college student planning calendar

Balancing Your Days: College, Work, and Your Social Life

It can be difficult to work and go to school, not to mention enjoy the benefits of college with an active social life. Anyone who has had to work their way through school knows how challenging it can be, especially when compared to friends and classmates who have the luxury of partying all night and going to class in the day, without a care in the world.

There are some key ways you can balance your days in order to do it all: spend time with your friends, go to class, and even bring in a paycheck. There isn’t a secret to it, just some good old fashioned hard work and planning.

Organization is Key

The number one thing to do is get organized. A wall calendar, a planner, even alarms on your phone can all be effectively leveraged to help you plan your days and use your time wisely. Using a planner that has the time divided into hours may work for some people, allowing you to assign time throughout the day to different activities.
Time is of the essence when you’re looking at balancing work, school, and play, so you want to make sure you have everything you need lined up.

Have a Study Space

Designate a study space where you can keep your school work and immediately get into the mindset of studying when you enter it. It doesn’t need to be a separate room, a desk or table and chair are just fine. You’ll want to have any supplies you need readily accessible. This prevents you from needing to stop and go buy a pack of paper when you’re busy working on a term paper.

Take Good Care of Yourself

When you wearing three different hats, it can be hard to find the time to really take care of yourself. Pulling an all nighter once is one thing, but planning to do it regularly can wear you down. Couple that with all of your classmates in close proximity, and you’ve got a recipe for illness.

Get Sleep!

Going without sleep is a recipe for disaster. When you sleep, your body is able to repair itself, something it can’t do when you are burning the candle at both ends. When you are sleep deprived, you also have more trouble focusing, so you can’t be as productive as you will be when you are well-rested.

tired college woman sleeping

Work with your Body’s Natural Rhythm

Taking care of yourself also means learning what you can do effectively. You will want to leverage your tendencies in order to get the most things done. If you know you’re a morning person, wake up, eat a nice breakfast, and spend some time studying before you go to class.

Find a Job Related to What You Want to Do

You’ll have time in the evenings for work. Finding a job that leverages your coursework can also be beneficial. If you are looking at going to veterinary school, working in a veterinary practice will allow you to earn some money as well as get needed experience that looks great on an application.

Take Time for Yourself

Another thing to do is to take a little time for yourself. Yes, you need to work to pay the bills; it’s probably how you’re paying for your education. Take a break from time to time. Spend a few minutes sitting on a park bench or reading a chapter in a novel you wanted to read purely for fun. Maybe your friends want to go to the movies. Two hours and the latest Tom Cruise flick may be just what you need to recharge your batteries.

Ask for Help

If you have trouble, don’t be ashamed or afraid of asking for help. Everyone needs help at some point, and when you’re busy doing it all, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Embrace opportunities such as study labs or tutoring sessions. Maybe there’s a test review coming up before your midterm. If you need to work through some of these opportunities, you might consider talking to your professor or teaching assistant about other opportunities. You may find someone who understands how busy you are and can make some time to go over difficult concepts with you.

College is Stressful. Just Take your Time, Stay Organized & Ask for Help

Attending college is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. In these economic times, many students need to work as well as go to class, and no one wants to miss out on some of the fun activities that college offers, whether it be a concert or a showing of The Princess Bride out on the university’s quad. Just remember to take your time, stay organized, and ask for help when you need it, and you’ll have the chance to experience it all.

Classrooms with a View: Educational Travel Destinations

For students who want to expand their knowledge and their world

Interested in getting an education with a view? Educational travel destination tours and study abroad programs are both great options to combine education with travel. There are many fun ways you can experience a classroom with a view; waking up with Big Ben, the Athens ruins, or the Eiffel tower just outside your window, may be just the motivation you need to succeed in your college career.

After all, St. Augustine did say, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

We offer you a few ways to explore travel as an educational option:

• Education First College Study Tours

EF College Study Tours is an educational travel company offering a multitude of travel destinations for college students. From Barcelona, Spain to London, England, you can plan an all-inclusive study tour that includes round trip air fare, hotel accommodations, transportation, meals, and of course, free time to study and explore your exciting new surroundings. With all this moving around, make sure you get the best luggage sets before your trip. They also pride themselves on being an affordable option for students, knowing that college can be a financial challenge for many.

