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As a student, you know very well how important memory is to learning. Without the capacity for forming and maintaining memory, we’d all struggle immensely, in school and in our personal lives. The good news is that there are ways to train our memories so that they remain reliable throughout our studies in school and beyond into old age.

Here are a few ways you can train, improve, and preserve your memory: 

1. Get Moving

Exercise! That’s right; your favorite. Not only do our muscles and bones benefit from exercise, but so do our brains. For instance, regular exercise helps our blood vessels maintain a healthy, consistent flow of blood to our brains. If we don’t regularly exercise, our vessels slowly begin to lose their ability to effectively pump blood, which limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are sent to your brain. That’s not good. We need our brains to fire on all cylinders in order to provide the best possible environment to foster and preserve memory.

But you don’t have to be a marathoner to receive the memory-boosting benefits you want. You can take short walks, sign up for a ballroom dance class, or swim laps at your local community pool.

2. Play Games

Did you know that you can have fun while increasing your memory power? It’s true. Studies have shown that activities such as jigsaw puzzles, word games, and trivia quizzes all help improve memory. So, next time you have friends over, or you want to spend a couple of hours with your family, try a game! Our favorite memory-boosting games include Pictionary, Words With Friends, and the Fit Brains Trainer app.

Plus, here are “5 Apps That Help Improve Memory and Cognition Overall.”

Improve and train your memory with these tips.

3. Eat Fish

If you don’t like the taste of fish, you can still get the memory-improving benefits of fish by taking omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in marine and plant oils and have been shown to promote brain and heart health. In fact, a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh shows that omega-3 supplements can help boost memory. Fish rich in omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardine, and rainbow trout. Happy fishing—or supplement hunting!

4. Try Chunking

Let’s be clear about this: we’re not putting you down. Chunking, as coined by Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor, is “a kind of cognitive compression mechanism wherein we parse information into chunks that are more memorable and easier to process than the seemingly random bits of which they’re composed.” In an article from The Atlantic titled “Using Pattern Recognition to Enhance Memory and Creativity,” author Maria Popova gives us insight into the integral value Bor had placed on chunking: 
Consciousness and chunking allow us to turn the dull sludge of independent episodes in our lives into a shimmering, dense web, interlinked by all the myriad patterns we spot. It becomes a positive feedback loop, making the detection of new connections even easier, and creates a domain ripe for understanding how things actually work, of reaching that supremely powerful realm of discerning the mechanism of things. At the same time, our memory system becomes far more efficient, effective -- and intelligent -- than it could ever be without such refined methods to extract useful structure from raw data.

If you’re confused, don’t worry. You can read more about chunking and pattern recognition here.

5. Don’t Cram

We all procrastinate from time to time. Can we agree on that? Yes? Okay. It’s human. In fact, a little bit of procrastination can be a good thing. But cramming is another thing entirely. When you cram, you aren’t giving yourself enough time to process the information. In other words, you’re not going to remember everything if you cram. If you can space out your studies, you’ll have more success processing and remembering the information you need for your next test or term paper. If you are prone to cramming, don’t think you have to change at once though. It’ll take time, so start small: for your next test, try choosing two days to study as a start, and build out from there. Pretty soon you’ll find that you’ll be less stressed, your performance will improve, and your brain will be doing a happy dance.

Do you have your own tips and tricks for memory-boosting? We’d love to hear from you. Share your favorite memory-boosting games, exercises, and study tips by emailing Allied’s copywriter, Non Wels, at nwels[at]alliedschools[dot]com. Or you can tweet us at @AlliedSchools. If you have questions about our online career training programs, give us a call at (888) 501-7686.

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If you've been anywhere near the news of late, you've probably seen stories about Sheryl Sandberg and her bestselling book, Lean In, which "dissects the roles of working women and shares her three biggest mistakes working women make," says The Huffington Post. Sandberg’s words are important, even in today’s age. The workplace has come a long way to address gender equality, but there are still certain cultural touchstones that perhaps still need to be discussed, debated, and delved into. This is all part of what it means to lean in.

Lean in to your career and education with Sheryl Sandberg.
Source: Huffington Post

But what does lean in really mean? 

