Archive for December, 2016

How to Better Coordinate Group Study Efforts

December 21st, 2016

By David Gutierrez

 Few studying ideas are as polarizing as the concept of “group study.” On one hand, working together with others has a lot of advantages. You’ll be better motivated to study if you’re held socially responsible for meeting up, you’ll get to exchange ideas with people who have different perspectives, and you can play games or use other interesting, interactive methods to learn new material, rather than burying your nose in a book.

The downsides are what make group studying a challenging notion for many. Not only do you have the possibility of getting stuck in a group you don’t get along with—you also have to go through the trouble of coordinating study time with everyone’s busy schedules. You can’t change anyone’s personality—but you can implement strategies that make it easier to coordinate group study.

Coordinating Group Study

If you’re struggling to get your group together, try using some or all of these strategies:

  1. Use a voice broadcast or mass message system. The easiest way to get several people up to speed at once is to use a voice broadcasting or mass text messaging system, which can distribute a message to your entire network of contacts in mere minutes. This is especially helpful for larger groups, where managing communication can be nightmarish in complexity.
  2. Set expectations early. Don’t set up a vague “group study” meeting and opt to iron out the details later. If you want the group to be successful, you need to set expectations going in. How often are you going to meet? What are you going to cover when you meet? Can anybody join at any time? Will you be doing anything special for major upcoming exams? Let people know what type of group this is in advance to avoid problems later.
  3. Establish a regular meeting time and place. Along those same lines, it’s best if you set a regular meeting time and place as soon as possible—for example, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the library. That way, you proactively avoid scheduling issues that will invariably come up throughout the week. If someone can’t make it one week, they can’t make it—the meeting will still take place at its regular time. If the majority of the group votes for a change, it can still happen, but this avoids weekly struggles to set a time and place.
  4. Designate a leader. It’s not necessary to designate a leader, but it can make communication easier. If one person is responsible for sending out messages and making the final call on certain decisions, it can avoid an apathetic pit of indecision that groups can sometimes fall into. If you’re not into having a leader, consider rotating responsibilities every week, so there’s a new leader cycled in regularly.
  5. Set agendas for each meeting. Setting an agenda for any type of meeting will make it more productive; it gives everyone a common goal and a framework in which to work. Have your leader come up with an agenda for each of your meetings, or decide on the agenda as a group. In any case, set a time for each item—even if you go off course, you’ll still have a skeletal framework to get started with.
  6. Use multiple mediums. Not everybody communicates the same way. Some people prefer texts, while others prefer email, and others prefer social media. When you need to update the group, such as sending out a study recap or changing the date of this week’s meeting, make sure you use multiple mediums. That way, you can guarantee your messages will reach all your intended recipients and you can avoid the “you never told me that” problem.
  7. Understand individual goals. Everybody within your group will likely have individual goals, in addition to the group goals of increasing knowledge and getting better grades. For example, some people might specifically want to study for exams, while others may want to use it as a place to go over recent lessons for clarity. The best way to keep a group effective is to cater to these individual goals as much as possible without compromising the main directive of the group.

Deciding Whether Group Study Is Right for You

Group studying isn’t ideal for everyone. It comes with a number of drawbacks, and some people simply work better when they’re alone. However, it’s definitely worth attempting the group approach, especially if you’re new to studying in college. If you follow these best practices for coordinating and executing your group studying efforts, you’ll be far more successful—and less stressed in the attempt. After just a few sessions, you should have a good feel for whether or not the group approach is right for you, and if it isn’t, you can always go back to studying individually.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

 

10 NON-ACADEMIC LESSONS TO LEARN FROM UNIVERSITY

December 20th, 2016

By Michael Harred

 

Some of us take courses that we have little interest in and will not even pursue a career in the said course after graduation. You may be one of these people who is constantly asking themselves how the course they are pursuing will help them in their life. But what about the non-academic lessons that you learn from university? Some of these lessons you will use for your entire lifetime. Here are 10 non-academic lessons that you will learn from the university.

1.      How to Deal with People

At university, you will meet many people. Some of them will be your classmates, roommates or you share a sorority with them. Some of them will tolerable while many of them will simply be difficult to tolerate. They will insist on making your life unbearable. This will prove to be a great exposure to open your eyes to the kind of people you will meet in the office in the future. You need to develop a skill of putting up with all kinds of people. You know, limit exposure to people that make your life difficult. So, work on the right mentality to deal with people. It will really come in handy in the future.

2.      Learn to Budget

Unless you come from a rich family with parents who give you tons of money, then you must really learn how to budget. Do you want to buy pizza, or go out for dinner with your friends? How much will it cost you and how much do you have? Your parents probably give you a monthly allowance. You need to budget for it to ensure that it can take you through the whole week. Allocate money for food, clothing, stationery and study related materials. Make sure you save some money for a rainy day.

