College Life

Read blogs in our college life category for advice on everyday situations and topics that affect college students.

How to Stay Sane During Finals

Finals week is coming faster than we could say “OMG, I need to get on top of things.” Even the most seasoned finals veteran struggles with managing time and energy while trying to get things done as effectively as possible. Unfortunately, finals are difficult and very stressful. There really isn’t an easy way out. However, there are some great tactics for relieving stress and staying sane during finals week. After almost 8 finals weeks, here’s what I’ve learned:

stay sane during finals

Be Healthy

It’s so easy to neglect our health while we’re cramming for exams and putting together assignments. Unfortunately, if our health is bad, it’s likely our performance is also going to be bad. Make sure to eat healthy meals with foods high in vitamins and minerals and low in processed ingredients. Not only will it keep your body running smoothly, but it’ll also help you feel more awake and focused. Some foods thought to boost energy include beans, citrus, and leafy greens. Additionally, make sure to fit in some cardio a few days each week. Exercise helps to increase endorphins, making you feel more positive and focused. On top of everything, hydration is key. Drinking adequate amounts of water not only helps the body function, but it also helps to regulate attention and energy.

stay sane during finals

Have Fun

College students often have the tendency to feel if they are doing something enjoyable, then they’re doing something wrong. This mindset is not only detrimental to mental health, but it can also negatively affect your work. Overworking yourself causes fatigue and lack of concentration, which can actually lead to lower grades. Therefore, one of the most important ways to stay sane during finals is to have fun. This doesn’t mean a wild night out with the pals, but taking an hour to get dinner with friends or to see a show can make a huge difference!

stay sane during finals

Change up the Space

Another great way to stay sane during finals is to make sure that you’re not in the same space for too long. Even if you have the best seat at the library, staying in the same spot for too long can make things even more boring than they already are. By changing up your environment ever so often, you’re also shifting the way your mind absorbs information because of changes in light, posture, etc.

stay sane during finals

Meditate

Mindful meditation is an excellent way to help deal with stress, increase attention, and boost cognition. If you’re beginning to feel stressed out, take some time alone to sit, or even walk, and relax your mind. Concentrate on your situation and sort out everything you need to do. Identify why you need to do it, and then how you’re going to do it. Remind yourself although finals are challenging, you’re capable of performing at your best and that studying will ultimately be rewarding. Finals aren’t fun, but attending college is a privilege.

stay sane during finals

Stay Organized

If you’re anything like me, you find it extremely difficult to stay organized. During stressful times, my lack of organization causes me even more stress in addition to what I’m already enduring. Before finals begin, it’s a great idea to get your life together. If you’re inclined to use your computer, start a spreadsheet with all of the assignments you need to finish and all of the exams you need to study for. Make columns for dates,  study intensity, and goals. If you prefer being able to physically write things down, use a planner. Winging finals is always a bad idea.

Finals are going to be stressful. However, it’s always important to put your mental and physical health first. Keep a good head on your shoulders. Take care of yourself. Make efforts to stay organized and confident, then the rest will come along smoothly. Good luck getting ready for finals, everyone!

Scheduling Appointments: A Guide for Young Adults

For many young adults, college is the first step towards becoming independent. The freedom that comes with living on your own is wonderful! However, there is more to being an adult than buying groceries. College students are notorious for forgetting to plan for health and maintenance concerns previously handled by their parents. Here are five of the most important (and overlooked) appointments that you will need to regularly schedule as an adult.

Dentist Appointments

Dental Visits

No one likes going to the dentist, but keeping your teeth healthy needs to be a priority. If you brush your teeth as recommend, a routine cleaning every six months is often enough to keep your teeth in top shape. If you have any lingering concerns, you should speak to your dentist about scheduling additional appointments. Also, remember to change your toothbrush every three to four months.

Oil Change

Oil Changes

If you own a car you will need to have the oil changed on a regular basis. The old rule of thumb was every 3,000 miles, but now most manufacturers recommend referring to your owners manual for guidance. Many dealerships and automotive repair shops offer an oil change package that includes an oil change, tire rotation, and point inspections on the most commonly worn out areas of the car (wipers, tires, battery, etc.). Some shops even offer special discounts to college students.

Dr.'s Appointments

Doctor Visits

If you take any type of prescription medication, it may be necessary to visit the doctor at regular intervals to renew your prescription. The interval at which you visit your doctor is determined by the type of medicine you’re prescribed. Always make sure you have your next appointment scheduled before you run out of medicine. You don’t want to risk going without it for a few days, especially if the medication takes time to build up in your bloodstream.

