What To Expect on College Break
You’ve made it through your first semester of classes, even survived finals and now Christmas break is upon you. As much as you may be looking forward to 2 weeks of class free, relaxation, returning home for a Holiday break can be a somewhat odd experience.
The first thing that will inevitably strike you is how lame your childhood bedroom is. All of the trappings of the high-school version of yourself are on display and you’ll suddenly feel a kind of odd disconnect from yourself. You may look at your collection of displayed science fair ribbons and ask yourself, “who lived in here?” The best thing to do at this point is to marvel at how much you’ve grown up, just in your first semesters of college, and how much you’ve changed.
Another thing you’ll likely be struck by is how weird it is to be under your parent’s rule once again. Where at college you could come and go as you pleased, reconciling that your parents rule this roost can sometimes be a tough adjustment. Don’t fight the power. Its not worth it. Live by the rules for the two weeks your at home and enjoy the time that you have with your family. Before you know it, you’ll be back to staying out all night with friends, drinking and just generally having a great time.
And finally, at some point you’ll want to meet up with your high school friends. This can also be kind of an odd experience. Your crew might have been thick as thieves when you lived in the same zip code, but now that you and your friends are having experiences separate from one another and really coming into your own, you may feel a bit of a disconnect. Don’t feel pressure to fall back into old behavior. If you’re high school buddies are really good friends, they will still appreciate the new you that you’re growing into. It can also be a lot of fun to share stories of each other’s college experiences. It doesn’t have to separate you. Sharing can sometimes bring the group closer together.
Despite the fact that returning home from college can be a weird experience on some levels, try to really appreciate where you came from and get your fill of all of the comforts of home that you can’t get back on campus. You may even find that you appreciate these things now, more than you ever did.
What To Do On Spring Break
Spring Break has a reputation for being a week of debauchery, but in reality there are a lot of different options for how to spend your Spring Break. From hitting up exotic locales to having unique supplemental learning experiences, Spring Break is really what you make of it. Take a look at the options below to help you decide what kind of a Spring Break adventure you’d like to have on your break.
1)Traditional Spring Break Fun- According to US News and World Reports, the top Spring Break destinations are South Padre Island, Miami Beach, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and The Bahamas. Get your crew together and surf the internet for amazing group deals to warm Caribbean locales, and you’re sure to have a week to remember full of cocktails, sun worshiping and the usual mischief making. Tip – Look for all-inclusive deals to get more bang for your buck. You’ll have cocktails, meals, accommodation and flights all covered for one low price.
2)Alternative Spring Break – If you’re looking for a more meaningful Spring Break, check out groups like Break Away that provide Spring Break opportunities for college students that involve issue-based volunteer work with community groups and organizations across the country. If you’d rather make a contribution to society than lounging on the beach, looking into these cool opportunities will be right up your alley.
3)Get A Job – While many student’s instincts are to spend money during Spring Break, it can also be a great time to make some quick cash for your return to campus. Despite the fact that you’re only home for a short period of time, there are many options including babysitting and even getting put back into the schedule rotation at the job you had during high school.
4)Spring Break Exchange Programs – Some college offer short term exchange programs over Spring Break. This can give you an opportunity to experience another country without dropping a ton of money on a semester abroad program. Check with your college’s study abroad office for program offerings.
Study Tips For College
Somewhere between making the rounds on the college bar circuit and barely attending class, every college student has to finally buckle down and actually get a little bit of studying done. With all of the distractions of living on your own, new friends and crazy experiences it can sometimes be tough to concentrate and focus on getting your work done. But if you approach studying with a plan and the right tools, you can be just as successful as you would be with mom and dad breathing down your neck at home. Follow these simple tips, to ensure your GPA stays in tact as you get the most out of your college experience.
1)Find Your Ideal Study Spot – Studying in your dorm room, may work for some, but often the little cubicle that you call home is chock full of distractions. From your mom’s daily calls to check on you to your roommate’s insistence on playing EDM 24 hours a day, you might be best served to find yourself a quite go-to spot elsewhere. Some like the library, while others enjoy a quiet coffee house or even a table in the student union. Whatever your preference, scope out your campus and find the right spot for your study sessions.
2)Gather Your Supplies – Make sure that you have all of the supplies you need before you start studying. Snacks, study materials, highlighters, notecards, gather it all before hand so that you’re not constantly shifting your attention to missing items.
3)Use Notecards – A great way to highlight information that you need to know is to jot it down on a notecard to create flashcards for yourself. Quiz yourself on the material over the course of semester and you’ll be well on your way to not having to cram at the end of the semester
4)Take Good Notes & Review Them – Going to class is essential, often times things that aren’t covered in your textbook, will be discussed in class, so take good notes. Don’t assume that everything you will need for the exam will be in the text.
5)Stay On Top Of The Readings – There is nothing worse than having to read a whole semester worth of notes the day before the final. Stay on top of the reading assignments. If for some reason you begin to fall behind, give yourself a catch up weekend to get caught back up. Don’t wait until the end of the semester.
