Finals study tips

Dear college freshmen,

So, you’re new – new to this whole college atmosphere, new to the concept of mid-terms and final exam papers counting for your entire semester grade. That’s a lot of pressure riding on just a few days of class and a handful of examinations.

But have no fear! I, as your trusted sophomore guide, will lead to the promised land of passed classes and leave you on your way to conquer the rest of your academic career with A’s and B’s galore*. These finals study tips may help ease your pain.

1. Go to class. 

Well, it’s a little too late now to heed this advice … but you should’ve known this was coming! The best way to feel prepared is to attend all of the class discussions and be present to ask questions. No one’s going to answer your Week 2 questions during Week 15. #sorrynotsorry

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2. Take notes (especially notes not found on the PowerPoints).

I figured this tip out during one week of a really long lecture in Political Science 101. The professor was talking a mile a minute, and — try as I might — my left hand just couldn’t keep up with all the babble. But then, I started to think about it. All of the PowerPoint notes were on Blackboard; therefore, if I missed a note that was already on the screen, I could just copy it down later. I started to write down only the points NOT on the screen — the points that were just part of his babble — and that strategy has worked perfectly ever since. You see, it’s the babbling voice that’s going to be making the final exam, NOT the PowerPoint.

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3. Get plenty of sleep (like, at least 7 hours EVERY night).

I know, I know. You want to go out with your friends every night because you are an independent young woman (like me!) with no parents hovering over you, and the opportunity presents itself, and you’ve had a long day, blah blah blah. I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States, you and every other human being on this planet need a decent amount of sleep. And decent does not equate to 2.5 hours, with a nap in the afternoon, on a daily basis. That’s just a basic AP Psychology fact of life, so embrace it and sleep when the sun goes down (what a novel idea).

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4. Eat a breakfast, why don’t you. 

I’m always so puzzled at the people who proudly announce: “I’m just not a breakfast person.” That’s like saying, “Yeah, there’s this thing called AIR, and – you know? – I’m just not a fan of it. I’m choosing not to breathe today.” Um, sorry? Breakfast, or any kind of food (not just coffee), in the morning is what helps start your metabolism, helps you think clearly for the rest of the day. If you’re sitting in an exam and all you can fantasize about is what you’re having for lunch … sorry, you’re never going to answer those 58 multiple choice questions to the best of your ability. Maybe, if you had some granola or a pancake (or two), you just might think clearly enough to finish the test without salivating for a sandwich.

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5. Be organized. 

This skill of organization comes in handy during the week before finals, when you’re looking for all of your notes throughout the entire semester and starting to study. It doesn’t help much if your notes on the Revolutionary War for History are mixed in with your notes on the Argentine Tango for Dance class. I like to keep a separate two-pocket folder for every class, and keep all my like-minded notes in distinct notebooks (example: all my Journalism class notes are stored together, while I have a separate notebook for Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies). Color coding materials is also super helpful for me. I try and pair up the color of the notebook with the color of the folder (is that too extreme?). Whatever your method, make sure you stick with the same organizational pattern throughout the semester. You’ll be thanking yourself, come finals week.

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6. PANIC! (just kidding, don’t panic) 

Relax. If you’ve been going to class, taken copious notes, slept a decent amount, always eat your breakfast, and are organized to the max — what do you have to worry about? The people who stress and freak over finals are usually ill-prepared. But you’re not! You’ve listened to my advice and are ready to knock these finals out of the park! (I see you there, baseball reference.) But, if you start to get nervous in the examination — and you’ve done all that you can do to prepare for the test — take a deep breath. Reflect on all that you’ve done to prepare up until this moment of anxiety, close your eyes, and say to yourself: I’ve done all I can do. I’ve done the best that I can. Now, I will prove that I am ready. Framing it like this has always helped me calm down and perform to the best of my ability. And really, that’s all that anyone is asking you to do.

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(Don’t be like this minion.)

7. Treat yo self. 

I always forget this part about finals week. I’ve just worked my butt off, trying to wrap up an entire semester of classes, projects, exams, and team peer evaluations (just, ew) that I get burned out pretty quickly if I don’t take an evening for myself, every once in a while. I like to practice yoga, or go to the gym, as my way of “treating myself” for a week of hard work — and finals week is no exception. If you feel confident about your exam, go out and celebrate! Buy some ice cream, or buy that book you wanted to get from Barnes and Noble (but you’ve been too cheap to press “Place Order”). It’s all part of that healthy balance of commitment to school and self-preservation.

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8. Don’t study all night. 

