Author: Jennifer Lemon

Sleep Your Way to Better Grades

Students who get good sleep may have cracked the secret to better grades and some time on the Dean’s list, according to a study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Sleep is a needed to help us stay alert for threats to our well-being as well as a chance for our bodies to heal after each day. Students want to work hard to stay current in their classes and keep up with the work from a full schedule. That requires a balancing act that goes heavy on activity and usually sleep is sacrificed. The point is that we need good, quality sleep not massive amounts of it.

Researchers at MIT have found that a regular consistent sleep schedule contributed noticeably to not only better grades but lower anxiety levels in class. Quality rest helped with retention of material read before class and understanding of discussions during class. The researchers also found that students who tend to stay up late and go to bed around 2 a.m. tended to perform poorly on tests no matter how much sleep they got. Quality sleep was also connected to how well student scored on quizzes, midterms, and final exams.

When you go to bed matters. If you go to bed at 10 p.m. or midnight, performance was found to be about the same. There was a significant drop off for those who regularly went to bed after 2 a.m. if you get the same amount. Quantity is good but, again, researchers found that quality and consistency make the effort you put into studying more effective. There is nothing worse than staying up all night to study for a test or prepare for a presentation only to “choke” when it is time to demonstrate how much you know.

Conversely, researchers found that test scores didn’t improve for those who only got a good night’s sleep the night before a test. They found that concentrating on the night before is not enough to make a significant difference. Students have to get good sleep in the days leading up to a test, exam or presentation. Sleep helps to maintain and refresh brain functions that support creativity, memory and learning. So, no. Getting a good night’s sleep right before a big test or final exam is not good enough.

The bottom line is this. Prepare for your next day by starting the night before with a consistent routine of quality sleep. There are lots of activities, relationships and life events that demand your attention and may interrupt that routine from time to time. Make your success in school a priority and take care of yourself with good night of sleep. It can help keep you refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

The above technical information was summarized based on: MIT News “Study: Better Sleep Habits Lead to Better College Grades” by David L. Chandler, Oct 1, 2019, and; U.S. News & World Report “Better Sleep Equals Better Grades in College” by Steven Reinberg, Oct 7, 2019.

Submitted By Tony Foreman, STRIPES-VUB Outreach Specialist

But I CAN’T Sleep!

Perhaps you have accepted the benefits good quality consistent sleep can provide you as a student, but you just can’t seem to fall or stay asleep, help is available. You are not alone, many veterans struggle with quality sleep for a variety of reasons; insomnia, PTSD, sleep apnea, and more. Talk with your medical providers about your sleep concerns. The VA has both provider referral programs and a free online Path to Better Sleep program available. Visit their website to learn more about documenting your sleep patterns and tips for getting a more restful night’s sleep at


Crossing the Finish Line to Degree Completion

STRIPES-VUB works with veterans from multiple points in their journey to higher education completion. Some walk into our office after a few years of service having never stepped foot into a higher education setting. Others started an academic program and have been on hiatus for several years. It is not uncommon to be working with a veteran who attempted a higher education program and was not able to complete to graduation. This can happen for several reasons; a poor academic fit, financial pressures, lack of passion, minimal student supports, etc. The STRIPES-VUB program is happy to partner with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and connect veterans with degree completion programs like the one highlighted below.

So, what are you waiting on? Did you begin a higher education program and stalled out before completion? Are you at a cross roads and need some help finding the right road map for you? Give your STRIPES-VUB program a try this next time returning to the classroom. We can help you get back on the path and ready to cross the finish line to degree completion. Outreach Specialists are available by appointment throughout the state of Oklahoma. Call 405-974-3686 or email to schedule an appointment today!

8 schools selected for Degrees When Due initiative

Originally published in The Journal Record on 10/7/2019

OKLAHOMA CITY – Eight colleges and universities from Oklahoma have been selected to join Degrees When Due, a national initiative of the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

The eight schools will participate in best practices in degree reclamation and will provide targeted support while re-engaging students who have paused or stopped out their studies. The program in Oklahoma is facilitated through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Oklahoma is one of 20 states participating in the nationwide initiative.

Oklahoma colleges and universities selected for the initiative are the University of Science and Arts, Connors State College, Murray State College, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Redlands Community College.

“The Degrees When Due program will provide our faculty and staff with invaluable tools to help us better serve our nontraditional students,” said USAO President John Feaver. “Many Oklahomans have been forced to delay their college education due to myriad factors, often out of their control. This initiative will allow them to establish effective, individualized ways that they can earn their degree.”

Degrees When Due will grant the access to resources to assist with auditing students’ previously earned credits in order to determine the students’ most efficient pathway to graduation. The program will benefit the many Oklahomans identified as having some college credit but no degree.

