All posts by Chico State

Five Tips for Mastering a Midterm

By Rachel Ward, Chico State Social Media Intern

College exams never fail to intimidate. Come October or mid-September, you are bound to encounter one of these daunting obstacles. In light of these scary endeavors, I have prepared five tips to help you successfully take on exams, whether they are midterms or finals.

1. Manage Your Time.

You may pursue exceptional time management either by hand, virtually, or both. For instance, maybe you have a better time remembering things if you write them down. If this applies to you, consider investing in a planner that allows you to jot things down and plan long-term.

Picture Courtesy of
(Image source)

Perhaps you are more of a visual learner; maybe technology really speaks to you. If so, consider downloading an app for your phone like MyHomework that is specifically tailored to organizing your assignments and exams. (I use that one now and find it very helpful!)

Dedicate time on certain days to study, record those decisions, and hold yourself accountable to follow through.

Trust me, I know. Procrastination is very tempting. However, it’s not impossible to start developing healthy habits now. Plus, it’s much easier to start now in the beginning while everything is still exciting. I believe in you!

2. Use Your Resources, Darn It.

professors in discussion in an office

If you find yourself struggling with a lecture, your notes, or a textbook, that’s okay! There are resources out there designed to help you.

The first is your professor’s office hours. Every semester, my professors seem to bemoan the fact that few students actually use their office hours to get questions answered. Now’s your chance! Don’t understand the assignment or think of a question about the lecture after class? Stop by and ask. If a professor’s office hours don’t work for your schedule, I know that almost all professors offer time for appointments.

However, I understand that visiting a professor one-on-one doesn’t work for everyone. Though I urge you not to be intimidated, if it’s not for you, try meeting with a peer and taking advantage of my second recommendation: tutoring!

Tutoring is usually offered either through your department, or through the Student Learning Center (SLC).

Consider visiting your department for a list of tutoring options. Tutors from your department and the SLC (located in the SSC) are usually peers, so they don’t have the same intimidation factor as professors’ office hours.

The SLC asks that you make appointments at least one day in advance for most subjects (call 530-898-6839), which requires some good time management for those of you who like to procrastinate! But, they do have drop-in math hours (Mon.–Thurs., 3–6 p.m. in SSC 340), and online Writing Center available 24/7. Also, some classes have Supplemental Instruction workshops (aka guided study groups) available as well.

3. Study. Study. Study.student studies on the grass in front of Kendall Hall

Consider both studying by yourself and with a buddy or group.

Studying by yourself before meeting with others will give you the opportunity to attempt the material on your own.

Studying with others can be very helpful in two ways: one, other people may have answers to questions you weren’t able to answer yourself; and two, you might have the opportunity to teach others the material.

As the Roman philosopher Seneca said: “While we teach, we learn.”

When studying by yourself, try studying in different places every time, and distance yourself from distractions (i.e. your phone, a television, certain people). Another really great tip is to record yourself reciting a concept or definition, go to sleep with headphones, and listen to those recordings while you sleep. Let your subconscious take over from there!

Picture Courtesy of
(Image source)

4. Remember That Self-Care!

While it is important to work hard and stay focused, it’s just as important to practice self-care. Making sure you get the necessities is very vital. For example: lots of sleep, hydration, and eating. Sleeping can actually help you recover your memory and forgotten knowledge.

And no, I do not mean hydrating with caffeine. Water, I definitely mean water.

Other types of self-care might include taking breaks or rewarding yourself after short bouts of studying. Studying in increments instead of hours on end may enhance the studying process. Rewards might include a quick Netflix episode or a trip to the Counseling and Wellness Center‘s massage chair. In the end, it’s about knowing what works for you, while practicing healthy habits along the way.

5. Practice Positive Self-Talk 🙂

Have you ever heard people telling you to “practice positive self-talk?” My Human Resource Management professor (David Agoff) opened the class by discussing positive self-talk and the effect it can have on our subconscious. He explained that if you exercise negative self-talk (i.e. “I’m a loser” or “I can’t do this”) then your subconscious will hear that and respond with ways to make that happen.

Picture Courtesy of
(Image source)

However, if you practice positive self-talk (i.e. “I deserve this” or “I can do this”) the same reaction will happen: your subconscious will hear it and find ways to make it happen.

I know that some people struggle with test anxiety, which, unfortunately, can be very tough to overcome. I urge those who deal with this to try practicing positive self-talk and just see what happens.