Ever seen those Snapchats from your peers who are studying at the library, all the way up until 5 in the morning? Tempting, right? Seems like they’re really dedicated to their studies, right? But … remember that other point I made about sleep? I always feel in a better state of mind when I sleep more than I study in one night (excluding a day’s worth of classes). That’s because I’ve spent all semester learning, finals week is just me regurgitating all the information I’ve learned (a lovely mental picture you got right there, me spitting up facts about lede blocks and nut grafs, I’m sure). So don’t think 12 hours in a library will make you more intelligent. If you haven’t taken your studies seriously up until the moment of the exam, you’re (just a little) screwed — no matter how long you sit in the company of scholarly texts during finals week.

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9. Know that this is not the end. 

So, let’s say all my tips can’t save you from a failing grade on your final exam. So what? Sometimes, things just happen, and we have to be humble enough to let them go. Maybe, you just weren’t ready to take on that Physics exam. Maybe, that class was a little bit more challenging than you expected. Whatever it was, it’s over. There’s nothing that can change your grade, once the semester ends. Breathe; be humble; and move on. But take it as a lesson: What have you learned from this class? What can you do better next semester? College, like life, has a learning curve. So, don’t beat yourself up over one missed opportunity. Happens to the best of us. Stay strong, stay committed, and come back even stronger next year — a whole lot wiser than last year.

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*Satisfaction not guaranteed. I am not liable for any of your course grades, you do that yourself.

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National Geographic comes to Ohio University for GIS Day 2015

Dennis Dimick, National Geographic Environment Editor, comes to Ohio University on November 18.
Dennis Dimick, National Geographic Environment Editor, comes to Ohio University on November 18.

If you’re one of my faithful Facebook friends, you’ll know that I’ve had an obsession with National Geographic (and their reputation in the environmental communications field) since high school. So, when I got an email in early October about the keynote speaker for Ohio University’s GIS Day — Dennis Dimick, Environment and Photography Editor for Nat Geo — I could barely contain my excitement!

And part of what makes my job as an Undergraduate Research Scholar at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Environmental Studies Masters program so great is that I got to cover the GIS Day events on Twitter, as a social media aficionado. How cool is that?

Here are some of the highlights from Dennis Dimick’s presentation, “The Big View: Stewardship in the Age of Man,” as captured on social media.

The presentation was sponsored by multiple departments and entities across Ohio University’s campus: Ohio University (obviously); GIS Day organizers; the Scripps College of Communication, who hosted the keynote presentation in its brand-new Schoonover Center; the Department of Geography; the Voinovich School; the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment (CE3); the Sustainability Studies and Fire to iPhone themes; and the Ohio chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). Ohio University’s Zero Waste team, a Voinovich-assisted initiative who’s social media I actively contribute to, was a partner for the event as well.

Several of my Voinovich School peers — as well as journalism faculty members from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism — were in attendance for the keynote address.

Dennis Dimick began the presentation talking about his background as a journalist and his interest in the environment. Dimick’s childhood growing up on a farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley heavily influenced both of his degrees in agriculture and agricultural journalism from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively.

Then, we moved on to the topic of the day: the Age of Humans (otherwise known as the Anthropocene in recent environmental discourse). Dimick touched on energy, the future of food, and population growth — all issues that he’s worked on through various National Geographic Magazine initiatives since the early 2000s.

With beautiful, compelling photographs and graphs, Dimick drove home the issue of rapidly increasing carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations that we’re likely to witness over the next century.

So, with all this doom and gloom about climate change and negative environmental impacts, what’s the future of our planet? Do we have a chance to save the environment?

Dimick ended his presentation focusing on the promise of human ingenuity and sustainability — and how the future of the Earth is up to us!

Contrary to popular discourse, the environment is a multi-disciplinary issue, involving economics, science, politics, and education. And there are feasible, economically viable solutions to mitigate serious environmental hazards within the next century — but we have to start moving towards a more sustainable mindset in the very near future to prevent serious, irreversible damage to our planet.

Climate change is truly the issue of our generation, but it’s not a lost cause (yet!). Everyday actions to improve energy efficiency and mindfulness when electing government representatives can all positively impact our environment — and the future of mankind.

7 observations at the OHIO women’s volleyball game

Ohio University’s women’s volleyball team defeated the Toledo Rockets on Saturday night, securing wins in the first, third and fourth sets (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 25-10). While I watched the Bobcats play to victory in the Convo, I made several observations, AND snapchatted the game (is that a verb yet?). View some of my snaps and observations below.


  1. OHIO has four listed “liberos” on their roster –– what’s a libero?

Now, I’ve watched several volleyball games in my sport-watching career, since getting hooked on the Summer Olympics in 2012. That’s why I was surprised when I looked at the OHIO Volleyball roster and noticed four listed “liberos” on the squad: Meredith Ashy (senior), Kat Bloch (freshman), Mallory Salis (junior), and Erica Walker (freshman). What is a libero? According to a quick Google search, a libero is “the rearmost, roaming defensive player in volleyball or soccer.” Whatever that translates to on the court, Salis (#6) had a killer point in the first set, and continued to dominate the rest of the game.


