Desperate Times

By Peer Advisor, Jelisa Adair from

I think I can speak for quite a few people when I say this has been a hard semester. I myself can say quite honestly that after the October Break/Blackout fiasco, I lost a whole lot of my drive. However this is not the time to let the malaise of the semester get to you. It’s time to go hardcore and finish this semester out right. And I am here to help.

1. Facebook
Facebook is the devil. It is. If you are like me, you have found yourself intending to just check your notifications, only to realize that three hours have past and you have spent them all staring at pictures of your friends doing incredibly stupid things. Three hours that could have/should have/ostensibly would have been spent on more worthwhile things like that five page paper that’s due tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. And so it’s time to get nasty with your Facebook and show it who’s boss.

Tip #1: Actually use your time blocking software
Remember my posts about StayFocusd and LeechBlocker (which, due to craziness was just posted on Sunday) ? Maybe it’s time to revisit them. Limit your time to between 10-20 minutes.

Tip #2: Change your password
Remember, the title of this post is desperate measures. I will admit something, while I used StayFocusd on my Google Chrome browser, I had no time blocker on my other internet browser, Safari. So sometimes, when time ran out on Chrome, I just used Safari and kept blissfully wasting time away. But then I took a desperate measure. I closed my eyes and typed gibberish into a word document and then copy and pasted it to change my Facebook password. I then logged into my Facebook only on Chrome and then deleted the word document keeping my nonsensical password. Just like that, I couldn’t access my Facebook on any laptop other than my own on any browser but the one monitored by StayFocusd. I requested a new password just before break, but plan to use this tip again in the very near future.

Another option: Have a good friend change your password. My two housemates do this every finals week and even go so far as changing the email associated with the account so that the other cannot change their passwords back. Hardcore? Yes. Effective? You know it.

2. Unplug
There comes that time when you need to distance yourself from the distraction that is your cell phone. Whether this means not taking it to the library with you at all, turning it off, or even just putting it on silent (not vibrate, silent), any way to minimize the distractions of other people putting off their work can be incredibly helpful. I know it’s hard. Our generation is not used to being cut off from people for long periods of time. But you know that feeling of superiority you get by making people wait a long time for your texts? Harness that and remember that if people really want to get a hold of you, they will find a way. Or they will just wait.

3. Gmail chat
You are just signed into your email waiting for an email from a professor or just to answer a few emails quickly. And then someone im’s you. Fast forward to an hour later with you half-heartedly doing work while being annoyed by those little beeps that signal an im.
STOP. Go invisible. Not ‘Do not disturb’ because no one listens to those anyways. INVISIBLE.

4. Netflix
As a tour guide, I like to tell all the visitors on my tour to never get instant Netflix. Because as awesome as it is to wake up from a daze in which you have watched an entire season of Glee or Law and Order: SVU, it is actually a horrible feeling of regret and sorrow. Time block it for 45 minutes, enough time to watch one episode or two of a sit-com. Change your password. Suspend your account. ANYTHING. Just don’t let yourself get sucked in.

5. The Internet
Sometimes the internet itself can just be a big wide world of distractions. If you don’t need the internet, use one of the Exley classrooms to work since they have horrible internet reception.

I know. These sound extreme, but trust me, in the end, it’s worth it.  Now excuse me as I go take some of my own advice!

a Adair

Peer Tutoring Program/Peer Tutors

The Deans’ Office Peer Tutoring Program is available to any student experiencing difficulty with content and material in his/her course(s).  This program is not a substitute for TA sessions, Math Workshop, Writing Workshop, or visiting your professors’ office hours.  Nor is it a source of language/conversation partnership.  If you are having difficulty understanding course content as the semester progresses, please discuss with your professor(s) and your class dean to determine if the tutoring program is a viable option.  Also, be sure to reach out to Peer Advisors for study skills tips and other strategies for a successful academic career. 

To enroll as a tutor or to request a tutor, please review the Tutor Guidelines and complete the Tutor Request Form from this link:


Be a SARN Peer Advisor — Apps due Mon., 3/28


  • Blog to new students ove rthe summer, blog about being a student!
  • Help new students plan their academic schedules and work with their advisors during the Orientation week
  • Act as a resource during course registration and major declaration
  • Learn effecive strategies for time management, reading retention, public speaking, test and not taking, and effective communication
  • Participatein First Year Matters programming
  • Direct students to Wesleyan’s full range of academic resources
  • Facilitate study skills and time management workshops


Applications and additional information are available at

Contact Dean Lazare at if you have questions.

Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

Liz Reyer, a contributing writer to the Hartford Courant, says in a Q&A (9/28/10) that practice is the key to being a good public speaker:  “Know your goals as a speaker,  prepare, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice! ” She says to “[s]tart by envisioning what success would look like.  If you were in the audience, what would like to see?  On the inside, how do you want to feel when you’re up in front of the room?”

Reyer notes that if confidence is an issue, strategies like visualizing yourself speaking successfully and learning pre-presentation breathing techniques can help you relax.  Since a nervous presenter makes the audience nervous, conveying yourself confidently matters as much as being organized and presenting materials at the audience’s level.  Presenting materials clearly and with good visuals also matters.  The less text on your slides, the better, and avoid reading your slides, so that you can engage with your audience.  None of this, however, replaces the substance of your presentation and your knowledge of it.   But without good form, your audience may not get the substance.

So if you want to improve your public speaking skills, pick one or two of the skills above and practice, practice, practice—out loud and in front of a mirror or friend.  And contact a Peer Advisor at for more public speaking tips.