Fall Asleep Faster and Wake Feeling Rested

Doctors say we should get 7-9 hours a sleep every night, but how often does that actually happen? It’s very important for college students to get enough rest. A good night’s sleep will help you retain information better and feel great during your classes. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, give some of these ideas a try:

Avoid stimulants like coffee and sodas. Research suggests that even a cup of coffee early in the afternoon can keep your body wired all night. Instead, try eating a snack rich in protein like almonds or cheese. You can also get a jolt of energy from fruit, like an apple or a banana.

Limit exposure to lights and electronics before bed. Electric lights and the glow of our phone and computer screens can confuse our bodies and make it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid these lights for an hour before you go to bed. If you look at social media to unwind, try reading a chapter out of a paper book before bed.


Exercise daily. Even 10 minutes of aerobic exercise (like walking, riding a bike, or swimming) can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s hard for busy students to find time to go to the gym. Instead, try taking a walk around campus between classes or try to take the stairs more often.

Stretch out your muscles before bed. Doing a few simple stretches before you lay down can help your body relax so you can fall asleep faster. Bend over to touch your toes, stretch out your arms, and roll your shoulders to loosen up.

Try guided imagery or listen to relaxing music. Worries throughout the day can really pile up by bedtime. When your brain just won’t relax, try guided imagery or going to a “happy place” in your mind. Think of a favorite location, a dream vacation, or other relaxing spot you’d like to be. Let the image fill your mind. Thinking of a relaxing place can help you fall asleep.

Make the Most of Autumn on Campus

Labor Day is only a few days away, which means Autumn is just around the corner! As the weather starts to cool and days get shorter, it can be hard to say goodbye to Summer and settle in for the season ahead. But the truth is that Fall can be a truly magical time. Here are some ideas on how you can embrace and enjoy all that Fall has to offer:

Take your study session outside. In the heat of summer, the library is the logical place to hunker down with your books. But Autumn weather is perfect for outdoor study sessions. A change of scenery and crisp, fresh air can definitely help reinvigorate your study. Grab your books or computer, a comfy sweater and scarf, and a study buddy, and venture out on campus before the winter chill hits!

Take advantage of campus events. Each NOVA campus offers a wide range of activities and events over the fall semester. For all you movie buffs, the Manassas campus offers a Movie Night every Thursday at 8pm in the Mary Louise Jackson Amphitheater. It’s free for students and staff, and only $3 for any friends or family you bring along.

fall-autumn-red-season (1)Hit the hiking trails. Enjoy the ever-changing colors of Fall! Get together a group of friends or your family and make a trip to one of VA’s many hiking trails. There’s a huge variety of trails to suit every fitness and activity level. You can find a selection of trails here. Don’t forget to bring along a camera to capture the stunning colors!

Visit an apple orchard. A day out at a pick-your-own apple orchard is a great family activity! Bundle up and enjoy some hot apple cider or cider donuts while you’re there and savor the tastes of Fall. Find an orchard near you here.

Enjoy a Fall Festival. If you love pumpkin spice everything, then a local Fall Festival is just the place for you! Celebrating all things unique to the season, festivals are great fun for both kids and adults. Enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of Fall at a festival near you. Check out upcoming festivals here.

And finally, it’s good to take time to relax and unwind after a long day of class or work with a cup of hot tea or apple cider and a warm blanket. Allow yourself to sit back and watch a fire crackle or leaves fall and take a break. You’ve earned it!

Should You Change Your Study Routine?

Having a solid study routine is a great contributor to academic success! The right routine will not only help you effectively manage your time, but also will help you retain more information and improve concentration! However, routines can be too comfortable after a while, and can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Mixing things up has some surprising benefits to your overall productivity!

Becoming too used to your study routine can contribute to an inability to focus. An easy way to combat this is to change something! Consider rearranging your study schedule; if you normally work on your writing courses first, think about tackling your math first next time. Changing the order in which you study certain subjects might help you retain information better.

If you like your schedule and don’t want to change that, maybe you can think about changing up your learning style! For example, if you are a verbal learner, maybe you can try studying in an analytical style.

Even if you like your schedule and your learning style, and you consistently get good grades on your work, you can change your routine just once. If you are having a hard time writing a paper, maybe you can take some time away and go for a walk. Interrupting your routine, even for 30 minutes, to do something different can boost your creativity.

Changing your routine may not be something you want to do, but if you’ve noticed a drop in your grades or a plateau, it might be something to consider! If your routine no longer seems to be effective, you should give it a try! You may be surprised by the results!

How Talking Out Loud Helps You Study

One word that you might associate with studying is “quiet.” If you’re studying somewhere like the campus library or another common area, you—as well as the people around you—are probably not making a lot of noise. You don’t want to be disruptive to the people around you!

But maybe you’ve found that talking out loud is helpful when you’re studying. There’s a reason for that! Talking to yourself might look funny to others, but studies show that it improves your memory and information retention! By actually stating information out loud, it creates what experts call the production effect. Participants read a list of words, half silently and half out loud. When it came time to recite the lists of words later on, they were more likely to remember the words they had said out loud.

