college advice

Delaying Graduation is Okay…I Promise

Delaying Graduation

The day I found out I would not graduate on time is forever ingrained in my memory. I sat there, listening to my academic adviser tell me I needed an extra semester or two for finishing my degree. My heart dropped. I was in such disbelief about delaying graduation, I began laughing in response. My mind raced with doubt. I worked so hard, why is this happening to me? Could she be wrong? After much denial, I grew to accept my new date. Like me, you too may hear these words at some point. If that moment comes, here’s why you should also accept your new date.

Going at Your Own Pace

Not every student can take five classes a semester and go to school all day, Monday through Friday. Some students are only able to take two night classes a semester, and that’s okay. Earning your degree at your own pace nothing to be ashamed about. It is important to know what works for you and to use that knowledge to your advantage. If you are the kind of person that can obtain a 4.0 taking three classes a semester, but will earn a 2.8 taking five classes, only take the three classes. Graduating with a 3.8+ GPA after six years looks better than rushing through in four years and graduating with a 2.8. You will eventually get there. For now, don’t stress about delaying graduation. Take your time and do what’s best for you!

Figuring Out Yourself

Like many other students who take more than four years to earn their degree, I changed my major which pushed back my graduation date. When I first graduated high school, I was pressured into chosing a major that would make me the most money. The pressure came from everyone- my parents, other relatives, and even my friends and their parents! I let their opinions influence me. I started college off as a veterinary science major because I knew it paid well. Well guess what? I hated it! I remember being more miserable than I have ever felt. When I thought about changing, all I could see were shrinking dollar signs. Even when I built up the courage to get out of the veterinary medicine field, I couldn’t let go of the pressure to shoot for a high paying field. In my mind, science fields made the most money, so I changed my major to something else science related. After two more miserable years as a science major, I realized my happiness is the most important factor. I decided to start over, as an English major no less. Even if it meant graduating late, at least I knew who I really was. College is full of trial and error, and one of those trials can certainly be choosing your major.

Adding a Minor

Graduation dates can often times get pushed back due to adding minors, especially if you add them later in your college career. Do not let this discourage you from adding on a minor. A minor is typically equivalent to an additional full semester and that’s okay. Minors tend to be a great thing to “fall back” on and add value to your degree. If it’s something that strongly interests you, add it. If it will enhance your professional career, add it. If it makes you happy, add it. There is no need to have absolute justification for broadening your studies and enhancing your degree with a minor. Don’t miss out on a more fulfilling collegiate experience simply because you’re worrying about delaying graduation.

Whether you graduate in 4 years or 5, after graduation you’ll have 20+ years to utilize your degree. The timing of when you graduate will have little affect in grand scheme of things, but your chance to learn is now. Forget about social pressures or stigmas. Do what’s best for you, always.

 

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!

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

As a senior I’ve been thinking back on my college career and there are a bunch of things I wish someone told me. I’m the oldest child so going into school I was completely unprepared. Here are a few pieces of college advice I wish someone gave me before freshman year:

1. Make Friends in Your Classes

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

Even if it’s awkward to put yourself out there sometimes, it’s awesome when you make friends! There are many benefits to having a friend or two in a class. If you miss a class you can get the notes you missed, you can gain a study buddy and if the class is boring you have someone to suffer with (misery loves company)!

2. Communicate with Your Roommate

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

I can not stress this enough. Communication really is key. There were so many fights I could have avoided had I just expressed my feelings to my roommate. Start by saying “This make me feel like this” instead of “You did this and you did that.” You don’t want your roommate to feel like you attacking them. If you can’t resolve the issue I suggest you look to your RA for guidance. It’s a bonus if your roommate is also your friend. You wouldn’t want to lose that opportunity over a small argument.

3. Read, Read, Read

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

Any class that requires you to read, DO IT. I know it’s boring and time consuming, but I promise it will help you greatly. Not only read, but keep up with it meaning as the professor assigns it do it. Don’t wait until the night before the exam to read. You most likely won’t be able to do it and you won’t be able to retain the information if you do get through it.

4. Hand Write Your Notes

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

In today’s society computers are all the craze. There are positives of typing notes but the negatives are far greater. The internet is full of distractions from online shopping to online games to social media. A lot of professors put their PowerPoint slides online so there is really no reason to type them out. Handwriting notes has been proven in multiple studies to be a better way to learn and retain information. It helps to have the PowerPoint slides up on your screen and take notes on paper about what the professor says.

5. Work Now, Party Later

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

You’re going to be in school for four years. That means four years of parties and fun. Do not make the mistake of getting wrapped up in the party scene. The reason you’re there is to get an education. I know you’re probably hearing this from your parents and family members but it really is important. Is going out to that party more important than failing that exam? Probably not.

I hope these pieces of college advice can help you during your college career. I know they would have helped me four years ago! Have anything to add? Drop them below.

