Category Archives: College Life

Are You Overwhelmed Yet?

I also could have asked if you are whelmed (look it up, I did).

Students at B-schools really suffer at this time of year.  After Thanksgiving break, one or two weeks of class are followed by a week of final exams.  Profs are stepping on the gas by cramming four weeks of lectures into too few remaining classes.  Students are busy with projects, papers, tests, readings and studying for finals.

At this time of year students are too busy and exhausted for insightful reflective thinking, which is what they need most as college courses climax.

(C) Jorge Cham -

(C) Jorge Cham –

I’ve been working with very full To Do lists for the past two weeks, often surpassing >150 tasks to complete.  Today the list is at a comfortable 42 items.  Not that I’m going to work on anything.  I’m on Thanksgiving break.

by David Albrecht

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14 Things to Know Before Starting College

college-student-lifeIn this sharing world of digital era technologies (which I love) it is easier than ever to read truly insightful articles and essays.  I was alerted to one such article in today’s barrage of social media alerts.

Vivian Giang of Business Insider has written today’s gem in “14 Things High Schoolers Should Know Before They Go To College.”  I didn’t know these things when I attended a local university 45 years ago.  I wish I had.  These 14 nuggets ring true based on my experience as a professor.  Each one of these is important.  Please read the article, but here is my summary.

  1. You don’t have to start college right away.  It is OK to wait a year or two.
  2. Your professors aren’t your parents. They are there to teach you, not to lecture you on life lessons.
  3. Being cool in high school doesn’t mean you will be cool in college, and vice versa.
  4. Go to networking events. Learning how to meet, interact with and establish relationships with new people is one of life’s most important skills.
  5. Invest in your professors. They can be much more than talking heads. Some are worth establishing a relationship with.
  6. Get an internship. It gives business people a chance to meet and discover who are you.
  7. Get a job.
  8. Learn how to write.
  9. Research and learn how college loans will affect your life after college.
  10. Take your scholarship seriously. Losing it will negatively affect your life.
  11. Get up when your alarm goes off.  In other words, get up in the morning.
  12. Always go to class.
  13. Try new things.
  14. Make new friends and be social.

by David Albrecht


Filed under College Life, Student issues

Sharing Coke

One of the things that is supposed to be learned by the time a youngster graduates from kindergarden:  sharing.

It’s refreshing (no pun intended, but I’ll still take a bow) to see college students sharing, even if it’s a drink of Coca-Cola.

Apparently, this was accomplished during finals week.

If my managerial accounting students weren’t going to study for the final exam (most didn’t), they should have found a constructive use of their time.

by David Albrecht

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Holiday Break is Over!


This year I am living a four week holiday break–the last two weeks in December and the first two weeks in January.  There are no classes and only a few meetings.

The first two weeks (minus the half week when I had to turn in course grades) have been great.  I’m home with the wife, getting reacquainted after a semester apart.  My two sons (29 & 24) also came home for Christmas.  I’ve been refreshing friendships at church and at the local bridge club.  Moreover, I’ve been staying up until 3 a.m., sleeping late, and taking a daily nap.  Oh yes, the video rental store is where everybody knows my name.  Cheers.

Today, January 2, is the day when we all head back to work.  My in-box so far has three times the e-mail from any day between Christmas and New Year’s.
It’s back to the business of too much to do and too little time in which to do it.

I have hours of news to read, a friend’s research paper to edit, blog posts to write, and course syllabi to write.  And that’s just for today.

buried-in-workby David Albrecht

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Crunch Time, AKA Cancel Your Life

I’m republishing this December 4, 2010 post from the Pondering the Classroom archives.  It is still relevant.

Fall semester is winding down in the USA. We are past the stages of “Reaching our stride,” mid-terms, “Finally getting the hang of it,” and “Running out of time.” We are not yet at the stages of “The end is near,” or “It’s all over but the shouting.” Crunch time starts with a little less than two weeks of class remaining before final exams.

Crunch time is a stressful, pressure packed time for college students and professors alike. IMO there is too much stress, too much pressure. Neither students nor faculty are particularly fragile, but it is called crunch time for a reason.

After four years of undergraduate crunch times, students will be transfigured for life. Last week in a local coffee shop, a middle-aged woman admitted that she still had nightmares about final exams. Her most recent: being 30 minutes late and still unable to locate the room of the exam. Yikes! She never missed a test in her life, but still has fear. I occasionally have that same dream.

Crunch time is no fun for students. Homework still needs to be completed, lessons learned, pre-final tests crammed for and taken, major term papers and projects written and turned in. There is too much to do, too little time to do it in, and no one wants to fail.

Other profs provide the most sarcastic advice: “Start earlier next time.”

I try to be helpful, “Cancel your life.” You need to be focused and study every available minute of the day. A lot of things can slide. Here are three.

You no longer have time for laundry. As long as classes are still in session, apply the smell test to clothes. Smell test? If unlaundered clothes don’t smell of body odor, they are ok to wear. Near the end of final exam week, though, clothes are allowed to reek. Hint 1: hanging up dirty clothes to let them air out will get another day of wear. Hint 2: use copious amounts of spray and wash when the day finally arrives.

You no longer have time to wash dirty dishes, pots and pans. Fast food is now part of the food pyramid. Because we live in an age of vermin, you never want to let garbage pile up, as in this picture:

Hint 1: Huge burritos are a nutritious fast food meal. Hint 2: caffeine negatively impacts cognition. Hint 3: Your apartment has an automatic dishwasher. Use it. If you eat at home, paper plates and plastic silverware were made for times like this.

You no longer have time to watch TV. Hint: Watch favorite shows on Hulu when finals are over.

Do you have any crunch time advice? Leave a comment.

– – by David Albrecht

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Procrastination …

I’m giving a test tomorrow.  At 11:22 p.m., am just now putting the finishing touches on the exam problems.  Why didn’t I do it earlier?

And I’ve had a never ending stream of cell phone calls and texts from students who are studying.  It’s obvious that many are studying the material for the first time.  Like me, they have been procrastinating.

Taking a detour on Youtube reveals evidence of some very creative people who created videos while procrastinating from school or work or whatever.

The first video is a simple song by KissPriss.  Priss has a nice voice, but she is avoiding school work.

MelTab27 puts a bit more effort into her video.  Procrastinators know very well about tomorrow, except MelTab spells it T-O-M-O-R-O.

Tina Solar (Splash1121) writes a simple song about procrastination.  The video, however, is anything but simple.  Nice job Tina.

Cat Dunn writes about the fun of procrastination.  No song here, but Cat is very entertaining.

If you made it to this point of the blog post, you really don’t want to do whatever.  Now, get back to work!

by David Albrecht

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And the Beat Goes On

Up in North America, fall semester is about 60% complete.  Well, complete may be not be the best term to use given that an awful lot of professor dumping still needs to fall on students.  Professor dump?  Papers, projects and tests.

When I was a college student, it seemed as if a semester would last forever.  It would just go on and on, sort of like the beat.

Salvatore Philip Bono and Cheryl Sarkisian (a.k.a. Sonny and Cher) were a force back then.  I really liked them.  He was short and smart, and she was a wild and unpredictable babe.  I loved their TV show, it seemed so clever and wholesome.

Sonny wrote one of the all time classics, “And the Beat Goes On.”  The video clip I’m embedding here isn’t the best recording of the song, but it captures Sonny and Cher on their show when both were singing well, and they both seemingly liked each other.

by David Albrecht


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