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Part of this is because saying something out loud helps to make it distinctive. In addition to having knowledge of seeing information in a book or in your notes, or hearing it in lecture, you also have a memory of yourself producing that information verbally.

Based on this, you might want to consider identifying the most important information in your course materials. Then when you are reviewing it later on, you can recite it out loud. Taking this extra step might help you on the road to academic success!

Meet ACP’s Dual Generational Pathways Program

At Adult Career Pathways, we have various initiatives and programs designed to provide additional assistance to our students. From programs designed to help veterans to those designed to help families, there’s help for every student who wants to make college a reality in their life!

One such program, Dual Generational Pathways, is designed to create a college-going mindset within families, and at partner sites. DGP focuses on lower-income families, and engages two or more generations simultaneously through college awareness, readiness, and success activities. The initiative works with children as young as four years old to seniors preparing for a second career.


Dual Generational Pathways aims to break the generational cycle of poverty through educational pathways that lead to living-wage careers. You can read more about Dual Generational Pathways on the ACP website or on Dual Gen’s blog HERE.

If you know someone who could benefit from Dual Generational Pathways or Adult Career Pathways, be sure to share this post with them! You can also direct them to our Facebook at facebook.com/acp and facebook.com/dualgen.

Is Your Organization Interested in Partnering with ACP?

Adult Career Pathways is able to touch lives every day through the work it does with adult students in the Northern Virginia area.The ACP program is designed to serve adult students with demonstrated barriers to college access and success, including veterans, single parents, lower-wage workers, work-eligible immigrants and unemployed and underemployed individuals. ACP creates a pathway for adult students to earn a certificate, degree or other credential that may help them secure a better job with a path toward advancement and greater economic security.

Participants receive ongoing support and guidance through each step of their college experience. The key to ACP’s success is its student-centered model, which builds an ongoing relationship between students and their counselors, faculty members and peers. Best of all, the program is free to participating students!

In order to provide the best care we can for our students, ACP works actively with a number of public and private community partners. Some of our partners offer job or workforce training programs that allow their students to co-enroll at NOVA and receive college credit for their studies. Other partners are community-based organizations that are actively engaged in referring likely students to NOVA and the ACP program.


If your organization is interested in partnering with NOVA’s Adult Career Pathways program, please contact Jolene Virgo by e-mail at jvirgo@nvcc.edu. Together, we will continue to grow and shape lives every day!

The Science Of Study Breaks

When you’ve been studying for several hours already, you probably should plan on taking a short break soon! Studies show that reviewing too much information at once is not effective for long-term information retention.

Spending some time away from your books and computer can benefit your academic success, but some of the things you do on your break are more effective than others! For example, turning off your computer and taking a walk will not only get your blood moving; it will also work to reduce fatigue and improve your mood.


Studies have also shown that working for 90 minutes at a time with breaks in between increases productivity. When you take your break, it’s important that you find an activity that will prevent you from thinking about the subject. Be careful, though! You don’t want to get so distracted on your break that you stop studying completely.

Do you think you would benefit from taking a break from the books? If you find yourself struggling to focus, or you are tired, maybe you should consider taking a step back for five or ten minutes. At the very least, you can see if it helps you! Taking a break every now and then could contribute to your academic success!

NOVA Shuttle Schedule – Fall 2016

Attention ACP students! Are you looking for transit options to get to and from campus this semester? Consider taking the NOVA Shuttle! The shuttle is FREE for students, faculty, and staff when you show your NOVA ID card. This convenient shuttle makes commuting to and from campus easier than ever. Take a look at the schedule below for ride times and more information:
The following schedule will be in effect starting Fall 2016:
Route A – Annandale Campus / 7630 Little River Turnpike / Dunn Loring Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5 PM
Route B – Alexandria Campus / Ballston Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5:40 PM
  • No longer a stop at Arlington Center
Route C – Alexandria Campus / Braddock Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 7:30 PM
  • Route will not run between 10:15 AM – 12 PM
  • Route will not run between 1 PM – 2 PM
Route D – Annandale Campus / Seven Corners Transit Center / Alexandria Campus
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5:30 PM
  • Route will not run between 12:45 PM – 2 PM
  • Manassas Route has been discontinued (MIP closed)
    • PRTC’s OmniLink Bus offers weekday service between the Manassas Campus and Manassas Mall
    • Route Info: OmniLink Manassas to NOVA
Route E – MEC Campus
Route F – Loudoun Campus / Whiele Metro / Reston Center / Signal Hill
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5 PM
All NOVA students, staff or faculty can ride FREE by showing their NOVA Card! Shuttle tracking and updates are available real-time through the RideSystems app or online at www.restonlimo.com/nova/.
You can now Text “NOVA Shuttles” to 1-800-546-6141 to receive emergency alerts about the shuttles via text message.
Questions? Please contact Parking & Transportation Customer Support at 703-323-3123 or Parking@nvcc.edu.