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Stress Levels: Skydiving Malfunction vs. Midterms

Here are two truths and a lie:

  1. My parachute malfunctioned when I went skydiving.
  2. I’ve been on the fastest rollercoaster in the world.
  3. I lost my sunglasses in the Great Pyramid.

The second one’s the lie. Yeah, my parachute malfunctioned when I went skydiving! Needless to say, I survived. Here’s a description of my skydiving experience paralleled with the average person’s experience through a college class.

While the rest of UCLA drove home for Thanksgiving last year, I went skydiving with my cousins. I will not disclose the exact location because people might incorrectly judge and discredit it because of the parachute malfunction, a term very easy to fret about. I’m honestly considering going back to the same place to get a skydiving license once I collect enough money. That place is awesome!

I chose to do the accelerated free-fall jump instead of the tandem, which essentially meant that there wouldn’t be a guy attached to me through this experience. Instead two people would float around near me making sure a parachute is pulled. A choice equivalent of picking a class with an interesting description and a professor whose Bruin Walk review said almost nothing. So you know it’ll be amusing, but the risks were higher.

The day started off with a waiver form.  You know how you think, “They’ll keep me safe because otherwise they get sued”? Erm … it turns out they make you sign something that prevents your family from suing and also says that if they go ahead and do it anyway, they get fined.  It’s like when the professor hands you the syllabus and it has homework, a million papers, multiple midterms, a final and attendance requirements despite a podcast! Drop out?

So I signed my life rights away and made important decisions about what was to be done with my organs if I died. What followed was … well, lecture. Now usually my morning classes (the few I make it to) go like this:

But in light of what I had just signed, I was more like this:

We eventually got to the part where the instructor taught us about malfunctions. But just like the warnings professors give about failing their classes, my brain casually skimmed this information because what are the odds, right?

Well, my instructor later mentioned that the odds of a malfunction were one in five. Fret not, malfunctions aren’t fatal and have EASY fixes. These are NOT defects in the parachute but rather a problem in the way it opens.

Next we suited up, ready to take on the world! Standing on the edge of the plane looking down, I repeated the procedure in my head. Jump. Altitude check. Instructor nod. Practice pull. Pull! This is that moment when you’re waiting for the exam and you put away your notes because time won’t have it any other way. So convincing yourself that you are prepared, you just go for it. Finally, I jumped off. It was like the midterm for an impacted class – no way out! I had to play it out, and I really had to pass.

Right after that jump, though, I lost my mind. Adrenaline took over. I forgot I could die. Adrenaline rush + insanity + imaginary immortality. This is the part of the exam with those short answers that you seem to know all the answers to.

I had the instructor along my side like an open book in the exam. But I disregarded his signs. All I had to do was fall. Gravity was the only thing that was working right now. So I euphorically enjoyed the free fall without a care in the world. This is like when you revel in the effortless parts of the exam and forget about the time constraints and the essay question that await you.

At 5,000 feet above the ground, I was still just chilling, so the instructor pulled my parachute. As I rose, I realised my direction had changed. I was on my own now! Suddenly everything started going wrong. Oh yeah, you just reached the essay and there are 20 minutes on the clock!

I looked up and saw the parachute. I was whirring in the air a little unstably. Cutting the parachute to open the emergency one  was an option but I’d rather have turbulence than crash to the ground so I stared at the twisted lines of my parachute trying to figure out the easiest fix. This is when you stare at your blank page, no thesis in mind. Clock ticking …

I recognized it was a line-twist error and I just had to air kick! The parachute strings were twisting up like a swing’s, and I uneasily kicked the air trying to free myself from the twisted strings. I seemed to make no progress. This is the part where you ramble on in the in-class essay, no direction, no argument, no GPA in sight.

I really should have panicked now. But all I could think was, I know this is wrong so I know how to fix it and I went into crazy-fix mode. This is those last 5 minutes of the exam.

Then, all at once, I was free of the twisted parachute strings. They straightened up and I stopped whirring. The view was great. The controls were easy. I flew gracefully with the wind. This is when you turn in the paper and run out, the grades aren’t out yet but the turmoil is over.

