Blog

All about Plagiarism

Featured Town: This week’s featured town is Lumpkin, Georgia. Lumpkin is home to what is considered “Georgia’s grand canyon” Providence Canyon Conservation Park (http://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/lumpkin). Provide Canyon Conservation Park is home to many hiking trails full of beautiful red clay “canyons and gullies” (Ibid). This is one town that is on my Georgia travel bucket list. I can’t wait to visit and hike!

Hello Students and GACHS Community Members, 

I am writing to you today about plagiarism. Specifically, what it is , how to avoid it and what happens if you plagiarize per our school policy. The information below was pulled from our website parent and student handbook which can be found online at http://www.gradgeorgia.com

What is it?

Plagiarism is the representation of words or ideas of another as one’s own. So basically, you plagiarize when you say that something you did something that you did not do. Examples of plagiarizing in an online course include, but are not limited to: 
  • Using unauthorized aids on an assignment, essay, quiz, or test. 
  • Having someone other than the student complete an assignment, essay, quiz, or test. 
  • Submitting another person’s work. 
  • Submitting the same work for more than one course or assignment without prior written approval from the teacher(s). 
  • Using copyrighted material without appropriate citation or copying software or media files (such as music, movies, etc.) without permission. 
  • Signing in to a live session for another student who is not present. 

How to Avoid it

To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation, and must be cited properly according to the accepted format for the particular discipline. Information that is common knowledge, such as names of leaders or prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc. do not need to be cited; however, the sources of all facts or information obtained in reading or research that are not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. 
GACHS School Plagiarism Policy
  • First Offense: Teacher sends snapshot proof of plagiarism on plagiarized content back to the student with cc to the parent, reminds the student of consequences, and offers the opportunity to redo the assignment as long as course deadlines permit. The parent and student will be reminded that future offenses of plagiarism in the course will result in a zero without an opportunity to redo the assignment. 
  • Second Offense (in the same course): Teacher will request the school counselor schedule a conference with the parent and student. The plagiarized assignment is assessed a zero grade without opportunity to redo the assignment. The student and parent will submit a signed contract acknowledging their understanding a third offense will result in a zero for the course. 
  • Third Offense (in the same course): Student will be locked out of the course. The Chief Academic Officer will schedule a conference call with the student and parent to notify them that a zero will be assessed for the course.

Our School Core Values and PlagiarismAs you can see we take plagiarism very seriously and we are committed to promoting and maintaining academic honesty in our students. These line up with our five core values. Plagiarism directly goes against these values which are. 

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Empowerment
  • Commitment

The Bottom Line

Plagiarism is an issue that our school and other academic organizations do not take lightly. The best advice I can give you is to do your best to follow the core values everyday. If you are committed to your schoolwork you will be empowered. By utilizing respect and integrity you will avoid plagiarism and you will be compassion to your school community. If you have any questions about plagiarism please feel free to reach out to me. 

References
Featured Town- http://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/lumpkin
Plagiarism Definition and Policy- http://www.gradgeorgia.com
Advertisements

Working on holidays or breaks, do you need too? Should you?

This week marks the revival of my featured town segment for each post. From here on out I will be featuring towns and cities in our great state on each of my blog posts. Up this week: Pine Mountain, GA. Pine Mountain is the home to many attractions including the little White House, Callaway Gardens, the FDR State Park. It is described as “a charming Southern town located just an hour Southwest of Atlanta.” (http://www.pinemountain.org/about). It looks absolutely beautiful, drop a comment on my post if you have ever been there and have suggestions for a visit!

The Real Reason You’re Here

Okay, let’s get down to business, with Labor Day Weekend literally right around the corner I thought this would be the perfect time to address an issue that I always get questions about, whether or not students need to or should be working during holidays or over school breaks.  These are actually two separate questions so I will address both, but the very first thing I am going to do is include a link for you to access our school calendar so our readers know just when we have holidays or breaks 🙂

2017-18-Public-Calendar-1

  1. Do I need to work on school holidays and/or breaks? The simplest answer to this question is no you don’t need too, but that is if and only if you have been putting in the required time in your courses. For information on pacing, please refer to pacing blog post by clicking hereIf you have not been putting in the time then you absolutely need to use whatever days and time you can to make up that time including weekends and holidays/breaks. 
  2. Should I work during school holidays and/or breaks? The simplest answer here is yes, you should. School holidays and breaks are not factored into your pacing so if you are already behind than making up time on breaks will help you tremendously. Also, did you know that if you finish all of your courses by the mid semester point that there is the possibility you could get more classes added after having a conference with your counselor? You didn’t? Well you do now! 

