Posts Tagged ‘Studying’

Study Tips from an Expert

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of the study methods most college students rely on have no scientific basis. In fact, there are even a few quick changes you can make to your study habits that will help you absorb information much more quickly and store it in the long term, so you can ace your cumulative finals with ease and retain that knowledge for when you enter the job market.

Peter C. Brown’s 2014 book Make It Stick exposes these hidden truths about studying, explaining which methods are the keys to success and which are simply the same trite  unsubstantiated claims recycled over and over again.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Brown a few questions about his book and its implications for learners and educators and lovers of knowledge alike. Check out my interview with him here:

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/

Q: I love that your book touches on students’ tendencies to be discouraged by failure and thereby categorize themselves as specific “types” of learners despite the absence of scientific evidence to substantiate these labels. What do you think people find so difficult about initial failure? If you had to give a word of encouraging advice to those people, what would you say?

A: “I grew up with 4 older brothers who knew how to do everything that I didn’t. It’s just central to one’s self image to avoid looking stupid at all costs. Nobody explained to me back then that trial and error are essential. What we need are classrooms where trial and error are celebrated. My advice is to find a like-minded friend for mutual support, assume the persona of one who is fearless, and forge ahead. Setbacks are evidence that you are hard at work while the timid people sit back chewing their nails and privately envy your confidence.”

Q: Make It Stick’s references to the learning techniques and high-pressure situations surrounding the experiences of pilot Matt Brown and neurosurgeon Mike Ebersold illustrate the importance of making information personal in order to recall it effectively. Do you have any tips for the average person trying to make schoolwork more personal or more relevant to his or her own life?

A: “You have to pause and ask how is this like something I already know? Can I think of a parallel in my own life? Why not say to the teacher, “I think I would understand and remember this better if I could think how it is useful to me, or how it connects to what I already know. Can you help?” This would make for a good class discussion.”

Q: Are you surprised that so many institutions (like George Mason University and Dartmouth College) offer study advice that is just blatantly incorrect? What do you think is the reason for this?

A: “I have not checked their websites since writing Make it Stick; perhaps they have revised their advice. Educators do not have a tradition of basing instruction on empirical evidence, largely because there has not been a body of such evidence until recently. But science has made huge strides, and we know from feedback to our book and others’ that many schools, notably through their centers for teaching and learning excellence, are aligning their advice and resources with the empirical evidence.”

Q: Make It Stick cites an example of a Washington University professor’s success with an unconventional frequent quizzing system in the place of larger exams, and also offers a section devoted to tips for teachers. What are your aspirations for the book? Ideally, how widespread would the impacts of these suggestions be for our education system?

A: “I would hope teachers everywhere come to see themselves as bearing a dual responsibility, teaching content as well as process: helping students construct their own understanding of the classroom content through study strategies like elaboration and spaced and mixed retrieval practice that are not intuitive, so that students experience success with these strategies and they become second nature throughout school and beyond.”


By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU.  A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Preventing Procrastination Like a Pro

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Consider this: every unexpected obstacle you’ve faced while tackling an assignment at the last minute has been entirely avoidable. I’ve seen my fair share of broken printers mere minutes before class while trying to prepare an essay I’d had weeks to work on. I’ve seen the internet crash the night before a research project or an online assessment was due. If you’ve ever procrastinated, then you’ve lived through these tough times too. Then why is it so hard to stop?

http://www.smarterservices.com

http://www.smarterservices.com

It makes perfect sense in the moment. The first rush of decision-making adrenaline that comes with throwing caution to the wind makes anything seem possible. Common sense deteriorates into “you can study for that test right before class tomorrow” or “you can get up at 5 A.M. to finish that essay”–and you believe it, too. Maybe you’re busy and don’t want to set aside the time for work, or maybe procrastination still plagues your daily life even when you have a wide open schedule. Sometimes, the piles on piles of work just seem so daunting that you’d do anything (or in this case, nothing) to avoid even looking at them. The first step to solving the problem is facing the truth: procrastination is your worst academic enemy.

For such a common problem, it remains one of the most difficult to admit. When you’re caught by a professor making easily fixable mistakes on an assignment or test, saying “I just didn’t start working on time” will never be enough to explain what you really mean: “I could have done so much better.” My battle with procrastination is ongoing, but I’m learning to grow and change by implementing a few small changes every time I get an assignment.

https://www.raywenderlich.com

https://www.raywenderlich.com

Quick Fixes
The internet is not always your friend. When used correctly, it can do wonders for the way you learn and study, but when used incorrectly it has an astounding ability to halt your productivity in its tracks. As long as you have the foresight to see your procrastination coming, preventing it should be easy with apps like StayFocusd for your computer that block distracting websites of your choice for designated amounts of time. If you’re looking to support a larger cause, the app Forest  partners with an organization that plants real trees when its users don’t get distracted by other smartphone apps.

