Study hard, but stress less: Nelson student offers advice for peers

December 9, 2014

When Alice Reznickova decided to attend college, she also made a much bigger decision: to leave her home in the Czech Republic. So she boarded a plane and traveled to Massachusetts to attend Smith College, where she earned a degree in chemistry and environmental science and policy. From there, she headed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is currently a doctoral candidate in Environment and Resources.

Five years in, Reznickova still loves Wisconsin. She has chosen to concentrate her studies on food: food access, food security and food justice. Her dissertation research explores local food and its relationship with the community. She is also part of a research project studying areas around Madison that lack affordable and nutritious food.

Outside the classroom, Reznickova is equally passionate about providing students access to academic mentoring through peer-to-peer support. She has become involved with the student organization GUTS, short for Greater University Tutoring Service, and currently serves as co-director. Reznickova oversees 16 undergraduate students and ensures that GUTS programs are as effective and efficient as possible.

GUTS is hosting a twelve-
hour study day marathon
Saturday, Dec. 13, at College
Library to help students
prepare for finals. Reznickova
encourages all students to
drop in for some study
assistance; tutors for all
subjects will be available.

“GUTS is an amazing organization because it offers so many different services,” she says. “It can truly help anybody who walks through our doors.”

Ahead of finals, and as students continue in their academic career, Reznickova suggests exploring GUTS’ free offerings, designed to help students of all ranges. The GUTS office is located on the fourth floor of the Student Activity Center, at 333 East Campus Mall.

GUTS programs are broken down into three main pillars. The first, academic tutoring, offers weekly, small group meetings with a tutor for a variety of subjects. They also host drop-in hours at College Library. Conversational language, the second pillar, allows students to practice their language skills while learning about the culture of the language. This is offered in foreign languages, such as French or Spanish, but also in English to assist international students on campus. The final pillar is study skills, helping students with general questions about academics, such as note taking, time management and exam preparation.

GUTS also recently adopted a new mentoring program for undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate school. This service allows undergraduate students to meet with a graduate student to get firsthand information and advice.

Between her involvement with GUTS and her personal experience with academia, Reznickova has gained some wisdom about successful study habits. She encourages students to combat the stressful exam season by staying relaxed and setting aside personal time. She says that although it may be hard to relax, it is important to realize that finals are not everything.

“Look at the big picture and remember all the cool things you get to do each semester,” Reznickova suggests. “From participating in student organizations to volunteering, remember that those are important as well and that they make you happy.”

When Reznickova was a teaching assistant, she noticed how much students stressed about their classes. She urged them to study hard, but also to never worry about academics to the extent that it affected their personal health.

“Homework is important,” she would tell the students, “but you’re also important and it’s important for your personal growth that you take time for yourself.”

Staff of UW-Madison GUTS 
Alice Reznickova (second row, fourth from right) with fellow GUTS staff members.