With Spring Break right around the corner that means there’s only a few months separating all you high school seniors from leaving your comfortable digs as upperclassmen and becoming graduates, alumni and soon-to-be college students. The prospect of college may seem scary, nerve-wracking and exciting; I know it was all of the above for me. I was a 4.0 GPA student who was involved in everything in high school from student council to yearbook, theater and the National Honor Society. You name it, I probably was in it. I was one of “those” students who over-achieved, tried way too hard and took high school maybe a little more seriously than I should have. But that was my personality; I am a type-A, driven individual who works hard at everything and anything I do.

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I will be the first admit that I’m not the greatest when it comes to studying. If I know it’s a super important test then I will study by butt off, but other than that I’m guilty like the rest of you that hate studying.

1) Don’t wait until the last minute
Guilty as charged. It’s not that mean I wait until last minute to start to cramming for a test that I already knew about weeks in advance…it’s just that I kind of forgot about it. Most professors start to tell you to study as soon as they tell you about the test, and for some people that works. I would advise to start studying a week before the test, that way you don’t forget the material or get it mixed up with new material.

2) Rewrite your notes
I know it sounds redundant and more work than it’s worth, but believe me when I say it helps so much. Making note cards and flashcards work for basic classes and some majors, but not for all of them. If you are on that is guilty of copying down every single word that a professor puts on a powerpoint then here is your chance to write the notes in your own words to make sure you understand the material.

3) Go to office hours or email your professor
All professors have office hours, and they want you to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t understanding something, need more of explanation, or you aren’t sure what is going to be on test. Some professors will tell you to email them with your questions, and if you have any, I advice you do. It will not help them, but you will start to understand the material better, and the professor will more than likely remember that you asked a question.

4) Take breaks
I don’t mean that you look at something for five minutes and then decide to binge watch a whole season on Netflix. That also means that you don’t sit there and try to cram stuff into your little brain for seven hours. Listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to breaks, and sleep. Every once in awhile taking a dance party break won’t hurt and will help you refocus when the time comes.

5) Avoid all social media
This is tough one for all of us, because we want to watch the latest YouTube video, try to figure out who Sally is talking about on Twitter when she starts to quote tweets with “this”. The SelfControl
app is a great way to put a blocker on your web browsers and phones. Believe me, you might think you have the willpower to not look at your phone, but we all know the minute you take a glimpse at it, you’re done.

Do you have any tips on studying? If so share in the comments below! We’d love to hear! 

 

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Read more about Katie here

 

The reality of choosing a college is sometimes it is a truly daunting task. There are so many programs to choose from, schools to pick, or even alternative programs if you decide not to go to a university.

Choosing a college to attend after my senior year of high Shhool was a challenge. I know I wasn’t alone in this decision as many of my friends and I would have in depth conversations over lunch about which schools would best fit us. Maybe you’re caught in trying to figure out where to attend as well. Never fear, you are not alone!

However, there are a several things you can do to make this monumental task easier.

1. Start by picking a program or major you are interested in
Find a program or area of study you are interested in and look for college’s which have a program that matches. Since college is expensive, it is worth it to choose a school which you can successfully graduate from to do something you love. It will also narrow down the amount of schools to chose from. 

In high school I chose to follow a pre-physical therapy track as well as looking at schools with an education program. (Two very different programs) While I was looking around for colleges, I was amazed at how many schools didn’t have both of those programs. This helped me to eliminate many schools and narrow down my search.

2. Figure out your budget
Now that you’ve narrowed down your pool of schools, the next step is to figure out if your budget fits any of them. Discuss with anyone who may be helping you with college or look at your own bank account to figure out what your budget may be. Make sure you choose a school which fits your budget and that you can attend that makes sense financially. 

By determining your budget, this should also help you narrow down what you are looking for. There will be some schools you may not be able to afford, and that is okay. Eliminate them from your list of schools.

3. Determine Whether to Stay In-State, or Attend Out-of-State.
This was a huge deciding factor of mine. Some of the schools I was interested in were on the other side of the country and at least three times zones away. I decided because of that, they would have to be eliminated from the list. Others were less than an hour from home. As much as I love my parents, I did want my college experience to be a little further away, so I ended up eliminating the schools closest to home. I decided because of Colorado (my home) was similar to the Midwest and not too far away, I’d limit myself to schools in the Central US.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with going to school out of state whatsoever, so you limit yourself to schools in-state. Maybe you don’t want to go to a school in-state which can also narrow down your list. Make sure you factor in transportation to school from home as you make your decision.

