College

College is WAY Different

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College and high school are almost two different worlds. High school provides you with the tools for acting and behaving appropriately and college is where you put all that you have learned to the test.  One thing that is certain is that mostly all decisions made will be made by you alone. This is part of life as a young adult. But don’t be fearful; family and counselors will be present if extra help is needed.

college is way different

You should expect to do more things on your own. Navigating the school, picking classes or even making sure you wake up in time for that early 8 am class will fall on you. Make the most of it because this is the time you prove to yourself and to others that you can handle all the responsibility bestowed upon you.

You will no longer be told what is expected of you. You should already know. As far as assignments go, some professors will only tell you once and it is up to you to write it down and prepare. If you miss an assignment, a high school teacher will most likely let you make it up without penalty (unless you are notorious for always missing assignments). In college, professors treat assignments much differently. You are expected to do the work and understand the material, but the professor may not always check if the work had been completed. Do not think you’re off the hook skipping assignments. The material will most likely be used for a future exam.

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If you miss a day in high school, you can retrieve all the work you missed from your teacher. Professors in college will not tell you what you missed; all the work you missed will have to come from classmates.

If you chose to dorm, you will have to compromise with all the schedules and habits of your roommates. Sharing such small quarters with someone you barely know can come as a challenge. Some roommates may be the exact opposite of what you are used to dealing with back at high school. Make sure you handle conflict with ease and always talk things out.

Spending Time With Your Posse

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Staying on top of your studies is important. Making sure you spend time with your friends is just as important. Maintaining a social life, taking breaks from your school work- these things will keep you from going insane and getting burnt out too quickly.

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There are always things to do with your crew on and around campus. Activities such as bowling, ice-skating or a trip to the zoo are always fun. You could also find an interesting museum nearby or festival happening in the vicinity.

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Find a movie theater nearby campus and see the next big blockbuster with a bunch of friends (Mockingjay: Part 1 comes out in November, people!). See if there are any concerts coming up in the nearby area. Maybe your favorite sport’s team is playing nearby.

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You could also gather a group to go shopping. It can be for school supplies, for furniture you may need, for clothing you may have forgotten or just for the heck of it.

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Last resort? You could invite your friends to come watch a movie in your dorm room or find a lobby and watch the season premiere of that show you can’t believe ended in that INSANE cliffhanger last spring!!

 Spending time with your friends in college is important for your sanity. You should make time to hang out and do things other than sit on a quiet floor of the library all semester!

5 Free Apps to Have on Your Phone

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1. Calm by Calm.com

This app is great to help you de-stress!  Through guided meditation and loads of calming music, this app helps you relieve stress, fall asleep, and relax.  This is a great way to deal with the stress you’ll be under at school.  Whether you’re anxious about a test, midterms, finals week, or overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities, this app can really help you feel calm, focused, and ready to take on the world!

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2. Venmo

 Do you ever find it hard to split the bill when you go out to eat with friends or when you buy groceries with your roommates?  Venmo lets you link up your bank account to the app so you can send money directly to someone else without having to worry about taking out cash or splitting up an odd number.  Don’t worry, it’s completely safe and no one can gain access to your account, but you.  You can even set a passcode for the app itself so only you can get onto it!

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3. Your Bank’s Mobile App (This could be PNC, Bank of America, Chase, etc.)

 This will make your life so much easier!  Many of these apps allow you to deposit checks from wherever you are by taking photos of the front and back of the check.  You can also set up transfers, track your activity, and check your balance.  These apps are so convenient and make it so easy to manage your budget.  It really comes in handy when you’re out and about and need to check your balance!

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4. Airline Apps (United, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.)

 If you fly home for breaks or are going on a big spring break trip, these apps are great!  You can book a flight, check the status of a flight, check-in, and get your boarding pass right on your phone with them.  You never have to worry about forgetting or losing your boarding pass because it’s right on your phone!  You just scan the bar code on your mobile boarding pass at security and at the gate and you’re good to go.  These apps also send you notifications of any delays or gate changes.  You can even change your seats and make upgrades through the app.  And if you make an account, you can get rewards for your miles!

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5. Google Maps

 If you don’t already have Google Maps on your phone, you should download it ASAP!  It has turn-by-turn GPS directions, gives you the option to choose between public transportation, driving, walking, and biking directions, check traffic, and drop pins to help you find your way back if you’re walking, hiking, or lost!  This app is a lifesaver!

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Burning Questions for the Student Pursuing an Advanced Degree

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Grad school is a tapestry of unique students from equally unique areas of life. While you have your students who are fresh out of the undergrad mill, you also have a large amount of older students that have taken a break between degrees. Some students are recently single while others are happily married with children. The one thing that brings us all together is our desire for an advanced degree. While I sat waiting for my most recent grad school orientation to begin, a series of frequently asked questions flashed across the projection screen. For all of the newbies out there, I figured I’d answer some of the most relevant questions here.

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How does a graduate student balance time between work, classwork and research?

