CU 1010- University Success Skills Portfolio By: Nate Mathis-Clemson University


This Adobe Spark Page is a summation of the learning objectives covered in CU 1010- University Success Skills. The learning objectives are listed in order below, and contain both a common exhibit that all students were instructed to complete, as well as, a personal exhibit that is designed by the student.








Common Exhibit: Time Management Self-Study

Semester Plan: The Big Picture

Semester Timeline-


Aug 17, Wed- Classes begin

Aug 23, Tue- Last day to register or add a class or declare audit

Aug 30, Tue- Last day to drop a class or withdraw from the University without a W grade


Sep 3, Sat- Clemson Football @ Auburn

Sep 5, Mon- Visual Analysis Assignment for English Due

Sep 10, Sat- Clemson Football VS Troy

Sep. 14, Wed- Math Exam 1

Sep 17, Sat- Clemson Football VS SC State

Sep 19, Mon- Wiki Topic and Annotated Bibliography for English Due

Sep 19, Mon- Sep 23, Fri- Portfolio Check-in Meeting

Sep 22, Thu- Physics Exam 1

Sep 22, Thu- Clemson Football @ Georgia Tech

Sep 30, Fri- Electronic Dialog for English Due


Oct 1, Sat- Clemson Football VS Louisville

Oct 7, Fri- Last day for instructors to issue midterm evaluations

Oct 7, Fri- Clemson Football @ Boston College

Oct 12, Wed- Math Exam 2

Oct 15, Sat- Clemson Football VS NC State

Oct 17, Mon- First Draft of Research Argument for English Due

Oct 20, Thu- Physics Exam 2

Oct 21, Fri- Last day to drop a class or withdraw from the University without final grades

Oct 24, Mon- Oct 28, Fri- Portfolio Check-in Meeting #2

Oct 29, Sat- Clemson Football @ Florida State


Nov 5, Sat- Clemson Football VS Syracuse

Nov 7, Mon - Nov 8, Tue- Fall Break

Nov 9, Wed- Registration for spring and summer terms begins

Nov 9, Wed- Final Draft of Researched Argument for English Due

Nov 11, Fri- Audiovisual Project Topic for English Due

Nov 12, Sat- Clemson Football VS Pittsburgh

Nov 15, Tue- Portfolio Due

Nov 16, Wed- Math Exam 3

Nov 17, Thu- Physics Exam 3

Nov 19, Sat- Clemson Football @ Wake Forest

Nov 23, Wed - Nov 25, Fri- Thanksgiving holidays

Nov 26, Sat- Clemson Football VS South Carolina


Dec 1, Thu- Last CU 1010 Class

Dec 1, Thu - Dec 2, Fri- Classes meet; exams permitted in labs only

Dec 5, Mon - Dec 9, Fri- Examinations

Dec 5, Mon – Math Final Exam

Dec 7, Wed- Audiovisual Project for English Due

Dec 7, Wed- Physics Final Exam

Weekly Plan: The Ideal Week

Personal Weekly Calendar-

Weekly Class Schedule
The Ideal Week

Daily Plan: The Nitty-Gritty

On a daily basis, I often use a to-do list similar to the one below to organize my activities for the day.

The highlighted items represent items of higher priority


When it came to managing my time this semester, I had a difficult time. I often dealt with distractions that kept me off track when it came to my self planning. Despite these distractions however, I found some methods that I thought helped me manage my time much better. After initially setting up my time management techniques, I had to go back and revise which techniques worked best for me. One thing I struggled with was keeping up with online calendars. The Google Calendar was very useful because it is linked to my school email and adding events to it was very easy, however, I found that using a paper calendar, where I had to write-in the events and assignments myself, gave me a better idea of what I needed to do. I also color coated my calendar with highlighters so I could associate colors with assignments to decipher what kind of tasks they were. Also, another advantage to the paper calendar was that it sat on my desk. This allowed me to easily see for the day, week, and month what I needed to do. Another technique that I would use on a daily basis was to text myself anything I needed to be reminded. I would not open the message until the task was started because I knew I would notice an unread text message on my phone. Last, I had to reevaluate my weekly calendar and cut out some football watching time. This opened up some extra study/schoolwork time for me which was beneficial.

Personal Exhibit: Personal Finances

With: Josh Harris- Department of Finance, Clemson University

Being Financialy Fit

First Step: Understand where you are now.

  • Balance Sheet- Evaluate your account balances to see what you have and what you’re worth
  • Spending Diary- Where is your money going?

