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Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Academics | 0 comments

Sleep vs. schoolwork

Sleep vs. schoolwork



“How do you balance sleep and homework, but still do well on the assignments?”

Dear Danny,

At the moment, I understand this question a bit too well. As a student in university already in 300 and 400 level classes, my workload has increased and I constantly have to stay up late to finish homework. Sometimes there are not enough hours during the day. I noticed this on my second week of classes, when I was about to go through one of those dreaded “all-nighters.” So I thought back on high school and my time at SPC, when my only rule for myself was that I needed to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Honestly, it was my only rule.

Sleep is not only important, it is necessary. The amount of sleep you get each night will determine your reaction time the next morning and your productivity. In classes and homework, it’s all about the reaction time. Additionally, I can promise you that no homework is worth an “all-nighter.” Your sanity is way more important.

I recently learned at a conference that it is not about how hard you work but how smart you work. When doing homework, try to prioritize your time depending on what needs to get done, when it’s due. I usually organize my homework by the amount of time it will take me to complete it and its level of difficulty. My advice, and one I should also practice more often, is to start your homework as soon as you can. As soon as your professor assigns it, you should be looking at the directions. Don’t leave it to the last minute and don’t procrastinate! It is absolutely the worst habit any person can possess. And please, take it from someone who knows, don’t take hours away from your sleep!

Follow Maria at #AskMaria.

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Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Student Life | 11 comments

PTK: Why you should join!

PTK: Why you should join!



“I was recently invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was wondering if it would be of any benefit to me (at age 51 and going for an AS degree in Web Design) or if it would be mostly give me bragging rights.”

Dear Jacqueline,

First of all, congratulations on being invited to join Phi Theta Kappa! Being asked to join such a prestigious organization is a complete honor. Take this wonderful opportunity. I became a member of PTK way back in 2011 and loved every second of my experience with the honor society.

528494_218642758245438_458549032_nOnce you join, my advice would be to get involved as much as possible. PTK has many things to offer to its members but you must be an active member and participate in the events. The scholarships, in particular, are very generous and there are so many transfer scholarships exclusively for PTK members. PTK’s website says members have access to more than $37 million in transfer scholarships available at more than 700 four-year colleges and universities.

533442_360730747369971_1462527718_nLast year, I served as the Vice President of Leadership of the Eta Nu chapter housed at the St. Pete/Gibbs campus. I got to experience the inner workings of this amazing organization. In the heart of PTK is the tradition of excellence in academics. It is, essentially, an honor society that pursues and encourages intellectual growth among two-year colleges. Its mission is achieved by embracing and taking into practice the four hallmarks: Leadership, Scholarship, Service and Fellowship. Through these hallmarks, we partake in leadership development, research and collegewide projects, and we give back to the community by partnering with charities and volunteering our time.

598770_349333388509707_2020597284_nIn regards to bragging, YES, you will definitely get bragging rights. For your graduation, you can get lots of regalia! We wear a beautiful gold stole, a tassel, and, if you get nominated, you might even sport the prestigious All-USA or All-Florida academic team medals. Aside from the regalia, it looks great on your resume. If you are looking to transfer, it weighs in when it comes to admissions and scholarships. Most importantly, by joining a community such as Phi Theta Kappa, you become a better student who is more engaged in your college.

535663_307275789402534_172816441_nI cannot stress enough the impact it made on my academic career. I can honestly say PTK is one of the reasons why I am where I am now. So please consider joining! And remember the motto, when you are Phi Theta Kappa, you are as good as gold!

Follow Maria at #AskMaria.

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Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Need to Know | 0 comments

Challenges in college

Challenges in college



“Did you have any challenges while at SPC; if so what were they and how did you conquer those challenges? What resources of any did you use while at SPC?”

Dear Bobbie, thanks for your question!

When I first began in college, I struggled with two subjects – math and writing. I had no problem taking tests, giving speeches or making presentations. I struggled with the simplest of skills, solving algebraic equations and organizing my thoughts for an essay.

When I took my college placement exam, I scored low on the college algebra section and was placed in a remedial class. I decided that instead of taking the remedial class, I was going to retake the test the following semester. In the meantime, I would take my other required general education classes. After doing much studying and acquiring help from the Learning Center, I passed the exam by a small margin and was placed on the beginning level of college algebra. I was proud of myself. But, at the same time, I honestly did not know how to tackle algebra. I did not comprehend the concepts or what was the purpose of finding x. True to my nature, I was not going to let it intimidate me. I was determined to conquer the class and pass with a good grade. From the time I had spent preparing for the placement exam at the Learning Center, I knew that there were tutors who could help me. So my relationship with the Learning Center started. I began going after my class to touch up on some of the concepts and get help with homework. It was in the Learning Center that I was given the best advice to understand math. It was somewhere along the lines of, “Math is concrete, not abstract. Do not try to overanalyze it. Just follow the steps and don’t question them.” I began to love math! For the first time in my life, I felt confident to solve an equation whenever it was placed in front of me. Needless to say, I passed Intermediate Algebra and subsequently worked my way up to Calculus 1.

In my writing, I had survived my first couple of essays, but my grades were nowhere near where I wanted them to be. At the Learning Center, I was advised to visit the Writing Studio, located at the second floor of the library. The Writing Studio became my home. I could literally be there all day. Some of my best nights of college I spent at the Writing Studio, figuring out essays and analyzing short stories, poems and books. It was thanks to the Writing Studio (Thadine Franciszkiewicz in particular) that I conquered Comp I and II, in addition to all of my essays form other classes, and received top marks!

I recommend to every student at SPC: You must visit the Learning Centers and Writing Studios! If you are struggling with any subject, there are wonderful people who can help you. All you need to do is to pay them a visit!

Follow Maria at #AskMaria.

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Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Academics | 0 comments

Studying do’s

Studying do’s



“Hi, Maria! I am married, have an active 3-year-old and take 2 online classes a semester. Do you have any tips on the most efficient way to study? Do you have a particular time of the day that’s best for you and a certain location?”

Dear Courtney,

Thanks for your question! I have to say that I thought a long time on this one.

Every student is different when it comes to study habits. Some students like to study with music on. Others cannot tolerate any noise at all. For me in particular, I am a night owl and love to study and do my homework before I go to bed. I always dedicate about two hours for schoolwork before I sleep. Even if I’m at the library or my bedroom, I like to study at the end of the day, when I know that I have nothing left to do but solely dedicate my brain to learning.

When it comes to efficiency, I would recommend reading the directions and the material as many times as you can, and never be afraid to ask your professor questions if something is not clear. Many misunderstandings can be avoided if the directions are clear, so always ask. I learned this the hard way.

Of course, one’s schedule also makes a huge difference. I have to say, kudos to you! What you are doing is simply inspiring! Time management is definitely the best way to go. Even if it is only little bit of time in the day, consistency is the key when it comes to studying!

Follow Maria at #AskMaria.

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Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Need to Know | 0 comments

Paying for college

Paying for college


“How do I get on the tuition payment plan? Does everyone qualify?”

The tuition payment plan is an amazing tool that all students can use. It only applies to credit course and, depending on when you apply, you must pay up to 50% up front and an enrollment fee of $35 to $40. To enroll in the plan, you have to log-in to MySPC and choose the Tuition plan under the “Pay for Classes” tab.

Please note that enrollment in the Payment Plan is only available during scheduled time periods. So make sure if you want to enroll that you are in that specific time period.

If you would like more information on this plan, I recommend you to go to the Payment Plan info page at  https://www.spcollege.edu/paymentplan/.

Follow Maria at #AskMaria.

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