Attend department colloquia

June 25, 2007

Colloquium – noun (pl. -quia) an academic conference or seminar.

Our very own department (IPHY) holds a weekly colloquium every semester (Thursdays from 4-5 p.m.). By attending these you’ll gain insight into physiology research from some of the world’s top scientists. You might even get a chance to here one of your professors give a talk. They really have a different tone when they talk about their own research!

Click here (and then bookmark) so you won’t miss a single talk!

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Take advantage of RSS feeds

June 19, 2007

So, maybe you’ve heard of RSS, maybe not. If you haven’t you first need to head over to this link and watch a brief video demo and explanation by Amanda Congdon (formerly of Or watch the new video below:

[ ?posts_id=209879&dest=-1]

Now that you have an idea of what RSS is you can start using it like there’s no tomorrow. Why would I ever use this cool technology, here is a list of the things RSS feeds do for me:

– Notify me of when my awesome TA posts his lecture slides
– Deliver most popular links on the internet (via
– Keep me up to date on Apple rumors
– Notify me when new versions of my applications are out
– Deliver results of saved PubMed searches (authors, topics, journals, institutions)
– Notify me when my favorite blogs are updated
– Gets me my CU campus news
– Tracks my saved eBay searches
– Tells me when friends upload photos to Flickr or Picasa Web Albums
– Tells me the most popular MATLAB code on the MathWorks website
– Gives me my baseball news through
– Delivers the “quotes of the day”

It only takes me 10 minutes a day to read all of the posts from these feeds I subscribe to. Which is way more efficient then manually checking all of these websites and closely inspecting them for new content.

With the size and speed of growth of the internet you have to make the information come to you, and RSS can help make this happen.


Take Roman Art & Architecture

November 9, 2006

If you are looking for a course to fill your upper division literature and the art requirement I might suggest Roman Art & Architecture.

You already know the language from your years of science courses. This will give you a greater appreciation of your Latin and Greek vocabulary.


Get a Google account

November 9, 2006

In case you’ve been living in a cave the past two years…okay, okay, that may be a bit harsh. In case you haven’t heard Google has rolled out some pretty sweet online services lately.

You could even use Google Earth to view a 3D model of the CU campus before you head off to your first class of the semester.

Check out this link for a listing of the great services offered by Google.

Oh, and starting an account is free.


Use a client to read your university email

November 9, 2006

This is more of a geeky technical tip but hey, welcome to the 21st century.

You will undoubtedly be receiving tons of emails throughout your undergrad career. And seeing as you cannot remember everything that is emailed to you (trust me, you won’t), you will need to establish a system of cataloging and organizing your emails. I started out using the browser based method of accessing my email but I wanted more.

Now I use a client, or application, to interact with my email. This client allows me to keep my browser dedicating to browsing websites, quickly read all of my email without clicking around a lot, organize emails into folders (I suggest making a folder for each course you are enrolled in), easily compose and send new messages, interact with my address book, etc…

If you’re feeling ready to take your email to the next level, check out this link from ITS on how to get started.


How to find a research article

November 9, 2006

I have had tons of students tell me that they have trouble when it comes time to write a research paper involving peer-reviewed research articles.

Hopefully, this flow chart will help explain the process better than a lengthy blog post.

Let me know if it could us some clarification.


Take lab sections scheduled for later in the week

November 9, 2006

Most courses offer multiple sections of their labs/recitations. Is one day better than another? If you do have the option I would recommend taking a lab/recitation scheduled for later in the week. This gives you a few advantages. You won’t have to work on a paper/assignment/lab write-up over the weekend to turn in on Monday. You will also have more time to absorb relevant lecture material before you get your hands dirty in lab/recitation.

Ride the bus

November 9, 2006

One item included in your student fees every semester is an RTD bus pass.

These little baby is a gem! Not only is it hand for commuting to and from campus, it will also be honored on any RTD bus line. This is great considering it costs $10 one way to take the AB bus to and from Denver International Airport. If you are an out of state student this pass passes for itself about three trips to and from DIA.

Another benefit is that RTD is one of the nations top public transit systems. They boast a very innovative service called NextBus, which is a website that allows you to track the location of your nearest bus including its estimated time of arrival.


Join a student group/government

November 9, 2006

Not the political type? Me neither and that is exactly why you should get involved with UCSU -> The University of Colorado Student Union.

You may not realize yet but UCSU is one of the largest and most active student governments in the country! That’s right, students in charge of how $32.3 million is spent.

As an added bonus, you can get a front row seat to some really interesting and controversial events and discussions.


Use a laptop

November 9, 2006

Quick Fact:
You are reading a blog, right now, on the internet, on a computer.

Quick Question:
What kind of computer should I bring to CU?

Quick Answer:
Ohh, sorry, not so quick to answer and if you did answer quick you are in trouble.

I made a terrible mistake of not researching what my new computer should have before I came to CU. I ended up needing to buy tons of additional peripheral devices (ethernet adapter, external hard drive, etc.)

So before you rush out (or online) please look at this list of computer recommendations from campus information technology services.

Don’t forget to register your laptop with CUPD (#7 on this list).

And if you were to ask me what computer I recommend I would probably say a Mac Laptop. I free iPod Nano only sweetens the deal.


Use a planner (PDA or PAA)

November 9, 2006

I actually got this one right when I started at CU.

Get to the book store and pick up either a pocket calendar planner or a palm PDA. Professors and TAs do not like when students forget to turn something in on time because the student simply forgot. This means that they have to bend the rules established in the syllabus and give you an unfair advantage.