4. College Visit
When you have a few schools on your list you are serious about, consider going on college visits to each school. As a former Admissions Ambassador for my school, I cannot stress this enough. The top school on my list I idolized. It was my dream school even when I hadn’t been there before. When my parents took me to visit the school I was shocked to find everyone I came in to contact with was rude and cold-shouldered. I was so disappointed until I realized how much of a blessing going on that college visit had been. Had I gone ahead with attending school there without visiting first, I cannot see myself happy for long.

Visiting a college can give you a good feel as to what the school is like; how the campus feels, who the people that attend are, and how the classes go. I would recommend staying overnight in the dorms if the college allows it, and even attending a few classes. Get a good feel for the school with the whole intent of trying to understand, “Does this college fit me?”

5. Apply
Don’t delay too long in applying for schools. Apply for more than one or two schools just in case something doesn’t work out with your top choice. Make sure you proofread your application essays and have other friends read through them as well to make sure they best fit you. I even asked my teachers in high school to read through them to make sure they sounded strong. 

6. Look for Scholarships
Once you have applied, maybe received a few college offers, start looking and applying for scholarships. There are so many out there. Sites such as Scholarship.com or even googling “Scholarships” can bring up a wealth of resources. Or ask your guidance counselor because chances are they have a list of various scholarships to apply for. Often, churches or small clubs and organizations offer scholarships which few people know about. Take a look around, I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. 

7. Talk about your college decision
The best thing you can do is talk about your college decision. Getting others’ input can be incredibly helpful, whether it’s your parents, teachers, guidance counselor, best friend, other family members or someone you trust.  By talking things through you can often make sense of the right path for yourself. This isn’t a decision to take lightly and it helps to have your tribe on board.

8. Make the decision that best fits you
In the end, your decision is up to you. Choose the college which best fits yourself, and celebrate when you decide! This is an exciting time in life and now all that’s left is to go enjoy it!

How did you pick your college? Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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So you’ve done it. You’ve eaten your weight in turkey, shopped your heart out on Black Friday, and have successfully made it back to school! First of all, Congratulations! The holidays are here and you’re well on your way to a wonderful Holiday Season.

So now you’re back at school, you have a few weeks until heading home for Winter Break and you’re now wondering how the heck you’re going to make it through to Finals.

Don’t worry! We’ve all been there. This is a time all students go through. It’s the time after a restful break at home and the only thing tying you down before an ever longer holiday break. Although this may not be the most comfortable place to be, it’s still something you’ve gotta push through.

And since it is College, you’ve got to end the year strong!

Here are some ways you can push through this study slump and finish the semester strong!

1. Plan out your time. Without a doubt, planning your time does wonders for making sure you get things done and in manageable-not-so-overwhelming chunks. Write down the date of your final test or project in your planner and begin to backtrack. Write down what you need to do each night in order to feel confident by the time the Finals roll around. Let’s say you have a final two weeks out and you know you need to study a variety of different parts of the material covered this semester. In order to achieve all that studying, work on Unit 1 for two days, Unit 2 for another two days, etc., that way by the time the Final rolls around you have prepared yourself as well as you could. The biggest tip with planning out your time is to break your time into parts you know you can accomplish.

2. Find a study buddy. Find someone else and study together. Sometimes you really do need someone who shares your frustration of studying and to know you’re not alone. Plus a study buddy can help you review materials for the final. 

3. Plan fun things to do. Don’t worry about studying constantly, but rather find something fun to do to break up your studying! Go see a movie, bowl, eat a nice dinner. Choose something as a reward for your studying. Plan it out so your reward can happen after a productive study session is complete. Planning out something fun always kept me excited to study because I knew there was something enjoyable waiting for me when I was done.

4. Don’t worry about what you haven’t done so far this semester. Just keep working to get done what you need to get done. Find a tutor to clear up any questions or, if possible, go and ask a professor for help. If you keep looking at mistakes in your courses from this semester you may get caught up in how you aren’t feeling so great about some classes. Do the best you can and that’s the best you can do. It’s always better to have a positive attitude as you move forward in to finals.

