May the Fourth study break

Don’t you love this time of year!! The smell of coffee in the air, the texture of no. 2 pencils on your fingers, the color of an empty word document, and the scantrons…oh so many scantrons!! Yes, this time of year is filled with finals, papers, and stress.

Take a break from all that stress with our de-stress event. Our event will be on May the fourth. Yes, it will be on Star Wars day!! May the fourth be with you!


I can not remember the first time I watched Star Wars. I had the original trilogy on VHS, and I grew up watching them for as long as I remember. I watched them too many times if you asked my parents.

I love Star Wars! I can quote almost every line in all the movies, I have read many of the books, and watch all of the television shows. I may or may not still have a toy lightsaber.

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 16: U.S. President Barack Obama jokingly attacks Olympic fencer Tim Morehouse during a fencing demonstration on the South Lawn of the White House promoting the city of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics September 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama joined Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, members of the USOC, and representatives from the Chicago2016 group during the event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama

I remember watching the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens,” this past December. I was grinning like a little kid on Christmas Day. I think I did not stop grinning until about 15 minutes into the movie. And I am sure I was not the only one who felt like that.

The love of Star Wars spans generations and at this event we will share our love of Star Wars!! There will be Star Wars trivia game, food, refreshments, and give-aways. The first 10 there get an Awesome Final Survival Pack!! Take a break from finals and all the stress from this month with us and some Star Wars!!

Our event will be on be on Wednesday May 4 in Ransom Hall Lobby from 12-1pm! Hope to see you there!!

May the Force be with you!

Your Online Study Space

As I’ve said in previous posts, one of the greatest things about being an online student is the ability to do your classes anywhere. Here, I will talk about the best places to do your classes to increase your chances of success!

First of all, the actual geographic location isn’t all that important. I mean, you’ve already chosen to study off-campus. So what is important in your online learning space? Let’s go through our 5 senses to make this more clear.

Here is my home office/study space. I know that not everyone has a great setup like mine, but mine is also because I not only attend school virtually, but I also work from home virtually! I will refer back to this photo throughout the post.


What does your online learning space look like? It is free of clutter or is your computer sitting on a pile of books from last semester? Is there a cup without a lid on it or is your beverage safely sitting in a bottle?

No matter where your actual space is (library, bedroom, home office, etc.) it is important to make sure that there are no major distractions in your field of vision. This means that you should probably do something about that cell phone you’re staring at!

As you can see in the photo above, the only things I keep on my desk are my computer (and all it’s components), a basket for my notebooks and pens, and a cell phone stand (that allows the phone to face the wall, and not me). I put my water bottle on the floor, away from my work space.

This is not a recommended study space.


This one is difficult because you may have no control over the smells of your study space, especially if you have roommates! But you can control that overflowing trash can in the corner. Cleanliness is key to focus. If your space isn’t clean, you’ll just continue to think about that rather than thinking about studying! My trash can is out of my way. You can’t even find it in the picture.

Also, it’s a good idea to eat lunch somewhere other than your study space. We will get to that next!


Should you eat while studying? NO! Use meal time as break time. Eating is a distraction and if you’re like me, you can’t control how much food goes in your mouth while multitasking. (This is also why they tell you not to eat and watch TV!)

I usually chew gum while studying. One of my psychology professors told me that if you chew the same flavor of gum while studying and taking the test, you are more likely to recall what you studied. Think about how that old cologne reminds you of your ex… it’s the same part of your brain at work!


Is the chair hurting your butt? That sounds like a funny question, but any little distraction like lack of lumbar support can hinder your studying. Make sure that you are sitting comfortably with your feet flat, your hands at the keyboard/mouse, and your eyes parallel with the screen. You can’t see it in the picture, but my desk is too tall, so I put a stool under it to allow my feet to sit flat.


Some people need quiet, some people need noise. Pay attention to what works for you and play around with this. I need complete silence to work, so I make sure that all of my gadgets are on silent while I study or work. I don’t listen to music because I end up doing a one woman Broadway show instead of working!

Sometimes, when my sister (who is a talented musician) is home, the noise she makes bothers me while studying. To solve this problem, I bought a mini-fan that makes a low hum. This drowns out any noise coming from other rooms.

Now, why are you still reading this? Go study!


Online Student Q and A

I have noticed that some people express an interest in being an online student, but they don’t follow through because they have so many unanswered questions and don’t know where to find answers. Never fear, an online student is here! I’ve got some answers to the most commonly asked questions about online education!

Q. Is being an online student hard?

A. Well, it’s not easy! But it depends on what you consider “hard.” The reason I say it isn’t easy is because I feel like the workload is sometimes higher than face-to-face classes. Because there is no lecture to attend, you must read each assigned chapter. You spend a lot of time teaching yourself, which I love! But it isn’t for everyone. Online professors usually require you to post to the class discussion board weekly, or every other week. That can become time consuming.

BUT… being an online student has it’s perks, like I can “go to class” whenever I want, wherever I was (as long as there is wifi) and I can wear what I want (some of you do this in face-to-face classes anyway).

