Author: Amanda Drazen

Steps to Take When Emailing Your Professor

Having trouble wording an email to a professor? Need help, but don’t know how to ask? Check out this guide to emailing your professor!

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Step 1: WHAT?

Let your professor know as much as you can in the subject of the email you are sending them. Do not write out your whole question, but: “EDMS451 Section 2 Homework 8 Questions” lets your professor know which class you are in and gives them a general idea of what they should expect out of the email.

Step 2: Dear WHO?

Make sure that you address your professor professionally and most importantly, correctly. If you don’t know what they want to be called, err on the side of formality- It’s more polite to accidentally call your teacher, “Professor Johnson” when she wants to be called Susie rather than call her “Susie” when she wants to be called Professor Johnson.

Step 3: WHY?

Tell your professor why you are emailing. Don not just start- Question 6 doesn’t make sense!!! Also, make sure to use appropriate punctuation. Pretend you are writing to a potential employer in terms of formality. You might want to start your email, “I was having trouble with a couple problems on this week’s homework and was wondering if you could help me out?” If you are asking for a favor, like an extension on a homework assignment or a grade reconsideration, make sure to take full responsibility and make it clear that you understand they are not obligated to make an exception for you.  Acting entitled does not get students anywhere with their professors.

Step 4: SIGN OFF.

If you do not have an automatic signature, include a thank you, your first and last name and an email you regularly CHECK. It might look something like:


Amanda Drazen



When emailing your professor, remember that is is important to make sure that your email has no grammatical or spelling errors.  You want them to take you seriously.

Step 6: SEND

After you send the email to your professor you should reasonably continue to check for a response and respond promptly to the response.

EXAMPLE email:  

Subject: JOUR199 Section 5 Holiday Absence

Dear Professor Smith,

I hope that you are doing well. I am writing you to let you know of a conflict I have with an upcoming exam date. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take the exam scheduled for July 4th as my family has planned a trip out of town during the holiday.  I was wondering if I could take the exam earlier, maybe the Sunday before?

Thank you,

Amanda Drazen


Steps to Relieve Stress Before Finals

We all have bad days! I have found that the bad and super stressed out days tend to come more and more frequently as the end of a college semester approaches. Here are some steps to take to put a smile back on that face and be happy without avoiding studying!

Step 1: Happy Quote

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Write your favorite inspirational quote and put it on the wall next to your bed to wake up to every morning. This will only take 5 minutes and will help you get out on the right side of the bed. 

Step 2: Jamming to Music

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Listen to jam music when you get ready in the morning and throughout your day! It helps you get excited for the day to come and helps relieve stress throughout the day. Music is one of the best medicines.

Step 3: Favorite Outfits

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Wear your favorite outfits. Let me rephrase that: Wear your favorite *CLEAN* outfits. Whether it’s an outfit that makes you happy, nostalgic or is just super comfortable, it can help you get your mind right to relieve stress. 

Step 4: Treat Yourself

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If you got a good grade on a test, reward yourself! If you got a bad grade on a test, console yourself. Whether with a chocolate bar, a new magazine or a new t-shirt- treat yourself! Don’t overdo it, but treating yourself in moderation can help relieve stress. 

Step 5: Sleep Well

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Make sure to be getting the right amount of sleep (I say hypocritically writing this at 1:30 AM with more work to do….). Well, I’ve heard this thing known to the outside-college-world as ‘sleep’ is really helpful and revitalizing

And if all these fail and you’re still having a bad day: text your friend and tell her you need a hug. Always makes you feel better!

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I hope these steps to relieve stress help you wind down before and after your final exams. Have more tips we left out? Leave us a comment below!

5 YouTube Channels to Use for Study Breaks

Instead of heading to the hours-long binge-fest that is Netflix, try watching shorter videos on YouTube to give yourself shorter, yet fun-filled study breaks! These are some of my favorite channels that have fun and relatively short videos that are great ways to give yourself a midterm/final study breather:
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4-8 Screen Junkies


This channel creates “Honest Trailers” for popular movies and does a great job. There Disney Honest Trailers are hilarious and they even re-word your favorite Disney songs from movies like Frozen and the Lion King.



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Similar to Screen Junkies, this channel creates “Everything Wrong With” videos for popular movies and tallies up all the ‘sins’ and mistakes in a movie in a hilarious way!


3. ERB


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Stands for Epic Rap Battles (of History). This channel pits two historical figures against each other in.. well.. an epic rap battle. This results in some mild stares as you laugh out loud in the middle of the library.





A channel that makes you wonder why the movie producers didn’t think of ending the movies like that. And makes you forget whatever boring homework got you to click onto YouTube in the first place.



This is kind of a cheat, as it’s just a video, but if you are a Harry Potter fan, it is a 5 minute study break you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss! Even J.K. Rowling called it “genius!”

What to Take Home Over Spring Break

Packing Your Bags for Spring Break = Less Finals Stress!

