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Thank you for visiting YouScheduler’s blog! Follow along to see new innovations as our company grows and the latest news in higher education. Gain new insights into higher educations continuously developing culture and explore their implications while staying up-to-date with YouScheduler's newest advancements. Please reach out to us with you any comment or suggestion at support@youscheduler.com. We love to hear from our users!

Better Schedule: Better You. How to build your dream college schedule

Congratulations, all the hard work your highschool self poured into academics and extracurriculars has paid off. You’ve decided to further your education, your favorite schools decided to accept you into their academic programs, and your parents decided to use the room you’ll be leaving vacant to house their growing collection of Phil Collins memorabilia. Ok, maybe the last one is just me, but the point is universal. You are about to ease the transition into adulthood by buying the very expensive set of training wheels we call “Higher Education”. Like any good set of training wheels, you will be provided support to help you keep your balance, but you better be willing to provide the leg power. You’ll receive an email outlining the first steps: housing forms need to be completed, financial aid and scholarships need to be finalized, and dorm room essentials must be acquired (No mom, I don’t need one of your Phil Collins themed popcorn machines. And why do you have three of them?). One of the most daunting tasks is also one of the most important: building your course schedule. Here are some tips to help you assemble your dream schedule. 1. Discover yourself If you don’t completely understand yourself, the world around you, and the relation between them… Then congratulations, you’re just like most other college students! Luckily, college is also about finding yourself, a freedom-focused period where you are empowered to continue developing your personality. Even though you may not have everything figured out, try your best to make some basic assumptions about your preferences. Are you pursuing higher education for the diploma, or because you have a legitimate desire to learn? Are you a morning person, or a night person? If you can take Fridays off, will you use that time to study or to watch Netflix? Will you be working during the semester, and if so, when? All these questions will help you build a schedule that will enable your future success, in and out of the classroom. 2. Decide which classes you wish to take. Which classes should you take? Should you load up your schedule with major-specific classes, or get your gen-eds out of the way? This onslaught of decisions can be overwhelming at first, but you’re in luck: your school likely provides a whole suite of resources to help you answer these questions. The most important of these at your disposal is your advisor, who you can and should reach out to for assistance. Most schools have rich course catalogs that allow you to search for a specific class or all classes in your major. If your feeling especially diligent, you can outline which classes you will take for each semester until graduation. This is not necessary, but make sure to double check that the courses you take this semester will keep you on track with your major's requirements and prerequisites. If you don’t know which classes you’re required to take, check to see if your major has a spreadsheet or flowchart outlining its requirements. Do your best to make a final decision now. If you don't, the best case scenario is that you have to rebuild your schedule, which can be very time-consuming if you do it by hand. Worst case you could find yourself frantically searching for the right course before your schools add/drop period ends. A bit of extra research now can save you a load of time and frustration down the line. 3. Prioritize classes. Some courses you will be taking are prerequisites for future courses, meaning that you must take them at the right time unless you want to risk bungling your course schedule for the rest of your college career. Making sure you get into these classes should be your highest priority, not weedling your way into that course on the history of beer (yes yes, I know it’s tempting). 4. Build your schedule Option 1 (the old way): Grab a pencil, paper, and a good eraser Now for the fun part. Acquire a pencil, paper, or a calendar/planner if you have one. Alternatively, you can use one of many free course schedule organizers online. Pencils (or keyboards) in hand, It’s time to visualize your schedule. Begin at the top of your priority list and pick the sections that mesh with your time preferences. Remember to block out time for work, extracurriculars, and free time! Make sure to include any corequisites, lab sections, or seminars that a course requires. You don’t want to finish your plan just to find that one of your courses had a lab that conflicts with your most important class. Option 2 (the new way): Online schedule builders Many schools have purchased software that will do all this work for you. Automation, right? For instance, YouScheduler will build every possible schedule with your chosen classes, then display them to you for your leisurely perusal. It even allows you to input custom breaks, pick specific sections and teachers, and export your schedule to the calendar application of your choice. Does your school lack a schedule builder? Think it would be a good investment for your future alma mater? Send a request for them to acquire a schedule builder software by reaching out to us at support@youscheduler.com!

