Author: Lauren Shepard

Using Syllabi to Your Advantage

You walk into the classroom for the first day of Western Civilization, in your best ‘new semester, new opportunities’ wardrobe (i.e. your best pair of sweatpants). You find a seat in the auditorium-like room and sit down, making small talk with others around you. Suddenly, the professor walks in and before even taking roll, he immediately slaps a packet down on each student’s desk. It’s the syllabus, and the first of many syllabi you’ll get over the next few days.

It’s syllabus week. You go in for the first day of each class, getting an over-sized packet of information that takes your professor the rest of the week to explain. Some people hate it, thinking it’s a waste of time. Others love it, seeing it as an easy first week of the semester. It’s what you do with those packets, though, that make a difference in the way your semester goes. Are you one to throw them away? Do you put them in a folder, never to be opened again? If that’s you, it may be worth rethinking your strategy. Follow the tips below to learn how to make the most of your syllabi!

FILL OUT YOUR PLANNER

The best thing to use your syllabi for is planning your semester. The first step in doing this is to get a planner. There are plenty of options out there, both cheap and more expensive. Don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks on a nice planner. You’ll be more inclined to use it if you actually like the way it looks (and knowing you spend more money on it is a pretty good incentive itself).

Once you’ve got your planner, grab your first syllabi. What you’ll find is that almost every assignment you’ll have throughout the year is right in front of you. Go through the schedule portion of each syllabi and put those dates on your calendar. Do this during syllabus week while most professors aren’t assigning homework. Once you’ve put everything in your planner, the real key is to use the planner! Make sure to stay up-to-date with what’s due each week. Having everything in one place keeps you organized and on-track all semester.

HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT

If you’re anything like me, your syllabi will soon be looking more like the rainbow. I am a sucker for highlighters, and they’re a sure-fire way to make sure you stay organized. Planners aren’t for everyone, so the next best thing is to use the syllabus as its own planner. Toward the back of most packets, professors have already laid everything out into a neat calendar-like design for you.

While your professor is going over the syllabus (more like reading it to you, even though you, in fact, know how to read) whip out those highlighters and get to work. In order for highlighting to work, you have to color code. For instance, use a yellow highlighter for large projects, a blue highlighter for reading assignments, etc. This will make it a million times easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when due dates start coming up.

STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME

Sometimes you hear people say ‘You’re such an overachiever,” like it’s a bad thing, but let me tell you when you’re in college, overachieving can be your best friend. Luckily, your syllabi allow you the opportunity to get ahead in your classes when you have the time available, so that you don’t have to cram everything in at the last second.

Let’s say it’s Tuesday and you’re working through the required reading for that Western Civ class you were sitting in at the beginning of this post. Chapters one and two are to be read by tomorrow (Wednesday), the next two chapters by Friday. You finish reading chapters one and two and have no other homework to do for the night. The best thing to do is take a few extra minutes to read the next couple chapters while you have time so that by the time Friday rolls around, you aren’t forgetting, or hurrying, to read those chapters.

Perhaps my favorite thing about syllabi is they often tell you exactly what your final project or final exam will look like. In my case, my majors were both very project-oriented, so rather than taking a final exam, I turned in projects or large papers. I was always able to work on these throughout the semester, with help from my syllabi, so that I would have more time to do my best with them, and so that I wouldn’t be locked away in a study room at the library for the entire last part of the semester. For example, I took a literature class in which the final was a 25-page paper. I worked on this over the course of the semester, writing about three or four pages per week, if not more. I broke the assignment up so that writing 25 pages didn’t feel like as much. It wasn’t nearly as gruesome and I had more time to proofread (and more time to hang out with my friends) as the semester came to an end.

ATTENDANCE, GRADING SCALE, ETC.

Aside from the positive planning aspect of syllabi, they’re also good for keeping track of the way each professor handles a classroom because, as we all know, professors can all be very different.