Need more convincing on that last tip? Check out this TED Talk, “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance,” and learn how positive psychology can actually make our brains work better, smarter, and faster. I think it’s worth 12 minutes of your busy schedule (maybe save it for a study break!).

You never know; it might give you a whole new perspective on life!

Back to School: 3 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Start

By Rachel Ward, Chico State Social Media Intern

Welcome to Chico State!

(Jason Halley/University Photographer)
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

If you’re a brand new student, welcome to Chico State! We’re so happy you chose us for college.

But, whether you’re a new student or old hand, anyone can use a refresher to ring in the new school year. Especially if you’re feeling a bit lost or in need of some advice or redirection.

So, without further ado, here are three tips for a happy, healthy start to the school year:

  1. Find a Community: Get Involved!

(Jason Halley/University Photographer)
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

As corny as it might sound, finding a dependable support system can be a life saver, and I cannot stress enough the value in finding your community. A close-knit community can serve two purposes: it can celebrate triumphs and good times, and support you during the hard times. Sometimes your community is at your fingertips: for instance, in your dorm. Sometimes you have to seek your community elsewhere, like at work or through a student organization. At Chico State, there are over 200 student organizations to choose from. If you don’t find one that meets your needs, consider starting your own!

And it doesn’t stop at one community: try to become a part of multiple groups to diversify the kind of support you’ll receive from others. That way, if you begin to notice that one particular support system isn’t meeting your needs anymore, you will have other support systems to fall back on in times of need.

  1. Use Your Resources: No, But Seriously (They’re Free)

(Sam Rivera/Student Photographer)
(Sam Rivera/Student Photographer)

Last fall, we made you a list of 10 Campus Hacks for Saving Money on Campus as a guide to free (or cheap) perks for students. But, we also have a lot of amazing, free resource centers designed just for you.

Got a cold? Stop by the Student Health Center. Ready to get active? The Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC) is open every day. Questions about paying for school? The Financial Aid & Scholarship Office eagerly awaits your visit. Want to be a positive influence amongst your peers? Visit the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC) to find out about Wildcat ROAR bystander intervention program. To check out a complete list of resources, visit the Academic Life website.

Also, did you know that as a Chico State student you are eligible for free counseling services? We all hope for a positive college experience, but moving to a new place to start school, pressure from classes, relationship troubles and more can pile up. You’re not alone. We want you to know that we are here for you, and talking with a professional counselor can normalize your feelings. The Counseling & Wellness Center is trained specifically for helping students, and is ready to meet with you.

(Jason Halley/University Photographer)
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

For students of diverse backgrounds, we have a variety of safe spaces and resources. Students and their allies can pay a visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC), the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), and the Cross Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC) to meet people with similar or complementary experiences and tools for navigating life in Chico. Not to mention, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts awesome Welcome Receptions every fall for students of diverse backgrounds. You can find a schedule of those events here. Don’t be afraid to get involved!

  1. Start Early! #ChicoWW

It’s never too early to start looking for those campus connections: every year, Chico State hosts a Wildcat Welcome. This year, Chico State’s welcome stretches across three weeks and is designed to celebrate your new membership in the campus community. Prepare to kick off your Chico experience with a variety of activities to suit your tastes!

(Christie Landrie/University Student Photographer)
(Christie Landrie/University Student Photographer)

Enjoy kickin’ it by the pool on a hot day? Check out one of our WREC pool parties. Do you like that feeling you get at large outdoor movie theaters, such as a drive-in movie? Come to a Moon on Movie for a late night movie showing. Do you love going to live performances? We’re bringing The Waifs to campus, in addition to other local musicians and bands.  Does service and civic engagement speak to you? Join us for beChico! or donate to the Hungry Wildcats canned food drive.

Other events offered throughout these next few weeks also include midnight pancake breakfasts, a hike and swim at Alligator Hole, a local job fair, a hypnotist show, Thursday night markets, and more.

Just so you know, there are a few mandatory events for you first year and transfer students. Those include:

Friday, August 21st

Big “C” Welcome & Class Photo: 9:45 – 10:15 a.m. behind University Stadium

Faculty Mentor Meetings: 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. at Butte Hall (first year students only)

Saturday, August 22nd

Faculty Mentor Meetings: 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. at Butte Hall (first year students only)

(Jason Halley/University Photographer)
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Other cool, informational events include TransferMation (transfer students only), WREC It! and Clubtacular. Find a complete list of all Wildcat Welcome events on their website.