Now sounds from the radio device in my ear started playing. Everyone on the radio call seemed very worried about someone with a green parachute. Someone named “Arusha”. I had a green parachute, and my name is Arushi! Maybe it was because of the whirring or maybe it was just an insane coincidence, I thought. So I ignored them and enjoyed the beautiful views as I flew around in perfect control of my now-fixed parachute. At last, I made my not-so-perfect but still quite safe landing. You passed the exam, just above the curve!

As I lay there on the ground in relief and yet the regret of the experience being over, the radio guy was still giving “Arusha” directions. I later found out that he messed up our names and meant to instruct my cousin who was in a state of shock through his dive and still quite unresponsive while parachuting. But anyways I made it and he did too.

Stress is for times that involve life-and-death situations. GPA and life don’t qualify for the same stress league, so go pet some puppies, get a drink and chill out!

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Westwood

Best Late Night Places to Study

Sadly, some of us still have midterms. (I don’t, yay), but I know how hard it is to crack open the books during the middle of the day. Let’s admit it, we always have that one midterm that we wait until the night before to start studying. You decide to take a “little nap” after your long day, and BAM it’s 11 p.m. and you only have 12 hours left until your test. Now don’t be deceived, the “All-Nighter” is a form of art. There is a technique to it, a certain method to its madness. First step is: location. So, for all you night owls out there, here is a list of some of the best study places on and around campus for you to venture to.

 

NIGHT POWELL

Starting third week of every quarter, Powell finally blesses us with its open doors from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. It’s the perfect place for those of you who need ABSOLUTE quiet. Night Powell can became quite an interesting place as you stay later into the early morning. Don’t be alarmed by those who sleep in any possible corner or those who decide to take a break by taking pictures on Snapchat. (Yes, we notice you.) Be wary of the outlets; always make sure you sit somewhere you can charge your trusty Mac. Powell is a great place if you really want to get stuff done because, somehow, when you’re surrounded by working people, you tend to work more yourself.

 

STARBUCKS – WESTWOOD

The Starbucks on the corner of Weyburn and Broxton avenues is open 24 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t know how they do it, but take advantage of it. I know I’m a person who needs my Venti White Chocolate Mocha with an extra shot in order to study, so this is the perfect place to go for you coffee-lovers. Beware, however, that after midnight they close down half of the building so there are very few seats left. It’s hard finding a seat as it is, ugh. Word of advice for studying here: Arrive early in the day and camp out until the sun rises … or whenever you finish.

YAY THE RED SEASONAL CUPS ARE BACK!

 

THE DORMS

For the dormies who are still on the Hill (somebody swipe me plz lulz), many of us find a certain home in the lounges of our buildings. Even apartment-dwellers come back to reclaim their old stomping grounds: Rieber Terrace eighth-floor study lounge closest to the elevator. But there are also the fireside lounges in Hedrick Hall and Rieber Hall, along with many other study lounges in the lobbies of each dorm building. These places can get a little more social and are not as quiet, so it’s a great place to go if you have group projects or want to study with friends. Note to non-dormies: Be patient, somebody will rescue you and swipe you into the buildings eventually.

 

AN APARTMENT OTHER THAN YOUR OWN

Now most people I talk to agree that studying in your own apartment is a trap. There it is … your comfy bed in the corner of your eye … so warm and inviting … LOOK AWAY … but … it’s memory foam … and the pillow is Tempur-Pedic and – you get what I mean. So, a good option is to go over to a friend’s apartment to get some work done. BUT, don’t go to your best friend’s place if you know all you’re going to do is throw shade about your roommates, watch a “quick movie” on Netflix or just sleep in their bed. It may be hard to stay disciplined studying around friends, but the key is to make yourself uncomfortable: Sit on the hardest chair you can find, make it extremely cold in the room, anything to keep you up for the late night. Plus, make use of your friends by having them make sure you wake up on time when you want to take a quick nap. Or do The Pomodoro Technique (look it up) together!

