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college

Creative Ways To Ace Your College Classes

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College is not easy. If you have yet to start, there are some things that you should know about it first. The decision to stay and live with your parents and go to a local school in your city or go somewhere further away and get a room or an apartment on your own instead is a massive decision. College is not just about what you learn in the lecture halls. It is an immersive experience that gets you ready for life. Depending on what sort of childhood you had, you may be unprepared for all of the little things that come along with leading an independent adult existence. As David Foster Wallace acknowledged in his now famous commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon college, you need to live life with compassion and that means in all of the boring, difficult situations that you find yourself in, like at the supermarket after a long day at work, or stuck in traffic. You also have to worry about cooking for yourself every day, doing all your own laundry, paying your bills on time, maintaining a social life and lots of other things besides. You can be forgiven for thinking, especially in your first semester, that there is simply not enough time left to actually do any studying. This is obviously not the case, but being able to manage your time in a way that will be most effective for you is crucial if you are going to succeed. Here are a few tips for making studying easier:

  1. You will hear this a lot from people who have graduated from college, but there is no reason why you cannot start writing your papers when they are assigned to you. If you are in a class and you get a list of questions to choose from for a paper that needs to be submitted in eight weeks time, for instance, you should start researching and drafting an essay right away. Do not wait for a month because you can. Asking for extensions is a bad habit to get into because it only perpetuates the problem. Being proactive is the best course of action. Besides, the more time you allow yourself, you more chance you’ll have to talk to your professor about something you may not understand that well.
  2. There are some concepts that you will come across in college that you just will not get right away. It is normal, and in fact, it is part of the point of going to college. If you were never challenged, they would not be serving their purpose of expanding your mind and making you a compassionate, thoughtful person. There are lots of things that you can do though, such as playing college educational games. Struggling with calculus? No problem. Do not know Manet from Monet? There is a game for that too.
  3. Finally, picking your classes is an art that lots of people learn too late. Some classes may be more challenging than others, but the best thing to do is take the ones that make you want to learn. An intrinsic desire to know more is the greatest motivation for a class. Taking classes because you think they are simple and will allow you to more easily maintain an average is no way to spend the best years of your intellectual life.

I hope you enjoyed the post! What do you do to ensure success in your courses? Let me know 🙂

Thanks so much for reading, as always <3

Xoxo, Rae

May 28, 2017
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What Life After College Is Really Like?

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If you’re reading this then we can only presume you are gearing up to graduate. You’ve ordered your gown and you’re only days away from throwing your cap in the air (read: staging an Instagram snap of you throwing your cap in the air). It’s an epic feeling. You have graduated college. You’re buzzing with pride, glee and, quite possibly amazement.

However, you can also sense another emotion bubbling away under the surface, one that you don’t recognise, and that is anxiety. Yup. You’re about to enter the big bad world of adulthood. But in order to give you a padded landing, we have come up with some truths about what real world is really like.

Ignore What Grumpy People Say

Look, we’re not going to pretend that the real world is all strawberry milkshakes and unicorn rides on the beach. It isn’t. However, it can be fun if you make it fun. Invariably you are going to meet grumpy people who despise their life and that their job and believe they work five days a week just to enjoy the next two. Ignore these people. Your job can be fun, it can be meaningful and your weekdays can matter. It is an attitude decision you make.

The Paperwork Side Of It Sucks

You really have to stay on top of it, though, trust us. There will be things like taxes, 401K enrollments, dealing with private student loans that will help you consolidate your college debt, healthcare forms, paying rent on a tiny apartment, Netflix emails about how the monthly fee has gone up again and just about everything else you never knew existed. Well, it exists. So get on top of it early so that it becomes manageable.

Don’t Make Comparisons

Everyone that graduates college will have that one friend who moves to New York or Chicago or LA and lands the best job ever, making the whole job search seem a doddle. You will pretend you are mega proud of them – while actually hating them a bit – because within a month they have started making more money than both of your parents combined and you are forced to watch this through the stained glass of social media. Don’t. Don’t make comparisons. Just live your life as best as possible.

