Summer Internships

From researching innovative cancer treatments to building public trust in vaccine producers, Wily Scholars have been busy working on complex problems this summer.

Asstou, JT and Jessica excelled in their internships at Boston-area biotechnology companies. “It was my first internship, and I had a pretty great experience,” said Asstou, who is considering switching her major from biochemistry to biotechnology because of her time at GenerationBio. “It made me realize what I enjoy in the science world and which direction I would like to go.”

The three students found their internships through Project Onramp. The program is a collaborative effort between five leading life science organizations, including our partner Life Science Cares. Project Onramp aims to “bridge the opportunity gap” by “connect[ing] passionate, high-achieving four-year college students with paid internships.”

Jumping head first into a new work environment can be intimidating. In his article for the Wily blog, JT writes, “that first day was very daunting, with terminology and lingo being thrown around that I had no context with which to understand.”

By the end of his internship, though, JT had contributed meaningful work to a cancer treatment that won FDA approval to start clinical trials: a rare accomplishment.

It’s hard to explain the amount of focus that was required to not mix up any of the different samples and manage the extremely time sensitive steps of this procedure, but the results that I ended up with made me very proud to be able to impact the course of this company’s drug development and prove my potential as a scientist.

JT, Wily Scholar, Middlebury College

Though Jessica’s summer internship at Moderna has ended, she left a lasting impact. Search #ThePeopleBehindTheScience on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll find the video series that she launched for the biotech giant.

Jessica pitched the series and oversaw it to completion, from writing interview questions to coordinating a shoot schedule. She wrote that she was inspired “to increase transparency and trust by highlighting the amazing individuals working at Moderna.”

The Wily Network’s entire staff ended the summer by attending Project Onramp’s inspiring Internship Showcase. We got to hear from Asstou, Jessica and JT, and see how much their companies appreciated their work. 

Along with an impressive addition to their resumes, the three Scholars left their internships having built strong relationships with their supervisors. “I had a really great supervisor. She definitely helped me to identify my strengths and my skills I could work on,” Asstou explained. “She sat down with me…to figure out what I can work on moving forward, for future jobs or just for life in general. I am more self aware of what I need to work on as an individual.”

Gathering as a Pack

The Pack is back together! From Scholar picnics on Boston Common to our staff’s return to the office, we are so excited to spend time together in person again. 

In early July, a group of Scholars, staff and Alumni gathered on the Boston Common for an evening picnic, Wily’s 1st in-person Scholar event since February 2020!  There was laughing, chatting, catching up, and listening to the sounds of “The Tempest” rehearsing for Shakespeare in the Park. After a difficult year and so much time apart, our Pack was so happy to finally be together. Since then we’ve been lucky enough to have two more picnics.

Wily’s coaches and admin team have also gotten to spend some quality time together. We bookended the summer with two staff gatherings – a picnic at the beginning of June, and a tie-dye party at the end of August! We decorated some staff t-shirts, so keep an eye out for our new colorful Wily attire this year.


Though the warm weather may not last much longer, Wily staff will still get to see each other face to face this year – because we’re back in the office! We’ve redesigned our space to accommodate a growing staff, and we think it looks great.


2021 Graduation

Watching Scholars reach graduation is what Wily is all about! For the class of 2021, this is a graduation year unlike any other. College students all over the country have overcome unprecedented challenges head-on to reach this special milestone in their educational journey. Wily Scholars are no exception. After a year like this, one thing is for certain, the class of 2021 is looking forward to what’s next.

The future is bright for this resilient class of Wily Graduates: 

Agustin, Boston College

Auberta, Boston College

Edgar, Boston College

J’Saun, Boston College

Sonam, Boston College

Tikia, Boston College

Joel, Bridgewater State University

Mathieu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hantoa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tre, Middlebury College

On May 20th, we gathered via Zoom to celebrate our Wily Seniors. We laughed, cried, reflected on the journey to graduation, and enjoyed hearing some words of wisdom from our keynote speaker, Carmen Ortiz-McGhee (Chief Operating Officer, National Association of Investment Companies), and our Alumni speaker, Davae (Northeastern University ‘19). 