Q. How does advising work?

A. Advising happens online for most. You usually have to pull up your own information online (MyMav), then you figure out what classes you need to take next. It is up to you to email your advisor and tell him/her what classes you will be signing up for. They may have to unlock some classes for you, check for prerequisites, or make sure this class is available. The advisors are ALWAYS there for you through email and phone. You are not completely on your own just because you’re an online student. You still have a support system!

UAC Staff
Some of our UTA advisors. Courtesy of

Q. Will I only be using e-books?

A. No. I personally don’t like eBooks and never use them for college. Just like in face-to-face classes, you are free to get any type of book you like, as long as it is the assigned book for the course! So you don’t HAVE to get e-books, but you can get them if you like.

Q. I can cheat on tests, right? No one will know.

A. NOPE! Most tests are timed and use something called “lock down browser.” This means that you are prevented from opening any other windows on your computer while taking the test. Some professors even require you to record yourself taking the test with a webcam to ensure that you are not cheating. Because tests have a time limit, you really don’t have time to look up answers. However, some professors encourage you to use notes on tests that aren’t timed. This is rare and they will let you know ahead of time!

Q. Will online courses cost less/more than face-to-face?

A. At UTA, no. The prices are the same (at least from my experience). However, some universities change the prices for strictly online programs. This is usually because you are not being charged for gym fees, health clinic fees, and all that other good stuff that is included in your tuition, which means that you cannot use these services. At UTA, in most cases, you are still charged for these services, so you are still able to use them.

That’s all I’ve got for now! Feel free to send me any online questions you may have and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Registering for classes

Well it is that time of year again.  Time to plan ahead for next year and register for those classes.  In this blog, I will give you a couple of tips that will help you with registering for classes; so you can get the classes, professors, and the times that you want.

My first and most important piece of advice is to Register early.  As an award winning procrastinator myself (I pick up my award tomorrow) I have learned to follow this advice after a couple of scary moments.  One example of a scary moment is when I waited to register for classes in May (after finals) for the fall semester.  There were a lot of  classes and professors that  I wanted to take, but was not able to because the classes were all filled.  It is a frustrating feeling, trying to register classes but finding all of them full.  Now that semester I was able to get a full time load of classes, but if I had more progress into my degree plan that would probably not be the case.  This incident made me realize I needed to register early.  Now a days I make sure to check the registration schedule and register as early as possible (but I am not one of those people who wait until midnight to register…I need my sleep).

How I felt my first time on MyMav.









My second piece of advice is to understand how MyMav works.  Now I know this sounds condescending, but it is important. I know the second time I ever used MyMav, I got confused and forgot how to use it.  I mean we only use it twice a year, its understandable to forgot some of the steps.  Well have no fear, we have some resources that can help you navigate MyMav.  Click on MyMav Registration Instructions and Schedule Planner Instructions. Or check the video on our blog for step by step help.

My last piece of advice is to look around campus for electives.  This time of year there are a lot flyers posted around campus that advertise an elective you can take.  Some of them will spark your interest and you can find a fun way to fulfill your electives.

Well that’s all I got for you.  Now go and register!!!

Five Ways to Save $$$ at UTA

When I was a student at UTA, I wasn’t about to add a coupon binder to my backpack, which was already overflowing with Norton Anthologies and yellow highlighters.  Here are five of the many ways to save money on and around campus, sans a coupon binder

  1. Get free and cheap stuff
    • Get free/reduced cost tutoring through UTSI.
    • Campus Police will jump your car if it dies; that should give you enough charge to get to O’Reilly’s for a replacement battery.
    • Try a play or concert on campus. There are also free movies on the lawn in the summer through EXCEL.
    • The BSM has free lunch on Wednesdays as well as free dinner on Thursdays for International Night. Many campus organizations meet on Wednesdays at noon and offer free lunch.
    1. Do undergraduate research

Check out Undergraduate Research opportunities at UTA. You could get money as well as course credit for doing research.  Plus, it can help you get into graduate school (with funding) as well as help you decide what you want to do in your career.

    1. Flash your MAV ID

You’ve probably had to use your student MAV ID all over campus…to meet your advisor, get into the MAC, and even pass through the turnstiles to get in the library. You can save money by using it all over town, too.  Ready to pop the question?  Replace your glasses?  Get an oil change?  Take a belly dancing class?  Click to find out where to save up to half off using your MAV ID card.

    1. Know the Parking Regulations

It would have saved me money my first semester at UTA if I knew the parking regulations.  Doh!

    1. Bring your lunch

For two years, I didn’t buy one item in the UC, but now I don’t have the discipline to always avoid Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Moe’s, Panda Express, and of course The Pod.  I save a lot by striving to tote my lunch from home three to four days a week.

Best of luck to all MAVS and those considering UTA!

Natalie Stephens (UTA class of 2002 and 2004) is a guest blogger for the Maverick Transfer Connection and the education specialist in the McNair Scholars Program at UTA. The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare qualified undergraduates for graduate study culminating in the Ph.D. 

Interested in learning more about the McNair Scholars Program?  Watch this video to hear current and past UT Arlington McNair Scholars participants Ashley Liggins, Trish Mann, Andrew Palacios, Kimberly Sams, and Neri Sandoval reflect on their experiences within the program, including a discussion about the importance of mentorship, attending conferences, and engaging in undergraduate research.