How to Get Started: EF College Study Tours offers two ways for you to become a part of any tour. You can check on campus to see if there is a professor who has already started a tour or as a student they will help you start your own tour on campus. Either way, it’s well worth the time and planning to expand your world view and learn through other cultural experiences. (http://www.efcollegestudytours.com)

• Global Explorers

Global Explorers is a non-profit organization that offers travel opportunities that are custom designed to your travel and educational needs. They also offer travel programs for individual students interested in traveling on their own, which makes it unique compared to other organizations that offer similar educational experiences. With Global Explorers you can visit such exotic destinations as Tanzania, Cambodia, or the sacred mysterious land of Machu Picchu, Peru. Programs for individual students vary from treks through the Amazon Forest to journeys through the Grand Canyon. Trips are also offered for those with physical disabilities. Global Explorers makes sure nothing will stop you from having the learning adventure of a lifetime.

How to Get Started: Depending on whether you are traveling with a group or as an individual, Global Explorers makes it easy to get started. If traveling with a school group or other organization, your teacher, professor, or leader will be the main contact for making arrangements for your tour. They become the liaison between Global Explorers and your group. If you desire to venture out on your own, just contact Global Explorers and they will tell you what trips are being offered for individual students during that time period. (http://www.globalexplorers.org)

• Seamester

Seamester is one of the most unusual study abroad programs offered. This company helps you to sail through a college semester, literally. Seamester offers a variety of sailing voyages across the globe for students interested in a bit more adventure than the normal study abroad experience. Offering sailing trips from the British Virgin Islands to Antigua and Tahiti to Australia, these are definitely not options for those seeking the standard educational journey. Even with all the adventure, Seamester assures that academics play a most integral role in these voyages. According to Seamester you, “…study marine biology and oceanography by conducting research diving on reefs. Acquire knowledge of geology trekking through mountainous terrain. Master meteorology and navigation as you plot your course across seas. And develop leadership and communication skills working together with your team.” (http://www.seamester.com)

How to Get Started: Seamester’s application process is a little more extensive than applying for the other programs mentioned above but if you truly desire a unique study experience, visit the site, fill out the application, get your transcripts ready, and then hopefully upon acceptance, wait for your ship to sail in

There are so many great reasons to travel and study abroad, you gain not only college credits but you also gain invaluable life experience that is difficult to obtain in a standard college classroom. If you do choose a program outside of your current university, like Seamester, just make sure that your college will accept the transfer of credits. Also if you are receiving financial aid, discuss your options with your financial aid advisor to see if you will be covered for your educational voyage or if there are other financial options available to you. As long as you make certain that all the details are in order, you can have a learning experience that you will not soon forget

If none of the adventures above interest you, you can always go directly to your advisor at your school and express your interest in a study abroad program. You can easily find one more suited to your needs and your financial status.

Bon voyage and smooth sailing!

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Is it Time for Your Wardrobe to Grow Up?

Transforming your look from college to career

After spending semester after semester in shorts and a hoodie, it seems like a daunting task to even think about putting on a dress and heels or a suit and tie. But there are ways to blend comfort and your own unique sense of style into your new adult wardrobe. This transformation becomes especially important when you enter the world of job interviews and internships. You certainly can’t sit in front of your future boss in what you’ve been wearing to class. Here are some helpful tips on how to dress like a grown-up and still ‘keep your cool’ and some money in your pocket.

Dress Appropriately For the Environment

Whether you’ve been invited to a fun networking event or you’re headed to your first job interview, it’s important to dress the part. You don’t want to wear a black cocktail dress to a job fair or a stuffy business suit to an after-work event. The key to successful dressing is to know where you’re going and what is expected of you. If the venue is upscale, you will definitely want to pull out your finest attire while still keeping in mind that you are representing the ‘adult professional’ version of yourself. Nightclub party dresses are usually never a good idea at any event where you are mingling with potential employers or colleagues. Stay true to your personal style, so you feel confident in what you are wearing.  Don’t just run outside and ruin your nice new clothes, pack a rain jacket like an adult. If you are the casual comfortable type, you can find natural fabrics like cotton and linen to give you that mature but relaxed look. If form fitting attire is your usual style, try wearing a structured blazer or an elegantly tailored wrap dress that flatters the figure in a more professional and conservative way.