  1. Two Walkers ran the court, but alas they’re not related.

I got really excited when the announcer called two Walkers (Shelby Walker #13, Erica Walker #9) in the starting line-up. Were these two sisters raised as volleyball proteges and followed each other to college? Would they one day go to the Olympics and compete side-by-side, beach volleyball style? But unless we’ve got a case of the Twitches and these two were separated at birth (Shelby’s hometown is Bradenton, Fla., while Erica’s is Wheaton, Ill.), I don’t think I’ll get my wish.

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OHIO defeats Toledo in women’s volleyball, increasing their overall record to 18-3.


  1. The announcer made some good POINTS.

I kid you not, after every point of play for the Bobcats, the OHIO volleyball commentator would call out some witty remark on the previous set/spike/kill (“Look at that mashed potato sandwich!”), then shout into the microphone “POINT,” whereby the crowd would respond enthusiastically with “OHIO!” This exchange repeated itself 98 times in the course of two hours.


  1. It’s just like football…

Growing up with a younger brother and a sports-loving dad, I spent many-a-Saturday glued to the TV watching college football. (Yes, as a girl, I can CHOOSE to watch sports in my free time, just like you boys.) As I watched the volleyball game progress, I noticed several similarities between football and volleyball: after every volley, the girls gather in a huddle; there’s timeouts, and they’re used especially close to the end of a set; players swap in and out of the game more frequently than in other sports, like soccer and basketball; and both teams switch sides at the end of each set (or quarter, like football). There was also a band in attendance –– the Ohio Alumni Varsity Band. They started chants, provided catchy, current choruses (“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” “Shut Up and Dance”), and otherwise provided a lift if the energy in the Convo subsided.



  1. …but it’s a lot faster than football.

Football has become an increasingly lengthy time commitment, at least for a spectator. Last Saturday, I went to the OU vs. Miami homecoming football game – and it was an all-afternoon affair. From the commercials, to the timeouts, to the “under-review” plays, it can be utterly exhausting to sit through an entire game nowadays. The first set in the volleyball game was over in a matter of 29 minutes, and the whole match took a little under two hours. Not bad, from a busy fan’s point of view!


  1. I was surprised by the lack of diversity.

I’m not sure if this was just an isolated incident, but the vast majority of the girls I noticed on both teams were tall and white-skinned. Even the OHIO Volleyball Twitter profile favors the white majority. I wonder: Is this a collegiate-wide volleyball issue, or a MAC-specific diversity problem?

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@Ohio_Volleyball on Twitter


  1. Despite the home-crowd advantage, Toledo still brought its A-Team fans.

Perhaps my favorite observation of the night was spotting Toledo’s #1 fan, a middle-aged man who hoisted a Toledo flag around the entire Convo. I found him a little into the second set – and it wasn’t hard to miss him after that. He would somehow materialize on whichever side of the stands the Toledo girls were facing, waving his flag around like he’d just landed on the moon. He was definitely one of the more entertaining aspects of the game.


HOUmecoming football highlights (video)

Didn’t make it to the OU vs. Miami homecoming football game on Saturday? No worries – Court Street Stories has you covered.

Check out this video recap of the Bobcat’s smashing victory against the Redhawks: 34–3.


OU collected another ‘Battle of the Bricks’ win on Saturday – the largest win against Miami in school history – for an estimated crowd of 25,086, according to 

Next weekend, the Bobcats host Western Michigan, another MAC rival, on Saturday, October 17. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET, or you can watch the game on ESPN3.

Bricks on Bricks: An Athens Tradition

Brick, brick, brick, brick.  -The mantra of one walking through Ohio University’s campus

Ohio University, with its brick-laden pathways and buildings, has a rich brick history. Athens is just one of hundreds of brick-faced college towns in the U.S., reflecting a bygone industry. Ohio University’s bricks have preserved this tradition.

According to Athens Ohio, The Village Years, a book written by Robert L. Daniel and found in the Athens Historical Society library, brick-building didn’t become a major industry in southeastern Ohio until the mid-1800s.

Before that time, brick-building served as a local business resource, where bricks were produced on site; it wasn’t considered a commercially viable product until the later part of the century.

That all changed when Robert Arscott built his own brickyard in the 1870s. Roughly 700,000 bricks were manufactured locally in 1850, but by 1893 that number had skyrocketed to 292 million bricks a year. These bricks were being shipped all around the world, according to a 1998 report issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) called The Paving Brick Industry in Ohio by Steven D. Blankenbeker.

“We don’t have seashells here in Ohio,” James Robinson, owner of Athens Block, was quoted as saying in a June 3, 2010, article from The Post. “This is almost like southeast Ohio’s version of a seashell because each brick is different.”