3.      Learn to Prioritize

With the immense freedom, you must learn how to set your priorities straight. Will you go out clubbing with your friends at the expense of your studies? Will you take a nap instead of completing the assignment that is due? These are things that you will learn in university. You will need to make a list of things ranging in order of importance. Classes, reading, and assignments should come top of your list. Only then should you slot in non-academic stuff to do in your free time. But at the end of the day, you should have a balance between academics, personal time and time with friends and family.

4.      Learn How to Cook

Buying food or calling for deliveries is very expensive. Sooner or later, you need to learn how to cook. You do not need to make a 5-star course meal, just something edible. These cooking skills will help you survive in your later years when you are starting out on a job and are still earning a little cash. Apart from saving you money, it will ensure that you remain healthy.

5.      Perseverance Is Key

In university, you will be in a sea world of people. You need to work extra hard in order to stand out and be noticed. You may have been the best in high school, but this is no longer high school. You need to be dedicated and put in more effort. Giving up should not even be an option. Sounds frustrating, right? All these are there to prepare you for when you join the workforce where it will be a daunting task to be noticed among the other interns, or when you are angling for that promotion your co-workers have also been eyeing.

6.      Networking

Never ever burn bridges. People who you think you won’t meet again have the tendency to reappear in your life when you least expect it. You may think that being a jerk and laughing at other people is a good idea now but it is not. It will come back to haunt you in the future. It is important to establish and maintain connections in the college world. These connections might help you land a job in the future. However, do not be afraid to walk away from relationships that are detrimental to you. Cut out friendships with people who only aim to bring you down.

7.      Learn How to Market Yourself

In sales and marketing, it is always said that you are your own and best advocate. You will learn how to position yourself as a brand, not in a slutty way but in a professional way. First, you will have to create connections. Once, you’ve created them, you have to make yourself stand out from the others. How do you present yourself in front of your professors and advisors? You imagine presenting yourself in front of an interviewing panel and present yourself in the same manner. Do something that makes you look unique and stand out from the other people. After all, it is only you who knows your strengths and attributes and can present them in the best light possible.

8.      Make The Best Out of Everything

Everything happens for a reason. If you begin to question why you will never enjoy everything life has to offer. Maybe you were not lucky enough to be admitted to your dream school. But, do you simply quit studying or continue with your studies? After all, it is you who stand to gain or lose. Maybe, a lecturer has failed to show up. Don’t begin cursing him or her for wasting your time. Look to the bright side of it. You have some free time to catch up on your reading and assignments, or maybe your favorite novel. Better still, you can use the time to unwind and relax.  So, learn to enjoy what life has to offer.

9.      Engage in Extracurricular

Do not limit your college experience to classwork only. You can seek professional writing services to help with the burden that accompanies schoolwork. These services can help you get some time off your schedule for other activities. Get something to do outside your classes. You might join a group like Red Cross, engage in sports, a hobby, or simply look for a job. This may sound ridiculous, but it is not. Extracurricular activities will expose you to a lot of people and you will learn how to tolerate and understand different kinds of people. Getting some kind of job or internship will help you develop into an accountable and responsible person, skills which will help you in the professional working life.

10.  Learn How to Waver the Storm

College is the place that toughens you before you face the real world. Here, you will have more classes and assignments than what you were used to in high school. This can knock you off balance and find yourself lagging behind in your classes. Criticism will come from all corners. College mates who think you do not fit in with them. The team coach who thinks you are not talented enough to make it to the first team or the professor that will make you re-write the essay 10 times before he is satisfied. To get through this, you will need to develop a thick skin. Failure is something that you should not be afraid of. You only need to learn how to get up and dust yourself to forge ahead after every attempt.

 

Now, get these in your head and do not forget them. Even though academics are what brought you to university, the non-academic lessons are the ones that will make your university life memorable and prepare you for the difficult life that is waiting upon graduation. Embrace these lessons and pass them down to your friends and siblings once they also join college.
Author bio:
Michael Harred is a passionate blogger and writer at Lord Of Papers. His topics of interest are blogging, social media and education. To know more about Michael – check h

8 Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills

December 19th, 2016

By Lorraine McKinney

While communication comes naturally to many college students, there are many others who just haven’t mastered the art of good communication, and they are not able to be heard and get their points across. If this sounds like you, we have put together a list of eight tips that will help to enhance your communication skills.

