College Life

How to survive college 101. Advice from college students for college students.

How To Prepare to Study Abroad

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Studying abroad can be one of the best times in a student’s life. It gives you an opportunity to explore new places, try new foods, and experience new cultures. Many people see study abroad courses as trans-formative experiences that change the way that you view the world. However, there is much to think about and plan before getting up and moving to a different country for a semester, a year, or any extended time. Here are four important things to do and figure out before going abroad.

Prepare Proper Identification

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When traveling to another country you will likely need a passport. If you do not already have one, obtaining one can be a semi long process. It is important to think ahead and get your passport sorted out before it is too late. It is important while overseas to keep your passport and identification stored in a safe place. Losing your ID or passport can create massive problems while abroad.

Sort Out Your Money

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You will likely need a different currency when traveling abroad. It is necessary to either change your currency to the local one, or to find a credit or debit card that works overseas and has minimal charges that you can use. Airports tend to be an expensive place to exchange currency so seek out alternative places such as some banks.

Phone Plans

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Figuring out a phone plan is important for study abroad programs, as using a domestic phone overseas can really run up your telephone bill. Different carriers have different options and it is important to look through each one and figure out which one is the most cost efficient and works the best for you.

Safety Protocol

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It is important to be safe overseas as you will be in a place that is unfamiliar to you and will likely not have as much family and friends nearby to lean on if you need help. It is important to create a safety plan to ensure that you will be safe and able to enjoy your study abroad to the fullest!

Comment below with your study abroad tips and experiences!

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Clean Room, Clean Mind

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It’s getting close to the beginning of the new school year, which means new teachers, new classes and maybe even a new dorm. Having a tidy room can have many benefits: it can relieve stress, it can help focus when you’re working on homework and its an added bonus that you don’t have to speed clean when friends and family come over. These are simple ways to keep a clean room and make the most of your space.

Small Space Doesn’t Mean Small Things

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Rooms vary in size and having a small room is an actual problem. It means you don’t have as many places for your things, which leads to your room feeling cluttered. To “de-clutter” your space go and get some storage drawers to place around the room. This can keep things like makeup, hair tools, shoes, hats and extra clothes up off the floor and out of sight until you need them. It keeps them well organized and doesn’t take up a lot of space. This also allows for a makeshift book case if you don’t have enough room for one.

A Lot Of Things Doesn’t Mean A Lot Of Clutter

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Everyone has something that takes up a lot of space, whether its clothes, shoes, books, movies or what have you; we’ve all got something. Instead of getting rid of things (which note: you might need to do that too, more on that later) try different ways of organizing them. If you have things you don’t use, let’s say at least once a month, pack it up in a storage tote. You still have it on hand but it isn’t taking up space. For clothes, if its the wrong season, pack it up in a tote. You don’t need a winter coat in the middle of July, and you don’t need shorts in the middle of December. This allows more room for the clothes you wear all the time.

More Clothes Doesn’t Mean More Options

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Admit it, you have a favorite pair of jeans, a lucky shirt, a special hoodie. You also have clothes in the back of your closet that you or someone else bought that you don’t wear, or you’ve grown out of. Take all of your clothes out of wherever you store them, and sort. The ones you haven’t worn in the last, say three, months put in the give away pile. Ones that are special and you don’t want to get rid of, pack them up in a tote. After you’re finished, you should have a smaller amount of clothes, that you can now fold and put away.

For a different way to fold clothes to make more space, check out these organizing tips.

Organizing your room can relieve stress, help with anxiety, and let’s face it, having a clutter free room makes it easier to clean. These are just a few tips on how to keep a clean room.

Comment down below other ideas you have for tidying a room. Good luck!

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Little Things That Matter to a Girl

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When forming a new relationship, there are many things that people are apt to learn about each other in the course of their conversation. Some of these things are trivial; little facts that add nothing to the relationship itself but still help to promote understanding of values and ways of thinking and doing. Other facts are pivotal and help to really create a strong relationship and strong connection. Many of these little things such as when someone’s birthday is or what things annoy people the most may seem quite obvious, but there are plenty of details that are important for a healthy relationship that may not be quite as obvious. When knowing how to make a girl happy in a relationship, there are an endless amount of facts and details that a guy should know.  Here are four important little things to know about a girl in order to make sure you are able to make her happy.

Dessert Preference

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When a woman is unhappy or in a bad mood, there are very few things that work better to pick them up than a good dessert. Even for those who are highly health conscious, a healthy and tasty dessert can change a mood quickly. It is important to know what kind of dessert a girl likes most and how to easily obtain said dessert. Don’t forget the specifics either. Simple chocolate is a fan favorite but everyone has different tastes and it is important to differentiate between milk, dark, and white. Some people love one type of chocolate but despise the other. Chocolate and desserts are not only great pickups, they are also great mood enhancers. Bringing a box of chocolates to the door for a date or night in may seem like a cliché, but it is cliché because it has been proven to work time after time.  Chocolate has been proven to reduce stress, and also has many other lesser known health benefits.

