Livin’ the Dream

I hope everyone is doing well with readjusting to school mode after all of this snow! I know that I have had a hard time pulling myself out of this rut. You are not alone if you are facing this same struggle! I have had to try and keep myself motivated because I took my History MTEL this past Monday. I registered for the exam at the end of December so it wasn’t a surprise, though it seemed to sneak up on me! If you are an education major or minor you know the stress of these exams because they are state mandated and Salem State University is not involved with determining your results. The exam’s results also regulate whether or not you can student teacher or get a teaching license. It is pretty stressful if you ask me!

Over the past two and a half years that I have been studying at SSU I have non-stop prepared within my major and observed multiple classrooms for my minor. There are a lot of requirements to get your teaching license. One requirement is taking these state mandated exams. In preparation to take each of the tests, Communication and Literacy, as well as History, I had to plan out exactly every class I needed to take and approximately when I need to take it by to go into the exam prepared. I set mini goals for myself along the way and constantly checked in with my advisors to make sure that I was on track to graduate in 4 years. Luckily, I have been able to stay on track but it came with a lot of work. I have taken 5-6 classes a semester with summer and winter courses. You might think I am crazy, and I might say you’re right! But in the long run I know it will pay off so I can go right to graduate school. College is expensive and continuing with education is important. Therefore, my advice to all of you is to stay on track and focused as best as possible!

Setting goals and following through with them is important. Research, prepare, and be proactive is the best advice that I can offer you as a peer who may just be a year or two ahead of you. I have had similar pressure situations and been knocked down but there are plenty of resources to get back on your feet. One suggestion I can offer you that I have found the most helpful is the MTEL Test Preparation Center on campus. I didn’t pass one of the Communication and Literacy subtests and went back for more tutoring and passed with flying colors the second time. The center offers workshops, one-on-one tutoring, supplemental materials, etc. The link to their site on the Salem State page is as followed: Check them out and if you need anything else feel free to come to the First Year Experience Office located in Meier 100A for goal setting strategies!

-FYM Jordan

Priority #1: Keep Yourself Healthy and Ready to Succeed

As the spring semester finally ramps up and gains some momentum, you may be starting to let some stress in about finishing all your tasks and moving forward. The semester had a slow start but now that classes are in full swing, the workload is rolling in! It is important to remember during times of high stress to take care of yourself and listen to what your body is telling you. Keeping yourself healthy both physically and mentally is the first step to academic success! If you take care of yourself then you can work to your fullest potential and see major results!

So here are a few tips I have found work for keeping yourself healthy and ready to succeed!

  1. Know your limits: Everyone gets to the point where you are just not retaining any more information. Maybe you have been reading for too long, studying the same page over and over, or sitting staring at the same page of your essay wondering where to go next. These are all times when the best thing to do is take a break! Sometimes you need to step away and get back to your work at a later time so that you can be efficient and keep your mind fresh!
  2. Make time to exercise: It is easy to see your schedule and feel like there is no possible way to fit in exercise but what if I told you it would make you more productive when you did finally sit down to write that paper, study for that test or read that article for class? Exercise lets you blow off steam, release stress and come back to your assignments with a new focus and energy.
  3. Give yourself “ME” time: Set aside time during the day, even if it is just a half hour to be strictly your time. You can spend it watching a television show you love, reading a book, reading your favorite magazine, watching funny videos on YouTube, chatting with a friend, or playing your favorite sport or physical activity. This should be a designated time in the day that you do not think about classes, homework, work, or other obligations. Think of it as a mini vacation from your responsibilities to clear your head! You need this time to get away from the stress in your life and have a time during the day that is strictly for making you a happier and more mentally healthy student!