Walk Of Shame Tips
So you hooked up with someone last night and you’re waking up in a foreign apartment or dorm room and are going to have to do the traditional “Walk of Shame” to get back to your dorm. This can be a total downer especially when you realize that you had beer goggles on the night before and your hook-up is less than attractive in the sunlight. While this is not the ideal situation, there are a few things that one can do to make things slightly more dignified.
1)Dress Accordingly – If you’re honest with yourself and you know that you’re prone to hook-ups, you should definitely make sure you’re prepared before you go out at night. For starters wear a jacket so that you’re not freezing to death as you walk home the next morning or, worse, having to borrow clothing that will need to be returned. Realistically, your hook-up may not be someone you want to have to see again. Also, ladies, don’t wear your stilettos if there’s a chance that you might have to walk home. There are still plenty of cute shoe styles that don’t involve killer heels.
2)Prepare – Again, if you know you have a history of hooking up, having a little care pack for yourself in your purse or jacket pocket is also not a bad idea. Items like a small brush or comb, Listerine breath strips, traveler sized deodorant, purse sized facial wipes, can allow you to pull yourself together in a rush.
3)Uber – If you live in a college town with Uber service, sign yourself up for an account. You can stealthily order yourself a car without even picking up the phone. Use this method, and you can avoid the walk of shame all together and ride home with your dignity.
4)Make An Early Exit – There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to do the walk of shame during high traffic hours. Everyone knows what you’ve been up to. Save yourself the public scrutiny and hit the road at first light. Do not hit snooze!
Party Options In College
College isn’t all about studying, it’s also probably the only time in your life when you’ll have an array of social options every night of the week, and enough time and energy to actually enjoy them. As far as going out, there’s more than just bars to hang out at on a college campus. What are your other options for partying? Check out a couple of these options for a guaranteed good time.
After Hours – Once the bars close, the party isn’t necessarily over. Make friends with students in the Greek system and you’ll have no problem getting into these parties, usually held at frat houses on campus. At these parties you can expect an over packed house, a ton of red solo cups filled with keg beer and an over-served crowd. The really good after-hours parties sometimes also feature popular campus bands for entertainment.
House Parties - The Greeks aren’t the only ones hosting parties after-hours. On a much smaller scale you can have a great time at house/apartment parties, usually held by upper classmen off campus. Again, the red solo cup will be present alongside a keg of beer, but expect a bit more laidback crowd. These parties are great for nights when you don’t want to deal with a massive crowd.
Exchanges or Date Parties – If you’re a member of a fraternity or sorority, you’ll likely have a full calendar of parties held by your chapter in partnership with another house. These are often themed with motifs like Barndance or Formal. Drinking is regulated at these events on most campuses, so these parties can be a bit less crazy than after-hours.
Campus Sponsored Events – If you’re just getting your feet wet on being social in college, try the college-sponsored events on your campus. Often these events are held at the student union and can be anything from dances to mixers. Drinking usually isn’t involved, so if you’re looking for a little sober fun, these can be a great option.
How To Win Over Your Professor With Out Being A Brown-Noser
In the quest for good grades in college, sometimes having a good relationship with your professor can mean the difference between a mediocre grade and a stellar one. Remember that much of your grade can be subjective in college. While you’ll need to get good scores on exams, getting a professor to like what you have to say in class or on papers can also be a great way to influence your grade. Remember these simple tips when trying to build a relationship with your professor…and remember there’s no need to go overboard, sucking up can back fire.
1)Sit In A Visible Location – You don’t have to sit in the front row, but also don’t sit in the dark shadows at the back of a lecture hall. Giving your professor an opportunity to see what you look like can be an easy way to start your relationship with them.
2)Contribute to the Discussion – Even if you’re not into speaking up in class, make a point to answer a question or contribute to discussion at least once per class session. It lets the professor know that you’re tuned in, (even if only for the first five minutes of class). Contributing even on a very minimal level gives the professor something to connect with you and may even help them remember your name. In large classroom settings getting name recognition can be really difficult. This is a great tool to earn that.
3)Office Hours – Most professors will offer office hours, which is a chance for you to talk to your professor one-on-one if you have questions or want to discuss anything further. You don’t have to wait until you’re struggling to go to office hours. Maybe you read an article online that pertains to class that you’d like to share with your professor. Don’t hesitate to stop by office hours and chat with your professor for a few minutes.
4)Stay On Top Of Assignments – Show your professor that you’re keeping up with the work and are engaged in class. This can be especially helpful when you’re starting to struggle with a class. If the professor knows that you’ve been trying your hardest throughout the course, they may offer you extra help or extra credit opportunities if you need to bring up your grade.
Getting Organized For Your First Semester
So you’re all moved in. You’re starting to make new friends. You’ve got your schedule all set. Now it’s almost time to start classes. What can you do to ensure that you’re totally prepared for the semester ahead? Follow these tips to get yourself organized for your first semester of college and you’ll be off to a great start.
1)Scope Out Your Class Locations – Take a good look at your schedule and make sure you know how to get to your classes. Likely you’ll be going to buildings that you haven’t yet visited and you’re not totally familiar with your campus yet. It can’t hurt to take a quick walk around campus to ensure that you know where you’re going. There’s nothing more nerve-racking than running late for your first classes.
2)Purchase Your Books Before Classes Start – Some students like to wait until after the first day of classes to buy books, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that there will be enough copies of the books you need to go around. Buy your books early to insure that you have what you need from day one.