Favorite Feel-Good Movie

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When we as humans are unhappy or in a bad mood, it goes without saying that surrounding ourselves with our favorite things can do a lot to enhance our moods. Our favorite movies are a great thing to watch when in a mad mood or when in a tough place. However, it is important to pick a positive movie to watch in these situations. Your girlfriend’s favorite movie might very well be Old Yeller, but it is highly unlikely that watching this while depressed will cheer her up. Try to seek out a favorite of hers that is positive and uplifting. A feel good or a comedy is usually a good choice.

Favorite Meal

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As pointed out in the previous points, surrounding someone with their favorite stuff can raise their mood and make them happier.  It is very important to know a girls favorite meal. Making her favorite meal for her when she is depressed or sad shows her that you care about her happiness and want to help her out of whatever funk she may be in. Making her favorite meal for a romantic night in is also a great idea. If you can get her favorite meal down to the most minute detail and accompany it with her favorite dessert or snack, you have a good chance at making her happier and improving her mood.

Favorite Flowers

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Girls love receiving flowers. Plain and simple. Classic roses are usually a safe bet, along with colorful bouquets and arrangements. However, remembering what her favorite flower is and showing up with them is a very romantic gesture that shows that you listen when she talks and that you care about making her happy. Being slightly knowledgeable about flowers is also something that also can surprise girls as most tend to assume men have no idea about flowers.

Although these little things may seem non-important in the scale of things, it is often the little things that matter the most and can do the most towards making a woman happy.

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Five Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

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Dining out at nice restaurants and attending musical events are always good ideas for dates when looking to impress someone that you like. However, doing this on the regular can also put a very heavy strain on one’s wallet. Going on fancy dates can show that you care about someone and that you want to make them happy with romantic gestures, however the total can quickly add up. This is especially true for college students who often do not have the luxury of extra spending money to be thrown in wads at three-star restaurants. Just because you do not have the cash to go out to a fancy dinner every week doesn’t mean that you still can’t impress your date. While it is fun to go out to upscale restaurants frequently, sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow for it.

If you need ideas for dating on a budget, look no further as I will be providing you with some options that will let you have fun without breaking the budget.

Go For a Walk or Take a Hike

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Although it may seem simple, just walking around with someone can be a great way to get to know them better.  When choosing a spot to walk around, look for an area that is interesting or has aesthetic advantages. Find a place filled with culture! If you have the option, a big city is the perfect setting for a nice walk, as well as a pretty park or neighborhood. Nature walks and hikes are also a good option for those who live in close vicinity to a forest or other nature filled area. Walking is great for you as well, as being outdoors can significantly improve your health and even lower stress. Reduced stress level can make it easier to relax and enjoy the date. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone!

Get Dessert

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You may have heard people say that diamonds are the way to a girl’s heart. I would disagree, dessert is! Ice cream and frozen yogurt are always good choices, but you can’t go wrong with cake or pastries too. When seeking out dessert places, try looking for local patisseries and hidden gems. There is nothing wrong with going the classic Ben & Jerry’s route, but sometimes it can be fun to try somewhere new. It’s also commonly known that dessert improves your mood, so you are more likely to enjoy being with another person because you equate spending time with them with happier feelings. Carbohydrate-rich foods like desserts cause your brain to produce serotonin and tryptophan — chemicals that can promote your emotional well-being and thus make you a happier person

Have a Picnic

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Having a picnic in a park or pretty area is a great idea for a date. It is a setting that encourages conversation and creates an atmosphere of relaxation for both parties. As far as food for a picnic, you can’t go wrong with a classic sandwich and chips combination. Bringing a bottle of wine with glasses adds a little romance to the outing and can make it feel more like a date than just lunch (if you are 21+ of course). Once again, you can’t go wrong with dessert as bringing something chocolaty or rich will end the picnic in just the right way! A picnic is a great option as it can work at nearly any time of the day. You can have a lunchtime picnic and revel in the sunlight, or set up for a dinner picnic and enjoy the sunset and the night stars.

Attend a Sports Game

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Although tickets to certain games can be extremely pricey, there are often ways to get cheap tickets to a variety of different sporting events. Try taking advantage of student ticket deals as many colleges have deals worked out that will allow you to get into events and games for greatly reduced prices. Sports games are a great way to get to know someone that you may not be completely comfortable with, as you have the chance to sit and talk, with a decreased threat of awkward silence and a conversation topic (the event) already lined up for addressing. Sports events also offer a great opportunity for group dates which may benefit some individuals looking to strengthen relationships, but not quite sure how to do so. Some individuals may be nervous or uncomfortable on initial date and adding another couple or friends to the date may help to ease nervousness.

