Graduate assistant, Jenna Newman, is pictured raiding the refrigerator at her parent’s in her Villanova mask.
Hope you all had a great time celebrating with friends, family, and food yesterday! Now, raid your parent’s refrigerator for all the good left-overs and settle in for some finals study time. If you’re still near campus, the library is still open for Wildcard Access from 6 a.m.-12 a.m., and you can find great digital resources Falvey’s librarians have put together here.
What’s your go-to Thanksgiving recipe and what tastes the best as left-overs? Let us know below!
Thanksgiving may be a little more stressful this year given that finals are upon us, but like I’ve said before, balance is important, especially during finals season. Today, I want to break down a couple of different ways to structure your to-do lists and study times. Everyone studies differently, and it’s important to find the way that works best for you. This list is definitely not all-encompassing, but if you’re looking for a new study plan, this might be a good place to start looking for inspiration.
Keep your to-do list to no more than 10 things. Or five things, or three things, or whatever works best for you. When I have a list of everything that I need to accomplish and it’s over 10 items, I find myself getting overwhelmed. That’s why I keep a list of the 10 most important things that need to be done and that’s my to-do list that I tackle for the day. I have a master list of to-dos somewhere separate and then when I do my prep-work for the day, I pull that out to pick out the top 10.
Put self-care items on your to-do list. Every day I add items like free-reading for 30 minutes, workout, and do my daily devotion to my to-do list. That helps me make self-care a priority and forces me to take a break from homework each day, while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something by crossing an item off of my to-do list. That being said, make sure everything on your to-do list isn’t self-care related because unfortunately your assignments and exams won’t complete themselves. Find the right balance for you.
Prioritize your top three to-do items. At the top of your to-do list write down three nonnegotiables: three things that absolutely need to get done before you go to sleep at the end of the day. This helps prioritize what is the most important and helps you not procrastinate by doing other tasks, but not the paper that’s due at 11:59 p.m. When at the end of the day you’ve crossed off those three things, you know you’ve accomplished a lot and made good progress to your overall goals.
Grow a tree to stay focused. If you haven’t heard of the app Flora before, it may be something worth checking out. Flora is a study app where you grow trees and other plants if you stay focused for a certain amount of time. If you stay focused for a certain amount of hours, or want to pay for an in-app purchase, a real tree will be planted because of your study time. If you pick up your phone and exit the app during your study time, the tree will die. This app only really works if the thought of killing even a hypothetical tree makes you upset, but I have found it to be helpful. You can also set up group focus times with your friends through the app.
Change up the scenery. I know changing the scenery can be hard when everyone is pretty much just stuck inside their houses all day everyday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and find different places to get work. Sort out your tasks based on things that you need to do sitting at your desk versus things that can be done curled up on the couch. Then, when you feel yourself starting to become unproductive, change scenery and try working someplace else. Sitting in a different place or having more natural light might be all you need to be productive.
Rotate tasks you’re working on. As much as I wish I had the focus to sit down and study for five hours for one exam, that’s just not the case. When my brain is scattered and cannot focus on one task for very long, I set a 20-minute timer and then just rotate down my to-do list. If I haven’t finished my top three to-dos for the day yet, I’ll rotate between the three of those things for 20 minutes each until I get one done. Usually, I’ll throw in five-minute breaks either between 20-minute sessions or when I finish a task as an added bonus. It helps me make progress on lots of my to-dos and cuts down the time I’ll need to spend on them when I go to finish them up later.
Most importantly, listen to yourself and do what works best for you in the moment. I’ve used all of these different study tactics and organization methods depending on the semester, month, week or even hour! Just because something doesn’t work for you at one time, doesn’t mean it’s something that will never work. Be patient with yourself and find a routine that helps you crush your study goals!
Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Checking writing this post off my to-do list.
Villanova students stop for an ugly sweater photo with Will D. Cat during the 2016 Falvey Library Stress Busting Open House.
We’re reminiscing on this sunny Friday. We wish we could be hosting our annual stress busting open house. We’ve had so many fun events—from tasty treats (nacho bar, cereal bar, tater tot bar, dessert bar) to funky themes (spinning vinyl records, ugly sweater contests)—we always enjoy celebrating the end of the semester with the Villanova community.
“Finals can get ugly…so get help.” The ugly sweater theme from our Dec. 2016 open house rings true now more than ever—Falvey Library can help you virtually. Conducting research for a final project? Explore our collection of articles, e-books, and more! Looking for research assistance? Contact your subject librarian! Visit our blog for additional information on accessing Falvey’s resources off campus. Good luck on finals, ‘Cats!
Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.
With Reading Day right around the corner and classes coming to a close, let’s throw it back to the 1991 Belle Air and Falvey during finals. Author of this article and alumna, Rachel White, writes about how around finals time the library is filled with “thousands of last minute crammers and a number of truly studious people.” Maybe you recognize yourself in one of these two groups. And although in an ideal world the library is the perfect quiet place to study, between the thousands of books and hundreds of people around you, it can be fairly easy to get distracted.