These may seem like things you do not have time in the day to do but I promise they are important for your success as a student and overall health! Try one or more of these steps and feel the stress melt away as you become more productive and less anxious! Good luck!

s-No-w class

Almost all of Salem state students are from the New England region. A minority come from other places, like me, from Morocco. When I first came to Massachusetts in the summer or 2012 I was amazed by its beauty and its nice summer weather, and the light snow falls in the winter that I don’t have from where I come from. This year, the snow falls started to get a little heavier. This made most of us happy at the beginning, because most of Monday classes got canceled and had to enjoy a long nice weekend. Afterward, I did not realize the amount of time that flew and have never met with my Monday class professor ever in this Spring 15.
During these days, all I did is oversleeping, eating all the food that I have and catching up on the TV shows that I missed. I thought that I was doing the right thing, but not until I saw the amount of homework that I had to do when classes ran again.
Days off are good and should be in our life, especially the unexpected ones ( not from getting sick), because they break up the routine we undergo. However, we should know how to correctly use them. In my opinion, the ideal is to get a couple more hours of sleep, get breakfast with your friends, then start to catch up on your homework and in between, break it up with a TV.

Trust me, but you will find by the end of the day that you were very productive and proud of yourself.

FYM   Amine

Have a Writing Assignment? Visit the Writing Center!


The semester is finally kicking in after all those snow days and you’re already getting some writing assignments. Some of us struggle in some small way when we write: getting started, overcoming writer’s block, identifying and addressing the needs of your audience, developing and organizing ideas, documenting sources and avoiding plagiarism, revising your writing more effectively, solving grammatical problems, and anything in between. The Mary G. Walsh Writing Center in room 113 in the Berry Library on north campus is free for all undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty to come and learn to become better writers!

The Writing Center is composed of highly trained tutors who are also undergraduate and graduate students who can help in any stage of writing or any assignment. Tutors don’t edit assignments for students but instead they assist the student in helping them recognize grammatical problems so the students is able to revise and edit their own paper, helping them to become better writers. That way, students who work on future assignments are able to write more effectively and learn from the tutoring sessions. Even students who are the best of writers come to the writing center to learn how to improve editing or proofreading their own papers. The tutors are great resources to also point out ways to strengthen the student’s writing in other ways and explore possible solutions to help as well as provide useful writing tools or resources if needed.

How do I set up an appointment? Calling the writing center at (978) 542-6491 or simply walking into the writing center to set up an appointment for a tutoring session is best if you contact them as soon as possible. The writing center’s schedule fills up quickly so the sooner you call, the better chance you have at getting an appointment. However, you can schedule up to three sessions per week, but no more than one session per day.

What do I bring to the session? This question is asked a lot by people who first come to the writing center, and it’s best to come prepared as much as you can and bring any helpful information! This includes class notes relating to the assignment, the assignment requirements and prompt, outline, and drafts. No worries if you haven’t started the assignment yet, just make sure you have prepared questions or goals that will help your tutor get you started on your assignment. If you need help during your writing process however, bringing your laptop or a flash drive of the assignment makes it easier for the tutor during the session to track changes and make notes in the assignment.

So why struggle with an assignment on your own? Go visit the writing center and learn how to improve your writing in any stage, even if you are the A+ writer in your class, and become a better writer in the future!

Getting Up for Morning Classes

One of those most important steps to getting good grades and succeeding in college is simply attending all of your classes. But for some students there is one obstacle that stands in the way of getting to class everyday—the dreaded early morning class. If you aren’t a morning person it is probably best to steer clear of these, but there are many situations where they are simply unavoidable. Luckily there are a few tips to combating the pull your bed seems to have, especially first thing in morning.

Getting ready for class of course starts the night before with preparation for the next day. If you do as much as possible at night, you have more time to sleep, and you start off the day ahead of the game. So shower at night, pick out your clothes for the next day, get all your school stuff ready, make sure you do all your homework before bed so you don’t have to wake up early to finish anything. If you do this then all you have to do in the morning is put on your clothes, fix your hair, or do whatever else you do to get ready for the day. It’s the difference between waking up for an eight o’clock class at 7:30 instead of 6:00.

Make sure you get enough sleep at night. It can be hard getting all your work done and going to bed at a reasonable hour, but if at all possible try and make it happen. College-aged students should be getting about 6-8 hours of sleep at night, and that time really does make a difference. If you’re going to bed at three or four o’clock in the morning and trying to wake up for an eight o’clock class, you are not going to want to wake up in the morning. Just remember the old adage—early to be, early to rise.

