Tag Archives: PHC

Effectively Managing Time

By Paige Hackney

Being a successful and productive student is a combination of many factors and decisions all working in concert to culminate in a fulfilling academic career. To be a well-rounded and successful student requires selecting a major that fulfills your interests and future career plans, balancing academic requirements and pressures, finding time for relaxation and fun, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and making and enjoying friends. When I was a student in the late 70’s, a student’s main “job” was to go to class, study, do homework, perhaps work a few hours a week, and enjoy new friends. In short – be a student. It strikes me that much more is expected of today’s student than the student of my day. Most of today’s students appear to balance studies with more time-consuming and often multiple jobs, involvement in several organizations, and engaging in community service activities, all while setting aside time to spend with friends. This increased demand on the finite resource of time can lead to stress which in turn can lead to the ineffective use of that time.

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How can students develop effective time management skills that minimize stress and provide optimal results in the classroom and/or on the job coupled with a satisfying social life and a positive sense of self? While each student will bring a unique ability to manage time, based in part on personality (Type A versus Type B), there are strategies that any student can implement to improve their use of this all important finite resource that we each have in the course of a day. I would like to explore some simple strategies for effective time management that may help you make more efficient and productive use of your time that should decrease stress and increase performance in your studies and overall satisfaction with life.

The first and most intuitive step is to prioritize tasks. When considering multiple tasks, consider deadlines and magnitude of tasks that need to be accomplished. And by all means, do not procrastinate. Use and regularly check a calendaring system to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. I like to use the analogy of having multiple Saturday errands to run in a single trip. If I find that I need to go to the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, and drop off garbage, I always think about how best to manage my route and stops. Multiple factors will figure into my chosen route and sequence of chores based on immediate needs (Do I need cash from the bank to complete any of the other tasks on my list or am I getting cash for an upcoming trip in a few days), the season (do I want to avoid smelly garbage and melted ice cream in my car in summer) and ease of negotiating my chosen travel route through busy intersections (stop light placement, on what side of the street are my destinations located). In summer my route is often different than in winter based on logistics, priorities and conditions.

The second, and perhaps the most difficult strategy is: Don’t procrastinate. Few people actually perform better under pressure in a short period compared to a longer span of time. It is easy to fall into this trap especially when having to choose between taking on the task at hand rather than doing something more attractive and fun. Procrastination only leads to stress and leaves little, if any, time to learn from unanticipated results and make corrections to produce a better end product or start over.

sporkMy third suggestion is to avoid multitasking and focus on one assignment at a time and do it well. Studies show it usually takes longer to complete multiple tasks simultaneously than it does to complete several tasks singularly. This phenomenon is due to the additional time required to refocus when transitioning back and forth between tasks.

Don’t forget to take care of your basic needs when you have many things to accomplish. Getting adequate sleep does take time; however, sleep is a source of rejuvenation for the mind as well as the body. Sleep provides the resources to think more clearly, organize thoughts more efficiently and learn and retain information more easily. If you do find yourself stressing over a daunting to-do list, take time to relieve the added pressure by engaging in some form of exercise or meditation. Exercise is not only good for the heart and overall personal wellbeing and health, but also improves brain function to spark memory and general brain function. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen has scientifically-proven long-term benefits including longevity, improved memory and enhanced thinking skills.

On those busiest of days, don’t forget to take time to enjoy life with friends. Social engagement is as basic a human need as eating and sleeping and should be regularly worked into your schedule to foment success. Taking a break to enjoy dinner with friends may be all that is necessary on a hectic day to help you relax, redirect energies and ultimately refocus.

While these strategies seem simple and intuitive, they will require a conscious effort to implement for most people. However, the added benefit you will find in your personal and academic life will be significant.

