The Passing Procrastinator

I don’t like to study and will go out of my way not to study. That makes me a normal student for the most part. With life taking one in several different directions it is crucial to find what kind of study methods work for you. It wasn’t until my last year of college that I figured out what really works best for me, but I’d rather learn it late than never at all. So what works for this procrastinator?

  1. Early Notes
    I am not the best note taker but I still try to take them especially at the beginning of the semester  and then again right after mid-term exams. Why, because at these times the professors are teaching a foundation that is often referred back to later on.  One should always take notes but let us be real, that doesn’t always happen.If the professor says it more than once, write it down!
    On the board, write it down!

    On a slide show. Write it down! Taking pictures for later use works too, however when you write something down you are more likely to remember it.

  2. Coloring
    I learned this trick very late in my college career and by accident. I knew the upcoming semester was going to be rather tough for me so I bought a daily planner that happened to have coloring pages in it. I quickly discovered that while coloring the pages, I was more able to focus on what the professor was saying. I didn’t zone out now glance at my phone. By coloring I was able to concentrate and better understand what the professor was trying to teach. Only drawback to this method of learning is that while you are coloring the professor can take it as a sign of you not paying attention. This method worked for me, hopefully it will help others.
  3. Show up and ask one question
    Attend class! Just being there goes a long way when it comes to exams and finals. You already paid for the class so make sure you get your money’s worth. The professor is getting paid whether you show up or not.  After all, it is your future not theirs. However, most professors will work with you as long as you try. If you don’t try with them, they won’t try with you.Ask one question. Professors like students who are involved and trying. When you can ask a question or add to the discussion. Yes, we all hate speaking up and end blankly staring at the professor but teaching isn’t easy when your teaching to zombies.  Active students break up the monotony of a straight lecture and opens the door for student professor communication
  4. Study Guide How To
    I make study guides to help me through exams and finals. I try to start the study guide a few days in advance but I am a procrastinator so I tend to start the study guide the day before. Part of the reason I procrastinate and most students will agree with me but I have more than one class giving an exam so by the time you study and take the exam for one class you barely have 24 hours before another exam or final comes into play. Last minute is how a student studies during this time. That is why it is crucial that a student is active in class.

Step 1.
Divide what you need to study into pieces. I usually divide it into chapters

Step 2.
Get in your study zone. Mine happens to be in my room computer and books scattered across the bed and some random YouTube video playing in the background. I tend to choose videos along the lines of 48 hours or creepy pasta.  Creepy-pastas tend to be voices that tell a story. I choose these videos because the don’t require you to listen to them and when you need a mini break you have something to focus on for a few moments.  Music distracts me and so do tv shows and are not compatible with a study zone.  Make sure you have something to eat and drink in the study zone else it will be an excuse to not study.

Step 3.
First you pick a chapter and read the first two paragraphs. From there, you read the first sentence of every paragraph. Lastly, you read the conclusion paragraph. Now you have a good idea of what the chapter is about.

Step 4.
While reading if you happen to come across a phrase or fact that jumps out at  you highlight it and type it up into your study guide. I try to find one thing on every page that I believe is important. Also while typing out the study guide if you can relate the fact or idea to real life it helps you memorize it better.

Step 5.
Next you take a short break.  If you are a procrastinator you don’t have much time for breaks. This break is only meant for those who need to go use the restroom or take a smoke break.

Step 6.
Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until the ‘chapters’ are translated into notes.

Step 7.
Now it is time to review the notes that you took during class. If you are like me the notes are at random and not that consistent, so you cherry pick information off of them.

Step 8.
I don’t focus too much on slide shows myself but I do cherry pick from there.

Step 9.
Put it down and go do something for about an hour.

Step 10.
Pick it up and read your study guide. If anything doesn’t make sense redo it. If you think it’s not needed drop it. Also remember it is your study guide you are not turning it. Write notes to yourself like “look at the graph on p256”. If you can’t explain it or if there is to much to type simply say “explained really well on page 75 2nd paragraph”

Step 11.
Review it when you think about it, which after the long study session into making the study guide I have a hard time looking at the guide because I still remember typing it up. I tend to get to class about 30 minutes early and read the guide and try to lock it into my memory. What helps me the most is discussing the chapters with classmates before the test begins. They remember things and cherry pick information that I don’t know or have.

