Assistant professor of history hosts WWII display

By: Michaela Marcellino
Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 24 and 25, Vol State students had an opportunity to see a large display of items from World War Two. Peter Johnson, assistant professor of History, brought in his personal collection, and set them up in the Rochelle Center in Thigpen Library. There were four tables worth of items, as well as music from the 1940’s being played, and a slideshow of WWII photos.
His collection covers a wide range of items, and includes everything from uniforms, to weaponry, to ration boxes, to instruments, to patches, to flags, to newspapers and more. There were also multiple photographs, and even a yellow star that would have marked a Jewish person in that time.
“These are all World War II items that I have collected for a number of years, since I was probably ten. I bring [the collection] into my American history classes every semester to show, and to give some visual background. [The students] can actually see what we are learning in history. These are all artifacts from the war, and the items are about 70 to 75 years’ old. It gives you a first-hand view of what actually took place in the war, instead of just telling everybody. I have American, German, and Japanese items,” said Johnson.
As the Rochelle Center was filled with these artifacts, Students were able to peruse the tables and take it all in. “[The display] is amazing. We are probably the last generation to be able to know someone who actually fought in World War Two, so it becomes really personal. I think it is better to see [World War Two] like this, first-hand, as opposed to seeing it in a textbook. You feel much more connected to it. We are very fortunate to have someone is as passionate about history as Professor Johnson is,” said Kelly Sleeper, a Vol State student.
“I would hope students would be able to connect what they are seeing [here at the display] with what they are learning in class. I think that the more you connect visual aids, with auditory and all those other kinds [of aids], it helps you realize what is going on around you. The one part of history that I love, is that in order not to repeat it, you must learn from it.
Without these men and women who fought during World War Two, we would not be where we are now. We would not have the society or the freedoms that we so enjoy. They really paved the way,” said Jennifer Wooden, who does supplementary instruction for Professor Johnsons’ class.
“World War Two was a pivotal point in American History. Number one, it brought us out of the greatest economic depression that we have ever faced as a nation. When the bombs dropped at Pearl Harbor, unemployment virtually disappeared in six months. These men and women who volunteered and were drafted, answered the nations’ call. When they got victory, they literally came home and changed the face of America. Tom Brokaw, who was an NBC reporter, gave them the title ‘the Greatest Generation,’ and I wholeheartedly agree…[by seeing this display] I hope the students will gain a new appreciation of what it took for our nation to fight this war, and to succeed,” said Johnson.

Joel Myers performs at Vol State

By: Lillian Lynch
At the age of 29, Meyers has been practicing magic for 23 years.
“I got started in magic because my dad showed me my first magic trick when I was six. I used to travel with him, he was a traveling salesman, and we’d go from city to city and always end up in the most touristy cities. So I would go stand out in the street in a really busy area like Santa Monica Boulevard in California, Times Square in New York City or Key West Florida right on the boardwalk. I’d say ‘Hey everybody there’s going to be a magic show.’ I was about eight or nine and my dad would leave me there and I would perform on the streets. I’d make $500 or $600 a day,” said Meyers.
The show he performed for Vol State was one of many, including his multiple appearances on television. Meyers began the show with a short introduction and an old trick of making a bottle disappear in a paper bag.
As his title of “interactive illusionist” suggests, he asked for an audience member to come up on stage.
Hannah Brindel, a student at Vol State, was first on stage. Meyers did a few card tricks with her before having Brindel hold up a lemon. She stood at the edge of the stage and held up the fruit. Meyers, across from her, was holding a knife as if he were going to throw it and hit the lemon.
Meyers joked and took the lemon. He cut it open to reveal Brindel’s previously torn up card in tact within.
“I was terrified he was going to throw that knife,” said Brindel.
Meyers then began talking about one of the most famous magicians of all time, Harry Houdini.
“Houdini could actually swallow and regurgitate things. He would often swallow a key and regurgitate it. That was how he got out of a lot of traps,” said Meyers.
With the set up of regurgitation, Meyers swallowed a very sharp and very real sewing needle. He then took a small thread and put on end of it in his mouth, swallowing part of it. As he pulled on the string the needle followed. The thread was now tied around the needle’s eye.
Continuing with Harry Houdini’s famous tricks, Meyers then pulled out a straight jacket. It was the same kind Houdini had.
“Houdini’s record was three minutes and seven seconds. Today I’m going to escape this jacket in under two minutes,” said Meyers.
He had two audience members help strap him into the jacket.
Meyers struggled as the audience cheered. He dislocated his shoulder in order to twist out of the bounds and escaped the jacket with 10 seconds to spare.
Meyers’ last trick was accompanied by a story from his childhood.
He had never seen snow, as his family would travel to his grandfather’s house in California during the holiday season. The one year he asked if they could stay so he could see the snow, there was no snow.
The next day his father woke him up and told him to look outside. Meyers saw snow for the first time.
For weeks afterward he would go around his house tearing up small pieces of paper trying to recreate the feeling he had when he first saw snow.
His father then showed him the very last trick he performed.
“Nothing is impossible,” said Meyers.
He took a Chinese fan, a single piece of tissue paper and made it “snow” in the dining room.
“I love magic. I love going to magic shows. This show was no disappointment,” said Zachary Bolt, a student at Vol State.