“Returning to college to finish a degree can be a huge challenge for adults with jobs, families and other obligations,” said Deborah Landry, NSU provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Through Degrees When Due, we strive to increase the number of college graduates in our state by helping the approximately 47,000 near completers reach completion of their bachelor’s degree.”

Thrive On A Budget & Eat Like The King

College Life and Food

When I think of college students and food, I think of cheap instant noodles being heated in a dorm room microwave. Chances are this diet is no stranger to most service members from their E-1 thru E-3 days. Well that was then and this is now. The goal is not to just survive college we want to thrive in college. To accomplish this feat, we are going to need more than instant noodles to power our brain and body. Although instant noodles are one of my favorite instant meals they should not be a staple in your college diet. College is a marathon like no other that requires more than processed carbohydrates. We need simple and complex carbs like those found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy that can be broken down by the body and used as energy.

If you are a fan of fast food and enjoy the convenience it offers; especially with the busy college and adult life schedule, that is understandable. Fast food is not bad for you or your pocket book when moderation is put in place. The average cost of a value meal at a fast food restaurant ranges from $5.00 to $7.00. If you ate at fast food restaurants for two meals a day for two weeks there is a potential for your pocket book to take a whopping $196.00 hit on average.

Now take your $196.00 fast food budget to your local Wal-Mart grocery and you can feed yourself for two weeks three times a day for $93.21, leaving $102.79 in your pocket for other college expenses and that once a week drive thru treat. To good to be true you say? Give it a try and go to and build a shopping cart. They’ll even do the shopping and bring your groceries to you.

These are some of my favorite items that I purchase on a regular basis.

  • Blue Diamond Almonds $6.72
  • Eggs 60ct $6.21
  • String Cheese 36ct $7.96
  • Nature Value Protein Bar 15ct $8.24
  • Clementine Oranges 5lb $5.64
  • Oscar Meyer sub kit 28oz $6.98
  • Nature’s Own bread 20oz $2.88 (2)
  • Slice Cheese 48oz 72ct $9.98
  • Mayo 30oz $2.98
  • Mustard 20oz $1.97
  • Milk $2.78
  • Yogurt variety pack 12ct $3.96
  • Apples 3lb bag $4.77
  • Peanut Butter 40oz $3.62
  • Fruit preserves 32oz $3.28
  • Honey Bunches of Oats $3.28 (2)
  • Honey 16oz $4.48
  • Bananas 2lb $0.68lb

Total: $93.21

My favorite anytime sandwiches that even Elvis would like is peanut butter, banana, and honey. Would you like to learn more ways to save money on everyday life expenses to make college life less financially stressful? Or just learn how to make my favorite sandwich call Veterans Upward Bound at (405) 974-3686 or email us at to schedule an appointment.

Submitted By: Shane Braig, CPO, USN (Ret) and STRIPES-VUB Outreach Specialist

What Do I Want To Be?

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Chances are you have asked yourself this very question. I know I did after I retired from active duty. The difference is most people ask themselves this as children and in high school. We as veterans ask ourselves this after serving our country at a later time in life. Some of us in our early 20’s and others in our 40’s. The most common responses I have heard from veterans when asked this question is I do not know, I am not sure, or they give a list of several possibilities.

This is where STRIPES-Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) can come into play. All of us here at STRIPES-VUB have been in this very situation. We have gone through the transition from military life to civilian student life. We are subject matter experts in the pre-enrollment phase of college assisting hundreds of veterans walk the path. Don’t bang your head against the wall trying to find the right school and the right degree plan that fit you. We have don’t that leg work for you and can assist in guiding you with your decision.

We provide veterans with individual start-to-finish school and degree plan selection, application, and enrollment support for any program at any school. Our pre-enrollment services are customized for each veteran client and are created based on the individual needs of the veteran.

The services below are just a few of the most common veteran requested services we can provide.

  • Benefit Application Assistance
  • School Selection Comparison
  • Academic Skills Development
  • Academic Program Research
  • Financial Aid Assistance
  • Admission Assistance
  • Transcript Request
  • Financial Literacy
  • Test Preparation

Did I mention all these services are FREE to the veteran and we can travel to meet you!

If you are still in the looking around stage, the link below is an easy to use comparison tool that compares different schools in an area of your choice. This is a great place to start your broad search and from here we can help you narrow down the selection field. GI Bill Comparison Tool

Submitted By: Shane Braig, CPO, USN (Ret) and STRIPES-VUB Outreach Specialist

Student Study and Academic Resources

The start of the Fall semester is days away. Do you have a plan for learning? Learning in higher education requires focus and motivation to practice and study outside of the classroom. Students no matter your age, who expect to only attend class and pass all courses have a significantly lower success rate for degree completion. As adults is can be a challenge to find study groups or make time to be on campus. That doesn’t mean you are left to bang your head alone trying to learn new material. Read on for several free or low cost online websites and smartphone apps.