The takeaway here is that while you are not required to do work on holidays or over breaks, you should be doing work whenever you can especially if you are behind. It is really easy to get behind in your classwork and never dig yourself out of that hole. By putting in extra time when you are not required to do you are building a cushion. As an online school your attendance is gauged by how much you log on. It is really easy for life to happen and for something unforeseen to pop up (like an illness or family emergency) and cause you to miss time. If you spend extra time working you build up a bubble for yourself in the event something like this happens.  

As always, if you have questions or comments you can drop them below. The next post topic will be about something so helpful and awesome that it will remain a mystery until it occurs, unless of course you are a member of our school Facebook group. In that case I will tell you sometime in between now and then 🙂

Have a great rest of your week and a wonderful long weekend!

Works Cited

Featured Town: http://www.pinemountain.org/about

Frequently Asked Questions

Hi Everyone! I am very excited to share a piece of my world with you with the creation of this blog post! I have compiled a list of the top five questions I am asked on a weekly basis! I hope you find the answers to these questions informative. Feel free to comment on this post any questions you have that you need an answer too!

  1. How do I communicate with my teachers?
    • GREAT QUESTION! Any time I get this question I am over the moon excited because it shows that all of my students are engaged and in charge of their learning. There are several ways to get in touch with your teacher, but in order to do so you need to know where to find their contact information. Below please find a screenshot of where you can find this information 🙂
    • forblogpost
    • As soon as you log in at http://www.edgenuity.com/sis-login you are brought to the screen above. Click the circled “course information” tab and you will be brought to a page that contains the phone number and email address for all of your teachers. The best way to communicate electronically with your teachers is through the SIS platform. You can do that by selecting the Message section in the bottom left of the picture above. 
  2.  What do I do if I need additional support in a class?
    • There are several things you can do if you feel like you need a little more help in a course. The FIRST thing you should do is reach out to your teacher and find out when their study hall hours are held. Study hall is an online forum where you can ask your teacher for help and she or he can show you using tools how to work through whatever issue you are having. You also have access to concept coaches in all subjects when you are working in your courses. But, please note you cannot get help from concept coaches
    • forblogpost2
    • Select the circled green chat button to connect with concept coaches. You will then fill out the form the right of the green arrow and just like that you will have help! You also can access FEV tutor for additional tutoring in subjects. For more about FEV tutoring, click here and read my post on it 🙂
  3. I got a call about violating the attendance policy, what does that mean?
    • We have a strict attendance policy that is in place for a very good reason. You are violating the school’s attendance policy if you go ten days without logging on. This is because you will fall behind if you go this long without logging on. We want you to be successful and in order to do that you need to create good habits that start with logging on regularly. Violation of our attendance policy can result in withdrawal so it is very important not to violate it. If you have something come up that prevents you from logging on, please contact your principal, teachers, and counselor. This way everyone is aware of what is going on. I have some students who are amazing at doing this and I love that they are so responsible! 
  4. When can I graduate?
    • I am going to refer to you last week’s post created by our school counselors to answer this question, click here for the answer 🙂
  5. I need a document that states I am enrolled with your for either or to obtain my license, what do I do?
    • Contact your principal or counselor and we will put you in touch with the correct person to get you the appropriate documents. 

I would LOVE to hear any other questions you have. Several student questions I have gotten include: 

Do I have a school email? No, but you have the capability to email any teacher , counselor, or principal through your Edgenuity SIS.

Can you help with me with time management? Yes, but I will need to set up a conference to get some information from you to help me create a schedule for you 🙂

Next week’s post will go over all of the NEAT tools in Edgenuity to help you make the most of this experience and I will bring back my spotlight on Georgia towns and cities 🙂

 

Tips for a Successful Semester from your GAC Counselors

Hi Students! Below please see the welcome letter you will be receiving from your GACHS School Counselor. It outlines all of the important information you need to know in order to prepare yourself for your learning experience this semester with GACHS. 

Welcome!

We are happy you have joined the Graduation Achievement Charter High School family- GACHS for short!

