Author: Julia Aldrich

How to Master College Courses 101

college courses

Summer is officially over which means class is now in session. For college students, classes could cause a whole lot of stress. With papers, exams, morning classes, labs and everything else wedged in there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This is especially true for freshmen. Regardless of your major, things are going to be a lot harder than high school. Not only is there a heavier workload, but students have to constantly find new ways to manage time. After 3 years, 6 semesters and a study abroad trip, I’ve finally worked through the ins and outs and comprised a master plan for all college students alike on how to get through your courses and earn a good grade without increasing your risk for heart disease. Here’s how to master college courses:

Get to Class

First off, I’d like to show you, monetarily, how valuable college courses are. Let’s say you go to a private university. According to collegedata.com, the average tuition and fees, not including other expenses like room and board, is approximately $32,000. Yikes. Assuming you’re a full time student, that’s about 10 classes a year and most schools have about 15 weeks per semester. Therefore, each day ranges at about $72-$213 per class. That’s like two months worth of Chipotle per class missed. Beyond money, classes still go a very long way. By going to class (and paying attention there), you receive valuable information in the lecture that you can’t through your book or another student’s notes. Also, it’s also looks good on your part to show your face, especially when it’s grade time.

Participate

Let’s say you do make it to almost every class (nobody’s perfect). Most college professors appreciate participation. If you’re in a small-medium sized class, chances are it’s going to be somewhat necessary. Without overdoing it put in some input here and there. It will indefinitely look good to your professor who is in charge of your grade. The first few times you speak in class might be nerve wracking, it always is for me. But once you do it once or twice, it starts to become a lot easier.

Get to Know Your Professor

By going to class and participating, you’re automatically getting some appreciation from your professor. They live for that stuff. Past grades, because college isn’t only about doing well in class, your professors are invaluable. Talk to them after class occasionally and show up for office hours. Showing that you’re interested in the class can help you out in the long run. They could serve as mentors and help you out with finding the path you want to go on post-graduation. Most professors want you to succeed. Let them help you!

Keep Up With Your Work

One of student’s biggest culprits for stress is procrastination. It’s so easy to put things off until the last minute and end up in the library for 10 hours straight alternating between espresso shots and Red Bulls. THIS CAN AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED. Read over notes every night before bed. When you receive an assignment, immediately start plotting how you plan on putting it together. Doing even a little bit at a time could save you both stress and points in the long run. Most professors give you assignments in advance so there is no excuse. In short: pace yourself to avoid the worst!

I hope these tips help you get organized for your college courses and remind you to work hard to make sure your tuition money is well spent. Have some tips of your own to share? Drop us a comment below! 

How to Manage Stress in College

Ah college, where everyone feels like there one assignment away from cardiac arrest. Although stress in some ways is unavoidable, especially in school, there are quite a few ways in which we could manage it. Through maintaining a healthy(ish) lifestyle and taking care of your mind and body, high levels of stress could effectively be reduced or even avoided. As someone who gets stressed out very easily, I’ve learned a few methods that have really helped me out through my college career.

Stress

1. Don’t Take on Too Much

This might seem almost obvious, but you’d be surprised. Many students, especially freshmen, take it upon themselves to be a part of everything. I’ve noticed students with a full schedule attempting to be a part of so many clubs. Not even Hermione Granger could keep up with them. My advice? Start out slow and see how much you can handle. Most clubs and organizations accept new members throughout the semester. You don’t have to join everything at once!

Stress

2. Pracice Proper Hygiene

The importance of hygiene is something we might ignore when we’re too focused on other things, like school. However, a long shower can really make a difference. It’s agreed upon by many that bad personal hygiene could lead to lower levels of confidence. In my experience, making sure I feel clean and put together causes me to feel more positive altogether. You don’t have to look like royalty every day, but good self-care makes a pretty big difference, especially in how we deal with stress.

stress

3. Pace Yourself

Procrastination is arguably one of the biggest culprits of college students’ stress. By waiting until the last minute to study or start an assignment, we do ourselves and incredible disservice. Plenty of research shows how problematic procrastination is.  The best way to get through them is to sort through assignments and finish your work in a timely fashion. Never do them all at once. Getting an early start gives you enough time to figure out if you’re having trouble with certain concepts. Managing your work in an organized and well paced fashion makes life way easier.

Stress

4. Meditate

You don’t need to join an expensive yoga class in order to reap the benefits of meditation. Studies show how how effective mindful meditation can be in regards to reducing stress and anxiety. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, find somewhere quiet and comfortable to relax. Focus on your breathing and try to sort through all of your pressing thoughts. Mindful meditation allows you to become at ease with all of the pressures and stressors in your life in a very simple and harmless way.