Don’t be afraid to expose yourself to new interests and new people! Look for the hashtag #ChicoWW on our @chicostate Twitter for Wildcat Welcome events as they come up. We can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces the next few weeks!

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve: ‘Where Education Meets the Land’

By Zachary Phillips; photographs by Ernesto Rivera, editorial assistants—Public Affairs and Publications

Perspective Point overlooks the entirety of the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.
Perspective Point overlooks the entirety of the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

By 10 a.m. on July 1what was supposed to be one of Chico’s hottest summer days —most people are shacked up inside an air-conditioned building or waist-deep in One Mile. Either of those seem like a distant reality, however, from where we’re standing—17 miles east of town in a workshop overlooking miles of creek and canyon, seconds away from sniffing an uncapped bottle of mountain lion urine. Continue reading Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve: ‘Where Education Meets the Land’

MFA Photography Alum Finds Beauty in the Ordinary

By Ernesto Rivera, Editorial Assistant—Public Affairs and Publications

A photo from “Out of the Ordinary,” a series that comments on the spaces people occupy.

When Adria Davis was in high school, her uncle, a professional sports photographer, took her on assignment to the Women’s World Cup in Los Angeles in 1999. It was that moment, photographing superstar strikers like Mia Hamm, she told herself, “this is what I want to do.”

Years later, she joined the three-year masters of fine art program with a focus in photography at CSU, Chico. Davis was grateful to be able to completely focus and develop her art for three years, an opportunity she knows she may never have again.

A studio selfie of Davis.
A studio selfie of Davis.

“It was the first time in my entire academic career that I truly felt challenged,” she said. “You make art and it forces you to really think about why you’re making it or what’s the concept that you’re working with. It really develops your ideas.”

Davis, who graduated in the spring and also has a BA in art from CSU, Chico, spent much of the three years in the program developing her culminating exhibition, “Out of the Ordinary.”

Davis’ series premiered at the University Art Gallery on March 23.

For her exhibit, Davis filled up her gas tank and drove all around Butte County to tell the stories of people’s homes and the spaces they occupy. Although no one appears in the series, the photographs are all about people and their personalities shown through their homes.


“My photographic practice is reminiscent of when I was a child, looking out the backseat window, while my parents discussed different stucco choices, paint colors and architectural styles of homes,” Davis wrote in her artist’s statement. “These photographs are direct responses to my environment. I am fascinated by the interplay of where public space meets private space. At that point, you begin to see how these places become portraits of the people who inhabit them.”

While Davis’ influences such as Walker Evans, Robert Adams and Henry Wessel are prevalent in “Out of the Ordinary,” she also found guidance in photography professor Tom Patton, who guided her throughout MFA program and culminating exhibition with critiques and honest questions.

“I appreciated his guidance because it distanced me from it being a personal experience,” she said. “Instead of it being an emotional experience of me presenting my personal work, he would help me develop the idea and really asked me ‘why are you doing this?'”

Every photo from “Out of the Ordinary” was taken in Butte County.

The guidance Patton gave her wasn’t just with her photography, he was instrumental in guiding Davis when she was  brought into the department to teach film and digital photography classes while she finished her degree, a unique opportunity for MFA students. While Davis loved teaching digital photography because of  the what-seems-endless options digital provides, Davis admires film photography because of its magic and history.

“It’s one thing to print off your piece from a printer but it’s so different when you’re in the darkroom and the very first time you print and see your image develop right in front of you is so amazing,” she said.

To view more of Davis’ photos, visit

Emmy Award-Winning Alum Talks Filmmaking, Storytelling, Bending Rules

By Zachary Phillips, Editorial Assistant—Public Affairs and Publications

Photo courtesy: Dan Bruns

Matt Ritenour started working with California State University, Chico’s Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA) as a student in 2012. Since graduating in 2013, he has continued working with the lab, filming and editing documentaries that cover a wide array of topics. His most recent project—and his first as a director—is Impact of the Frolic, which won a Northern California-area Emmy Award on June 6, 2015. The documentary is a work of both auditory and visual storytelling, taking viewers through forests, over oceans, and across continents. It retraces archaeologist Thomas Layton’s discovery and research of an opium clipper that wrecked off the shores of Mendocino, California, in 1850, creating global connections that would change California forever. Continue reading Emmy Award-Winning Alum Talks Filmmaking, Storytelling, Bending Rules