Southeastern Ohio became a prime location for the brick industry, based on the clay particles found underneath the hill-topped soils. In fact, the same earthen materials utilized by the coal industry – another significant trade found in Appalachia – were quite beneficial for brick production.  

Thousands of bricks were used to construct Cutler Hall, once known as College Edifice, while an estimated 8 million bricks were used to build the Ridges, home to the historic Athens Lunatic Asylum, during the 1860s-1870s.

Athens Brick Company once resided where the Athens post office sits today, on Stimson Avenue. The company churned out over 50,000 bricks a day at the height of the brick-building industry, and become a major economic force in Athens.

The first paving bricks in the state were actually produced in Malvern, Ohio, at the Canton & Malvern Fire Clay Paving Brick Company in Carroll County in 1855. These original “blocks” (short-hand for paving brick) measured only 2.5-by-4-by-8.5 inches; standard paving bricks were 9-by-4-by-4 inches, and weighed close to 10 pounds.

Unlike the 19th-century boom for bricks, brick-building isn’t considered a profitable industry in the modern era. It typically costs five-to-10 times more to pave a brick road than one with tar, according to an article published Sept. 11, 2012, in The Post.  Faced with a financial depression and the advent of asphalt roads in the late 1890s, regional brick-building facilities collapsed in the early 1900s.

Nonetheless, the brick industry remains a prominent part of southeastern Ohio history, especially in Athens County.

Ralph Bolls, known in neighboring Nelsonville as “the brick man,” takes his brick history seriously. In addition to buying, selling and trading locally manufactured bricks, Bolls is also the proprietor of the annual Nelsonville Brick Festival.

“The brick festival is largely about trading bricks and getting together with people who are interested in bricks and seeing them as not only history but a collective item,” Boll was quoted as saying in an article from, available at the Athens Historical Society.

The Nelsonville Brick Festival typically runs the last weekend of July, and this year was hosted on July 24 and July 25 in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Then and now: bad publicity for Ohio University’s fraternities

Greek life on college campuses is sometimes subject to controversy, and Ohio University’s fraternities are no exception.  

A look back 15 years ago into the Ohio University The Post archives reveals charges filed against the now-inactive OU Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. (The Sigma Alpha Mu chapter at Ohio University is not currently listed as ‘active’ on the fraternity’s national website.)

Sigma Alpha Mu, writes Jenny Wilkins in the Sept. 22, 2000, edition of the newspaper, was waiting to be penalized by the Interfraternity Council Judicial Board (ICJB) for violating the recruitment section of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) constitution.

The fraternity posted an advertisement in The Post earlier that week, soliciting student involvement in the fraternity, according to the archived article. No advertising was permitted in any local newspaper by any local chapter, according to the constitution at the time.

“We did not know it was a violation,” Kevin McCormick, treasurer for Sigma Alpha Mu, was quoted as saying. “It was a mistake.”

This year, the Acacia fraternity is under fire from the OU Student Union, a group that – despite its name – is not officially recognized as a university student organization.

During the first weekend of Fall Semester 2015, writes Maria DeVito in The Post, students from the OU Student Union handed out pamphlets, particularly to incoming freshmen, with a warning to students not to go to “the Acacia fraternity house,” referenced in the pamphlet as “the Blue House.”

“They are notorious for drugging their free drinks and raping girls,” the pamphlet then states.

The OU Student Union called their 10-page pamphlet a “disorientation guide,” circulated during this year’s orientation weekend. The incident marks the second time within the past year that Acacia has been the target of these kind of accusations on OU’s campus.

But the reputation of Acacia may have been permanently tarnished because of these latest accusations.

In response to the OU Student Union, senior Jake Zuckerman wrote a Letter to the Editor, published Tuesday, Aug. 25 on The Post’s website, in response to the OU Student Union’s pamphlet circulation.

“Both sexual assault and rape are heinous crimes and growing problems on college campuses,” Zuckerman wrote, “but that does not give anyone the right to slander another person or organization’s good name.”

Another post from blogger ‘Danielle E’ suggests that the Blue House isn’t even part of the Acacia fraternity. The blog post says “(t)he “blue house” is not the ACACIA fraternity house. In fact, the “blue house” is not officially associated with ACACIA at all.”

Her post includes a picture of the pamphlet page in question.

“Acacia Fraternity Headquarters is aware that there is a situation on the Ohio University campus in which an unrecognized student organization, calling themselves the ‘OU Student Union’ has circulated a pamphlet accusing the men of our chapter of disgusting behavior,” according to a statement published in a follow-up article in The Post.

Ohio University currently recognizes over 30 fraternities and sororities, according to Division of Student Affairs’ Greek Life webpage, and has had an active Greek community for over 160 years. Greek life involves over 2,000 students across campus and is governed by four councils: Interfraternity Council (IFC), Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and Women’s Panhellenic Association (WPA).