Cheryl has the info you need to navigate a very busy week ahead on campus, with details about the Women in STEM Symposium, the Melodores Spring Concert, Cafe Con Leche, and much more!
Cheryl has all of the info you need to find awesome events on campus in the week ahead, including Rhythm & Bounce, a VU Theatre Workshop production, and AASA’s 35th anniversary mixer.
So tomorrow is the CHEM 1601 Exam.
The final “test” of the semester before the final.
It’s hard to feel ready for these exams – so instead of asking if you’re ready, I want to ask, “Are you okay?”
It’s okay if you’re not. (shoot! me too! – I’m writing this article for y’all but this is self-help for me as well :3)
No matter how you feel, I’m glad you’re here reading this article – because I want to help you. I did extensive research on Google Scholar to write this article. I’ve got tips, some of my own notes, and I’ve got some caring advice.
I’ll keep it short because I know you (and I) need to get back to studying, but by the end of this article, you should have a plan to feel more prepared and confident about this exam.
1. Positively Affirm Yourself
You’re reading this article, I can tell you care about your work and are trying your best. Even if you know you are nowhere near prepared to take this exam, you can say a couple of positive words even if they’re not true yet. Even feigned confidence is confidence, and studies show that confidence alone can improve your test scores (This article, this one, and even this one too)
Here are some of my affirmations that I’ll be saying today and tomorrow. (One of the articles I linked suggests adding hand and body motions to really make it stick)
- C’s get degrees! (And B’s, C’s, D’s, and even a couple F’s)
- I’m manifesting a passing grade (get creative, conjure that grade like witchcraft, evoke a 70+)
- chemistry is fun! totally like solving a puzzle! yay women in STEM!
- It’s 2025 and I’m sitting in a lawn chair graduating with my *insert major* degree.
- Oh Yes. I certainly, unquestionably, and undeniably Can. (feel free to add more adjectives or expressive curses to make it more real for you)
- I can and I will do this. I am capable. I am channeling nervous energy as a positive force
- Literally, just smile – stare at the screen and smile, I read somewhere that just the act of smiling can improve your mood. (Bonus points if you pretend to laugh at the article right now)
2. Study Smart (TAKE. THE. PRACTICE. EXAM. NOW)
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again for the people in the back. Don’t cram, just don’t do it. I am not telling you to stop studying, but please, be smart about it. Here are some ACTUAL tips on how to study.
- Set up your active recall: You should NOT just read your notes. The textbook is nice but JUST reading it is not okay. You need to be able to conjure the facts quickly so here are 5 methods:
- Make Notecards
- Chew flavored gum while you use your notecards or study. Chew the same flavor again during the test.
- The practice test is a good cue to show how well you recall. Don’t wait to take it until you feel confident, take it now and know EXACTLY what you need to work on, instead of what you think you need to work on.
- If you learn something new, set it up to make it stick. Make a mnemonic device, sing a song, or write it 3 times.
- Do the last Chem101 without Googling the Answers
- Space Out Your Studying into Blocks – Studies show that the effects of studying decrease the longer you are studying the same thing. To combat this:
- Study for different classes in between Chem studying (It’s called interleaving!) (take 2 hours chem, 1 hour a humanities course paper)
- Memories are built while you sleep. Study before a nap or sleep, and study it again when you wake up, you will see the difference.
- Know what you need to study
- Make a sheet for all the equations you need to know and the things to memorize. (I’ll attach my equation sheet, but you should make your own.)
- (7 Common Strong Acids, Common Strong Bases, Solubility Rules, OXIDATION RULES, Gas Evolutions, Various Thermochemistry Equations.) PLEASE!
3. Treat Yo-self
If you cram so hard that you are miserable the day of the test – something is up. You shouldn’t hate your life to feel prepared. Take exactly 1 hour. (Yeah, don’t just collapse into Netflix for hours, that might not make you feel better) for the time you will set aside to do something that makes you happy.
Here are 6 examples:
- Go to a loud common room. Rant to others who are also in chem. Theraputic.
- Get a Cookie with your Chem Buddies and Savor every bite.
- Watch 1 episode of your favorite show, or your comfort show (avoid cliffhangers)
- Sit down and curl up with a cup of tea and MyCommons.Life Articles (or a book i guess, when’s the last time you read a book for fun?)
