Tips for Students Transitioning to an Online Learning Environment

Post by Stephanie Hawley, programming coordinator for the Vocatio Center

Social distancing, safer-at-home orders and shortages of toilet paper. This isn’t what you thought 2020 would look like, is it? You may be feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable, sad, angry, stressed … you name it. It’s OK to feel these things. A pandemic was not in any of our plans for this year.

Though we may not be physically present with you, the faculty and staff of Union University are allied with you as we move through these uncharted waters together. We’ve compiled some tips, strategies and resources to help you successfully navigate this period of social distancing and remote learning.

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Keep track of changes

How do I access that class online again? What link do I need? When is that paper due? Put all of your key dates, big changes and important links in one place to help you stay on top of things. This might feel like a no-brainer, but if you haven’t yet compiled the course changes in one place for easy reference, go ahead and try it. Things might start feeling a whole lot more manageable.

Make a schedule and stick to it

You might find that you are suddenly operating with very little structure. While at first this might feel freeing, it might also leave you feeling more scattered and less productive. Create some structure in your day, scheduling time for your designated online class meetings and video lectures, for research papers and projects to complete by specific due dates and for exercise and rest.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking often tricks us into thinking that we’re being more efficient, when we really might be taking longer to accomplish those tasks because our attention is divided. Try to limit your distractions and focus on one thing at a time. Realizing that you need some help with your time management skills? Consider a method like the Pomodoro Technique, or check out the other resources compiled by the Center for Academic Success for time management tips, study skills and more.

Limit screen time

It’s so important to put a limit on your screen time, especially now that everything is online. By charting out your week’s schedule and giving yourself plenty of time to virtually attend classes and to study, you’ll also find that you’re left with time to eat, rest, exercise and maybe even read a book. Find some great book recommendations on the Library’s blog.

Adapt routines

Are there ways to adapt your usual routines to your new environment? Do you need to strategize and create new routines? One of the best things you can do right now is to stick with that school schedule you were used to; get up and dressed as if you are physically going to class. Start the day ready to go.

Do you study best in a comfy chair with light music or do you need a desk, good light and no noise? Do you study best with a partner? Host a virtual study group with your classmates. Check in with your friends and share ideas.

Practice healthy rhythms

There’s a lot to think about as we adjust to these new routines and rhythms. Remember to be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. We’re all adjusting and adapting to this new period together.

Take a walk and exercise daily. If you’re living in a community under safer-at-home directives, you might find that tensions start to run a little high after being cooped up at home. Follow @uucampusrec on Instagram for some at-home workouts and nutrition tips to help you work out your stress and stay healthy.

Engage with your spiritual community. Is your church offering online services? Is there an online community group or Bible study you can join? Follow @uu_ministries and @uu_mobilization on Instagram as they help us engage spiritually through this time of social distancing, and be sure to tune in to chapel each week as it streams online.

Practice good mental health and coping techniques. There’s so much that we can’t control right now, and it can be really helpful to name those things and then limit the time we spend thinking about them. Rather than dwelling on all that we can’t control, shift your focus to what you can control, and then start doing those things. Check out Counseling Services for more helpful mental health tips and resources, and to learn more about their services during this time.

Listen to music, like the Gospel Coalition’s playlist, Songs of Comfort for Anxious Souls. This playlist is available on Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, and includes some of our most beloved hymns and worship songs.

Ask for Help

One of the most important things you can do right now is ask for help. There are so many resources available to you, even from home. Check out the list of departments and services below, and let us know how we can help you!

Academic Resources: Writing Center; Library; Center for Academic Success

Student Life support services: Counseling Services; Health Services; Disability Services

Forever Bulldogs – Homecoming 2018

The Union University community gathered to celebrate alumni and current students during Homecoming weekend Nov. 1-3. Events included a 50 year reunion for the class of 1969, food and games on the Great Lawn, basketball and volleyball games and the crowning of the 2018 homecoming queen.

We’ve put together our favorite photos from the events of the weekend here for you all to enjoy.

Bulldog Olympics, student competition. Photos by Lynn Tucker

Class of 1969 welcome, mix and mingle. Photos by Kristi Woody

Homecoming chapel, featuring members of the Class of 1969 and the presentation of the gift from the Class of 1968. Photos by Kristi Woody

Meritorious Service Awards Banquet with 14 awards given. Photos by Kristi Woody

Bulldog Madness. Photos by Joey Echeverria

Basketball games: Lady Bulldogs vs. Martin Methodist and Bulldogs vs. Freed Hardeman. Photos by Riley Boggs and Kristi Woody

President’s Cup winners SAE; Mr. & Miss Union, Grant Allen and Corinne Olund; and Homecoming Queen 2018, Sallie Norman. Photos by Kristi Woody

Forever Bulldogs event on the Great Lawn. Photos by Joey Echeverria and Kristi Woody

Blank Slate Improv performance. Photos by Nikki Grim

Anthem Lights performance. Photos by Nikki Grim and Kristi Woody

The Value and Purpose of Pharmacy

Post written by Drew Wells, doctor of pharmacy student

DrewSills_0003Pharmacy was an interest of mine for several years before entering pharmacy school. I liked the idea of developing a vast knowledge of medications and incorporating that directly into patient care.

