Tag Archives: study

Summer on Campus

Hello, my name is Leo Kullman. I am a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering and a student in the honors college. I will begin a co-op with Cook Pharmica this fall. In order to meet graduation requirements in a timely fashion, I am taking classes this summer at Purdue West Lafayette. For the Maymester, I took Microeconomics and am now taking Mechanical Engineering Statics and Calculus 3. Summer classes are an interesting experience. The curriculum is sped up twice as fast as the regular semester, but I spend the same amount of time in the class as if I had taken it in the fall. That means the biggest difference is in the time I have to do homework and the time I have to study. For this reason, summer classes can be more difficult that regular semester courses. However, most professors give less homework and comprehensive exams to make up for the accelerated pace.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying my time in these classes. It’s a good way to get ahead or stay on track, and because I’m only taking two courses at a time, I get to focus more on the coursework than in the regular semester when I’m taking many more classes. This has also been a good time for me to meet other co-op students who are taking classes over the summer to also stay on track.

In addition to my summer classes, I’m also working as a student researcher for Dr. Eric Nauman. Dr. Nauman is head of Honors Engineering at Purdue and is in charge of the Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects, a summer camp for incoming high school seniors run by honors engineering. I am working with a team of other honors engineers to develop curriculum for the week long engineering experience. My main duties involve building a hexapod robot, wiring the electronics to be compatible with the tasks we wish to do, and writing code for robot movement using inverse kinematics. All of this while trying to find a way to teach students how to do the same in a matter of days. When the camp begins in mid-July I will be on the Projects Team Staff. This has overall been a very good experience and has let me interact with both professors and upperclassmen researchers.

This summer I’m living in Harrison Hall with a friend from my freshman dorm as a roommate. Living in summer dorms is very different than living in the dorms during the regular academic year. Due to the variety of lengths of summer courses, there are students moving in and out of the dorm every weekend. Also, there are only two dining courts open during the summer, with much more limited hours. The Co-Rec also has shorter hours. However, there are still events to go to during the summer. Every Wednesday there are snacks and games on the Union lawn, every other weekend there are free movies at Fowler Hall, and about once a month there are cookouts for students to eat at and meet new friends. Between class, work, and campus life, I am having a very good experience at Purdue this summer.

Dead Week

We’ve almost made it through another Dead Week here at Purdue!

Every year, Dead Week comes along. At first, it’s exciting! It’s the last week of classes! It’s almost summer!

StewYou’re going to be good this year and start studying for Finals early.

Or maybe not.

But then suddenly you realize that you have two lab reports, a project, and a presentation this week.

You learn that it’s not called Dead Week because campus is calm, but because they’re trying to kill you.

Somehow, you make it through and get everything turned in. You might have even done a decent job!

And at the end of it all your brain, like this week, is dead.

…Just in time for Finals!

Stay strong, friends! You can do it!

Study Notes from a Procrastinator

Everyone tells you that college is a lot of work, but if you’re anything like me, it’s tempting to think “maybe it was hard for that person, but it won’t be a problem for me.” (Conceited, I know, but I have to be honest with you if my experiences are going to help at all.) You may have excellent study habits in high school, and if you do, then congratulations, you’re on your way to success! Half the battle is building those habits.

I was the opposite of those incoming students with excellent study habits. I coasted through high school on minimal effort, not because I was genius level smart, but because I was lazy. My senior showcase essay for AP Composition was written about procrastination, since I didn’t start it until the night before it was due and I knew I could get away with it by crafting some clever sentences about how it was a fitting topic. I still remember the conclusion – a pretty lame Harry Potter joke, followed by the quip “I could think of a better analogy than Harry Potter, but it’s getting late and I have math homework to finish.”

As it turns out, engineering classes don’t accept jokes about popular culture in place of the correct answer, something I quickly learned upon arrival at Purdue. I’ll be honest – I was not a model student when it came to studying. Or finishing homework. Or going to class. As a matter of fact, I probably attended 50 percent of my Calc I classes. DO NOT DO THAT. I had taken calculus in high school and had gotten a good score on the AP test, but had decided to retake the class since I didn’t feel ready to move on to Calc II. “I can totally do this, Calc wasn’t even hard in high school” I rationalized every time I didn’t feel like waking up for class. The 37% I got on the second test of the year shocked me into studying, but by that point I had tanked my grade enough that I got a C in the class, which is not easy to admit.

I would argue that learning to study was my hardest assignment that first year. There was a lot of trial and error, and I learned that studying for hours if you’re distracted or if you’re studying things you don’t really need to review is not as effective as diligently focusing on the right things for a shorter amount of time. You have to find what works for you – I get by on my monstrous to-do lists, color coded calendars and by keeping myself busy, since I’m more likely to study if I know this is my only opportunity to do so.

I’m not going to pretend that I now have it all together, and frankly there are much better people to take study advice from. There are so many parts of my study habits that I am trying to improve upon, and I still fall into the trap of thinking I can handle more than I actually can. I also can’t pretend that the bad grade I received my first semester kicked me into gear and suddenly I studied diligently between classes from 8 AM to 6 PM (which is not a bad strategy, honestly); even my junior year of college, I stepped back and realized “yikes, I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing to study.” But the sooner you realize that you need to put consistent, dedicated time and effort into your classes, the better – your grades will improve, your stress levels will drop, and you can stop living entire days hopped up on deadline adrenaline. Procrastination feels good in the moment; a well-earned grade keeps you proud and confident for days.