3)Organize Your Assignments – Some people like to use a planner while others will simply work off of their syllabus all semester. Figure out the best system for you and organize your assignments accordingly.
4)Figure Out Your Weekly Schedule – In addition to classes, you may want to join activities or start a workout schedule. Take a good look at your obligations and build a workable schedule of add-ins around that. Do your best to not take on more than you can handle, especially your first semester.
5)School Supplies – Think through what supplies you will really need for class. Budget for at least a notebook and folder for every class. Supplemental items like a bulletin board, planner, highlighters and post-it-notes will also help you to stay organized over the course of the semester.
Date Night On A College Budget
So you met a really cute girl at the bars last night with more than “hook up” potential and you’d like to actually try your hand at being gentleman and impressing her with a nice date. Only trouble is that you’re pretty low on funds and book buyback isn’t for weeks so a cash influx is not imminent. What can you do to still create a memorable night without breaking the bank? Try these simple tips for a date night worth every penny.
1)Groupons – While taking a date to a nice restaurant with a regular old coupon is kind of lame, there’s something less skeevy about Groupons. Use your Groupon on a unique experience like a wine tasting or a boat ride and she’ll totally forget that she’s on a budget date, simply because you used a little creativity in selecting the date activity.
2)Make Dinner – Date night doesn’t always have to be about going out. Hit up Foodnetwork.com for some simple, easy-to-follow recipes that can be whipped up, or checkout Micro-Fridge Masterpieces on this site for some quick recipes you make in a dorm room with limited effort.
3)Screening Tickets – Going to the movies is always popular date night fare. Film companies love to do advance screenings of upcoming films on college campuses. Check out sites that offer information on screenings coming up in your area. Tickets are free, and your date will be impressed that you were able to snag passes to the hottest blockbuster that isn’t even in theaters yet.
4)Student ID Deals – One of the benefits of being a student are the discounts that you can get just by showing your student ID. You may be able to take your date to a play or a stand-up comedy event for really cheap. Check your college or university’s student ID website to find out what deals your ID can get you.
How To Tell If You Should Drop A Class
Trying to figure out if you should drop a class can be a tough decision and you have a REALLY short window of opportunity to make that decision before you reach the point of no return and must take whatever grade you wind up earning. There are a couple of things to consider when making this decision.
1)Do I Need This Class To Graduate? – Grab your course catalog and check to see if there are other classes that will fulfill this requirement that might be more appealing.
2)Do I Have Time To Enroll in Another Course? If you’re trying really hard to graduate on time, is this going to throw you off schedule? Is it worth dropping the class and having to take another semester or summer classes?
3)Am I Trying Hard Enough? - Have you let the class slide too much, but could turn it around by really buckling down
4)Is It Just The Teacher I Don’t Like? - Perhaps you’re interested in the subject but just don’t like how it’s being taught. Maybe there is another section you can switch into or take the following semester.
At the end of the day, you really need to keep an eye on your progress in class to ensure that you’re moving towards a positive outcome when your grades come in. Some good warning signs to look for that indicate you might not fare well in the rest of the class are…
1) You’re having a difficult time paying attention in class. The subject isn’t connecting with you.
2) You’re not motivated to do the required reading and you’re substantially far behind already, early in the game.
3) You do well in other classes but this teacher scores you low on class assignments.
4) Your test and quiz scores are troublesome.
5) You find it difficult even to motivate yourself to go to the class.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs in your own behavior. If things are not going well before the mid-term, things likely won’t get much better. Consider dropping the course or switching to pass/fail if that’s an option at your school.
Fighting Homesickness Freshman Year
For some starting college is a breeze. They make friends easily, settle into classes and even thrive in the new responsibility and social life balance that college presents. Many other students however don’t fare so well. Missing home is totally natural. I mean, home is this great place where mom makes dinner, we have tons of friends, our lives aren’t confined to a tiny space that we have to share with another person. The transition can be tough. The important thing is to make sure that you aren’t letting it ruin your college experience. Below are a few tips for improving your situation if you’ve got a bad case of homesickness.
1)Make New Friends – Friends are 100% the most important element to having a great college experience. Your friends are the ones that are going to order late night pizza with you when you’re feeling lonely, or will take you to a great party when all you want to do is call home. Concentrate a good amount of time building up a support network on campus for yourself. You’ll find that there’s nothing wrong with having 2 families, one in your hometown and one on campus.
2)Fight The Urge To Call Home – When we’re homesick our immediate urge is to call home and talk to mom or dad or a sibling, but sometimes its best to cut the cord for a bit and allow yourself to feel lonely for a bit on your own. Eventually you’ll go into self preservation mode figure out a way to make yourself happy on your own without the comfort of your parents.
3)Ask For A Care Package – Parents love putting together care packs for their college kids. Have mom fill up a box of some of your favorite things from home. Maybe you’re missing that Carmel corn from a special store in your hometown, or perhaps you’d like a photo of your kid sister’s birthday party that you missed to frame on your desk. Your parents want you to succeed at college. Just tell them you need a little pick-me- up.
4)Be Patient – Sometimes things don’t come easily for everyone. Give it time…or as they say, give it the old college try!