Step 12.
Finally, take the exam.

At this point it doesn’t seem like I am a procrastinator, right? When in actuality I took barely existent notes and only made the study guide the night before. However, I do try to show up and take part in class every day.  By focusing on the lectures and typing up a study guide I do manage to be a passing student. Finally, remember, unless you are a rock star, procrastinators don’t get A’s

The Last Jedi – A Star Wars Recap

MAJOR Spoilers! (For the 1st 8 Star Wars movies)

I have been a huge fan of Star Wars since I was young. So young that I would sneak into my parent’s room grab the collector’s edition VHS tapes and watch them. The first time my dad found me watching it, he was not happy. Since then, it has become a tradition to binge watch all the episodes, usually when a new movie is about to release.

As the latest release of the Star Wars series is coming into view, fans are eager to have a few questions answered. Who are Rey’s Parents?  Who is Supreme Leader Snokes, and what is going on with Luke Skywalker?  All these questions will be answered in the second installment of the third wave, hopefully.

For those who are unaware, the second installment of the third wave is essentially the 8th episode in the series. In the past, George Lucas filmed movies four, five and six between 1977 and 1983. Several years go by and then movies one, two and three were made between 1999 and 2005. Ten years go by, and you had the seventh movie debut. Now we are approaching the eighth installment come December 15, 2017.  Wait, wasn’t there a Star Wars movie that came out in 2016? Yes, however in typical Star Wars fashion it is out-of-order and doesn’t directly tie into the main storyline. It’s best to think of it like Tokyo Drift in the Fast and Furious series. It doesn’t fit into the story when it is released, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get tied in later.

A recap of the episodes and the order best to watch them to avoid spoilers:

  • I: The Phantom Menace (1999) (32 BBY)
  • II: Attack of the Clones (2002) (22 BBY)
  • III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) (19 BBY)
  • Rogue One (2016) (15-0 BBY) Stand Alone Spin-Off
  • IV: A New Hope (1977) (0 BBY)
  • V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (3 ABY)
  • VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) (4 ABY)
  • VII: The Force Awakens (2015) (34 ABY)
  • VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) (34 ABY)
  • IX: Unknown (2019) (Unknown)

Solo (2018) (TBA-BBY) Stand Alone Spin-Off

[BBY- Before the Battle of Yavin; ABY- After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin took place at the end of A New Hope (1977). It was the Death Star Explosion.

The Phantom Menace opened the door for Anakin to be trained as a Jedi. Anakin has grown up in Attack of the Clones and has become a skilled Jedi who defeats a clone army and later marries Padme. In Revenge of the Sith you watch Anakin turn into Darth Vader while his wife dies in childbirth to twins. In Rogue One they steal the Death Star Plans. In A New Hope they destroy the Death Star. The Empire Strikes Back by having Lando Betray Solo with the rest of the rebellion determined to rescue Solo. In the sixth movie, Return of the Jedi you learn that there is another death star and that Darth Vader had a redeeming moment. Finally moving into the recent installments with The Force Awakens you discover that the son of Leia and Solo has taken over his grandfather’s (Darth Vader) throne. The bad guys are building an even more destructive death star, and Kylo Ren does something unforgivable in the eyes of star wars fan and Chewbacca.  In the end, Rey finds Luke.  The Last Jedi picks up exactly where the last one left off which is not the typical George Lucas style. Without giving any spoilers the villain in this installment is called the Supreme Leader Snokes.

Somewhere in the 70-year timeline, the Solo movie will come into play as it reveals more about Lando, Chewbacca, and Han Solo’s history. Most fans will already know the correct order to watch the series, and will already be aware of the basic plots that go along with every installment. Few, however, know George Lucas kept the licensing and merchandising rights. During that time, people did not make much of a profit off of the merchandising rights. However, George Lucas did, and it was the rights to the first Star Wars film that allowed him to branch out and go on to create the following episodes.  From their George Lucas created LucasFilm and Industrial Light and Magic. As much as George Lucas enjoyed having realistic props, he also enjoyed using technology which was why he waited so long before producing the second wave of star wars films. He wanted access to more technology and thus started the Industrial Light and Magic studio which is the founder company of Pixar.