Vol State goes green by adding solar pannels and vehicle chargers

By: Miguel Detillier
Solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations are helping to protect the environment at Volunteer State Community College.
Vol State are providing solar panels to the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center along with the electric vehicle charging station across from John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building North near the Thigpen Library as part of a project sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee to help utilize campus sustainability fees and to take the resource efficiency steps needed to make the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building LEED Certified, according to the college blog, the Insider.
This blog also explains that the solar panels have been mounted on top of the physical plant cooling stations, and that Plant Operations will be placing a marker to show the solar panel stats to students and visitors, and that there are two power cords available for recharging electric cars and can be free to use for anyone.
The energy from the panels goes directly into the Wood Campus Center power grid and the panels cost about $6,686, according to the Insider. This blog also said that the four panels can produce 1,124 kilowatt hours a year, and is projected to save about 1.4 barrels of oil each year.
“The charging stations are up and running are open for anyone to use,” said William Newman, Senior Director of Plant Operations. “The solar panels will be wired in and operational by this week.”
“I’m excited to have the solar panels and the electric car charging stations on campus because it encourages us to think more sustainability,” said Le-Ellen Dayhuff, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. “And because I think it offsets some of the energy costs around Vol State.”
The Insider explains that the Sustainability Committee has been actively using the fee money for campus improvements, and the funds have been used to install energy-effcient LED lighting in the J.T. Fox Maintenance Building and on the Highland Crest campus. This blog also said that that the committee welcomes suggestions to help protect the environment on campus.
Besides providing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, Vol State also provides hydration stations to encourage people to reuse drinking containers since plastic water bottles are one of the biggest challenges to waste disposal, according to the Insider. This blog also confirms that Vol State also offers recycling bins to help students recycle plastic drinking containers and is paid for by the Committee, and that the committee members are suggesting everybody to recycle to provide a sustainable environment at Vol State.
The Insider explains that future possibilities for the Committee to help protect the environment around campus include solar umbrellas that would provide cell phone and laptop charging stations for students working outside at picnic tables.
This blog also said that students can contact Keith Bell, Associate Professor of Geography, at for suggestions to the Committee to help protect the environment at Vol State.