 

  1. Choose Your Words Wisely – Avoid speaking jargon or slang in conversations. Chances are, only a select group of people will understand, and your point will be lost in meaningless jargon. It is important to choose your words to ensure that you are able to convey what you truly mean. This is true in both oral and written communication.
  2. Use Podcasts – Many professors are encouraging students to use audio tapes and podcasts for developing their communication skills. This is a great way to be able to listen to numerous speakers and get a feel for their styles. You can listen to podcasts on any topic. Pay attention to how things are presented, and use the good things to create your own great communication style.
  3. Ask More Questions – Communication is a two-way street. If you aren’t asking questions and showing that you want to learn more, it could be taken as you not being interested. In order to communicate effectively, you need to ask questions. Questions lead to answers, and then more questions, and pretty soon you have that two-way communication working for you, and you are showing an interest in the other party.
  4. Listen More – This goes along with asking questions. You can ask a million and one questions, but if you aren’t listening to the answers, you may as well not be asking the questions in the first place. It isn’t enough to just be speaking in a conversation. You really need to hear what the other party is saying. Listen, and then ask questions based on what you are hearing. Again, it will show you are interested, and you will be seen as good communicator.
  5. Be Willing to Step Back – No matter what you may like to think, you are not always right, and you need to know when to step back, and be willing to do so. Stop trying to convince people that your way is the only way. You are not communicating at this point. This tip is also important for your future job, as some companies use performance management software to improve communication in teams.
  6. Have the Right Attitude – When it comes to good communication, it is important to have the right attitude. You need to show that you are confident in yourself and in your ability to communicate. It is also important that you learn how to communicate with a positive mindset. Not only will this improve your communication skills, it will help with all of your relationships in general.
  7. Use Good Judgement – Before you speak with someone, know what you want to achieve through that communication. When you use good judgement before speaking, it will make it a lot easier to know what to say and when to say it, as well as what not to say. This is going to help to prevent a lot of arguments, and your will be seen as a good communicator.
  8. Get Feedback – If you are unsure about your communication skills, ask others how you are doing. Talk to friends, family members, colleagues, etc. and ask them what they think about your communication skills. Remember, you are going to receive both positive and negative feedback, and you need to learn how to deal with the negative so you can turn it around into something positive.

Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist. 

 

 

5 Activities To Boost Brain Productivity While Studying

December 16th, 2016

By Melissa Burns

 The brain is the central unit of the body and it is using almost a quarter of total body energy for its work. It is a pretty sensible mechanism which needs a lot of care to function properly. Its entire work consists of five essential cognitive operations: memory, concentration, speech, visual and spatial skills, and executive ability. Each one of them can be trained although there is a strong connection between all of them.

Here are some methods and tips for students to make their brains work better:

  1. Stimulating the brain

Given the functional diversity of the brain, it is mandatory to stimulate it in various ways. To train the part which is in charge of the speech and memory, try to read many different literature and books. You can even read the less interesting things. Another suitable game is solving the crosswords, as well as listening and memorizing the texts of unknown songs. One of the easiest tricks for improving the concentration is changing the usual routes of walking. It will offer the new information to your nervous system and force it to work. Playing some video games can also increase the level of concentration.

  1. Using the opposite hand

Have you ever tried to use the computer mouse or play the table tennis with the opposite hand which is not dominant? You are aware that it might be hard in the beginning, but it is because you have transferred all the requirements and jobs to the one hand. Doing so, you are putting your brain under pressure. If you make an effort and use your weaker hand, your thinker will be grateful to you because you just wake up the neglected part of your central nervous system. Although it is hard in the beginning, you will see the progress very soon.

  1. Getting rid of stress

Maybe you remember the lucky days from your childhood when you were just playing games and been free of any worries. It was the time when you were truly happy and living your life without a stress. Well, those days are gone, and now we have a fast rhythm and a constant communicational availability which is affecting our health. Therefore, it is very important to rest your brain regularly with the quality sleep. Performing the activities that will relax your nervous system such as meditation, yoga, listening to music, etc., can also help refresh your central nervous system.

  1. Taking care of diet

Various supplements in a diet are recently becoming the target for experts. The vast majority of advertised products do not have any impact on brain functions, so the doctors claim that we are just wasting our money. Therefore, it would be much better to focus on the quality and balanced diet which is proven to be useful. It is primarily the food which is full of Omega-3 fatty acids. In the first place, we are talking about fish, salmon, and similar products. Some recent studies showed that the coffee consumption could also boost the brain functionality.

  1. Learning a foreign language

Learning the foreign languages is one of the most efficient ways to stimulate and improve the mental condition and make you a better student. Entering the unknown field is like walking through the deep snow. It is indeed hard, but at the same time, it is forcing you to move the limits. Solving the mathematical tasks has the similar effect. While learning a foreign language will have a positive influence on your vocabulary, mathematical tasks will improve your logical thinking. Lastly, you can not go wrong whatever you choose.

Conclusion

In addition to all of these activities and tips, it is necessary to highlight the importance of regular and healthy meals as it is the first condition to maintain an outstanding brain productivity. The combination of the quality food and the mentioned activities will help young people to keep their thinkers in good shape. Regarding the fact that students need to learn a lot of stuff, particularly during the exams, they will have to continuously practice the mental exercises and habits to keep their brains in the top form.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

 

  

Things to Know About Student Federal And State Financial

December 15th, 2016

BY RICK RIDDLE

Every year, college students sit down, often with their parents to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the document that is used to determine how much money the student is entitled to receive towards their education. These funds come in the form of grants that do not need to be paid off, loans that do need to be paid off, and work study.