            Now is the time to utilize all of the information you surly retained from those time management workshops from freshman year. While some students may have the luxury of only having to worry about their classes, chances are you’ll probably be juggling school with a full time job (which is probably paying your tuition in the first place). In some cases, you may have a family to throw into the fray as well. The good news in all of this is that your job and your class times are already structured for you. Therefore, the smart grad student schedules a few hours a day specifically for studying and research. Make this time a part of your daily routine and it’ll soon become second nature.

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How do graduate students meet people outside their discipline or the university?

            During the orientation icebreaker, I met a handful of students outside of my major. While meeting peers in different disciplines is easy at big events such as this, its a little more difficult to do on your own for one main reason; most grad schools don’t have general education classes that all students must take. Rather, all of your classes are focused on your particular major and you usually tend to end your program with the same cohort of students you started with. If socializing with peers outside of your discipline is of importance to you, pay attention to your campus email as most schools do social events (picnics, holiday parties) geared and open to all grad students. Also, if your institution has a student government that grad students are permitted to join, then become active (if time permits) as this is another prime way to mix it up

Pro tip: Explore study environments outside of your apartment or house. Just because you are working on an advanced degree doesn’t mean you can’t mingle with the undergrads in the school library. All of my reading takes place there, while my writing happens at a local irish pub

I’m a regular Hemingway!

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Some graduate students are overachievers. How do you deal with not being able to over achieve at everything all at once?

            These were the same students in undergrad that just “got it”from day one; they’re frustrating. The main thing to remember is that grad school is not a competition and your degree is not based on how much better than someone else you did. If there are things that you are struggling with, remember that the academic resources that your school offers its undergrads are available to you as well. There is absolutely no shame in meeting a professor during office hours or seeking the help of a tutor. At first I balked at the thought of an undergraduate student helping me at the writing center. That is until I saw my grade on my very next paper elevate after said help.

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Are you able to maintain a social life outside of grad school? Should you? 

            Not only are you able to maintain a social life, its absolutely necessary. If it were not for those nights of cheap beers, chicken fingers and fried mushrooms at the pub behind our school, it is questionable if my school chums and I would have been able to maintain our sanity while working towards our master degrees. Find a few classmates you click with as these students can serve as your study group, drinking buddies and support system when the road gets rough.

Pro Tip: While you may be making a ton of new connections with your intellectual peers, don’t neglect your non school friends. There will be times that you’ll want to talk about anything other than school and these these friends will be more than happy to take you mind off the 45 page qualitative research paper you have due in two weeks.

Avoid Your Comfort Zone!

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College is a time for exploration and enlightenment. High school was fun, but
there will be many more opportunities to explore things that you may not have ever
considered before.
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Take an interesting elective class: Use electives as a way to explore subjects that you
may not have been exposed to within your major. Try a science class if you’re a
humanities major. If your major is in the liberal arts, try out a math class. Who
knows? You might even find a field you like even better than your current major!

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Explore a new extra curricular activity: If you are normally drawn to the arts, try a
new sport! Intramurals are a great way to try out a sport without the stress or
commitment of playing on a college team. Similarly, if you’re usually athletic, try out
something artsy! If you’re not quite ready to hit the stage, many school productions
always need help backstage with painting sets, props, etc.

Getting out of your comfort zone will allow you to make new friends, meet different
kinds of people with different viewpoints, find new things to do, and go places
you’ve never been!

How do you stay out of your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments below!

What a Rush!

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As the days of summer continue to melt away, another fall semester is on the horizon. In a few short weeks college campuses around the country, which have been ghost towns for the past two and a half months, will be bustling with life. And for many freshmen males, this will be the beginning of their fraternal journey to enduring brotherhood and networking as rush usually takes place within the first month of the semester. As you set forth on your excursion, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Do your research: During rush, fraternity guys turn into car salesmen.One phrase you’ll hear numerous times is, “We’re the absolute best on campus at….” And you can fill that blank with pretty much anything; academics, intramurals, crocheting. If you do your homework however, you can better prepare yourself for the week. General information including philanthropies and history can usually be found on national fraternity websites. Upperclassmen that have been around campus for a year or so can also be a respectable resource as they know the reputations of the various groups and can probably tell you a story or two. Also, the parties and social events that are thrown prior to rush are a great way to observe the group in its natural habitat. I remember being so disappointed in a house I once was excited about when I attended their rush party and the guys in the chapter were not friendly and just downright creepy when it came to interacting with the female party guests. Although I still didn’t know which house I would join, I knew it wouldn’t be that one.

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Would I REALLY hang out with these guys?: Your fraternity brothers are the guys you’re going to spend the most time with during your tenure as an undergrad. You’ll do all types of things together from falling out of your boat at canoe regatta to camping trips you’ll find yourself horribly unprepared for. Some of these guys may even wind up standing next to you in your wedding one day. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure you are surrounding yourself with guys you actually enjoy being around. Mute the prestige of the fraternity, the awesome parties, the suburb networking and your father and older brothers urging you to “continue the family tradition” and ask yourself one simple question: “If we weren’t in the same fraternity, would I REALLY hang out with these guys?”  Like putting together a puzzle, rush is all about finding the perfect fit.

