Like every other Penn student, you probably resolved to work really hard this semester. The motivation deficit hasn’t kicked in yet. Pottruck is full, your Google Drive is organized. People really seem to have their shit together. But inevitably, at some point in this semester, you’ll need a quicker way to get stuff done.

Our tuition goes to academic services that could be the difference between passing and failing your Chem lab or BEPP class. For common dilemmas, check out these already–paid–for ways of easing your academic burden (even just a little).


If your computer (or phone) is dead and your charger is MIA: Your computer being dead doesn’t mean you have license to go home and sleep. Weigle Information Commons (WIC) in Van Pelt will lend you an extra charger for free. They also lend cameras, projector screens and cell phone chargers.


If you’ve been putting Excel on your resume but actually couldn’t use it to add 2 + 2: Head to VP. WIC offers a service where you can ask Excel–specific questions or just sit and talk with a grad student for help with MATLAB, Excel, presentations and all the other stuff that you probably get sick just thinking about.


If you are your own worst distraction: Chrome Nanny—it’s like an opt–in Big Brother (but a little less creepy). You can use this to limit yourself to an hour a day on Facebook, forcing you to actually pay attention in accounting, or block yourself completely so your all–nighter is not a continuation of the procrastinating you’ve done all semester. Best of all, Penn doesn't even need to pay for this. It's free!


If you’re on the 10th page of Google results: Sometimes, Google Scholar just doesn’t cut it. Try using EBSCOhost and JSTOR for general searches, and check out Penn’s exhaustive list of academic databases by subject.


If your professor keeps warning you about plagiarism: EBSCOhost and many other academic databases have built–in citations in every style under the sun. If that’s not enough, Penn Libraries has five different types of citation management software available to download. And if you need a picture to spice up your underwhelming Consumer Psych presentation, check out AP Images.


If you have no idea where to start: Just go ask a librarian in Fisher, VP or Lippincott. They can help you figure out something to say about 19th century French impressionism or direct you on where to look for your mergers and acquisitions class. You can also ask a subject expert any question short of paying them to write your paper.


There you have it. Penn spends all its money on pricey academic journals and free chargers. Go ace your classes and prove to yourself that you’re a responsible human only to screw it all up in time for Fling.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. 


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