College Life

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

Cleaning Guide for Dorm Rooms

Living in a dorm is a wonderful experience. Having meals prepared for you is a luxury every college student misses when they move out of the dorms and into their own apartment. However, just because dorms are meant to be low maintenance living does not mean you can get away with doing nothing. It is important to clean and care for your dorm room so that you don’t lose your security deposit. Having a clean room also keeps you and your roommates healthier and creates a more positive atmosphere. Here is cleaning guide to help you keep your dorm room in top shape!

Supplies

Dorm rooms are typically not very big. You don’t need a whole arsenal of cleaning supplies to get a proper clean. A few staples that are good to have on hand include:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • All purpose cleaning spray
  • Duster
  • Dish soap
  • Old towels designated for cleaning
  • Air freshener spray (make sure to check with your roommates first to make sure they are okay with the use of air fresheners)

You will also need a vacuum or mop depending on the type of floor in your dorm room. However, most dorms will have these available for check-out at the front desk.

Cleaning

Cleaning is not a very fun or exciting activity, but it is necessary. Taking the time once a month to thoroughly clean everything in your dorm room will keep your place neat and save you time in the long run. A thorough cleaning includes:

  • Dusting all decoration items and knick-knacks
  • Using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces such as desks, side tables, and cabinets
  • Washing the bedding including sheets and pillow cases
  • Using all purpose spray to clean heavily used or dirty items such as sinks and door handles
  • Vacuuming or mopping the floor depending on the floor type your room has

Other Things to Consider

A once a month clean up is the best way to keep your dorm room in shape. With help from your roommates it can be completed fairly quickly. You should stay proactive between cleanups to keep your room fresh for as long as possible. Wash dishes immediately after you use them. Take out the trash and do laundry as needed to keep piles of dirty objects from building up in your room. Clean up any spills or messes immediately.

With a little work you can keep your dorm room clean and fresh all year long. Have any tips for keeping a dorm room clean? Leave them in the comment section below!

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.

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!