December 15, 2017, cannot get here fast enough for most fans, as they are eager to have another adventure. They are ready to fall back into the space western realm and have their questions answered.

Do Not Resuscitate?

You are in the middle of cooking dinner and unwinding from a long day when you suddenly get a sharp pain in your chest. You are unable to call out as you collapse and blackout. The next morning you wake up in a hospital bed attached to wires and a little delirious. A family member informs you that you had died and the doctors managed to bring you back to life. Great, right?  In most cases, many would be happy, however in the case of a Miami man the story is a little different.

A 70-year-old Miami man had “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed on his chest when he appeared at the hospital. So, when the doctors saw the tattoo, they began to question what they should do. They did not know who this man was, let alone how to reach his relatives. While they searched for more information to help them decide what to do, they bought themselves time by giving him antibiotics, blood pressure medicine, and fluids.  At this point, they also met with their ethics counselors as they struggled to decide. The doctors were starting to choose not to attend to the tattoo because life decisions can always change while tattoos are permanent. The ethics counselors said they should honor the tattoo. The question remained, should they honor the words on his chest or ignore them?

An interesting dilemma, yet in this case they were able to resolve the issue. They took the unknown man’s fingerprints and ran them through the Florida drivers license database and came up with his identity. From there, they looked up his file at the hospital and found that he had filled out a Do Not Resuscitate form. They also discovered that this man had a history of serious health problems including COPD, diabetes, and irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation). When he reached the hospital, he had high blood alcohol levels and an infection that led to septic shock.  Once doctors established that his tattoo corroborated with the DNR form they honored it. Throughout the night the man’s condition deteriorated, and he died without undergoing CPR. But a simple tattoo like his was not legally binding.

In this case, the doctors neither supported nor disagreed with the tattoo’s message. They resolved this issue in this case, yet one can’t help but to question what would they decide if they hadn’t found the paperwork. 

Texarkana Rocks

Have you seen painted rocks hidden around town? This growing trend started just to brighten people’s day.  I have stumbled across a few rocks myself, and I do enjoy seeing them. However, I leave the rocks where I find them for the stones to brighten up someone else’s day.  It is a light-hearted and harmless trend that is ever-growing. In fact, Texarkana even has a Facebook group called “Texarkana Rocks- Texas Official Group” where they gather to show off their rocks as well as discuss possible hiding places and reasons behind. The Facebook group although closed to the public is still is to join. By joining the group, I gained access to the hot hiding spots for painted rocks located in Spring Lake Park and Three Chicks.

   If you treat the painted rocks as a game, then the game is straightforward. First, you find a quilted rock that has passed through 20 different hands with everyone adding their personal touch, and then you paint it. Next thing you do is hide the rock someone for someone else to find. The person who finds it can either keep it, rehide it, or leave it be.  Now Texarkana Rocks Facebook group encourages people who paint the rocks to put the web link on the back of the rocks so others can find the group.  This is their way of trying to get strangers unaware of the trend to seek out the group and post pictures of the rocks they find. Mainly because that is part of their game and people get encouraged to paint and hide more rocks when they see their rocks being found. This trend across the ArkLaTex is allowing people to spread their creativity and encourages them to be part of a community. Some people even use the rocks as a way to send a message whether that message is a cause or just to uplift spirits. There are funny rocks, pretty rocks, and even location rocks.

This is one of the Quilt Rocks that is circulating around Texarkana. Photo Taken by Tonya Walker

   One trend that encourages everyone to play the game are the quilted rocks. Now the quilted rocks start out rather dull as they are painted a solid color with horizontal and vertical lines drawn on it. The person to paint the rock essentially only paints one square before hiding the wrong. The next person comes along finds the rock, paints an additional square and then hides it. The same goes for everyone that follows, so by the time all the squares are colored. The idea of painted rocks is brilliant because it invites everyone to join in on the fun to spread smiles across the ArkLaTex. It has become a treasure hunt where people are taking their kids to popular painted rock destination so they can even enjoy the fun. People enjoy finding the rocks just as much as the creators enjoy painting and hiding them. Both parties feel good by the end of the interactions.  