How does this work?

We operate similar to a traditional school- you still have a principal, your classes are based on semesters (meaning you will have a Part A course and a Part B course for each full credit class), and you are still working towards a high school diploma. Attendance will be different since that is based on logging in to your classes. You need to log in and work on your classes at least 5 days a week. Do not go more than two days without logging in. If you do have a situation, please reach out to your counselor. Please regularly check your messages, email, and phone for communication from us. Feel free to reach out to us as well. Our school year is outlined in the GACHS School Calendar 2017-2018. You can login from our website http://www.gradgeorgia.com. At the top right, click Student/Parent Portal Login

How do I reach my teachers?

After you login, on the left you will see Course Info. From there, you can see all your teachers and their information. You can call or email them. Please allow them 1 business day to respond back. They are who you contact about your class assignments and course grade.

What grade am I in?

Freshman: 0-5 credits

Sophomore: 6-11 credits

Junior: 12-17 credits

Senior: 18+ credits

From the GACHS Parent & Student Handbook

How many credits do I have?

Your counselor keeps up with your credits and progress towards graduation. Reach out to them to find out how many credits you have and how close you are to graduating.

When can I graduate?

You can graduate when you reach the state graduation requirements. You need a minimum of 23 credits to graduate:

4 units of English Language Arts

4 units of Science

4 units of Math

3 units of Social Studies

7 units of Electives *3 units must be CTAE

1 unit of Health & PE

For additional information about these requirements, please visit Georgia Department of Education Graduation Requirements

Do I have to take any state tests?

Students must take the End of Course tests for:

9th Grade Literature , 11th Grade Literature, Coordinate Algebra, Algebra I, Analytical Geometry, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, US History, and Economics.

EOC tests are 20% of the final grade. If a student is eligible for an upcoming EOC administration, the student will receive an email with details of the specific date, time, and location. For additional information End of Course tests, you can visit the Georgia Milestone End of Course Assessment Guide.

Counselor Contact Information:

Counselor Caseload

Ms. Keita Eaddie A-D Keita.Eaddie@gradgeorgia.com

Ms. Hibbah Agha F-L, Special programs Hibbah.Agha@gradgeorgia.com 

Ms. Karla Garfield M-R, YCA Karla.Garfield@gradgeorgia.com 

Mr. Kenton Pope S-Z Kenton.Pope@gradgeorgia.com 

If you have any additional concerns, please reach out to your counselor or success coach!

Free Online Tutoring

As part of our school, you have access to free online tutoring. To access this, you simply need to login to FEV Tutor with your Edgenuity login information. You will select which course you need help in and schedule a later time to receive support.

Social Media links

Follow us on social media to help you stay informed!

GACHS Facebook pages:

School Yard – Students and staff are able to communicate and interact with one another Parent Support – Parents are able to communicate and interact with staff and one another

Graduation – Seniors and parents can keep up with events related to graduation here **The pages are closed groups so if you’re having trouble joining, please reach out to the GACHS Counselor on Facebook

Tech Support GAC Student Tech Support

http://gradgeorgia.com/divisions/technology/student-tech-request/

If you have any additional questions reach out to your counselor or to your center leader (Ms. L for the virtual students). 

We look forward to working with you this year!

 

 

Finishing the Summer School Semester and Earning Your Credit(s)

1.5 weeks left ? Yikes!

Holy moly where has the time gone?! It seems like just yesterday we started our summer school semester and here we are with one and a half weeks left until the July 21 end date. I have made it a point to stay in contact with all of my students and see how I can assist them, however, I wanted to use this blog as a place to post resources your teachers can provide you to help you complete your courses on time. I do have to preface that while they can provide the resources, it is 100% up to you to use what they provide. You have support from myself, your counselor, and your teacher or teachers, but it is up to you what you do with that support. 

Class Completion Resources

  • Pacing Plan: If you call or email your teachers and request a pacing plan they will provide you with a plan that will tell you how many activities to complete a day to complete your course.
  • Teacher Tool 1: Pacing VideoClick here to view this video that breaks down how teachers create pacing plan – save this to your bookmark tab and look at it whenever you have a question about pacing!
  • Teacher Tool 2: E-note Video– If you aren’t using e-notes, you should be. Click here to learn about this tool
  • Teacher Tool 3: Study Hall VideoClick here to learn how study hall can help you. If you have a prior commitment, communicate with your teacher and see what other options are available. They WANT to help you but they NEED you to tell them how they can do that. 