Stress

5. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is something often overlooked when stressed. Many people tend to cope with stress by eating. Studies suggest that sugar helps to decrease levels of stress. However, anyone can infer that binging on candy and soda isn’t going to make you feel that great. In this case, opt for fresh fruit or berries. When in season, I personally prefer blueberries, which are high in antioxidants and keep you going.

Stress

6. Make Sleep a Priority

College students are notorious for pulling all nighters without actually realizing how problematic they are. Getting a good amount at sleep at night is very important for brain functioning and overall health. By sleeping, you’re allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next day. Don’t pull an all-nighter, like, ever. It’s better to call it a night and set an early alarm (to finish work) than it is to force yourself to stay up. The more sleep, the better.

Managing stress in college is not an easy task! I hope these suggestions help you like they’ve helped me. Have any tips to add? Drop us a comment below!

Why You Should Study Abroad

Studying Abroad

Believe it or not, summer is already almost over and it’s time for college students, freshman and upperclassmen alike, to get ready for fall semester. Though college life is exciting for most of us, it’s easy to fall into a routine. Luckily, most schools in the United States offer study abroad programs, where for certain amount of time, you could take classes in a different country! This summer, take the time to do some research on programs that your school offers before deadlines. As someone who just returned from studying abroad in New Zealand, I firmly believe that anyone, yes anyone, could have a life-changing experience studying abroad! Here’s why:

   Studying Abroad 

1. Excitement of Friendship

Studying abroad forces you to make new friends, which is surprisingly not as unpleasant as it sounds. In college, people tend to form a friend group and stick with those people for the whole four years. Although we make new friends here and there, we rarely make new best-friends. Unless you happen to be going on the trip with your besties, which I recommend avoiding, you’re thrown into a foreign country with other people who are just as scared and lost as you are. The nuance of bonding is amazing when you get to meet people who you might not have talked to before departure. You get to share stories, have deep conversations, and discover some cool things about people through travelling and exploring.

     Studying Abroad

2. Cultural Awareness

This seems like a given, but it really is something you need to experience to believe. New Zealand seems close enough to the States custom wise, but there really is a lot of differences to consider. For instance: the history. When taking history classes in the United States, I learned about United States history and European history. Now, while studying here, I’m learning Pacific history that I truly knew nothing about. People tend to view culture on a broad and global scale, sometimes disregarding the small underlying things that keep the world diverse and interesting. By studying abroad, you really get to experience it in ways that you can’t by reading a book.

  Studying Abroad

 3. Learning Through Loving

The place that you choose to study abroad reflects who you are. Some people base it off landscape and architecture, or because of ancestral roots, or maybe because the area has a lot of history that they’d love to learn more about. You choose where you want to be, and if you’re excited to be there and to explore, then you will fall in love. You will meet people who have insane stories, see things that you only thought would be in books, make memories that feel novel worthy, and form friendships and bonds with amazing people. Through traveling and learning in a foreign country, enthusiasm fuels your experience, and the combination produces something extraordinary.

   Studying Abroad

4. Breaking from Habit

Routine has its pros, but in my opinion, young adults should stay as far away from routine as possible. The process of college is normally pretty hectic, but it’s still four years of classes in the same school. Studying abroad gives you a healthy break from that area. It also allows you to take classes in some great parts of the world without having to transfer or take a gap year. It removes you from the homogeneity of normal college routine and allows you to restructure how you go about your days. This keeps life exciting through a sense of spontaneity.

Obviously everybody is different but when considering the pros and cons of studying abroad, also remember the magnanimity of the opportunity presented. Traveling is special, but spending time in a foreign country where you get to go to school and have time to explore is really a once in a lifetime chance. If you’ve studied abroad, share your experiences in the comments below! 

July 2016 Music Festival Guide

July Music Festival Guide

It seems like summer of 2016 is already flying by! You might feel some serious FOMO if you missed some of June’s festivals like Bonnaroo, EDC Vegas, Firefly, or Electric Forest. Not to worry though because festival season is only getting started. Here are some music festivals that you shouldn’t miss out on! Here is your July 2016 music festival guide!

1) Lollapalooza: July 28-July 31

Located in Grant Park, Chicago, Lollapalooza is a favorite among many. This year is special too because it’s the festival’s 25th anniversary and is including a 4th day instead of its normal three days. It has an A-List set of headliners including Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey and more along with dozens of amazing artists and performers. This year is definitely going to be a hit so I recommend buying tickets ASAP. Oh, and be sure to get some Chicago deep dish pizza after the fest to carb up for dancing the next day!

