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The ground state is the stabilized state, the opposite of excited state. I always use the noble/inert gas to represent the inner electrons and write out the valence electrons. For example, the electron configuration for Chlorine is [Ne]3s2 3p6.
There's one difference I noted when Dr. Lavelle talked about the periodic trends. He lectured about electron affinity but didn't mention electronegativity; I searched them up and found out they're different concepts: electron affinity is the energy released when electrons are added to gas-phase atoms, while the latter is the ability of an atom to attract electrons from outside. This was a little confusing to me at first, hope it helps.
I would suggest you print or create a blank electron configuration worksheet with boxes for each orbital, subshell, etc (like the first part of this website >> https://sites.google.com/a/usd411.org/c ... 2a/notes/k). You will be able to see how each elements electron configuration is "made". You will understand concepts like Pauli Exclusion Principle, Hund's Rule, spin states, quantum numbers, valence electrons, etc from this.
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