fall semester

5 Things I Learned Being a Commuter

My decision to commute as a college student was not easy. There were some pros – like not having to pay for housing; but there were also many cons- like not getting the “full college experience.” I remember thinking I would be the only one in my group of friends who didn’t go away for college. Three years later, I now realize I made the right decision. Along the way, I learned a few things which made being a commuter easier. Here they are:

The Best Time for Class

Traffic is always a hassle for commuters. Students who dorm enjoy the luxury of rolling out of bed and walking to class. If you are a commuter, it’s important to account for the possibility of traffic by waking up and leaving extra early. If you take morning classes, you must leave extremely early or you run the risk of getting stuck in the morning rush hour. On the contrary, if you take evening classes, you’re subject to the late afternoon rush hour. I’ve learned late morning and early afternoon classes are the best for commuters to register for. Yes, it’s in the middle of your day, but most of the time it’s worth avoiding heavy traffic. If your main goal is to avoid rush hour, ideally schedule your classes from 10AM – 2PM.

The Most Convenient Coffee Places

It’s practically a fact; college students live off of caffeine. You never know when you’ll need a little pick-me-up! That’s why it’s necessary to know where all the most accessible coffee stops are along your commute. It’s also vital they aren’t too far off your route or you risk adding more time to your commute and the possibility of traffic building up.

How to Efficiently Use Gas

The greatest downside to commuting is definitely having to pay for gas. Along with gas, potentially putting serious mileage on your car is another negative. The best way to save on gas and keep the miles down is staying on campus between classes. Even if you have a few hours before your next class, don’t travel all the way home and then all the way back. Use the time to get some work done at the library or go hang out with friends. You’ll quickly see staying a few extra hours on campus is worth it.

How to Make the Best/Easiest Schedule

With my senior year approaching this fall, I feel I have mastered schedule making. As a commuter, it’s ideal to be on campus as few days as possible. If you’re going to be successful with this strategy, you really must make those days count. Try scheduling more than one class per day. It’s easier to be on campus two days a week, taking a few classes each day, than being on campus 5 days a week while taking one class a day. You’ll save on both gas and time.

How to Use Your Time in the Car Wisely

You spend a lot of time in the car as a commuter. This may seem like wasted time, but there are several ways to efficiently use this time. Buying books on tape is one of those ways. You can buy whatever you like – fiction, nonfiction, educational or biographical – and listening to it while in the car increases your knowledge and keeps you thinking. Another great option is recording lectures (as long as it’s okayed by the professor) and listening to them on your way home. It’s a great way to pick up on things you missed the first time around. Reviewing lectures in the car is also a great study tool.

No one said commuting life was easy, but with things I learned from experience you can save on gas, make the perfect schedule and optimize your time in the car.

 

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!

3 Tips for Surviving Fall Semester

It’s about that time again where the new school year looms dauntingly overhead.  Nearing the end of swimsuits and late night rendezvous in replace of studying and hitting the alarm 3 times before rolling out of bed. Yes, it’s the fall semester and while you’re frantically rushing to class, were helping you retain some of that cool ocean chill all year round. Get your head in the game because it’s going to be a long semester.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Get Plenty of Rest

This could be tricky but it’s doable. You’re loaded with midterms or finals and you must study to pass but you’re working or crunched for time. The only likely scenario is to study late into the night, every night with little sleep. If your experience is similar, don’t fret. The perfect solution is to start early. In order to get plenty of rest, start studying weeks in advance. The rule of thumb is to study the amount of hours you have a class per week. For instance, if you have a class that meets three hours per week, the allotted amount of time you should spend studying that subject each week is 3 hours.

2. Pick Healthy Foods

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Pick Healthy Foods

At every college campus, there is an ample amount of convenient food, but choosing the right convenient food matters. Ditch the candy, ready-made pizzas and chips for something more filling.  Assorted nuts are packed with healthy fats, minerals and protein to keep you full during long lectures. Sustained energy can also help keep you alert if you find yourself drifting. Fruits are also an easy on the go snack filled with brain boosting nutrients that can help curb that sweet tooth we just can’t seem to get rid of. Try eating a banana for the amino acid tryptophan; it has been linked to aid memory (great for studying!).

3.  Hit Your Campus Gym

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Hit Your Campus Gym

Hitting the gym is a no-brainer for optimum health, but did you know it can actually help achieve higher grades? One study found that students who frequented the gym had higher GPAs than those who did not. Those who work out regularly have better memory, better test scores and tend be better at managing their time. So don’t sweat the upcoming semester; just sweat at the gym!

I hope these tips help you have the best fall semester yet! Have any comments? Leave them below!

Spring Semester > Fall Semester

As winter break is nearing an end, the spring semester is in the looming future. No more sleeping in until three and doing nothing but hanging out in your pajamas all day. You actually have to brush your hair out and get to that 8AM class you’ve been dreading. You should not worry though; it will be easy to think positively as you enter this semester. I have some thoughts on why spring semester is better than fall semester.Blog-Liza 1

1. Time flies by: The spring semester is always pretty short compared to the fall semester, which always seems to last an entire year in itself.  Fall comes with dreading the incoming winter ahead where as in spring we welcome the warm weather with open arms. The season change makes time fly by so that at the end of the semester you’ll be wondering where all the time went!

2. Spring Break: Sun rays and tan lines mean it’s time for Spring Break. The spring semester has the best week of the year, while the fall semester only offers minimal holidays and indoor shelter from the cold. If you decide to take it easy with a book, travel across the country or soak up the sun with some friends- you can’t go wrong. Spring break is always something to look forward to.

3. Summer is around the corner: The best thing about the spring semester is that you are very close to summer. When the fall semester begins, the daunting thoughts of an entire school year ahead can be stressful and overwhelming for some. By spring you know what to expect and can get through the semester with ease and obtain the ultimate reward of summertime.

With these three motivations, I know that I plan to make spring semester more enjoyable and easier to make my way through it. Remember your coat on your way to class now but get ready to shred those layers by April. Bring on the Spring Semester!