Surviving A Group Project
One of the most annoying things to hear in college is that you will have to work on a group project. Inevitably you’ll be saddled with some people that won’t do any work, at least one person that actually hinders the work, someone overly bossy and a bunch of people that you probably don’t know at all. Additionally, chances are really good that at the end of the day, you’ll end up doing the majority of the work because you want to get a good grade. The question is, what can you do to better your chances of surviving the group project experience? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
1)If you can pick your group, choose wisely. Just because Joe is fun to party with at the bars, doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good person to do your PoliSci project with.
2)Try to establish a leader for your group. Nothing makes things move more slowly than not having anyone serve as a decision maker or authority. Even if it has to be you, try to get the group to choose someone to lead.
3)Divide up tasks from the outset. Make sure everyone is responsible for something. That way everyone knows that someone else’s grade is dependent upon him or her not dropping the ball.
4)Meet up as much as possible even if its just after class breaks for ten-minutes. Checking in on everyone’s progress is key.
5)Try to bond the group by inviting everyone over for beer and a brainstorming session. People are less likely to let their friends down than strangers, so make friends and lessen the chance that you’ll have to do someone else’s work.
6)Create hard and fast deadlines over the course of the projects. College students will leave things to the last minute if given the opportunity. Don’t give them the option.
7)Most importantly, make sure that everyone has each other’s contact information. Both email and cell phone. Communication is essential when working on any group project.
Your First Hangover
College is often the first place where people really experiment with drinking, an experiment that sometimes goes horribly wrong. One of the worst feelings in the world occurs upon waking up after a night of hard partying with. Your stomach is a wreck, but you’re somehow also starving, your head is throbbing, your tongue feels like you licked a carpet. You literally feel like death and you’re not really sure which problem to tackle first. Use this step-by-step guide to deal with very first hangover and you’ll be back up in running in no time.
1)First things first, recognize that probably about 50% of your problem right now is that you’re dehydrated. Get to your micro-fridge or the nearest vending machine and get yourself a bottle or two of water.
2)Find an aspirin or ibuprofen. Attending to your headache right away is key to rebooting the system.
3)As you’re slowly drinking your water and waiting for the aspirin to kick in, try to get a good sense of your current situation. Did you vomit or make a mess last night that will need attending to? Did you drunk dial anyone? Did you do anything embarrassing last night? Try to really assess your situation.
4)Once your head ceases pounding and your hydration level has recovered, you’re likely going to be hungry. Now this is very important; If you feel hungry but also feel like you could vomit at the same time, a great secret solution is to call your local Chinese delivery and order wonton soup. Initially just drink the broth, which will continue to hydrate you, but will also make you feel like you’re getting sustenance. If all goes well with the broth, you can also eat the wontons. Now on the other hand if your stomach is in pretty good shape, the best thing to do is find some greasy comfort food, breakfast sandwiches are the best or a good cheeseburger. You’ll feel like a new person after getting something in your stomach.
5)At this point you may need to take another little nap, but if you’re feeling pretty good, now is a good time to deal with anything that you identified during your assessment period as needing attending to. Clean up physical messes, repair friendships…oh and don’t forget to take a shower!
6)Get plenty of rest and additional water and you should be back to normal in no time.
What to Expect On Your First Day Of Class
You’ve probably seen a million movies where the lowly freshman gets served by some troll-like professor on their first day of school. The freshman hasn’t read the summer reading and is already behind, according to the professor. In reality this is a pretty unlikely scenario. More likely on the first day of class, you’ll find your professor fumbling around with the AV equipment in the classroom. They almost never know how to use it properly, so that will eat up at least 10 minutes of your time. Then of course comes the ceremonial distribution of the syllabus. This is a ritual that is somewhat annoying as your professor will simply read verbatim, what he or she has written on the piece of paper, as you will inevitably be thinking about the extra hour of sleep that you could have gotten had they just emailed you the syllabus.
Another tradition on the first day of class is figuring out where to sit. You’re going to want to get to class early so that you can really assess the situation. No one wants to be in the “splash zone,” which is the first few rows in any classroom or lecture hall. This is where you sit if you want to be called on to answer questions on a daily basis, or to be that person that the teacher thinks he or she has a relationship with of some sort. Then there are the back row seats, which are ideal for those that think they might doze off during class or might want to duck out early. Then of course there is the power row. Somewhere in the middle of the classroom, this is where all of the middle of the road students will sit. This is the section for those that can answer questions and participate, but don’t have any designs on being the teacher’s pet. Figuring out where you fit in, in this hierarchy is really the goal of your first day of class…oh and figuring out how you’ll duck into class undetected when you inevitably arrive late during the semester.
Beyond that, for most students this first day of class isn’t so much about impressing the teacher, as it is about the teacher impressing them. A large percentage of students decide after their first class whether or not they will want to commit to attend it for an entire semester and whether or not the content is going to be useful to them. For this reason, the first day of class is definitely worth your undivided attention.
I Hate My Roommate, Now What?
As much as colleges try to match you up with someone that is a good fit for you as a roommate, they aren’t magic genies. From time to time a really bad match is made and you have to make a decision to either suffer through it or bail. If you choose to stick it out with your not-so-cool roomie, here are a few tips to making it work.
