advice

Don’t Regret Missed Opportunities

opportunities

“Don’t regret missed opportunities!”

The number of times I’ve heard some version of this phrase throughout my four years as an undergraduate is immeasurable. For a while, this phrase seemed about as cliche as any. I understood what it meant, but I didn’t quite understand the gravity of the saying until this past semester.

Four years seems like a long time, but as a college student, rarely is this free time. When you’re not in class, you’re studying for class. When you’re not busting your butt for school, you’re likely partitioning any remaining time for either sleep, social life, or extracurriculars. The opportunities to take a step back and reflect on what’s happening in the moment are sparse. College flies by and it’s often hard to see it passing by.

Nearing graduation, I felt upset with myself for not doing as much as I could. I felt I missed out on a lot of events! I never saw a Pittsburgh basketball game. There were interesting classes I wanted to take and groups I wanted to participate in. In the weeks leading up to my graduation, these small “regrets” ate at me. I’d never have the opportunity to do most of these things again. The pressing question I continually asked myself was “am I going to regret this when I’m older?”

After sorting through these nagging thoughts, I finally came up with a few answers. First, there’s no way I’ll be able to definitively answer this question for another 10 years. Second, as I was worrying about things I didn’t do, I forgot about all of the things I did do, and I did so much! I met so many friends who I’ll work to stay in touch with forever, I turned the city of Pittsburgh into a place I can call home, and I learned how to become the person I am today.

All of the things I did molded me. Does it matter if I didn’t make it to a Pitt basketball game? Maybe to some of my family members who love basketball and “don’t know why I went to a D1 school if I won’t even go to a game!” But to me, maybe not.

Now, as a graduate, I look back on my entire four years and think, Wow, it goes by so fast. Reflecting on what I did helps me not worry so much about missed opportunities. Yes, I probably could have taken better advantage of what Pitt had to offer, but kicking myself isn’t going to bring them back.

For all college students who feel similarly, I recommend you take some time and reminisce on all of the amazing, heartbreaking, stressful, inspiring, and enlightening moments you had the opportunity to experience. These years are going to fly by and they’re almost certainly going to shape you.

Don’t regret the missed opportunities. Rather, cherish the ones you had.

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!

How to Survive Your First Career Fair

Most of us are attending school in order to better ourselves in the face of the daunting “real world.” We put in hard hours at the library, bust our butts beefing up our resumes, and try our best to broaden our skill sets in the hopes of one day landing our dream job. Of course, as you progress in your days at school you’ll inevitably run into a particularly daunting event: the career fair. Here, both you and hundreds of other students try to impress businesses in the hopes of getting a job. If you’ve never been to a career fair, here are some useful tips:

career fair

1. Dress to Impress

At a career fair, you have the chance to meet employers and recruiters face to face. Therefore, it’s important to dress the part. Most women tend to wear dress pants or a skirt, a blouse, and nice shoes. Men often wear a suit or a dress shirt and tie. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be boring- wear what you feel good in. Additionally, make sure to properly groom yourself. You want to stand out, but I can guarantee that bad breath and dirty hair is not the way to do it.

career fair

2. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

Again, career fairs are your chance to personally meet with potential employers. This being said, you should have an idea of what to say about yourself. Before you go, look over your resume, accomplishments, and aspirations to come up with a quick few lines to tell recruiters. Introductions are much easier with prepared lines and employers will appreciate a candidate who is both prepared and knows what they’re good at.

career fair

3. Ready Your Resume

When attending a career fair, be sure to print out plenty of resumes. Although some might recommend printing your resume on premium paper, doing so can be expensive and difficult. Further, employers might not pay attention to the type of paper that you use because most resumes are submitted online. Regardless, review your resume to ensure it is grammatically correct and well formatted. Contact your school’s career advisor or check out some tips online!

career fair

4. Do Your Research

Many career fairs host hundreds of companies, making you likely to find at least one that suits you. However, it’s difficult to understand a company from looking at the sign on their table. Avoid this confusion by doing your research. Look up the listed companies attending the career fair and find out what they’re looking for. Employers notice when you’re educated about their company.

5. Confidence is Key

The final tip that I can give you is to be confident!  Following the above steps will prepare you for surviving a career fair. You’ll show employers you’re the most unique, qualified person in the room. Acting confident more strongly conveys this message and helps leave memorable impression. Together, someone will likely think of you when it’s time to hire a new employee.

Career fairs don’t have to be stressful. Come prepared, do your research, dress the part, and be confident. Everything is going to be okay!

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.

Why You Should Study Abroad

Studying Abroad

Believe it or not, summer is already almost over and it’s time for college students, freshman and upperclassmen alike, to get ready for fall semester. Though college life is exciting for most of us, it’s easy to fall into a routine. Luckily, most schools in the United States offer study abroad programs, where for certain amount of time, you could take classes in a different country! This summer, take the time to do some research on programs that your school offers before deadlines. As someone who just returned from studying abroad in New Zealand, I firmly believe that anyone, yes anyone, could have a life-changing experience studying abroad! Here’s why:

   Studying Abroad 

1. Excitement of Friendship

Studying abroad forces you to make new friends, which is surprisingly not as unpleasant as it sounds. In college, people tend to form a friend group and stick with those people for the whole four years. Although we make new friends here and there, we rarely make new best-friends. Unless you happen to be going on the trip with your besties, which I recommend avoiding, you’re thrown into a foreign country with other people who are just as scared and lost as you are. The nuance of bonding is amazing when you get to meet people who you might not have talked to before departure. You get to share stories, have deep conversations, and discover some cool things about people through travelling and exploring.

     Studying Abroad

2. Cultural Awareness

This seems like a given, but it really is something you need to experience to believe. New Zealand seems close enough to the States custom wise, but there really is a lot of differences to consider. For instance: the history. When taking history classes in the United States, I learned about United States history and European history. Now, while studying here, I’m learning Pacific history that I truly knew nothing about. People tend to view culture on a broad and global scale, sometimes disregarding the small underlying things that keep the world diverse and interesting. By studying abroad, you really get to experience it in ways that you can’t by reading a book.

  Studying Abroad

 3. Learning Through Loving

The place that you choose to study abroad reflects who you are. Some people base it off landscape and architecture, or because of ancestral roots, or maybe because the area has a lot of history that they’d love to learn more about. You choose where you want to be, and if you’re excited to be there and to explore, then you will fall in love. You will meet people who have insane stories, see things that you only thought would be in books, make memories that feel novel worthy, and form friendships and bonds with amazing people. Through traveling and learning in a foreign country, enthusiasm fuels your experience, and the combination produces something extraordinary.

   Studying Abroad

4. Breaking from Habit

Routine has its pros, but in my opinion, young adults should stay as far away from routine as possible. The process of college is normally pretty hectic, but it’s still four years of classes in the same school. Studying abroad gives you a healthy break from that area. It also allows you to take classes in some great parts of the world without having to transfer or take a gap year. It removes you from the homogeneity of normal college routine and allows you to restructure how you go about your days. This keeps life exciting through a sense of spontaneity.

Obviously everybody is different but when considering the pros and cons of studying abroad, also remember the magnanimity of the opportunity presented. Traveling is special, but spending time in a foreign country where you get to go to school and have time to explore is really a once in a lifetime chance. If you’ve studied abroad, share your experiences in the comments below!