  • In a general sense, to lean in is to take time to think, share, and communicate the things you can change in your professional and personal lives so that you have a better chance of achieving your goals.
  • In a more specific sense, lean in can amount to many things: achieving the right balance between work and life by starting at home with the right partnership in a spouse or partner; finding the right way to combine success with likeability; sticking up for what you deem you are worth; and many other important lessons.

The "three biggest mistakes working women make" according to Sheryl Sandberg.

  1. "Not believing in themselves." This is self-explanatory, but it’s something that we all should remind ourselves of. We need to believe in ourselves in order to make any true, genuine, worthwhile effort, whether that it’s in our personal lives or our careers. This is especially true for women, as Sandberg says.
  2. "Not making their partners real partners." Real partners are those that can be relied upon. Sandberg makes a point of emphasizing that career success is easier to achieve if you have a reliable partner or spouse.
  3. "Don’t leave before you leave." In other words, don’t look for an exit from your career before you are actually ready to make that decision. An example she uses is when individuals (women or men) don’t fully commit and exit a career prematurely "years before they have children." 

What can you do to lean in?

  • To address the three biggest mistakes, you should believe in yourself; make your partner a real partner; and don’t give up before you start.
  • Don’t be afraid to jump in and get both feet wet. It’s scary, sure. But it can be very rewarding. You just have to be willing to try, and keep trying!
  • Communicate your value. Know your worth. Understand it. And fight for it. The more you do that, the more that we’ll succeed in limiting the power of those that want to take a limited, biased view of the world and workforce. 
  • If you feel like you’re lacking in certain professional skills, be sure to educate yourself. The more tools you have, the better chances you have to flourish. Allied Schools has a variety of career-specific training for your careers in business, real estate, medical, and more.

Want to learn more about lean in? Here are a couple of links to get you started:

So, we’d love to know: how are you applying Sandberg’s concept of leaning in?
If you have any questions about our online career training programs, please give us a call at (800) 501-7686.

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It’s spring! What does spring mean to you? Colorful flowers? Lots of sneezing? Overwhelming displays of pastel hues? How about the yearly purge we call “spring cleaning?” Spring cleaning, as you know, can be applied to the cleaning you do in your home: the dusting of your window blinds; the scrubbing of your floors; the organizing of your attic. But the concept of spring cleaning can also be applied to your life in general. Like, for instance, to your career and education.

For our purposes today, we’re going to focus on this type of spring cleaning: the kind that applies to your career and education.

Spring Cleaning Your Résumé

Whether you are in school or working full time, it’s important to keep your résumé up-to-date. For those that are happily employed, it’s still a good practice, as it gets you to actively recognize and evaluate the contributions you make to your company, which can be very self-motivating. For those that are in school or in between jobs, it’s important to keep your résumé as relevant as possible. You never know when a job opportunity is going to surface!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be vague. Vagueness on a resume is not your friend. You want to be specific and detailed.
  • Don’t undervalue yourself. The better sense of your value you have, the better you will understand how your skill set can be used—both in the workplace and outside of the workplace.
  • Don’t forget the specialty. Certifications and vocational training can help you take your résumé from solid to “wow” worthy.

Spring Cleaning Your Online Presence

To say that “we’re all online” is a major understatement. In fact, we’re always online, always connected. It’s part of our culture. It’s precisely why we have to stay on top of what we put out there. Our online, digital self is just as (if not more) important than the self we represent on our résumés. So, get on social media. Get on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Write a regular blog. Participate in social media chats relevant to your career. Just, simply, be involved digitally. It’ll help enhance your career immensely.

Spring Cleaning Your Education

Staying relevant to the industry is an important factor in your lasting power as an employee. One of the ways you can remain relevant is to ensure you’re aptly educated for the position in which you’re applying. Whether it’s preparing for ICD-10 with an online ICD-10 course, or adding to your office knowledge with a professional QuickBooks course, consistently honing and adding to your skill set will greatly benefit your career.

Here’s to spring cleaning! For more information about Allied’s career-specific training, please give us a call at (888) 501-7686.

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