Hair Appointments

Hair Cuts

This might seem a little more trivial than the other items on the list, but it is still something you need to do. Long lengths of time without a haircut can damage your hair and give you an unprofessional appearance. There are many places that offer student discounts for basic hair cuts. Also, some places allow you to walk in and receive service without an appointment. Therefore, you should be able to take care of this quickly and without spending too much money.

Eye Exam

EyeExams

Its hard to see what the professor is writing when your glasses aren’t strong enough. Wearing glasses or contacts with an outdated prescription can cause more problems than simply a blurry view. Headaches, vertigo, and brow pain are other common side effects. If you need prescription lenses to see, make sure you get your eyes checked about once a year. Your eyesight changes over time and it is important that you have your prescription adjusted.

Independence is a wonderful thing, but you need to make sure you are fully taking care of yourself. Have any more necessary appointments to add to the list? Leave them in the comment section below!

 

Boosting Your Blog With Instagram

What is a blog without readers? Increasing traffic to a blog’s website is a daily challenge all writers must face. Although it might seem nonsensical to use a photo app to acquire new blog viewers, Instagram is a huge network of potential viewers! As of 2016, Instagram boasts approximately 600 million followers. In addition to a large audience pool, it has several perfect features for marketing your site.  By using the right tools and strategies, an Instagram account can boost your readership exponentially. Here are a few tactics to help you succeed:

instagram

1) Add the site link to your Instagram Bio

Thankfully, Instagram is a beautiful app. With the swipe and tap of your fingers, you can maneuver your way across the platform and easily access photos. To prevent spam, Instagram doesn’t allow you to add a hyperlink in the caption of your photos. However, Instagram allows you to add a hyperlink to your website inside of your bio, which appears at the top of your page. Upon clicking the link, Instagram redirects a user to your blog without even exiting the app. This increases viewership of your blog prevents upsetting users by forcing them to abandon the app. Whenever you publish a new blog post, add a relevant photo on Instagram and include in the caption “link in bio” so users know where to look.

Instagram - dog

2) Post often and post smart to attract followers

The more Instagram followers who see your photo, the more people are exposed to your blog link. Use Instagram to your benefit by posting often and posting strategically. Use popular hashtags like #instagood, #love, #photooftheday, and other high traffic tags that offer maximum visibility. Hashtags might seem silly, but they’re one of the best tools for increasing followers and likes on your pictures. Additionally, studies show that posting at certain times helps increase likes, such as 5pm when Instagrammers are most active. Finally, avoid posting photos that could be mistaken for spam. 

Instagram - Wooden Bridge

3) Reach out to other Instagrammers

Are you wondering how someone gains followers? Keeping to yourself isn’t the answer. Follow, like, and comment. Performing these three actions on other people’s post will increase your following. Develop the habit of regularly reaching out to other users for consistent personal gains. Business blogger Neil Patel found that for every 100 “likes” he gave other followers, he gained about 6.7 followers and 21.7 more likes. In addition to liking posts, taking the time to comment on photos further increases your follower count. Users see that you’re interested and feel compelled to return the favor.

Instagram - Meal

4) Use Instagram Business

Instagram has a really cool feature that enables you to turn your account into a “Business Profile”. A business account gives users access to analytical tools showing which posts performed the best. These statistics are important for determining which posting tactics proved to have the highest levels of performance, including reach and impressions. Also, this type of profile comes with a “contact” button positioned in the Bio area,  encouraging other users to easily contact you. If you’re wanting to take things a step further, you can also produce ads which promote your post.

Instagram, a social platform dominated by pictures might not seem like the best place drive new blog viewership. However, knowing how to utilize the program to your advantage will open the door to success. With an estimated 600 million users, Instagram is a treasure chest waiting for you to discover its potential.

Why College Students Should Have a Public Library Card

As a college student, you will be spending a large of time studying in the campus library. When you get done with your homework, going to another library is probably the last thing on your mind. It seems useless to have a public library card when you already have access to the universities’ library, but you would be wrong to assume. Here are four reasons why you should get a public library card.Library Books available with card

Entertainment

Most university libraries limit their selection of materials to things needed for academic purposes. They typically do not stock very many books for entertainment purposes. At the public library you’ll find a wide selection of fiction books and new release DVDs. When you finish your homework, you’ll have everything you need to relax and enjoy your free-time.