Want an easy way to make your finals week less stressful, before you even head home for spring break? Take home as MUCH as you can! Here is a short DO’s and DON’T’s list for spring break packing (if you’re headed home!)

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DO take you winter coat, scarves, hats and gloves. The bulkier the stuff you take home now, the less you have to deal with fitting it next to your comforter while studying for finals.

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DON’T take all of your sweatshirts home. There might be days when it still gets cold out, so just keeping your T-shirts and shorts handy isn’t helpful.

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DO take winter outfits and clothes you don’t wear so often. There’s no point in keeping it around if you aren’t going to wear it anyway.

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DON’T take your rain jacket. April showers bring May flowers.

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DO take home extra bags, notebooks, your third set of sheets- the extra stuff laying around that you never use and just takes up space.

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DON’T leave any textbooks or notes behind when you head back to campus!

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Following this list will not only lighten your packing load and stress at the end of the semester, but will also give your dorm room a (likely) much needed spring cleaning!

Keep in Touch with Long Distance Friends

While some people flee high school and go to a college as far away from home as possible, other people really want to stay connected with their high school friends (or summer camp friends, or gap year friends, etc.). For those of you who are afraid that you will lose old friends to new college friends, here are some tips to keep in touch with your now long distance friends!

Create a Facebook Group

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For the occasional reminisce or for organizing a possible weekend reunion, a Facebook Group is the way to go! Most of us are already checking our Facebook news feeds regularly anyways. Might as well check in with good friends while we are at it.

Create a WhatsApp Group

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A WhatsApp Group is essential if you have friends who are out of the country for any reason.  Whether they are studying abroad, backpacking across Europe or have randomly moved to Australia-this way you can all stay connected.

Send a Random Text 

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Whether you last talked to this friend two weeks ago or two years ago, sending a “Hi, how are you? can go a long way and will probably be much appreciated. Even if you’re both busy it takes just a second to type out a text and a response. It lets them know you are thinking about them.

Send Snail Mail

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Who doesn’t like getting real mail the old fashioned way? It’s so exciting! Send them a postcard or handwritten letter to let them know you still care and want to know what they are up to.

Social Media Stalking

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Okay…not really for keeping in touch but if you want to stay updated on someone’s life, back stalk their Facebook profile pictures, their Twitter feed, their Instagram and other social media platforms.  You likely can see where they are living, who they are dating, if they have any pets and much more.

7 Ways To Improve Your Dorm Bathroom Experience!

Set the example. Keep your dorm bathroom clean. If you don’t, how can you expect others too?  Here are some tips to improve your dorm bathroom experience

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1. Girls, always clean your hair out of the shower drain. Guys, clean up the sink after you shave. It’s much less disgusting to clean up your own hair than to clean up someone else’s.

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2. Wear Shower Shoes. No, just because it’s the shower, doesn’t mean it gets cleaned. Cheap flip-flops are good for this kind of thing.

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3. Make sure everything goes down when you flush the toilet. If it doesn’t, flush again, or let someone (i.e. maintenance) know about it. How would you like it if the tables were turned?

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4. Restock the toilet paper when you finish it. Extra rolls are probably kept somewhere in the bathroom area. You’ll appreciate it when it’s done for you.

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5. Clean up globs of toothpaste in the sink. No one else wants to touch the gunk that’s been cleaning your mouth.

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6. Don’t leave personal belongings in the bathroom. It’s not your own private bathroom. Unless it is, then, by all means, leave your belongings wherever you want.

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7. If maintenance needs to be called, call them. Or tell your RA that they need to be called. If you don’t like walking into the bathroom being a mess, don’t leave it that way for others.

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If your hallway sticks to these clean, healthy bathroom habits, your dorm bathroom won’t be so gross and scary! Putting up friendly signs to remind others to keep the bathroom clean can also be helpful! Good luck!

Great Classes to Take for EVERY Major

Looking to fill your elective slots? Or your general requirements? Here are some great and extremely useful courses to take, regardless of your degree, major, minor or concentration:

Intro to Computer Science

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As a journalism major, I was concerned about having to take this class, but it’s actually a really useful skill to have even at an introductory level. Knowing basic coding can help you in any field that might involve you using the internet (which in today’s world, is probably most).

American Government

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Assuming you are living in the US, knowing the basics about how your government works and (theoretically) functions is important for cultural literacy.

Religious Studies

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Specifically something you don’t believe in. Challenge yourself to understand another culture, religion or belief system. Seeing how others view the world can help you define more clearly how you see the world.

Foreign Language

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This can be really useful on a resume and in future jobs. Also helpful if you want to study abroad.

English Literature

2-18 Class- LIT

Read some books that you would have never picked up in a million years. Form some opinions about great authors. Make sure you can write a decent essay and argue your thesis coherently. These skills are important and having read some classic or just really good books will help you in life.


