each chapter. Whatever floats your boat!

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Anyway, procrastination can be a lifelong struggle. There is no perfect formula for overcoming it. Trust me, I have tried. I take heart in telling myself that my tendency to procrastinate is a side effect of being a creative and sensitive person. This may be, but I am also capable of developing habits and skills that will help me work better and smarter. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

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Check out the academic skills page on The Learning Hub website for more tips and tricks for successful studenting. We have a workshop on Procrastination happening next month, so be there, and beat your bad writing habits!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do…

Everyone has bad habits when it comes to your writing process and writing skills. Don’t be ashamed to admit it! Knowledge of your bad habits is the first step toward breaking them and improving yourself as a student or professional.

Let’s all pledge this month to break up… Breaking up is never an easy process, but hopefully with the tips we’ll be providing this month, breaking up with your bad writing habits will be possible, and manageable!

In this video kicking off our February 2018, The Learning Hub’s writing staff admit to their bad writing habits. What are some of yours? Comment below!

Combat your bad writing habits by visiting with one of our writing staff in The Learning Hub! Make an appointment today!

Welcome Back!

Hey UIS! Welcome back to a new semester. We hope your Spring 2018 is looking sharp, that you’re feeling fresh, and that you’re ready to tackle all that it brings you.

The Learning Hub’s tutors were busy relaxing over the winter break, and we read up a storm! We find that these breaks are sometimes the only time we have to take time to read for pleasure (I know, what’s that?), and so when we have the chance, we take it!

We wanted to show you what we’ve been up to over the last few weeks when classes weren’t in session by opening up the new, official, Learning Hub Library – here you can find some of our top picks for the next time you look for something to read for pleasure.

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Here’s what our tutors have to say in recommendation of these texts:

Raven’s Recommendations

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A tear-jerker that deals with love, choice, and sacrifice. I recommend this book for those who want a slice-of-life story that challenges their views on morality of choice, the extent to which love conquers all, and the belief that all wounds heal.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)

This book is the wizarding world’s textbook, not the movie script. If you want to learn about Harry’s world of Magical creatures, I recommend this book for you. If you’re lucky, you will see Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s annotations in the margins.

Michael’s Recommendations

2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

On the eve of Christmas Eve, the interconnected stories of a nine-year old aspiring jazz singer, her fifth grade teacher, and a single father who owns Philadelphia’s famed jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, come together as they confront grief, responsibility, parenthood, and lost love.

Everything is Awful and Other Observations by Matt Bellasai

Internet celeb Matt Bellasai brings together a series of humorous essays that track his life experience from ignorant child to barely functioning adult. Using sharp wit, pop culture references, and self-deprecation, Bellasai highlights the joys, troubles, and hilarity of a millennial who knows how to laugh at the world and himself.

Brock’s Recommendation

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s nice to be able to escape the stress of school and travel into the darkness or Mordor.

Sidney’s Recommendations

The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras

A lyrical and at times almost dreamlike examination of a woman compelled by chance to explore her most suppressed desires. Duras’ matter-of-fact and understated approach to character creates a compelling portrait of Lol and the people that inhabit her world.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

A book that is deeply and disturbingly human. Dunn’s characters are grotesque and yet achingly vulnerable. The world of Geek Love is one apart and one that has to be read to be believed. She makes the unimaginable seem normal and the normal seem absurd.

Sarah’s Recommendations

Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

This book is a wonderful exploration of what makes us human. Gregory weaves a world much like ours, but in which demon possession by classic archetypes of history, literature, and folklore, is the norm. This setting allows him to push his characters to the limit in search of their identities in a tour-de-force, noir take on the magical realism genre.

The Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory

Gregory’s next book also plays with the magical realism genre, but is much more akin to horror, and reminiscent of early Stephen King, than his first book. A small town is ravaged by a terrible outbreak that leaves the surviving portion of the population horribly deformed, splitting the town into Argos, Betas, and Charlies, each with their own physical form. Gregory’s second novel continues to explore what makes us human by continuing to unravel our expectations of it in this uncanny, palpable mystery.

You are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson, of The Bloggess fame, doodles when she feels anxious or is having a bad day. She often posted these doodles online and fans of her blog would print them, color them, and bring them to book signings for her to autograph. She realized other people might find them helpful in relaxing, finding joy in small things, or brightening an otherwise dull day, and so she collected her drawings into this book. It’s part therapy, part coloring book, part collection of poems, and all in all is a wonderful addition to your collection. Participate in Jenny’s self-help process, and doodle whenever you feel like you need a break from your day!

Daymon’s Recommendations

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

This book regales with the adventures of a group of young people who, despite their distinct backgrounds, share a quest in medieval Europe. The story recalls the traditions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales as it’s told through a group of observers gathered in a pub and the narrator who links their tales of these famous (and, to some, infamous) children. If you have any interest in medieval literature or culture, this is a supremely well-researched and highly readable YA novel set in that era.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

A devastatingly beautiful collection of poetry. Each line bristles with insight through Akbar’s controlled but expansive free verse.