Second Step: Understand where you are going

o Set realistic financial goals: Short Term, Intermediate, Long Term, Non-Financial Goals

o Income and Expenses Statement- Plan to get you there.

Third Step: Revaluate & Repeat

Making Major Decisions

  • Credit History vs. Credit Score
  • History- Made available free once every 12 months via
  • Score- available via pay services and Credit Karma. Score is based on financial history.

***Using credit for fixed rates is a good way to build credit and keep your credit account active.

***Minimum payments on credit card bills normally will cause you to be headed in a bad direction financially.

Student Loans:

  • Public vs. Private
  • Limits

Repayment Options:

  • Standard
  • Extended
  • Graduated
  • Income-Based
  • Pay-as-you-go

Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized Loans

Here’s a quick overview of Direct Subsidized Loans:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
  • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan
  • while you’re in school at least half-time,
  • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
  • during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

Here’s a quick overview of Direct Unsubsidized Loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
  • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).


Money can be a difficult and stressful aspect of college for many people. When Mr. Harris came and spoke to our class, I learned a lot. This really helped me understand student loans, as well as, the advantage of having a credit card and building your personal credit while you are in college.


Common Exhibit: Retrieval Practice Self-Study

Two Classes: Math 1060 and Physics 1220

Weeks: The weeks of October 12th (Week 1) and October 20th (Week 2)

• Paper flash cards were used on both tests

Math flash card usage- Used them once or twice a day for approximately 30 minutes

Physics flash card usage- Also, used them once or twice a day for approximately 30 minutes

Math Flash Cards
Math Flash Cards


Using the meta-cognition reflection/self-study technique was very useful to me. By using the flash cards, I found that the information and material on the test seemed to be a lot fresher on my mind. In turn, this did reduce my test anxiety, which I normally have trouble with. Overall, I felt like the flash cards definitely helped me. My grades on both my tests increased by a range of 8-13 points from my first exams this semester. It seemed to me as if this is a tool that I could utilize in the future to help improve my grades. I believe the reason they were so successful was because of the repetition of getting the material I needed to know for the test. Also, this tool can be used in conjunction with the study cycle for even better success. The flash cards definitely seemed to help me and I will be using them in the future on my other exams.


The Cornell System is a note taking strategy to help students be able to recall information they have been taught during a lecture. The system may take some getting used to, but it can ultimately be very beneficial in the retention of in class information.

How does it work?

  • Divide your paper as seen in the picture below
Cornell Notes Template

When you go to lectures, you will take notes on the larger box on the right side of the paper. The goal is to record only key information, so being able to determine this while you are listening in class is key. The box to the left of the paper is used for key points. These important terms should not be long, however, they can be expanded upon in the larger notes section of your paper.

After Class

After you have initially taken your notes in class, you will now practice the retention of your information. Review your notes as soon as you can after your class to increase your rate of retention. Also, while you are reading through, highlight important terms and ask yourself questions about the material. After you have completed this, continue on to summarize the information you record from your lecture. This is another way to increase your retention rate. By summarizing the information, you will have a better understanding of the material and will likely be able to retain more of it.

The 5 R's

When using the Cornell System for note taking, it is important to remember the 5 R's

  1. Record/write the lecture
  2. Reduce the information down to key ideas and facts
  3. Recite information that is relevant to the key ideas and facts
  4. Reflect on your personal understanding of the material
  5. Review your notes periodically


In conclusion, The Cornell System for taking notes can be very beneficial. For me, this note taking strategy is not effective for all classes, however. The best classes to implement the Cornell Notes System are classes that have heavy factual lectures. (Classes like history) It can sometimes be difficult to use this system in math classes and others where you are learning a process or how to problem solve. Overall, when used in the right classes the Cornell Note System is an effective tool that can greatly increase your retention of in-class material.


Common Exhibit: Breath System Reboot

Test: Math 1060 Exam 2

Test Circumstances:

• Date: Wednesday, October 12 7:30 PM

• Location: Lee Hall

• Arrival Time: 6:40 PM

• Testing Conditions: Warmer in the room than normal, not crowed, the comfort level in my testing space was good.

• Test Preparation: I felt pretty prepared for this test. I studied using the study cycle along with using flash cards the whole week for a different learning objective. I felt as if I could do well on the test.


Using the Breath System Reboot was fairly successful for me. I do normally have high test anxiety, so this practice was beneficial for me when my mind started racing. Many times, tests have strict time limits, so I did feel as if I was wasting valuable time. However, the reboots did seem to calm me down which made me feel as if I could think more clearly. Overall, I feel like I can use the breath system reboot to my advantage in the future.