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There is no shame in waiting: Although fall rush is typically the main event, there is also a spring recruitment period as well. And while some people are ready to dive into Greek life immediately, some need a little more time to get acclimated to college life. There is no shame in getting your feet on the ground and waiting until the spring (or even a later year) to join. You may actually be doing a fraternity a favor by waiting as spring rush numbers tend to be low anyway.

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If it’s not for you, it’s not for you: Websites like TFM usually find humor in shaming non-Greeks. Although I could write a nine part column on all of the benefits of going Greek. The truth is, it’s not for everyone. There are students that never set foot in a fraternity house and they do just as well academically and socially as the chapter president. One of my best friends aren’t Greek and we’ve enjoyed 5 years of marriage just fine.

7 Things To Do When You’re Broke

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Let’s face it, many college students are usually a little short on cash. Not because they don’t work or have money, but because they use their money on important items, like textbooks and food, which could be a bit pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do with friends or alone that will cost next to nothing.

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1. Go for a Hike or Walk

Put on those walking shoes and put in those ear buds because this fresh air will make you feel amazing.

2. Have a Picnic

In the mood to dine out but don’t have the money? Having a picnic changings your regular routine, making it feel fresh and exciting, similar to dining out.

3. Meet at the Nearest Coffee Shop

Bring friends and a few dollars for coffee or tea.

4. Read a Book

Visit your school or public library and immerse yourself in a good mystery novel.

5. Rent a movie

Renting a movie only costs a few dollars and if you’re with friends, they can help front the cost. Better yet, if you frequently want to watch movies and TV shows, Netflix is even better than renting.

6. Play a Board Game

If you or a friend has board games, now would be a great time to play them. Not only is it free but you can spend time with another person or with many.

7.  Make Something

DIY projects sometimes require items you no longer use either around your house or in your dorm. Search the internet or your own imagination and create items into something useful again.

If all else fails, catch up on some school work or if your professors have given you an itinerary for the full semester, start completing work for the following week.

3 Tips for Balancing the Upcoming Fall Semester

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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

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 you’re 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

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 sustaining.  Assorted nuts are packed with healthy fats, minerals and protein to keep you full during those long lectures. It 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 linkedto aid memory (great for studying).

3.  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!

How To Prepare for Fall Semester in College

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With summer in full swing, it’s difficult to think about returning to school and spending hours in lecture halls. However, there are a few things we can do to take advantage of the summer months in order to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the upcoming fall semester.

1. Apply for Scholarships

6-13 cap-diploma-moneyMost college students are far too busy worrying about their vacation plans to bother with scholarship applications. This lower competition makes it a bit easier to win scholarships that are offered during the summer months.

2. Find a Job

6-13 bigstock-Waitress-Serving-Food-To-Senio-47117440Use your spare time in the summer to save money from working. Extra earnings can be used for books or to pay on interest on your student loans. Every little bit counts!


3. Intern

6-13 photodune-202599-smart-business-man-with-a-laptop-and-colleagues-at-the-back-mThere are many internship programs offered during the summer. It’s easier to focus on your internship when you don’t also have to commit time to your regular classes.  One simple way to get started is by visiting sites like this one.

4. Register for Classes

6-12 stack of books2The last thing you want to deal with is trying to register for a class for the fall semester only to find it has already been filled. Especially since sometimes certain classes are only offered one semester a year. Avoid all of the inconvenience by registering as early as possible.

How do you stay ahead of the game for upcoming semesters? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Summer Plans for College Students

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With finals approaching, this means one thing… summer is around the corner! As a college student you have to get out there and do something with yourself. So, my recommendation is to consider these top 5 summer plans for college students

1. Intern

Unfortunately you’re not in high school anymore so interning is a must.  It is very important to secure a great internship for the summer because this allows you to make connections, get experience and most importantly help your future. You never know where a summer internship may lead… it could possibly give you a career with the company one day. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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2. Study Abroad

College is the best time to travel! Summer is even better because you’re not missing out on anything from the school year so it’s the best of both worlds. Take a look at this eCampus blog: Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad, you can see a few of the many benefits of studying abroad. My recommendation would be to take a fun class you wouldn’t normally take at your university, maybe even one that is specific to the country you are in. This will definitely enhance the experience of your trip.

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3. Get a Job

Of course the fall back to not interning or studying abroad is getting a summer job. Although, this might not be the most fun or interesting thing to do in the summer but at least you’ll be making some extra money for the school year right?

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4. Take Summer Classes

This might be the most boring option to take for the summer but it’s also something to seriously consider doing. If you did poorly in a class this semester or even dropped it, taking an online or in-class summer session class could help you get closer to earning your degree. Also if you just changed your major and are behind in credits this is a great time to catch up instead of taking 21 hours next semester.

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5. Soak Up the Sun

The last option for your summer plan could be to take it easy and relax. Maybe go to the park with your dog, hang out with friends or just lay out by the pool to get that golden tan you’ve missed all year. There’s nothing wrong with this option because sometimes after a long year of classes, taking a break is the best thing to do.

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What are your summer plans? Let us know in the comments below!