So Why all the Fuss?

In addition to wanting you to succeed in your courses and life in general, we want you to complete these courses because doing so will help you earn either .5 or 1 credit depending on how many courses you are taking (each course is worth .5 credit). Earning credits is important because it allows you to accumulate enough credit hours to move from one grade level to the next and eventually to graduate when all graduation requirements have been met. 

Wrapping Up

If you are feeling overwhelmed or need help managing your course or courses these last two weeks, please do not hesitate to reach out. I am here to help you and to guide you in the right direction. My next post will be all about starting off the Fall semester on the right foot and what you need to do in order to receive your diploma from GACHS. Until next time 🙂

 

 

Success in Summer School

Our summer school semester began on Monday June 28. It will run for a FAST and furious four weeks and end on Friday July 21. In order to be successful there are three things students NEED to do consistently. 

  1. Log on FIVE days a week
  2. Go no more than two days in a row without logging on 
  3. Communicate with your teachers on a weekly basis (at minimum).

Students, also please watch your pacing. With such an abbreviated semester, falling behind in your pace could be detrimental. If you are ever confused about why you are behind and how to get back on pace, reach out to your teachers. 

As always, you can reach out to me if you have questions. My next post will be fall in the middle of the summer school semester and will be about finishing strong. 

Until next time 🙂

 

Free Movement: What is it and how does it work?

Featured Photo– The week’s featured photo is of Tallulah Fall, Georgia. Tallulah Falls is home to a state park of the same name and attracts visitors from all over the state and country. Nature lovers and waterfall enthusiasts come from places both near and far to gaze upon the park’s beautiful waterfalls. Some of the things you can do at Tallulah Falls State Park include camping, cycling, swimming, fishing, and other recreational activities like playing tennis and practicing your archery skills. Adventurous visitors can even hike down to the bottom of a beautiful gorge and behold all the natural beauty of this serene area (https://rootsrated.com/stories/4-georgia-mountain-towns).  

Free Movement in your Edgenuity courses

Free movement is a feature that is enabled during the grace period for GACHS students. This feature allows students to navigate freely through their courses via their course map. Normally in your courses you need to watch the warm-up, view an instructional lecture, complete some practice concepts, turn in an assignment, and take a quiz for each lesson and you have to do so sequentially. This is because the skills and concepts you learn follow a sequential order building off of one another. 

However, when free movement is enabled you can navigate to any lesson in your courses. This is extremely helpful in assisting students in completing their courses as it gives you control over what you learn. If you are someone who likes a particular era in US History such as western expansion you can jump to that lesson and complete it without having to wait to reach that point in the semester. 

Free movement for our seniors who are slated to graduate June 2 is already enabled. For the remainder of our students, free movement will turn on soon. For more information on when this turn please contact me via the Edgenuity portal. For the best practices relating to using free movement, please contact your Edgenuity teachers. 

As a reminder, your Edgenuity teachers are your go-to experts when it comes to anything Edgenuity related. When it comes to courses you want or need to take next semester, please contact your GACHS counselor. Below I will be including a list of counselor assignments

Ms. Eaddie– Students with last names beginning with A-D, R-SL, and W

Ms. Hibbah Agha– Students with last names beginning with E-L, and Y/Z

Ms. Karla Garfield– Students with last names beginning with M-P and Sm-V

If you need their contact information, please ask your center administrator. 

Looking Ahead– My next post will be on Success in Summer School and the subsequent expectations of students enrolled in summer school which will only apply to a select number of students. See you then!

Citations

Featured Photo- https://rootsrated.com/stories/4-georgia-mountain-towns

Featured Photo- http://www.gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Finishing the Spring Semester and Preparing for Fall

Featured Photo: This week’s featured photo is of St. Mary’s, Georgia. St. Mary’s rests on the banks of the (surprise, surprise) St. Mary’s river and is located in Camden county. In addition to being quaint and serene , Saint Mary’s is one of the first cities in America to have been explored by Europeans (http://www.travelmag.com/articles/most-charming-towns-georgia/). They must have thought the New World was a remarkable spectacle to behold as they gazed off of the banks of St. Mary’s and into the peaceful horizon. 