Personal Exhibit: How understanding Bloom's Taxonomy can make you a better Test Taker

Many times students leave a college test feeling slighted by their teachers due to confusing questions. While sometimes this may be the case, more than likely you are just being asked a question that is testing your knowledge on a deeper level. Bloom's Taxonomy breaks down these levels of knowledge and can help you be better prepared for the types of questions you may be asked.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Breaking Down Bloom's

When looking at the Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid there are different levels each demonstrating the level of knowledge.

Starting from the bottom, and proceeding to the top each level represents a larger and more in depth level of understanding.

Lower Level Learning

  • Remembering- The lowest level of learning. Normally, only asks the student to recall information
  • Understanding- Being able to discuss relationships between materials and make generalizations.
  • Applying- Being able to use information and apply it in order to get a finite solution. Problem solving.

Higher Level Learning

  • Analyzing- Expanding on the problem solving skills used when applying information. Also, more in-depth in content size
  • Evaluating- Solve problems with original and creative thinking.
  • Creating- Highest level of learning. Developing ideas from the problem solving process and expanding on them based on your personal judgement. Incorporates the majority of all sections in the Bloom's pyramid.


When looking at Bloom's Taxonomy, one can see that the lower learning levels seem relevant but lack some depth. Colleges across the United States normally do not test lower learning levels. These learning levels are more closely associated with high school and for the most part, students attending college can answer those types of questions efficiently. This means that when you are preparing for college tests, you must self-check your knowledge on a higher level. Being able to just recall information is normally not enough. This will leave you stuck and unable to completely expand your knowledge of a subject. Also, this normally results in a poor grade. In conclusion, to have better confidence and be more efficient while you are taking test, make sure you know teachers are looking for you to be able to expand on information, not just recall it.


Common Exhibit: Professional Interview

Professor: Nathan Riggs

Class: English 1010

Q: What made you decide to go into teaching?

A: “It was unintentional. I went to Grad school and ended up liking it.”

Q: How has teaching changed your outlook on being a student at Clemson University?

A: “The caliber of students at Clemson is much higher then what I am used to.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

A: “Freedom.”

Q: If you were your own boss at Clemson University what would you change about your job?

A: “I would abolish grades.”

Q: What is your best tip to an undergraduate student?

A: “Take classes that interest you, beyond the ones you are perusing in your degree.”

Q: What do you plan to do after you are done teaching?

A: “I plan to continue teaching and researching.”


I chose to interview Professor Riggs due to my interest in his class. He has been one of my favorite teachers at Clemson because of how he conducted himself and his classroom. His answers to my questions do not really surprise me. His personal edginess can be seen throughout his answers and are on par with his personal views he presented to us in his class. By talking to Professor Riggs it made me realize that teachers all have different views. These views often times may effect their teaching style. In conclusion, I felt like my conversation with Professor Riggs was meaningful and made our communication improve.

Personal Exhibit: Getting Connected with GroupMe

In college, you are often in classes where you sit in groups or assigned group projects. Sometimes, it can be difficult to communicate with these people that you only see in class. I feel as if GroupMe is one of the best ways to communicate with classmates and group members for numerous reasons.

Advantages of GroupMe:

  • Allows communication and group messaging abilities for students with both iPhones and Android devices
  • Communication is simplified and easy to use from an app on your phone
  • You avoid having to look up students email addresses
  • You can ask questions to your classmates
  • You can make meaningful connections to your classmates
Screenshot of my Calculus GroupMe


Overall, GroupMe can be a valuable resource for communicating with your peers while you are in college. Luckily, we have access to apps on our phone, like GroupMe that can not only allow you to easily communicate with your classmates, but also can be very helpful in times of need. For the most part, the students in your class are willing to help you if you have questions. This can prove to be very beneficial. Also, by creating a GroupMe for your group in class, you are able to take on a class together as a team.


Common Exhibit: Value Based Goal Setting

Trash Your Values

5 material items/personal possessions you value most:

Car, Fishing gear, TV, Clothes, IPhone

6 people that are most important to you:

Carmen (Girlfriend), Mom, Dad, Jake (Brother), Kirby (Sister), Brett (Friend)

6 personal qualities/traits that you value about yourself:

Intelligence, Creativity, Communication skills, Friendliness, Leadership, Athleticism

6 memories that you always want to have:

Making the winning play in a football game, Getting my driver’s license, Cave tubing in Belize, Lettering in football as a freshman, Getting a job promotion to “manager” at my job, Getting accepted to Clemson University

5 goals that you wish to accomplish across your lifetime:

Graduate college, Get married and have a family, Have a job where I make good money and I still enjoy it, Pursue an entrepreneurial investment, Have enough money to be comfortable and support a family financially

Chart of Values


Final 10 Items: Car, clothes, IPhone, Carmen, Jake, intelligence, creativity, leadership, get married and have a family, have a job where I make good money and enjoy it.