 

YOUR OWN ROOM

If you have the discipline to study at your own place, by all means, do it. There is nothing like the wonderful feeling of privacy, the wonderful feeling of being able to scream when you want to, to cry when nobody watches, or, if you’re like me, to break out into a one-man musical to all of the greatest Disney hits (High School Musical is my best act). Studying in your own room is great when you really want to focus without any distractions at all. You can stay as long as you want; you can be noisy when eating that bag of SunChips from Bruin Cafe; you can do anything, really. But, it’s not for everyone, especially those who end up accidentally scrolling through Facebook for hours. Studying alone, there’s nobody to keep you in check except yourself, so beware.

funny-gif-studying-sleeping-room

 

 

NOT OPEN LATE BUT YOU SHOULD GO HERE ONE DAY: PHILZ COFFEE

For those who like to get away from campus, Philz Coffee became the talk of the town (for the NorCal people) when one of the coffeehouses opened in Santa Monica. Known for its delicious spin on coffee, Philz is a great place to go when you want to feel sophisticated while studying for your exams. They have a great menu (get the Iced Mint Mojito, just do it), but the building is sort of small, so it’s either a hit or miss when you try to find a seat. Philz Coffee didn’t quite make our list because Philz closes at 9 p.m. everyday. Still, try it just for the coffee, then go to Third Street Promenade and treat yo self … well maybe AFTER midterms.

That’s it! So, I hope you find the perfect place for you! GO MIDTERMS! WOO!

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CultureHow-to

Three Apps to Beat Procrastination

A mere month into the academic year, midterms are in full swing and have caught some of us relatively off guard. This, coupled with our tendency to procrastinate, usually leaves us in a less-than-enviable position. Whether you prefer to dismiss procrastinating as a personal bad habit, character flaw or what have you, procrastination is more or less universal – we all procrastinate. But before you decide to put off another study session, we here at Mojo have a few apps that will help you beat procrastination and give you an edge when crunch time rolls around. Without further ado, here are some of our favorites:

1) Strict Workflow

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This Chrome app blocks all social media and any other site that might take away from your work for 25 minutes. You can delete the app, or even reboot your computer, but those websites will still be blocked until the timer runs dry. While this might come across as a bit harsh, it all but guarantees a period of productivity for the user. Moreover, after each 25-minute session, the app allots the user 5 minutes of free time, which is plenty of time for you to check up on your social media outlets. If you feel like you need help working out a moderately healthy balance of work and play, Strict Workflow might be an excellent option for you. (Strict Workflow on Chrome Web Store)

2) Yelling Mom

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Named after the original bane of one’s procrastination, this mobile app is arguably every bit as effective as its namesake. Operating on the premise that aggressive prodding is the optimal method of motivating an individual to complete any given task, Yelling Mom takes you to task by reminding you of your scheduled tasks via a sizable host of obnoxious alerts. These alerts range from disco music to sirens to car alarms. Interestingly enough, the sound file of an actual nagging mom is not included as an option. Notwithstanding, if your mother was your motivator at any given point in life, it probably wouldn’t hurt to give Yelling Mom a shot. (Yelling Mom on iTunes)

3) Write Or Die

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This app is positively diabolical. Its unforgiving nature has actually attracted attention (and perhaps a grudging endorsement?) from The Guardian. By incentivizing productivity with pictures of kittens and puppies, Write or Die seems innocuous enough prima facie. But don’t be fooled, because that’s where the other foot drops: if this app catches you slacking, it will start deleting your work. In fact, the most recent edition of Write or Die has made it so that upon a detecting the passage of a predetermined period of inactivity, the app will start selectively deleting every vowel in your piece, effectively disemvoweling (haha, get it?) your work and leaving it an unintelligible husk of gibberish. Talk about taking the carrot-and-stick method to the next level! But if you subscribe to the “go hard or go home” mentality, this app was made for you. (WriteOrDie.com)

How do you deal with procrastination? Comment below, let us know! Or alternatively, tweet us @dbmojo.

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