Visit a Museum

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Although some museums can be quite expensive and really put a dent in your wallet, colleges also do their best to make art available to students by offering student deals that make museums either much cheaper or free! Some museums will offer free admission to students within the local area, while others will host student nights. Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know someone as you can learn what they value and how they think by finding out their opinions and views on art. Although museums can make great date spots, it is also important not to get too caught up in the actual art and to allow yourself to talk to your date and get to know them rather than just the art you came to see. Remember, you are there for the date; not just the art.

There are many other options when dating on a budget that can be both romantic and fun. One great tip is to try something new together as this can bring added excitement to the table. Take advantage of student deals on events and museums as these can prove to be strong dates that don’t break the bank. The most important thing when planning a date is to choose something that you can both enjoy. Although some ideas may seem like great date ideas to you, people have different tastes and your date may not be enthralled by the idea of going to a baseball game or walking around a neighborhood. When planning, be creative and thoughtful and you can easily find a great idea for a date that will not empty your pockets.

What’s your favorite budget-friendly date idea? Comment below!

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When You Should Call and When You Should Text

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Likely, the vast majority of the people you know have a cellphone. And (with the exception of that great-aunt or grandfather who doesn’t know how) most people use them pretty competently. Even with the few holdouts with ‘dumb phones‘, their phones can at least text. But, is that really the best method of communication? Here is my advice on when you should call and when you should text.

When you should really CALL someone:

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-You are making plans
-You are having a bad day and need meaningful conversation or advice
-You want to catch up with an out of town friend

When you should really just TEXT someone:

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-You are confirming the plans you made in person or on the phone
-When speaking on the phone would be rude or would interrupt a situation on either end
-When the person you are contacting really just needs some good emojis in there life to make them smile

To sum it up, when you take the time to actually call someone it gives them more of a connection to you. You are saying, yes I have time for you and I will not just get around to talking to you. While texting is a VERY useful means of communication at certain times, you are likely to get a lot more out of a phone conversation.

Hopefully this advice helps you decide when you should call and when you should text. Leave your thoughts on the subject below!

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Steps to Take When Emailing Your Professor

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Having trouble wording an email to a professor? Need help, but don’t know how to ask? Check out this guide to emailing your professor!

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Step 1: WHAT?

Let your professor know as much as you can in the subject of the email you are sending them. Do not write out your whole question, but: “EDMS451 Section 2 Homework 8 Questions” lets your professor know which class you are in and gives them a general idea of what they should expect out of the email.

Step 2: Dear WHO?

Make sure that you address your professor professionally and most importantly, correctly. If you don’t know what they want to be called, err on the side of formality- It’s more polite to accidentally call your teacher, “Professor Johnson” when she wants to be called Susie rather than call her “Susie” when she wants to be called Professor Johnson.

Step 3: WHY?

Tell your professor why you are emailing. Don not just start- Question 6 doesn’t make sense!!! Also, make sure to use appropriate punctuation. Pretend you are writing to a potential employer in terms of formality. You might want to start your email, “I was having trouble with a couple problems on this week’s homework and was wondering if you could help me out?” If you are asking for a favor, like an extension on a homework assignment or a grade reconsideration, make sure to take full responsibility and make it clear that you understand they are not obligated to make an exception for you.  Acting entitled does not get students anywhere with their professors.

Step 4: SIGN OFF.

If you do not have an automatic signature, include a thank you, your first and last name and an email you regularly CHECK. It might look something like:

Thanks,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

Step 5: PROOFREAD.

When emailing your professor, remember that is is important to make sure that your email has no grammatical or spelling errors.  You want them to take you seriously.

Step 6: SEND

After you send the email to your professor you should reasonably continue to check for a response and respond promptly to the response.

EXAMPLE email:  

Subject: JOUR199 Section 5 Holiday Absence

Dear Professor Smith,

I hope that you are doing well. I am writing you to let you know of a conflict I have with an upcoming exam date. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take the exam scheduled for July 4th as my family has planned a trip out of town during the holiday.  I was wondering if I could take the exam earlier, maybe the Sunday before?

Thank you,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

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Steps to Relieve Stress and Be Happy Before Finals

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We all have bad days. But, I have found that the bad and super stressed out days tend to come more and more frequently as the end of a college semester approaches. So, here are some steps to take to put a smile back on that face and be happy without avoiding studying!