 


Meet Aaron Dean…

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Aaron, a third-year Mechanical Engineering major, spends most of his free time supporting the Railroad Engineering & Activities Club (REAC), the Michigan Tech Student chapter of the American Railway Engineering & Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA). An active member of REAC and newly elected 2016-17 President, Aaron has visited numerous rail industry sites and volunteers locally at the Quincy Mine & Hoist Association (QMHA) and the Houghton County Historical Society.

REAC trip to Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters in Omaha, NE
REAC trip to Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters in Omaha, NE
Volunteering at QMHA Cog Railway
Aaron volunteering at the Quincy Mine Hoist Association (QMHA) Cog Railway

It was through his participation in REAC, that Aaron came to be hired as an undergraduate research and administrative assistant for the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP). His interest in research allowed Aaron to shift from administrative tasks to research activities in a new area related to driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings. Aaron’s work with the RTP has had a great influence on their ability to advance that research area from an internally funded initiative to an externally funded project by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Aaron’s initial work focused on reducing data from the Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP2 NDS) through a Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) minor initiative. Just last summer, he received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to investigate the use of automated head rotation data as an indicator of driver behavior at railroad grade crossings, and his results are showing great promise for the approach. Aaron attended the AREMA conference in Orlando, FL this past August, and won best undergraduate student poster. Following this success and the growing interest in his work, Aaron was invited to present at the 2017 Joint Rail Conference in Philadelphia this coming April and is busy preparing for the opportunity.

AREMA 2016 Conference Orlando FL
AREMA Conference 2016 in Orlando, FL

Aaron was recently selected as a DeVlieg Foundation Fellow for the Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP) through the Pavlis Honors College. This will allow for continued research and could potentially lead to published works in a notable transportation journal. Aaron’s URIP mentor, Pasi Lautala, Director of the RTP and an Assistant Professor for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, shared, “Aaron Dean got involved in our highway-rail grade crossing research almost immediately after we hired him as an undergraduate assistant for the Rail Transportation Program (RTP). He quickly became our leading student researcher. With his help, we were able to secure a small internal grant from the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) which also led to Aaron’s successful proposal for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). It was due to his work that we were able to write a successful proposal for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a two year study. Aaron is truly a role model for our other students in taking a task and making it his own, and the results are evident from the awards he’s already received.”

Lake Superior FishingAaron is also an active member and Public Relations Manager for the Michigan Tech Men’s Basketball Club. His team travels all over the Midwest to play in tournaments with other club teams from other universities. In his spare time, he also enjoys hunting, fishing and playing the guitar.

Aaron competing with the Michigan Tech Basketball Club in the Bucky Classic Tournament at the University of Wisconsin - Madison
Aaron competing with the Michigan Tech Basketball Club in the Bucky Classic Tournament at the University of Wisconsin – Madison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tech Students Named University Innovation Fellows

UIFs in Silicon Valley for Epicenter Training

Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.
Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the 2016 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.

Congratulations to Rachel Kolb, Kyle Ludwig, and Adam Weber who have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

The University Innovation Fellows Program empowers students to become agents of change at Michigan Tech. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to make a positive impact on the world.

“We believe that students can be so much more than just the customers of their education. They can be leaders of change and they can co-design the higher education experience,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “This core belief has driven the program since its inception, and we’ve seen the results of this belief put to action at schools around the world. Fellows are collaborating with their peers, faculty and administrators to create more educational opportunities for students at their schools. They are making measurable gains, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

RachelKolb
Rachel Kolb received the Rising Star of the Year award at the 2016 Michigan Tech Student Award Ceremony

Rachel, Kyle and Adam were sponsored by Pavlis Honors College Assistant Dean, Mary Raber. The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will fund the Fellows’ six week online training along with their travel to the annual University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup in March of 2017.

“Through this program, Fellows learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems for new opportunities, understand the needs of stakeholders at their schools, collaborate with peers from different disciplines, and solve open-ended problems,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “All of these mindsets and skills will help Fellows make a difference in higher education as well as in the increasingly complex world that awaits them after graduation.”

Tech’s new Fellows will advocate for lasting change by creating opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.