Handling studying for finals efficiently

Hello RPI,

I hope Thanksgiving break gave you the chance to relax. Your friends and family missed you while you were diving headfirst into your work here. That being said, you only have a few weeks left, so give it your all and succeed before the long break.

For those of you that are new to the Rensselaer end-of-semester crunch, do not be afraid. It’s not as hard as it sounds, but it definitely builds solidarity and unity amongst students. Almost as much as beating Union. Almost. Bit of advice, even though the designated “study days” are December 14 and 15, don’t forget to take advantage of the preceding weekend as well! A little bit of review every day (starting now, even) will work out much better than a last minute cram session, and leave you with a lot less stress. For those of you who are already feeling the burnout, be sure to take some time for yourself even amidst the mountain of work. It’s better to work at 100 percent for one hour after a 30 minute recharge than 40 percent for three hours. If you don’t believe me, take a trip down to the Counseling Center in Academy Hall; they’ve seen a lot of students go through similar struggles and are always eager to help you.

If you haven’t been taking advantage of them already, be sure to talk to Advising Learning and Assistance Center (also in Academy Hall) about ways to study for the exams, and people to help you do so. Using these resources is not a sign of weakness, but rather another tool you are expected to have on your belt. Or in your tool bag. Or in your car trunk, really whatever you find as the most convenient storage unit.

I didn’t get the chance to write to you guys last week, so I hope this week I can make up for it a bit. This past Tuesday will have been the last standard meeting of the Student Senate for this semester. HOWEVER, on December 8th, we will be holding a town hall meeting in the Rensselaer Union for students to come and discuss our work in a more open environment (although all of our meetings are open to the public, you can seriously just waltz right in). Anyway, in the meeting on December 1, we will have presented our progress reports on many of our projects for this semester. Graduate Student Spencer Scott, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, presented on our work to expand resources for students seeking to obtain graduate level fellowships and grants for study. As a research university where many of our students elect to continue their studies beyond undergraduate, we believe that our resources should be competitive with other similar institutions. If you’re interested in learning more about any of this, please feel free to reach out to us, and let us know what you think.

I’d also like to remind everyone that our chairperson for the Union Annual Report Committee is graduate Jen Church, who is now stepping down from the position of Student Government Communications Chair. If you are interested in this position, please let us know as soon as possible. This person will be in charge of our communication strategies, as well as a member of the Senate Cabinet, which is comparable to the executive board of other organizations (point of clarification: this is not the Union Executive Board).

The Facilities and Services Committee, chaired by Michael Han ’16, presented on their initiative to place water bottle filling stations on our campus, to encourage environmentally-friendly facilities, as we move towards a school that actively supports green habits. This project was presented by Austin Miller ’17, and is a joint effort between ourselves and Vasudha. Further, there will be water bottles available for purchase in order to help support the project, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Lastly, we have two presentations from our Web Technologies Group, chaired by Justin Etzine ’18. The first project is a demo of an improved elections website, so that our selection process can take full advantage of new technologies. Second is the triumphant revival of a technology service loved by all students: the Shuttle Tracking app for your mobile device! This project, pioneered by Gabe Perez ’15, allows students to see where on the route a shuttle is, and plan their travels accordingly. This app saved me from a long walk in the rain more than thrice, so be sure to look out for more news on it!

With all of these great projects coming out, I just want to remind everyone that student government isn’t all meetings and paperwork. It’s a chance to interface with the community, bring your ideas into fruition, and leave your mark on Rensselaer. If you ever have any questions on how to get involved, either in a single project or leading several, we’re all open for you to contact. If you don’t know who we are, check us out at, or contact me at

Final announcements: Senate Survey helps us obtain data to support our work across the campus, so please check it out

SHUTTLE TO CROSSGATES ON DECEMBER 14, take the shuttle on that Friday and see the new STAR WARS!!

I’d like to take this last section to thank everyone who has worked with me this semester in my role as Grand Marshal. It’s a great once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’ve loved seeing the spirit of students across campus as they invest themselves into their passions through extracurricular clubs, community service, Greek life, sports, and their academics. I want to give a shout out to all of the Senators who have been working with me this semester, and handling all of the curve balls that have come our way (especially that Arco Verano).