It is very common to sleep through an alarm clock, you may hit the snooze button and never actually get up or maybe you don’t even hear it at all. That’s why it can be helpful to set more than one alarm. Try to use multiple devices—set one on your phone and one on your laptop (I recommend downloading the free alarm clock for windows). This way if you don’t hear one you may hear the other. But beyond this, set an early time, the time you want to get up, and a late time—this way if you manage to ignore one alarm you will have two more to ensure you actually get up.

Now what to do to make sure you actually stay up; I have three tips to ensure optimum success. Immediately when you get up turn the lights on, pull the shade up on your window, and perhaps even open it a crack. The light will make it hard for you to stay in bed, and the cool air should wake you right up. If this doesn’t work, or for added success, turn some music on. If your roommate is not yet awake, maybe do this with your phone and a pair of headphones. The loud noise will both wake you up and perhaps pump you up for the day ahead. And if all this fails try and exercise first thing in the morning. It’s good for you, gets your workout out of the way if that’s something you do anyway, and nothing will make you more feel alert then pumping some iron right after you wake up.

Now good luck with those eight o’clock classes and take on the day, you can do it!

FYM Kayla

Stuck in the Snow Day Groove?

I’ve had the snow day conversation an infinite number of times with fellow students and teachers here at SSU, and the ultimate consensus is that it is taking a toll on us all, academically. It almost feels as though this semester isn’t really in full-swing, but it’s time to get back into classes and get some work done. Believe it or not, we’re already almost halfway through the semester!

So here’s some tips on staying on top of schoolwork during these seemingly never ending blizzards:

  • Sign Up For a Tutor – this can be done at any time through your navigator account. Just log in using your salem state ID and password, and to the left under “Quick Links,” scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list and there will be a link that looks like this; give it a click and step by step instructions will follow!
    Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.00.26 PM 
  • Log into Canvas – not all teachers use Canvas, but the one’s that do are using it to its full advantage during this snowmageddon. Many teachers will post their lecture notes from the missed classes online so that when we do return to class (especially those Monday-only classes), everyone can be caught up and you can jump right back into work. It’s always a good idea to use Canvas, so you can check when assignment due dates are coming up and communicate with your professors. If you have trouble logging into/using canvas stop by the First Year Experience office for help in Meier 100A.
  • Go to the Library – cabin fever has hit us all hard, and it’s important to get up and get out of the house, despite all the snow on the ground. Going to the library is a great way to find a quiet place to work separate from the noisy resident halls and home distractions.
  • Get a Planner – staying organized helps you stay on top of all your school work and all the due dates you have coming up. A lot of assignments, exams, papers and tests are probably being rescheduled in your classes, and its important to keep track of them all; write them down on a calendar, in a notebook, or in a daily/weekly/monthly planner!

Keep in mind the University has sent out a revised schedule for the rest of the semester!
Friday March 27th will run on a MONDAY schedule
Monday May 4th will run on a TUESDAY schedule

Good Luck!
FYM Kelly

Endless Possibilities

Most of the majors here at Salem State require that you declare and complete a minor before you graduate. You can minor in anything from chemistry to art history and everything in between. Declaring a minor is a relatively simple process.

  • The first and most obvious step being that you actually have to pick a minor that you want to declare and pursue. To really explore your options and declare a minor that benefits you in the long run talk to your advisor or a professor that you have a good relationship with. They can offer you the best insight on what minor can help you in your future field if you’re not sure what direction to take.
  • The second step is to go to the SSU homepage and search “Minor Request Form”. The second result, a PDF, is the form you need to fill out and eventually hand in to the Nav. Center to declare your minor.
  • Once you’ve printed out the form fill in all of the information that you can. Next go to the chairperson’s office for both your major and new minor as they have to sign off on it.
  • Now that you have everything filled out you just need to take the form into the Nav. Center and they will process your new minor, this usually takes 1-3 business days to show up on your degree tracker on Navigator.