1)Scheduling – If you really don’t enjoy spending time with your roommate figuring out the best way to see less of them is a good idea. Keep track of their class schedule and general habits in terms of when they are in the room and schedule your time in the room around this. Perhaps when your roommate gets home would be a good time for you to go to the gym for a bit.
2)Make Other Friends In Your Hall – Having another room close by and people that you get along with, will be important. Do your best to make friends will other students in your hall, so that you always have a place to escape to when you need a break from your roomie.
3)Fights – If your roommate is constantly picking fights or agitating you. Try to keep your cool. Don’t stoop to their level or the situation could escalate and you’ll be in an even worse situation. Remember you live with this person.
4)ATreaty – Perhaps you and your roommate can both acknowledge that you’re not going to be friends but since you’re stuck together you can come to an agreement on the best ways to navigate each other. Talking through the situation can sometimes lead to finding common ground.
5)Giving Up – Don’t feel bad if you can’t make it work with your roommate. Some combinations just don’t fit together. If your living situation is affecting your ability to attend college, inducing depression or you even feel afraid in your own room, don’t hesitate to head to the housing authority and see what they can do to rectify the situation.
6)If you go to school on a college campus where Greek life is big, you may notice that the Greeks have a whole language of their own. If you’re wondering what the heck their talking about or if you’re planning to join a sorority or fraternity and want to sound like an old pro, here is a primer on some of the terms that you might hear thrown about in the sorority and fraternity houses on your campus.
7)Bid Night – This is the night when sororities and fraternities officially invite their desired new members to join the house with a bid.
8)Greek Week – A week when frats and sororities celebrate being a part of the Greek system. This is usually acknowledge with a week of parties and special events that all Greeks can attend.
9)Bigs and Littles – Upon joining a house, you are assigned to an older member of the sorority and they are meant to serve as a guide or mentor. This person is known as your big or little.
10)Date Party/Exchanges – These are events when a sorority and fraternity partner up to through a party for the membership of both houses.
11)Initiation – Initiation is the formal process of joining a Greek organization. This usually involves some sort of ritual that is specific to each sorority or fraternity.
12)Improptu – These are short notice date parties or exchanges. Guests will have 48 hours or so to quickly arrange for a date to attend the party.
13)Lavalier - This is a necklace bearing the Greek letters of a fraternity or sorority. Person can be “lavaliered” if they are dating someone and that person wishes for them to wear the letters of their sorority as a symbol of their bond.
14)Legacy – A legacy is someone that has family members that have belonged to a sorority or fraternity in the past, meaning that they have an edge on also being initiated into the sorority.
15)Paddles – These wooden paddles are emblazoned with the Greek letters of a house and are given as gifts to new initiates.
16)Pledge Families – On some campuses bigs and littles are also known as pledge moms and pledge dads. Often a pledge mother from a sorority and a pledge dad from a fraternity will join up and become a pledge family, giving the new initiates that they are mentoring a familial connection to a sister or brother sorority or fraternity.
17)Pledging – The act of actually committing to join a sorority or fraternity and completing all of the activities that that involves.
18)Preffing – This is the process during the rush period where houses discuss which rushees they would like to accept into the house and what their order of preference is in the mix. Likewise, this can also refer to rushees deciding which houses they prefer over others that they have rushed.
19)Rush – Rush is the formal process of choosing a fraternity or sorority.
20)Ritual – This is whatever secret practices a house puts in place to perform certain tasks amongst the membership. This can include initiation as well as formal chapter proceedings.
Governing The Greeks
If you choose to join a sorority, one of the biggest parts of the experience…after the parties, is the house executive board. Most houses have dozens of governing positions that keep the sorority and all of its activities up and running, but which ones are the most important and worth running for?
President - This is of course the top position in the house. Not only does that likely give you the biggest living quarters if you live in a sorority house and command of your sorority, you’re also now your house’s delegate for your campus’s Panhellenic Council, the main point of contact for your sorority’s corporate board and you’re considered a campus leader. This position is actually quite a bit of work and responsibility, so if you’re considering this for just the title alone, this job may be more than you bargained for.
Rush Chair – Probably the 2nd most important job in the house is rush chair, as they are responsible for attracting the next generation of your sorority. In this position you are the most outward facing member of your sorority and representing your house in a classy way is important. This is actually a pretty great position as your responsibilities end after the rush process is complete for the most part. But keep in mind that this position will likely involve you having to work a bit over the summer, so if you don’t want your pool time interrupted, this may not be the job for you.
Social Chair – If you’re a total social butterfly, this is the job for you. This job involves building relationships with fraternities and other sororities as well as bars and event spaces where your house may have a party. If you’re thinking about event planning as a future, this is a great way to get your feet wet and can be a resume builder.
Philanthropy Chair – Every house has philanthropy that they support and while it usually only winds up being one or 2 events a year that involve philanthropy, this is a great opportunity for you as chair to build up your own charitable profile, which not only feels great because you’re giving back, but also looks great on a first resume.
Scholarship Chair – This can be a really tough job, especially if your house is struggling to maintain grades to remain eligible. A scholarship chair, not only arranges activities that encourage studying and rewards scholarship, but also maintains the house study files. This is a great position for any student that is considering teaching as a future career.