   Painted rocks are meant to brighten people’s day. They are harmless, lighthearted and meant to be fun. I invite everyone who reads this to join the Texarkana Rocks- Texas Official Group on Facebook.

Some of the rocks that can be found around town. Photo taken by Jen Phillips

Career Services at TAMUT

Are you worried about having a job upon graduation? Does your resume lack confidence? Do you have interview anxiety? If so the best help you can get it’s from Career Development. Career Development is located on the third floor, and it is there to help students succeed in life. My time with Career Development has been pleasant and helpful.
Career Development is there for students who need a job now and for those who are looking for jobs in their field upon graduation. What career Development does is it networks and communicates with local and not so local businesses and determines what jobs they need to be filled.

All a student has to do is set up an appointment and see Mrs. Tina Boitnott in UC 329. It helps if you bring your resume so she can review it and help you make your resume more solid and attractive to future employers. When I first had an appointment, I was kind of nervous, but as I sat down and began conversing with her assistant, I realized that they are just there to help. At the appointment, you will discuss what your degree is and what you want to do in the future. Mrs. Boitnott will probably ask a few follow-up questions, but all the questions allow her to help find a job that you would do well in. By the end of my first appointment with Career Development, I realized they didn’t have any jobs available for me. However, it put me on their radar so; then they could keep an ear out for jobs that would match my skill set.

Now as I am in my last semester I have created a solid resume that allows me to put my best foot forward, and I have several different directions I can take for my future career path. I am planning to apply to all these options because I know not all will give me an interview. I have been going to Career Development for about a year now, and as this year progress, they have had a couple of jobs come across their desk that I have shown interest in. One I looked into and another I knew was not right for me, but now that I am graduating I am looking at jobs more seriously. If everything goes well with the help from Mrs. Boitnott, then I will have a job by the time graduation gets here.

I encourage everyone to go check out and make an appointment with career development so they can help you with your resume, give mock interviews, and be put on their radar so they can help find you a job. So, whether you need a job now or in the future, Career Development is there to help you, and they cannot help you if they are not aware that you need help. For new college graduates, any help is appreciated when you are fighting to get your foot in the door.

Holiday Season In Texarkana

Thursday November 9th

  • Hands-on Texarkana The Great Escape Wine event. 6:00p.m-8:00p.m. at 1915 Olive St., Texarkana Texas 75503. Outdoor event and tickets must be bought in advance because seating is limited.

Friday November 10th  

  • Jamey Johnson will be at Scottie’s grill at 8400 West 7th Street. Show starts at 7pm and tickets can be purchased at the Scottie’s Grill Website.
  • The Outsiders, a play based on the classic novel by S.E. Hinton at Texarkana College starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are 15$ per person.

Saturday November 11th

  • T-Town Showdown, a car, truck and bike show, at the Four States Fairground from 11am to 4pm. Tickets can be bought at the door, $8 per person.
  • The Outsiders, a play based on the classic novel by S.E. Hinton at Texarkana College starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are 15$ per person.

Sunday November 12th

  • Meet and Greet with Cinderella at 1:00pm-2:00pm at 120 E Broad St. Texarkana, Arkansas 71854. Southern Grace and Designs, Party and Gifts. Tickets are $25 per child and $5 per adult.
  • The Outsiders, a play based on the classic novel by S.E. Hinton at Texarkana College starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are 15$ per person.

Friday November 17th

  • Mistletoe Fair at the Four States Fairground from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. $7 per person at the door or a $12 pass per person for the weekend.

Saturday November 18th

  • Breakfast With Santa at the Central Mall from 10:00am to 11:00am
  • Mistletoe Fair at the Four States Fairground from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. $7 per person at the door or a $12 pass per person for the weekend.
  • Christmas Card Creations at the Ace of Clubs House, 420 Pine St., Texarkana, TX from 2:30pm-3:30pm. Members get in free while others pay a $5 admission fee.

