Time Management

College Friends in the Post College World

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Attend any high school graduation ceremony across the country and you’re likely to observe the same scene; girls in tight embrace, the football team coming together for one last huddle, scores of students weeping. Instead of a scene of jubilation, many of these rituals resemble a wake as people realize that this is the death of many of their friendships. There may be a few best friends that attend the same university or a handful of delusional couples that swear their high school relationships can survive a freshman year of new guys and winking sorority girls, but most accept the reality that they will grow up and thus, grow apart.

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Though we may have a better hold on our emotions in our early twenties, the scenario remains the same. Post collegiate commencement, we will continue to grow. While the leap from high school to college mainly meant being in new surroundings, the growth that transpires after college graduation takes us somewhere much larger; the real world. Once in that real world, we migrate to many different places.

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Take for example, the case of my undergrad best friend and myself. Once outside the halls of higher education, we grew in two opposite directions. While I got married to a southern belle, sired a future sorority president and eased into domestic life at 31, she maintained the single persona, moving out of our home city and remaining a mainstay at happy hours and ladies nights any day of the week. Both lifestyles are suitable for each of us as there is no handbook on how a thirty year old is supposed to act, however the stumbling block appears when we talk on the phone. While I’m not really interested in “Oh my God, two of my exes were in the same bar at the same time last night and last night was Monday”, I’m sure she is less than excited by “I’m up to my arms in baby poop and statistics homework.” Things become even more convoluted when we are in person, as the idea of a fun night for one of us is to storm the college bar for $5 pitchers and cheese fries while the other would rather be tucked away in an art gallery for a local artist’s opening. I’ll allow you to guess who prefers what.

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The moral of the story is that while you and you’re college roomie may be as thick as thieves in the current, post college growth finds us all. In our institutional lives, personalities may be the bookends of the spectrum, but the bond is the school you call home. In the post graduate world, that bond disappears and the life blood of a friendship depends on common interest. Although there is not much one can do to stop the growth process, it is manageable. Just as there were different tables in the high school cafeteria (the jocks, the preppies, the theatre folk) so too are there tables in the post graduate world. Today when I wish to lament about my daughter’s struggle to sleep through the night, I look to my friends sitting at the “We Have Kids Your Kid’s Age, We Feel You Bro” table. When looking for companionship at football tailgate, I drift to the “No Kids, Just Career” table. Lastly, when I’m in a mood that makes me reminiscent of my days as an undergraduate, fraternity scoundrel, I dip to the “It’s Still 2003, Let’s Get Crunk” table, where I find my undergraduate best friend, with smile on her face and beer in her hand. You see reader, the trick to growing up isn’t how to keep from losing friends, it’s how to craft a three dimensional life where everything has its own, awesome place.

Healthy Studying

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We all know how important it is to spend time studying, but how effectively are you spending that time? If you aren’t using healthy study habits, your time could be wasted. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your study break.

 1. Keep Highlighters Handy

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Sometimes you don’t have time to rewrite what you’ve read in a summarized form. This is when highlighters come in handy. Having at least two different colored highlighters on hand while studying can make note taking faster, more efficient, and allow you to color code as an added bonus.

2. Skim

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Knowing how to skim a reading can be very useful during exam time. You should read the material thoroughly the first time of course, but when you want to review it it’s better to have a quick summary to recall facts. One way to do this is to read the introduction paragraph, the first and last sentences of each body paragraph, then the concluding paragraph. This should give you a broad overview of the reading.

3. Keep Neat Notes

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It’s important to keep your notes neat and readable, otherwise they can be next to useless as it will take you longer to decipher your notes than it would have taken to reread everything. If you must write quickly to keep up during lectures (who doesn’t?) then try setting aside time later on to re-write your notes legibly. It will pay off in the long run.

4. Be alert

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Pay attention to what times during the day you feel the most energized and motivated. Try to tailor your study sessions to these times during the day. Nothing is worse than trying to study with drooping eyelids! Plus, you probably won’t remember anything you read while you were tired anyway.

What are your sure-fire study tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Trading Traditional for a Tablet

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With the popularity of all-in-one electronics on the rise, college students all over the country have been taking advantage of new computers for their school work. One observation I’ve made while in college is that a lot of students use tablets for their classes rather than laptops. As a man without a tablet, this is very surprising. I always thought of tablets as just tiny, slow computers, or big smart phones, but I’ve actually seen some really creative and useful ways that my classmates are using them this past year. Here’s just a small list of some of the things I’ve seen done.

Note taking: While many students prefer to write down their notes, using a tablet to take notes in class IS a handy way to save paper, and keep your notes looking clean and understandable.

