Keeping Up With Life Outside of College

For some students, moving several hours away from home to attend college is necessary to pursue a quality education. Going to a new place and meeting new people is wonderful, but what about all the family and friends you left behind? Their life still continues while you’re away. At some point during your college career, you will be faced with the choice of either going to class or going to some kind of special event such as a wedding or baby shower. Here are some tips for how to balance your life at school with your life away from school.

Weekend Gatherings

Plan Gatherings on Weekends

If possible, try to schedule (or ask others to schedule) special events or gatherings on weekends. Heading home on a day when you don’t have class is much easier than during the week. This is also when most people have time off work, so it should fit better with non-student family and friends as well.

Setting Expectations

Set Realistic Expectations

You are not going to make it to every single one of your cousin’s basketball games. Don’t promise family and friends you will show up to all their events when it is not possible. Be realistic when deciding what events you are going to try to make it home for. Also, make sure your relatives understand you are busy. They may not like the fact you are missing family events, but ultimately they should understand your education is important and must take priority at times.


Plan in Advance

If you know about an event at the beginning of the semester, go ahead and start planning for it. Professors are more understanding and flexible when they receive notice far in advance. If you wait until a week before a big test to tell your professor about your sister’s upcoming weeding, it is unlikely he will grant your leave of absence. Communicating your schedule to others in a timely manner helps everyone plan for the future.

Recognizing Importance

Recognize Whats Important

A close friend of mine recently found herself in a tough situation. A funeral service for her family member was scheduled on the same day as a final presentation worth 20% of her final grade. The funeral was in a different state and the presentation could not be rescheduled. It was not possible for her to attend both events. What should you do if you find yourself in this situation?

You need to recognize what is important. My friend made the extremely tough decision to give her presentation rather than go to the funeral. Were some family members and friends upset about her decision? Yes. Was missing the funeral emotionally difficult for her? Yes. However, you have to make these difficult sacrifices. You must decide what is more important to you and your overall life. Missing a special occasion is hard, but it is a necessary part of earning an education.

Balancing school and home life can be difficult when you are in college, but with a little planning you can graduate and still be a part of the family! Have any other tips for balancing life in college? Leave them in the comment section below!


Quick Pick Me Ups for When You’re Stuck Home Sick

Last week I was sick for two days straight. It was terrible. While the sun was shining outside on a beautiful summer day and while my friends spent the day tubing down the river, I was left to fend for myself in a sad and sick world of reruns and chicken noodle soup. While I spent the first day of my sickness in a mopey and depressing mood, I spent my second day trying to find new ways to have a good day and pick myself up out of this misery of an illness.

I realized I needed fresh air. My dog and I drove down to a local park and took a walk along a trail. I was instantly cheered. I didn’t run or do anything to make myself sicker, I just took some time, breathed some fresh air, and enjoyed the sunshine. I believe getting out of the house can definitely pick you up.

When it came time for dinner I decided soup was no longer my friend. The meal that could cheer me up would include pancakes and some freshly scrambled eggs. Eating breakfast for dinner is something that can always put a smile on my face, and after all of the soup I’d eaten in the last couple days, it really hit the spot. Switching up your “sick diet” for something you really enjoy is always a pick me up.

When the night came to a close I decided reruns weren’t my thing. What could make me happier than an old childhood favorite? That’s when I decided it was a Space Jam kind of night. I watched the entire movie and I loved every minute of it. Not only did I really want to go play a game of basketball, but I started to really feel better.

Sometimes the mental part of being sick can leave you feeling worse than ever. If you can find a few little things to do that you know will cheer you up, I believe you’ll be feeling better faster. Next time you’re sick, give it a try!

Is Home Really Home

Even if you’re a commuter, eventually you will reach the point where going to your childhood room just isn’t the same. This moment seems to hit a bit earlier for us travelers or students who go far away to school. We build up going home so much in our head, but sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Your family might come together for your favorite meal…


…your sibling(s) might be extra rude now that you’re home…

…and the house could be louder than ever…


…but it’s just not the same.

Sometimes you need to just give it time, but it’s already half way through July and I still don’t feel like my house is my home anymore. Anyone agree?

Once you’ve gone out in the world and built yourself a home somewhere else, whether it be your college dorm or apartment, making a new place to live seems to take a little bit of the hominess that your childhood home has. The first time you call another place home aside from your childhood home is always a bit of a shock. Home becomes your apartment and home home becomes your parents’ house. Eventually, we all end up calling our old home “my parents’ house.” What a scary thought. I guess that’s called growing up.

How to Find Fun at Home During the Summer

Being home for the summer is often way different than being at college. When you’re away at school there is always something to do. When you’re home for summer, a lot of times things slow down. It’s not that you don’t know how to have fun in your home town; after all you did grow up there. It’s just that in the last nine months of school, you have likely discovered a whole new world of fun and excitement that is hard to match. I have thought of some ideas for local fun that although might be different then your style of fun from college, it will leave you enjoying yourself all summer long.

The first thing that I discovered last summer is the local farmers market. My town host one every other Saturday. My first impression was that it was just going to be a bunch of fresh produce stands, boy was I wrong. There was live music, homemade jewelry, and even decorations I could use to spruce up my dorm next year! I had such a great time that my mom and I have created a new tradition every other weekend. It’s something we can do together that I think we both look forward to.

Next, throw a bon fire! My friends and I take turns hosting bon fires all summer long. So far this summer I have already been to four and I’ve discovered that no matter how many people show up or how dead your town seems to be, bon fires bring friends closer together. When it’s a smaller group especially, you can talk about anything and relax in a comfortable atmosphere. If you’re worried about people getting bored, all you need is a football. The boys can throw a football around for hours while the girls gossip around the flames. To add to your atmosphere play music and have smore stuff ready to go. Relaxing nights like this with close friends are the ones I always remember when I’m away at school.

Third, go support a local team! My town has a minor league baseball team and the games are always fun to go to. If you don’t have sports in your town at this level, revisit your high school and catch a game there. It’s always fun to watch a good game. If there are no live sports going on, check your T.V. don’t be afraid to invite over some close friends for a game and some pizza. You’ll be sure to have a good time especially if it turns out to be close. A great opportunity for this type of entertainment will be coming up at the end of July with the 2012 London Olympic Games.

There are so many easy entertainment ideas you can do with a close group of friends. When you’re with your closest, it’s always sure to be a good time no matter what you’re doing. Although the scene might not be quite as hopping as your college town, it’s definitely only as dead as you make it. Strike a match in your fire pit and call up some buddies; I know tomorrow you’ll be reminiscing on a great night.