Battling Stress in Higher Education

The clock on your desk blinks, its 1:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and only seven hours until your exam. You are overwhelmed, overtired, and halfway through the exam material. Your exam comprises 30% of your final grade. Each blink of the clock makes the laptop screen brighter, your eyelids heavier, and progress slower. This is an experience every student loathes. The feeling of a heavy weight looming, irritability, fatigue and much more are all common symptoms of stress. It can feel like a dark cloud over your body, weighing you down causing you to be unproductive and your brain to spin in circles. Whether it is cramming for finals or running late for class, most college students are under the enormous weight of stress: and they are not alone. Being young and inexperienced, students may not realize that the faculty members, administrators, and advisers they rely on to guide them through their college experience are often struggling with similar difficulties. Along with their rigorous coursework, an increasing number of students are working extreme hours just to make ends meet. Rapidly ballooning tuition prices have simultaneously introduced a new and looming financial burden, all while forcing students to balance a full-time education with full-time work just to keep their heads above the water. According to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Nearly 40 percent of undergraduate students and 76 percent of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week. This doesn’t even take into account the time and effort many spend participating in extra-curriculars, taking care of children, or building valuable friendships. The ways in which stress consumes a college student can vary. They can be a result of coursework, parental expectations, mental illness, and the financial burden of tuition. These stresses often leave students feeling alone in their battle against chronic anxiety, when in fact they are surrounded by proverbial comrades: faculty members who are also desperately fighting off encroaching hordes of pressing responsibilities. Yes, preparing yourself for upcoming exam may be a daunting task, but preparing an entire class of students for that same exam is in an entirely different ballpark. We expect faculty members to be ultimate mentors, equally capable of captivating packed lecture halls with any curriculum and inspiring their advisees with their wisdom, all while conducting research, writing publications, and advancing their respective fields. These expectations may not be attainable without expecting faculty members to give up a healthy work-life balance. On average, faculty members work 56 hours a week, 12 hours more than the national average (2). According to surveyed faculty members, Self-imposed high expectations, lack of personal time, and working with under prepared students were leading sources of stress in their lives (4). These stressors, along with the stress of pursuing tenure and promotion, faculty evaluations, and the focus on research all contribute to a highly stressful environment. The dedication to learning, self improvement, and innovation embodied in the higher education system are the reasons why college campuses are at the epicenter of human advancement. However, overworking can turn these sanctuaries of learning into a joy consuming war-zone. A small amount of stress is healthy, but stress over a longer period of time, like an academic semester, can be catastrophic to a student or faculty member. Stress is shown to be associated with a very long list of health issues, such as: digestive problems, heart disease, and weight gain (3). Not only will it have long lasting physical effects, but stress also leads to mental health problems, such as: memory and concentration impairment, depression, and anxiety (3). Stress happens to all of us and it is normal, so take a deep breath. The important thing to keep in mind is how to manage your stress and even find personal stress triggers. So how should college students and faculty members manage their stress and maximize their success in and outside of an academic setting? Either maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, managing your time, having a support system, seeking emotional support, or a combination of these is a great avenue to start. In an academic setting, students and faculty should seek resources provided by their institution. Most universities provide resources to eliminate unnecessary stress and aid in stress management. So the next time you are studying for an early morning exam or preparing a lecture for hundreds of students, take a break and take a deep breath. Find what helps you cope with your stress and seek resources provided by your university to aid as well.

Sources


icon library.osu.edu
icon www.cnbc.com
icon www.mayoclinic.org
icon www.chronicle.com

Where does the time go?

There are twenty-four hours in a day and seven days a week. That totals to one hundred and sixty-eight hours or ten thousand and eighty minutes. What you choose to do with those hours and minutes varies between individuals. Time is an interesting concept because it is both plentiful or limited. A day can either be completely wasted with no plans or booked full, scheduled out to the minute. For college students, the timer starts the minute we step on campus. They only have a few years at our desired institution and must prioritize and value each day, week, and semester. Managing time can be one of the most difficult tasks for a college student to master. Time management, is one of those buzzwords’ students hear hundreds of times during orientation. Every university tries to drill the importance of time management to incoming freshmen, but they often provide limited resources and strategies to use and practice. A resource like YouScheduler aims to assist our peers in managing their time by finding the best schedule for them to create a solid foundation for each semester. As a company, we strive to play a small role in a student’s ability to prioritize their time management and cultivate their personal success. With so many activities, influence, and sometimes distractions on campus, scheduling your days at a university can be quite difficult. Academia is the central focus of college, student’s need to maintain a healthy balance between learning, working, socializing, relaxation, and especially sleep. Neglecting any of these actions will cause the rest to suffer and decreasing the students chances of success. Time to relax and decompress is essential because it will help alleviate avoidable stress. The period for a good night's sleep provides the ability to focus and be efficient with tasks. Managing your time is a choice. The first step to mastering time management is to create a plan and practice it every day. Now, you only a few years at college. Every second, minute, and day the buzzer comes closer and closer to ringing. What will you use to help you plan your time?