There are certainly less graceful approaches to cutting down wasted time online; sometimes I like to hurl my phone across the room so I wouldn’t be able to answer messages if I tried. Other times, I go out of my way to tell my friends not to contact me until I’m done with a given assignment. If I’m not feeling motivated enough to do either, I turn my notifications off and call it a day.

Leave your room to work, and bring only the essentials with you, whatever they are. You can’t get distracted by a phone or laptop you don’t have!

Big Picture
At the end of every day, write down your long term goals on a piece of paper, even if they don’t change. If you don’t know what they are just yet, even better! Write down everything that you have the potential to accomplish. Turn those far off goals into daily reminders of what you can do if you put in the work. I’m definitely the most motivated when I understand that my time is valuable. When I believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, I’m a lot more willing to put my mind to my work.


By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU. A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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How Not to Do Anything: An Expert Guide – How Not to Succeed in School

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
Image Credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-ways-make-most-short-study-breaks

Image Credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-ways-make-most-short-study-breaks

The first great obstacle to doing nothing is quite formidable, but the challenge of evading activities in school can be a real learning experience. We all have to go to school, and we are then expected to do all kinds of things: interact with our peers, learn to read, learn to add and subtract, etc. etc. For most of us, the lifelong onslaught of to-do’s begins with school, which is why everyone hates it so much. Of course, the primary objective of the education system is to prepare children to become the kind of adults who contribute to society and to the nation’s tax base, and have just a terrible amount of responsibilities. This goal is directly opposed to yours, and it must not be achieved.

So when it comes to school, make absolutely certain that you do not excel to the point of getting more work, but at the same time be careful not to fall too far behind, or you might be in danger of getting a tutor. The most important thing is that none of your teachers think about you too much, whether as a favorite or a hated laggard or a class clown. The attention of teachers is a hazardous thing, leading only to more work, more time in school, or more attention, and it should be avoided at all costs.

In America, you have the right to drop out of school on your sixteenth birthday, but beware the consequences of doing so, tempting as it may be. Being done with school is wonderful, of course –– but after school comes a tidal wave of responsibilities, like making money and figuring out what to do after you’re done with school. So think long and hard on that sixteenth birthday: there’s a good chance that the demands of school are in fact a lot less onerous than those that come later, in real adult life. But I wouldn’t know too much about that.

By Aaron Brown


Aaron Brown was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book   “How Not To Do Anything: An Expert Guide.” If you like Aaron’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from his e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

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Studying with Technology

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

As a student in New York City, you’re going to be faced with many distractions. Whether it be your friends, your new favorite app, or even a free concert or show, you’re going to have to manage your fun time with your school time.

We’re fortunate that we live in a society where you can access all sorts of technology that won’t only help you procrastinate, but will help you get your work done without distractions. Below are some tech-friendly ways to stop procrastinating.

1. REMIND YOURSELF

This may seem silly, but I set myself reminders to do my work. Most smart phones have a “reminders” list, which lets you set a time and date that you want to be reminded to do a task. This helps if you’re a forgetful person, or just someone who needs to be prompted to study or write a paper.

On the other hand. . .

2. SHUT THE PHONE OFF

Personally, I can’t work when people are texting me; I am just too tempted to carry on a conversation about the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live, or whatever fun event is going on later that night. When I have to write a paperwhether it’s four or fourteen pages longthe phone goes off. If you like setting reminders on your phone but don’t want to hear any incoming calls or text messages, most phones have an “airplane mode,” which shuts off communications but will keep your phone’s other functions, like reminders, on.

3. OKAY, YOU CAN HAVE A BREAK

Every hour, give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to look at your phone, check your email, or watch a funny YouTube video. Studies show that taking breaks helps you focus more when you return to studying.

4. APPS

Okaydon’t discount your iPhone or iPad just yet. There are several free apps that can help you study. Flashcards Study Helper is exactly what it sounds like: it’s all the help of flashcards, without wasting leftover index cards. Mathemagics Lite  is a scientific calculator for on-the-go. And for the Shakespeare scholars, there’s an app that contains all of Shakespeare’s works. Even better, it’s free!