Declaring a Minor is just one more step towards getting your degree and graduating from Salem State. If for some reason you decide to not pursue a minor and want to drop it or switch it the process is basically same as it is for declaring a new minor, you just have to check a different box on the “Minor Request Form”.

Balance – Lessons I’ve Learned as We Close the Fall Semester

In one of my classes this semester, I was asked to define balance. At the time, I thought this was a pretty simple term. Balance keeps you from falling over. I suppose this was a pretty literal definition, but some of my fellow students allowed me to take it a bit further – balance is serenity, and it is calm.

Without balance, especially around finals week, some of us will start to fall off the deep end. It is important to balance every aspect of your life, seeing your friends, sleeping, schoolwork, even eating. There were a few times I found myself so caught up in the essays I’ve been writing these past few weeks that 5 pm would roll around and I’d realize I still hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.

My goal for next semester is to work on keeping a healthier balance with all of my college life; though school is very important, it is important to be eating healthy and getting enough sleep and having some fun along the way! It’s never a bad time to try and make yourself better.

Do you have balance?

FYM Kelly

Study Smarter, Not Harder

Yep, you guessed it. Yet another Final Exam prep blog. But let me tell you, this advice should be taken to heart! As a First Year, finals are pretty scary. Its understood that you have x amount of classes with different volumes of material, 7-10 page papers to write, and a few 70 question cumulative exams to focus on. Where do you begin, how do you chose what to study and when, and how do you survive finals? Let me tell you!

Plan out your week: Establish what exams you have, what days and the times you will be taking them.

Prioritize: If you are confident of your ability to do well on certain exams, leave studying for those last. No, don’t ignore them completely, but focus on your harder classes and exams first, but always review material before an exam!

Take the time to study for your harder classes: If you have a very difficult exam on the Wednesday of finals week, begin reviewing and studying a week before, and make sure to put in a little of time each night until the big day.

Sleep and eat: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating enough food throughout the day. If you sleep enough you will be well rested and your brain will be able to retain the important information needed to pass your exams. And as always, try to eat your best. The better you eat, the better your brain!

Put yourself in Timeout: Take some breaks from studying. Cramming will actually do you more harm than good. So, for every half hour of studying, try and take a ten minute break to check your phone, call your mom, watch a music video, or have a snack!

Enjoy your youth: Yes finals are important, and yes they are very stressful, but don’t deprive yourself of a social life. Friends and laughter are two great ways to let loose. They will help take your mind off of your stress for a little while, and the mental break will help you clear your head! *Warning: Don’t abandon all studying. Don’t go too crazy, either. Remember: School first!

Breathe: YOU GOT THIS! You will own finals and walk into winter break feeling like a new person!

Love forever,


How to Exercise Without Going to the Gym

You might hate working out, or with exams coming you might not have the time. Personally I know I hate going to the gym. It’s intimidating to see all of those sporty, fit people jogging at top speed and lifting heavy weights. Fear not! There are other ways to get a little exercise on campus without hitting the gym. Try these simple tips:

Never take the elevator!

Unless you’re carrying a something heavy, take the stairs up to your dorm room and classroom. It may take a little longer but all those trips up and down the stairs add up to a great daily workout!

Say no to the shuttle.

Of course the weather’s getting cold, so let’s be honest, you’ll probably take shuttle to your classes on South Campus, but if you’re traveling between Central Campus, North Campus and O’Keefe Complex?  Forget the shuttle, and walk instead! It’s another little way of getting more exercise that may seem small but really adds up.

Plan a dorm room workout!

There are so many workouts on YouTube that can help you get fit and have fun! Lots of them come in half hour segments. That’s barely any time at all and there’s something for everyone! You can choose everything from a traditional workout, to a dance or martial arts workout. It’s all up to you, so clear up some space in your room set up your laptop and get ready to get fit!

Take a walk.

Whether you’re taking a walk downtown, around campus or just to Forest River Park a quick 30 minute walk at least twice a week. It’s a great way to relax and get to know the area the University is in.

With these simple tips you can get a little more exercise without going to the gym. Have fun!