If you take out the class schedule, perhaps the most popular thing in syllabi is the attendance policy. It’s inevitable. You’ll rarely find a student that hasn’t considered just not showing up to class one day. Maybe you’re cramming for a test or you’re simply tired and need some extra rest. No matter the reason, it’s always important to know how many classes you can skip before it impacts your grade. That number varies with some classes allowing as little as two unexcused absences, others six or seven. Having a syllabus for each class allows you to keep track of exactly how many days you have so that you don’t miss one too many days and cost yourself a grade.

Something else that often varies from class to class is the grading scale. A 90 percent in your Western Civ class could be an A while it’s a B in your Statistics class and vice versa. Luckily, you don’t have to memorize the scale for each of your classes because, guess what, it’s in the syllabus. Keeping your syllabi in a place where you can easily access them will help you keep track of your grades so that you always know what you’ve got and what you need to do to maintain or improve them based on the requirements of each class.

Professors spend countless hours creating syllabi for the classes they teach because they find them to be important. The syllabus is your lifeline for your class. Some people even go as far as treating it like a legal contract between the professor and students. Every bit of information on each page has meaning and is, most likely, something you need to know and have readily available throughout the semester. Hold onto syllabi. Use them. They’re worth it!

CELEBRATE!

At the end of a long, hard, hopefully successful semester, you’ll want to have some fun. Lucky for you, before you throw away your supplies from the semester, your syllabi have one more use. Head outside, start a campfire, throw them in and celebrate! Those syllabi are perfect to fuel your fire and will keep it burning bright. Plus, it’s pretty relieving to officially take those classes off your mind. Just make sure you’re burning that fire in a safe place. 😊

If you have other tips on how to use syllabi to your advantage, tell us in the comments!

The 15 Struggles of Summer

Summer is a time most people enjoy. You can finally do all the things you planned, catch up on things you missed, get that break you’ve been wanting, etc. These are all the things you tell yourself, only to have certain factors make enjoying your summer much harder. There are many struggles that come with summer, and we put together a list of 15 we all go through:

1.Hot Car Seats

After leaving your car out in the baking sun all day, it’s finally time to leave. You go to sit down only to jump out of your scalding hot leather seats. It’s as if you sat on the sun! So you wait a few torturous minutes in the heat while the AC kicks in before getting back in the car.

 

2. Bugs

All you want to do is enjoy the outdoors, but you just can’t seem to do that without becoming a mosquito’s human juice box. Then there are bees and wasps swarming around, plotting the perfect time to sting you.

 

3. Sweat Marks

You go to take your backpack off your shoulders only to find the complete sweat imprint it left on your back and shoulders. That was your favorite shirt too. Now it’s going to be sweat stained forever.

 

4. Sunburn

No matter how many times you reapplied sunscreen, you still managed to miss a spot. Instead of that nice tan you wanted, you look like a human tomato. Say hello to a week of uncomfortable sitting and laying down.

 

5. Hot Outside, Cold Inside

You stand outside sweating while wishing it wasn’t so hot. You go back inside and freeze, wishing it wasn’t so cold because of the wind tunnel your AC is creating. You just can’t win.

 

6. Hay Fever

It’s such a lovely time to do outdoor activities such as going for a walk and having a BBQ. That is until you start coughing and sneezing your brains out. That darn pollen gets the best of everybody.

 

7. Gas Prices

As if the price of gas wasn’t already high enough. Why not raise it more? Since everyone goes on vacation during the summer, that means gas is even more expensive then usual, which also means you have a bigger hole in your wallet than usual. Yay…

 

8. The Disappearing Sunglasses

Why is it that every time it hits summer, your sunglasses just magically disappear? You keep buying pair after pair only to find all of them later when you need them least.

 

9. Yard Work

There are many other things you’d rather be doing, but that yard isn’t going to fix itself. You’re pressured to make your lawn look as good as everyone else’s. That means mowing, weeding, gardening, and watering the plants while you sweat your butt off.

 

10. Too Hot to Sleep

Some nights, it just gets too hot no matter how many layers of clothing and bed sheets you remove. It makes for a sweaty, uncomfortable night of sleep.

