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Erin Hastey

More by Erin Hastey

New Semester Checklist


By now, we’ve all made it back to Zoo Town after that near-eternal winter break, and we’ve finished the first two weeks of classes. We’ve (hopefully) gotten our schedules sorted out, and are buckling down to ensure we survive and thrive during the next thirteen weeks. According to Punxsutawney Phil, spring will be arriving early this year, and the Missoula weather as of late seems to agree. But before spring fever hits and wreaks havoc on your GPA, take some time to review this checklist and build up your academic immune system so that you can avoid the symptoms that fever brings with it.  

Winter Break and the Rest of Your Life



It’s so close, you can almost taste it. There’s a bite in the air, that promise of freedom, sweet freedom, in just a few short days and a few long finals. And thanks to all the snow that decided to show up on Friday night, you can’t help but have visions of sugarplums (or you know—some Christmas food people actually eat these days) dancing in your head when you should be memorizing key terms and formulas, or finishing up the last three pages of that term paper. Or last eight pages. Anyway, who’s counting?

Yes, winter break is just around the corner, and this year UM has granted us a full six weeks for the occasion. Plenty of time to sleep, work; maybe knock out some credits or a general education requirement over Winter session. Most of us are probably going to see our folks over the holidays, and while it’s wonderful to spend time with family, there are probably some questions you’re dreading being asked. You know the kind. Whether you’ve just finished your semester of college, are planning to graduate this spring, or are anywhere in between, you’ll probably be asked…future questions. I know, I know. They’re the kind of things that make me go all Gingy-from-Shrek-style, as though Lord Farquad himself had me in his torture chamber to ask what I plan on doing with my degree: “NOOO!! Not the questions! Not the future questions!”     


The Well-Prepared-For Finals Week: Extinct, Endangered, or Just Plain Mythical?



The season is approaching—Jack Frost keeps baring his teeth, bringing winter out for a day or two only to scurry back into his cave. It’s time to make a calendar with flaps and eat a chocolate for each day that passes, getting us closer and closer to the big event. That’s right—finals week is only three weeks away! Finals this semester are December 10th to the 14th.

                  Panicking yet? I am. And if you’re not, you probably should be. The good news is that if we do our panicking now, we don’t have to do it on December 9th, and we may even have a chance at a rare sighting, of a creature that has joined college lore as the stuff of legends: The Well-Prepared-For Finals Week. Egad!

                  Yes, the WPFFW is a rare creature indeed, and the lack of sightings in recent decades have led many to believe it is extinct, or was even only ever a fiction created by English professors to lure students into believing that the only reason a final covering seven pages of key terms and ideas couldn’t be easily managed was clearly due the students’ own blinding incompetency and lack of study skills (Of course I’m not talking about your LIT 300 final, Professor Gilcrest. Of course that exam was as easy as I made it look).

                  But I have good news. The WPFFW does exist, and by setting up a welcoming habitat by following these tips, you may just have the good fortune to see one at this semester’s conclusion.  Here’s what you need to know about the WPFFW.

A New Semester, a New Adventure: Making the Most of Advising for Spring 2013


We’ve nearly made it through midterm season, Halloween is rapidly approaching, and Missoula is in full fall color. As we feel the first breezes of winter’s chill and long for the sweet, sweet release of November (Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving—the inspirational thought of the amount of time spent not in school next month is what’s getting me through October), there’s one major consideration (pun very much intended) that has students lifting their heads from this semester’s textbooks and considering their lives’ big pictures—at least, as far as those pictures extend to next spring. New classes mean new adventures, and figuring out what those new adventures might be begins now

Yes, priority registration starts this week, which can only mean one thing: Advising! I’ll admit that as a Peer Adviser in the Undergraduate Advising Center, I have a bit of a soft spot for a process I believe exposes students to new opportunities, new considerations, and informed perspectives that can help them determine a tentative course for their lives during and after college. This also means that if you tell me that the most important thing about your advising appointment is getting your PIN number, you have essentially volunteered to listen to me lecture on all the ways in which you are incorrect on this matter. Consider yourself warned.

While getting your PIN is an essential part of your advising, there are several other aspects of your appointment that can help you make sure you’re on track to graduate, ensure you’re fulfilling general education and major requirements at a reasonable pace, and provide ideas for new opportunities like studying abroad, finding an internship, or getting involved in research. Your adviser is also an important asset for you when it comes to career planning. So, how can you make the most of your appointment? Let me count the ways:

Safety First, On or Off Campus


If you’ve agreed to receive emergency notification text messages via Cyberbear, then on Wednesday you were visited by three unsettling text messages while enjoying your morning coffee. (If you haven’t agreed to receive emergency notification text messages, go to Cyberbear right now, log in using your net id and password, and enable this feature by clicking on the “Update Emergency Text Messages Cell Phone” link under the Personal Information tab. Do it. There’s no good reason not to be as informed as possible about campus emergencies.)

The text messages indicated that around midnight, a woman had been punched and robbed over by the flags, west of the tennis courts. A brief description of the perpetrator was given, and receivers of the text messages were asked to call 911 “with info”—though the first text left out that rather important modifier, telling readers simply to “Call 911.” Really, who can be bothered with clarity of communication in such situations?

You can read more about the attack here. Of course, if situations like this could be easily predicted and avoided, they wouldn’t happen. It’s horrible when this sort of thing occurs, but perhaps the silver lining in the perpetrator’s gray sweatshirt is that this situation raises our awareness of some of the dangers of campus life. Ideally, no woman should ever have to face something like this, but even our beloved Missoula isn’t ideal. This instance forces us to take a moment and search for ways in which we as UM collegiettes can avoid becoming victims ourselves. Take a few moments to consider these dos and don’ts of campus safety.

Keeping the Clock in Check: Using Time Management Now to Save Headaches Later


With classes back in swing and fall fast approaching, it’s that time of the year again: the start of the semester. New classes, new books, new people—you can almost taste the academia in the air. But even with the excitement of a new beginning, shaking off those last bits of laziness from summer can leave you wanting to crawl into bed some days and just listen to Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Ah, yes, the start-of-school anthem from the junior high years.

But college requires many skills that junior high did not, and one in particular that many of us don’t pick up in high school, even if we are lucky enough to lose the braces and straightening perm (no, you will not find those pictures on my timeline). For a lot of incoming freshmen, well-honed time management skills weren’t necessary for success in high school. Classes were easier, teachers assigned less homework, and parents were like built-in reminders for anything extra that might need to be kept in track. College presents new time management challenges, and for many of us, learning what it takes to meet those challenges head-on can be a trial-by-fire experience. Time management is a skill we don’t learn until we have to, and by that time, we’re scrambling and praying it’s not too late to teach an old teenager new tricks.
I have good news. Time management issues do not have to be a wall you smack into right around midterms. It’ll take a little extra footwork now, but I promise that putting in the effort in the early weeks of the semester will save you a lot of grief long term. Trust me—it’s the Law of Semester Progression, which states: a student will only get busier as the semester continues.

So, what to do? Make friends with the three S’s: Setup, Scheduling, and Syllabus.