2) Camp Bisco: July 14- July 16

For those who like to get really down and dirty, check out Camp Bisco. Though Camp Bisco has been around for awhile, it’s holding its second year in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It’s going to be wild. With a great mix of jam bands and electronic artists like Odesza, The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Zeds Dead, and Big Grizmatik (Big Gigantic +Griz+Gramatik) you’ll be dancing until dawn.

3) Wayhome: July 22-July 24

So maybe you missed Bonnaroo? No big deal! Just about 45 minutes north of Toronto, Ontario is the perfect three day camping festival with a killer lineup. Celebrating just its second year, Wayhome Music and Arts festival is hosting big names such as LCD Soundsystem, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Major Lazer, and M83. Also, be prepared for lots of poutine and maple syrup!

4) Bass Center: July 29-July 30

If you like Bassnectar then luckily he has his own festival. At the end of July, Bassnectar is hosting Bass Center, a two day fest in Denver, Colorado. This year, along with two sets from Bassnectar himself (surprise), is Flux Pavilion, Wu Tang Clan, Porter Robinson, and more!

5) Panorama: July 22-July 24

Supposedly the Coachella on the east coast, Panorama festival is hosting it’s first ever year. So far it’s looking amazing. On Randall’s Island, NYC, artists like Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, and LCD Soundsystem are taking the stage for the initiation of a hopefully great new festival. And in New York, we can expect some great after parties.

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

Congratulations, you did it! You roughed it through four possibly awkward, possibly tiresome, and hopefully meaningful years of high school. By this time you’ve already made your decision on where you’ll be heading in the fall and whether it be near or far, you’re probably feeling something between the lines of panic and complete excitement. However, despite the possible restlessness of wanting to (or perhaps not wanting to) start freshmen year of college as soon as possible, it’s important not to wish this actually very important summer away. Here’s why:

As a soon to be college senior, I’m constantly thinking back to points in my college career and wondering how I could have done things differently. Although I don’t regret too much, I do wish that I hadn’t spent the summer before freshmen year of college wasting away and waiting for the day that I could finally move into my new dormitory. And yes, normally summers are for resting, and considering you’ve just spent the last few weeks (still are spending) preparing for finals, finishing up senior projects, stressing about prom, and anticipating graduation, you’re probably exhausted. So by all means, take a rest, but also take into consideration that this summer is the best time to discover some great things about yourself before the impending stress that college and preparing for the real world take over. With this being said, use this intermediate time between graduating high school and starting college to solidify yourself before starting the next chapter in your life.

One of my biggest suggestions is to try new things. If you’ve wanted to learn an instrument, do it now. If you have an interest in photography? Start taking pictures! Like writing? Try out all of the genres! Finding something that motivates you separate from school, work, and your social life is one of the best things you can do for yourself, regardless of what it is or how good you are at it. By enjoying something and watching yourself improve at it, It allows you to achieve a stronger sense of self-efficacy. The reason why the summer before college is a crucial time for finding or strengthening this interest is because colleges offer a haven for interests. Whether it be classes, clubs, or lectures, you’re bound to meet people who share your interests as well as having a space to take this hobby to the next level with a multitude of resources and support. So use these months to enjoy your skills or find new things you love doing because it will pay off.

Another important thing to do before starting school is spending as much friends and family time as possible. No matter how annoying your family is, you’re going to miss them more than anything in the world once college starts, especially if you’re going far away from home. And you’re obviously going to miss your friends. When you’re away at college, no matter how great of a friend you are, keeping in touch is difficult. With school stressors and trying to make new friends, it’s easy to lose touch. This summer make sure to collect as many great memories as possible. Hang out with your dorky parents, make time for your grandparents, travel with friends, and most importantly, take millions of photos! You’ll thank yourself come autumn.

Last but not least, use this summer as a time for self-reflection. The past four years of high school shaped you as a person. Consider all of your accomplishments as well as your downfalls and piece together how they sculpted the person that you are today. Learn to appreciate everything that you learned in high school, and not just the lessons that you were taught in the classroom, because they’re going to truly help you adapt in college. The way you interacted with others, how you learned to deal with stress, and anything else that challenged you made you, well, you. And soon you’re going to deal with so many other things that will inevitably shape you even more. Use this summer as a moment to take a breather and recognize yourself before things start moving too quickly again.

So kick back, try new things, make time for friends and family, and recognize yourself because this summer might be one of the last summers before taking on a lot of responsibility. Most importantly, enjoy it and never wish for time to pass faster!