College Life

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

All About Sorority Rush

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Whether you are a freshman or about to finish college, sorority rush is a great way to meet new people and make connections. Most colleges begin rush either a few weeks before school starts or a month or so into the fall semester. The entering freshman class receives the opportunity to get to know more students during their first year by participating in sorority rush even if they decide not to pledge.

Pick up an Application

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Students are to visit student life and pick up an application to start the process of rush. The application requires the students to attach a photo, along with a description of their academic and extra-curricular accomplishments, their year in college, their major, and their GPA. The sororities look for the most well-rounded students that excel in both academics and extra-curricular activities, since the sororities compete with one another throughout the year to strive to make the best impression on next year’s group of new potential members. The sororities use this application to select new members as they review their interactions and interviews with the potential new members each night of rush.

Prepare for Rush Week

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Rush lasts for a week and is a rigorous process that requires the potential new members to communicate efficiently with numerous sorority members per house, dress properly, be knowledgeable about each sorority and describe how the new member would benefit the organization as a whole. At the start of sorority rush the potential new members are divided into small groups with a Rho Gamma leader. The Rho Gamma directs and guides the potential new members through the process. The Rho Gamma presents their experience going through rush to the new members, in order to encourage them as they prepare for each night. It is usually best to have some idea of which sororities you are more interested in than others before starting rush. Also, it is best to have some connections with others that have already been through rush before to ask for advice and to have connections with a sorority or fraternity before deciding to pledge. Some of the women’s sororities are actually known as fraternities and new members should be knowledgeable of the distinctions between each sorority.

First Night of Sorority Rush: Open House

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The first night of rush consists of an open house. The first night is usually the most difficult experience because the new members are just becoming adjusted to talking to at least four or five members per house in a relatively short amount of time. On the first night, potential new members should make a good first impression by describing their academic and or extra-curricular accomplishments. It is best to already know about the philanthropy and the interests of the sorority or fraternity beforehand, but if not you can still do well as long as you strive to make a significant effort to learn about the organizations as you go through the process.

Second Night of Sorority Rush: House Tours

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The second night is the house tours. On this night, the sororities try their best to impress the potential new members with singing, performances, various hands on activities, and introductions to the philanthropies. This is the time when the potential new members should pay the most attention to detail as they are to present themselves as confident in their future membership through their knowledge of the sororities’ and fraternities’ interests and expectations. The potential new members should try to be even more engaged in conversation as they interconnect their own interests and accomplishments with the views and standards of each sorority or fraternity. You can be invited to up to three houses until the final night.

Final Night of Sorority Rush: Pref

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The final night is pref night and at this time you can only be invited to up to two parties. This night is known as the most critical one-on-one experience of all the nights during rush between the members and the potential new members. At this time, the members are trying to make the final decision as to which potential new members will receive a bid to join the sorority. The potential new members should try to persuade the members as to why they believe that they could make a difference in the sorority or fraternity and more importantly that they are more interested in the organization than the other girls.

Bid Day

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The sororities will only choose the girls that they are more convinced will be involved in the sorority and that are genuinely interested in joining. Some of the pressure can be taken off the potential new members as they realize that the members are trying harder to convince the new members as to why they should join their organization and that all they have to do is describe how interested they are in Greek life. Rush is worthwhile because you make new friends and learn how can improve college life by joining a sorority. Bid day is a once in a life time experience and if you make it that far you have proven how you belong in an organization that exemplifies true leadership and sets a positive example on campus.

Comment below with your sorority rush questions or experiences!

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Safety Tips for College Students

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Being in your dorm by dark isn’t always doable, but preparing yourself for safety can be. These are safety tips for college students on campus, whether you’re leaving your late class or a party, being prepared for anything can give you some peace of mind.

Use the Buddy System

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When you’re walking home from class or a party in the dark, it’s always best to have a good friend by your side. If something were to go wrong, at least there is someone with you and someone knows where you are. An extra pair of eyes to be on the lookout never hurts either!

Talk on Your Phone

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Talking on the phone is something that a lot of us are used to doing on a daily basis. If you’re coming home from somewhere on campus late at night and are starting to feel a little scared, call someone and talk to them while you’re walking. Not sure who to call? You could call home- they miss you! Or call a friend, I’m sure there’s something the two of you could talk about. Make sure you let whoever you called know exactly where you are located. This way someone would instantly know if something happened.