Falvey offers a productive space to study if you’re in the right mindset. Which is unfortunately the case for studying pretty much anywhere. If you want more study or presentation tips, check out some of my recent ‘Cat in the Stax!
Although studying in the library looks a little different 29 years later, there are individual study seats in the Dugan Polk Family Reading room and on all floors of Old Falvey. Come in with a focused mind-set and you can still find a productive place to study at Falvey.
Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: In the mind-set for a nap.
Jerry Seinfeld once said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Unfortunately, at some point in your life, if it hasn’t happened already, you’re going to need to give a speech or presentation, especially in college. If you’re a rare college student or professional that has somehow managed to get through your academic career without public speaking—we would love to know how, so please share!
Although I cannot say I never get nervous before a presentation, I did work as a public speaking tutor during my undergraduate studies and have some tips to share.
Tip #1 PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve been told practice is important in public speaking and honestly, it probably won’t be the last. You can know the topic you’re presenting on inside and out, but that doesn’t mean that you know how to talk about it to a room full of students that know nothing about the topic. By practicing, you can figure out how to present the material in a clear and cohesive way. Practicing also boosts your confidence and reduces your nerves, which aids to a better sounding presentation.
Tip #2 If something feels awkward, change it
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the importance of practicing. If a transition between topics feels awkward while you’re practicing or you cannot pronounce a word no matter how many times you listen to Google say it, find a way to change it. Anything that feels awkward in your dorm room or in front of your roommates is going to feel 10 times worse on the day of a presentation in front of your classmates and professor. Avoid the potential that these things will mess you up on the day-of by changing them ahead of time.
Tip #3 Keep your slides concise
The purpose of presentation slides is to help your audience follow along with your topic or to enhance your topic through images. This means that as cute as a sad puppy may look in your presentation, if it is not adding valuable information to the topic, leave it out. As far as text on slides go, you don’t want it to be overwhelming. If you have a paragraph of information on your slide, people will be preoccupied reading the text instead of listening to what you have to say. Put key points on your slide to guide the audience through your speech and re-emphasize key points.
Tip #4 Prepare your notecards strategically
In a similar way, while your slides are there to guide the audience, your notes or note cards are there to guide you! It can be tempting to write down every fact or even every word on your notecard, but doing that is just going to take away from the overall presentation and potentially confuse you. Only put down information on your note cards that you can’t remember during practice. Don’t be afraid to put presentation notes on your note cards too, like “slow down” or “switch slide here”!
Tip #5 Take advantage of available resources
Finally, make sure to take advantage of the various resources that you have here on campus. The Center for Speaking and Presentation can help you refine your public speaking skills and talk you through any issue or fear you may have about presenting. You can drop-in to the Learning Commons on the second floor of Falvey or make an appointment in advance here.
As we come up on the last month of the semester, make sure you’re taking advantage of your resources and being as prepared as possible for any assignments thrown your way! Did I miss any public speaking tips or resources? If I did, drop them in a comment below!
Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Buying all the notecards available from Staples.
Finals week is here! We know that a lot of students are dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety, especially due to the challenging times we are facing with COVID-19. Although we can’t be together for on-site stress bustin’ activities this semester, Falvey is here to support you when you need it most. Whether you are looking for last-minute research assistance from a librarian, help navigating the library’s resources or just a general boost in the right direction, we have you (virtually) covered!
In order to combat test stress this semester, we are proud to present our first-ever virtual pet visit. So, be sure to take a break, press “paws,” and join us via Zoom for a virtual pet visit featuring some of Falvey Library’s furry friends. You’ll have a chance to meet Lemon, DeLune, Henrietta, Claude, and Jesse, on Tuesday, May 5, from 12-12:30 p.m. Join URL: (Villanova email required for entry).
More information about our (wild)cats and dogs can be found here.
In addition to the virtual pet visit, please check out some additional resources below to help you reduce your stress, lift your mood, manage your workload, and stay positive during finals week.
Hey all you (wild) cats and kittens! Do finals and work have you feeling stressed? Take a break, press “paws,” and join us via Zoom for a virtual pet visit featuring some of Falvey Library’s furry friends. You’ll have a chance to meet Lemon, DeLune, Henrietta, Claude, and Jesse, on Tuesday, May 5, from 12-12:30 p.m. Join URL:(Villanova email required for entry).
Lemon (with Caroline Sipio, Access and Collections Coordinator)
Lemon is a zesty miniature wirehaired dachshund! She is little and bright, loves to roll in the grass, and chase leaves as her mini beard rustles in the wind.
DeLune (with Caroline Sipio, Access and Collections Coordinator)
DeLune is a longhaired miniature English Cream dachshund. She likes to sunbathe, cuddle, and loves meeting new people and their dogs at the park. Don’t let her small size fool you—she is the life of the party!
Henrietta (with Deborah Bishov, Social Sciences and Instructional Design Librarian)
Henrietta is an eight year old tabby cat, rescued from Philly ACCT, who might be part dog. She’s an irrepressible ham who enjoys meeting new people, giving nose-butts, and flopping.