Thank you to those who donated in honor of the Class of 2021! Your investment enables us to walk by the side of Wily Scholars and ensure they have the support and resources necessary to reach graduation.

The Wily Network Practice Highlight: National Research Collaborative for Foster Alumni and Higher Education Newsletter

NRC-FAHE: National Research Collaborative for Foster Alumni and Higher Education

Practice Highlight – The Wily Network

NCR-FAHE Interviews Judi Alperin King, Founder, Executive Director of The Wily Network

Can you give us some background on your program and how it got started?

I was trained as a psychologist, and I worked for the same organization for most of my career, with children who were managing emotional, behavior and learning issues. I have long been drawn to colleges and their campuses. I was lucky enough to study on four college campuses. People think that once you get to college, you’re going to break the cycle. That’s not always the case. There are many systemic barriers to success once in college. To develop the Wily Network, I visited higher education support programs around the country to understand best practices. The programs I visited sat at one college. Greater Boston is home to more than 50 colleges, and I did not want young people to feel that they had to attend a particular college in order to benefit from Wily. We strive to figure out a way to help students at any local college. We also decided to work with four-year colleges that offered on-campus housing. We modeled Wily on the Blavin Scholars program at the University of Michigan. We designed the program and we received our first round of funding in late 2015. Over time we have built a solid team of professionals. Unlike many of our peer programs, Wily includes students who have never been in foster care. We work with students who are experiencing life challenges such as homelessness or foster care, or whose parents may be deceased, dealing with addiction, mental health issues, or incarceration. Our goal is to make sure talented young people feel that they belong in college. By working with students at several colleges, we have grown quickly, even through COVID, which has been really remarkable. We are currently working with 62 students at 10 colleges.


How is your program funded?

We are funded primarily by individual donors. Most nonprofits fail in the first three to five years, so we had to figure out a way to make the program sustainable. We designed a fundraising paradigm that enables us to commit to a Scholar for their full college career. Our Fund a Scholar program sets the annual cost of working with a student at $12,500. We ask donors to make a four-year pledge for a total of $50,000. Currently, 52 Scholars are fully funded through this program. We also receive funding through relatively small grants. We hope to go to some large funders in the near future. So far, people readily understand the challenge of being on your own in college without the things you need. That understanding has made for successful fundraising, even during the crisis we’re in right now.


How many students does your program serve?

This fall, we plan to work with 63 students. Twelve students graduated in May, and five of them don’t have jobs yet. We’ll work with them until December. Our plan is to have 115 Wily Scholars in five years, and 210 at the 10- year mark. We’re hoping that will capture everybody in the greater Boston area, but there isn’t good data available on how many students would be eligible for a program like this.


What is your role within the program?

I founded the program, and my title is Executive Director, but I wear many hats. I’m in charge of the finances, human resources, operations, and all the major fundraising. Right now, I’m also working directly with six students. Going forward I’m going to try and work with just one or two students. I don’t think this will be the year I move into a strictly executive director role, because we’re still developing different components of the program, including anti-racism practices.


What are the main components of your program?