You Will Be Labelled Unfairly

You are part of the Millennial Generation, being labelled unfairly is part of it. You don’t have to put up with it, though. Those that label you in this way invariably need you. These people are just a little scared and intimidated, that’s all. They haven’t heard of the latest tech trends like Yammer and they admire your desire to give your life meaning. So be humble, ask lots of questions, be willing to learn and be willing to help. You don’t know everything, so don’t act like you do; it will sting you.

Your Major Will Not Matter

This is a realisation that shocks most recent graduates who end up getting a job that has absolutely nothing to do with their college degree and that life skills are far more important. Try not to worry about this too much, though. You are going to be in employment for around 40 years. That means you will have plenty of time to cement your career and degree in holy matrimony, or indeed find out you actually quite like the divorce and that your degree was almost entirely pointless.

I hope you enjoyed the post!

Thanks so much for reading, as always <3

Xoxo, Rae

May 25, 2017
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Struggling With Studying? Not Anymore!

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Do you ever feel like you’re just not cut out for studying? Perhaps you have a low attention span. You can only stay still, reading a book for five minutes before something distracts you. Before you know it, you’ve spent a good hour staring at a bird sitting outside your window. Or, maybe no matter how long you study for nothing seems to go in. It’s possible too that you pick up all the information when you’re outside the exam. You can recite it, explain it, but as soon as you sit down in that hall…poof! It’s gone.

If you have problems like this, it’s time to look at some different methods for studying and the techniques that could help you ace that next paper.

Not Everyone Learns The Same Way

It’s important to understand this because it will hardly ever be mentioned in school or even college. We don’t all learn in exactly the same way. You’ve probably been told that to study you should read information and then answer questions on that information. However, some people are just better off reading the same information around ten times until it sinks in. Others will find it more useful to learn it like a speech, reciting it back. You might even find that the best way for you to learn is to put the information on a recording and listen to it while you’re asleep. You may not realize it, but subconsciously, you can pick up a lot of information while you’re fast asleep.

Science Can Help

Did you know that there are actually supplements that can help improve cognitive performance? It’s true, and these are called nootropics. Finding the best nootropic stacks and trying them out could lead to immense improvements in your test performance. Taking a substance to improve exam performance isn’t a new idea. We’ve all heard of the people who chugged back litres of Red Bull to stay awake and study for longer. However, unlike Red Bull, nootropics don’t have any nasty side effects and really could improve your learning ability.

Stress Induced Failure

You know you studied, you know you knew the information, and you are quite sure you understood it. Why then, does your mind go blank once you take the actual exam? This is stress induced, and it’s a lot more common than people realize. To the teacher or professor, it will seem like the student hasn’t studied. Actually, they could have studied more than anyone else in the class and still not been able to put down the right answers. To fix this issue, you need to make sure you feel relaxed as you enter the exam. Beta blockers can help here but if you don’t want to use medicine, try breathing exercises. Regulate your breathing, and your brain will receive more oxygen. This will allow you think clearer as you are about to start the exam.

I hope you enjoyed the post and that it helps you out!

But always remember, a grade on a piece of paper will never define who you are, nor what you can be.

Thanks for reading, as always <3

Xoxo, Rae

 

May 23, 2017
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What Are The First Things To Do When You Get To College?

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The moment you arrive at college for the first time can be a seriously exciting and intimidating experience. It’s often enough to leave a lot of people with their heads spinning and no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. However, the first couple of weeks can be the most formative period that you’ll have in your first year at college, so it’s important to try and make the most of it. But where should you start? There are so many different things going on that it can be really difficult to figure out how to make sense of it all. Well here are just a few things that you should definitely do during your first few weeks at college.

Get to know your roommates

 

Let’s face it, the idea of having to spend a full year living with someone you hate is pretty much at the top of most freshmen’s list of fears when it comes to arriving at their dorm on the first day. That’s why it’s a really good idea to get to know whoever you’re sharing your space with as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the more awkward it’s going to be. There’s nothing weirder than trying to make awkward conversation with someone that you barely know despite the fact that you’ve been living together for months. Not only that but it’s much harder for you to be patient with each other if you don’t know or get on with each other. If your friend asks to borrow your milk, then that’s no problem, but if your roommate, who you barely know, decides to use it then that’s practically a declaration of war! Go out for some food on the first night, find out what each other’s major is, do what you can to learn what they’re like. Not only is this going to make those precious first weeks a lot less awkward but it’s also a great way to deal with that feeling of isolation that can often come with being away from home for the first time.