Claude (with Deborah Bishov, Social Sciences and Instructional Design Librarian)
Claude is a twelve year old tabby cat who’s a lovable curmudgeon. He interprets sneezes as conversation and enjoys squirrel-watching from the window.
Jesse (with Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing)
Jesse is a 6 year old golden retriever—a real floofer for sure. He heckin loves string cheese and leftover ham. All the hoomins in his family are Nova grads. Only teh cat is not a ‘Cat. If you have pizza crust, he will be your fren. [Translated into doggo lingo].
Attendees are free to bring their own pets, but please note that furry friends are not required—all are welcome to come check out the animals. Upon entering Zoom, attendees can choose whether to keep their microphones/audio on or off, depending on whether they would like to interact with the animals and attendees or simply observe. The event will be moderated by a library staff member, so please feel free to also use the chat feature to ask any questions if you do not want to unmute yourself.
Feeling the stress? Let us lend you a helping “paw”—unwind and grab that extra boost you need to finish the semester strong! This event, sponsored by Falvey Memorial Library, is free and open to all Villanova students, faculty, and staff.
Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.
I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ’Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from books, to research, to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!
Wildcats, it’s the Final(s) Countdown. *cue rock song*
Falvey believes that paying attention to your mental health becomes increasingly more important during these few weeks, which is why we are hosting a bunch of stress relief events in order to help you stay happy and healthy.
Mark your calendar with these:
Thursday, Dec. 12, 1-3 PM, Holy Grounds: Vinyls for Finals
That’s right, we’re back with Falvey’s famous semi-annual stress bustin’ event. This year’s event will feature a soundtrack from vinyl records, pizza, and games!
Come take a break from finals stress and create a scrapbook with your own photos and art supplies, provided by the yearbook/CAT.
Friday, Dec. 13, 12-2 PM, Room 205: Happy Healthy Hours/Pals for Life
You know the deal. Therapy. Dogs. Cuddles.
Beyond hosting these events, we want to make you that you know how to cope with stress on your own, especially during hard times. Follow our list of advice to make your finals a little more manageable.
Plan, plan, plan. Research has made it clear that stress can be managed through planning. Make daily and weekly to-do lists, set reminders on your phone, or use a handy paper planner. Personally, I make every large assignment due date as the first “event” in my Outlook calendar, so when I wake up in the morning and look at my schedule, I know exactly what’s due that day.
Meditate. It’s obvious that meditation has incredible health benefits including clarity of mind, reduced anxiety, and minimal stress. Can’t sit still that long by yourself? Use the app Headspace (free to download!) to guide you through 5, 10, and 15-minute meditation sessions.
OHIO. No, not the state. It stands for “Only handle it once.” Don’t think it’s a big deal if you let that email sit for a few days? Wrong. Having a million tasks– even if they’re small– is like having a million mental tabs open. If you remember that you haven’t spoken to your family in 2 weeks, don’t put it on the ever-expanding to-do list. Only handle it once…meaning, just do it immediately. Keeping a short list of things to do will reduce your stress in the long run.
Positive affirmations. Instead of just checking things off a to-do list, people can often find it beneficial to write an “I’ve Done” list. Write a list of things you accomplished that day, along with things you did really well. Even if it’s a small task (like taking out the garbage) reminding yourself of your accomplishments can have seriously positive effects!
Spend time with friends. Isolating yourself is guaranteed to amplify all negative and stressful emotions you have during exams week. Eat with people, study with people, get coffee with people. Do not (I repeat: do NOT) lock yourself up in your room or apartment alone. You need your people, especially when things get tough.
Sleep, eat, and shower. While this seems obvious, students often fail to prioritize basic human necessities during stressful academic weeks. Please…take care of yourself. Sleep 7-8 hours a night, drink your water, eat food, and shower. Your body and mind will thank you when this is all over.
Seek counseling. If you feel like college always makes you finals-level stressed, you might want to consider talking to a professional about more effective and long-term ways to manage stress or anxiety. Visit the Counseling Center’s website here.
The library is packed with students studying for finals and exams. Our Curious Cat team asked students what they were studying for.
“I’m studying for the Ancients, ACS course.”
– Katherine Klein, Marketing/Management, Class of 2023
“I am studying for a math exam.”
– Femia Tonelli, Undeclared, Class of 2023
“Femia and I are both studying for a math final”
– Cate McCusker, Undecided Arts, Class of 2023
This week’s Curious Cat is brought to you by Allie Reczek and Annabelle Humiston, two of our wonderful undergraduate student workers in the Falvey Memorial Library Communication & Marketing Department. Keep an eye out for them every Thursday, asking students their opinions on a range of subjects and topics.
It’s that time of the year when finals can leave students stressed and at their wits’ end. That is why Falvey Memorial Library organizes a finals stress relief event each year to help students get through these trying times. Let’s throwback to December 2016, when our “Finals Can Get Ugly” event included games, movies, and Will D. Cat!
This year, our finals stress relief event will feature a soundtrack from vinyl records, pizza, and games. Come to Holy Grounds between 1-3 p.m. on December 12 to have a bite to eat and relieve some stress.