If you get super adventurous you can even try out this cool looking Mac app called Schoolhouse.


Make a website using your university webspace

November 9, 2006

As part of your student computing fees you are provided with some webspace on the CU servers.

This is the perfect time to start your own website and gain some experience in web programming. I wish I started using this space earlier.

Some cool things my friends did with their CU webspace include:

– Online resume
– Posting pictures
– Create class websites when they were undergrad TAs
– Documenting their study abroad experience in Ireland

And if you don’t know how to code websites check out this cool Mac app.


Take advantage of your iPod

November 9, 2006

You can do a whole lot more then listen to music with your shiny iPod.

Here is another blogpost that documents some other iPod uses.

And here is a use I came up with myself for student enrolled in IPHY 3415 – Human Anatomy Lab.

Pod On!


Get a bike, but not a very nice bike

November 9, 2006

It took me until my Junior year to realize that campus and Boulder in general really cater to the two wheeled mode of transportation. Make sure you invest in a lock. The most popular being the U-lock variety. Also, register your bike with CUPD as soon as you can in order to increase your chances of recovering your bike if it gets stolen.

I would also suggest maybe buying used. If you ride a $300 mountain bike it will likely be targeted by a your friendly neighborhood thief, a story I hear way too often. Try looking on the nifty Facebook marketplace for some great deals!

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Go to departmental schedule planning meetings

November 9, 2006

So you’ve met your academic advisors at IPHY orientation. Do NOT let this be the last time you see them!

Did you know you will be able to meet with your advisors to plan every semester of your undergrad? It’s true and don’t forget to check this site ASAP to answer all of your advising questions.


Find computer labs with software you need

November 9, 2006

Even though Homer Simpson says “public transportation is for losers” doesn’t mean he is right. The same is true of the public computers available to you in campus computer labs.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what ITS has to offer in their many computer labs. It seems like they are always cycling out the old machines and replacing with the new. Well it also seems like I pay $60 in computer fees every semester, so I guess that checks out.

So why do I care about finding a computer lab with a specific program? Well during some of your courses you will be using some specialized software for various tasks like analyzing data and performing statistics. This software is available on the computers in the biology lab in but let’s say you didn’t finish your write up. The biology lab isn’t available at all hours of the day. That’s where this link comes in to save the day and tell you which select machines on campus have the software you need.

You may want to know where the computer labs are located so you can check out this blog between every class.


Work on campus

November 9, 2006

Unless you are a trust fund baby, you will probably have to contribute personally to financing your education.

One great option is to find a job on campus. The job I had as an undergrad was working the front desk in Farrand Hall. It was a great was to get to know people in my dorm and I didn’t have to worry about commuting. I was also able to study during the down time between duties.

My campus job provided a paycheck while not detracting me from my scholarly pursuits. I stumbled upon this opportunity so I am now recommending you pursue this option before it’s too late.

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Play intramural sports

November 9, 2006

So you didn’t get recruited to join the football team, bummer (sort of).

You don’t have the required cash for uniforms and travel expenses of collegiate sport clubs.

What’s left? Intramural sports!

Grab some people from your dorm and head over to the rec center for some regularly scheduled exercise. You will also be able to utilize that creative brain of yours when choosing a team name. If you win a tournament you get a t-shirt, gotta love that! They even have Broom Ball.

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Use the internet to buy and sell (and rent!) textbooks

November 9, 2006

It happens every semester. After you finish paying tons of money for tuition and then for boarding you go to the bookstore and find your pocketbook taking another beating. Sure the bookstore is where all the cool kids hang out but there are some alternatives. Here are my top three:

You guessed it, “College Used Bookswap” was started, and is run by CU students. The idea is that you list the books you are finished using, someone finds the book on the site and then you two get together and exchange goods. The seller gets more money for than the bookstore buy back price AND the buyer gets the book cheaper than the bookstore price. They currently have 6,909 books listed across all the majors.
This sight is an easy way to search all of the online bookstores such as and You can sort by price and condition and then estimate shipping costs. Marketplace
Next time you’re updating your profile pic (which some people do way too often) check out the Facebook Marketplace. Since around May, Facebook has been beefed up with tons of services, including the Marketplace. This is basically craigslist limited to FB users. I’ve had good success lately selling a variety of items.
You already use Netflix to rent movies, now do the same for your textbooks. I haven’t used this service, it is very new. If you have some experience please drop a note in the comments for this post.


Please use good judgement on which books to sell back. I would suggest non-major books and hang onto that chemistry book for quick reference. You should always bug your professor/instructor for the book’s ISBN so you know exactly which edition they are requiring.


Get a account

November 9, 2006

No, this isn’t the clever name for the new dorm food dinner dollars (far from it).

This suggestion has to do with managing your online life. We’re all famailiar with the concept of bookmarking or favorites but what happens when you want to take those prized links with you where ever you go? The service was born out of nessicity and with a free account you can post any URL and then access them anywhere in the world or even share them with friends.

Heck, you could even use it to bookmark your course websites, important articles for a research paper, or to keep track of great blogs (yes like this one). There’s a reason why this is my first post!

In fact, I’m using my account right now on this blog. Look to the sidebar at the right and you’ll all of the websites I have saved and tagged with “CU”. This list will update as I add links to it, don’t believe me? Bookmark this site and check later!

Head over to this link to start your own account NOW!