Syd Says: August 2023

  • Post Author
    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Sat Aug 26 2023

Syd gets ready for back-to-school! For this month's Syd Says, WSUM geared up for the upcoming school year by asking for advice and study spot recommendations (additionally, we got new carpet at the station!). Read through the responses to find a new favorite study spot and get in a good mindset before the fall semester begins. 

— Ray Kirsch, Talk Director

What is your biggest piece of advice for back-to-school? 

My two biggest takeaways from last year:

  1. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. I found that using a planner and Google Calendar (which I affectionately call G-Cal) worked best for me. Everything that I need to do (assignments, errands, etc.) go into the planner and events that I need to attend, work, classes, etc. go into G-Cal. Being able to see everything that I need to get done or do in the span of a day/week has really helped me prioritize things and feel less frantic. 
  2. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. I cannot tell you how many times I've gone to office hours and have spent the entire allotted time hanging out with my professors because no one else showed up. Even if you feel that you understand your course material well, it's good to go to office hours just to get to know your professors and vice versa. You never know when a good relationship with your instructors will come in handy; I've had to ask for recommendation letters for scholarships or references for internships and my professors knowing who I am helped me get those opportunities.

— Heewone Lim

I'd say my biggest back to school advice would be to write your class schedule and activities in the calendar you check most. Also, go on a class walk: walk to each class back-to-back to see how long it takes to get there and what paths you want to take. 

— Tydriana Antwi

One of my biggest pieces of advice for back-to-school isn't very exciting nor is it something to ever look forward to, but it is to stay ahead of your dental hygiene. You may think that I'm a pre-med student for suggesting that, but I'm not. I'm just a student who recently attended the dentist for the first time in three years only to find that I had four cavities. With school and extracurriculars piling on quickly, it's important to schedule a dentist appointment before the workload becomes too heavy. Your parents sure as hell ain't going to do it for you, believe me. Things that help get ahead of a costly trip to the dentist include flossing every day and buying an electric toothbrush, which was maybe my best investment of the summer. 

— Nico Bacic

Do at least one thing every day that is just for yourself — not for school, not for your job or career, not for anyone else. Like, there is no material benefit other than it makes you happy. 

— Lexi Spevacek

My best piece of advice is “Tedious repetitions of routine actions makes us great.” We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others who are maybe in the same field or the same class as ourselves and believe that the reason that person is doing well is because they are very intelligent. While that may be true college courses are structured in a way that they require careful understanding of concepts and consistent action. Therefore, there is no secret, the reason they are doing well in school is because they do all the little things on an everyday basis. And chances are you would be doing just as well or better than said students if you did all those things, too. The ‘Little Things,' such as: finding what study techniques work for you like active recall and spaced repetition, making good notes, asking questions, attending office hours, creating a study schedule, etc. Another very important thing to remember is to have a balanced schedule where you include enough time for your other passions, relationships, exercise, and some form of entertainment so that your lifestyle doesn't fall into a rapid downward spiral.

— Sarangan Narendar

Where is your favorite study spot and why?

There's a study spot in Madison for every student and every situation. College Library's location nestled up on Lake Mendota means you'll have pretty sights to see while you zone out during study blocks, and there's plenty of non-quiet space to hang out with friends. When you need to crank out some emails or job applications, the Education Building offers a common room that radiates productivity. Surround yourself with other hard-working individuals in a cafe-esque setting that buzzes with creativity. Need to find a sanctuary in prep of a midterm? The downstairs of the Elvehjem building blocks out most light and distractions, but the cages of Memorial Library are your best bet when you need to complete something.

— Max Kappel

My favorite study spot is probably Steenbock Library. It gives such a quiet library vibe, so I get a lot of work done when I'm there. I always go there to write my essays and finish my last final assignments. It's great because it's quiet but not too quiet — perfect for really locking in.

— Tydriana Antwi

For my favorite study spots, well, I can't reveal all of those to you. They're too cherished for me to share, and they're my favorite because no one is ever at them. However, if you're at College Library and looking for an escape from the piles of bodies that exist inside of it, the fourth-floor information library is a great place to escape. It's in the same building as College. You have to avoid the main entrance, veer to the left and go to the elevators that take you into Helen C. White. Fourth floor, take a left and at the end of the hall, you can't miss it. It has a great view of Mendota, has an absurd amount of charging ports, very helpful staff and is usually much quieter than College, although its hours are much more limited.

— Nico Bacic

The best place to study on campus is unquestionably the Kohler Art Library. Its location right off the quad makes it easy to access from anywhere on campus, and if you need caffeination before your next big study session, it's also a short walk from Starbucks, Peet's, Moka and Valentia Coffee. If you're not interested in studying, let alone staying awake, the Kohler Art Library is also a great place to accommodate your unorthodox sleeping habits. Feel free to take a nap in a leather chair the size of a touring sedan; they have so much cushion in them, you won't even need a pillow! Additionally, the temperature in the library is perfect all year round. Given that it was built in the midst of the Cold War, it has enough insulation to survive a direct nuclear blast, keeping the inside warm in the winter and ice-cold in the summer. Needless to say, the Kohler Art Library will be a go-to study spot for those in the know… just make sure you return your books on time.

— Henry Moore

Sometimes, I need to be on a really comfy couch or chair with my neck and back properly supported, at the perfect temperature, with soft but sufficient lighting, calming but not too loud music and a caffeinated drink by my side. Other times, I need to sit crisscross-applesauce on the floor in the hallway of the Humanities Building in silence.

— Lexi Spevacek

After nine months of rigorous research, I, Vincent Thomas Steinacker Hesprich, have discovered the undisputed best study spot on the UW-Madison campus. Some learners may believe that places like Memorial Union Terrace or the SAC have “great vibes” or whatever. However, it is the belief of this student that true concentration comes only through complete isolation in a sterile environment which is devoid of social norms. The fourth cage on the left in floor 4M of Memorial Library works well to an extent. However, people in surrounding cages are still distracting because their mere presence enforces the expectation that you too must stay diligent towards creating minimal noise. Because of this, the hypothetical best study spot would be an isolated room in an empty building that still provides practical commodities such as strong internet, AC, and nearby bubblers. Enter room A113 in Van Vleck Hall. Van Vleck is a terrifying haunted house that sees few people study within its grotesquely monotone walls. This makes it perfect for anyone who enjoys having enough privacy to feel comfortable muttering to themself like a deranged lunatic while taking quizzes. Room A113 is further boosted by the many variants of spinny chairs that provide an abundance of ways to burn time without the fear of embarrassment. So if a student were to hypothetically get bored and spin in circles so fast that they tip the chair over and wipe out, no one would ever know. Except of course if said student tried to monetize the experience into a way to earn off-air hours. Nevertheless, if you need an isolated yet practical place to study, don't go to room A133 in Van Vleck because I call dibs.

— Vince Hesprich