How to Manage Stress in College

Ah college, where everyone feels like there one assignment away from cardiac arrest. Although stress in some ways is unavoidable, especially in school, there are quite a few ways in which we could manage it. Through maintaining a healthy(ish) lifestyle and taking care of your mind and body, high levels of stress could effectively be reduced or even avoided. As someone who gets stressed out very easily, I’ve learned a few methods that have really helped me out through my college career.

Stress

1. Don’t Take on Too Much

This might seem almost obvious, but you’d be surprised. Many students, especially freshmen, take it upon themselves to be a part of everything. I’ve noticed students with a full schedule attempting to be a part of so many clubs. Not even Hermione Granger could keep up with them. My advice? Start out slow and see how much you can handle. Most clubs and organizations accept new members throughout the semester. You don’t have to join everything at once!

Stress

2. Pracice Proper Hygiene

The importance of hygiene is something we might ignore when we’re too focused on other things, like school. However, a long shower can really make a difference. It’s agreed upon by many that bad personal hygiene could lead to lower levels of confidence. In my experience, making sure I feel clean and put together causes me to feel more positive altogether. You don’t have to look like royalty every day, but good self-care makes a pretty big difference, especially in how we deal with stress.

stress

3. Pace Yourself

Procrastination is arguably one of the biggest culprits of college students’ stress. By waiting until the last minute to study or start an assignment, we do ourselves and incredible disservice. Plenty of research shows how problematic procrastination is.  The best way to get through them is to sort through assignments and finish your work in a timely fashion. Never do them all at once. Getting an early start gives you enough time to figure out if you’re having trouble with certain concepts. Managing your work in an organized and well paced fashion makes life way easier.

Stress

4. Meditate

You don’t need to join an expensive yoga class in order to reap the benefits of meditation. Studies show how how effective mindful meditation can be in regards to reducing stress and anxiety. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, find somewhere quiet and comfortable to relax. Focus on your breathing and try to sort through all of your pressing thoughts. Mindful meditation allows you to become at ease with all of the pressures and stressors in your life in a very simple and harmless way.

Stress

5. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is something often overlooked when stressed. Many people tend to cope with stress by eating. Studies suggest that sugar helps to decrease levels of stress. However, anyone can infer that binging on candy and soda isn’t going to make you feel that great. In this case, opt for fresh fruit or berries. When in season, I personally prefer blueberries, which are high in antioxidants and keep you going.

Stress

6. Make Sleep a Priority

College students are notorious for pulling all nighters without actually realizing how problematic they are. Getting a good amount at sleep at night is very important for brain functioning and overall health. By sleeping, you’re allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next day. Don’t pull an all-nighter, like, ever. It’s better to call it a night and set an early alarm (to finish work) than it is to force yourself to stay up. The more sleep, the better.

Managing stress in college is not an easy task! I hope these suggestions help you like they’ve helped me. Have any tips to add? Drop us a comment below!

How to Survive College 101

Claps for you, you have made it through high school and you are on your own which means  you make your own decisions. It does not matter what year you are in college, the following advice was compiled as a how to survive college guide.

Keep a Normal Sleep Schedule

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First off, you might be on your own, but remember when your parents made you go to bed around the same time every night? It helps: a normal sleep schedule reduces that morning crankiness we know you have and sleep helps keep your body healthy (a.k.a. helping you keep off the dreaded freshmen fifteen).

Keep the Peace with Your Roommate

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Do not be rude to your dorm mate, no matter how angry they make you.  Remember, they know where you sleep. Communication is key when living with another person.  If you are open and honest about what you expect from them and they are the same way with you, you are setting yourself up for success.

Keep in Touch with Your Family

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Your family is missing you more than you are missing them.  Family is always around even when college ends. And no, I do not just mean your parents, keep in touch with friends you consider family too! Some easy ways to keep in touch include calling texting and face-timing.

Keep Eating Healthy

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Do not eat all the junk food you were not allowed to eat at home, where do you think the dreaded freshmen fifteen comes from? Having healthy high-protein snacks throughout the day such as nuts can fight cravings. College can also make you want to stress eat.  If you are looking for something to do with your hands while you are studying, eat grapes, blackberries, carrots, etc. Fruits and vegetables help keep your body healthy and you feeling better.

Keep Making Time for Yourself

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If you need to tell your friends you are taking an extra class to get away for a bit, do it and just relax! What was something you did before life got hectic and you did not have time? Do it for at least an hour a week, every week. Do not skip!

Keep Enjoying College

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College is not supposed to make your hair turn grey or drive you crazy.  College is about your education but it is also about your growing up. Do not miss out on that opportunity, make college enjoyable! Make friends, date, go to a concert, go out to eat and do not let college drive you to insanity!

Comment below with how you are surviving college!