One component of our program is coaching. Coaches go to students’ campuses and meet with them every week. There’s a lot of genuine caring interactions, and I think Scholars leave the program feeling that this is a lifetime relationship. We don’t do any therapy, but we’re using our clinical lenses with every interaction, and we refer students to therapy if needed. Students can text us if they get an A on a paper or if they forget to write a paper. We have somebody on call for emergencies. We were very careful not to replicate anything that the college or university already does. The second component involves supplemental Financial Assistance. We give students a stipend every month that they can use as they choose. We also provide them with a computer and a phone. We help set up their dorm rooms and make sure they have the clothes and food they need. Anything they need they can talk to us about. We approach funding their needs by asking, “What are your resources? What is your budget? What have you been saving?” We want to make sure that they’re aware of what they’re spending money on, and how to budget, but we also don’t want them working 40 hours a week in addition to school. The goal is always to enable them to focus on being a student. The third component is our community building and networking program, which focuses on developing relationships both internally and externally. The program helps Scholars build a community of peers who understand their story and share their career aspirations. Many of the Scholars who have been in foster care have said that they had never met other young people like them, and to be part of a group where everybody just understands is an amazing feeling. The networking program focuses on developing social capital. Typically, when you walk into the Career Center and say, “I want to be a lawyer,” a career counselor might say, “Oh, do your parents have any friends who are lawyers?” Such situations are obviously unwelcoming to Wily scholars. While we work with career counselors to be sensitive to the needs of our Scholars, we also introduce them to people in the community so they can develop the connections they will need.


What impact has the program had on its participants?

The community-building program has the greatest impact on students. I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t said something along the lines of, “You mean there are other people like me on this campus?” Some students cry when they hear there are students on their campus who have had similar experiences.


What advice would you give to policy makers?

In general, we don’t bump into many laws or policies. It’s much more about the systemic biases at colleges, especially the assumption that all students have family support. That said, I would love for long-term mental health services to be covered by everybody’s health insurance. Students come to college and they believe 1. They have four years of guaranteed housing, and 2. It’s going to be a place where they can begin to heal their scars. But the intensity and stress of college life makes it a tough place to heal. The mental health issues are overwhelming. It’s hard to find qualified therapists who have worked with people who have experienced trauma. If they don’t take insurance, we pay for the therapy appointments.


What changes has the program seen due to the pandemic?

Wily Scholars, like most students, were bombarded with communication from their schools about leaving campus. Even though they were ultimately allowed to stay for the spring, a lot of them made the choice to leave and go somewhere that was unsafe or unstable. We helped those students come back to Boston and get an apartment. It was a relief that we could help them by providing a safety net during this really unpredictable and awful time. We didn’t fully anticipate the impact on our Scholars of social isolation. We now have weekly Wily virtual dinners. We send a gift card to anybody who wants to come so they can order in, and then we all eat together. Typically, we would go and help students on moving day, and we can’t do that right now. That’s been tough. Not only is it not going to be their family moving them in, it’s not going to be their Wily coach either.


What do you want the program to achieve in the future?

My dream is for somebody to donate a home with lots of bedrooms, so that in emergencies Wily Scholars have a place to live. We could have our offices on the first floor and rooms for students to live in case of a gap in housing. In terms of initiatives, it would be ideal to have an association of the peer programs around the country to establish best practices. The vision is that everybody collects the same data, and we can make inferences from successes or refinements of other programs and have a yearly conference to share these. This would help ensure that all students who fit the criteria for higher ed support programs are given the same opportunities around the country so that they can graduate and have successful careers, families and lives.

Wily Scholars Among College Students Hit Hardest by COVID-19 Pandemic

This year, as the coronavirus pandemic continues, returning to or entering college is looking very different for students. While some universities have allowed students back on campus for in-person learning, other schools are instituting full-time remote classes or a hybrid approach consisting of both. For students on campus, emotions are high as they balance the fear of getting sick with the stress of a full workload and the sadness of being isolated from friends. While having to navigate this new world is an unsettling inconvenience for most college students, it is truly a dire situation for Wily Scholars. The pandemic has exacerbated their already stressful financial, academic, and emotional challenges making the road to graduation for Wily Scholars even harder.


Financial Strain: An Everyday Reality

The burden of the pandemic has exposed a staggering class divide among students. Like many college students, Wily Scholars, depend on their wages from local jobs or work-study programs. Unfortunately, college work-study programs, put into place to help students like Wily Scholars, have become limited. With campus amenities closed—such as gyms and dining halls—the workforce needed to maintain these facilities is diminished, although Scholars were told the promise of work-study would be honored. Additionally, off-campus jobs offer few employment opportunities. Many of the bars and restaurants surrounding college campuses that were previously eager to hire students, were unable to weather the storm that devastated the hospitality industry, and are either closed or unable to hire.