Filling out these forms can be both frustrating and intimidating, and many students worry that they will make a mistake that could result in them losing out on financial aid. Parents may also worry that they will be expected to pay for more than they are able.

Here’s a bit of good news. The process is not as intimidating as you might think. Here are ten important pieces of information that all students should know about financial aid.

 

  1. You Need to Get Your Financial Aid Forms Filled Out as Soon as Possible

The sooner you apply for financial aid, the better. First, doing so will get your information online and available to your schools of choice. You will also have the benefit of knowing as soon as possible exactly how much money you can count on. If you plan on applying for other types of aid, filling out your FAFSA early may put you on the short list with state and private agencies.

 

  1. Your State Might Offer Financial Aid Over And Above What The Feds do

As you are filling out your financial aid forms, take a few moments to see if your state offers any type of grants or other financial aid. Remember that the more help that you can get, the better off you will be.

If you are applying to a public school or university, be sure to check out their rules about in state or in district tuition. If you live within a certain geographic area, you might qualify for in state tuition even if you live in another state. This can save you quite a bit of money on tuition and other fees.

 

  1. Beware! Not All Student Loans Are The Same

Once you begin applying to schools, you will start receiving mailers about student loans. Be careful! Most of these are not federally backed student loans. Instead, they are high interest student loans offered through private lending institutions. Sometimes you will pay more than four times the amount of interest than you would through a federal student loan.

Be sure you exhaust your options with federal student loans and parents plus loans before you start pursuing loans through fully private entities. You will save yourself and your parents money. Plus you won’t qualify for any kind of deferment with these private loans.

 

  1. Some Students Could Qualify For Student Loan Forgiveness

Are you interested in a career that serves others? If you are, you could qualify for partial or total student loan forgiveness. Do a bit of research, many students pursuing teaching, nursing, social work or other similar fields may not have to repay their loans if they agree to certain conditions.

 

  1. Know if You Are a Dependent or Not

One of the key points addressed in the FAFSA is whether or not you are a dependent student. If you are a dependent, you will be required to provide information about one or both of your parents’ incomes. Then, depending on their expected family contribution you may not qualify for as much aid as you need.

However, it is possible that you do qualify as an independent student. This means that your student aid reward will be based on your income alone. Here are some of the things that could qualify you as an independent student:

 

  • Aging Out of Foster Care
  • Being an Active Member of The Military
  • Getting Married
  • Having a Child Whom You Support on Your Own
  • Parental Abandonment or Estrangement

Your financial aid office can help you to determine if you qualify as an independent student.

 

  1. Don’t Forget About Financial Aid And Scholarships Offered Through Your School

In addition to financial aid offered through the state and federal governments, many schools also offer financial aid to qualifying students. Some of this is need based, while other aid is merit based. Do some research. You could be leaving money lying around uncollected.

 

  1. Work Study Money Can go Further Than You Think

Many work study jobs are only for a few hours each week. This may not seem like much until you realize that the pay is often tax free. This means more money ends up in your pocket than it would if you worked off campus.

 

  1. The 2017 2018 FAFSA is Available Early

Good news! You don’t have to wait until after the first of the year to fill out your FAFSA for next year. The form has been available since the first of November. You may have to go back and add in your tax return information, but at the very least you can get the remainder of the forms filled out and sent to your school.

 

  1. Filling Out The FAFSA Alone Won’t Qualify You For Student Loans

Once you fill out your FAFSA, you will learn how much you qualify for in student loans. However, this does not mean that you will get these funds. If you want to obtain a student loan, you will need to visit the website StudentLoans.Gov. There you will have to fill out more forms and undergo loan counseling. Only then will you qualify to borrow money.

 

  1. Don’t Pay Anybody to Complete Your FAFSA

Applying for financial aid may not be easy, but there is plenty of free help available to you. Don’t fall for scams offering to fill out these forms for you, or that offer financial aid guarantees in exchange for money. Your financial aid department at school or your high school guidance office will help you for free.

ConclusionHopefully now that you are armed with some good information you will be able to to maximize your financial aid award. This money can mean the difference between being able to attend school or not.

 About the author: Rick Riddle is a career advisor, life coach and an up-and-coming blogger. He writes mostly about career, entrepreneurship, e-learning and blogging as a part of OKdissertations team. To keep up with his latest publications follow Rick on twitter.

Top 6 Signs That You Have Chosen the Wrong Major

December 14th, 2016

By Juliette Morgan

 

There are many factors that can influence your choice of a major. Some of them are positive. Your choice in major might reflect your passions, talents, and curiosities. You may have chosen your major because you believe it will lead you to opportunities to be of service to others or to pursue your dreams.