Easy Organization: Many tablets come with, or can download, many organizational apps. These range anywhere from calendars, to help coordinate college students’ very hectic lifestyles, to just keeping track of all your notes and files. Tablets can act as a great way to organize all your notes and class work. Just remember to have backup memory!

Reading: This isn’t necessarily college-related, but tablets are a very quickly growing way to allow anyone to read an entire library worth of books without taking up all the space!

Online textbooks: Many schools and companies are now making their textbooks available for purchase in digital copies. I personally prefer renting a hard copy textbook, but if you don’t want to deal with damage, or if it’d just be easier to have all your information on your tablet, the digital copy seems like it’d be a major convenience.

Whatever you can think of! I had a class this semester where a student used his tablet during a presentation. He had specific sentences recorded on it, and when he’d reach certain points in the presentation, the tablet would interject with arguments that he would quickly dismiss. A tablet IS a type of computer, so if you’re able to find an app for it, or if you have the imagination for it, there are almost limitless capabilities for how to use it!

I’m not saying that you absolutely NEED a tablet in college, after all, I’ve been doing just fine without one! However, there are times that I wish I had one because it’d make my life a whole lot easier. Having to carry around a million textbooks, and not fully knowing the bus schedule because I don’t have a bus app can be quite a pain, so you be the judge as to whether you’d want one or not! What kind of tablets are you all using for your classes?

The Common App: What Every Student Should Know

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Well folks, it’s official. Halloween has come and gone, and it’s now time to buckle down and focus on the most important assignment of your life: applying to college. If you’re anything like the average student, you probably haven’t even thought about your applications yet. But that’s okay! Rather than filling out tons of applications to a zillion different colleges and universities, the Common Application (or Common App) can save students a lot of time and hard work.

What is the Common App? The Common App is a standardized, online college application accepted by over 500 public and private colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.  It is free for all first year and transfer students. It provides students the opportunity to fill out one application to send to each member school they wish to apply, rather than filling out an application for each different school.

The Benefits of Using the Common App: The Common App offers several benefits to students looking to apply to college for the first time or transfer to a different school.

  • It’s free: There is no fee to use the Common App. The only cost to students is the application fee that each university charges. So for example, if a student wishes to apply to The University of Kentucky, Kalamazoo College and Yale University, they would simply fill out the Common App once, and then pay each schools application fee through the Common App website.
  • It saves time: Rather than filling out a different application for each school you might want to attend- which, trust me, is NOT fun- students simply fill out one application and select which member schools they want it sent to!
  • Everyone’s using it: Cliché I know, but it’s true! Over 1 million college admissions are processed using the Common App each year. So if you have questions, it’s almost guaranteed that your high school counselor or college advisor will be able to help you out. In fact, some schools now only accept the Common App.

The Disadvantages of Using the Common App: No application process is perfect and the Common App is no exception.

  • Online vs. Paper: There is no longer a paper version of the Common Application. Although most people nowadays have access to the Internet, some do not, and the fact that the Common App is now all digital could cause an issue for some students.
  • Membership is selective: In order to become a member school, colleges and universities must apply. Because of this, there will most likely be one or two schools you wish to apply to that are not members.

The Common App may not be for everyone, but it is definitely a resource worth knowing about. Have you or someone you know ever used it before? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Keep Your Cool in School

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For many of us, the first day of fall semester classes has arrived. That means moving in, buying textbooks and mentally preparing yourself for the new school year. That also means there will be stress and mental clutter coming as well. Instead of freaking out and frying your brain, try these simple tips to keep your cool and make the stress burden lighter on your shoulders:

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Keep a planner. This is both a time-management tool and a stress reliever. List your schedule in the hour section and set aside time to do classwork (remember: however many credit hours a course is, that is how many hours you should spend studying and doing homework for that class per week). You can use Google Calendar (if you have a Gmail account), or if you’re looking for something to carry with you, check out these adorable planners!

Clean, clean, clean. Did I say clean? A clean room is a happy room. Some students find it stressful to work in a cluttered dorm room or apartment, and often times become mentally disorganized as a result. Clean up some so you can study Plato’s “The Republic” instead of staring at the pile of clothes on top of your desk.

Set aside time to play. Jack Nicholson once said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Infamous, but it holds true for many students. Focusing too much on upcoming assignments or the next big exam will add more weight to the stress burden. Instead of being a worry wart, schedule time to take a walk or socialize with your friends, maybe even join a college club. You will be glad you did.

Did these tips help? Got any others? Share your mental organization and stress relieving tips in the comments section below!