Make the Most of Your Books!

October 3rd, 2013 by tstjohn

Welcome to college, where your professors assign textbooks that you pay hundreds of dollars for and never open. Not once. Right?

Wrong. If a professor assigns a textbook, there must be good reason. It’s what you choose to do or not do with that textbook that makes the difference.

If you have books that you feel you have no use for, keep reading. I have found textbooks are great for a multitude of reasons. If you feel that you really value your books, well, keep reading anyways. You may learn something new! Below I share with you some great ways to get the most out of the money you spent for your books.

Attention to Details

Ever notice how your textbooks in high school had bold-faced print on terms that were critical as well as a definition on that same page or in the back section called the “glossary?” Well, as you may have found out, college books aren’t always so explicit. Go through your books and familiarize yourself with how each is set up. Some may just contain pages of nothing but text. Others may have pictures, graphs, bold text, and sample problems. Getting to know your books and how they are organized is the first step in knowing how to make them useful.

When You Read Can Make a Difference

Many professors assign in their syllabi what chapters should be read for what lectures. Use that more as a guideline rather than a definitive assignment (unless your professor also provides quizzes each class, a case in which you will want to abide by your syllabus).  I have found that reading after a lecture helps the material sink in better since I have already been acquainted with the material. Textbooks generally prescribe in-depth detail that professors may not go over in class or even use for exams. In order to avoid any confusion as to what the professor is trying to teach you, try waiting to read after class. Then you can focus more on the topics the professor emphasized and touch upon the finer details without overwhelming yourself.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Does your book have pictures, graphs, tables, diagrams, or any other figures? If yes, then pay attention! Much thought goes into selecting the most appropriate figures in textbooks. Many texts are written by people with doctorate degrees or who have taught. These people wouldn’t place a figure in your book they didn’t find educational value in! Pay attention to figures and images as well as tables. Read any captions that go along with them and look for any extra descriptions of them within the main body of text. Pictures and images are very useful, especially for visual learners. Use them as examples rather than just things to spice up the page.


Highlighting is NOT Enough

When reading for a class, you may find yourself highlighting words, statements, sentences, or even paragraphs that you find important. Good for you for picking out important parts. But why are these parts highlighted? Highlighting a book takes little to know effort at all. Make sure you are attentive about what you are highlighting and ask yourself, “Why is this important?”  Too many times I have found myself mindlessly highlighting a statement while I was thinking about things other than the actual words I was highlighting. I would then look back and ask myself what I was thinking? Avoid  mindless highlighting and really focus on what you find important and why!

Lastly, if after reading my advice you still feel your textbooks aren’t useful, hang in there! At some point your professor may whip out the book and start lecturing from it. If you absolutely never use it, at least it looked good on your shelf. Maybe your friends even commented on it and how smart you are for having to read such a developed text! They don’t have to know that it’s collected more dust than your family’s set of encyclopedias!


August 6th, 2013 by tstjohn

Be sure to complete alcoholEDU. Whether or not you drink, it has some important information to help you make responsible choices!

Click the link below:



July 30th, 2013 by tstjohn

Roommate. That one word tends to arouse much anxiety in today’s college students. With a movie like Screen Gems’ release of The Roommate in 2011, why wouldn’t it?

What will my roommate be like? Will he/she be mean? Will we not get along? How early does he/she need to go to bed? Am I too messy? All these are questions that I had asked myself prior to moving into my residence hall my first year here at UNE. It’s alright to be asking yourself these questions, especially if you have never had to share a room with someone except for the occasional “sleep over.”

Housing assignments are available and can be viewed on UOnline. Be sure to check that out as soon as possible so you know not only who you will be living with, but where. Moving in will be much easier if you have been able to communicate with your roommate(s) beforehand. Items like refrigerators, microwaves, and televisions may take up too much space if you and your roommate(s) all bring your own. It may also be easier to coordinate with them who will be moving in at what time, just so you can try to avoid moving in on top of each other.

Besides the logistics of moving in, you may want to just get to know your roommate(s). Obviously contacting each other through social media is very helpful, but when you are moved in try to do some activities together. Going to meals together or Welcome Back Week activities may help you get to know each other better and provide many opportunities for you to discuss things like sleep schedules, class schedules, favorite movies, and the sharing of personal items.

Living in a Residence Hall is like living in a small community. Get to know your roommate as well as the people on your floor. Spread to the people in your building. You will be living with all of them for the next year so try to get to know everyone!


For more information on Residential Education and Housing, check out the link below


Alley’s Experience

July 15th, 2013 by tstjohn

Alley, a sophomore Orientation Leader, shares her experience transferring to UNE for the second semester of her first year in college.