Scholars looking beyond the college environment for employment are met with the economic hardships lingering over the job market. Many students are eager to apply their classroom knowledge in the real world with internships, but are seeing promising opportunities postponed or canceled. With future employers hiring based on relevant work experience, the inability to have an internship is not only affecting Scholars financially now, but also post-graduation when they lack the necessary experience to get a job. For Wily Scholars, this job market nightmare means come graduation they may not have the financial independence or job experience needed to survive in the real world. Without the financial stability of steady employment post graduation, the realities of housing and food insecurity for Wily graduates are daunting.


Academic Impact: Navigating a New Learning Environment

Adding to the stress of a college workload, many students must also navigate the challenges of virtual learning. With little warning or time to prepare, students have transitioned their mindset from a traditional classroom to a makeshift lecture hall, also functioning as their dorm room. For students who thrive in a classroom setting, virtual learning has stripped all face-to-face interaction and can lead to loneliness and increased isolation. A Wily Scholar commented, “By far the hardest thing about virtual learning is staying motivated and focused in class. It’s very easy to not go to lecture or not pay attention because you can spend the whole day in your room.”


Social & Emotional Challenges: Coping with COVID-19

The emotional stress brought on by the pandemic is by far one of the most daunting factors for Wily Scholars. Changes in financial status and academic environment can, directly and indirectly, impact students psychologically. In addition to dealing with isolation and the challenges of learning behind a screen, Scholars also face housing insecurity—unsure of where they will go if campuses close again and send students home. Students with stable home environments are comforted by the fact that if their college sends them home again, they’ll have a safe environment to return to. Often, Wily Scholars do not have that privilege. Many Wily Scholars have no home to go to, or an unstable home environment, and for others, returning home would only be an added burden.

Another factor affecting Scholar’s mental wellbeing is food insecurity—which for many college students is often just a few missed paychecks away. While this is not a new issue on college campuses, with fewer jobs available for students, the pandemic has heightened this concern. The CARES Act, passed in March, has provided relief for some students, but its impact was not widespread. “Overwhelming” is an understatement for students, like Wily Scholars, managing housing insecurity, food insecurity and obstacles impacting their academic success.


Building Up Our Community: Power of the Pack

One Scholar reflected on their transition back to school stating, “Wily has been so helpful as I’ve transitioned back to campus during the pandemic. During a time where everything is up in the air, Wily has been such a necessary beacon of hope and stability. The transition back to college is always difficult, but this year might have been impossible without all that Wily has done for me.”

The pandemic has already wiped out restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues but the Wily Network refuses to let the pandemic wipe out the progress that Wily students have made. While Scholars are facing a steep uphill battle in comparison to most college students, with the help of our pack—donors like you—we will be able to continue to provide the financial and emotional support needed to guide Scholars.

Virtual Discussion with Steve Pemberton: His Chance in the World and Creating Chances for Others

Novels have the ability to transform, illustrate and even inspire a new beginning. Learning about a person’s point of view or life story can lead to unexpected opportunities.  For Judi Alperin King, founder of the Wily Network, her unexpected opportunity came after reading Steve Pemberton’s A Chance in the World. Having made the decision to launch the Wily Network, Judi was working on the program’s design. She was determined to address the key issues Steve outlined in the book for future Wily scholars. Motivated by the connection between Steve’s memoir and the nascent Wily Network, Judi tracked Steve down to ask him to serve in an advisory capacity for Wily. 

Each time they meet or Judi has the opportunity to hear Steve speak, she learns something new that informs her approach to supporting Wily scholars. On July 27th, the Wily Network hosted a virtual book club with Steve, with a discussion led by Carmen Ortiz-McGhee. The host for the evening was Wily Scholar J’Saun Bastien, a Boston College senior. 