Free Services

Most public libraries offer a wide range of free or nearly free services to their patrons. Some of the most common services are:

  • Notary
  • Research help
  • Passport applications and pictures
  • Tax filing information
  • Resume evaluation
  • Computer and technology help

If you need a service that the library does not offer, the staff is happy to help you find a place that does provide the service you need.Free Events available with library card

Free Events

Another great reason for visiting public libraries are free events. Libraries frequently have free events going on for the public to enjoy. Traveling speakers and other special guests are always entertaining to go and see. They also offer classes about topics like technology and cooking. You can join different book clubs throughout the year. It is important to note that while almost all public library events are free,  many require you to reserve your place in advance. If you see something that interests you, make sure to secure your spot early.

Community Engagement

Libraries are the heart of a community. When you get involved at your local public library, you are supporting your community as a whole. College students often get a bad reputation for not taking part in matters beyond their college campus. Signing up for a library card is an easy way to get involved in the community!

A public library card is a great resource for college students. Have any more reasons why students should get a public library card? Leave them in the comment section below!

Mindful Meditation: A Cheap and Effective Stress Reliever

Mind over Matter

Part of being a college student is constantly dealing with an influx of stress. Unfortunately, this influx is rarely paired with helpful coping mechanisms for overcoming it. I’ve yet to have a professor hold an instructional yoga class before an upcoming exam. In most situations, we’re forced to find our own methods for stress relief.  When you’re already experiencing stress and anxiety, finding a solution in the moment to overcome it is a challenge. However, I recommend one mechanism currently showing great promise: Achieving mindfulness.

Mind over matter. We’re often confronted with this mantra when our will power is in question. When we’re studying for a chemistry exam but expecting to fail, mind over matter. When we’re tempted to stray from our diet, mind OVER matter. When you have a cold on race day after foolishly signing up for a second year of cross country despite knowing you struggle with running… mind. over. matter.

What does mind over matter really mean? To break it down, matter is the situation you are confronted with; the cross country race, the exam. The mind is yourself, or your thoughts and feelings. Ashumans, we’re constantly thinking and assessing everything happening in the spectrum of our existence. Mind over matter is the notion that if we can get a grasp on our minds, then we can overcome the matter in front of us. If I will myself torun and finish the cross country race, then I can.

mindful meditation

The Research BehindMindful Meditation

Mindfulness is a growing interest in the field of psychology. Where tactics like psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral therapy once reigned, mindfulness now conquers. In psychology, mindful meditation is a practice intended to combat the negative effects associated with disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. Hopelessness, stress, and neurotic feelings are some of the many negative effects it can help reduce.  In contrast, cognition, awareness, and attention can increase when one practices mindful meditation. 

Mindful meditation is a means to achieving mindfulness. Physiologist are sewing meditation into the foreground for treating psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. A meta-analysis conducted by Eberth & Sedlmeier in 2012 compiled 39 previous studies on mindful meditation and analysed the results. The individual studies focused on how mindful meditation affects a person’s well-being, including their ability to concentrate on their thoughts. In this analysis, mindful meditation referred to the Buddhist practices Vipassana and Zen/Chan. The results of the analysis showed that both mindful meditation, and even general meditation, led to positive increases in attention,mood and well being, and a reduction in anxiety.

mindful meditation

Effective Ways to Meditate

To employ the practices featured in the meta-analysis for achieving mindfulness, one must work towards self-awareness and focus the mind on present experiences.  Concentrate on becoming open, curious, and accepting.  Luckily, you can practice mindful meditation anywhere you find comfortable.  You can chose to meditate in your dorm room, in the park, or in a quiet space on campus. This means mindful meditation accessible to everyone.

There is no limitation to how you can meditate; we’re all very different.  You can meditate in bed, while sitting down on a park bench, or even through exercise. Personally, I enjoy meditating while on a long run since I’m naturally fidgety. However, I acknowledge that most people tend to despise running. How you successfully practice mindful meditation will depend on your personality. Simply by setting aside time to focus on your thoughts and reflect, you too can achieve mindfulness.

Are you new to meditation? There are quite a few online resources for those who haven’t meditated before. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center provides a variety of free exercises that provide instructions via audio guides. Additionally, Youtube  has a great selection of meditation guides that are tailored to a variety of specific needs such as anxiety relief and help with sleeplessness.

mindful meditation

Why You Should Try Meditation

Stress from school is never pleasant. It also limits our ability to concentrate and work efficiently. Students who feel stressed or overworked may even turn to destructive behaviors such as binge drinking or illegal drugs, both of which are harmful to the mind and body. Mindful meditation provides easy access to stress relief in a safe and effective way. It’s also free!  The next time assignments feel like they’re a bit too out of hand, take time to relax and focus your thoughts. Try practicing mindful meditation to gain control over your situation. You’ll quickly discover the benefits are endless!