Wednesday, June 12, 2013


What does bullying have to do with success or failure?

am not sure...

I think that educational success, and study habits, are associated with bullying  many ways.
Bullying sometimes starts even before we begin school.  Daycare is the place we first learn how to interact with bullies, or when we become bullies.

Buck tooth, loser, pencil neck, four eyes....these were all things I heard growing up.   I took some teasing and bullying; I dished out some bullying and teasing.   Little did I know that bullying wouldn't go away.  In fact, it is more prevelant today.

I have a close family member in middle school. Two students from the school took their own lives due to excessive bullying directed at them.  I was truly sorry to hear about this situation, but it was determined that the cause was that they were being excessively bullied at school.
I see people being emotionally bullied, and we all know of someone at work or in our social circles that is the narcissistic bully.   We try to avoid them, but despite all the avoidance work, they can still affect our lives, if we let them.

So what does this have to do with study skills?

Be aware of bullying, especially when choosing your course of study, or even when choosing to attend college for the first, or second, time.  Life is full of naysayers and bullies that will try to derail your course of study choice based on socioeconomics, fear, and their own insecurities.   Study the subject that you love, and don't let the bullies, or negative voices, get in your way.

The fact of the matter is that bullies exist, and choosing to be aware is my best defense.

I have a growing list of free web sites that I like to use to help with questions outside
of my area of study. Math is a subject I find challenging, but appreciate all of its uses
in life.  When I have a question, or want to review a process, and math is all about processes, I go
to:  It is a great resource that I utilize often.

I am in the process of relearning some conversational Spanish, and I use this link: for practice.

I hope these links are helpful!   Good luck on your studies!

Monday, June 3, 2013

List of study techniques that helped me.

When I returned to college after working in construction, I came up with a list of helpful things that made my second attempt at college successful.  Many of the items will read as being common-sense based actions, that most successful students make, but I want to share the list as a way of showing what I changed, and how those changes affected my success in my my second attempt at college.

  • I decided to treat my classes like my job.  My last job before returning to college was working on the road as a construction worker.  Our work week was 5:30 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Saturday.  When I returned to college, I still socialized and had fun, but I made sure that no matter how much fun I had the night before, I would still attend my 8 am class.
  • I picked a major that was my passion: English Literature and Writing. During my first attempt at college, I majored in film studies, archaeology, photojournalism, and sociology. I also didn't attend class regularly, and switched majors like most people switch shoes...which is to say very often.   The writing classes held my attention, and studying for class meant reading great literature and writing; these are two of my favorite things.
  • I lived in campus housing.  Living in campus housing helped with many social and educational factors.  I lived close to my classes, so I couldn't use all the familiar excuses for not attending.   I met other students, and learned from them, and also studied with them.   I also made friends in my classes, and formed study groups so we could help each other with assignments, and also as support on the nights when we wanted to blow off studying.
  • I took a work study position at the college library.   This position helped me in many ways.   It was a great job that made me familiar with the research process, and it also allowed for study time during my work shifts. It may sound too good to be true, but many works study positions, such as working at the writing or tutoring center, or working in the campus library, allows you to make money and study at the same time!
More tips to come in my future posts!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns

Find something that you like to do everyday, and turn it into your course of study. It can based on a hobby or some other skill.   Treat your education like a job, and if you pick the right thing and keep a goal in mind, your schooling will come easily.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oncourse training begins tomorrow.

am attending Oncourse training tomorrow, and can't wait to learn about more ways to help
students get off to a good start academically.   The training is also going to be a great resource
and reference for my upcoming ebook.

My study plan for the training tomorrow is to bring my laptop for note-taking, since the training goes from 8-5, I plan to take a great deal of notes.   I will review the notes, and share some of my perspective of the training for my blog audience.  I look forward to the training, and always love a good academic challenge.  Holding my attention for hours at a time is very difficult, but I find that when I take notes on key points, and my own observations of the content, it really helps me focus on the task at hand. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Taking Breaks

I just spent the last week in the Boundary Waters.   One thing that I always did at the end of every semester, while I was in college, was take a week long trip hiking, canoeing, or camping, without any cell phones, computers, or other modern technologies.  Taking a break from these things made me return to my studies and
research with a new found vigor. 
This can also apply to your daily study plan.   Taking a 10 minute break every hour during heavy reading and study times can really help you avoid burnout. The average attention span is ten minutes max, so don't forget to 
take a break between study sessions. 