My goal with this particular post was to bring a fresh perspective to the age-old concept of “finishing the semester strong.” It would be easy for me to say “listen to your teachers and put in extra work to complete your coursework”, but I am going to try to approach this post from a different point of view 🙂 . As such, I do have one piece of advice, that if followed will help you finish the semester and I also have a challenge to help you prepare for Fall! Are you intrigued? I hope so! Let’s get to it!

Advice on how to finish the semester strong

In order to finish the semester strong all you need to do is one simple thing: let us help you. There are not many places in this world where people will freely give you their support and will pledge to provide you with resources to help you achieve a goal. But, with us, you have that. You literally have a whole team of people who are rooting for you and want to see you succeed. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t easy to see this when you are stressed out and are seeing the end of the semester approach quicker than you would like. However, if you keep in mind that we are here because we genuinely care about your success I think it may be easier for you to let us help you. If you let us provide you with tools that we know will work, we can help you in finishing your courses for this semester. So please! When we reach out via email or phone respond and interact with us and LET US HELP YOU! We are here to offer you all sorts of things, moral support, additional educational resources, provide a way to get in contact with your teachers, and even to help you break down how many activities to do each to get back on track. Every single person you come into contact with, your Edgenuity teachers, your counselors, your center coordinator, the staff on social media, we are all here and we chomping at the bit to help you, so let us!

Okay there’s the advice on how to finish your courses, are you ready for the challenge? I hope so! 

The Challenge

This may seem a little weird, but I swear it will work! In order to prepare for the Fall, I want you …..to challenge yourself this summer. I think almost every time I have failed to meet a goal I have set for myself that it personally has had to do with a lack of discipline in some area of my life. In order to combat this, I have learned to do something that pushes me out of my comfort zone. I find that doing something that makes me uncomfortable such as driving in cities, striking up conversations with strangers, or trying a new hobby, often makes me feel invincible afterward. This boost in my confidence often has a way of transferring itself over into other aspects of my life. I have found a direct relationship between my productivity and discipline after I accomplish something I didn’t want to or didn’t think I could. In fact, even though I hate running, I make it a point to run every day that I work because making myself do that, makes me feel accomplished and proud of myself. As a result, I find myself invigorated and ready to tackle the day.  So this summer take the time to do something that really challenges you. Maybe you will learn to play an instrument, or take a public speaking class, maybe you will train for and run a 5k or half-marathon. There is nothing too great or too small when it comes to really pushing you out of your comfort zone. Whatever you choose, choose something meaningful, (and consult with your parent/guardian to help you plan how to achieve your goal if it is a large undertaking), but do yourself a favor and follow through with it. I will be here to offer you support and will be your champion as you push yourself through whatever it is you want to do to step out of your comfort zone. When we start our new semester in the Fall, I want to hear all about how you challenged yourself and I want to see you use that momentum to start off the year on a strong note. 

The next blog post will only apply to a select few of you but it will be tips on how to succeed in summer school courses! 

Citations

Feature Image -http://www.travelmag.com/articles/most-charming-towns-georgia/

Featured Photo- http://www.goodbreadhouse.com/stmarystory.htm

Full Body Test Preparation

This week’s featured photo is of Blairsville, Georgia. Blairsville is a nature lover’s paradise as it located in the “Chattahoochee National Forest and North Georgia Blue Ridge mountains” (https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/georgia/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-georgia/). As someone who loves being outdoors, I am looking forward to visiting this beautiful town that is as steeped in culture and history as it is in natural beauty. 

Full Body Test Prep Overview

Everyone knows that in order to prepare for a test you study, but not everyone is aware that in order to perform your best you need to take care of your ENTIRE body. It makes sense, think about an injury to a part of your body that you use every day, like your leg. If you broke your leg, it would be much harder for you to do the daily tasks you need to do every day to function, like shower, cook, or drive. This would also probably stress you out (for tips on stress relief you can view my last blog post on stress management by clicking here) and would undoubtedly affect other areas of your life such as work and school. When you think about an injury to your leg it becomes obvious that our bodies are interconnected and that the health of the one part or system in our bodies directly impacts the health of other parts and systems.

I’ve got news for you, you should be thinking about your body’s reaction to testing the SAME way. If you don’t remember to care for your body, the part of your body that you are using to take your test (your brain) could suffer. SAY WHAT?? Yup, that’s right if you don’t make sure to treat your body like the temple it is all of the hours spent studying and the time spent toiling through your courses may end up being a waste because you may never reach your full potential. Read below to find out how to prepare your ENTIRE body for a successful test-taking session. 

Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat

The key to making sure you are operating at peak performance when you take a test is simple and only entails making sure you are doing the things you are probably already doing before you test. Making sure to eat the correct types of foods, being active, and getting enough sleep are the three pieces to the test well puzzle. Below you can find more information on each. 

  • Eat: Eating the Correct types of foods: In order to be able to focus on your test you need to make sure you are not hungry. The best way to ensure your tummy doesn’t start rumbling in the middle of your milestone, distracting you from answering a test question is to eat foods that will fill you up. You don’t need to eat a five-course meal before your test to make this happen, and in fact eating too much or eating the wrong type of food can even make you feel sleepy and lazy instead of energized and focused. Instead of eating a lot of random and nutrient deficient food on the morning of your test,  focus on eating foods that are full of protein as these foods will keep you full and keep you from pondering about your post test meal during the middle of an essay question. Eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, peanut butter and certain types of greek yogurt will all fuel you with the necessary protein needed to remain full during a long test session. For simple breakfast ideas that are high in protein visit the site below
  • Move: Move it or Lose It: Movement does wonders for our bodies. Moving around helps get our blood flowing and improves circulation which can help us feel more awake. In addition, anytime you move and sweat, endorphins are released. Endorphins are chemicals that make us happy 🙂 Moving around before taking your test and, if you are given a break during your test you are testing, is of the utmost importance. Even something as simple as a quick stretch or some breathing can go a long way to help you stay more alert and more focused. For some easy breathing techniques that you can do anywhere, visit the following site: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/relaxation_techniques_breath_focus
  • Sleep: The uninterrupted kind– Sleep is one of the most valuable gifts that you can give to your body. Even when people are trying to lose weight and are doing everything right such as exercising and eating a nutritious diet, without enough sleep their efforts will have been for naught. It helps me to think about sleep the same way I think about my cell phone. All day long my cell phone works hard running my apps and receiving text messages and notifications. At the end of the day, my cell phone is drained and needs to be charged. Our bodies are JUST like cell phones in that they work hard to keep us functioning at work, school, and even at home. At the end of the day we need to recharge our batteries and the only way to do that is to get sleep. And to get enough of it that our bodies can go into recovery mode. While the amount of sleep required in order to function at peak performance is something that is always under review, most doctors will tell you to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep. However, the amount of time you sleep is not the only thing that is important when it comes to sleeping. It turns out that your sleep environment is super important too. I visited the National Sleep Foundation website in order to learn more about the best environment to drift off to sleep in. Here is what I found:
    • Your room shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. It turns out that “most sleep experts recommend a temperature of 65 degrees for the best sleep.”
    • Turning off or putting away your tv, phone, tablet, computer,  etc at least an hour before can actually help you sleep better. Both noise and light can disrupt your sleep so to alleviate anything that may disrupt your z’s  by keeping these devices away from you, out of the bedroom, and completely shut off!
    • Washing your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week and breathing in that “fresh sheet” smell can help you sleep better. There’s an excuse for students to learn how to do laundry nice and early, you’re welcome parents (sorry students, but facts are facts). 🙂
    • If you have to eat, have a small snack the hours leading up to bedtime. A larger meal may provide extra energy to your body that prevents you from sleeping.
    • For more information on sleep tips visit: https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/index.php

The Night Before

The night before your test make sure you get a chance to get some moderate exercise in. You can go for a walk, ride your bike, anything to get the blood pumping. Have a nice dinner, but try to avoid overloading on carbohydrates (carbs) as this may make you sluggish tomorrow. Get to bed early and keep your electronics off and out of the bedroom. Making these few simple sacrifices the night before your test will help prepare your mindset for the mental exertion that will take place tomorrow. 

The Day Of

Wake up early enough to eat a protein fueled breakfast. Remember, it doesn’t need to be a four-course meal fit for royalty. Instead, focus on foods like eggs or greek yogurt that are full of protein and will keep you full. Give yourself enough time to shower, eat,  and still have time to do some stretching and breathing exercises to focus your mind on the task at hand. You can even write yourself an affirmation and repeat it before your test about what you wish to accomplish during your test :). If you get a break during your test, make sure to get up and stretch. This will help you relieve any stress you may have incurred from wracking your brain and get the blood circulating so you can power through the rest of your test. 

