How to Create a Schedule for Success

create a schedule to-do

It’s almost the end of the semester which only means one thing: deadlines! With teachers adding last minute work, semester-long projects approaching their due date, and finals right around the corner, these last few weeks of school can be some of the hardest of the semester. Keeping up with work while staying sane is quite the challenge, but it can be done. The best way to manage these last few weeks is by creating a schedule. Here is a simple guide on how to create a schedule:

1. Make Your Schedule Template

A simple way to do this is by using Excel or another spreadsheet program. Label columns with the dates of the remaining school days and label rows in hourly increments.

2. Block Out Time Slots

It is extremely important to go to class during these last few weeks so make sure you put those into your calendar first. You will also add things like club meetings and appointments that you absolutely have to be at. You should make these events a bold color like red on your schedule so you know they are important and that time isn’t available for other activities.

3.  Add Optional Events

Add events that you want to go to but don’t have to. Things like parties, sporting events, and concerts are more enjoyable than school work, but not as important. If you are running out of time these events are the ones that can be missed for the sake of your grade. Make these events a different color on your schedule than mandatory events so you can tell them apart.

4. Add School Assignments/Projects/Tests

The fourth step will take the most time, but it is also the most important. Go through all of your syllabuses for all of your classes and make a list of the assignments, projects, and tests that you will have for the remainder of the semester. Next, estimate how long each task will take and block out the allotted amount of time on your schedule. Be realistic when estimating task times. You are not going to complete that 20 page report in 30 minutes. Don’t forget to set aside time to study for finals!

5. Add Necessary Personal Tasks

Finally, add time for necessary tasks such as sleeping, eating, and showering. It may seem like overkill to schedule sleeping time, but knowing that you have plenty of time to finish your work and still get a full nights sleep will reduce stress and allow you to sleep without worrying that you are behind. Any time that is not blocked out by these five steps is free time for you to enjoy.

Keeping up with the end-of-semester rush is a daunting task, but it can be accomplished. Making and sticking to a schedule will help you complete your work while still being able to enjoy your last few weeks. Finish strong and good luck! Have a good end-of semester survival tip? Leave it in the comment section below!

Why December Shouldn’t Be Stressful

December student

It’s that time of year again where things begin to get hectic. If you’re a college student, December means assignments and finals are creeping up on us and exhaustion is setting in. The end of the semester is officially coming to a close. As we begin to feel stressed out and anxious, we also tend to forget about the amazing things that surround us. If you’re going through a tough time, and I’m sure many of us are, then please hear me out.

Take Time to Breathe

First off, I’d like to point out that stress, like anything, is only okay in moderation. Secondly, stress isn’t something to be proud of. Staying up all night, piling on extra assignments last minute and working until misery isn’t acceptable. We live in a world where overworking ourselves is praiseworthy. The more work, the better. Right? Wrong. It’s appreciable that you’re working hard, but it’s important to know that our society’s definition of hard work isn’t actually normal. As a student, you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you’re not pushing yourself over the edge.

Luckily, these busy and haphazardly spent days rushing between class, the library and back home for food and sleep intersect with the most wonderful time of year: the holidays! As you continue to prepare for the end of the semester (remember, don’t push yourself too hard), make sure to take in some of the joy and cheer that will be accumulating on every corner. Although it’s already December and most of the leaves have changed and perhaps fallen, the beauty of the transition from fall to winter doesn’t cease to be amazing.

Explore the Outdoors

Take some time this year to go outside and not just a five minute walk to a new building. Regardless of the cold, sweaters and gloves were invented for a reason. You should go outdoors! Research suggests that spending extra hours in the outdoors can lead to health benefits. For example, the sun is a great source of vitamin D. but remember sunscreen! Additionally, nature and the outdoors is thought to lead to an elevated mood and decreased stress levels. If your school is in nowhere land, take this opportunity to find the area with the post picturesque sunset; if you’re studying in a city, explore the city parks! Make sure to take photos. Oftentimes cold weather leads to the loveliest photos. 

Make Time for Family and Friends

You should take time to appreciate family and friends in December. With having just did this at Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays coming shortly after, we can become even more stressed. However, the holidays aren’t meant to be stressful. Sure, cooking, cleaning, and having to embarrassingly describe to your relatives that you ‘just don’t quite know yet’ what you’re doing with your live isn’t quite fun, but the moments around that deserve to be cherished. So go ahead and plan a Friendsgiving, wear your matching pajamas with your siblings and escape your older relatives with your cousins. It’s worth it!