Getting Along With Your College Roommate
One of the most daunting parts about being a freshman is navigating the world of having a roommate. You’re living in extremely close quarters with someone that you most likely don’t know that well. What if this person is a total freak? What if they think I’m a total freak? Both are legitimate concerns but here are a few tips to help you make the adjustment to your new roommate.
1)Set Up A Call – You will most likely get your roommate’s contact information in the summer before you head to college. Take the time to set up a phone call with this person. It’s a great opportunity for you to discuss the items that you each hope to contribute to the room, i.e. a TV, stereo, lamps etc. Beyond that, this is your chance to start to get to know the person and try to find some common ground.
2)Don’t Be A Bunk Brat – Upon arrival, there is an impulse to just get yourself set up right away, which often first involves setting up your bed. A great way to kick off roommate animosity though is to not discuss who gets which bed. Resist the urge to bogart a bed and wait to discuss with your roommate when they arrive.
3)Lunch With The Parentals – Surprisingly, a good way to bond with your roommate is to get to know their family. On move in day, be open to your family and your roomie’s family sitting down to lunch or dinner together. Learning where people come from and getting a deeper understanding of their history is a great way to build a solid friendship.
4)A Shopping Trip – Once you’ve ditched the parents, a great way to get on the same page together is to take a trip to Target or Walgreens with your roommate to stock up on essentials or forgotten items together.
5)Give Each Other Space – Remember that you don’t have to be joined at the hip. Your roommate may become your best friend but living in tight quarters can be stressful regardless of how much you enjoy each other’s company. Making friends with others and growing separately can often strengthen the friendship.
6)Talk It Out – You’re going to fight with your roommate at some point. It’s inevitable. Keeping open lines of communication is essential.
7)Be Ok With Not Being Friends – It is possible that you might not get along with your roommate at all. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. As long as you can figure out a way to respect each other, you can probably live together. Don’t forget that this is really only for 9 months of your life. You can get through that!
College Bar Etiquette
As a college student, it’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself in a bar from time to time. While most likely no one will yell “Norm!” when you enter the bar, there are definitely ways to make a bar “yours.” Below are a few tips on how to navigate the world of the college bar.
1)Battling The Bouncer – Most college bars have a bouncer…you know someone to half-heartedly eyeball all of the fake IDs. Most likely this person is not a professional and is simply that guy that snores really loudly in the back of your SOC 101 class. He’s one of you. Chat him up and find out if you have any common ground. For example do you share the same birthday? Do you both have that awful English class on Fridays? Make friends and you may find yourself with VIP status at your favorite bar. Also, if you’re at a bar where you don’t have VIP status, know your place. Wait in line like the rest of the students. Don’t be “that guy.”
2)Tip Your Bartender – Guaranteed you’re probably pulling together your pennies every weekend to go out, but don’t be stingy with your bartenders. A) If you’re ever in a crowded college bar and you can barely get any real estate at the counter to actually place an order, remember that the bartender has a choice of who to serve first. The kid that has bought 5 rounds and left a dollar tip is going to get served far slower than the one that tips a buck or two after each round. Also, have your cash in hand. It’s the best way to let the bartender know that you’re ready to do business.
3)DJ Dilettante – Now, girls are usually the worst offenders in this case, but don’t be a DJ hog. We know you have to hear your favorite song and dance with your girls, but A) Don’t ask the DJ to play it multiple times. B) Acknowledge that other people in the bar might have different taste than you and might not want to hear all of the songs from your iTunes cue.
4)Keep It Together – No one on the bar staff wants to have to clean up your puke in the bathroom, nor do they want you passing out on the dance floor. Remember that you’re an adult now…or at least working on it. Drink responsibly!
To Study Abroad Or Not To Study Abroad…That Is The Question
It’s never too early to start thinking about whether or not you want to devote some of your time in college to studying abroad. The Study Abroad experience can be one of the most rewarding things that you will participate in during your time in school. From learning a new culture, getting a new worldview, and even possibly learning a new language, study abroad is often a life altering experience. Before you make a decision about whether you should go abroad and where you want to go, its important to take a few things into consideration as you contemplate.
Money – Studying abroad is not cheap. While in theory basic program fees are often about the same price as a semester at your normal college or university, you will also need to factor in exchange rates, the cost of travelling to your host country, living expenses, and whether you will want to do any leisure travel to neighboring countries to broaden your experience. Thinking ahead about the cost however can be helpful because there are often scholarships and grants that can help cover some of these costs. Do the research and apply early for financial aid and study abroad may not be as unaffordable as you originally thought.
Where to Study - With so many different study abroad programs available to students, it can be difficult to choose a program. But much like choosing a college, you should look to see the reputation of the schools that you’re considering. Do they have the kind of classes that you’re interested in taking? Do you want to visit a country that speaks English or are you interested in being immersed in new language. Are you comfortable in a culture that is very different than yours or should you look at countries that have more Western sensibilities.
How Do You Want To Live? – Another important thing to consider is whether you want to live abroad in a dorm style situation, live like the locals or whether you’d like to live with a family from your host country. Each option has its own unique appeal, but be sure to consider that as you’re looking at programs as well.