Join a club

When it comes to college, there is always something to do. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s one-hundred-percent true! There are so many clubs and organizations on every college campus that you’re never going to find yourself in a position where you don’t have something to do. Whatever kind of person you were in your hometown, you’ve now got the chance to try something new. Check out some of the clubs that are available on your campus and see what piques your interest. You might be surprised by what you find. You could end up joining a sports team, or perhaps spending your nights playing D&D with a bunch of people you’d never expect to be friends with. One thing to be careful of though is that you might find yourself discovering a passion that you never knew you had that may well take over your life. You might check out the marching band during the first week just to see what it’s like, and before you know it you’ll be buying a new color guard accessory every week as your dorm room slowly fills up with more and more stuff. Then again, as problems go, that’s one of the best ones you could possibly have. Not only are you likely to find a new hobby that you can throw yourself into with plenty of enthusiasm, but there’s also a pretty good chance that you’ll be able to make a whole bunch of new friends.   

Get lost

You’re going to get lost during the first couple of weeks after you arrive at college, there’s nothing you can do about that, so it’s better just to come to terms with it straight away. The best thing to do is to take some time where you don’t have to be anywhere, and just wander around campus, getting lost and getting to know the space a little bit better. There are few things more stressful than finding yourself totally lost when you’re already late for class, so it’s definitely a good idea to learn your way around when you don’t have anything to do. Not only is getting lost a great way to make you campus seem a little less intimidating but it can also help you find some fun little places that you’d never discover under any other circumstances. College campuses almost always have all kinds of surprising little nooks and crannies that make the perfect places to study, relax, or just get some alone time.

Find the best places to eat

The food halls at any given college are usually something of a mixed bag. Some places are going to offer you the best sandwiches you’ve ever had in your entire life, and others will be legendary for the dangers of eating their tuna melts! The only way you’re going to figure out which is which without trying them all out. Don’t just assume that the place you found on the first day is the best you’re going to find. Experiment, try things that you wouldn’t normally give the time of day to. Not only will you discover the places that serve the best food, but you’ll probably find new foods that you never even realized that you liked. At least that way you don’t have to tell any white lies when your mom calls and asks if you’re eating properly.

Create a schedule

College is such a busy experience that it can be pretty intimidating for a lot of freshmen, and nothing makes that more difficult than trying to fly by the seat of your pants the entire time. If you really want to make sense of all of the things that you have to do at college, then it’s best to create a clear schedule that you can easily follow. Print it out and stick in on the wall of your dorm room so that no matter what you’re doing to you can keep track of where you should be next. You could even color code it so that you only have to glance at it to know whether you should be in classes, clubs, or if you just have some time to yourself where you can actually relax. Trying to wing it is just going to leave you feeling weighed down by the sheer amount of things that you need to do every day.

Start writing everything down

Seriously. Write everything down. You might think that you’ll be fine to hold the information from your classes in your head, but unless you’re a very special case, then you’re almost certainly going to forget every single world within a few days. Learn to take notes quickly and efficiently so that you can keep up with your professors and still be able to read what you wrote. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking over your notes a few weeks later and having no idea what the scribbles on the page are even supposed to mean. But don’t just limit it to your classes. If you’ve never been the kind of person who kept a journal, now is the time to start! You are probably going to change more over the next few years that you could possibly imagine and you’re going be amazed to look back over the things that you wrote in the first weeks of your freshman year and see how different you were. No only that but it’s a great way to hold onto memories that might sleep away when you’re constantly being bombarded by all of the amazing, exciting things that can happen in your first year of college.

Go to your classes! Seriously!

 

This might seem completely obvious, but it’s something that a lot of freshmen seem to forget. There are so many fun things happening when you first arrive at college that it’s surprisingly easy to find yourself forgetting to actually go to your classes. Sure, the parties, clubs, friends and other exciting things might be the stuff that everyone talks about, but you should never forget why you’re actually at college in the first place: to learn. If you’re not doing that, then there’s not much point being there in the first place. If you just want to go to parties, then you’d be better off just staying at home. And make sure that you’re actually paying attention while you’re there as well! There’s no point going to classes if you’re just going to sleep through the entire thing because you stayed up all night partying or talking to your roommate!