Enjoy Being a Student

Lastly, these last few years of college are really the only moments left before we’re catapulted into the real world. Embrace your youth as you experience these times while still being a student. Don’t let classes and assignments get in the way of feeling that holiday cheer that comes every year at this time. Drink lots of hot chocolate, take in the crisp fall air and over wear your favorite sweater. Regardless of how stressful we’re feeling, I can guarantee that these tough times will feel way better.

I hope that these suggestions help you have a successful and enjoyable December and end of fall semester. Have any other tips that have helped you? Leave them in the comment section below!

How to Help Your Homesick Blues

For all of those homesick puppies missing back home a little too much recently, I feel you. Whether you be missing your mom, your sister, your grandparents, home cooked meals, or  even (especially) your cat, don’t lose faith. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, many of us are too far away from our hometowns to make it back there regularly. At about this time in the semester, we’ve already been away for over a month- way too long! Luckily, I’ve put together a few ways to make the remainder of time between now and your next visit a little more bearable.

1. Call call call!

homesick

Call your friends, call your mom, call your dog. Keeping in contact is a great way to bring a little bit of home to you. Even better? Use FaceTime or Skype and make the person on the other line show you the things you’ve been missing the most. The only drawback of this is that sometimes it could increase feelings of homesickness by reminding you of what you’re missing. Luckily, the feeling you get after a great phone conversation with mom telling you all of the family drama makes up for all of it

2. Pictures!

homesick

If you don’t already have a ton of photos with you, print some! Being able to see a physical image of good times with the people you miss can help clear up feelings of homesickness. Not only does it remind you of a happy memory, but having photos helps to bring home wherever you go. Another option is to have your family and friends text you photos from home! I recently got a photo of my kitty that brightened my day!

3. Keep busy!

homesick
You can’t dwell on home if you’re too busy to! That project that you know is coming up? Start it. How about your messy room with two-week-old laundry? Clean it. Want to learn to play an instrument? Start doing it! In college, you always have something to do. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any time to feel bored and sad about home. Keeping busy also just helps boost productivity, so that when you actually do make it home, you won’t have to worry about all of the things you didn’t get done.

4. Hang with your friends!

homesick

Arguably the best thing about college is how proximal your college friends are! My freshman year, I could just walk two feet down the hall to see my friends. Now, I’m living with some of my best friends in an apartment! Good friends always make themselves available to lend an ear. Chances are, they might also be homesick. That way you guys could make some snacks, binge watch rom-coms, and have a cry. It’s sometimes difficult to remain sad about not being home when you’re with your friends.

5. Go home!

homesick

If you have the time and a way to get back, just go home! Sometimes the time between the beginning of school and Thanksgiving becomes unbearable. Arrange a ride, eat some of your fav home foods, hug your cats, hug your mom, remember how annoying home is. After a day or two you’ll probably be begging to get back to school!

I hope these suggestions help you cure your homesick blues this semester! Have some more tips? Drop us a comment below.

Fall Albums You Should Listen To

Happy Fall 2016 everyone! If midterms, projects, finding a Halloween costume and the election stressed you out, I’ve got a temporary remedy. If there’s one thing that universally helps everyone eliminate stress, it’s probably music. Luckily, while Trump and Clinton were hitting the podium, some fantastic albums have been released. Whether you’re trying to relieve stress or just find some great new music to fuel your car rides or walks to class, I’ve got you covered. Regardless of what genre you’re partial to, these four fall albums are definitely worth a listen.

fall albums - 22, A Million - Bon Iver

1. 22, A Million – Bon Iver

Pull out your sweaters and light a scented candle, because Bon Iver dropped their new album. 22, A Million is an experimental record produced by musical group, Bon Iver who you probably know from his previous album Emma, Forever Ago. In comparison to their previous album, which had a more instrumental and earthy vibe, 22, A Million includes more electronic sounds and clips. But don’t be too worried if you’re a die hard “Emerson” type Bon Iver, because the album keeps the same familiar tone, just with some added instruments. The album itself got really high ratings too, so I suggest you listen!

fall albums - A Seat at the Table - Solange

2. A Seat at the Table – Solange

Solange really created something special with A Seat at the Table. The album tells a story through powerful lyrics spaced out by spoken interludes featuring people including her own mother. Through A Seat at the Table, Solange both voices her emotions from her experiences with racism and works to empower herself and the black community. The album isn’t meant for background study music, so if you get the chance, I suggest sitting down and actually listening to it in full. It won’t disappoint. This album also got very high ratings.