Getting a new job can be very stressful

by Hope McKinney
Just recently I have decided to quit my job that I have worked for almost three years in pursuit of something different and more challenging.
This decision was not an easy one to make because it was my very first job and we all know it is very possible to be sucked into your first job. You grow there, make connections with people, and experience good and bad times.
You learn to love everything about that job until you are an expert at how to run things. If you stay at your first job for more than a year, you grow to love it.
We all know that loving something can be a little hard at times. I was so engulfed in trying to work at my job, do school work, and work for the paper that I forgot to take time for myself. I forgot that it is okay to say enough is enough sometimes and say goodbye to something that is overwhelming you.
When I decided to quit my job millions of thoughts raced through my head. You are scared to leave there thinking you might not make as much money somewhere else, you might not get the hours you want somewhere, or you might not like the management.
Like everything in life sometimes all we need is a little push to send us into doing exactly what we need to do. Speaking from the heart I can tell you that if you are not happy in your place of business, it is okay to leave. It is okay to find another place to work.
It is okay not to like the environment you are in. It is okay to quit sometimes. Especially in college all the pressure is on you. You have to decide a major, you have to study endless hours to obtain a major you may not even find a job in, but you do it anyway because you know you were told to do it.
You work endless hours at a dead end job to make money to pay for your schooling and various bills. This can make anyone unhappy. You have to choose between things you love, and things you want to do in life.
For me, being a journalist is something I’ve wanted in my life since a very young age. I love the art, I love the fast pace and mentality of it all. It was not easy to quit my job so I could focus more on school and myself, but it something I am learning to enjoy.
I have found a less demanding job that I can see my family and friends when I want to and focus on my career and works at Volunteer State Community College.
Overall I feel much better about this change that I have made in my life. I want everyone who reads this paper to know that it is okay to make a decision based on how you feel. It is okay to say enough is and focus on the betterment of yourself. It is okay to find something that you love and run with it.
Finally, it is okay to be sick and tired of doing things for everyone else. Go get your degree, find a great career job, and be the happiest person in this world because at the end of the day money isn’t what really matters. Making yourself happy, making your family happy, and making others happy is what you will be remembered as.
Be your best self whether you work 40 hours a week in an office, or whether you serve at the local fast food place.
Always work hard t what you love and hopefully one day it won’t even feel like work anymore. Hopefully one day every graduate of Vol State can say they made it exactly where they want to be in life.
I know that life is too short to be unhappy. We get a very limited time in this world to make something of ourselves, and ultimately working a job that you have worked at since you were 16 isn’t going to be a crumb compared to everything you accomplish on this Earth.
Never be unhappy with what you do. Go to work or school every day and make it the best day ever.

SGA food survey may bring changes to campus

by Kailyn Fournier
The Student Government Association (SGA) at Volunteer State Community College conducted a food survey from September 29 to October 5 in order to gather opinions from the student body regarding the food services available on campus. The purpose of the survey was to give SGA an idea of what areas needed improving on when it came to food. They were concerned with the pricing of food and the quality of food that was being offered.
“This is my second year at Vol state. So I had a year of actually being a student and listening to other students, and purchasing the food, and eating it and trying it and living here as a student. I personally didn’t like what the foods services was offering. I know I’ve heard from many students and faculty and staff it’s just not up to par with what we should have here. So I brought it up to the SGA, and they all agreed it was a problem,” Said Dillon van Rennes, who is the secretary of treasury for SGA.
There is also the issue of food insecurity on campus. For the students who don’t have the means to purchase food every day, there were a few questions that on the survey as well.
“When we see some need like this we’re going to investigate, “said Van Rennes.
For those students. The SGA hopes to use the data from the survey to go towards a food bank that they are trying to put in place. They have already gotten it approved, along with the grant to fund it. “Hopefully [this survey] will get the ball rolling,” said Van Rennes
The survey also reached out to the other campuses.
Those campuses have one building and no lunch room. They did have a food truck, but no one was utilizing it. “[Fixing] that should be one of our goals on campus,” said Brittany Davis, the SGA cabinet chair for the campus activities board.
The survey is meant to address everyone’s concerns. For those who can afford the food on a daily basis, that means improving the quality of food and the selections that are available. For those who can’t afford the food on a daily basis, that’s what the potential food bank will be for.
“I think it’s a great way for students to get their information out there,” said Crystal Sloss, who is the National Society of Leadership and Success’s representative for SGA.
There were also questions about a meal plan on the survey. If that were to be put in place later on, it could be federally funded.
The survey was a way for them to know specifically what to focus on and where there is a bigger need from a very neutral standpoint.
“We don’t have people coming in and constantly telling us what we’re doing right or wrong. That’s why I like the survey. It tells us exactly what we need to be doing,” said Natalie White, the vice president of SGA.
“We are a very passionate team. We want to make a positive change and we strive to work with administration and communicate with administration to get all of these things done. Were here to serve the student body,” said Van Rennes.
The exact date SGA will get the results back is unknown. “We are working directly with Jane McGuire, vice president of institutional effectiveness. She has not given us a solid date but we are hoping to have the results back by November 1,” said Van Rennes.
“I hope the results allow us to get a change,” said Sloss.