5. Take care of yourself. No matter how far you may be behind, try to put yourself first. This means prioritizing time to sleep, stay active and study. Finding a balance to help your brain rest can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go! Eat healthy meals and try not to snack on too much sugar so you don’t crash later on. When you get a chance, go for a walk or work out. Spending time active actually leaves you more energized than before, and helps your brain to retain more information.

6. Surround yourself with positivity. This may sound corny, but how many times have you gone to see a movie with a motivational plot? You probably walked out of the theater feeling empowered. The same holds true to studying. Listen to a podcast, watch a motivational speaker video or spend time with friends who will keep you positive. A little dose of positivity can go a long way.

The time preparing for Finals can be frustrating, but hopefully these tips can help you feel better about it! You’ve only got a few weeks to go before your long holiday break arrives, and you’ve already survived the first part of your semester! You’ve got this! And when your Finals are said and done, all the prep leading up to it will all have been well worth it. Keep going!!

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Because contrary to popular belief, not all millennials living in their parent’s basements are content to be there forever.

1. Transitioning from Collegiate Life to Real Life Can Be Hard
Two of my favorite things about college were having a consistent schedule and living with and near all of my friends.  Sure, some semesters that schedule started at 8 a.m. and ended somewhere around 1 a.m. the next morning, but it was consistent. This sometimes wild form of consistency was made easier by the fact that I lived with 3 of my best friends. The beautiful thing about college is that it gives you some real adult life experience, while still allowing you to stay up late eating pizza and drinking cheap wine.

Then you graduate, and you move to different places. The consistency you once had is replaced with endless daily quasi-chaos. You spend your days applying for jobs, starting a new job, or finding different ways to fill the time in your day not committed to filling out job applications. No matter which direction your life goes, you don’t experience the same kind of consistency you did in college, and that can be hard to get used to.

Beyond that, many times your friends end up in different places. All of my roommates live in different states than I do now. I moved back to my parents’ house, back to my bedroom, which just so happens to be in the basement.  Hence, I began my life as a proud college graduate in my parents’ basement in my small hometown in Wisconsin. Population: 2,856, median age: 52.7, closest movie theater: roughly 30 minutes. If you need to buy clothes, you drive a good hour; unless you want to get them at Wal-Mart, which is only a half an hour. It’s safe to say this was a change of pace for me. After four years immersed in a culture of people in my age group, I moved to a place where the only ones in my age group are a few people I went to high school with who never left. It can be hard to be so isolated, especially in a time of change.

But just because change is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad. You just need to find ways or reasons to love the situation you’re in. I love my life now because my 16 year-old brother is there. He plays 3 varsity sports at our high school, and I get to watch every game. More than that, after being gone for four years of college, I missed a lot of his life and he’s turned into a pretty cool kid. Sure, I still miss having a consistent life, and I definitely miss having my friends around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the best in the changes life throws your way.

2. Finding a “Big Girl Job” Can Be Hard, Too
Job hunting (for a lot of people) is hard. In my experience it’s been made more difficult by the fact that I’m looking for a teaching job. Some jobs you can find year round, teaching jobs are really only open from about April to August. If you don’t get one then, you’ll more than likely have to wait until the next year to look for a full time job. Even if you aren’t a teacher, however, it can take a while to find somewhere to work. Filling out an application is hard, and interviewing can be harder. After submitting multiple applications without getting an interview, it can feel like you’ll never be good enough or that there’s something magically wrong with you that makes no one want to hire you. But eventually, your curse will break. And some employer, somewhere will call you for an interview. Here’s your shot.

I’ve decided there are very few things in the world as weird as the minutes right after an interview. You put yourself on the line trying to get a group of strangers to like you and then you leave knowing that the group of strangers is talking about whether or not they like you. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t; but you can’t take it personally. Employers are looking for more than just your qualification. Sometimes they look for experience, and sometimes they’re just waiting to find someone with that je ne sais quoi.  When the right job comes along, you’ll get it. I’ve never experienced such a test, and growth, in patience as I have experienced job hunting.

3. You Won’t Have it All Together, and that’s O.K.
My life is nowhere close to “together.” Sometimes that really stresses me out, but I’m learning to accept it. Transitioning from college to real life collides with job hunting and the result is this mass anarchical chaos that feels a little smothering sometimes. Especially when I look at some of my friends who are married and have kids and steady jobs and their own places to live. But they don’t have it all together either. I’m firmly convinced that you can never truly get it all together, you just work hard to get as much as you can in place and minimize the mess with the rest.