 

11. Everything Just Melts

Your drink is melting, your ice creaming is melting, that chocolate you left in your car is melting, and so on. It gets to a point where even eating outside isn’t as enjoyable because you aren’t quick enough to finish before it melts.

 

12. Humidity

Your hair looks great! Too bad as soon as you step outside it’s going to turn into a frizzy mess. Anyone with medium or long hair goes through this every single summer.

 

13. Summer Classes

While everyone else is outside enjoying the beach, you’re stuck in school taking summer classes. Then your stuck at home doing homework. Isn’t summer time supposed to be a break away from school? Think again…

 

14. The Pressure of Being in Shape for Swim Suit Season

You think you have plenty of time to get into shape for swim suit season, but then summer creeps around the corner and bam! Now all you feel is pressure to go to the gym.

 

15. Productivity Goes Right Out the Window

During the summer you tell yourself to be productive. So you step outside only to immediately backtrack into the house because of the heat. Netflix is calling your name. You promise yourself you’ll be productive tomorrow as you binge watch 13 Reasons Why. Wait there’s a second season now? Alright you promise to be productive the day after that…

 

Despite the struggles of beating the heat, still take the time to enjoy the summer. Some may like it more than others, but it’s still a good time to catch up with friends, discover new things, travel to new places, and meet new people. The key is to have fun!

Inspiring Quotes From Your Favorite Books

Books have the power to do many things: inspire you, take you to different places, change your life, etc. Anyone who’s ever read a book has pulled one of their favorite quotes from one at some point or another regardless of whether it’s a young adult book, historical biography, or even a children’s story. Either way, inspirational quotes are all around us. We went ahead and compiled a list of 25 famous quotes from books ranging from classics, all the way to modern day novels.

 

1.“The only limits for tomorrow are the doubts we have today.” –Pittacus Lore (The Power of Six)

 

2. “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” -Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale)

 

3. “Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.” –Veronica Roth (Divergent)

 

4. “Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.” –Dan Brown (Digital Fortress)

 

5.  “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” -Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

 

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” –Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)

 

7. “Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best. Wherever you go, you will top the rest. Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.” –Dr. Seuss (Oh! The Places You’ll Go)

 

8. “Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” -Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

 

9. “Beautiful means ‘full of beauty’. Beautiful is not about how you look on the outside, beautiful is about what you’re made of. Beautiful people spend time discovering what their idea of beauty on this earth is. They know themselves well enough to know what they love, and they love themselves enough to fill up with a little of their particular kind of beauty each day.” –Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)

 

10. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” –Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

 

11. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” -J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

 

12. “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

 

13. “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say “I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.” Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.” -Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)

 

14. “You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day.” –M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)

 

15. “Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.” -J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)

 

16. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” -Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

 

17. “I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name, you must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” –C.S. Lewis (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia)

 

18. “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” -Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

 

19. “Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” -Stephen King (Different Seasons)

 

20. “We can experience nothing but the present moment, live no other second of time, and to understand this is as close as we can get to eternal life.” -P.D. James (The Children of Men)

 

21. “I was trying to feel some kind of good-bye. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t you feel worse.” –J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)

 

22. “Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I’ve a right to be hurt, I don’t intend to show it.” –Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)

 

23. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” -Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)

 

24. “Although there are times I’d give anything to have her back, I’m glad she went first. Losing her was like being cleft down the middle. It was the moment it all ended for me, and I wouldn’t have wanted her to go through that.” –Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)

 

25. “The worst part of holding memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” –Lois Lowry (The Giver)

Why “Doing it All” Isn’t Always “Doing it Well”

More than ever, students feel the pressure to be absolutely perfect. We are bombarded with countless opportunities to get involved, support a cause, or enhance our resume. The era of FOMO (fear of missing out) is upon us. All hope is not lost! With a little effort, even the busiest among us can find ways to start doing a few things well instead of doing all the things. At eCampus.com, we pride ourselves on specializing in one thing: textbooks. Read ahead to learn a few things from the “doing one thing well” pros..

Invest Your Time

Instead of cramming your schedule full of stuff that won’t matter in 5 years, focus on doing something that will have a long-term benefit. Consider picking up an internship at a local business in place of taking an extra course in Underwater Basket-Weaving. Your hands-on experience (even if it’s unpaid) can help make you a standout candidate for a future job!