Vol State will be hosting annual Fall Festvial

by Michaela Marcellino
On October 19th the annual Fall Festival will be taking place at Volunteer State Community College. The activities will be on the outside on the Quad (the field outside the library), if it rains then it will be moved inside to the Pickel Field House (Gym). A free lunch will be provided for those who stop by the CAB sand art table and get Fall Festival Bucket List ticket.
They will then need to stop by eight tables in order to receive the lunch. Lunch will start at 12:30, a concert will start at 12:45 on the Quad, the concert will feature the Alex Michael Band.
There are multiple activities available at the Fall Festival “this year we will have corn hole, volleyball, a video game station with E-Sports, ping pong with College Republicans and make your own sand art with CAB”, said Coordinator of Student Activities Tabitha Sherrell.
Clubs have the opportunity to sponsor tables at the Fall Festival “Spectrum and RSO will be sponsoring the Sumner County Humane Society Dog Toys where students can visit the table and make homemade dog toys that will be donated to the humane Society” said Sherrell.
The Fall Festival offers a variety of tables that engage students with different interests “I loved the Fall Festival last year, it was fun to look at all the different tables and people.
I was surprised at how much food I got to sample. I hope there is as much this year! Other than the food, it was fun to walk around campus; I got to show my sister some of the clubs that I am in and the tables that we sponsored. I hope there is a big turn out this year”, said student Rachel Edwards.
Food Day will also be a part of the Fall Festival “We are also partnering with Kelly Ormsby who is sponsoring Food Day the same day. She will have the following tables at Fall Festival: UT extension Office, Second Harvest, USDA, Soup Sampling! Farmers Market (two tables).” Said Sherrell.
The Fall Festival is an opportunity to bring your friends and family to campus and let them see what your college is like, “I am going to the Fall Festival this year and I am hoping to join some new clubs.
I felt too frazzled at the beginning of the year to join any clubs, now that I have settled in I think it will be cool to get involved at school and make some new friends and join some student led clubs and activities.
Even if I don’t get to join any clubs at least I got to hang out with my friends and start off the fall season with a Fall Festival, right? I think it will be fun to see the turn out, hopefully the weather gets the hint and gives us some fall weather to go with the festival”, said student Mackenzie Norset about the festival.

Carlos Andres Gomez visits Vol State

by Miguel Detillier
Carlos Andres Gomez, award-winning poet, spoke at the Campus Activities Board (CAB) Coffee House in Volunteer State Community College on Oct. 4.
This lecture took place at the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A in the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center from 12:45-1:45 p.m., after a student and faculty open-mic event that lasted from 12:15-12:45 p.m.
Gomez’s lecture started off with him reading a poem about dancing with a woman in a wheelchair in a nightclub called “Hector LaVoe is God.” Gomez also spoke about being in love with his partner in college which lead him to read a poem called “Everything.”
Gomez also talked about holding hands with a man in college which lead him to read a poem about homophobia and rigid gender roles called “Handstitch.”
Gomez communicated with the audience about their looks and identities like freshman Billy Trvoni who spoke about being told that he looked like George Lopez, which lead to Gomez reading a poem about stereotypes called “What does Hispanic look like?”
Gomez also spoke about dealing with the audience over specific lines and metaphors from poems that would confuse them.
And Gomez also told a story over the First Amendment Awareness Week when he asked questions to people in Kentucky about how they know the First Amendment, and also the reception that he got from asking those people about their thoughts on same-sex marriage.
Gomez also talked about dealing with his own fears and that he didn’t have to worry about his fears because of his privileges.
Gomez also communicated with students about how women are being treated like junior MaryAnn Kormoski who talked about the Pink Tax that charges money to women who buy products that are targeted towards women, which lead to him reading a poem about his daughter being gendered called “If a Princess Tries to Kidnap Your Daughter.”
And Gomez closes his lecture by reading a poem that he dedicated to his dyslexic younger sister and to those who have younger sisters called “Gifted.”
Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that Gomez was planning to give away a copy of his book called “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood” at the open-mic event, but he didn’t because the books sold out the night before his lecture at Vol State.
“I loved coming to see Gomez perform at the Coffee House when I brought my English class to this event,” said Kelly Ormsby, Assistant Professor of English.
“We have studied poetry, and I think it is a great opportunity to see a poet perform his or her original work.”
Sherrell said that the Coffee House did really well for the Campus Activities Board, and that they’ve had an English class that came to see Gomez perform, and that four students participated in the open-mic showcase.
“It was an absolute joy to perform at Vol State, and I hope I make it back in the future,” said Gomez.

