Parkland organizations here to help with finals

Photo by tomWARNER | From research to leisure, Parkland’s library, found in the X-wing, offers many rows of books to choose from.

Photo by tomWARNER |
From research to leisure, Parkland’s library, found in the X-wing, offers many rows of books to choose from.

Emma Gray

Editor

To prepare for finals week, which is Dec. 11–15, several organizations at Parkland will be trying to help students by handing out free items and by helping students study effectively for exams.

Phi Theta Kappa, an honors society at Parkland and other community colleges, will be handing out around 200 final exam survival kits at the Welcome Desk in the U-wing on Tuesday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. These kits are free to students.

According to Lori Garrett, the Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor, the kits were designed by members of Parkland’s chapter a few years ago and they include items designed to motivate students before possibly stressful exams.

Items that could be included in the kits include a bookmark with study tips made by Phi Theta Kappa, erasers, pencils with motivational phrases, candy, gum, and information on stress management.  There will also be a number of items to help those feeling under the weather. The logic behind these items is that the immune system is compromised when the body and mind are under stress, so student are more likely to get sick during stressful times like finals. Accordingly, the kits will include items like hand sanitizer and tissues.

Phi Theta Kappa is also in the preliminary stages of turning the Welcome Desk into more of an information station for students on stress management and study tips during the last week of classes. They hope to distribute fliers on these topics.

Student Government will also be distributing items like candy canes, pencils, and possibly stress toys on Dec. 6–8 in the Student Union. These items are meant to wish students luck on their exams.

Besides fun items, students can get help studying before finals week. Various resources like the Center for Academic Success in D120, SciCommons on the first floor of the L-wing, the Presentation Center C152, the Library in the X-wing, and for students who are eligible, TRIO in the U-wing will be available for students.

The Center for Academic Success in particular has resources designed to help students study effectively and complete final papers. However, students are advised that they should not wait until finals to begin.

“The sooner they come in, [the sooner] we can help students put together a plan to finish final projects and prepare for final exams,” said Tracey Hickox, director for the Center for Academic Success. “The more you start reviewing now the better [off] you are going to be. We want to help students avoid procrastinating and last minute cramming for exams. And it’s still early, so…I encourage students to come  into D120 now so we can help them start working on a how to study plan for the finals.”

One important step according to Hickox is finding out what will be on the final. Students can look at the syllabus and ask their professors to find out what will be covered on the exam. After figuring out what they need to know, students are advised to critically look at what they don’t yet fully know.

“They need to be able to assess what concepts they understand and where they are still  struggling,” Hickox said. “Our staff in the Center for Academic Success can help students with the different parts of the course that they’re struggling with…[if] there are certain concepts they need help understanding with they can get one on one help here.”

The center has free peer and faculty tutors who can help with an array of subjects including chemistry, physics, math, statistics, biology and business.

“For many subjects we do [have a faculty or peer tutor],” Hickox said. 

The center also has a Writing Lab that can help students with different aspects of writing a paper, from making outlines, actually starting the paper or looking a draft over to answering specific questions about things like transitions, point of view and subject matter. The Writing Lab is on a walk in basis with appointments typically lasting 15 minutes. Because appointments are short faculty do not proof read papers. Students are welcome to come back for more help after their first appointment. 

“We have students who will meet with… a faculty member in the Writing Lab, and receive feedback on how to improve their paper.  Student can then  go back and work. They are welcome to come back to the Writing Lab to receive more help on the same project. Some students even return for help on the same day” Hickox said.

The Writing Lab is not exclusively for English classes either. Students are welcome to come in with any paper they have for a course. 

“Any subject that has a paper the Writing Lab can help ,” Hickox said.

Another service the center has is the Academic Development Lab, which has more intensive one on one help for developmental courses in math and reading and writing.

The center also has academic coaches who can help with things like how to study effectively, organization, time management, how to communicate with instructors, and how to break down studying in to manageable chunks. They can help students look at when they have time to study and create a plan for how they will prepare for finals. Coaches can also help guide students to online resources.

If students are becoming overly stressed about finals, Counseling and Advising in U267 has personal counselors who are available to talk.