Author: Olivia Meier

5 College Study Tips

 

Something that tends to be difficult about college life is adjusting your study habits. Reviewing five minutes before class will not fly like it did in high school. And of course – different techniques work for different students – which ultimately means you have to go through a trial and error process to determine the right one(s) to suit your needs. With the semester in full swing, it’s important to try and figure out the easiest ways to ace all of your exams. Here are five college study tips to help you out along the way.

A great study tip: Rewriting notes on index cards can increase retention of the material.

1. Rewrite Your Notes
This happens to be the study tip that works best for me. Before any exam or group discussion, I rewrite all of my notes from the chapters that I need and it helps my memory immensely. It incorporates re-reading your notes and going over key concepts, which is why I believe it is such a great way to study. Speaking of concepts, it’s very important not to just memorize the words on the page but to actually understand them. Know the ideas behind them and why they’re important and you will have no problem ace-ing your exam.

2. Use Index Cards
This tip ties into the first one because you can certainly rewrite your notes on index cards. This will help you break up certain topics and concepts to get a more in-depth understanding. It’s also smart to use index cards for important key terms or dates. You put the important term on the front, with the definition on the back, which makes it easy to quiz yourself on the information. You can buy index cards for cheap and in bulk from websites such as Amazon or Office Depot.

3. Study and Homework Groups
I learned very early on in my college career that you should never underestimate the power of your peers. Studying in groups is beneficial because if you are having trouble understanding a topic, you can easily ask someone in your group for help. An additional benefit to group studying is that teaching someone else about a topic is a good tool to help with memorization. All in all, study groups are beneficial for everyone – plus you can make some friends too.

4. Eliminate Distractions
This is a very important element to successful studying. Put away your cell phone, turn the television off and only use your laptop for academic purposes. Also, find a peaceful place – like your school’s library or a quiet place at home – and focus on yourself for a little while. If you need some background noise, there is plenty of studies to show the benefit of listening to classical music while studying. So, bring on the Mozart! In all, eliminating distractions will help you focus on the task at hand and really help the material sink in.

5. Track Your Habits
Like I mentioned before, finding the study habit that works best for you is a trial and error process. When you have tried a few things, make sure you track how well you’re doing so you can really focus on the habits that make you do well. If flashcards aren’t your thing but studying in groups is, make sure you are aware of that so you always set yourself up for success.

College can be very difficult and changing around your study habits can be stressful, but with these helpful tips you can easily find which study habit works best for you.

4 Habits of Organized People

 

organized

I often hear fellow classmates mumble, “Wow, was that paper due today?” or “Is that test today? I completely forgot to study.” During my first year of college, I made those mistakes too and fell victim to the hectic life of a college student. Needless to say, I’ve always regretted it. It affected my productivity, GPA, and increased my school anxiety. I realized becoming more organized would be beneficial for the rest of my life, even outside of college. Once I found the right tools for me, I never looked back. Here are four organizing habits I developed through my college experience.

Planning Ahead

The best thing I ever did my sophomore year of college was buying a planner. At the beginning of every semester, I go through all of the syllabi I receive and write down important dates. I write down when papers are due, exam days, and canceled classes. Then, when you are flipping through to schedule other activities, nothing will interfere with your already scheduled school responsibilities. Another easy way to plan ahead is to think about what you must do tomorrow before going to sleep. The night before, plan your activities so you don’t forget anything important. The planner I use is from Erin Condren – I love it and the best part is you can customize something for yourself!

Prioritize Important Tasks

To-Do lists are another way to stay organized – but a way to kick it up a notch is to first prioritize important tasks. If you have a term paper due in two days and an exam in five days, tackle the term paper first because the due date is sooner. Even though this may seem obvious, it’s sometimes difficult to prioritize well. If you have a test coming up this week, it would be best to schedule that dentist appointment for the week after. Another great prioritization tool is to bump the most difficult tasks to the top of your list for the day.  A clear sense of what is important helps you accomplish more tasks – so prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Set Reminders

Even when you write everything down in your planner, it’s easy to forget to check it often enough. Set reminders and alarms on your phone to help you accomplish tasks by their deadlines. You can even set them for the beginning of the day, so you can spend the entire day working on your tasks. Setting reminders on your phone will help you remember to-dos anywhere you go.

Have a Routine

Highly organized people function with routines. There are certain times for accomplishing key tasks such as answering e-mails or doing laundry. It will take a few weeks to fully form a new habit, so find out what works for you and stick with it. If Saturday is your best laundry day, then stay with doing laundry on Saturdays. If Tuesdays are your easiest day off, stick with it. It’s almost like having a set work schedule, but for your life. Having a routine will keep you organized and on track with your tasks.

Becoming a more organized person will help you meet all of your deadlines with ease and also help you remember all of your tasks. Use these tips to get started!

Considering Graduate School?

Graduate School

As most soon-to-be college seniors, I am contemplating attending graduate school. With it being the middle of summer break, there is no better time than now to do some research. So many questions come to mind when people think of graduate school, like “is it worth the money?” or “is it even necessary to obtain a master’s degree?” Well, here are four significant benefits of attending a graduate program.

Investing in Your Future

Who doesn’t want to have a successful future? It’s something everyone desires. The only person who determines how great your future will be is you! A great step towards success is furthering your education. Earning a master’s degree involves investing a lot of time and money into something that may not give you an immediate return, but it will provide tremendous value over time. Simply put, investing in your future is vital to finding prosperity.