The Bottom Line-Everything is Connected 

One of the things that struck me the most when I ventured off to college was how interconnected my classes were. I was reading books in English class while I was studying those periods of history in my history courses. I was learning about why people act the way they do in my psychology classes and figuring out the different responses to stress in my science classes. Thinking about things as they relate to one another really helped drive my learning and is something that has stuck with me ever since. Similarly, if we view our bodies as a whole and understand that in order to test effectively we must take care of the singular parts of our bodies then it becomes easier to see why full body preparation before taking a test is so important. Think of your body as a machine that needs all of its parts taken care of and maintained, remember to eat, move and sleep and you’ll be ready to conquer any test. 

Next Week’s Post: Planning for the end of this semester and the beginning of Fall semester. I hope to have some awesome guest writers contribute some content, until then best of luck on your milestone tests!

Sources:

Featured Photo- https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/georgia/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-georgia/

Healthy Eating- http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/high-protein-breakfast-ideas/

Breathing Techniques- http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/relaxation_techniques_breath_focus

Sleep Tips- https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/index.php

Stress Management

Featured Photo: This week’s featured photo is Athens, GA, a city famous for not only its “historic architecture” (www.visitathensga.com) but for housing Georgia’s Beloved Bulldogs at the University of Georgia as well. 

Although Spring Break was a wonderful way for many of us to take a break from school and recharge, it signifies that we are almost at the end of Spring Semester. This means that for many students there are only a few more months to finish up remaining courses and/or even finish the FINAL courses standing between you and graduation. This time of year is not only an exciting one but it is an incredibly stressful time of year as well. It is important to remember to find things to do that will help you manage and relieve stress so that you can focus on your courses and complete whatever tasks and goals you have set for yourself.

What is Stress?

Ever wonder what stress is? The simplest definition of stress is that it is anything that makes us feel strained or anxious. Stressors can include but are not limited to:

  • Work or Project Deadlines
  • School work or Mandatory Tests
  • A new addition to the family
  • Losing a family member
  • Moving
  • Relationships
  • Work

Stress is inevitable. Each person reading this blog post will feel stressed at some point between now and the end of the semester. However, how you react to stress can make all the difference in the world. There are many ways to manage stress, I am going to mention some of the best ways to reduce stress and take you through what I do when I find myself stressed 🙂

Stress Management Techniques

  • Drawing, painting, or creating art – For many people artwork can be very calming and cathartic (relieves feelings). Creating art is such a popular stress remedy that many adults and young adults have taken to coloring. There are even coloring books catered to these very groups because of how effective it is in regards to promoting relaxations.
  • Reading or writing– Reading or writing are two of the most tried and true stress relief techniques. Reading allows you to lead a life different from your own, even if for only a small amount of time. Reading can also help you escape from the stresses of your day. When you read you can be a wizard facing a dangerous foe,  a ghost trying to figure out what happened to you or even be a detective trying to solve a crime. Reading transforms our “ordinary lives” and allows us to be ANYONE we want to be. Writing is very therapeutic when dealing with stress. Writing can allow someone to release their emotions and can be private if done in a diary. More than once I have actually written a letter to someone who made me feel upset but I destroyed the letter before sending it to rid myself the feelings I had towards that person. You also know, from one of my previous posts, the power of writing down a goal and repeating and reading this goal. As a refresher, doing this can help you achieve this goal and literally takes five minutes a day 🙂
  • Napping– One of the easiest ways to relieve stress is to take a good old fashioned nap. There is a reason babies get really cranky if they have not had a nap and that is because sleep calms us and allows our brains time to shut down.
  • Getting into water Immersing yourself in water is a great way to relieve stress. Taking a bath or swimming are two amazing ways to relax. In fact, salt water which you can find in oceans is extremely healing. It can clear up rashes on your skin and clean any cuts you have. Water is peaceful to us because it reminds us of being in the womb. Many people flock to water to relieve tension or stress whether they are active in a pool or ocean or are hanging out in a bathtub or jacuzzi.
  • Massage– Getting a massage doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can ask your parent or loved one to give you a quick shoulder massage. On top of feeling nice, massages help release toxins in our bodies which help us feel better. 
  • Exercise– Exercising is one of the best stress relief techniques because its free and you can exercise anywhere. You can take a walk, do some yoga, go for a run, or ride a bike. Anything that gets you moving counts as exercise. The benefits of exercise are plentiful and include helping give you more energy, assisting you in maintaining, losing, or even gaining weight depending on what you do, and releasing endorphins , chemicals in our bodies, which help us feel less stressed  🙂

How will I know when I am stressed?