Patrick’s Recommendation

You Are a Badass : How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Its bright “Big Bird” yellow cover, and its unorthodox title certainly captured my childlike attention span! Nevertheless, the book was a fairly easy read; quite hilarious and enjoyable to say the least. It is also an uplifting promise that things can change by imagining, acting, and following up. And though this can sound kind of trite—a la Anthony Robins, Napoleon Hill, Oprah Winfrey etc,—the author uses her own examples to illustrate her journey from a destitute nine to fiver, to a wealthy writer, musician, life coach, and entrepreneur. The self deprecating humor, but valuable insight  from the critical stand point of a highly intelligent female, should make You are a Badass an eye opener for all girls—and guys who non-conform!

Nick’s Recommendation

The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I chose this mainly because it is a cool introduction into reading graphic novels, it’s a quick read (the entire series is, really), and more importantly, it’s kind of nerdy but enjoyable.

Kaylan’s Recommendations

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke

How about you? What did you read over break? What are some of your favorite books you love to recommend to your friends and family? Leave a comment below so we can “swap stories,” as it were, and read up on some awesome things!

Notes of Encouragement

by Alex

Welcome to one of the most stressful times of the semester: finals time!

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We realize that many of you are currently visiting this blog as a way to take a well-deserved break or to procrastinate from the mountain of work you still need to complete. Either way, The Learning Hub wanted to remind you of five important things to keep in mind for this week:

There is an end in sight.

There is a finite list of things you need to do that will end at the end of the week. Don’t get too bogged down with everything you need to do. Just take it one day at a time. You are almost there, even if it doesn’t seem like it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Or a puppy.

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This is within your capabilities as a student to complete your final projects.

All semester, you’ve been working toward this week. You know what needs to happen to accomplish the final tasks. All semester, you’ve been growing, and each semester, your capacity to do hard tasks has increased. You are capable of writing that intimidating paper or that really long project even if it doesn’t feel like it.

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It’s okay to feel stressed.

Some people may feel that losing sleep or stressing about finals means that they are doing something wrong.

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 If you’re one of those people, do your best to remember that it’s ok to feel stressed—nearly everyone is feeling this way. I would just encourage you to try and manage this stress so it doesn’t overtake you. Use stress as a fuel for your projects, but don’t let it consume you.

If you feel like everything has gone wrong—take it as a learning opportunity.

Maybe you didn’t prepare for finals as well as you should have. Maybe you haven’t slept in four days, your computer crashed, and you’ve lost that ten-page paper you now need to redo by tomorrow morning. Sometimes, we don’t go through finals as gracefully as we would like.

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Everyone falls down once and a while. Don’t beat yourself up over it—just learn from your mistakes so it doesn’t happen again.

You can do it.

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Yes. You can. Don’t argue with us.

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And then, after you conquer your finals, we hope you enjoy your break from school.

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If you have questions about preparing for finals, please stop by The Learning Hub to learn positive coping and scheduling strategies so you can have a productive finals experience.

Wishing you all the best—

The Learning Hub Writing Staff

7 Study Tips to Get Through Finals Week

by Sidney

Finals week is stressful, but success is possible! With a little planning you can make it through finals in one piece.

Make a list or a visual aid with all the things you have to do

This allows you to break your work into manageable pieces. It can be overwhelming to think about all the things you need to do. Making a list of the steps it takes to accomplish each goal allows you to focus on one thing a time.

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Create your own study guide

This helps you take ownership of the information. Putting ideas into your own words helps you commit them to memory because you are thinking about meaning more deeply and using language that makes sense to you.

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Study with friends or organize a study group

Being around other people who are also working on tasks can be an effective way to stay focused. If you are studying with other students from a specific class, you can share ideas and help each other better understand the course content.

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Set deadlines ahead of your deadlines

If you have a big paper or project due, it can be helpful to set deadlines for yourself so you don’t end up having to pull stressful all-nighters. If you tend to procrastinate try tricking yourself into getting started early by making a “pretend” deadline.

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 Find new places to study

A new environment can help you think more clearly. Maybe the local coffee shop provides the right amount of distraction to keep you focused. If you need complete silence try finding the perfect spot in the library to work without distractions.

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Balance

It can be tempting to focus on the subjects you are best at, but create a balance between subjects that come naturally and ones you find challenging. Sometimes saving your favorite work for last can be motivation to get through work you would rather put off until the end.

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Take Breaks

Make sure to build breaks into your study schedule. It is important to reward yourself for hard work. When you have accomplished one or two things on your list allow yourself time to recharge before taking on the next task.

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Good Luck!!!

Eating Your Turkey

Throughout the month of November, The Learning Hub has discussed how undertaking preparing and cooking the turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner is like going through the various stages of the writing process. In this final video of our series, Brock and James discuss how eating your turkey and surveying your Thanksgiving dishpocalypse is like the reflection process in writing.

 

 To learn more about how you can come up to The Hub for appointments, visit our website where you can find our contact information, helpful resources, and lots of other information!