2-18 Class - ASTRO

With just a little math, learn about where we are in the universe and all the other incredible things we share space in the universe with. (Ok, as an astronomy minor, I might be slightly biased on this one.. but it’s still a great option!)

8 Organizing Tips for College Students

Another semester has started and you want to get a fresh start! Staying organized is the best way to ensure this happens. Here are some simple, yet effective organizing tips for college students to help you get your fresh start this semester!

1. Date Your Notes.

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Make sure to write the date at the beginning of each lecture to keep your notes organized. This organizing tip makes it a lot easier to figure out if your notes are missing. If your friends practice the same strategy, you guys can compare before midterms and finals and swap missing lectures.

2. Color Code Your Subjects.

organizing tips color code

Use color coding within your schedule and make sure your notebooks match. You will eventually associate your different classes with their assigned color. That way, you can make sure you grab the correct notebook for each class even if you’re in a hurry.

3. Store Your Computer Documents by Class.

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Instead of just adding papers and lecture notes to your desktop or a catch-all folder, create a folder for each semester, with sub-folders for each class to keep your hard-drive neat. You will thank yourself for the organization when you need to find a document quickly during class or studying.

4. Note Q&A’s in Lecture.

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When a teacher poses a question to the class, write your notes in the form of that question and include the answer the teacher gave (and highlight the question). It could be the same question that appears later on in the semester during a pop quiz or exam.

5. Keep Your Quarters in a Cup.

organizing tips quarters

When you’re in college, having spare change on you is essential for doing laundry, parking your car and grabbing a snack out of a machine. Keeping your quarters in a cup allows for easy access when you’re in need. If a cup doesn’t work for on-the-go, try a little change purse you never take out of your bag.

6. Invest in a Pencil Pouch.

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Investing in a pencil pouch will help you keep all your writing utensils in one place and keep you from losing them. This will save you money in the long run because you won’t need to continue to buy more pens and pencils!

7. Clear Out Your Backpack.

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Each time you get back to your dorm room you should empty your backpack to keep important things like notes and study guides from getting lost in the mess. This way you could never wonder if something you lost is hidden in your messy bag.

8. Keep Your Room Clean.

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Studies show that having a clean and organized area around you can help you focus more clearly on what you’re studying. It also helps to come home from a stressful day of classes and the library and not have to worry about cleaning you room. Do yourself a favor and spend a couple minutes each morning to make sure your room is clean for the day!

I hope these organizing tips help you get the fresh start you need! Have a great semester!

Your Professor’s Road Map To Success: The Syllabus

Your TA or Professor will likely hand you a pretty long document on the first day of class, or maybe she’ll email it to you ahead of time. This document is your semester success checklist, and its called “The Syllabus.” Many students skip “syllabus week” (the first week of classes) or figure that they don’t really need to pay attention to the review of the syllabus. But, your teacher is handing you their road map to success this semester. The information you should pay close attention to?

              The Professor’s Contact Information.

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Office hours, a phone number, an email address- the professor is BEGGING you to ask them for help!

Guidelines For The Course.

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What the teacher is expecting from you is written out in (hopefully) plain and simple English. This usually also covers what to do if you get sick and miss and exam or how to handle missing class for a holiday, so keep this safe for future reference.

Exam Dates. 

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Helpful information, to be put on a calendar ASAP! This will ensure you don’t forget until the professor reminds you the class before.

Weekly Readings and Assignments.

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On some syllabi, this section is good to help you keep on track with what you need to be on top of. Think of it as the professor’s planner for you.

It’s really important to read the syllabus at the beginning of the school year so that you know how to conduct yourself for each course during the semester. It’s also important for you to KEEP the syllabus for each course, in readable condition (i.e. not at the bottom of your backpack) throughout the semester. Good luck with starting spring semester!

Road Trip Recipe

If you have a long enough break, taking a road trip for a few days or even a week can be a great way to spend your time, see friends and experience new and different places! Here’s a few key ingredients to make a successful road trip:
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1. A Car– kind of a must have! Recruit a group of 4 – 5 friends and see if someone has a car. Make sure everyone is willing to chip in for gas. If none of your friends have a car, check out Zipcar and have everyone pitch in for that. If all else fails, bus it!
2. Friends– 3-5 is an ideal number for car fitting and driving rotations. Friends make every trip more fun and exciting!
3. 1 Pillow per Person– Necessary for the mid-drive nap and for the mid-drive fight! Also makes any car more comfortable.
4. Small Front Seat “Carry-On”– For phones, chargers, cameras and snacks. Maybe a book. Not larger than a small drawstring bag for most space and comfort of travel.
5. Sweatshirts– For differences in driver/passengers temperature preferences and for the quick run to the bathroom at the rest stop!
6. A Plan– Don’t just start to drive, know approximately where you are going to and about when you’ll get there (days-wise) in case of emergency, and so that you can research cool things to do once you get to where you are going!
Have fun and be safe!