Sitting in his home office filled with family photos and stacks of books, Steve Pemberton recalled his youth growing up in and out of foster care and longing for knowledge of his origins. Pemberton dreamed of having an understanding of family as he grew up without parental figures in foster homes that viewed him only as a way to make money. 

Nevertheless, he prioritized academic integrity and hard work, which led him to Boston College. Pemberton saw living on campus and socializing as an opportunity to construct a sense of belonging. But in reality, he felt disconnected from his peers who saw college as a chance to break away from their families; he was still trying to find his own. 

During his college years, Pemberton also struggled with his racial identity; he recognized the “template of blackness,” that people wanted to put him in while debating his lighter complexion and blue eyes. Pemberton explains that he “wasn’t white enough for the white kids but wasn’t black enough for the black kids,” which only perpetuated his struggling to find a sense of identity. 

Beyond his internal battles, Pemberton experienced physical isolation throughout the school year. In the winter, while his friends were home for the holidays, Pemberton was sneaking into his dorm room, with no heat as the college assumed the building to be vacant. Pemberton decided to layer up and endure the weather rather than call a friend;  he didn’t want to be a burden during the holidays, which “are for families, not someone like me.”

Following his graduation, Pemberton became a college admissions officer with the goal to broaden the viewpoint of those in decision-making positions. This role was crucial for Pemberton who believes that healing from a difficult upbringing is not just about internal processes but also how much you are willing to “pivot that healing into someone else’s troubles.”

Pemberton went on to describe this way of healing as alongside “lighthouses,” support structures made up of individuals who show up and help guide in times of vulnerability or when “you’re in the middle of a storm.” In these times of vulnerability, Pemberton explains, “you want to be quiet and navigate without much attention, but the lighthouse sees you, the difficulty of the storm before you, and the way through it.”

For Wily Scholars, the Wily Network is a lighthouse, meeting them as they navigate life under challenging circumstances and helping to move them forward.

As a successful writer and now a mentor himself, Pemberton applauded Wily’s ability to help scholars “find fullness in the hazards of life,” and ensure they’re seen for who they are. 

“Being seen is very impactful,” explains Pemberton, “I talk to [people] not in the language of [their] circumstances but in the language of [their] dreams even if [they themselves] can’t really see them.”

Speaking of people as being “at risk” or “underprivileged” inherently ingrains that belief into their conscience and perpetuates a sense of failure. Wily and Pemberton both recognize how a tone of pity can shift a student’s trajectory away from self-confidence and determination. 

Pemberton stated that the people who often felt sorry for him weren’t the ones who were going to help him, even if they acknowledged the hardship. True empowerment acknowledges struggle but emphasizes the new beginning coming from it. Supporters stand next to the person as the lighthouses they are and help navigate the situation as if they were equals.

This all too common narrative of pity is what drives Pemberton and those at Wily to reject that dynamic and instead ground encouragement in the possibilities of one’s goals, not the hindrances of one’s circumstances. 

Wily’s virtual book club with Steve Pemberton, which opened up meaningful dialogue about race, class, and opportunity, was an inspiring event for the Wily Network, the Scholars, alumni, and supporters. As a community, we intend to continue having these important conversations through book clubs and similar events in the future.

Spotlight on Michael Julian

Michael Julian, board member since 2016, has enthusiastically supported Wily since our first year of working with students. He has spoken about his personal experiences as a college student without family support at several Wily events and shares his story with us here.

1. Please tell us a little bit about your life.

I live in Concord, Massachusetts, with my wife and eight-month-old daughter. I have spent much of my free time over the last five years renovating our historic house with the help of friends. Since graduating from Bowdoin College, I have worked all over the world in the technology field, living in Singapore and Hong Kong.

2. Why Wily? What drew you to our mission?

I was emancipated at the age of 17. I understand what it is like to attend college without support and not to have a home to visit over the holidays and when school is closed.