On the other hand, your choice in majors could reflect family and societal pressures. Many students choose majors because they are told that their true preferences aren’t practical or they are pressured by parents to go into the same fields as other family members.

No matter has led you to the major you have chosen, there is always a possibility that you have made the wrong choice. Obviously, if you have been pressured into a major, that’s a bad thing. On the other hand, simply having a talent or passion for something doesn’t mean that it is a good fit for you as a college major let alone a life-time career.

If you are unsure of your choice in majors, keep reading. Here are six signs that you may need to rethink your choice

 

  1. You Find Yourself Getting Lost in Classes Related to Your Major

 

While he was in high school, J. was a stellar art student. His paintings were shown in a cafe in his town, he won scholarships to art camps each summer, and he even earned permission to complete an independent study art project during his senior year. It seemed natural that he major in art when he started college.

When he started, J.was enthused about going to his art classes. By midterm, he was miserable. He just slipping further and further behind. During studio classes, it became more and more clear that he just didn’t have the skills that his peers did. In classes where art history and theory were discussed, J. simply didn’t have the depth of understanding that the other students did. Ultimately, it became clear that while J. was a talented artist, his natural abilities simply did not run deep enough for him to make art a career.

Anybody struggling in more than one class related to their major, may want to reconsider their path.

 

  1. The More You Spend Time in Your Area of Concentration The Less You Enjoy It

A’s dilemma was a bit different. She chose to major in Mass Communications with a goal of going into radio broadcasting. Her classes came easy to her, and she even picked up part-time work at a local radio station. The only problem was that the further she progressed, the unhappier she became. Unfortunately, because she was successful, she found it difficult to get people to understand why she was unhappy.

Talent is important, but that shouldn’t overshadow the importance of personal satisfaction.

 

  1. You Cannot Clearly Define Why You Picked Your Major

Why did you choose Finance? It’s an innocent enough question, but D. cringed every time someone asked him that question. He couldn’t answer it without stumbling over his words. He chose his major when he was 18, because financial aid demanded that he do so. Choosing something business related just seemed safe.

Now, while his friends could talk about their majors and hopes for the future with excitement, D. would just mumble something about maybe working for a good company.  It’s a shame that so many college students feel pressured to choose their paths so early.

 

  1. Your Classes Are Boring

 

  1. didn’t consider changing majors for a full year. He just assumed that he wasn’t hitting it off with a couple of his professors and that classes the next year would be more engaging. They weren’t. This was when he had to face the fact that it was the major itself that he found boring. In his case, the idea of video game development was much more exciting than the detailed work it actually entailed.

Eventually, G. stayed in the same department, but changed majors. Art direction allowed him to pursue his dream of working for a video game studio, without forcing him into a major that was a bad fit.

 

  1. It’s a Struggle to Find Your Place in Your Department

If you hit your junior year in school, and have yet to find your place in your academic department, it might be time to take a step back. Is this just a reflection of a less than welcoming or cliquish department, or is it something else? Will you also struggle to fit in on the job?

This was something that Z. had to face. She loved sports and being outdoors, so she decided to major in Recreation. The only problem was that the other students were outgoing and gregarious. She was quiet and reserved. The other students were certainly nice to her, but the personality differences made her the odd one out. Eventually, she had to acknowledge that her temperament may cause her troubles if she pursued her chosen field.

 

  1. You Feel Resentful Towards Friends or Family Members

I never wanted to be an engineer! You just wouldn’t leave me alone about it! Those were tough words to say, but after three years, Q. felt better once they were out. He isn’t alone. Each year students choose majors that don’t really interest them due to subtle and not so subtle pressure from others. Eventually, they become angry and resentful.

Conclusion

There may be worst things than pursuing the wrong major, but as a college student, it can be hard to imagine what that might be. It is so important to choose a major that interests you and reflects your talent. Students who do find that they aren’t happy with their majors should certainly look into transitioning into something more fitting. Even if it means an extra year at school, it is more than worth the effort to save a decades-long career.

Juliette finished her studies at 2015. And now she works as a blog editor at SupremeDissertations.com. At the same time, Juliette is working as a blogger at different resources. She writes about educational process, students` life, parenting (especially with teens), etc.

Tips To Do Well on Your Final Exams

December 13th, 2016

By Danika McClure

Finals week is a stressful time for students, no matter how far they are in their educational journey. Properly preparing for final exams is no easy task, and the process often leaves students stressed out and sleep deprived–neither of which are optimal for student success.

While there’s no surefire way to ensure that each student will be able to ace their final exams, there are a number of effective learning strategies that will help students put their best foot forward during final exam week.

Harness Your Own Unique Way of Learning

In 1983, Howard Gardner published his now well-known theory about “Multiple Intelligences,” in which he unveiled his belief that people rely on a variety of skills in order to master difficult subjects. From there, he identified seven core “intelligences” that people use to learn. What does that mean?