5. AND OTHER WEB-BASED TOOLS…

If you’re a Mac user, there is a scheduling app called iProcrastinate (ha!) that helps you break down tasks into smaller tasks. Additionally, many textbooks or required readings are available on half.ebay.com for cheaper prices. Check your booklist early, and order away!

Being a college student in the 21st century is hard. There may be countless distractions and ways to stop you from doing your work, but your smartphone is called a smartphone for a reason! You can train yourself to use your technology to your advantage.

—————————————————————————————————————

Erin O., NYU.

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Professors 2.0

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

It’s about that time: school is right around the corner and so are professors! Not only do you have to worry about making sure your bank account is on point and getting your student savings, but you have to make sure you make a good first impression with your professors.

 

Meeting a professor for the first time  

Particularly if you’re a first year student en route to your first real college class, you might be a little nervous when classes start. Depending on how big your College or University is, a typical 100-level class can range from 60 to 200 students! The professor can try his or her best to get to know everyone, but seeing as professors’ schedules are so busy, it’s up to you to make them notice you. You also have to keep in mind that in the future you may need a recommendation from a professor for a job. With that being said, not only do you want to do well in the class and build an academic relationship, but you also want to build a personal one. One tip is to simply go up to the professor after class and introduce yourself. You can choose to introduce yourself with your name and year in school or perhaps just your name—it’s up to you. Then, simply tell him or her that you are excited to be in the class this semester. These simple lines are going to introduce you to the professor but will also tell them that you are serious about the class and care about forming a relationship.

 

Taking a class with a professor you had before

If you have had the same professor for a new class, you are already at an advantage in terms of building a quality professor-student relationship. However, whether a great deal of time has passed or not, you still want to be able to maintain that relationship. After the first class with a well-acquainted professor, go and say hello. Tell him or her that you are excited to be taking the class and look forward to having a great experience like that of the last class you had with him or her.  This move and can make your relationship stronger and will let the professor know that you are a serious student.

 

Note: the above advice is intended if you did well in the previous class with that same professor.  If you failed or didn’t do as well in the class as you hoped, and you end up taking the class over, I would advise something different.  Instead of going up to the professor after class, you should visit the professor during his or her office hours. Meeting a professor during office hours can set a more intimate and professional meeting atmosphere and gives you more time to communicate. Tell your professor that you are thankful to be allowed to take the class over and that you look forward to doing better this time around. Your professor will know that you mean business, and he or she will have a clean impression of you instead of the one you last made.

 

I have only touched upon a few of many ways to make good first impressions on professors. If you would like more tips or advice, leave a comment and I will get back to you!

 

Joanne, Simmons College ’15. Read my personal blog!

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What I Learned in My Public Speaking Class

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

originally appeared on speaking-effective.kethal.com

Given a choice between Design of a Newspaper Page (or something similar to that) and Public Speaking, I chose the latter without hesitation. I have always loved to speak in front of large groups, despite the fact that I often trembled inside. I can manage my nerves well, though, and I enjoy delivering my message; therefore, I was eager to learn new skills through this class.

Unlike me, there are many students who are petrified to take a public speaking class because they hate standing in front of people and talking to them, or simply because they believe that they will never need speaking skills for their career. If this sounds like you, let me assure you: whatever your future profession will be, you will definitely have to make presentations, whether you like it or not, so why not learn it as early as possible and be prepared?

Since many universities oblige you to take a public speaking class anyway, I would suggest that you do it during your first semester, as it will help you do better in many of your classes. Here are some useful things I learned in my public speaking class:

1. Everyone is nervous while speaking in public, no matter how confident he or she looks. Even your professors feel tension inside. It is just not comfortable to face a large group of people and have their eyes and ears turned at you.

2. Developing your public speaking skills means learning how to control your fear and delivering your message successfully. The more often you practice what you learn, the more confident you will feel delivering every other presentation, so you should use every opportunity to talk in class, whether it is a formal report or a mere answer to someone’s question.

3. No matter how interesting your presentation is, it is always hard to listen if there are no visuals, and don’t you hope for a “first-time student discount” (meaning that the audience will not sympathize with you even if this is a debut). Therefore, you should always do a short Powerpoint presentation, prepare handouts or simply draw a poster. Anything works, as long as there is some kind of visual back up for your presentation. If there are names that the audience may not know, you should write them on the board, especially if their pronunciation is not well-known. When your listeners see the information in front of them, they understand it better and remember it longer.