- Speedrun the Wednesday Night Commons Signature Events (West Fest, Sutherland Socials, Snorthgasborg, StamSweets, Hankerings, Murray Munchies, and Crawford’s thing are all Wednesday Night)
- Call your parents, your siblings, or your friends from back home (make sure they know you have a time limit!)
4. Attend to Your Basic Needs – Don’t Put So Much Pressure on Yourself
I’m gonna keep this one short, but I knew I had to say it. I know you’ve heard it before. Sleeping and eating well will lead to better exam results. Your time is much better spent sleeping to improve your whole mood than memorizing 1 tiny fact worth 1 point. You need food to function, please make it healthy.
5. Make a Plan
Finally, don’t just read this article. Guarantee you will put it into action. Go into your NOTES app right now, and make a detailed to-do list. When I’m feeling particularly lost, I like to even add time to my to-do list. You have 24 hours in a day, ask, “How long will memorization take me (2 hours?)”, “How can I fit it in around my sleep (7 hours?)” Set timers to make sure you do it in the time you set out, don’t waste these precious minutes! Run through the course of your day in your head or physically and set yourself up to do them. Put out your clothes now, decide your Suzie’s order, Pick your route to class, and how early you will arrive. Here’s an example of what my Tuesday looked like if you want a template!
That’s all the advice I have for now! You got this (Just Saying, I’d go up and re-read the study smarter section if I were you though)! I wish you the best of luck, and remember, even if it doesn’t go well – chem class is canceled on Friday and we have Thanksgiving break. Bye Now!
On an inspiration-high, I decided to become a photojournalist for the week and learned exactly how hard and fury-inducing photos can be (Mad respect for photographers now!). My subject was the performers and attendees of Vanderbilt’s Fall for the Arts during Family Weekend 2021 (10/2/2021). Here are some of the photos I took this weekend and some of my personal takeaways from being a photojournalist. (Shout out to Mr. Carroll at the VSC for letting me rent that sweet camera!)
What I learned from my day as a photojournalist
Taking photos is hard! Out of the 216 photos I took at fall for the arts, only about 12 ended up being non-blurry, centered, or “right” for this post! Below are some of my biggest takeaways, and the photos where there could have been improvement (so we all can learn something!)
- Takeaway #1 – Not everyone’s face may focus in every picture! (And it is royally frustrating!) ex. Picture 1, Picture 8, and Picture 13 (p1, p8, p13)!
- Takeaway #2 – It is very important to remember who or what you are taking a picture of! (I definitley decided to take pictures of people whose names completely forgot, and I couldn’t seem to find a list of the performers- so we’ll never know who these people are from the captions) (seen missing from the captions of almost every photo)
- Takeaway #3 – It takes a lot of confidence and finesse to get up close with subjects. As nice as the zoom is on the fancy camera I used – it still can’t beat the shots I got by getting close to the stage. (p7 and 12)
- Takeaway #4 – This is not a takeaway, this is a question – someone please tell me how to focus the camera on faces. (p8 and p13)
- Takeaway #5 – Taking photos at a live-event is a very rewarding experience. While shows like this are fun to enjoy from one’s seat in the audience, it is an entirely different experience trying to capture shots of big performace moment – feet away from the performers. And of course, there is no better feeling than finding a gem photo after sifting through a hundred “blurry” photos (p5, p7, p11)
With these lessons, the next time I decide to be a photojournalist for the day – I’ll come back with even bigger and better work. I hope you enjoyed the photos and learned a thing or two about photojournalism. Thanks for reading, viewing, and everyone who agreed to be photographed!
Cheryl has all the info you need to navigate a busy week on campus, including tons of Family Weekend events and the Commodore Carnival
If you haven’t already pulled out your App Stores or your Google Plays by now, hurry it up, chop chop, get to steppin’, because every app on this list is essential. Why play yourself? Make your life easier right now with 5 easy downloads.