“While the conventional method of lecture and note-taking works for some students, it bypasses the needs of many others,” Education.com author Cindy Donaldson writes. In difficult subjects, like math and the sciences, many students believe they’re not good at the subject–yet in reality, they may just need to harness a different way of learning in order to master the material.

In order to determine your unique style of learning, try taking this self-assessment. From there, you can develop new techniques in order to maximize your study time.

Study with Partners

Studying with a partner is a surefire way to gain new learning skills and help you to better understand complex concepts and problems. Since each person has their own unique learning style, studying with a partner may help introduce you to new ways of thinking about difficult concepts and help to balance out each other’s shortfalls in understanding. Studying with an additional person can also motivate you to work towards your study goals and avoid procrastination.

If you’re struggling to connect with your classmates or need more advanced help, there are other of course other options available. Professors and T.A.s are typically available in the weeks before finals to help you prepare, and there are professional tutoring services available to help students no matter their age or ability.

Manage Stress

With college admittance comes high academic expectations, a new level of independence, and more challenging work than most students are prepared for. It’s no surprise then that college students are more stressed out than ever before. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways that impact both your academic life, your physical health, and your social relationships.

It’s important that students learn how to healthily manage their stress in order to succeed academically. In order to manage that stress, students ought to be cognizant about the amount of effort they put into their work, and balance that with other important aspects of their life. Rest, socialization, exercise, and healthy eating are all aspects that are equally important to studying.

Prioritize Sleep

Scientists have gone to great lengths to prove that a good night’s sleep is an essential ingredient to healthy living. Despite this, in college campuses across the country, the all-nighter continues to be a popular study tool. Studies prove, however, that pulling all-nighters does more harm than good.

A 2008 study by Pamela Thatcher at St. Lawrence University found that all-nighters impair reasoning and memory for “as long as four days,”–which is hardly ideal for optimal studying. Instead, Dan Taylor of the University of North Texas suggests that students review the most challenging materials the night before their final exam and get a good night’s rest.

Alternate Your Study Location

Recent analysis by New York Times author Benedict Carey find that much about what we know regarding effective study habits is wrong, including the location in which students best learn. For instance, instead of choosing one place to study for an entire semester, alternating the room where a person studies has proven to improve retention.

In one experiment, psychologists found that college students who alternated study rooms did far better on vocabulary exams than those who studied in the same room. While studying, the brain associates location and background with material learned. Therefore, if you study the same information in two different environments, retention becomes much easier. For maximum retention of course material, it’s best that you break up study habits in multiple locations conducive to studying.

Preparing for finals is a necessary and difficult task that many students struggle with throughout their educational journey. However, with proper preparation, healthy living habits, and strategies for success, any student can find a study routine to ensure success in their final exams.

What Healthy Living and Higher Education Have in Common

December 12th, 2016

By Mikkie Mills

There’s a notable link between what you eat versus what grades you get at school, what lifestyle you live versus which job position you assume later on in life. In a nutshell, there’s an undeniable connection between healthy living and higher education. And while most people go about their lives not noticing this tether, those who do understand it can leverage it towards making a better life for themselves. Here’s five ways how healthy living and higher education are connected and what you can do to improve.

Healthy Social Function

Healthy living and higher education both play key roles in a person’s ability to function socially. A physically and mentally healthy person is at a position to conduct experiments and participate in activities that can potentially benefit society. They are also less prone to making decisions that could jeopardize others around them. To improve one’s social capabilities, regular application of social skills are important. Theory is one thing, but only real world situations can keep people mentally sharp.

Higher Life Expectancy

It’s a widely recognized fact that life expectancy has to do with healthy living. And to be able to afford the healthcare services and the healthy lifestyle that promotes this higher life expectancy, one must be able to get a good job. Higher education is key to getting a good-paying job. A high school diploma is no longer enough nowadays to compete in highly saturated job markets. To put this into perspective, let’s look at some numbers. At age 25, Americans without a high school diploma are expected to live 9 years less than those with an undergraduate degree, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Another study shows that occurrence of diabetes was eight percent higher for adults without a high school education.

Better Ability to Navigate Around Life

Healthy living and higher education enables you to navigate around complex aspects of life, such as healthcare, taxes, money management, family management, etc. College graduates and those pursuing their master’s degrees are much better at learning and mastering things they encounter on a daily basis. They have the temperament to handle situations they have little to no knowledge about because they are confident that they can learn the steps to effectively use it later on. In other words, people who are mentally and financially healthy are able to absorb worldly information better than those without these attributes. To improve, read more books and keep applying the theories you learn to real world scenarios.

Better Environment

People who obtain higher education and better-paying job have a better chance of living in neighborhoods that provide a bigger and cleaner space. They have more access to parks, sidewalks, yards, and other facilities that can be used for recreational purposes or entrepreneurial pursuits. More space equates to better mood and stress levels, which ultimately contribute to lower risk of heart problems and other physical ailments that commonly befall those who live in heavily dense communities.