I can relate to the experience of our Scholars, growing up with five siblings in rural poverty, being exposed to drugs and alcohol in a volatile household, and experiencing the frequent involvement of social services.

Following my emancipation, I worked several jobs throughout high school and went from friend’s couch to friend’s couch, until my senior year when my baseball coach of many years and his wife took me in. I wanted to succeed and take care of my family — which is a Sisyphean task when you grow up with poverty-fueled thinking. Like the Wily Scholars, I often felt — and still feel — like I could never do enough.

I have personally seen many talented and capable people with similar challenges fall through the cracks. I see the obstacles that Wily Scholars are facing, and I want to help. 

3. You had a complicated early family life. How did that impact your arrival and first year at Bowdoin?

I applied to college with no SAT prep. I chose my schools randomly, without
guidance or any models of how to navigate the process. I was simply oblivious.

Despite my haphazard college process, I was accepted to Bowdoin College in Maine and dropped off by my friend’s mom. In order to make it all work, I accepted multiple jobs on and off campus. My focus on being a student was diluted by the need to pay my bills. It was hard to focus on thriving in college when I was used to functioning in survival mode.

My independence and history created other significant obstacles my freshman year. At times it complicated relationships with my peers. My freshman year, I moved my bed into the living area in my dorm room. I am social by nature and was chronically oversharing. I felt as though I needed to constantly explain myself. I was looking for safety in an unfamiliar environment. I was not prepared for simple questions, such as “What do your parents do?”

In many ways I was leading a double life. I had a “fake it until you make it” attitude. In general, it’s hard to juxtapose life on a college campus with a family situation like mine. You have to manage the guilt. For example, I enjoyed Bowdoin’s famous dining hall with its abundance of food, while my family members struggled with homelessness and addiction. One tends to want to share what one has earned — I so wanted my siblings to have the college experience.

More concretely, I had to manage school breaks and holidays, each time figuring out where I would go and who I would stay with. At times, I  remained on campus during the winters and summers while my peers headed home. Additionally, I had a particular issue managing the exposure to alcohol, trying to wrap my mind around fun and safe partying when substance abuse robbed me of my childhood.

“Do I belong here?” was a question I often grappled with, as would any 18-year-old, but it was exponentially more potent for me with the overlay of a traumatic family background.

4. Looking back, is it clear to you that without intervention your experience would not have been the same?

I would have made it through Bowdoin without the wonderful support of Allen Delong, but it would not have been the same. Allen gave me an on-campus job where I could also study. Once we connected, I no longer had to remove myself from the experience of Bowdoin in order to make ends meet. Another inuence was my cross country and track coach, Peter Slovenski, who welcomed me to the team (even though I wasn’t very good) and even employed me at his summer camp.

From there, I was able to take advantage of on-campus resources. I began to heal by attending counseling, building a cohort of close friends and mentors, and participating in internships. Looking back, I feel like I learned how to be normal. I surrounded myself with people to look up to — peer models I could observe — and I learned what it is like to be okay.

5. What else would have helped you while you were in college?

I wish I had a “Wily Network” back then. I had to learn a lot of lessons by trial and error. I wish there had been a program for students in my  situation who were attending the school.

6. Is there anything more you’d like the public to know about why they should invest in Wily Scholars?

Even at the best schools, like Bowdoin, some people fall through the cracks. I’m lucky. I wish more people like me had the chance to succeed; I’ve seen many people end up going down the wrong path.

Look around at your peers and colleagues. Statistically, only 10% of students with backgrounds like mine make it to college, and only 3% ever
graduate. It’s much easier to give up than to make it through.

If students aren’t able to build coping mechanism skills for trauma at this pivotal juncture, the likelihood of being a productive member of society post-college is severely diminished. My story is an anomaly, and that is why I am so passionate about working with the Wily Network — because I want
to make it the norm.

Wondering How to Fit It All in Your College Schedule?