Know the Emergency Boxes

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There are emergency call boxes on every campus.  If you’re out and about, make sure you know where they are in case you need to get to one. These call boxes connect you directly to campus security.  You can contact the office and have them tell you where the boxes are if you don’t already know.

Carry Pepper Spray

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Many of us have heard of pepper spray, but have you ever actually used it? Pepper spray is very useful, especially in the fact that you don’t have to actually come in contact with an attacker when you use it. Educated yourself all about pepper spray and go pick some up to carry with you on campus. It can be found at most stores.

Learn Self Defense

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Using self defense requires you to react and fend off a possible attacker. Self defense classes are often offered at your near by gym. I’ve taken a basic one before and not only did I learn to defend myself, it was a great workout and I had a lot of fun! See if one of your friends wants to find a self defense class to take with you.

These are some safety tips to help you protect yourself on campus. Don’t worry that you college campus is unsafe.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

What safety tips work for you on your college campus? Share in the comments below!

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How to Bond With College Roommates

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The start of the fall semester is starting soon, and for many college students this means new living situations and often new roommates. Although some may be living with friends, there are plenty of students and especially freshman who have yet to form a connection with their college roommates. Here are some ways to form and improve a relationship with a new college roommate.

Find a Commonality

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The easiest way to bond with a new roommate is to find something that you have in common. Try broaching a variety of subjects to see where your tastes are similar and find something that you have the same opinion on or same interest in.

Go Somewhere Non-School Related With Them

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If roommate relationships are restricted mostly to the dormitories, they may seem forced. If you expand your relationship with your roommate outside of the dorm and go somewhere together either by yourselves or in a group, the relationship will feel more genuine and likely become stronger.

Introduce Each Other to Preexisting or New Friends

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Making friends with your roommate’s friends and them doing the same is an easy way to bond with someone. If they get along well with your friends then it is easier to include them in group activities and thus become better friends outside of the dorm or room.

Attend School Organized Events with Them

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Universities make events for freshman and even upperclassman to get out and meet new people on campus. By going somewhere with your roommate you can get out and meet new people on campus, but have a familiar face there who can back you up if you need a confidence booster or help meeting new people.

Set Expectations for Behavior Within the Dorm

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One of the hardest things about having roommates is that everyone has differing ideas of how duties should be spread and how each other should act in the context of the room. It is important to have an initial talk about what both parties expect so that there are no surprises down the line and you lessen the chance of someone being overly annoyed at a particular action or way of living.

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First-Year Peer Mentoring

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In order for college students to be successful in their future careers, they should strive to become achievers that rise above and beyond traditional standards. One outstanding option to attain the skills that are required for students to accomplish their career objectives while they are studying in college is to participate in peer mentoring. There are numerous college campuses with peer mentoring programs. The advantage of choosing to become involved in a peer mentor program, as opposed to other volunteer programs, is shown through the fact that students do not have to go outside of the college campus to help others.

Students can participate in peer mentoring programs as seniors to help guide freshman as they enter and embark on the journey of the college experience for the first time. The freshman class greatly needs proper advice from their peers that have already been through the college experience and have excelled in their studies. Peer mentors can provide information on campus life, the surrounding area where the college is located, studying tips, researching, and essay writing. These are all components that are crucial for students to become acquainted with as they start college in order for them to become successful during their first year. By receiving assurance from seniors, freshman students receive the confidence they need to find their place in college life and in this world.

Once you choose to become a peer mentor during your senior year of college, you become more experienced at proving your abilities to the world. You can prove your capabilities to your colleagues, your future employers, and your peers by applying the knowledge you received from your education to real life experiences that go beyond becoming a successful student, as you also prove that you have become an outstanding representative of your community.When you become a senior and are about to graduate, you should look back on your college experience and want to offer all that you learned to help others become successful because you were also once in the same uneasy position as the freshman at one time. Once you peer mentor college freshman as a senior, you will gain the leadership skills you need to succeed in the future and these skills will enhance your resume that future employers will review. Choosing to be a peer mentor helps students make the first and greatest transition in becoming a future success and you can make a difference by volunteering.

Comment below with your thoughts or experiences on first-year peer mentoring!

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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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litte-things-coupleThe sweetest things you can do for a girl are the little things that let her know that she’s on your heart and on your mind. -Unknown

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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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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