4. There is more than one type of audience: friendly, indifferent, neutral, and hostile. The easiest kind to deal with is the neutral one, as they are the material that you can work with. You can tell them whatever you want, and it is up to you to keep them interested. Friendly audience is not as easy as you suppose it is because these listeners usually know who you are and think highly of you, so there is no way you can deliver a presentation that is not as strong as your previous one. Otherwise, they will easily get bored and won’t pay attention. The hardest task is to engage an indifferent audience, as they are not interested in your topic, or you, and will most likely sleep through your presentation. As far as hostile audience is concerned, they are the most fun group to deal with, as it is your job to change their mind about you or the topic you are talking about. You have to be well-prepared and predict what kind of questions may be asked and what the audience’s objections will be. Knowing the type of audience is a must, as it helps to deliver the message in the most effective way. It can be compared to researching on student savings: you should know before you go which place may give you the best deal and how to get this deal from them.

5. Eye contact is powerful. If you stare at your notes, or, what’s even worse, read from the page, no one will listen to you. People will automatically assume that you are poorly prepared and have no idea what your presentation is about, and feel like listening to you is a waste of time. A good idea is to create an outline (on a piece of paper or index cards) with major points you are going to make. Write down quotes from experts, if you are using any. With this material, you can spend more time looking at your audience to study and react to their facial expressions and gestures. For example, if they look confused, ask if they want you to repeat or clarify what you said. If they yawn, you should probably give them an interesting piece of information that you were saving for later.

6. Once your presentation is ready and your outline is completed, you have to practice. You may need to record your voice, listen to it and repeat your presentation in front of the mirror at least 5 to 10 times, so that when the actual presentation takes place, you will be well-prepared and less nervous. Later on, when you become more experienced, you won’t need much practice. Still, 5 times is generally recommended. Just imagine how awed your classmates will be when you deliver your well-rehearsed informative presentation!

7. And finally, always leave time for questions. You may hate to be asked, but how else will you know that your message was understood and remembered? This is, perhaps, the most exciting part, as through the questions you can see whether your presentation was clear, what you should improve on and how the message was taken in general. The time you should put aside for questions is usually 3-5 minutes, so there is nothing you should really be scared of.

Ekaterina Lalo

You can find more of my articles on my personal blog www.nycvalues.blogspot.com or check me out on http://hubpages.com/profile/katenka_lalo

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Tips to Get You Through Your Finals Alive and Well

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Finals. It is perhaps the most dreaded word in the vocabulary of any college student – a term that signifies endless nights of studying and memorizing in the last desperate attempt to jam every last bit of information into your brain before test time. No matter how long you have been in college that word does not cease to terrify your poor little brain cells. However, there are certain things that you can do to get you through your tests and on to the freedom of summer vacation.

1. Put test information (day, time, and place) and paper due dates on a calendar. This way, everything will be in one location and you won’t have to frantically search for it later on. In addition, writing everything out will enable you to check for any conflicts, which you will be able to solve well before test time.

2. Schedule your study time in advance. Carefully think about how much time in the library each class will require and plan accordingly. Remember to devote time to those tests or papers with the nearest deadline first so you don’t end up studying for a Economics final on Monday when the test date is four days later.

3. Rewrite your notes. After long hours of studying, the information you are reading literally becomes a giant blur. Writing out your class notes allows your brain to remain active, which, in turn, helps you remember that important detail when taking the final.

4. Take some time to rejuvenate your brain. Studying non-stop for twenty-four hours straight is the worst thing you could do during finals. Your body needs to rest from time to time in order to remain alert. So call a friend and go to the cafeteria for an hour, watch an episode of your favorite show, take a power nap, do something that you feel will give your mind a much-deserved break. A little something I learned from a psychology class I took when I was a freshman is my favorite way to squeeze in a little down time for myself. It’s a technique called voice relaxation therapy. Visit this YouTube link to try. It’s short and sweet, and you will feel a hundred times better when you’re finished. Promise.