There are some key indicators that will become obvious to those around of you if you are stressed. These include moodiness and a short temper. There are other things you may also notice about yourself when you are stressed which include headaches, trouble focusing, or even getting sick. As you can see managing your stress is an important step in keeping you physically and emotionally healthy. 

My Stress Relief Techniques

When I get stressed there are a few things I always do to help myself feel less stressed. Read about them below 🙂

Exercise– As someone who has always played sports it is no surprise that I exercise when I get stressed. My preferred method of stress relief is to take a kickboxing class or go swimming but since those require a kickboxing instructor and a body of water, I have learned to relieve my stress through going for a jog or walk with my family and through practicing yoga. I actually just started yoga a few weeks ago and although I am still learning the ins and outs of yoga, I love how I feel when I practice it. Yoga focuses on breathing on stretching which are two key components to maintaining your health. Many aches and pains can be relieved through stretching and believe it or not learning how to control your breathing can help change your mood instantly. 

Venting to a friend– If I am stressed I make sure I have someone to vent too. Sometimes talking out our stresses can help us find different solutions to what is stressing us out. If nothing else it takes your mind off what is causing you stress because you are venting to a friend and you get to catch up. The key here is to make sure you don’t ONLY call that person when you are stressed. You don’t want the person you are venting too to feel like you only call them when you need to unload, nor do you want to always make your problems their problems (which can cause them stress). I have a policy with one of my friends that once a week we will have a chat about the things that are stressing us out. All other talks are vent free unless they happen organically. The planned vent session helps us mentally prepare to hear about someone else’s troubles and helps us avoid always calling each other to talk about our problems.

Finding a Balance

The important thing to remember when dealing with stress is to find a balance. I am not suggesting that if you are stressed you spend your whole day avoiding what is bothering you by reading in the bathtub or napping and painting. Instead, I am suggesting that you recognize the signs that indicate you are stressed and take small breaks and steps to deal with your stress before it becomes too much to bear. I know this is easier said than done but going back to my last post on communication, this is simple of you learn to speak up.

Who can I talk too at school when I am stressed?

The first person you should contact if you are stressed is your professional school counselor. Not only are they great sounding boards for particular issues that are bothering you , but they are knowledgeable about different resources to help you deal with your stress as well.

If you cannot get ahold of your counselor you can address your school center leader when you are stressed. If you attend a brick and mortar center you should know who your leader is, but if not refer back to my communication post 🙂 If you are a virtual student your center leader is me 🙂 If nothing else, reaching out to your center leader signals to someone that something is going on with you and allows us to spring into action to put you in touch with the right person. 

My biggest piece of advice.

The best advice I can offer you if you are stressed is to NOT forget about your schoolwork. Communicate you are stressed to someone, take the time to do something for you, but continue to chip away at your work. Getting a few activities completed when you are feeling overwhelmed will help you feel better about your stressful situation. Not doing anything will only cause you to feel more stressed and put you even farther behind. One student below, who manages her busy personal life and schoolwork shares her thoughts on what she does when she is stressed out. 

“I work full-time but I remind myself that failure is not an option and that I have set goals for myself that I refuse to give up on. My favorite quote is “push for success” and I just constantly tell myself I can do just that because you can do whatever you want in life if you put your mind to it. I am lucky that my husband and my family support me and understand when I have to stay up late to put in time after working all day or when I have to use the weekends to catch up or put in extra time. I also remember to take a 30 to 60-minute break whenever I do work to give myself a little time to relax when I am working hard.”

Final Remarks

Stress is something we all experience, but you don’t have to let stress get the best of you. Find something you enjoy doing and even if you have to write yourself a note or find an accountability buddy, make sure you do that thing when you find yourself getting stressed. Remember that you can always reach out to your professional school counselor or your center leader if you feel overwhelmed. We are here to help and want you to be successful with the end of the semester approaching!