Networking in Your Field

The largest advantage of graduate schools is they are full of knowledgeable professors with experience in their fields. This means they know people in their profession and can help you network. There’s nothing better than learning from the best of the best and making connections along the way. Also, most graduate programs offer exceptional hands on experience which means you’ll have encounters with potential future employers.

Financial Rewards

As the former U.S. representative Frank A. Clark once said, “the more you learn, the more you earn.” Even though money isn’t everything, it’s a great benefit of higher education. According to an article from Our Everyday Life, there’s a 23 percent increase in earning potential with a master’s degree. Acquiring a master’s degree can also put you in front of everyone with a bachelor’s degree when it comes to employment. You ultimately become a better candidate for any job with the valuable experience and education that comes with completing a graduate program.

A Sense of Accomplishment

There’s no better feeling than doing something you thought you couldn’t. While graduate school may be emotionally, physically and financially demanding at times – it will be extremely satisfying when you put on that cap and gown to receive your degree. The best things in life never come easy and graduate school is certainly one of them. But, there’s few things that receive more respect and praise than education.

While attending graduate school is both time consuming and costly, the benefits of a master’s degree are prodigious. You will have a great sense of accomplishment and make vital connections that will help boost the start of your career.

How to Reduce Stress Throughout Your Day

Reduce Stress

When you’re trying to manage all of your summer responsibilities – whether it’s an internship,  a summer job, or simply finding time to cross things off your bucket list – it’s easy to become stressed. Stress can put a damper on any day, even the sunniest of them. Here are a few easy tips to keep your stress level under control and make the most of your summer.

Prepare for Your Day the Night Before

This seems like such an easy task, but most people over look it. Even if it’s just a few minutes before you go to bed, it’s important to plan for your upcoming day. Think about any appointments or activities you have scheduled, and then visualize how your day will go. What’s in your planner for the morning? When do you have free time? If your day is packed, would rescheduling a small task be beneficial? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure your day goes smoothly, ultimately helping you reduce stress.

Work on One Thing at a Time

There is nothing more stressful than looking at your To-Do List and feeling like its endless. Prioritize your most important tasks, putting them at the top of your list, and take on one thing at a time. This will ensure you utilize your efforts on the most critical assignments – instead of lackadaisically doing multiple things at once. When you finally check something off your to-do list, the weight will slowly lift off of your shoulders.

Utilize Journaling to Reduce Stress

Instead of letting your thoughts swim around in your head, try writing them down. It’s easy to compartmentalize your thoughts when you can physically see them. There are several ways to journal, and the best part about journaling is there are no rules – you can make your journal whatever you’d like. It can be full of poems which were cluttering your brain, short stories you thought of during the day, or a simple Bullet Journal to help plan out your days. It’s your journal, so everything is acceptable!

Take a Short Break Every Few Hours

When you’re stuck on a project or task, the best thing to do is walk away from it. This simple action is vital to helping reduce stress. The next time a homework assignment is giving you a headache, or you can’t think of the perfect thing to say for that work presentation – take a break. Go for a short walk, read a few pages of your favorite book, or go grab a quick snack and cup of coffee. It’s always important to give your mind a break a few times each day. The more you try to force the ideas – the more your brain can jam up. Take a break, let your brain breath and ideas will come flowing in.

Stress can become very overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to properly deal with it. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, even if it’s over something small, try some of these tips to relax.

Consider a “Staycation” This Summer

staycation

Summer is officially here and vacations are on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s a friend or a neighbor, I’m sure you know someone planning an elaborate vacation this season. But is a big vacation to Florida or the Bahamas out of your reach? No worries! Here’s why you should love “staycations”.

Give Your Wallet a Break

It’s no secret; vacations are very expensive. The cost of hotels, gas, dinning out, and any activities adds up very quickly. American Express estimates the average per person cost of a vacation is $1,145! If you’re particularly tight for cash, like most college students are, it can put a damper on your vacation. Easily avoid those costs by deciding to take a staycation! You already pay rent, so why pay even more to sleep in a strange bed? You can also cook meals at home during your staycation or only go out to eat once or twice – instead of every night. The main thing your money goes to during a staycation is activities. You can do more extravagant things with the money you save from not traveling.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning a vacation can become very stressful. Getting your friends or family on the same page with where you want to go/how much you want to spend is always a hassle. Not to mention, traveling is stressful as well. Rushing to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight and rushing to be gone by checkout at the end of your stay add unneeded stress. Instead, you can make your own schedule during your “staycation”. There’s also no need to rush because you’re already where you need to be – now it’s time to just relax. As a college student, trust me when I say you need less stress.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Own Home

There’s nothing more unsettling than having to sleep in a strange bed – and potentially having to worry about it being dirty or even having bed bugs. With a “staycation”, you and your family/friends can sleep in your own comfy beds. You can relax on your own couch and cook in your own, familiar kitchen. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting anything because you already have everything you need. There’s no better feeling than not having to wake up to a screeching alarm, in your own bed, knowing you can do whatever you want today.

Benefits to the Local Economy

This is the biggest positive of a staycation – giving back to your town. Especially during tough times, it’s very important to support local businesses. Instead of traveling to Florida and eating at chain restaurants – find interesting restaurants you haven’t tried in your town. Plan a day to go to the local museum or you city’s theatre. Supporting your local economy benefits everyone, making your town a more pleasant to live.

So, next time you’re stuck on where to spend your summer break, consider a “staycation”! It’s cheaper, less stressful and you get to sleep in your own bed!