Access to More Services

A better job means more disposable cash for services, such as organic food delivery, local gym membership, and private schooling for your children. Access to these services can potentially yield a healthier lifestyle. For instance, organic food deliveries means you can eat fresh produce that haven’t been washed down by chemicals. To improve this particular aspect of life, learn to prepare and cook meals that are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and minerals that you need.

Healthy living and higher education definitely go hand in hand. Poor lifestyle can lead to bad grades, which can lead to a low-income job after high school. Try to balance out the two by planning not just your immediate needs and wants, but the long-term initiative as well.

Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.

 

 

 

5 Things Every College Student Must Do Before Graduating

December 9th, 2016

By Eliza Medley

University is a special time. Sure, you’re supposed to learn stuff, but it shouldn’t all come from books. After all, this is where you explore, try new things and experiment with the different lifestyles you might want to live.

The problem, however, is that it’s far too easy to get distracted. Perhaps there are midterms. Maybe there’s a party you want to go to. Heck, this might be (another) night to stay in and watch movies instead.

To avoid the temptation to not make the most of your university time, I advise you have some sort of bucket list. A ‘this is what I want to do before I’m done’ kind of thing. Then, based on how many items you’ve got on that list, you know how many things you’ve got to do a month in order to be able to do it all.

But what will you put on that list? That’s what the rest of this article will cover.

Take a road trip

You can’t really say that you’ve been a student if you haven’t taken a road trip. Driving long distances with a bunch of friends to see something odd and do something exciting is how you lay down memories that you’ll be able to draw on for the rest of your life.

Don’t just go somewhere close by, either. Commit yourself to something far away and something slightly out of the norm. Make sure you take some people that have interesting things to say. Talk politics, religion, women, and men. Stop often, to look at things. Take pictures, selfies and drinks.

Do whatever it takes to make the road trip special, memorable and a little bit crazy (but stay safe). Yes, doing all of this might turn it into an ordeal, but the pain will fall away and ultimately you’ll remember it as one of those moments in your life when you were truly alive.

Attend a guest lecture

Find out what famous speakers are coming to your university and attend a lecture on something that really interests you. It doesn’t have to be in the direction that you’re studying. It doesn’t have to be something you know anything about. That’s not the point. The point of university is to come to understand different things and see different sides of life.

There is no better way to do that, then to listen to somebody who really knows their stuff and knows how to communicate it well explain these things to you. Doors might end up opened that you didn’t even know existed.

Remember, when you’re out of school you won’t get these opportunities again. The public is rarely invited to hear some of the smartest people of our generation speak. So make the most of it while you can.

Write for a publication

When you’re in university you’ve got some strong opinions. Share them by writing articles for some sort of publication. If it turns out to be nonsense, then you can say that those were your university days. When it turns out to be brilliant, you might just have found your new career.

A lot of writers started out at their university publications. There is a lot of freedom there that you won’t get later on in life. There’s a time to shape and form your opinions, your ideology, and your politics that you’ll struggle to find later on in life.

OF course, you will have to make sure that you’ve actually got the skills to write, so make sure that you practice. You could even consider following a writing workshop or ask about help some special services, such as get good grade.

 

Get to know a foreign culture

There are bound to be people from other countries at your school. So, find out about their cultures. This is a great chance to hear some great stories about other countries, try out some wild food that you otherwise wouldn’t have, and possibly find a country to visit over summer break.

What’s more, often people from other countries struggle to integrate because they have different expectations, different social rules and might not control the language. For that reason, they’ll quite often be thrilled to talk to somebody from the US, particularly if that person takes an active interest in them.

And what is better than having a friend in the US? Having one outside of it, that you can visit and whose house you can stay at.

Join a protest

Stand up for something you believe in. Wave a placard. Show that you care. After all, ‘the only thing that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing’. So don’t do anything. Get involved with a cause that’s important.

People that have gotten involved in things like this often say that it shapes them. It becomes an important part of who they are, who they hang out with and what they do. Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me.

 

Last words

There are so many things you should do in university than we’ve covered here. Still, with this list at your disposal, you’ll at least have a good place to start. Hopefully, just reading through it, you already came up with a few ideas of your own that you’d love to try. Write it all down. Don’t be shy. Take everything that comes to mind and put it on paper.

Then, when you’ve got a list with everything you possibly might want to do, start organizing these things into, ‘have to’, ‘want to’, and ‘might do’.

Then all you’ve got to do is put it somewhere prominently, where you’ll be sure you’ll see it and work your way through. Try to cross off at least one thing a month (preferably more). If you can do that, then you won’t regret it as you’ll have a slew of memories to enjoy for the rest of your life.

Eliza Medley is a tutor and freelance writer. She loves to cover topics on content marketing, education and college life. Contact her via Facebook.