The Beginning of YouScheduler

In early October of 2017, at 1 A.M. on a Friday, Francesco Milkulis-Borsoi called his friend, Kristian Comer, fuming about the course scheduling process at the University of New Hampshire. Francesco had his academic advising meeting in a few hours and amongst all his classwork he also had to research and select classes for the coming semester. After hours of surfing the course catalog for electives, specific professors, class times, and major courses, creating countless jigsaw puzzles schedules in Excel, Francesco expressed that there had to be a more efficient solution. The University of New Hampshire is filled with over fourteen thousand undergraduate students facing the same scheduling challenge and yet there was no supportive resource. Through innovation, knowledge, skills, and creativity, Kristian and Francesco sought to develop a more efficient solution for course scheduling. As two computer science majors, software engineering is one of their core passions. They utilized skills acquired from their curriculum and research to build a scheduling application just prior to course registration in Fall of 2017. They sent the alpha version to friends and a few computer science and information technology classmates for feedback, suggestions, and testing. Soon after the service was open to a small demographic in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, students in other colleges wondered why they were not exposed to the service as well. UNH students were actively spreading the word of the scheduling service without any prompts! When alpha testing and registration period passed, both Kristian and Francesco heard from classmates across campus expressing interest in using the application in the coming spring semester. With their peers in mind and still no suitable solution from the administration for the university system, Kristian and Francesco continued development of the application to share its benefits across the campus. As they entered 2018, Kristian and Francesco consolidated the name YouScheduler. For full-time students also developing a software service, the early development of YouScheduler moved rather slowly. Academics were Kristian and Francesco’s priority for the spring semester of 2018. When there was a free moment, they worked on customer discovery for YouScheduler. While juggling classes and further development of YouScheduler, they decided in April to enter the URC (Undergraduate Research Conference) in the field of Computer Science Applications at UNH. The first-place win was a pivotal stepping stone for Kristian and Francesco’s service. Kristian and Francesco arrived at a crossroads and could not decide YouScheduler’s next steps. They only developed and launched the beta, leaving the question if it was worth the time, effort, and energy to further develop the suite. Their problem was further exacerbated by a complete lack of funding to continue the progression of YouScheduler. Fortunately, they entered the Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition at the University of New Hampshire which is awarded New Hampshire's best start-up competition almost every year. The Holloway competition recognizes student entrepreneurs and is awarded to the individual or team with the most compelling business venture that is set to bring their product to market. Among many talented finalists, Kristian and Francesco were thrilled to achieve first place and were awarded a cash prize to continue developing their business. Winning the Holloway Competition was a stepping stone for Kristian and Francesco. They now had financial backing, resources, and support to move forward with YouScheduler. When classes concluded in the Spring, Kristian and Francesco paused YouScheduler for the summer to pursue internships at Dell EMC and Envio 360 respectively. After a summer of experience learning new technologies and skills, Kristian and Francesco regrouped in August and officially established and launched YouScheduler LLC. It was now time to pursue their first customer; the University of New Hampshire. After months of discussion, UNH and YouScheduler began their professional relationship with a three-year contract on October 10th, 2018. Immediately they spread the word throughout the campus and released the first production version of YouScheduler. YouScheduler’s progression did not stop there. In January of 2019, YouScheduler moved to an office in the Entrepreneur Center at UNH. The spring semester was busier than ever between balancing academics, competing in competitions like E-Fest and the New Hampshire Regional Economic Development Center: Granite State Growth Competition. YouScheduler had its first profession review, a due diligence report, from the UNH Rines Angel fund in April. Fast forward to the end of the semester with classes coming to a close and Summer approaching, Kristian and Francesco chose this summer to focus on YouScheduler. They thought it was time to grow the YouScheduler Team, and with the help of the UNH Entrepreneur Center, they hired Jessie DeLouis as a Financial and Digital Marketing Manager. Quickly followed by a Software Development Intern, Caleb Peffer. With co-founder Francesco headed out west for an internship with Apple Inc, co-founder Kristian Comer and the team prepared for a summer at home working to continue the expansion of YouScheduler. Co-founders Kristian and Francesco have come a long way in just two years. To think a phone call led the pair from full-time students to entrepreneurs founding and managing a startup company. Although the road ahead is unknown and filled with long hours, coffee breaks, and probably more late-night phone calls; the pair looks forward to future expansion, development, and endeavors for YouScheduler.

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