Advice from the Office of Academic Resources (Part 2)

ATTENTION: All things related to the Haverford Health Portal must be completed by Saturday, July 21st! This includes choosing to enroll in or waive the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and submitting your Health Records!!! (Also don’t forget about the Pre-Major Advisor Questionnaire which is also due July 21st!)

Hello everyone! This is Part 2 of the interview with members of the Office of Academic Resources. Here we have even more advice about transitioning into college and tips on how to thrive academically at Haverford. For part 1, click here!

Who we interviewed:
Peter Granville, Program Coordinator-Office of Academic Resources
Brian Cuzzolina, Director of Office of Academic Resources
Raquel Esteves Joyce, Assistant Director for Academic Resources

You can check out their full profiles on what they specialize in through the Academic Coaching page of the OAR’s Website!

Some answers are edited or paraphrased for brevity and clarity.


What are some tools (websites, apps) that you recommend for students to organize their lives?

Peter’s Answer – Google Suite and a Reflection Notebook:
In terms of tried and true tools, Google Suite is more commonly used. That said, you can do anything you please. A tool that is most often underutilized by students is a notebook where you write reflections about the day, answering questions like: ‘Am I happy?’ ‘Is my time devoted to things I care about?’. You can go back and read it to record your progress through college. This could take any form (you could even use a small whiteboard) as long as it involves the act of reflecting and learning more about yourself. We fall into habits without being aware of it, and only address our behaviors when they turn into a problem. This exercise instead focuses on catching our habits as they form.

Brian’s Answer – Calendars, Wunderlist (organizing time app), Moment (balance app):
Google Calendar is good, but any kind of calendar that makes time visual works. A micro and macro view of the semester is helpful. Shameless plug: the OAR offers paper copies of a semester calendar. For to-do lists, I recommend the app Wunderlist. Think about what you want and need, and look for it. There are a plethora of options available, you just need something to organize your time. This can even be post-it notes or a whiteboard, if not an app. I also like Moment, which is an app for balance. It tracks how long you’re on your phone. Get outside! Studies are showing the connection between nature and happiness. In fact, Dean Wilcox’s pick for Reading Rainbow looked at the science behind how we react to nature.

Raquel’s Answer – The OAR’s Free Resources!
The OAR website, and the OAR podcast, Compass. I think the podcast gives student language to talk about the challenges they’re facing, makes them realize that their experiences are normal, and encourages them to seek support.


What’s your go-to time management strategy when things get hectic in your life?

Peter’s Answer: Personally, since I’m a visualiser, I put everything up on on a board and think about how realistic my expectations are, and find what might be better done later.

My go-to is to draw a grid with 4 quadrants and on top write ‘Is this urgent?’, and on the side ‘Is this important?’ So often we do things that are not urgent/important to procrastinate on things that are important/urgent. This tool functions as a way to monitor yourself and set priorities. Ideally, you would maximise time on the items that fall underneath the important category, and create balance between things that are urgent and not urgent. While it seems counterintuitive to work on items that are less urgent, this allows you to always be making progress on things that are important down the line.

Brian’s Answer: I don’t handle stress well. For me, music is a go-to, I’ll put on a song during the day to calm down or to clear my mind. At the end of a busy day/week, I make time to listen to my favorite album. This creates a space for me to be in the moment, and not worry about whatever is causing the stress. I carve out family time, to energize, and create joy; I make sure to put my phone away. I think setting boundaries is very important as well. This can be hard for Haverford, since we’re such a tight knit community. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself. Every morning, carve out first 5-10 minutes on your schedule to look at your calendar and to-do list. Note your hopes for the day versus what needs to get done, and prioritize what needs to get done before the next day.

Raquel’s Answer: I think two main things, they’re symbiotic: to pull away, and writing. If things are super hectic, it’s helpful to pull back and get a more panoramic perspective of what’s going on. I ask someone else to look at it, for fresh perspective. When I’m really stuck, I just shut it off. This could be for several hours/days, and then I come at it with fresh eyes.

It could be in the form of journal entry or a letter, I don’t even have to post it, but writing is a pathway out of chaos. Life can get so fast that it feels like a luxury to stop, but we don’t realise cost of not stopping. It can hurt us more than it helps us. When things are really chaotic, we don’t have to time to process things and figure out how we can manage things better, but that can be very costly. Even if the circumstances haven’t changed, I’ve changed. My perspective and sense of grounding has changed. The path out of storm is visible, or I’m working on crafting it.


Stay tuned for the third and final part, posted tomorrow! 


Your objectives for this week are…
31) Picture of some art you made when you were ≤ 10 years old
32) Picture of you being overdressed
33) Picture of you sitting on something that isn’t furniture
34) Picture of a family recipe (if you’re allowed to share?)
35) BONUS (worth 30 points!): Picture of three things: one which begins with the letter ‘A’, the 2nd of which begins with ‘B’, and the third beginning with ‘C’

Since you can submit items from previous weeks, we’ve created a document with a compiled list (which we will update every week!) and the rules of the game. Email us with photos of these things to win sweet 🤑💸 gift cards 💸🤑 to Haverford area hotspots.

Have any questions? Email Blien and Isabel at Also, follow us on Snapchat @FYsquirrel for fun snaps and important updates/reminders!