fall albums - Remember Us To Life- Regina Spektor

3. Remember Us To Life- Regina Spektor

If you were missing quirky songs and pretty piano melodies, guess who’s back? It’s been about four years since Regina’s album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats was released in 2012, and I don’t know if I could’ve waited any longer. Remember Us To Life is classic Regina, too. Her knack for storytelling through her songs accompanied by her signature piano instrumentals is just what we need for the colder months. Play it in the kitchen while you bake pumpkin pie one night and everything will feel amazing.

fall albums - Atrocity Exhibition- Danny Brown

4. Atrocity Exhibition- Danny Brown

Danny Brown brings something new to the rap game with his new album, Atrocity Exhibition. The album is classic Danny Brown with really neat beats and samples that really showcase his creative ability. Atrocity Exhibition also received a high rating. The songs includes production from Paul White and features Kendrick Lamar, Petit Noir, and Earl Sweatshirt. Its super high energy sets the album apart from other hip hop albums like Drake’s Views. If you’re throwing a party sometime soon, I suggest adding a few of Danny Brown’s songs to the playlist to get things really going. But given the explicit lyrics, make sure it isn’t a children’s party!

Enjoy these fall albums as your relieve stress and prepare for the holidays! Drop a comment below if you have more albums we should listen to listen to this fall.

The Best Things About Halloween Time

The most wonderful time of the year might be Christmas, but Halloween comes in a close second for me! With the days leading up to the holiday bringing colder temperatures, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin flavored everything, this time is difficult to hate. Every region in the U.S., from San Diego to Salem, has their own special traditions leading up to Halloween time, each just as great as the next. Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania, I was lucky to experience Halloween time to the fullest, shaping me into the “Hocus Pocus” loving, candy corn binging, black cat owning girl I am today. For all of my Halloween time fanatics out there, enjoy the spook-tacular (too much?) list of the greatest things Halloween season brings to us.

The 13 Nights of Halloween

Halloween time - 13 Nights of Halloween

No true fan of the holiday misses a movie on Freeform’s ‘13 Nights of Halloween’. For the last 13 days of October, the television network airs Halloween movie favorites like The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family, and of course, Hocus Pocus. Cozy up with your black cat, gather some snacks, and watch out for the Sanderson Sisters, it’s that time of year again!

Pumpkin Patches

Halloween time - Pumpkin Patches

Whoever first thought to market off of a bunch of pumpkins growing in a field was near genius. With many pumpkin patches having fall activities such as hayrides and corn mazes, catching the feels for Halloween time couldn’t be easier. Plus, when it comes to making jack-o-lanterns,  you get acres of pumpkins to choose from. Also if you’re puzzled on where to take your first date, a pumpkin patch is a great choice!

Wearing Costumes

Halloween time

 

Separate from events like Comic Con or most music festivals, we don’t get much of an excuse to go all out with costumes. Thankfully, Halloween was bestowed upon us allowing us to transform into the characters we could never be otherwise. Parties are much more fun with ghosts, witches and vampires- you name it! Sometimes assembling a costume can be difficult, however- we’re not all Heidi Klum. If you need some inspiration, eCampus.com has put together a fantastically extensive list of ideas to look through. But remember to be respectful to races, cultures, religions, and people in general this year!

Scary Movies

Halloween

Okay, so Freeform plays some fantastic Halloween movies, but none are going to exactly give you nightmares. For the brave souls who can make it through all of the Halloween movies, bless you. Watching scary movies around Halloween is an annual rite of passage to amp up the scare. Networks like Netflix and AMC curated super scary watch-lists to give you your worst nightmares. After watching The Shining and The Exorcist, two horror classics, I recommend sleeping with one eye open.

Haunted Houses

Halloween

Who doesn’t love subjecting themselves to walking through dark corridors littered with horrifying things that jump out at every corner? I know I certainly do. Arguably one of the best things about Halloween time is the trauma of entering a haunted house. Every year, old buildings around the United States are transformed into these attractions designed to make us scream, shake, and sometimes wet our pants. If you’re feeling gutsy, make plans to visit one of the many haunted houses here in the United States. Good luck!

I hope you enjoy all of the fun things that come during Halloween time. What are your favorite things to do around Halloween time? Leave us a comment below!