College is full of amazing experiences–classes, clubs, sports, campus spots and activities. It is also full of readings, minor tasks, pop quizzes, and exams. Add to that a part-time job, volunteer work, group studies–you name it.  How are you supposed to fit it all into your schedule?

Well, there are many ways to keep track of your activities.  Want our advice on one of the best investments you can make in your life?  Buy a physical, paper planner. The best paper planners include monthly, weekly, and daily (30-min slots) divisions.  

If you can take a power hour every week to organize, using your planner, you will be amazed at how much more you can accomplish.  Not only will you spend less time wondering how to proceed, you will also be more present in every activity. By knowing you are doing something you planned for and that you have set aside time to accomplish other tasks, you won’t have to worry over whether you should be studying while you are having dinner with a friend.    

Follow these steps and tips to make the most of this new miracle in your life:

  1. Make a habit of using the paper planner: Digital tools are perfectly fine, and in fact it’s great if you want to combine both sets of tools.  But sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way. Quickly jotting down and erasing tasks and events on paper can be helpful for remembering them.  
  2. Set a weekly planning hour in stone: To make the most of this tool, set aside an hour each week to sit down, alone, and take the time to organize your week. The first couple of times might be a little overwhelming. Over time, it will become easier, and you will develop the system that works best for you. It is important to be flexible, but this is the hour you want to keep as consistent as possible in your week. Get organized for the next week, and you will feel less scattered.
  3. Use a pencil: Putting color and personality into your planner might help you cheer up and feel more inspired. The tasks themselves should be written in pencil. It is easier and definitively prettier if you can quickly erase and shift or substitute a task. It also helps you think of your plans as flexible.
  4. Organize monthly, weekly, and daily: Begin by setting all your big events and due dates on the monthly view of your calendar. Then, set those up for each week. Break tasks down into daily activities, especially those bigger projects. Remember to make time for all the important people and activities in your life. School work should not be the only thing in your calendar, at least not all the time.  
  5. Take a look at your agenda after waking up and before going to sleep: By making a habit of looking at your agenda first thing in the morning, your brain can prepare better for the day. At night, make sure to celebrate what you have accomplished and reschedule or reorganize anything you were unable to complete that day.  
  6. Be flexible and adjust: Things happen unexpectedly. Not everything will work out as planned. Don’t panic. Keep calm, and make sure to shift tasks around until you feel comfortable with Plan B.  

Finally, make sure you set realistic goals, and allow enough time for every task. Now that you have this new tool, take advantage of it and keep putting effort into completing those tasks as efficiently as possible. Remember, if you learn to plan and execute well, there will be time for working hard and playing hard.   

Go, try it out! Then, schedule in a few minutes to tell us about your experience or if you have any questions.  

Check out these links for more tips:

10 Tips to Deal with Stress

Three out of 10 college students reported that stress had a negative impact on their academic performance, according to the 2018 National College Health Assessment. Instead of ignoring stress, let’s embrace it, acknowledge it, and attempt to relieve at least some of it!! While you will inevitably encounter stress during your college years, it’s important to learn how to manage it when it arises. If left unattended, stress can impact not only your grades, but also your overall mental health and well-being. To help you out, the Wily Network has compiled our top 10 favorite tips for handling stress at school. Hopefully they help or at least give you a break from studying!

  1. Practice Healthy Stress Management.

Junk food and social media breaks are quick fixes… in moderation. Stress can last for weeks. That’s why you want to adopt sustainable stress management techniques that will help you in the long run. Keep on reading for some suggestions!

  2. Get outside.

Although studying in bed can be comfy cozy, it makes a world of difference to take a break and get some FRESH AIR!! It doesn’t have to be a jog down the Charles–just a walk around the block or to grab a bite to eat can clear your head and wake you up a bit!

  3. Put down the coffee.

While coffee might seem like your best friend during midterms, numerous studies have linked caffeine consumption to increased levels of stress. If you can’t go cold turkey, aim to limit your consumption to just one cup a day.    

