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Weekend Recs: Back-to-School Season

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Congratulations! You made it to the first Friday of the semester. The beginning of the semester can be both an exciting and anxious time. Maybe you’re nervous for some of your classes. Maybe you’re excited to see your friends. I know I’m excited to start my journey as a Falvey graduate assistant but definitely feeling anxious to jump into my classes. Whatever you’re feeling this back-to-school season, this weekend’s recommendations are some things to help you with the adjust to (or back to) college life.

If you have 5 minutes…and want to find out if you qualify for the student loan debt forgiveness announced by President Biden, read this article from NPR. It might just lift a $10,000 weight off your chest and answer some of your pressing questions on student debt.students studying

If you have 30 minutes…and want to get ahead of the curve by boosting your reading skills, read the first chapter of Zachary Shore’s Grad School Essentials: A Crash Course in Scholarly Skills. His 5-step method to academic reading will help you impress your professors in class discussions and save you time. As Shore puts it, avoid being a “Book Zombie.”

If you have an hour…and are in the mood for some good food, stop by the food trucks at Mendel Field on Sunday between 8 and 10 p.m. for St. Augustine’s feast day. Grab a bite to eat with friends, meet some new people, and enjoy some local food truck fare.

If you have an hour and 34 minutes…and want a back-to-school pick-me-up, watch Legally Blonde (2001). Even over 20 years after its release, the film still manages to motivate me to push through college. If Elle Woods can get a 179 on the LSAT, you can do anything.

If you have a day…and want to prep for the upcoming semester with some techniques to de-stress, read Judson Brewer’s Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind. It gives some good tips to managing anxious feelings and developing coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, which will become increasingly problematic as the semester progresses.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.



Studying Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Anxiety: Meet Erica Ferrara, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Erica Ferrara receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.

Erica Ferrara receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.


This is part 5 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.


Scholarly Stats:

Erica Ferrara ’19 CLAS (Psychology and Honors major with a Political Science minor)

Hometown: New Rochelle, N.Y.

Faculty Mentor: Deena Weisberg, PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Research: Test Anxiety in Elementary School Students in Relation to Standardized Testing


In her own words:

Erica’s Research:

I began my research process in the Honors Program Senior Thesis course by committing to the topic of test anxiety in grade school students and enlisting mentors for the project—Dr. Deena Weisberg and Dr. Steven Krauss.

My overall goal was to conduct a comprehensive literature review about the topic, and then to use the information to design my own ideal intervention for combating test anxiety experienced by elementary school students, as well as lay out a proposed study for evaluating this intervention’s efficacy. For the fall, I decided to focus on the literature review, and for the spring I planned to work on my novel intervention proposal.

Falvey Memorial Library’s website provided me with all of the background research articles I needed to download and begin writing as the core basis of my project. My full rough draft for the Fall semester included three main sections: anxiety in general and test anxiety specifically, standardized testing, and previously attempted prevention and intervention methods for test anxiety.Erica Ferrara

For the spring semester, I utilized this literature review as a basis in designing my own original novel intervention to assist elementary school students struggling with symptoms of test anxiety in relation to standardized testing.

My final written draft of my literature review and my own proposal for an intervention combined spans over 80 pages!


Erica’s “Falvey Experience”:

Through Falvey Memorial Library I had access to many research articles concerning my selected topic. With such a large online selection, I was able to find all of the information that I needed to become informed about my topic, write a comprehensive literature review, and then form my own thoughts into a novel intervention combining the effective aspects of prior ones I read of in empirical articles.

Many of the articles I included require outside subscriptions if I did not have the Falvey website to work through. In a few cases, I utilized the Interlibrary Loan system set up through our library as well. I genuinely do not know how I would have gathered the sources I needed without the Library’s online system.

In addition, the Library consistently provided a conducive environment in which I was able to complete my work. The 24-hour section of Old Falvey was especially convenient for later nights. Knowing that I always had a quiet place to go to where everyone around me was working hard as well was quite comforting and motivating.


The Impact on Her:

This Honors Thesis was the first time I have committed to such a comprehensive task that was largely my own independent research. From this experience, I have learned many valuable research skills that I know I will carry into my future academic work.

I gained the independence and confidence to make my own decisions to truly make this project my own from this freedom and support.


What’s Next:

Next year, I will enroll in a psychology clinical research methods master’s program with the ultimate goal of continuing my schooling to eventually earn a doctorate in child clinical psychology.

I aim to become a practitioner as well as to conduct research concerning the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders in young children, in a sense continuing the work that I have started through this thesis project. I aim to contribute to addressing this important problem that is currently growing even more in prevalence in society today.

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



Last Modified: July 2, 2019

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