Step 1: Happy Quote

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Write your favorite, inspirational happy quote and put it on the wall next to your bed to wake up to every morning. This will only take 5 minutes, but will help you get out on the right side of the bed. 

Step 2: Jamming to Music

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Listen to jam music when you get ready in the morning! Get excited for the day to come! 

Step 3: Favorite Outfits

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Wear your favorite outfits. Let me rephrase that: Wear your favorite *CLEAN* outfits. It will make you happy! 

Step 4: Treat Yourself

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If you got a good grade on a test, reward yourself! If you got a bad grade on a test, console yourself. Whether with a chocolate bar, a new magazine or a new t-shirt- treat yourself! 

Step 5: Sleep Well

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Make sure to be getting the right amount of sleep (I say hypocritically writing this at 1:30 AM with more work to do….). Well, I’ve heard this thing known to the outside-college-world as ‘sleep’ is really helpful and revitalizing!

And if all these fail and you’re still having a bad day: text your friend and tell her you need a hug. Always makes you feel better!  

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Don’t forget to SMILE!!!

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What to Take Home Over Spring Break

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Packing Your Bags for Spring Break = Less Finals Stress!

Want an easy way to make your finals week less stressful, before you even head home for spring break? Take home as MUCH as you can! Here is a short DO’s and DON’T’s list for spring break packing (if you’re headed home!)

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DO take you winter coat, scarves, hats and gloves. The bulkier the stuff you take home now, the less you have to deal with fitting it next to your comforter while studying for finals.

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DON’T take all of your sweatshirts home. There might be days when it still gets cold out, so just keeping your T-shirts and shorts handy isn’t helpful.

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DO take winter outfits and clothes you don’t wear so often. There’s no point in keeping it around if you aren’t going to wear it anyway.

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DON’T take your rain jacket. April showers bring May flowers.

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DO take home extra bags, notebooks, your third set of sheets- the extra stuff laying around that you never use and just takes up space.

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DON’T leave any textbooks or notes behind when you head back to campus!

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Following this list will not only lighten your packing load and stress at the end of the semester, but will also give your dorm room a (likely) much needed spring cleaning!

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How to Keep in Touch with Long Distance Friends

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While some people flee high school and go to a college as far away from home as possible, other people really want to stay connected with their high school friends (or summer camp friends, or gap year friends, etc.). For those of you who are afraid that you will lose old friends to new college friends, here are some tips to keep in touch!

Create a Facebook Group

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For the occasional reminisce or for organizing a possible weekend reunion, a Facebook group is the way to go!

Create a Whatsapp Group

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Essential if you have friends who are out of the country for any reason.  Whether they are studying abroad, backpacking across Europe or have randomly moved to Australia-this way you can all stay connected.

Send a Random Text 

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Whether you last talked to this friend two weeks ago or two years ago, sending a “Hi, how are you? can go a long way and will probably be much appreciated. It lets them know you are thinking about them.

Send Something Through Good Old Snail Mail

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Who doesn’t like getting mail? Send them a postcard or handwritten letter to let them know you still care and want to know what they are up to.

Social Media Stalking

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Okay…not really for keeping in touch but if you want to stay updated on someone’s life, back stalk their Facebook profile pictures, their Twitter feed, their Instagram and other social media platforms.

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7 Ways To Improve Your Dorm Bathroom Experience!

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Set the example. Keep your dorm bathroom clean. If you don’t, how can you expect others too?  Here are some tips to improve your dorm bathroom experience

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1. Girls, always clean your hair out of the shower drain. Guys, clean up the sink after you shave. It’s much less disgusting to clean up your own hair than to clean up someone else’s.

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2. Wear Shower Shoes. No, just because it’s the shower, doesn’t mean it gets cleaned. Cheap flip-flops are good for this kind of thing.

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3. Make sure everything goes down when you flush the toilet. If it doesn’t, flush again, or let someone (i.e. maintenance) know about it. How would you like it if the tables were turned?

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4. Restock the toilet paper when you finish it. Extra rolls are probably kept somewhere in the bathroom area. You’ll appreciate it when it’s done for you.

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5. Clean up globs of toothpaste in the sink. No one else wants to touch the gunk that’s been cleaning your mouth.

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6. Don’t leave personal belongings in the bathroom. It’s not your own private bathroom. Unless it is, then, by all means, leave your belongings wherever you want.

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7. If maintenance needs to be called, call them. Or tell your RA that they need to be called. If you don’t like walking into the bathroom being a mess, don’t leave it that way for others.

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If your hallway sticks to these clean, healthy bathroom habits, your dorm bathroom won’t be so gross and scary! Putting up friendly signs to remind others to keep the bathroom clean can also be helpful! Good luck!

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