studying

5 Ways to Survive the Stress of College

College is the best of times and the worst of times. Close friends, bad food, and memories to last a lifetime. College is also a ton of work whether it is yet another essay, pages of homework, or staying up all night finishing a group assignment that you have not started until that night, the workload is more than enough to cause stress. Here are five easy and helpful tips to see next semester with gratitude instead of attitude.

Organize and Plan

Keeping everything clean and easy to find is a simple way to experience less stress. Buy a binder or folders to keep the classes separate and to have a central location to put all of the papers. It also may be worthwhile to buy a planner or to use the calendar on your phone to remind you of assignments. Find what works best for you and invest in organizing yourself. Same goes with your computer. Create folders on your computer to have a location to save to when you are working on something digital. No more putting everything in your downloads and searching for the date modified instead of the arbitrary title you named it.

Studying can be boring and monotonous at times but try different studying methods to boost your morale. The Pomodoro Technique is the one I use which is to put a timer for 25 minutes and with zero distractions, you start your work. Go at your own pace but make sure you have everything on do not disturb so nothing will tempt you to sway away from work. After the timer goes off, you have five minutes to do what ever you need to do and then set another 25 minutes to work. This allows you to be efficient with the time you are offering yourself and still have some time for cat videos.

For your own mental sanity, set aside time to work and play every day. Have a goal in mind and when that is complete, go reward yourself with doing something you love. Psychologically, a reward system to finishing work provides the great benefits and little residual damage from the labor.

Exercise

Getting the heart pumping can be a great way to relieve stress when college has you down. Going for a run, lifting weights, or dancing for a period of time can help to reset your mind and body to attack the day with relentless optimism. Not to mention it regulates your sleep cycle, metabolism and energy. Would it not be great if you did not have to drink four cups of coffee throughout the day? Exercise may just be the answer you are looking for to obtain more energy for your day.

Meditation

Simply breathing can make a world of difference for your mindset. Meditating every day can provide positive benefits such as an increase in happiness, self-awareness, and concentration. It also decreases stress, anxiety, and aging. “Meditation is mind without agitation,” Narasimhan says. When it comes to stress, we could all use a mind without unnecessary turbulence. Reminding yourself what your purpose is and aligning your values through breathing often can make your motivation unstoppable.

If you do not have time for simple meditation, get credit for it. Most Universities have stress management courses offered in their curriculum. The class is an easy three elective credits and truly does assist you in your college journey. Look for it under the social work category of classes.

GET MORE SLEEP

I know this sounds a little counter-intuitive. Getting less time to do more work? Sleep holds amazing benefits that we have grown to forget. The simple method here is to be more productive, sleep more. When we lack sleep, our quality of work decreases. You may be doing a lot of work but probably not a lot of quality work. There are serious health problems with sleep deprivation such as trouble concentrating, high blood pressure, risk for diabetes, risk of heart disease, weakened immunity, and weight gain. Basically throwing all the benefits of meditation and exercise away because you are not sleeping enough. Take the time needed each night and get a full eight hours (or as close to as you can) of sleep. Tiredness is not a trophy and it is something we should not be striving for.

Do Something Creative

This one is easy. Every person has their form of art be it painting, drawing, playing an instrument, cooking, or underwater basket weaving. Setting time aside every day to mastering your craft is a fun way to relieve stress and increase overall well-being. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, engaging in just one creative activity each day can make you more likely to feel “energetic, enthusiastic, [and] excited.” It goes on to say, “Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.” There you go, science has now supported the idea of creating art for clear benefits. Get working and create something beautiful.

College is an adventurous odyssey filled with self-discovery and a metric ton of ramen noodles. It is a lot of seemingly unnecessary work and stress but it is all worth it in the end. Hopefully with these simple methods of stress management, college will be more of a positive experience.

5 Tips to Get You Through College Finals

college finals

1. Find a Study Group

Finding a study group is especially important if you have not been paying attention in class.  I suggest you find a group of people who will help you review and understand an entire semester’s worth of information. Combining notes and study strategies can be very effective. If you don’t already make friends in class, you should start early. The more diverse your study group, the better!

2. Create a Google Doc

Your class will LOVE you if you give out a Google Doc or other shared drive study guide to help your whole class receive a good grade on the final. You can also sell it to a group for a small fee. Might as well get paid for your hard work!Brownie points (and extra studying) if you complete the whole study guide yourself and then share it.

3. Take a Movie Break

Make plans during finals week, on a lighter day (or after a heavy day) of finals to watch a movie with a friend. A movie break is a good way to recharge and make sure you are getting some relaxation during finals week! Bonus if you pick a comedy. Laughing is free medicine!

4. Complete Your Notes

Before finals week, you should go through your notes and see if there are any lectures that you have missed and find a classmate who did show up.  TIP: Try incentivizing them by offering to buy them a coffee if they will meet up and let you copy the missed notes.

5. Ask About The Format

Knowing what the final will look like (especially if you haven’t had an exam in the class) will help shape how you study for each exam. This information can also provide vital information about what to and not to study for the exam. Ask your professor. Some professors will give you more information than others but you won’t know until you ask!

Good luck with your studies!

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

Studying Abroadimage source

2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

Study abroadimage source

3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

Global Friendshipsimage source

4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

Travel the Worldimage source

5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

Learning New Languagesimage source

Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Conquer College Finals Week

With the semester nearing an end, finals week is quickly approaching! Wait what?! Where has all the time gone? Here is my list of the 3 biggest distractions during finals week and my expert advice on how to conquer them.

finals week - meme

Distraction 1: Your Phone

We all love our phones because they are able to connect us with the world and let us know what’s happening around us at all times. The problem is that with so many social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Yik Yak, StumbleUpon to check, it can take hours to get updated. Even games on your phone are a terrible idea during finals week, you might as well say good bye to that G.P.A. if you have any games like Tetris on your phone.

finals week Tetris

HOW TO CONQUER:  Get a friend to change your passwords during finals week! Make them promise not to tell you the passwords until after finals, not matter how many times you beg. This way after finals you can take as long as you like to get caught up on life. You should also check out the eCampus.com social media sites for coupons, contests and blog posts for college students. 

Distraction 2: Your Friends

Friends or “study buddies” are great to hang out with when you have nothing to do. In fact, they are a ton of fun… but maybe not the best influencers during finals week. You always have that one friend who only has one easy final so they become the biggest distraction you could imagine.

finals week minions

HOW TO CONQUER: The best strategy for this is to start studying early and give yourself enough time to do what you have to do. Take some time for yourself to get the majority of your work and studying done ALONE. Afterward, you can meet up with your friends to take a break at Starbucks.

Distraction 3: The Internet

Without social media on your phone,  you now have your study breaks with friends under control. However, the one thing harder to avoid is the World Wide Web. It’s always so tempting to get on YouTube and watch goofy cat videos for hours. This one below is hilarious but definitely not what you need during finals week.

 

HOW TO CONQUER: Approach looking up random websites, online shopping and watching funny videos by a reward system. You study for 3 hours and then you get rewarded with an hour internet break. This way you’ll be able to get through your studying much faster but don’t forget to retain the information otherwise this reward system doesn’t work.

HAPPY FINALS WEEK. MAY THE GRADES BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

Today everyone uses their laptops, cell phones and tablets for everything including textbook readings for class. It may seem that the only duty our paper textbooks have, is to collect dust on the book self. This isn’t as true as you might think. There are several pros and cons for both an eTextbook and a physical textbook. I’m here to enlighten the public on which to choose, an eTextbook or a physical textbook.

According to Cynthia Boris of NBCNews.com there are various categories of comparison that can be viewed when weighing the pros and cons of an eTextbook and a physical textbook. In her opinion, ease of use, portability and cost are among the most important aspects to consider when making your book decision.

Ease of use: Although an eTextbook encourages you to explore the world of knowledge at the drop of your fingertips, does it make it harder to retain the information you are looking for? Some eTextbooks allow you to make notes and highlight for memorizing purposes but according to a study performed by Survey Monkey, nearly 40% of students preferred to use a print book to study with. An eTextbook might be easier to use sometimes while other times there is nothing better than being able to feel the pages of a physical textbook.

Portability: At times, textbooks can put a large strain on your back when walking to class. The weight of some textbooks can be several pounds each versus a few ounces for only one tablet to store thousands of e-textbooks on. When taking this into consideration, your back might thank you in a few years.

Cost: Textbooks are expensive, it’s true. Today, there are several ways to save money on buying textbooks, like renting! Not to mention some great coupon deals. When comparing costs to eTextbooks on a tablet, they are extremely cost effective. Although you have to take into consideration the cost of the actual device, as Boris says, “It could take a year of schooling before it pays for itself.”

In the end an eTextbook works for some and not for others, no worries though, there will always be physical textbooks to go around. Happy textbook shopping!