Skip to main content

Freshman Innovation Group Blog: Tips for staying focused

Follow along with this new FIG blog this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students!

The College of Liberal Arts welcomes and celebrates first-generation students—the pioneers who are the first in their family to earn an undergraduate degree at a university.  Almost 30% of all liberal arts majors are first generation. The Freshman Innovation Group (FIG) is a college-specific program that provides incoming, first-generation freshmen a learning community involving a small network of faculty, advisors, and administrators in partnership with students.

This new FIG blog gives an inside glimpse of what the college experience is actually like for first generation students. Follow along this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students!


Olivia Peralez 

Give yourself a (brain) break

We all get distracted, right? Some of us can’t sit a desk and work for six hours straight studying, doing homework, and trying to organize our hectic college lives. As a college student I tend to often sit at a desk at Evans and sometimes it’s hard to stay focused. Here are some ways I refocus myself during the day.

First, I would suggest taking a shower! After going to all my classes and walking all over campus I find that showering when I get home washes away all the stress from the morning. Being alone with my thoughts while the steam of the hot water fills the room is the most refreshing feeling, and it helps me to breathe and quiet my mind. Once I get out of the shower I feel clear minded and ready to sit down again and begin working. 

Secondly, I suggest eating a snack. I am guilty of not eating anything until around 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On those days, I take advantage of eating something to calm my hunger and to feed my body and mind fuel to work properly. I always keep easy snacks on hand like dried fruit, cheese crackers, or a protein bar. Hunger is distracting, so eating something small to curb my appetite helps. 

Lastly, it helps to clean your room. I cannot focus when my bed isn’t made. Before I can do anything in my room, even if it’s watching TV, I have to make my bed and tidy up. If I’m ever tired of doing an assignment and feel mentally drained, taking that time to clean as a short break helps. I fold clothes, organize my desk, etc… then it’s back to business to get my homework done. 

I hope this helps motivate you to get some work done and relieve unnecessary stress that we tend to carry throughout the day. Remember breaks are important — take life day by day by working smarter!


Daniela Guzman

Living off campus

Living off campus for my freshman year was the best decision of my life! I chose to live off campus because it was cheaper and I enjoy my privacy.

I decided to live off campus at a town home community. Having my own room and restroom was my favorite part of coming home. All of my friends lived on campus, and I seemed to be the only freshman that lived off campus. At first, I felt like an outsider. But later on during the semester, I realized that having my own place was a huge perk!

Since all of my friends lived on campus, they would let me stay over whenever I wanted to, and we would have sleepovers all the time. It was like I basically lived on campus with them! My friends lived in the North side of campus in Clements Hall. I was able to make friends with everyone that lived in that building, and I didn’t even live there!

One thing that my friends would struggle with was finding time to concentrate and study. Since everyone lived together, everyone always wanted to hang out, and it could distract my friends from studying. That is where having my own place came in handy. When I needed to get away and study for a big test or do important homework, I could just go home and no one would distract me. For a second, I thought that living off campus would disconnect me from all of my friends, but in reality, it allowed me to protect my grades and get away whenever I wanted time for myself!


Read more of the FIG Blog posts here