  4. Meet up with a friend.

One of the best parts about college is that friends are never far away. Find that friend who will motivate you, but not distract you too much, and maybe even provide the occasional meme exchange or laugh. Social interaction is a nice way to relieve some pressure and take your eyes off screens and books.

  5. Catch up on sleep.

All-nighters may seem like the solution to your cram sesh, but no good ever comes from exhaustion during an exam!! It is much better to get some sleep and wake up early to study! Sleep deprivation makes it harder to retain information. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep to minimize your chances of blanking on a test question.

  6. Watch puppy videos.

Yes, puppy videos are good all the time, but they are BETTER when you’re knee-deep in studying. Seriously, a study done by Deborah Wells found that watching videos of animals encourages relaxation. No need to feel guilty next time you watch funny videos of cats and dogs!   

  7. Remember your purpose.

Why are you taking this class? What do you want to get out of college? Where do you want to be in five years? The answers to these questions may help motivate you to persevere through tough tests and long papers.

  8. Turn off your screens.

Studies have found that regular computer use without breaks can lead to higher levels of stress and sometimes headaches. Netflix and social media might be tempting, but make sure to also schedule some screen-free time to minimize stress and clear your head.

  9. Get organized.

Organization doesn’t just mean planning your calendar, it also means getting into a healthy routine. Even simple things like a regular sleep schedule and cleaning your dorm room can promote stability and get you in the right headspace for study sessions.  

  10. Appreciate your progress.

It’s easy to forget how hard you’ve worked to get to this point, so take a minute to appreciate the incredible progress you’ve made so far. Sometimes making a checklist of stuff you can easily do and crossing them right off can be a nice source of relief.

Taking time away from the books may seem counterintuitive when you’re overwhelmed with readings and tests, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Stress is a normal part of the college experience, but with the right techniques you can successfully manage it and thrive under the pressure.

Great Places to Study In and Around Boston

Studying is the common denominator of the student life, and this is especially true during finals season.  The good news is there are dozens of places in and around Boston to inspire you in your studies.


Explore your Campus

Most, if not all university campuses, include green areas, libraries, and ultra-hidden studying spots.  Make the most of yours. Switch places to give yourself some color and comfort while studying.


Libraries For All

There are plenty of libraries and bookstores that will surely fit your requirements.  These two are great choices you can try.

  • Boston Public Library: This is a classic.  Pay a visit to its central building and bunker down in one of its many beautiful areas.  Or, visit one of its 24 branches. BPL provides spaces for all preferences, from group-study areas to silent spots.  Other library services include Wi-Fi, printing and in-library laptop loans.
  • Cambridge Public Library: If BPL is a little too crowded for you, try this instead.  This library offers plenty of sitting room and quiet areas for a power session.


Coffee Shops and Sweet Spots

As you might have noticed, there are seven thousand Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts locations crowding Boston. But Boston is home to hundreds of unique coffee shops.  Here are some other places that are worth checking out. That’s if you don’t mind a little noise:


Nature Pleasures

If you enjoy basking in nature and studying outside, consider these.  

  • Charles River Esplanade: Particularly during the warmer days of the year, sitting close to the waterfront can soothe your active mind.  Pack your things and come alone or with friends to study on the docks overlooking the river or at the Fiedler Fields.  The Esplanade path for walkers, runners, and bikers adds an extra benefit if you need an energy boost mid-studying.
  • Boston Common: What better way to learn history than where it happened.  America’s oldest public park’s purpose has changed over the years.  Today, you can sit near the spots where Pope John Paul II and Martin Luther King Jr. gave speeches and are within walking distance from other historical landmarks and the Boston Public Garden.
  • Arnold Arboretum: These 281 acres of green beauty serve as a sanctuary for nature and a good spot to take a break from the city’s buzz.  Pack a book or some notes and study among nature in this part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace. You can also use the facilities in the Hunnewell building including restrooms, a museum, and a library.

Did we miss anything? Share with us your favorite places to study in and why in the comments.  

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