It’s still all very clear to me; the day I realized I wanted to transfer colleges. I did not feel like I belonged and I felt like just another number among the 9,000 students around me. There was no way I could stay there for the next three years of my life and I knew what needed to be done.

I still remember the very first day I arrived at UNE. I was so nervous, I didn’t even know what to think. Not only was I switching schools, I was switching at the beginning of the spring semester. So many things were running through my head but the one thing that worried me the most was if I was going to be able to make friends. The students already enjoyed their first semester together, establishing bonds and friendships. I did not know whether I would be able to establish any of my own. I had never actually visited the campus before deciding to transfer. I’ll even admit that I Googled “colleges in Maine” and clicked on the first one I saw, which happened to be UNE. I researched the location, number of students, programs and decided to apply. Two weeks later, I received a call from the head of admissions congratulating me on my acceptance and welcoming me for the spring semester. Overcome with joy that I finally had an out from the college I was currently attending, it took me a good ten minutes before reality actually began setting in. I live in Arkansas and I was about to make the decision to move 26 hours away from my family, never having even visited the place in which I was transferring. But I only applied to one school and I knew transferring was the best thing for me. During winter break I packed my things and eventually made my way to the airport. Two flights, a couple cups of coffee, and a 5 hour layover later, I finally made my way to UNE. Transfer Orientation began and ended, and the real deal began. My roommate returned from break, as well as everyone else on the floor. I can’t remember exactly how many hands I shook or how many times I replied, “yes people actually do live in Arkansas,” but I can remember how nervous I was. Day by day my nervousness started to disappear, until finally something truly amazing happened; it completely disappeared. I began establishing friendships, becoming a part of inside jokes, enjoying my professors, and began having a much better experience than my first semester of college. I finally felt comfortable and ready to tackle the rest of my future.

I was nervous, unsure, and questioned my decision multiple times. But after adjusting to life at UNE I realized transferring to UNE became the best decision I made during my first year of college. There’s a sense of family here at UNE and I can only hope you appreciate it as much as I do. Your nervousness will kick in and you may even start to question your decision. But look around you. You are not the only one experiencing this new adventure. Use it to your advantage and enjoy this new opportunity. Think with positivity, be yourself, and be 100% genuine.


ALEKS General Chemistry Preparatory Opportunity

June 15th, 2013 by tstjohn

Science courses in general can be difficult due to the content as well as the math and measurement skills that are needed. General Chemistry is one of these courses. Check out the ALEKS General Chemistry Preparatory Opportunity below to help you master skills needed to be successful in this course.

ALEKS General Chemistry Preparatory Opportunity

Why should I participate?

General Chemistry is a rigorous science course that requires significant work and presents many challenges.  Reviewing the core math, algebra, and measurement skills commonly utilized in General Chemistry will more favorably situate you to meet the demands of this challenging course.  The Math/Science Support Specialist specifically selected these modules to match up with skills you’ll need to obtain success in chemistry at UNE.

The ALEKS General Chemistry Review won’t cover everything, but it will give you a great head start.


What is ALEKS?

ALEKS is a completely online, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system adopted by UNE to assist you in mastering the material you will need for college level chemistry. ALEKS is adaptive to you and quickly determines what you know and don’t know within the context of the selected modules. ALEKS offers an individualized learning plan, practice, help, and immediate feedback, 24/7, from virtually any Web-based computer.


Getting Started!

Follow these instructions to participate in ALEKS General Chemistry Preparatory Opportunity.

  • Browser: Use Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari. Mozilla Firefox does not support ALEKS.
  • Go to
  • Enter the course code: KE3AP-E4ANN in the box titled “Using ALEKS with a Class?”
  • The course name should read: 2013 ALEKS Summer Chemistry Prep
  • You will now have an opportunity to purchase an 18-week access code for $40. This is the only cost – there are no university fees associated with participation. Type in your access code, take the assessment and you are ready to begin mastering chemistry!

For more information on the ALEKS General Chemistry Preparatory Opportunity, CLICK HERE.


Don’t hesitate to call or email the Math/Science Support Specialist.  Remember, this course is preparatory and not credit bearing, but it can really make a difference.  If you aren’t sure if this course is for you, feel free to discuss it with the Math/Science Support Specialist.  Also, we have both peer and professional tutoring in general chemistry at the Student Academic Success Center, so be sure to stop by and check out what we have to offer.


For questions or concerns please contact:

Nicole Stephens

Math/Science Academic Support Specialist

Student Academic Success Center

University of New England

(207) 602-2205