How to survive a week long institute. 

Hello, friends! It's been a while. A lot has happened since I last posted. I have been finishing up my graduate program, living life, and applying to teaching positions (more on that later). I had a few week long classes that took up ALL of my time, but in a good way. That's what I'm going to talk about here:

How to survive a week long institute!

Over the course of my many (many) years as a graduate student, I took a number of week long institutes. All of them Most of them were very successful. *hair toss*

I have compiled a list of things to keep in mind if you plan on taking, are considering taking, or are in the middle of taking a week long institute.

  1. Be prepared: If you need to go sing some Lion King to yourself, you can do it now, I'll wait. …. For a week long class, you have *drumroll* a week! Sometimes the final project is due after the class, but the bulk of the things you are doing are going to be during that week. A full semester of learning in one week. If you are not prepared you will feel like you are drowning in the work. Which brings me to my next tip.
  2. Stay on top of things: Know what your homework is, know what you're doing in class that day, know if there are any readings that are due before the class even starts. If you stay on top of all that information, you will not fall behind and you will be less stressed and your work will show that. If you fall behind, the quality of your work will suffer because you are rushing to get everything done on time.
  3. Get a cool lunch box: I'm not talking about a Star Wars lunch box with a thermos. I'm talking about the ones you can put in the freezer over night and they will stay cold all day. You will most likely not have access to a fridge and those classrooms get pretty hot over the summer. If you don't want a full freezer lunch box, then get an ice pack. Or, don't even bring a lunch and be at the mercy of the school's cafeteria or the Dunks down the street (but that can get expensive). (Also, did you know that there are 19 Weight Watchers points in a blueberry muffin from Dunkin Donuts? That's more than half of your daily allotted points. Dang).
  4. CAFFEINE: However you get your caffeine, do it. Coffee, tea, energy shots, yoga, screaming at the top of your lungs, WHATEVER. You're going to need the energy to get through the day, which is usually 8 hours.
  5. Communicate: With your peers, with your professor, with yourself. You only have a week to establish yourself and get your participation grade to where you want it to be. You need to get that communication/participation going! If you put it off until you feel ready, the week will be over and you'll have a failing participation grade.
  6. Use the breaks you are given: Usually (hopefully) there are a few breaks built into the class. A mid-morning break, a lunch break, and an afternoon break. The mid-morning and afternoon breaks are great for getting up, going to the bathroom, stretching your legs, and refilling your water bottle. (The afternoon break is great for getting more caffeine). USE THOSE BREAKS, they are there for a reason: so when you have to go to the bathroom, which you will, you won't miss any important information.
  7. Do not procrastinate: This one is probably the most important. Most of the time, there is a final project associated with the class. Half of the time it is due at the end of the week, half the time it is due within the following month. With either of these scenarios, you cannot put off the work. If the professor is giving you extra time, there is a reason. The project probably requires more hands-on hours than the class can offer. DO NOT WASTE TIME! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT $200!

I hope this list helps you during your class!

Have you taken a week-long institute? What was it? Did you like it?



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