Student Loan Mistakes to Avoid And Tips To Reduce Loans

December 8th, 2016

BY ROBERT PARMER

 

When I first attended college, I was supporting myself completely. This is the case for many students around the globe, especially when coming from povertous living situations. The same can be said about degree seekers that are the first in their family to attend college.

While attending college I needed help paying for school and the associated costs, and this is by no means a unique situation.

An article by LendKey points out that “over the ten year period from 2004 to 2014, students’ average debt has rose 56%, from $18,550 to $28,950.”

And these figures keep growing, because despite what societal class a person may fall into, the desire for people to better their lives through a college degree is all encompassing.

With the second term of the school year just ahead, many students who are struggling to make ends meet are debating taking out more loans. This should be handled with care, as not all loans are created equal.

These mistakes to avoid will help you make better choices whether you’re putting yourself through college and needing more money, or just trying to avoid the massive waves of debt and frustration associated with the costs of higher education.

Understand the Different Types of Student Loans

The first step to success is understanding the different types of student loans out there. As a young college student, I can say that I wasn’t fully informed about the intricate differences between common types of student loans.

The most important thing to understand is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.

Subsidized loans are reserved for students who have direct financial need and are more forgiving when it comes to paying off the interest. The government pays the interest on subsidized loans while students in need are attending school, and continues paying interest for a six month grace period after a person stops taking classes.

Unsubsidized loans can be taken out by any student, regardless of financial need. The students themselves are responsible for paying interest, which starts occurring even while still attending college.

Avoid taking out unsubsidized loans whenever possible. Just because you can take out unsubsidized loans doesn’t mean you necessarily should.

Check out the Federal Student Loan Fact Sheet for more in-depth information on the intricacies of the range of student loan options out there.

And if you get to a point where you absolutely must refinance student loans, there are many companies that exist and they are designed to help students.

Mine for Scholarships and Look for Grants

Scout the internet far and wide for all relevant scholarship and grant opportunities. A great jumping off point is to use scholarship search engines and spend a good amount of time browsing them and self-educating.

Also be sure to define your scholarship niche. In what areas do you thrive? Are you an athlete or an artist? There’s likely something about you that makes you particularly qualified to receive money for school. Having conversations about this and brainstorming a list with a loved one can be crucially helpful.

Once you’ve found a good amount of potential scholarships to go after, delegate time to write essays and letters for these scholarships. It’s not easy, and it takes time to apply for scholarships, but in the long run it can literally save you thousands of dollars in tuition and living expenses.

Also remember that you can keep applying for scholarships regularly. While school work should obviously be a focus during the majority of your year, a smart use of breaks and downtime involves routinely searching for new scholarships and grant opportunities.

Have an Emergency Credit Card, Use it For Just That

There are a plethora of student credit cards out there designed for those with little or no credit. It’s possible for most students to qualify for credit cards but this should be approached with caution.

Sometimes it’s necessary to have a line of credit for emergencies and unavoidable situations. This is where credit cards can be incredibly useful. However, using credit cards for day to day expenses or other non-emergency purposes can add to debt significantly.

Avoid this at all costs, because you’re likely already going into debt just by attending college. You don’t want to create a student debt snowball effect!

Vacation Wisely or Not At All

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, and Summer breaks all have something in common: they are times of year where students decompress and crave vacations in order to break away from thoughts about school work and rigid schedules.

While taking vacations can be beneficial to mental health and may eliminate stress and burnout, this should be approached with a great deal of care.

It’s easy to go overboard when taking trips, because let’s face it: school is draining. Taking time away to relax helps boost student morale. But keeping trips modest may be the best decision students on a limited budget can make–there’s no reason to completely drain your savings!

Keep vacations practical. That could mean simply returning home for extended breaks or visiting family where you know you won’t have to pay for lodging and in many cases food (most of us have relatives with the ‘feeder’ mentality).

Practical vacationing can also mean saving for an extended time and picking the best time of year to buy a airfare at discounted rates. There are typically great deals on airfare around Black Friday and the weeks before and after.

Also keep in mind that the US dollar goes further when traveling to certain countries. Consider going to a place where you can stretch your funds, and use a currency converter to plan ahead and see what the exchange rates look like.

Seek Help For Financial Planning

Remember that there’s no shame in asking for help! Whether that’s from an advisor, a close family member or friend, or a third party designed to help students make wise financial choices, planning ahead and seeking assistance is a wise decision.

The frugal tips and student loan advice above should be seen as starting points. Stay organized by creating lists, guidelines, and goals for yourself. Use the resources you have right in front of you and those that are all across the internet.

While you are ultimately responsible for your fiscal success, there’s a wide range of helpful assets and likely a lot of knowledge people surrounding you.

Robert Parmer is a freelance web writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing whenever he has spare time, Robert enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @robparmer