Monday November 20th

  • Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer at the Perot Theater, 221 Main Street, Texarkana TX at 7:30pm-9:30pm. Tickets can be bought online and cost $36-54 per person.

Saturday November 25th

  • Charming Charlie Fundraiser for the Randy Sams Shelter at the Central Mall, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. It is a shopping event where a portion of what you spend is donated to the Randy Sams Shelter.

Friday December 1st-Saturday December 2nd

  • Holiday Open House and Art Market at The Regional Arts Center from 10:00am to 5:00pm. This event involves homemade arts and crafts that can make the perfect gift.

Monday December 4th

  • Main Street’s Annual Christmas Parade at 4:00pm.

Sunday December 10th

  • Christmas at the Perot at 4:00pm. Tickets cost $28-51 per person. Hosted by the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra.

Saturday December 9th

  • 1st Annual Christmas Car Show at the Central Mall from 9:00am to 2:00pm.

Thursday December 14th

  • Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Perot Theater starting at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $36-54 per person.

JFK In Pop Culture

John F. Kennedy was the 35th president from January 31st, 1961 until his assassination on November 22, 1963. It is common knowledge that Kennedy was in Dallas Texas as he traveled in a motorcade when Lee Harvey Oswald killed him. He was the sole perpetrator of the assassination and Oswald was also assassinated two days later on November 24. Lyndon B Johnson the current vice president then became president just minutes after J.F.K was pronounced dead.

J.F.K has become a pop culture icon because of all the conspiracies that surround him even including the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” that was sung by the glamorous Marilyn Monroe. This song had affair rumors flying back in the day.  I enjoy conspiracies theories! I am not saying I believe in them, but it is interesting how different people can take a set of information and interpret it in their own way. So who killed J.F.K and what is up with the newly released files?

The Mafia took him out. This conspiracy implies that a Chicago mobster had the money power and influence to have J.F.K killed because of Robert Kennedy push to stop the mobster’s drug activity. What makes this theory appealing to others is because Lee Harvey Oswald is killed by Jack Ruby who had connections with the Chicago Mobster.

Lyndon Johnson was behind it.  A theory suggests that Richard Nixon and Jackie Kennedy believe this theory because Johnson had the most to gain from J.F.K’s death. Most of the evidence to back this claim up is based on rumors.

The Oswald Conspiracies. One theory suggests that the KGB hired Oswald to assassinate Kennedy because he was an undercover Soviet agent. However, this theory did not hold up as later released documents suggested that Russia actively avoided recruiting Oswald as they deemed him mentally unstable.

Another theory involving Oswald linked him to the New Orleans Conspiracy where a right-wing businessman got Oswald to be the patsy since the businessman did not want peace negotiations to begin with Russia. The plan was to hire Oswald, arrange the shooting, and get back to New Orleans that night. The businessman was later arrested and went to trial over these allegations, but the jury found the case groundless and dismissed it.

The third conspiracy directly involving Oswald proposes that he couldn’t have fired the shot that killed Kennedy. The conspiracy states that Oswald was shooting from a 60-year-old rifle that was hard to aim let alone almost impossible to shoot three shots in eight seconds. It also stated that Oswald was not that great of a marksman. Later investigation proved this theory false because his wife said he always was practicing with this gun and Oswald did have a marine background. When the shooting of J.F.K occurred, he was only 90 meters away from Oswald and J.F.K. was moving slowly. In the marines, they practiced shooting at 200 meters, so J.F.K wasn’t even half the distance Oswald was used to shooting. Also, the Warren Commission and even CBS news organization duplicated the shot several years later with the same model weapon and overall conditions and proved that it was possible to take the shots within 8 seconds with most marksmen hitting the target 2 out of 3 times.

Some of the files revealed that;

  • The FBI knew there was a threat to Oswald life before he died.
  • Oswald contacted the Soviet Embassy inquiring about a visa.
  • The documents stated that the CIA looked into whether Hitler was alive in Venezuela
  • Several memos revealed plots to kill Castro from poisoning his swimsuits, to putting a bounty on his head, although the price of his head has been debated.
  • A CIA document notes they were looking into Martin Luther King’s companions thinking most of them had communist ties.

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