College might be an intimidating experience, but once you’re through that first couple of weeks, you’ll barely be able to remember a time before you knew every inch of campus, all the best food places, and had made dozens of new and interesting friends. Getting off to the best possible start is the best way to avoid feeling like everything is too much and getting buried in the sheer number of new things that you’ll undoubtedly experience during your time at college.

I hope you enjoyed the post, what did you do to adjust to the college life?

Thanks so much for reading, as always <3

Xoxo, Rae

May 16, 2017
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3 Tips On Making New Friends After You’ve Moved Out Of Home

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Leaving your parents house and moving away to college or university can be a daunting part of anyone’s life; I mean, who’s going to make your mac and cheese and do your laundry? Gaining your independence will also be one of the most exciting memories you’ll make, and you’ll have the chance to explore a fresh place, learn new things and make some lifelong friends. However, it can sometimes be a little difficult finding new people that you enjoy hanging out with, so here are some tips on meeting friends when you’re new in town.

Events And Festivals

A specific event or festival is a successful way of bringing together people who share a love of whatever is being celebrated there, ensuring you’ll be surrounded by (at least some) like-minded people. If it’s a particular genre of music you’re into, from folk to hip-hop; there will more than likely be a festival, gig or a night dedicated to that category. Therefore, you’ll have an automatic mutual interest with some of the other attendees, and should be able to spark a conversation (or you can just show off your knowledge of all the lyrics together as you sing along).

However, specialized events are by no means limited to music; food festivals are ever more popular, and if you’re into beauty, movies,  or perhaps crafts, they’ll be something organized by a community that loves the same things. These get-togethers, no matter how big or small, are a chance for you and your potential new crowd to flock together and hang out; giving you the perfect opportunity to make some new friends.

 

Sports And Teams

Whether you’ve competed and practiced a sport your whole life, or you just want to get fit and meet new people; joining a team is the perfect way to integrate yourself into a group and build new friendships. Alongside noticeboards and posters around your campus and local town, a good place to start searching is the internet; well, you’re here already, so you may aswell!

You might know exactly what you’re after; maybe you played soccer or tennis at high school, and are keen to join a team at college. However, if you’re excited to take on a new challenge; why not look into learning to swim, or get more info on cheerleading, you’ll be surprised how many people are there to achieve the same as you, and you’ll come away with new friends, as well as a new skill. Your parents aren’t going to recognize this new person you’ve become! For some more inspiration on what sports to try; take a look here: http://www.raechic.com/?p=1550.

 

(The e-board of the Active Minds chapter at my university! I’m in the green jacket).

Clubs And Organizations

Luckily for you, there are always others who will share your passions and beliefs, so joining a related club or organization is a no-brainer. If you’re of a particular religion, an obvious place to start is your nearest place of worship, and these often provide ways to mingle and get out and about within the community. Perhaps animal rights are where your enthusiasm lies; you’ll be able to find friends who want to meet up and discuss the latest issues and petitions in your new town and on campus.

The club you join might be less of a deep rooted belief and more of a hobby like chess, reading or cooking; the possibilities here are endless! Clubs will ensure when you’re meeting up with fellow members, you’ll always be doing something you enjoy together, which is the perfect route into a new and long lasting friendship. There’s also the option of being brave and forming your own club, which can be as serious or light-hearted as you want; you might be shocked as to how many people enjoy building model train sets are you do. It’s really about finding and embracing your crowd, however unique you all are. Check out some crazy college club ideas here.

Moving out and saying goodbye (until the holidays) to mom and dad doesn’t have to be scary at all. Remember that everyone starting at university is feeling the same way as you are, so everyone will be eager to make friends and form their own security blankets. It’s important to be open to fresh ideas and new cultures that you may never even have heard of before; this way exciting opportunities to meet people and make friends won’t end up passing you by. Lastly, don’t forget to be yourself; strong friendships are built on trust and a genuine like for a person, so make sure new acquaintances are getting to know the real you. Don’t worry, you’re great, and they’ll love you (and if they don’t, there’s plenty more folks out there who will).

I hope you enjoyed the post.

Thanks so much for reading, as always <3

xoxo, Rae

May 15, 2017
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