Student government hosts forum

by Michaela Marcellino
The Student Government Association (SGA)of Volunteer State Community College had their SGA Presidential Forum Monday, Oct. 2. This was an opportunity for the SGA to present questions from students about a wide range of topics relevant to Volunteer State. Presidential forums happen once a semester.
Those on the panel for the Fall 2016 forum included Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner, as well as coordinator of communications and public relations Eric Melcher, assistant vice president of student services Talia Koronkiewicz, assistant vice president of academic affairs George Pimentel, chief information officer Kevin Blankenship, assistant vice president of business and technology Renee Austin, and director of plant operations, William Newman.
The SGA Forum covered many different topics, from on-campus child care, to Wi-Fi issues, to future landscaping plans. Questions were also asked about if Vol State will ever have a health clinic, if students will be able to receive a text if a class is cancelled, and much more.
The panel provided answers. On the Wi-Fi issue, it is being worked on, and should be fixed soon. About text alerts, there are two types: One for emergencies such as evacuations and the like, and the other is for important campus information in general.
As of right now, the technology to separate text alerts by class does not exist. However, if a class gets cancelled completely, the division over that class will personally call each student to let them know. Students are encouraged to make sure their phone number in their online student account is correct. On the issues of a Vol State health clinic and on-campus child care, there are no immediate plans for either. Many more issues were discussed as well.
“[The faculty] responded well [at the forum]. I think some of the initiatives are actually being addressed, being sent to where they need to be sent, and getting to where they need to get to.
These are actual student concerns that are being addressed. The questions on our question list that did not get asked will be getting written responses. I think that is a really good thing, I think [the forum] is opening up some dialog that has been a long time coming,” said Sandra Hunt, the president of the SGA. The SGA posed questions, and then afterward opened the floor to give any student present the opportunity to ask the panel a question.
“What could have been done better, is that I wish we would have had more live student questions. The student questions that were posed by the SGA were gathered from our student organization. I wish we would have had more students here, live in the environment asking questions,” said Kenny Yabrough, director of student life and diversity initiatives.
“This is the eight or ninth SGA forum I have been a part of. This happens once a semester, and I have been here a little over four and a half years. This always a good opportunity to meet with students, answer their questions, and hear back from the students as well. So I think this is typically a really good opportunity,” said Faulkner. “This is the third college that I have worked at, and the first time I have ever been a part of an SGA open forum. I’m thrilled to see that the SGA is taking the initiative to even have an event like this, and that the administration is so willing to be involved in it. This is a wonderful way to have transparent communication, and to answer the questions students have,” said Koronkiewicz.
Students not involved in the SGA were also in attendance, listening to the forum. “I think if the café changes its menu, they’ll lose business, because if they start the calorie count, pretty soon it’ll be an all healthy food, and students will just go to McDonalds,” said Vol State student Oressa Jackson. “I think the forum went well, but I think there should be more student interaction,” said another Vol State student Clara West.
“I think its really good that they give us the opportunity to ask questions. It shows that they really care about their students,” said another student, Vincenza Colavolpe.