-Christina Brower

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Do Not Give in to Technology

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

image credit: blog.loaz.com

With the development of technology, studying became so much easier. Or harder? The opinions on that certainly differ.
On the one hand, we do not have to keep so many things in our memory anymore. If you have Internet access on your smartphone or laptop, you can always google things you need to know.
However, we often realize that our memory shrank significantly because it has lacked training since technological wonders became such an important part of our lives.
There were times when a cell phone was a luxury. Do you remember the first mobile devices we had? As for me, I recall my father’s enormous receiver. I thought then that it would be better to stay out of connection than to carry this thing around. Now there is a great variety of models and sizes, so we may choose the one that matches our needs.
In addition to calling and texting, mobile phones now allow us to check e-mail, facebook and twitter pages and to download necessary applications. Many students admit that they take notes or do homework on their smartphones. Isn’t it awesome? Yes, of course, as long as you do not do all these things while in class.
There were many studies on multitasking which show that parallel activities slow down our brain. Concentrating on one task helps a student to complete it in the best way possible, while trying to deal with multiple chores at the same time distracts the attention and leads to mistakes or misunderstanding. Therefore, even though there definitely is an important e-mail coming up, put your cell phone on silent, keep it in your bag and listen to what your professor is saying. It is not only polite, it also helps you to prepare for the next exam, as all professors usually test you on what they told you. In case you do not understand something, you can always ask questions and learn what you need. If you are constantly looking at your cell phone, professors usually think that you are playing with it, even if you look up words in a dictionary or check how much time left till the end of a class. Therefore, even if you ask questions, they will most likely believe that you were distracted and did not listen, and they will tell you to come back after class. And then students usually forget their questions, as their memory span is quite short nowadays. In other words, save yourself time and effort and prepare for your tests in class.
I also remember times when a computer was a rare thing. Now students in some universities are required to bring their laptops to use them during the class. I personally think that note taking on a laptop or a smartphone saves us a lot of paper and space. Sometimes I would be happy to keep my notes from past semester, but my room space is limited. It is especially true for people who have more than one roommate. I would be more than happy to keep everything on a CD or a flashdrive, so that any time I need to take a look at these notes, I can do that. It is also much easier to find necessary information if it is in digital form. You can search certain words, and they come out right away; no need to look through the whole notebook. However, the problem stays: laptops in class maybe quite distracting.
Should we say then that technolgy is destructive for our lives and our learning process? Of course, we should not. The only thing I would advise people to do is to use these means of technology rationally. Make them serve you, but not distract you or take over you. If you feel that you are too dependent on your cell phone or e-mail, go on a two-day hike where there is no network connection, and you will see that life will not stop or lose its beauty.

Ekaterina Lalo

Check out my blog at www.nycvalues.blogspot.com

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Untimeliness Is a Bad Strategy

Friday, May 7th, 2010

If a college class is an hour long and you are 15-20 minutes late, you missed a big part of it. If you thinking about the part of the lecture you did not hear, keep in mind that your loss is not limited to this. There are several things you deprive yourself of when you are constantly late.

First of all, all the colleges have latenesses and absences policies and your repeating untimeliness may hurt your grade. Do you really think that sleeping for several more minutes is wotrh lowering your GPA? Sometimes you are giving up your sleep in order to prepare for the class. Give it up once again and remember that coming on time is a part of your preparation process as well.

Here is a tip for you: do not turn off your alarm clock and then go back to bed to indulge for a couple of minutes. Most likely, you will fall asleep again, then what was the point in putting the alarm on so early. If you believe that sleeping more is essential, then do not forget to put the alarm on again. This way you won’t miss it.

Secondly, your coming late is a great distraction for your professor and your class. Imagine that your classmate is late. He (or she) enters the classroom desperately trying to find an available seat. There seems to be none and he (or she) keeps walking around with a backpack not knowing where to land. Unfortunately for you, the seat next to you is empty. He (or she) notes this with happiness and takes out books, notebooks and a breakfast. Chewing his (or her) English muffin with egg and cheese, he (or she) tries to find out what was going on before he (or she) appeared. You are at a loss choosing whether to listen to the professor, to the classmate, who demands concrete answers, or to your stomach that did not get breakfast. Why should you ever do something like that to a person who studies with you?

Lateness is very annoying for professors as well. No one likes to be interrupted when speaking. So if you are late repeatedly, your professor may think that you are an unreliable or careless student and all your last night efforts will remain unnoticed, as discipline is sometimes more valuable than the work you do.

Third, sometimes there are written assignments professors give in the beginning of the class, for example, quizes or short answer questions. If you miss them, it may hurt your class participation as well and your grade keeps lowering.

And last but not least, remember that the main thing the college does to you is preparing you for your future occupation.

Therefore, your class is like your future workplace. No boss will tolerate chronic latenesses. So prepare for it now and develop a habit of coming to your classes on time. Maybe, you should just get a more sound alarm clock, one you will be happy to hear when you wake up in the morning.

Ekaterina Lalo

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