If you’ve ever been a bit afraid walking back from main campus to commons when it’s dark, or are just plain tired after a long day – you NEED the app DoubleMap. DoubleMap is the app that tracks VandyRides arrival times and locations (aka VandyVans or Vandy Campus Busses). There are 2 main routes, the Gold Route and the Black Route that make circles around campus from 6 pm – 1 am. The stops include but are not limited to: Rand/Sarratt, Hank Ingram, The Rec Center, Zeppos, Blair School of Music, and the School of Nursing (which is right beside the main campus library!)
There is no need to make an account, just open the menu, go to “Select Routes” and tap “Show All”. (Note – the busses or their routes will not show up on the map until after 6 pm) Happy Riding!
(Reminder: Masks are required the entire duration of the bus ride!)
2. Google Calendar
By now you have probably seen people using this app, but I’m going to make the case for why you should too! 1. You can connect it to your Brightspace, and 2. It makes saving events from AnchorLink super easy.
If you connect Google Calendar to your Brightspace, you can see your class schedule, get notified before class starts or assignments are due, and check when office hours are. Here are the steps to add Brightspace to your Google Calendar. (It is much easier to do this on a computer!)
- Go to the “Calendar” tab in your navigation bar
- Click on “Settings”
- Under “Calendar Feeds,” check the box for “Enable Calendar Feeds” and click save
- You should now have a tab named “Subscribe” beside the “Settings” tab, click that (if the “Subscribe” button doesn’t appear, refresh the page)
- Copy the URL found in the “Subscriptions” Tab, make sure to include “All Calendars and Tasks from the Dropdown Window.
- Open Google Calendar – Under “Other Calendars,” Click the “+” to add new calendar and click “from URL”
- Paste the Brightspace URL into the box, and select “Add Calendar”
- Your Brightspace and Google Calendar are now linked! If everything doesn’t show up make sure you refresh the page and check the box under “Other Calendars” that should be called “All Courses – Vanderbilt University”
3. Venmo (Or Alternatives like Cashapp and Zelle)
When people are out doing a Target run asking if you want something, if you shared an Uber, if someone purchased anything on your behalf – it is so much simpler to pay them back using a mobile app, – and it takes 10 seconds. (Just take the time to at least set it up).
I find that most people that I talk to have Venmo, so start with that. But it’s always good to have options like Cashapp. It’s personally not my thing, but you can even quickly trade stocks and bitcoin in these apps. Read more about the safety of these apps here:
If you don’t feel safe putting bank information into another app even after reading those safety policies, try Zelle. A lot of bank apps such as First Bank, Bank of America, and literally hundreds more have Zelle embedded right into their bank apps that you likely already have.
Uber (Or its Alernative, Lyft)
Have you explored downtown yet? The Gulch maybe? Needed to buy specific products or get your hair done off-campus. Well, Uber, the ride-sharing app is a great way to do that. Not only can you use it to get places, but you can also use the app to ride scooters (VU Scooter Policy – https://www.vanderbilt.edu/movevu/scooter-and-bike-share-faq/), order food delivery, and most importantly, split the uber-bill in-app when you ride together. To read more about Uber’s safety, you can check out this website – https://www.uber.com/us/en/ride/safety/.
Lyft also works the same way minus food and scooters, however, prices can sometimes vary, so it is good practice to check both apps. Create an account and get exploring!
Are you stressed (Why did I ask, you go to Vanderbilt, there’s a very high chance you are!) Well, if you feel like you need to take a break to breathe, the app Headspace can help! It has meditation, daily inspirational videos, sleep background noise, peaceful stress release workouts, and more.
Here’s the kicker though, IT’S FREE. Vanderbilt has a partnership with Headspace, and all VU students have access to more of the premium content. Read more about it here: https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2020/08/21/student-care-network-launches-headspace-for-2020-21-academic-year/ and Sign Up here: https://work.headspace.com/vanderbilt/member-enroll
Note: The number of accounts may be limited.
Final Words and Honorable Mentions
If you made it this far, you should have all these apps on your phone right now! Although they didn’t make the top 5, here are some honorable mentions you may already have: 1. the VandySafe App (great for checking dining hall menus), 2. The Vanderbilt App (great for checking events), and 3. GroupMe (no description needed – if you don’t have this what are you even doing!)
Cheryl delivers the details on the events happening around campus this week that you’ll want to know about, including upcoming Vandy sporting events and some opportunities for FREE FOOD!