College Life

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

10 Terrifying Things for College Students

This stuff is way scarier than Halloween’s ghosts and vampires:

    1. Public speaking: YIKES! Unless you have unyielding confidence, you probably get nervous speaking in public, even if you’re only speaking in front of a class of ten people.  Public speaking class is one of the more daunting college courses many college students take at some point in their undergrad career.
    2. That one professor: Everyone has that one professor they’re too terrified to talk to; even to ask questions in class. Sometimes these professors are just too smart, and sometimes they’re just mean.  Either way, you spend the entire class period avoiding eye contact and viciously taking notes, so you won’t have any questions.
    3. Going to the hall bathroom in the middle of the night: If you’ve ever lived in a dorm where you had to exit your room in order to enter the bathroom, you’ll understand this. Dorm hallways are creepy at night. And bathrooms are creepy at night.  Period. Combining the two? Absolutely terrifying. There could be a murderer in the shower or a kidnapper in the stall, and both options sound a lot worse when you’re half asleep.
    4. Sitting in the front of the class: Paranoia takes over when you’re at the front of the classroom because you feel eyes burning into your back the whole period. You can’t see behind you, but everyone else can see you.  What if your hair looks bad from the back?  What if your shirt is on backwards?  What if you look like you actually enjoy learning?
    5. Bad Roommates: Bad is a relative term that can be used to describe roommates who are smelly, messy, rude, or just plain annoying. Sometimes they use or take your stuff without permission, sometimes they don’t let you have alone time with your significant other, and sometimes they’re just downright unbearable.
    6. Phone going off in class: This is especially scary if it is your phone and during a test, but it can be scary in just a regular class. Each professor has a different cell phone policy, and you can easily forget to turn the sound off on your phone. In this technological age, it is common for students to have more than one potentially noisy device, yikes!
    7. Oversleeping for important exams/finals: This is absolutely horrifying. Sometimes entire semester grades depend on the final exam, and missing it can keep you from passing the class.  Some people set multiple alarms to ensure they wake up on time, and some people just don’t go to sleep the night before (not healthy, not recommended, you’ll actually do worse on the test).
    8. Group Projects: Group projects involve meeting new people, talking in class, relying on other people for likely a large percent of your class grade, letting other people do work that you will be graded on, and taking the risk that you will be stuck doing all or most of the work. If you get to work with your friends, these projects can be friendship ruining, or you will just goof off and procrastinate so badly that you’ll be up all night the night before.
    9. Signing up for classes: Signing up for classes is stressful because everyone has to get the classes they need or want. Coming from a small college, where the class options are limited, this is especially nerve-wracking. You often have to take a class at a specific time in your career to be guaranteed a spot in it.  Sometimes this affects graduation, especially if you have to rely on an advisor to give you permission to register online.  This is probably the third most stressful time of the semester, only behind midterms and finals.
    10. 10+ page papers: Even English majors hate these things! It’s hard for anyone to come up with 10+ pages of completely new, original, and accurate information, and it’s even harder when you have to write about a topic you don’t care about AT ALL – which happens way too often.  Many people procrastinate these assignments because they aren’t sure how to begin or because the idea of the 10+ pages is too daunting.

     

  1. Comment your scariest college or Halloween experiences!
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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!

Everyone Should Take a Computer Science Class

 

Computer Science

Now, I know what you’re thinking when you read the title. Computer science? That’s for nerds. And while I may be a nerd, computer science isn’t just for people like me. I’m here to tell you why.

Learn to Think Logically

Humans can overcome all sorts of problems. We can use brute force to solve many of them. For other problems, we can use our brains to infer the answers. But when we’re asked how we solved a problem, we might find ourselves at a loss for words. For instance, when I do Sudoku, I rarely stop and ask myself “what precise mental actions am I performing to solve this puzzle?” However, programming a computer to solve a problem requires you to develop a repeatable, logical approach to each issue. Computer science is one of the best ways to make you a better logical, step by step thinker. Incidentally, this is the same reason I recommend philosophy to people. Both subjects require you to walk through a logic problem step by step.

Effectively Communicate Your Ideas

Have you ever struggled to share a simple explanation for a complex process? I certainly have – I usually end up demonstrating the process instead. This kind of situation usually arises from not fully comprehending what you’re doing when you’re solving a given issue. With a computer, you must possess a complete understanding of the problem at hand before you can write a program to solve it for you. Then when you write the program, it rarely works unless it’s virtually error free. Because it’s very difficult to spot a coding error, lines of code must be highly organized. Studying computer science will help you systematically organize data and express it in easily digestible chunks. It becomes a breeze to explain a problem or solution to someone else.

Things Every Owner Should Know

If you own a car, you should know how the engine works at a rudimentary level.  Even more important, you should know how to perform basic maintenance, such as changing the oil, etc. Without this knowledge, minor repairs turn into major ones before we notice a problem even exists. Your computer is a machine, so why treat it any differently? Taking an intro computer science class teaches you what’s happening under your keyboard. It can help you diagnose a problem or recognize the cause when something goes wrong. It’s such a valuable skill, some people even believe kindergartners should learn computer science. Most of all, having knowledge about basic hardware and software will make you a much savvier buyer when you purchase your next computer.

So have I convinced you? Will you be signing up for a computer science class in the fall? Let me know down below!

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.