Final 5 Items: IPhone, Carmen, intelligence, leadership, have a job where I make good money and enjoy it.

Carmen, my girlfriend, was my final item left on my value chart. She is important to me for numerous reasons. We have been dating for 5 years, so we have a pretty good connection. She is a very important piece of my life and has been for a while now.

As for the activity, I found it quite difficult. It was hard to eliminate when you have a list of things that you care so much about. I found that the easiest category for me to eliminate was the memories. This may have been because the items in this category are more like thoughts instead of; objects, attributes, etc. I found it frustrating when the activity restricted me because it forced me to remove items at certain times when I may not have wanted to.

When looking back at this activity I learned a couple of things. First, I found out that I value my personal skills a lot. Those were some of the last items I removed from the list. Also, I realized that I value some objects like my car and my phone a lot more than I thought. Another thing that the activity made me realize was how much my relationship means to me. Not only is there and emotional attachment there, but I recognized Carmen plays a huge role in my support system.

If I were to do this activity a year ago, I do not think it would have been much different. I feel as if all the items in my list were still important to me a year ago, as they are now. If I were to do this activity again in five years, I feel as it would not change much again. However, I believe some things would be different. I think some of my memories would change, as well as, some of my goals.

Final 10 Values
Five Core Values

Goals based on my values:

Core Values: IPhone, Carmen, intelligence, leadership, have a job where I make good money and enjoy it.

D.A.P.P.S Goals- Dated, achievable, personal, positive, specific.

Short term:

1. By the end of the semester, I will be adequately prepared for my exams, as well as, be in a position to succeed based on my grades before finals.

Connection to five core values: This goal ties directly into my core value of intelligence. Also, my girlfriend plays a role in this, as well. She helps me stay organized when it comes to school work and this, in turn, allows me to be more successful and achieve my goals.

2. By the end of the semester, I will decide if I am going to change my major and figure out which classes I need to take to be caught up.

Connection to five core values: I believe that this goal is related to my leadership core value. This goal requires a lot of thought and independence to achieve. Therefore, I believe that leadership in this situation would lead to decisiveness and a strong plan to action. My core value of intelligence would also play a role in this goal.

Long term:

1. After I graduate college, I will get a job where I will make at least $60,000/year and that I also enjoy.

Connection to five core values: This long term goal is also one of my core values. This is one of the main goals I have after college. Not only is it important to me to have a good paying job, but I also really care if I enjoy it.

2. After I secure a solid job, I would like to get married and start a family before I am 30.

Connection to five core values: The main connection this goal has to my core values is related to Carmen, my girlfriend. This is mostly because I can really only imagine starting a family with her at this point in time. This also involves my goal of having a job that I enjoy and where I make good money due to the fact I feel as if I would not be ready to start a family if I do not have a steady job. My intelligence is one of my core values and I think this plays a key role in me getting a job.

Note: My core value of my IPhone, did not have a significant connection to any of my goals. I believe this is because this is an everyday object that most people use regularly. While my IPhone may play a slight role in achieving some of these goals, it is not big enough to elaborate on.

Personal Exhibit: How to set realistic GPA Goals

Your College GPA

One of the most important numbers college students worry about is their GPA. While most students strive to have an all glorious 4.0, this task can be easier said than done. A lot can be on the line when it comes to your GPA, including scholarships. This can make this number very stressful for students, so it is important to set realistic GPA goals.

How to Set GPA Goals

  1. Evaluate your GPA
  2. Decide what is required of you in terms of your GPA-Scholarships, internships, extracurricular activities
  3. Be specific and positive about your GPA goal
  4. Set yourself a time limit and determine if your goal is achievable- Time is important and should be highly considered. Sometimes it is important to make your goal across numerous semesters
  5. You can pick a specific number, but remember to be reasonable- Be sure to calculate your GPA to see what grades you need to meet your goals)
  6. Set a bottom line- Have a GPA goal that you do not want to go lower than. This can be a warning sign for you when your GPA gets close to it.