Part Of The World – One final thing to consider is the fact that you will likely want to travel to some of the neighboring countries of your host country. What part of the world have you really wanted to explore. Make a list ahead of time so that you can plan to see a good sampling of the globe while you’re abroad.
Things I Wish I Would Have Known Freshman Year
Freshman year can be a really exciting time, but for most it’s a never ending of array of situations that you have to deal with on your own for the first time. Looking back on my own experience as a freshman, there are a few things that I wish I would have known ahead of time to avoid stressing myself out. Lucky for you, I am willing to share my insight.
1)Take Your AP Exams – If you’re reading this and you’re still in high school and still have the opportunity to take any AP exams that you’re qualified for, take them. Despite the fact that you will enter college with the best intentions to perfectly choose all of your classes and get straight A’s, the reality is that you will likely encounter a few classes that you either need to drop or classes that you just don’t do well in. Having a few credits already in your pocket when you start college can really help when you get to the end of your college career and you realize that you’re a few credits shy of graduating. Instead of having to worry about summer school or putting off receiving your degree, get those AP credits so that you have a little cushion down the road. There’s a reason why less than 50% of students are graduating in five years instead of 4.
2)Be Wary of Your College Advisor – Your freshman year, you will likely be introduced to a college advisor, who will guide you through the process of selecting classes and putting you on the path towards declaring a major. You may or may not see this person again, but be aware that this person is seeing dozens of students and in some cases may not even be that well versed on the majors that you’re interested in. Make sure you’re doing your homework and that you know what the requirements are for the majors that you’re interested in. Finding out that you’re taking a class that you didn’t need is THE WORST.
3)Dropping Classes – Sometimes it can be difficult to admit defeat when you’re struggling in a class, and it can be extremely stressful. Our parents have always taught us to never give up, but dropping a class is not the worst thing in the world. You definitely shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. In fact it’s better to take command of your class load, than to let an awful class ruin your GPA; take too much focus away from other classes; and cause you undue stress.
While you shouldn’t make a habit of dropping classes, coming to the decision to either try a different section of a class or another option that will fulfill that same requirement is a mature thing to do. Also make sure that you are keeping an eye on the final drop date on your class calendar. There’s also nothing worse than deciding too late that you should have dropped a class. Do yourself a favor; if it really doesn’t feel right and you’re truly struggling, just drop it.
Sorority Rush Survival Guide
Joining a sorority isn’t for everyone, but for those that really embrace it, it can be an amazing experience and a place to make some of the best friends that you will ever have. While countless teen movies love to portray the rush process as some crazy or mystical process, at the end of the day rush is more like a job interview and its important to remember that as much as you want your chosen sorority to like you, they should also be trying to win you over as well. Remembering that and these few simple tips should make your rush process a breeze.
Impress The Rush Chairs – Upon entering a sorority house for the first time, you should be able to easily identify the Rush Chairs. These are the women who’s job it is to guide the house through the rush process. While you likely won’t have much one-on-one time with these women, they will be roving all of the rush parties, and sometimes complementing the rush chair on her dress in earnest or making light conversation can set you apart. Ultimately the rush chair will lead the discussion when the house is deciding whether or not to choose you and if she remembers you over others, you might give yourself an edge. Be careful not to be too aggressive with this tactic, as no one likes a suck up!
Dress For Success – This isn’t the 1950’s and you don’t have to dress like Suzy Sorority, but make sure to take care with your appearance. Showing up like you just put on the least wrinkled clothing from your hamper or like you’re not even trying, will give the wrong impression. Choose an outfit that shows your personality, wearing something that makes you stand out a bit, like a cool necklace or ring that can be a conversation starter is an asset. Remember to dress in something that you would normally wear, don’t wear something that you think the house would want you to wear. There’s no sense in joining a house that wouldn’t like the real you. Most importantly, be aware that many rush processes involve working on crafts or sitting on the floor, dress so that you can do these things comfortably and in a dignified manner.
Conversation Is Key – The majority of the rush process is about conversations. While its important to tell your future sorority sisters who you are, it is also equally important to understand who they are as well. Answer their questions, but also be sure to ask some questions of them as well. Likewise, you may also be in a group conversation with other rushees, chat them up as well. Sororities like to see that you will make friends with other easily and you never know, the rushee sitting next to you might wind up being your roommate when you get to move into the house!
Dropping Names – If you know a girl that is already in the house that you’re rushing, don’t hesitate to drop her name if she’s a friend. You may find that she is put into rotation to rush you during the next stage of rush, which gives you an advantage. Conversely if there are girls in the house that you know but don’t get along with, there is no need to draw attention to that. Your best bet is to impress those that are rushing you on your own merits as their votes will be most important.
Smile – As awkward as rush can be, if you can smile your way through it you’re already ahead of the game. Even if you’re having the worst time ever during rush; the heel fell of your shoe and your hair is frizzed; grin and bear it and you’ll be a Greek goddess before you know it!