Never stop studying!

Have a great week!

Friday, May 3, 2013

College Study Skills Tips: How to Read a Textbook with Dartmouth Links

One tip I want to share is on reading a textbook. Check out this link for free tips on reading textbooks more effectively via Dartmouth.

 I was always an avid reader of literature, especially William Faulkner, but when it came to my freshman year in college, I didn't know how to read a textbook.
I also didn't know what it took to succeed in college.

After wasting a great deal of time and money, I learned that I needed help to succeed in college.  I went
to the college writing and tutoring center, and one of the tutors had me try reading my college texts with a pen and paper in hand.   The tutor suggested I write notes while reading the chapter, and to put all of the definitions and concepts in my own words. Check out this link for more information on active note taking via Dartmouth.

 It turned out that I was mainly a visual learner, and the repetition and focus associated with writing the definition, and summarizing key concepts, really helped me with retention in terms of the course readings.

I also learned that I needed to treat my college classes like a job. Check out this link to time management strategies and other great study skills tips via  The site holds a wealth of valuable study skills information.  I could still have a life and have fun, but no more missing the 8 a.m. class due to being out too late.  I quit missing class, and started reading my texts actively.  And guess what?   I ended up improving the grades in my courses when I applied these two techniques.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

College Success: College Free Study Skills Links and Downloads

The Learning Commons I worked at was awarded department of the year by Central Lakes College students. We had a celebration yesterday, and I want to thank all of the tutors for their assistance, collaboration, and feedback concerning effective study skills.  Their efforts have helped a great deal with my study skills research.  Here are a few helpful links my students and I have used:

University of Wisconsin River Falls: Study Skills Links (plethora of free study skills info.) (tons of info.)

Long Beach College Free Study Skills Downloads

I keep researching study skills, because I realize we all learn differently. But by being persistent and trying out different assessments, it is possible to find strategies that work.  Try and try and try again...and don't give up!  Learning to study is like learning to play guitar. You can always keep progressing!

Great study skills tips/ The Art of Manliness

This is a great website and the tips found at the following link are very helpful in terms of educations success. The Art of Manliness is a site known for providing profound information and making it humorous.  I would have to say my main successes as an educator can be contributed to the blending of these two items. Speaking in front of people for hours on end is stifling, so I would usually break my hour long classes into three parts. By lecturing roughly a third of the time, and letting the students do peer review or cooperative learning, it seemed to break up the class.  The humor wasn't usually provided by me...the student would do a great job with many writing assignment, and even in upper level classes I would try to incorporate games or real world scenarios into the workshop style classroom and  having humor in a writing or Literature classroom can be very important.

-Look for my upcoming book on success in college!

Keep on learning for life!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Greetings and Tutoring Information

I am a college instructor that has a passion for tutoring. I also work for Pearson in online assessment and do a great deal of content writing for many different websites. My family and I live in the Brainerd Lakes area
of Minnesota.  I have an extensive teaching and tutoring background, and look forward to helping
students progress in all areas of their education. Most of my tutoring sessions take place at the Brainerd Public Library, but I also do a great deal of online and Skype tutoring. Please contact me to set up a tutoring schedule:

Free Study Skills Links

During my years in school I had many challenges.  I love and excelled in certain courses and struggled in others. Over time, I found my way into a tutoring center at the Bemidji State University Tutoring Services.
This is never an easy step to take as like many other students I was scared at admitting I struggled with certain things, especially test taking. The tutoring center at BSU was very helpful in teaching me general study skills...things I had never learned before or had learned and didn't apply them to my college studies. They diagnosed my study skills and I learned for the first time in my life that I was a visual learner.
If you would like to get an idea of your own learning style, here is a link to one online assessment. It is only 20 questions long, but learning my learning style (as weird as that may sound) helped me succeed in many areas, and although it didn't completely alleviate my test anxiety, the skills I learned from the tutoring center sure diminished my rising frustrations.

Check out the links below for more study skills information:
The best:

Brainerd, Minnesota-face to face and online tutoring available

Contact me for any tutoring needs: