Posts published in October, 2018
BY ANA CASTRO
The books covering the desk, while the nightstand is starting to get buried by piles of crusty pizza boxes and Chinese takeout containers. The pyramid of used-but-still-usable clothes kept on the chair has become the envy of the Egyptian pyramids. The trashcan has already been overflowing for weeks, and has now reached the point where it could be easily featured on the top of one of those “college trash Jenga” memes collections on the net. The air in the dorm is getting so musty and dust-laden that you could literally cut it with a knife.
Does this sound familiar to you? There is no denying that a messy environment can have a negative impact on one’s state of mind. However, especially during college years, it can be highly challenging to keep your room clean. It doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior, it’s easy to get caught up in a vortex of lectures, classwork, extracurricular activities, and unforgettable parties.
Before you give up and let yourself sink into a sea of rancid leftovers and smelly workout clothes, take a look at these 5 easy tips to keep your dorm room tidy without endless cleaning sessions:
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
It’s a fact: A messy bed makes a room look messy — even after spending an hour cleaning everything else in the dorm.
You have probably already heard the saying: “Tidy desk, Tidy mind’. This rings true; after all, if your mind and thoughts are organized, why would you let your dorm room become so messy?
Moreover, science also says that making your bed can make you successful. Socio-economist Randall Bell has been studying success for 25 years, analyzing the core characteristics that all great achievers have in common. He found out that those who make their bed in the morning are up to 206.8 percent more likely to be millionaires.
So, each morning, when you wake up, just pull back the duvet cover and open the window to air out the bed and release moisture and humidity. Go ahead and complete your morning routine. After you are done and right before leaving: Simply pull the covers up, fluff the pillows and that’s it!
Making your bed literally takes three minutes but you’ll be amazed at how great the dorm will instantaneously look.
No clothes on the floor
Nothing makes a room look more cramped than clothing lying on the floor. Changing this habit just takes a few seconds, but it will definitely pay off, especially when it comes time to vacuuming the dorm.
- Save 5 minutes every morning by picking out your outfit the night before. This way, there won’t be any mess on the floor from constantly changing your mind – and your clothes – while being in a hurry to make it to your 9 a.m. lecture.
- Use a hamper or bag to collect your dirty laundry. At the end of the day, it takes just as much time to throw your clothes in the basket as it does to toss them on the floor. It will not only keep your dorm less messy, but will also make laundry day easier, as you will be able to spare yourself the guesswork on deciding whether or not a shirt is clean.
Now, what should you do with all those used-but-still-usable clothes that are dangerously piling up on the chair? You can simply use clothes hanging wall mounts inside your wardrobe door or put a clothes tree in the corner of the room instead. Are you too tired when getting undressed? Just get an additional laundry basket, or a sack, and use it for the worn-but-still-good cloths. You can just dump clothing in it instead of keeping everything on your chair.
The less you have, the less you have to keep organized
Dorm rooms are known especially for being rather tiny, and cluttered spaces especially stand out in small living areas.
There is a simple rule that you should keep in mind on your way towards a neat dorm room: If you take something out, remember to put it back where it belongs once you are done.
If you want to go a step further, take the time to clear out all unnecessary junk from your room every half year. Go through your closet, desk, and drawers; remove all the clothes and other stuff that seem to be in the wrong place, or that you haven’t used for ages.
Collect them on the bed and ask yourself: Did I use this for the last half year? How often did I use it? Is it in good condition? If I was shopping right now, would I buy this again? Could something else I own do exactly the same job?
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. For example, if you can go 6 months without using something, there’s a pretty good chance that you are not going to need it ever again so you can either donate it, throw it away or sell it.
If you want to sell your old unused stuff in no time, try online classifieds apps like Locanto. It uses image recognition technology that automatically generate a title and set the category for your listings. So all you have to do is snap a quick picture of what you’re selling and your ads will be online within seconds.
In case you decide to keep something even though you don’t use it every day, make sure that you store it in a proper place, so that your dorm room won’t look messy. Under-the-bed storage solutions and economic decorative storage boxes are always a good alternative.
Throw things out regularly
Eating in your dorm room typically means that you will end up with a collection of takeaway boxes, spilled drink, food crumbs, and more. For this reason, you should stick to some golden rules: Food containers and leftover food should be taken to the dumpster within the same day, while spilled drink should be cleaned up immediately. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself with new unwanted roommates, such as ants, flies, or other bugs.
Additionally, you shouldn’t wait until the trash is overflowing – and seems to have a life of its own – to take it out. This is definitely not a healthy habit, especially in small living spaces, like dorm rooms, where sleeping and working areas are dangerously close to the trash basket.
Finally, take the time to throw small things out that you would otherwise leave lying around your desk, nightstands, or furniture surfaces. This way your room will always be impeccable and trash free.
The harder part: Roommates
You are probably not the only keeper of the dorm room. For this reason, you should share your cleaning routine and expectations with your roommate from the first day on. Through this, you will be able to avoid any unnecessary confrontation later on.
However, if you have encountered a difficult roommate that doesn’t share your cleaning habits, you should talk to him/her as soon as the problem occurs. In such cases, the way you confront the issue will make the difference.
- First, stay calm and simply point out your perspective, make sure to emphasize that a clean room is vital for you; be specific about the habits that bother you, and explain why they bother you. Moreover, try to look for a compromise and see if there’s a middle ground that you both can agree on.
- Second, remember, the part of the dorm room that belongs to your roommate is beyond your scope. You cannot change or control what’s happening on the other side of the imaginary dividing line. But you can focus on changing those habits that affect the entire living area. Agree on a couple of golden basic cohabitation rules.
- Finally, suggest the possibility of dividing up the unwanted chores, like emptying the trash can, dusting, or vacuuming. Involve the person in setting up a cleaning schedule to rotate tasks; be flexible about trading chores if there’s something you don’t mind doing, but your roommate really hates.
Implementing these small tips to your daily routine requires determination, but they will definitely help you towards creating a clean, neat, and inviting dorm room. Be constant and remember: It takes 21-28 days to form a habit; it will seem like you have never done anything else only a little effort will be needed to sustain it.
Ana Castro is a young team leader and a communications manager for Yalwa, a thriving internet company based in Germany. She loves sharing her insights and experience to help her readers find personal and professional fulfillment.
BY CASSIE TOLHURST
College is an exciting time packed with new experiences. It can also be overwhelming, and that goes double if you’re living off campus. Moving out of the dorms can feel exciting, overwhelming, liberating, and scary—often all at once. It’s totally possible to cut out the overwhelming and scary and keep the experience positive, though! Knowing how to keep yourself safe can drastically improve your off-campus experience and calm your mind. So here are four tips to help you do just that.
- Set Expectations with Your Landlord and Roommates
You’ve probably met your landlord and roommates already. But have you figured out property access terms with your landlord or established boundaries with your roommates? Here are some ideas for smart expectations to set:
- Talk to your landlord about how much advance notice you’ll receive for third-party repairs, so you can plan to be present during the work when possible.
- Decide on a cutoff time for having unfamiliar guests over that works for both you and your roommates.
- Have boundaries and clear expectations on when your landlord will come over to check on the property.
- The boundaries don’t have to be limited to just your landlord and roommates, of course. You can take time with anyone you regularly interact with to set boundaries that will help you feel safe and secure while you’re living off campus.
- Keep Spare Key Sharing Secure This is actually two tips in one. First, don’t go making a bunch of spare keys and handing them out to anyone and everyone. It’s surprisingly easy for those to get lost and fall into the wrong hands.
Second, don’t hide extra keys in accessible places. If you need to give someone a spare key, meet them and hand it over in person. Would-be burglars may check under doormats, flowerpots, and other common hiding spots for spares.
- Stay Smart about What You Share on Social Media
Don’t post pictures or status updates that indicate where you are, and don’t post about vacations ahead of time. Smart crooks look for these posts and can use them to determine your whereabouts and when you’re not home (or when you’re home alone).
On a related note, take some time to review your social media privacy settings and friends lists. Don’t accept friend requests from people you aren’t 100% sure you know—thieves may use fake accounts to keep tabs on people.
- Consider Installing a Security System
If the house or apartment you’re in doesn’t have a security system, talk to your landlord about having one installed. A security system can go a long way toward keeping you safe by deterring burglars, and its very presence can also set your mind at ease. If you have roommates, make sure to include them in the conversation so they can have some input on features they’d like to have.
If your landlord isn’t excited to put down the money for the system, you can offer to roll the payment into each month’s rent. That way your roommates can also contribute to the cause, and it keeps everyone happy. The monthly costs for a security system are generally pretty reasonable—ADT, for example, is about $53 per month for a pretty comprehensive system.
Living on your own for the first time can be a challenging time, but it can also be fun and exciting! With these basic safety tips, you can regain some peace of mind and focus on enjoying the experience (and acing those classes)!
Cassie Tolhurst is a recent grad, freelance writer, and a wannabe world traveler. Her passions include the newest tech gadgets, what’s streaming on Netflix, and the latest rides at Disneyland.
BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
Being a student can (and often is) be one of the most challenging periods in an individual’s life. Not only do many students move away from their families to take on their studies, putting them in an entirely new environment, but they are faced with challenges and pressures that many of them do not see coming. There is a lot happening at university or college, all the time. Students must find balance; being at university or college is undoubtedly about one’s academic performance, but it is also about finding your inner balance. For some students, it is relieving stress by playing sport. For others, it is about joining on-campus clubs or joining sororities or fraternities. While the academic aspect of higher education is obviously of vital importance, how you treat yourself, handle the challenges (including how to get yourself through them), and how you prepare yourself for life after university or college graduation are also equally as important. So much advice is given to high education students on how to do well in exams and how to study to get the best results, and all that is well and good, but what is also incredibly important is learning to read between the lines – especially if they are your own.
In committing to becoming a student at a university or college, you are essentially committing to preparing for the rises and falls of the experience. No higher education experience is smooth sailing the entire way. To say so, or believe so, would be foolish. Be prepared for this. You will have days where studying feels like the hardest thing in the world. You will have days where you just want to throw in the towel. Don’t. it is these moments that can be used to push you even further, and you are solely responsible for recognising the opportunity to push higher, and for embracing that opportunity. It is with the immense pressures of university that your own well being comes into play. A startling number of students annually find themselves struggling within themselves as the school year rolls on.
Every university or college student’s higher education experience is different, and there is always a different set of aligning circumstances and aspects of that student’s life that renders their university or college experience entirely unique. Unfortunately, negative experiences or feelings can cause some students to acclimate to a dark place in their own minds. Often, students feel the challenges and pressures of university long before they have reached a place where they feel they can speak to someone about it. Going to university is a massive decision, and it is one that often results in new students moving away from their families, friends, and home in general – their usual support systems – and moving on campus.
Being in a new environment is tough enough at times, but attempting to navigate that new environment without anyone you know close by is a big deal. Take the time to learn about the official support systems on campus – these are trusted, trained sources of support and they are there to help you. They are also confidential in most cases. Additionally, go out of your way to join study groups, go to parties, and mix with your peers. They will become your friends and, in turn, will form the structure of a support system that is in alignment with your current experiences – this is invaluable. With a support system in place that makes you feel heard, valued, and safe, you will naturally come to embrace the support and lean into it. It will take time, and practice, but this can literally mean the difference between returning to the light and succumbing to the dark. There is nothing wrong with needing – or asking for – help.
Fine-tune your talents and skills at university – everyone has a different passion, from ballet to horse racing. But do it with balance. The best people in their fields are the ones who know how to be professional and where to be human. While it is undeniably important to hone your skills as a student to become a better professional down the track, you must also realise that the skills future employers will look for are not always the ones that you studied hard to build. In addition to building and strengthening your academic skills, it pays to also work on your personal skills – networking, for one, is one of the most important life skills you can attain going forward. Life at university is overwhelming and it will likely feel at times as if the only thing you have time to do is study.
While life as a student is definitely in part about academic success, it is important to recognise that these are the years that you should be actively building your network. Life at university is about hard work, but life after university is about who you know in the industry. Therefore, it makes total sense that building that network before graduation is a smarter move than waiting until after graduation. By the time you graduate, it is said that half your classmates will already be ahead. The reason why is very simple: they made full use of their time as a student, and they did so while connecting and learning from others in the industry you all are now a part of. Be part of the percentage that get ahead – not those who lag. It is difficult to catch up when you don’t even know how to catch up.
University is going to be a challenge, but it is also without a doubt one of the most rewarding, valuable things you can do for yourself. While it is important to recognise that university is not the natural path for every individual, it is certain a colourful one that, more often than not, leaves graduates with a sense of accomplishment, a drive to succeed, and a thirst to excel, pushing themselves to not only achieve their dreams, but to build a future beyond them. University is just the beginning – your future is where it all falls into place. Be sure you are not only prepared, but around for it. Reading between the lines is often the best way for you to gain a more rounded understanding of the situation at hand, as well as where you stand on all aspects. University or college is not just about graduating with a degree – it is also about graduating with a stronger perception and understanding of who you are and where you want to be. Ultimately, the gaps between the lines are more important than what the lines themselves say.
Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at email@example.com.
BY BRETT CLAWSON
Your resume is the hiring manger’s one-page glimpse at who you are as an employee. Like the summary on the back of a book, it is your career synopsis; and you hope to make it interesting enough to buy. Many, though, misfire when it comes to deciding what to and not to highlight on their resume. Sure it is helpful to show off your great education and big name references, but what about your experience? Many job searchers underestimate the power of a well-planned experience section. It is more than a matter-of-fact list of places you’ve worked. It is your chance to show off not only your impressive job history but your skills and value as an employee in each position. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you compile the perfect experience section for your resume.
Experience Is Your Career Snapshot
The experience section of your resume is meant to be an overview of your employment history and career growth. This, though is not your entire job history. Keep the positions you list relevant to the position for which you are currently applying and your career path as a whole. For example, if you have been working in sales for five years and are applying for a new sales position, it would not be helpful to include your high school babysitting gig from ten years ago. Your job title is not the only factor to consider when judging relevance. Think about the skills you developed and perfected on your past jobs. If a previous position helped you learn skills that are valuable to your desired position, you may want to include it.
Make A Gap Year Count
Gap years -taking about a year away from school or the workforce- are not just for college students. Many consider taking a gap year from their careers but are worried about getting a job when ready to return. If you want to or have taken a gap year, it does not have to result in a gaping hole in your resume. There are of course various gap year pros and cons, but if you use your free time wisely, it can enhance your experience and your resume. Some use their gap years to travel, volunteer or do internships. These experiences can offer valuable life and work experience that can beef up your resume and make you a more well-rounded candidate. Some start websites or develop philanthropic initiatives that allow them to have a tangible reference to their relevant experience while away.
Keep Your Overall Resume Short and Sweet
It is commonly accepted that your resume should only be about one page long. Too much longer and it can make it difficult for a hiring manager to sort through. This may sometimes mean reorganizing your current resume to allow room for more relevant experience. When shortening and re-categorizing look for outdated items you can remove such as your GPA from the education section. You’d be surprised how much space you can find for experiencewhen you strip the rest of your resume to its bare bones.
Find Standout Wording
Remember that your resume is likely not the only one the hiring manager must look at, so take the time to word your experience in an eye-catching way. This should be achieved using effective action words that show your value. Avoid words and phrases that can sound corny or inauthentic like “synergy,” “goal-oriented,” and “team player.” Consider explaining your experience using words that are appealing and clearly state your valuable skills. Here is alist of dos and don’ts to help you get started.
Crafting your resume takes time and effort. Your experience section can make all the difference if you take the time to write it well.
Byline: Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.
BY BRANDON JARMAN
Tests are a necessary evil in today’s education system. Your professors need to know if you
truly understand the content they have taught you, or your university requires professors to
standardize their learning curriculum. That still doesn’t make taking tests any easier, but there
are some study and test-taking strategies you can implement to improve your performance.
Here are six things you can do to improve your test scores.
“Hack” Your Professor
Your professor isn’t going to give you all of the questions that are going to be on the test, but
there are some “hacking” strategies you can do to find out what types of questions are going to
be on your next exam.
- Ask yourself, “What does my professor talk about the most?”. If your professor is
spending a lot of time talking about one subject, they will likely include questions about it on the test. The next time your professor is spending 20+ minutes on one slide—take some notes.
- Do not hesitate to ask your professor the exact formatting of the test. Schedule an
appointment with them to chat about any questions that may arise.
Avoid Common Testing Mistakes
Sometimes you can get so caught up studying for the big test, you can forget the simple things. Remembering your pencil, scantron, or calculator may seem like an obvious suggestion, but there are common test taking mistakes that can add another layer of stress on exam day. It’s important that you prepare yourself as best as you can so that you can succeed.
Here are some simple suggestions to help you avoid common test taking mistakes:
- Read all of the directions laid out on the exam.
- Get plenty of sleep the night before the test.
- Make sure your scantron is filled out properly. If applicable, make sure the essay portion of your exam is readable.
- Start with the easy questions and then come back to the hard ones.
- Scope your test. Skim through the whole exam so you can prepare yourself mentally for what is to come. This can also help you manage your time more efficiently.
- Make sure to eat a substantial meal before you take your exam. Being hungry or dehydrated before your test can affect your performance
If you take care of the little things, big results can follow. Make sure to plan ahead so that the best version of you shows up on exam day.
Utilize the TA
A teacher’s assistant can help you prepare for an upcoming test.
To best utilize them, try the following:
- Attend their test review sessions as frequently as possible. They have most likely reviewed the exam and they can cover key topics you may have misunderstood. They’ve also been in your shoes before, so there is no need to feel intimidated. Remember: They are there to help.
- Ask your TA the best bulletproof methods to study for an upcoming test. Most likely,
they have taken the exact course you are struggling with. They can perhaps shed some light on
a few study tips that your professor has unintentionally neglected to share with the class.
Know The Summary Questions
Just because you finished reading a chapter doesn’t mean you’re done studying. Typically, the very last page after the chapter is done will include some questions to highlight key concepts of the chapter. Answer each question that they provide, citing page numbers and including quotations from the chapter. Lastly, make sure to look over the answered summary questions and save them along with your other study materials.
Take Care Of Yourself
What causes student burnout? Lack of regard for physical and emotional health is one of the main culprits. It is a common misconception for students to think that “self-care” equates to procrastination. However, self-care is a necessary study tool.
How you take care of yourself is up to you, but experts recommend the following self-care practices:
3.) Proper Nutrition
4.) Cleaning your living space
There are many ways to accomplish the list above, so it’s important that you find ways to incorporate self-care practices that fit your specific needs and lifestyle.
Diversify Your Studying
According to a recent Harvard study, “Research has shown that studying a range of subjects in one sitting actually leads to higher retention than focusing on one area of study.” Overloading your brain with one subject can actually be damaging. It’s important that you switch up what you’re studying so that you can stay engaged with your academic work. It’ll save you time and energy both in the short and long-term.
In the end, nothing beats hard work and intellectual curiosity. But, you can go the extra mile to improve your test scores and grades. Adopting productive habits will improve your life and make you a more balanced individual.
BY LESLIE WILDER
The digital revolution is underway and it is having an impact on every aspect of life. It is changing the way in which we interact, work and in particular, the way that we learn. The classroom is changing, the way in which students learn is changing and the way in which lessons are taught is changing. Effectively, everything is changing because of the technology we have at our disposal.
Just ten years ago, the classroom was a different place to what it is today but the changes are still happening because technology is still evolving. Connectivity in the classroom can be looked at in many different ways such as the use of new technology to enhance learning such as Virtual Reality or even having the ability to communicate with teachers using technology such as a peak push to talk.
Driving this ever-changing landscape within the classroom is the internet. It makes it possible to learn anywhere and it makes it possible to collaborate with other, regardless of where they are located.
This is by no means a new idea but it still has a lot to offer the classroom. At this moment in time, lessons are still straddling the old traditional ways of teaching and a new way of teaching through online learning. However, with so many courses and learning materials available online, it could mean that classrooms are going to move away from the traditional methods used for decades. This is streamlining the learning process and is helping teachers and pupils to get the most from their time in the classroom.
The Cloud is Crucial
Teaching is moving towards the cloud and that is turning lessons into a more efficient experience for all. A common problem in schools is the speed at which pupils can access software and materials because often, the hardware is slow and outdated. As classrooms move to the cloud, it means that schools will no longer need to have local servers or software because everything will be stored in the cloud. All they will need to benefit from this is a fast internet connection.
Teachers will then be able to utilise the cloud in order to distribute work to pupils and then also collect it back in and mark it. Students will then have the ability to access their grades and any feedback that their teacher provides them with. All of this can be done via computers, smartphones or tablets. This is creating a more streamlined classroom and that in turn enables students and teachers to work harmoniously in a way that has never been seen before.
Devices Turn Any Location into a Classroom
Traditionally, lessons have been taught in a single classroom, where children and teachers spend their time but this new level of connectivity gives teachers more scope to expand the learning environment. As students have access to smartphones and tablets that are either provided by the school or brought from home, it connects the whole school. Therefore, lessons can be taken outdoors and that in itself makes it possible to keep teachers and students connected. This ability to take the classroom anywhere will make it possible to enhance get the most from the learning experience.
Textbooks are a Thing of the Past
Textbooks are still used in the classroom but there is no real need for them any longer. As connectivity improves, pupils will be able to learn through devices that are connected, whereby they can access digital books and interactive boards. This online learning will prepare pupils for a whole new world beyond the boundaries of school. It will provide them with access to a broader range of learning materials that will enable them to excel in new ways.
Lessons Structure will Change
Historically, pupils have been fed information from their teachers but this is no longer the situation. Technology and enhanced connectivity will change the way in which lessons are structured. Pupils will become independent learners because the introduction of touch screens, interactive technology and tablets change the way in which the teacher interacts with pupils. This provides pupils with some element of control over how they find information and how they share that with teachers. This almost turns teaching on its head because improved connectivity will alter the way in which pupils understand and find information.
The Introduction of Virtual Reality
This new and exciting technology could make it possible for pupils to learn in a whole new environment. Their experience will change, enabling them to bring lessons to life in a way that connects them with their teachers. They can immerse themselves into lessons, move through different environments all of which could be lead by the teacher or pupils. This kind of learning and connectivity is new but it will enhance teaching and learning in ways that have never been seen before.
The connected world has already become a smaller place but the learning environment and experience is changing, all because of connectivity. It is still relatively new but there is no doubt that pupils and teachers can benefit from a new way of working together to improve the way in which the whole process is delivered and absorbed.
Leslie a creative writer & blogger, who is residing in Nashville the capital of U.S. state of Tennessee, I’m also a self-proclaimed happiness junkie, and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced.
BY MELISSA BURNS
Getting an F1 visa is a necessary step for any international student willing to live and study in the United States. It may not be exactly easy, and many would-be students believe getting one is a multi-stage adventure like an African safari; but in fact, it is all fairly straightforward. To succeed you merely have to know certain facts beforehand – and in this article, we will tell you the most important things about F1 visa you should know.
1. There is a distinct list of prerequisites for getting it
The United States is very particular about what they want from those applying for an F1 visa. You must:
- Be an official resident of a foreign country;
- Have no intention of staying in the United States after graduation. F1 is a student visa, and your goal should be studied and then return to your home country;
- Have definite ties with your home country (family members, job offers, bank accounts, and other assets) that you are unlikely to abandon;
- Attend a language-training program or an academic institution;
- Be enrolled as a full-time student of a school approved by USICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to accept international students;
- Have sufficient finances to complete your education (study and living expenses), as your employment opportunities will be limited.
2. You can leave the United States for a period of time
After getting your F1 visa, you aren’t obliged to stay in the United States for the entire approved period of time. You have a right to travel abroad and then return to the USA after a leave of no more than 5 months. If your original F1 visa expires during this period, you have to obtain another one.
3. You can transfer to a different school
You aren’t obliged to spend your entire studying time in the initially approved school. You have the right to notify your current school and transfer your SEVIS record to another school of your choice. The only thing to look out for is that you have to obtain an I-20 form from your new school and submit it within 15 days of the transfer date.
4. F1 visa doesn’t preclude you from working in the USA
However, this is a tricky issue. As F1 is a student visa, your work opportunities are going to be severely limited – at least legal ones. Officially, you are mostly allowed to work on the territory of a campus of a college you at which you study for up to 20 hours a week, which certainly doesn’t amount to much. You may also consider training programs that give international students an opportunity to work. As this is a very subtle issue that can have you kicked out of the country if not handled carefully, make sure to contact your foreign student advisor before looking for a job.
5. F1 visa allows you to stay for as long as you study
F1 visa offers you a “duration of status” stay in the United States – meaning that you can legally stay in the country for as long as you study in the school you’ve applied to. After you complete your academic program and graduate, you will have 60 days to leave the country. If you want to stay longer, you have to change your visa status, re-enroll in a higher-level program or transfer to a new school.
As you may see, things aren’t as bad as many believe them to be. As long as you follow the rules, getting an F1 visa isn’t particularly difficult, and it opens up a lot of doors in front of you.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
BY ANTON LUCANUS
The college years are supposed to be the best of your life. They symbolize the peak of one’s education – and experimentation– as well as a time for making the best of friends, cultivating one’s personality, hobbies and interests, all while learning about the world independently, quite possibly for the first time ever.
But all too often, the college years are marked by stress, anxiety, deadlines, social pressures, experimentation with drugs and substances, and as a result – mental health issues. Anxiety and depression are on the rise among university students worldwide, but especially in the United States. Recent studies by the National Alliance on Mental Illness revealed that in the past 12 months over 11% of college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety, and, shockingly, more than 10% treated for depression. And it’s no wonder: rapidly rising study costs, increasingly competitive job markets, and even more competitive university admission processes, are putting more pressure on students than ever to succeed. No longer can students saunter into a first-class degree, drink and party their way through university, and land a secure job at the end of it all.
Students are struggling to cope with the academic pressures of university life in particular: with almost six in 10 university students citing this as the key cause of their anxiety, followed by feelings of isolation (44%), difficulty balancing work and study (37%), financial difficulties (36%) and the pressures of living independently (22%). Gender plays a serious part in it too, with females in particular struggling to cope with the demands of university with 91% claiming to be struggling with mental health issues compared to just over 80% of male students.
Clearing – the practice of applying for a course if you’re not holding an offer from a university or college, if that particular course still has places – is now a mainstream route into gaining a university place but has been linked to anxiety and feelings of isolation in students who choose to pursue this path, according to one article by The Guardian.
So, how should university students cope with growing academic, financial and social pressures experienced on campus and inside lecture halls?
For a start, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is seriously underrated. Herbal teas, high quality fats in the form of avocado and fish, warm milk and protein in the form of lean meats have all been linked to healthier bodies – and minds – and so it is important to ensure you are getting a balanced diet whenever possible. This will not only lighten your mood, but also possibly your bathroom scales, which can only ever be a good thing for one’s mental health, right?
This doesn’t mean sticking to a diet of fruit and veggies though – dark chocolate has been proven to have healing qualities in terms of stress reduction, and carbs have also been found to increase the body’s levels of serotonin, a chemical that can boost one’s mood and reduce stress.
Mindful movement is another way of reducing stress. A new Penn State University study reports that by combining meditation and exercise, the mental health benefits are much stronger. By being conscious of your mindfulness while focusing on another activity – exercise – people are able to become far more aware of their state, and practice meditation accordingly. Practicing this on a daily basis with have benefits on not only your state of mind, but also your physically overall health. So, sign up to a yoga class today – it will do you a world of good.
This is one that may appeal particularly to animal lovers, but pets have also been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety. While on-campus liability for pets was once an issue, the number of pet therapy programs available to universities worldwide today is staggering. Once college counsellors and administrators realized the untapped value of pets as a vital tool in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions and disorders, ‘pet therapy programs’ became a real thing, and today they can be seen in hospitals, care homes, and treatment centers as well as universities. Patients suffering emotional and behavioral disorders, depression, autism, substance abuse, and dementia can benefit from pet therapy, and so it is worth checking out your university student service center to see whether they offer a similar type of therapy.
This next one may be obvious, but don’t ever be afraid to turn to specialist university counselling services or a private specialist such as Naya Clinics. At university campuses right around the world, these dedicated teams work hard every day to provide advice and guidance to students experiencing anxiety and other mental health problems. Should students require more specialist care, including psychiatric services, these teams can even connect you to the appropriate providers to ensure you are looked after every step of the way.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, know that you’re not alone – you are one of the majority of university students feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of modern day student life. Laugh, learn, cry, talk, let it out. The worst possible thing you can do is bundle up your angst and feelings inside. Speak to your friends, first and foremost, as they too may be feeling similar pressures and knowing this may help you to realize you are not alone.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals.
BY ELIZA MORRISON NIMMICH
Exam anxiety is quite common for most students, especially during finals week. Research shows that a little anxiety can improve your performance by boosting the release of adrenalin which enhances how you respond to challenging situations. However, extreme anxiety can hinder performance when it comes to showcasing your academic and cognitive abilities.
Fortunately, there are various ways you can manage your exam stress levels to promote alertness and set yourself up for better performance. Some key pointers are listed below:
- Indulge in physical activities
Regular exercise is an excellent way to manage your stress. Getting involved in physical activities facilitates the release of endorphins which help to enhance your mood. It also assists in boosting your energy levels and distracting your mind from your upcoming exam(s). Such activities include taking a walk, bike riding, going to a yoga class, some hardcore cardio, among others.
- Have someone to talk to
Do you experience intense panic before the exam? It would benefit you to speak to your tutors, parent or classmates. It gets easier if you share your worries with your peers, who can help you to keep the exam in perspective. If that doesn’t help, try talking to your school’s guidance counselor.
- Relaxation training
Proper relaxation techniques are useful in relieving tension and helping you prepare for your exams. Such practices include deep breathing and meditation, and they are geared towards mindfulness. Through meditation, a student can focus on the current situation and acknowledge their anxiety and physical reactions. They can visualize themselves sitting for the exam and learn to control the stress prior to the actual exam day. Also taking a few deep breaths during the exam can help you control your anxiety and concentrate on the questions in front of you.
- Avoid procrastinated cramming
Most students tend to wait until the last minute, mostly the night before their finals exam day to study for the test. This is not advised since you are more likely to get overwhelmed by the multitude of topics you are required to cover and the lack of time you have. Ideally, develop a consistent study routine several weeks before the exam. Try spending more time studying for the test to give you adequate time to ask questions, apply your knowledge to practice questions, and get clarifications where necessary. The more prepared you are, the lesser the likelihood of getting panic attacks.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Getting plenty of rest is essential to boost your concentration and thinking. You understand better when you study with a fresh mind. Several hours of panicked, last-minute cramming the night before the exam may seem helpful, but it serves you no good. Commit to having a scaled balance between sleep and study during the exam week. Teenagers should have at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep. 8-hour sleep is OK for adult learners.
- Eat a balanced diet
Hunger is known to worsen anxiety. It also starves your brain of the essential nutrients that are required to boost your concentration levels. Avoid consuming foods that contain high amounts of sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and caffeine. They are unhealthy, and they will only make you irritable, hyperactive and moody.
- Take a break from social media
Social media can be the antithesis of productivity. It is distracting and can thus leading to divided attention. If you study with a phone beside you, you are likely to waste a considerable amount of your study time texting, waiting for emails, or checking social media. Consider turning off your social media during study hours if not for the entire exam week. Switch to Do Not Disturb Once you’ve finished your studying, you can reward yourself by going on your phone and spending time on social media.
About the Author:
Eliza is a co-founder of Tutor the People. She works mostly advising students on their academic and professional pursuits, and matching students one on one for MCAT prep, GRE tutoring, CPA prep, LSAT test prep, and GMAT tutoring.
BY EMMA BONNEY
Getting into college is not really hard. If you do well in high school and on the SAT, there is nothing to worry about. Being accepted into a university has gotten considerably easier by the years, so the likelihood is that you will get that big envelope in the mail. College in itself is hard. You have to stay on top of homework assignments, learn by yourself from the textbook, and work on nights and weekends to offset the cost of tuition and other expenses. The outcome is that you barely have time to get rest.
Generally speaking, students get between 6 and 6.9 hours of sleep per night, which is not enough. Stanford University’s Department for the Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleep Disorders says that the amount of sleep that is necessary for college students is 8 hours. Just like people from America, college students are sleeping less. More often than not, rest is sacrificed for other priorities. Students stay up all night, even before important exams. This is the worst thing that they can do.
Why should college students take sleep seriously?
Sleeping well is crucial for the health, helping with tissue repair, immune system function, and development. And that is not all. Recent studies have demonstrated that sleep is essential to academic success. Put simply, it is not just something to do in your spare time. On the contrary, it is an active, influential activity is required for motor and cognitive function. Unfortunately, sleep is rarely viewed as a priority in college.
Spending all night studying might come in handy if all you have to do is learn a list by heart, but it will not help you if you need to deal with complex information. When it comes to subjects like math or foreign languages, it is necessary to use the executive functions – in other words, the skills that are involved in planning, taking notice, and multitasking. Sleep is devoted to body and mind restoration, so it should not come as a surprise that after getting a good night’s sleep, you feel awake and alert. The best way to maximize performance when you are a student is to get a good night’s rest.
The impact of sleep deprivation on college students
You cannot get away with just 6 hours of sleep and neither can you catch up on lost sleep on the weekends. Sleep loss can lead to many conditions, such as memory issues, mood swings, trouble thinking and focusing, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, and risk for diabetes. What is more, you will showcase daytime sleepiness as a result of the sleep deprivation. It is true that it is difficult to juggle education, career, and relationships, but you cannot afford not to get a good night’s rest.
College students are prone to developing mental health issues. America, in particular, is going through a crisis. The immense levels of stress, in addition to the psychopathology of the time, contribute to the problem. Those studying at university or another place of higher education often succumb to depression or anxiety. These people suffer bouts of depression or anxiety because they do not have enough sleep. It is not the mental illness that leads to a disruption of the sleeping pattern. It is the disruption to the sleeping pattern that leads to disorders in a person’s behavior or thinking. In plain English, sleep deprivation is not a symptom, but a causative agent.
How college students can get enough sleep
1. Be adequately prepared in the bedroom
When you are in college, you should make sure to get enough rest. Think about changing your mattress, especially if you are tossing and turning all night long. The right kind of mattress will reduce the pressure points on your body and enable you to rest. Finding the best mattresses is not about searching for the most expensive product. The high price tag only helps sell the product. Focus on practicality. Choose a firm or soft mattress. It does not really matter, as long as you spend more time horizontally. Searching for the perfect mattress is well worth the effort. As mentioned earlier, sleep efficiency and academic performance are closely connected.
2. Adjust your sleep schedule
The human brain is very active during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. Top researchers at the University of Ottawa discovered that the brains of students dreaming were able to make new connections. In order to get deep sleep, you have to make an effort and adjust your sleep schedule. Figure out what is your ideal waking time. If you have classes early in the morning, you will want to wake up an hour or two before departure. Maintaining a regular schedule is important. This means that you cannot oversleep during the weekend. Equally important is to pick a bedtime. You may have many important things to do, but you should not let them interfere with your life.
3. Stick to a healthy diet
Eating healthy can help you sleep more and be more productive. A diet that is low in fiber and high in saturated fats will prevent you from experiencing deep sleep at night. What should you be eating, anyway? Kiwi, foods rich in fiber, fish yogurt, and whole grains. These are only a few examples. It is essential to try to eat a healthy diet that is based on fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Consider how you feel after consuming healthy foods. If you feel well during your waking hours, it is impossible to feel bad during the night.
No excuses for justifying the lack of sleep
College students sleep whenever they get the chance and they wonder why they are so tired all the time and do not get the grades that they want. There is nobody to blame but yourself for not getting enough sleep. It is true that college life is hard. Yes, but it is worth it in the end. Do not let your grades slip for a good night’s rest. Stop making excuses and go to bed.
Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.