Free Online Websites and Apps:

Study Edge:

Study Edge provides concise study guides, online explanation videos, and tutors for an array of subjects and classes. If you’re looking for great intel on that tough engineering or physics course or maybe a refresher of your course in actual English, not the stream of acronyms we might be used to, Study Edge could be just the resource you’re looking for. Study Edge is currently offering a full semester of free access for US veterans.  To unlock the free semester, email to set up a membership. You can also learn more about Study Edge at

Khan Academy:

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content. View online at or download the app from your app store.


Symbolab is a free online math help website. The website provides graphing calculator tools, step-by-step solutions, practice problems, and math cheat sheets. You can check the website out at or download the app.

Purdue OWL:

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction. This website includes guidelines for a variety of writing styles and includes a citation machine to assist with proper academic citations. Visit them online at

Grammar Book:

Need to brush off the cobwebs on basic grammar and punctuation rules? Grammar book is a free online source for English grammar and punctuation rules and guidelines. Visit them at


Bookshare makes reading easier. People with visual processing disorder such as dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading. Find out more information and eligibility criteria at Bookshare also has a smartphone app for books on the go.


Free flashcard app for smartphones and also available on a PC. Create your own flashcards or download premade cards based on the subject or textbook. Gives you the option to have the cards read to you. Go to

On the UCO Campus:

The BELL (Broncho Education and Learning Lab) Offers One-to-One Tutoring, Supplemental Instruction with rotating courses and schedules, 24/7 Online Tutoring. Call 405-974-2487 for current tutoring hours.

STRIPES & SALUTE: TRIO Student Support Services offers free tutoring services. Sign up at Please be prepared and bring your textbook, assignment/instructions, etc. to your tutoring appointment.

UCO Library Academic Research Guides: The UCO library has research guides available by subject and for several UCO courses. Library Homepage; Research & Learning; Research Guides

Disability Support Services: Located in the Nigh University Center Room 305; Open Mon-Fri 8 am – 5 pm; Phone 405-974-3894

Night Vision – Student Vet Night

Night Vision will be on the UCO campus in room 204 in the College of Education Building from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm. 

Are you considering the transition to college life as an adult?

This night is for you.

Are you ready to start the application and enrollment process?

This night is for you.

Are you an existing student rolling along in classes?

This night is for you.

Are you struggling this semester and unsure about enrolling next semester?

This night is for you.

STRIPES-VUB announces Night Vision for student veterans. This is an ongoing Thursday night weekly event for student veterans of any school and at any stage in the process to meet together for a short adult student vet focused program and vet-to-vet networking. Light dinner is provided and attendees get an opportunity to vote on the program topic for the following week.

Completing a degree anywhere requires focus and having a clear vision of what you want in life. Our goal is to make Night Vision the place to go to help refocus on your target.

If you are an active STRIPES-VUB participant, this event is stipend eligible. Each Night Vision that you attend is equal to 1 credit. Earn 4 credits and you can request a $40 stipend.

Often times our significant others are critical to achieving our long term goal and keeping our vision of the future in focus. As a part of your support system they are welcome to join us.

If childcare is an issue, please contact us by email or phone to RSVP a spot for your child at least 48 hours before the event. We can arrange an activity table and one of our student workers to be available for oversight.

To make sure we have enough food, please RSVP by calling 405-974-3686 or via email at 

OESC Veteran Services Job Club Announcement

As an adult student flexible employment is sometimes a necessity. If you find yourself needing employment as a student, consider the monthly OESC Job Club event. Hosted by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Veteran office, the monthly Job Club assists US Veterans with finding employment, full and part time positions.The next Job Club is Thursday July 18th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at Regional Training Institute Education Center, Room #103, 6500 North Kelley Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. The Job Club provides job seekers with an opportunity to network with employers for job hunting tips and employment opportunities. Please come dressed for success with resume in hand and ready to interview! Open to Transitioning Service Members, Oklahoma National Guard, Veterans, and Spouses.
If the monthly Job Club does not fit with your schedule, they have offices across the state with Veterans’ Employment Representatives ready to assist with employment services. You can contact their offices to set up an appointment.

Are You On Radio Silence?

Remember the days of radio discipline and communications? You may not be carrying around a radio as a student, but are you operating on radio silence as a student?  Are you just receiving? Does the person transmitting know you “copy that”?

J.O.B. Employment as an Adult Student

Returning to school as an adult student often creates unforeseen budget and time management hardships. The first semester of an academic program can be full of obstacles that have nothing to do with your intelligence or academic abilities. To balance your new academic demands and still meet your financial demands, you may find yourself in the J.O.B (Just Over Broke) hunt to get you and your family by.

Time for Project… Summer Vacation

With the Spring semester finished and the start of summer vacation season upon us take some time to reward all your hard work while on break. Here are a few resources to help you save a few bucks while having fun. Theme Parks, National Parks, concerts or sporting events, even local to Oklahoma read on for Summer Vacation discounts and programs.