Getting Involved On Campus
It can be incredibly tempting to just kick back and coast through college. Afterall, you worked your butt off in high school to get there, right? You deserve to take 3 days of class and have a 4-day weekend, right? Try again. College is actually a great time to start thinking about your future and how you’ll want to present yourself when you’re looking for a job after college. Being involved in campus activities is a great way to start building up what will soon be your first resume. So during your first week of school, don’t ignore the flyers inviting you to Student Activity Day on the quad.
Student Activity Day or Quad Day as many schools call them is a day when many of the campus activities that your school has to offer, set up booths in public so that students can find out about organizations that they can join and meet the students that are in charge of them. You’ll find everything from student government and intramural sports to specialty clubs professional fraternities and spirit organizations. Fill up your backpack with flyers and information that day and really take the time to look at your options.
A great rule of thumb is to choose at least one activity that compliments your major. For example if you’re in the School of Communications, maybe join the school newspaper or radio station. Then add in a fun spirit group or activity like the Quidditch club, just for fun as these take up minimal amounts of time. And finally if you really want to impress employers in the future, add in a leadership organization like student government or the student alumni association and you’ll have 4 years of experience that can be easily translated into experience for your first job and likely a bevy of great contacts for the future.
Let’s be real, as much as you will try to be a good student from the onset of college, there is probably going to come a time when you will need to cram for a final exam. Either your choice to schedule a 7am class didn’t work well with your sleep schedule or you attended class but didn’t stay on top of the readings as much as you should have, cramming is often a reality of college. Believe it or not, you can actually teach yourself an entire semester of material in a matter of days or at least memorize what will be required to pass the test. First off, you will need to hunt down the right supplies.
Class Notes – Whether you have good notes of your own or you can bum them off of a friend, your first job is to track down what was covered in class. Now if you don’t have good notes or have any friends in class (because you never went to class), you’re not totally dead in the water. Most larger campuses have local businesses that hire students to take notes in class so that they can sell them to students just like yourself. Keep in mind that these notes are taken by students just like you, so they may be great, or they may be terrible, but given that you have nothing to work with, this is your best bet.
Now, upon receiving the notes, skip ahead to the notes for the last class, where most likely your professor outlined what you will need to know for the exam. You don’t have time to read an entire semester of material, so use this to make a map for yourself of what key information you will need to pull out of the text and memorize.
Flash Cards – Buy yourself a stack of index cards and make flash cards for yourself that include the information that you have identified that you must know for the test. Quiz yourself on this information endlessly until you can recite the information backwards and forwards.
Past Final Exams – As much as teachers hate it, every campus has past exams floating around. Sometimes the store where you purchased your class notes will sell them, or you can find them at sororities and fraternities that keep test files. If you can, find a copy of a past version of the exam that you’re going to take. Use that to test yourself on the material to make sure you know enough of what has been covered.
Snacks and Caffeine – If you blew off the semester, just accept the fact that you will have to lock yourself in a room and study hard for about 48 hours. Having plenty of snacks and caffeine handy is best so that you won’t be tempted to stray during your study sessions.
Cramming is definitely a last resort tactic. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t get yourself in this situation again. Next semester is always fresh with no mistakes in it yet. Make a commitment to attend class more frequently and keep up with the reading so that cramming doesn’t become the norm.
Avoiding the Freshman 15
Everyone has heard of it…the dreaded Freshman 15. How do you avoid packing on extra pounds your first year of college when you’ve got all-you-can-eat, soft serve in your dorm cafeteria, late night pizza sessions with friends and maybe you’ve become intimately acquainted with your new friends Bud, Jack Daniels and that crazy guy Captain Morgan. Surprisingly staying in decent shape in college isn’t that difficult if you make a plan for yourself from day one. Below are a few tips to help you fight the freshman 15.
School Gyms &Fitness Centers
Most colleges and universities these days offer gyms and fitness centers that you’ll have access to, just by using your student ID. On the larger campuses these may seem a bit intimidating on day one, but it’s definitely worth it to get acquainted with the equipment and in some cases fitness classes that you’ll have at your disposal over the course of your college experience. Take a look at your class schedule and factor in an hour to get your sweat on after class. It’s a great way to relieve stress, stay in shape and can be something fun to do with roommates or new friends.
Many colleges have dropped physical education requirements to graduate, but most still offer interesting classes like ice-skating, tennis and even bowling to fulfill graduation requirements for majors that require them, but they are generally open to any student. If you know you’re not one to hit the gym after class, scheduling a class for which you will also receive credit might be just the thing to help you insure that you’re getting a little bit of physical activity each week.
Some people hate the gym or group physical activity and would rather keep their workouts to the privacy of their own homes. Buy an inexpensive set of dumbbells and a medicine ball and you can follow along with professionally created workouts right on your iPod or cell phone. Apps like Nike Training make it easy to completely customize your workouts, set a plan for yourself and track your success.
Smart Food Choices
While there are a lot of ways to go wrong with your eating habits in college, if you make some rules for yourself from the outset, you can easily avoid taking in too many calories each day. Remember not to pile your plate high in the cafeteria when you’re in line. You can always go back through for seconds if necessary. Limit your sweets and desserts to one serving. Late night pizza is a right of passage in college but making a commitment to only doing that once a week will also help. Also don’t forget that the biggest calorie killer is alcohol. The empty calories can pack on the calories fast.