Top 10 movies available to rent at the Thigpen Library this Fall

by Cole Miller
If you weren’t already aware, there is a great selection of movies available to rent in the Thigpen Library. It is completely free, just show your Volunteer State Community College ID.
You are allowed 2 movies, and can have them for up to a week with no late fees. If returned late, you owe a dollar per day, per movie. The following is my personal top 10 movies that you should check out and watch if you have not seen them already.
10. Citizen Kane
In 1941, Orson Welles released this classic mystery drama movie. This film has been dubbed “The Greatest Film of All Time” by the American Film Institute on their 1998 list “100 Years … 100 Movies” and again on their updated list in 2007. Anything that has been noted as being the greatest of all time is absolutely worth your time.
9. The Wolf of Wall Street
Released in 2013 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this biographical drama about Wall Street directed by the talented Martin Scorsese is a must see for a movie buff. This is definitely not one to watch around younger kids or people who are sensitive to foul language, as it broke the record for most uses of the “f word” with a whopping 506-569 uses in some conjugation.
8. The Graduate
This is a classic, and your parents probably know this one. The Graduate came out in 1967, and stars Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock who has just finished college and is returning home. With a soundtrack written by “Simon & Garfunkel” that contains now well-known songs such as “Sounds of Silence” and “Mrs. Robinson”, I absolutely recommend this movie.
7. American Beauty
Keep calm and pass the asparagus. This 1999 “dramedy” starring Kevin Spacey is outstanding. Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a husband in suburbia that is just fed up with life, at home and at work. Without spoiling any major plot points, I can honestly say this movie is in my top 5, and is one I re-watch regularly.
6. The Big Lebowski
“The Dude abides, man.” Before I mention anything about the movie, I should mention that this movie will make you want to go bowling and just take it easy for a while at home with friends. Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey Lebowski, who shares the same name as a very wealthy mogul played by David Huddleston. Everything unfolds in a hilarious way, and is always worth the rewatch.
5. Argo
Directed by Ben Affleck, who also stars in this suspenseful movie is based on a true story. Based on the “Canadian Caper” which occurred in 1979, this movie tells the story of how the CIA faked a movie to get American hostages in Iran home.
4. Reservoir Dogs
Okay, this is my absolute favorite movie of all time, I did not put it at number one because I am aware it is not for everyone. This is Quentin Tarantino’s first production, and stars Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, and Harvey Keitel. I will not be spoiling anything from the plot, this is a must watch.
3. The Godfather
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972, this movie is also dubbed as one of the greatest movies of all time. It is ranked second, only behind Citizen Kane on AFI’s “100 Years … 100 Movies”. It stars Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as his son, Michael Corleone.
2. Good Will Hunting
“How do you like them apples?” Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck while they were in community college, this 1997 drama is a masterpiece. It stars Damon as Will Hunting, and the late Robin Williams as his therapist, Sean Maguire. This movie won Williams an Oscar, and is also in my top 5.
1. Interstellar
If you have not seen this yet, go watch it. Use Hulu if it has already been checked out of the library. This sci-fi movie directed by the talented Christopher Nolan has even been dubbed “almost 100 percent scientifically accurate” by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. It deals with worm holes, black holes, and relativity for those of you who really like things like that.

Breaking bad study habits for your midterms

by Sara Keen
Midterms are upon us, and some students may find themselves cracking under the pressure.
New students, especially, may not yet know how to study for a college exam or prepare for a midterm essay like those who have already passed their first semesters.
In some classes, the midterm can make or break your grade. It may be from a lack of smaller grades or the worth of the midterm itself.
It is always better to start preparing for midterms a few weeks ahead, but with work, home, life, and anything else that could interfere happening, that does not always work out.
Therefore, this week we are looking at some great tips for last minute test preparation for anyone struggling with their class or simply buckling down to study.
First and foremost, it is a lot easier to focus when you are not in an overly familiar environment, like your bedroom or living room. Instead, choose to go to the library, Starbucks, a place on campus, or even an empty room in your home (without a couch).
It can also help to drink something warm and breathe for a few minutes before you start. It calms your nerves and can make you feel a little more comfortable in the environment to focus on what you are doing.
The best help you can give yourself is to stay away from your phone while you study. It is a distraction because you will wonder “what’s on Facebook?” “has bae texted me yet?” and so on.
Even your laptop can be a major distraction with endless access to the internet. There are apps that can help, though, such as Self-Control, Concentrate, FocusBooster, FocusWriter, and Anti-Social. These are all apps designed to help you stay focused and stay off of social media.
Once you rid yourself of distractions, it is time to study or write that midterm essay that has worried you all week.
Music can also be helpful, but not pop music or your favorite “jams.” Music without vocals is usually better for studying and writing. Try your favorite video game or movie score, or even check out the study playlists on Pandora and Spotify.
If you do not already know how you study best, it is a great time to experiment.
Some people do better by listening to notes or watching crash-course style videos. Others are better if they can answer questions or use flashcards.
Personally, I find it is better to rewrite and organize my notes before the tests. I have to actively concentrate for it and it is a great last minute refresher for an exam.
Many people choose to form a study group and work together with flashcards. In study groups, you can talk over any problems being faced with the others and even receive help from someone who understands a topic better.
Groups also help others with their writing. If someone is a little nervous about going to the Writing Center or even needs help getting started, discussing the writing with others can be extremely helpful.
In addition, take advantage of the services on campus and your instructors. We have a language center, learning commons, supplemental instruction, silent study rooms, and even class lists to help contact other students.
Instructors are almost always willing to help anywhere they can. No student should be afraid to ask for a little help, whether it is some additional material or a more detailed explanation for one of the concepts.
Midterms are coming hard and fast, so do not let yourself get caught up with stress. You can really exhaust yourself.
Make sure you rest, get plenty of sleep, spend some time chilling out, and eat a decent breakfast before your midterms begin.