But being a pharmacist is more than counting pills, knowing mechanism of actions, counseling patients on side effects of medications, or catching drug-drug interactions. While that is a major part of our skillset and training, we have more to offer!

Pharmacists serve as a first-line resource for patients. Pharmacists listen to patients’ stories and enjoy seeing a smile on a patient’s face. Pharmacists see a patient struggling with a diagnosis or at a low moment in life. Pharmacists must be ready to meet people where they are and serve them well!

Union’s College of Pharmacy is a great place to be educated, trained, equipped, and mentored to be a great pharmacist. A pharmacist willing to take the time to invest in patients and provide comprehensive care. A pharmacist who understands the potential impact one can have on a patient’s life. The comprehensive training Union provides, ranging from learning the details of the human body in gross anatomy to discussing moral and ethical considerations, has only strengthened my passion and desire to be a pharmacist.

Pharmacy has already taught me many skills and lessons. I have learned how to study efficiently, manage my time, effectively communicate, and serve my peers and patients. Most importantly, I have learned how to rest in God’s grace. The latter of those lessons seems increasingly important each and every day. No matter if you are in the grind of a long semester of pharmacy school or entering into a busy season of life, learning to rest in God’s grace is a must.

God does not need our work to keep him on his throne. He is the one who leaves his throne to work for us. Trusting God in your work means learning to put it to the side and enthrone him in your rest. To trust God in my work has brought joy, confidence, and reassurance that my desire to serve people as a pharmacist has true value and a greater purpose. I am excited to see God’s plan continue to unfold here at Union and in my future career as a pharmacist.

 

Family Weekend Photos – 2018

Last weekend was our annual Family Weekend. There were various family-oriented events on campus such as a corn-hole tournament, ultimate frisbee game, and Union Night with fireworks. Here are some of our favorite photos from the events of the weekend.

Photos by Kristi Woody, Joey Echeverria, Nikki Grim, Lynn Tucker

 

 

Admissions Hosts First Bulldog Days

A total of 56 students and their parents got to know Union University at the first Bulldog Days, October 16 – 17. High school juniors and seniors came from 11 states for an overnight stay.

The students had access to information panels, campus tours and a student life and academic fair that are not typically available at a college preview day. They were able to choose between sessions that fit their needs best.

A longer visit allowed more time for students to meet professors and students from multiple departments and student organizations who were able to show off what they had to offer.

The overnight stay let students connect and bond with other prospective and current students and get a taste of what campus life is like at Union University.

Story by Nathan Handley, Photos by Kristi Woody

Prospective students mingle with faculty and staff during a breakfast Prospective students mingle with faculty and staff during a breakfast

Student ambassador gives a tour of the cafeteria Student ambassador gives a tour of the student union building Student ambassadors lead a tour Student ambassador gives a tour.

Fonsie Guilaran teaches a sample class to prospective students Wayne Wofford gives a tour of the biology greenhouse James Kerfoot shows off our hawk to prospective students Student leaders on a panel to answer questions from prospective students Prospective students learn about student organizations.

 

Preview Day Gives Visitors an Overview of Union Life

Post by Will Brantley, senior enrollment counselor

A few weeks ago, we posted about our Preview Days and why they are so important. This past Friday, we had the pleasure of hosting around 100 prospective students and their families for one of three Preview Days this semester.

So what makes Preview Day such a fantastic day? Is it the hustle and bustle about campus? The excited students and their families? The really good food? The answer is “all of the above.” Students from all over the country come to see what makes Union so special. The day is packed full of activities such as a campus tour, a chapel service, student and parent panels, visits with professors and lunch with an address from our president, Dub Oliver. I personally love these days because we get to introduce students and their families to this wonderful institution and see them fall in love with this place.

Telling the Union story is one of my favorite things about being an enrollment counselor. Our faculty is one of the best teaching faculties in the entire country, using facilities that are state of the art. Our students are some of the best anywhere. They are winning awards, going on to top-notch graduate programs and participating in ministry here in Jackson and around the world. But perhaps more importantly, we are a tight-knit, close community that loves one another and seeks to honor Christ in everything we do.

Preview Days give prospective students a glimpse into what being a part of Union is really like and gives us a chance to show those students what an amazing community exists here at Union. If you’ve never been to a Union Preview Day and you or a student you know are searching for a home for college, I would urge you to check out Union’s next Preview Day on Nov. 14. You can sign up for a Preview Day on our website at www.uu.edu/campusvisits. Check out the photos below to see what you’ll experience during your visit!

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