Your college GPA is a very important number and it is imperative to pay close attention to it during your time in college. It can often be confusing to crunch the numbers for your GPA, but there are many online sites that can help you calculate it. In conclusion, you can save yourself a lot of stress and be more informed if you set good, achievable goals for your GPA.


Common Exhibit: Inner Critic, Defender & Guide: Observation of Self-Talk


Everyone has that "little voice" in their head that they communicate with on a daily basis. This voice can be broken down into three different personas; your inner critic, inner defender and inner guide. These voices all effect us in different ways. In this section, I will explain some of my personal encounters with these inner voices.

Inner Critic

The inner critic is the voice in your head that beats one's self up over events or actions. This voice can be demeaning and ultimately can be one of the most harmful inner voices.

Personal example:

"This project is just too much work to do. I won't finish in time and I will do a poor job if I rush to complete it. Why do you always wait till the last minute to do assignments?!"

Channeling this voice to my inner guide- In this situation, it would probably be best to talk to your professor about possibly getting an extension if you think it will effect the quality of your work. If you cannot get an extension you need to make a conscious effort to start assignments earlier, so you don't run into the problem again. starting work earlier and spacing out the amount of time you work on it will make your work better too!

Inner Defender

The inner defender is similar to the inner critic, but it tends to blame others rather than one's self. This normally is the easiest voice in your head to deal with because you are normally channeling your frustration towards an external outlet.

Personal example:

"I don't think its worth going to class because my sleep is more important than my success in school."

Channeling this voice to my inner guide- In this situation, while sleep and well being is important, your personal success is too. You need to make adjustments to your sleeping habits to ensure that you can have a productive day. You aren't bettering yourself while you are sleeping, so wake up and get going!

Inner Guide

The inner guide is the voice in your head that encourages wise and conscious decisions. It speaks the truth and often times brings us back to reality. It can be hard to listen to sometimes, but it is very important on your personal journey towards being successful.

Personal example:

" If you go ahead and do this assignment ahead of time, you will have more free time later and will not be stressing to finish it in time."

How the inner guide positively effected me- In this situation, the inner guide convinced me that it would be a better to start an assignment early rather than to wait. This resulted in me actually starting the work early. I was less stressed out about deadlines which reduced my overall anxiety. Also, when I had my work already completed, I was able to do other extracurricular activities without having to do my work before, or just not doing it at all.


When dealing with the inner voices in your head, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. As explained above, each voice in your head can have both positive and negative effects on one’s self. Personally, I think one of the biggest aspects of improving my self-talks would be; being more cognizant about my reasoning skills. This relates to specifically to the inner defender voice. Often, I found myself weighing out decisions based off of how I feel in the moment instead of what could happen in the future, or what would happen as a result of my actions. This is not a very progressive way of thinking and I definitely think that it played are large role in my relationship with my self-talks. I also struggled a good bit with my inner critic. During the semester, I think I did a good job of keeping that voice quiet. Many times, if I made bad decisions I would not blame myself, but rather blame others or other external stimuli. This is one of the explanations for why I could easily reason with my inner defender during the semester.

I think that I have a good bit of room for improving when it comes to my self-talks. I feel as if these self-talks, and more importantly self-discipline, are the keys to my personal success. When looking at how these inner voices have affected me during the semester, I think it is best for me to step back and really evaluate them more in-depth. Many times, I found myself under stress or pressure when I was listening to these voices and it ultimately lead to me listening to my inner critic and defender, rather than my inner guide. In addition, during the semester I had a hard time in general listening to my inner guide. To improve this, I plan on trying to keep a clear mind when making decisions and really taking the implications of my actions seriously.

Personal Exhibit: Depression's effect on a growth Mindset

Depression In College

College can be a great enriching experience for many students. However, for others it can be a hard and troubling time. Depression and other mental illness have increased on college campuses in recent times leaving many students having trouble keeping a positive growth mindset.

Approximately 30% of college students suffer from depression.

Signs of Depression in College Students

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs include-

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or unwanted weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms, such as muscle pain or headaches

How Depression Effects a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset can often be difficult to achieve when a college student is dealing with depression. Certain symptoms of depression can effective this positive growth mindset more than others. These symptoms include, but are not limited to; lost of interest in activities, sleeping troubles, difficulty concentrating, remembering, and decision making. These side effects can cause many college students problems with skills that are necessary to be successful in college.

How to Seek Help on Campus

Luckily, Clemson University offers help for students that suffer from these types of problems. Ultimately, if you are experiencing signs of depression you should seek medical attention.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS, located in Redfern Health Center, provides a safe and confidential environment for students to address stressors and psychological needs that may occur during their time in college.


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