That’s not to say the chaos is always smothering, or that at times you won’t be perfectly happy with the ratio of chaos to calm in your life. As much as I believe no one really gets it all together, I believe even more in loving the life you have and finding the best in it. There are some things in life you just can’t control. Your attitude and effort are always within your power to change. If you want to, you will always be able to find something wrong or something to complain about. But you’ll also always be able to find something right or something to enjoy. The choice is yours. You may not have everything together right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to love it.

What are some things you have learned in post-grad life? Share in the comments below! 

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‘Class is canceled’ those are some of the best words a college student could hear. After waking up early to get to that early class, sitting in traffic for an hour and rushing around on the borderline of sleep deprived and on time getting to class to see the note on the door that says the class is canceled is one of the worst sights to see.
On top of all of that when you have a class later in the day which would make going home seem foolish then you’re stuck at school. I have found myself in this predicament multiple times this semester, I have found some alternatives when class in canceled which included where to go, but also things to do in the new-found free time:

1. Go to the library and get to work. In college, there’s almost always something that you can be working on whether it’s catching up on some assignments or catching up on some Netflix. The library is a great place to go to get it done.

2. Go to the coffee shop in your area. There has to be somewhere whether it is on campus or around the campus that you can go to decompress. Sometimes for me, the library is too quiet that I get distracted easier, so sometimes going somewhere else that has more going on is better for me to focus.

3. Go take care of business. This is so important and sometimes overlooked during a regular day. Go somewhere to you can talk on the phone and make phone calls to take care of things. It can be something about your financial aid, work related or just a general curiosity that needs to be addressed.

Using your time wisely is so important. In the chaos of a regular day, it is so easy to forget to take care of business.  Although it sucks driving all the way to class just to find out it was canceled take advantage of the time there, make the trip worth it!

What do you do when class is cancelled? Share in the comments below!

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Today I really wanted to talk about something that’s super important in college- getting involved. Whether it’s Greek, religious, or interest based- it’s important to find a club/ organization (or a few) to join while in college. You get so much more out of the college experience and have so much more fun when you get involved and join a club. However, knowing how to go about getting involved and joining clubs on campus can be pretty hard. Colleges often have so many clubs that it’s difficult to know where to start. So today I want to give you 5 tips to choosing which clubs and organizations to join on campus!

1.  Look for a club that related to what interests YOU.
This is super important because you don’t want to be spending your time doing something you don’t truly care about. So you don’t want to join something just because you think it’ll look cool or just because your friend joined. Look for something your passionate about. You’re bound to love being a part of something if it’s close to your heart. 

2. Look for a club that fits your schedule.
Sometimes clubs/ organizations can take up a lot of time, so you want to pick something that you have time for and can put your all into. If you take on a club that requires too much time from you, it can leave you feeling stressed and disappointed, even if you love the concept or message- and we don’t want that!

3. Look for a club where you connect with the other members.
Being in a club with people who you don’t get along with wouldn’t be very fun, even if you love the concept or message, so it’s important to find organizations where you get along with or work well with the members. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them all, but mutual respect and comradely is super important. This will make your time in the organization more meaningful.

4. Utilize the student organization showcase on campus.
A lot of times universities will hold a student organization showcase or something similar that allows you to walk around and talk to members of a bunch of different clubs on campus. This gives you a chance to see an overview what’s available on campus and who you immediately connect with. The members will be able to talk to you and give you more information about what they do and how to go about joining, so it’s super important to go to these events and pay attention if you’re looking to get involved.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask members specific questions.
It’s likely that you come up with a question that you can’t find the answer to just by looking at an organizations social media or website. It’s ok and totally normal to have these questions, so it’s important to ask the members those questions! This is especially true if you’re seriously interested about joining or if the answer will be make-or-break for your membership. The members you talk to really do want you to join their club, so they will be more than willing to answer any of your questions or address any concerns you may have, but after asking the questions you decide not to join- that’s ok! Just don’t make a decision without having all your questions answered. 

I hope y’all find these tips to be super helpful and that you can use them and get involved on your college campus- I promise college will be more fun when your apart of an organization!

If you’re part of a club or organization what tips do you have for newbies? 

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