When eCampus.com was created in 1999, (See?! We’re a millennial too!) we decided that saving college students thousands on textbooks would create a long-term ripple effect. When you’re able to save on that Math 105 textbook – you’re able to invest in your other hobbies and interests.

Care About It

A foundation in doing a few things well is to make sure that you actually care about them. Take a few minutes to sit down and think, journal, meditate on the things that matter to you. That’s your starting point. Design your schedule and life around the things that make you tick! This will ensure that you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals. Plus, it will help you weed out the opportunities that may not be suited for your personality.

Residing in the heart of Kentucky, eCampus.com knows the value of having a culture that cares about what we do. Our main focus has always been, and always will be, college students of all kinds. We want to be the most trusted and efficient textbook retailer in the country – and that’s what we try to do every single day!

Relax!

Last but not least, a key to doing a few things really well is to know when to chill. out. Millennials are doing a lot better than their parents in knowing how to self-care, but we aren’t perfect. There is no way that you will be able to do much of anything if you live in a constant state of stress. Take a few minutes out of every day to be present in the moment… think about yourself and what you need at that moment, and go get it.

This point drives us eCampus.com to make our website and process as simple as possible. Don’t waste time scrolling through pages of search results from a website that sells books as a side gig. Make it easy, fast, and cheap by sticking with the company that knows one thing really well: eCampus.com

College Students (Like You) Could End Child Poverty

Today marks National Red Nose Day! What is it you may ask? Well, it’s a day dedicated to raising money for children in poverty in America and around the world. This national fundraising campaign is run by the non-profit Comic Relief USA with the goal of helping to end child poverty through the use of comedy. Since 1988, National Red Nose Day has managed to raise over 1 billion dollars!  As college students, you may wonder what you could possibly do to help raise money when you yourself are struggling to keep up with college funds. That’s perfectly fine! There are multiple ways you can help raise money with little to no money. Even donating some of your time can not only help others, but in turn, benefit you as well in the long run. Here’s how you can do it:

How can you help?

1. You can stop by your local Walgreens or subsidiary Duane Reade and purchase a red nose for $1. Donning the red nose symbolizes a kid-friendly air that both entertains and brings awareness to child poverty. Just donating $1 can help provide 11 meals for hungry children through your local Feeding America Food Banks.

2. You can get onto the Red Nose Day website and donate money using either PayPal or card. Even small donations help!

3. You can either find or start your own fundraiser to aid children in poverty without having to spend any money. If you choose to start your own fundraiser, you have the choice of either fundraising on your own, joining a team, or starting a new team. At the Red Nose Day website, they provide you with a list of ideas on how you can start up a fundraiser.

4. You can tune into NBC from 8:00 pm-10:00 pm on Thursday, May 24th and watch three different shows “Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day”, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” and finally the live broadcasting of the “Red Nose Day Special”. Each show is tied together to celebrate Red Nose Day. Throughout the three shows, you will be entertained, learn about the programs supported by Red Nose Day, and provided with the opportunity to donate to the charity through phone calls. To learn more about the programs, click here.

5. You can spread the word! Making others aware of this campaign increases the chances of others donating their time or money to help!

How can you benefit from volunteering?

As a college student, volunteering for a non-profit organization not only helps out your community, but also keeps your skills up-to-date, expands your network, and provides yourself with the opportunity to get a potentially paying job.

Putting your volunteer work in your resume helps you showcase your skills, experience, and expertise. When employers look through a resume, they tend to only look at one for 6-10 seconds. In order to make it count, you need to have something that stands out. Red Nose Day or any other volunteer work is a great way to do so.

Even being a part of some form of Greek life on your campus can benefit you greatly. By being associated with a sorority/fraternity, you get involved in some shape or form of volunteer work. Employers will most likely take notice of this on your resume. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Greek system is the largest network of volunteers in the US, with members donating over 10 million hours of volunteer services each year.

If you want to find other non-profit volunteer organizations near you, click here.