Spend Money Wisely

Needless to say, college is expensive. This is probably not the wealthiest time period in your life. And if you are just graduating, it can be even more economically challenging, because usually that means you’re jobless at least until you find one. Rarely is there a lot of money for buying a new wardrobe. The best thing to do is to first look at what you have that can be transformed into work attire, such as blouses, sweaters, the forever versatile black dress, and any neutral colored items like khakis or a white shirt. After you have salvaged any decent clothing items from your existing wardrobe, it’s good to spend whatever money you do have or borrow from the parents, on a couple well-made blazers, a nice pair of pants, a tailored skirt, a few nicely made blouses or shirts. Try to choose a color palette and stay within that, it’s cheaper and easier because everything matches and your wardrobe appears larger for less money.

Forget the Fads

Leaving college behind and entering a whole new world where you are judged by completely different rules can be very difficult. The hardest transition can be the process of taking your style from trendy to classic. Forget about always trying to keep up with the latest style fads that come and go. Save that for your nightlife. Once you decide on a career, take a look around at what successful people in that type of industry are wearing and follow suit. Find classic timeless pieces of clothing that won’t look weird or outdated when the next fashion season rolls in. You can also save money by leaving the fads behind and buying clothing that doesn’t go out of style. You will need to make more careful purchasing decisions but in the end you will spend much less money not having to keep up with every passing style trend.

Confidence is a Key Accessory

No matter what you wear or what career path you choose, confidence in yourself and your decisions is always the best accessory. Now is the time to follow your dreams and passions and get to know who you really are. Tailor your fashion decisions to match the career path of your choice and you will walk into any interview feeling as if you already belong there and your potential employer will be more inclined to see you as a part of the company and the environment. Whatever you wear, wear with confidence and you will appear ready for any job you choose.

College life can be challenging, so reward yourself by looking the part of the professional adult you have been working so hard to develop over the last few years. Following some simple guidance can make the transition from college to career, fun, easy, and economical.

Leaving Home for College

Making the transition can be a lot smoother by following a few simple steps.

For most of us, leaving home for college and living independently for the first time is one of the most exciting times in our lives; but it can also be one of the most daunting. Where will I live? Will I have a roommate and will we get along? How much will I miss home? And will I be able to afford it? Let’s face it, not all of us have parents that are able to take on all of our financial responsibilities, tuition, room and board, food, books, furniture, clothing, and let’s not forget about the social life. But there are ways that you can prepare for college life and living on your own without experiencing so much separation anxiety. This new stage of your life should be enlightening and full of adventure with as little stress as possible. We offer some key advice that will help you to make a smooth transition from home to your new college life.

Research and Planning Ahead is Fundamental

Visit the campus more than once – Make sure you and your family go at least twice, if travel permits, to view the campus environment, school grounds, and surrounding neighborhoods. This will help you to become more familiar with the area and a sense of familiarity can bring a lot of comfort when you are on your own for the first time away from family and friends. Get to know the neighborhood supermarkets, convenience stores, and public transportation routes, if needed. Get a cleaning service Manhattan right out of the gate, keeping your place tidy will make your experience so much better. This will also give you a feel for the safety of the neighborhood, learning where it is safe to travel and where it is not.

Note: If the campus is too far away from home to visit in person, make use of the internet; using something like Google maps (https://maps.google.com) and Google Earth (http://www.google.com/intl/en/earth/index.html) can give you a live view of most areas. When you get there ask the school for brochures, menus, and a list of local businesses that can serve you during the school year.

Is Living On or Off Campus Right for You?

Depending on your personality and your home life, on-campus living may be the ideal solution for you. Living on-campus can provide you with a feeling of community. It offers easy travel to classes, on-site facilities, such as laundry, cafeteria, and study areas. If you come from a big family with siblings, you may feel better being in a close knit community of students. However, if you prefer a more realistic experience of what life may be like after graduation, off-campus living may be just the thing for you. You have an opportunity to live among the locals of the area and enjoy a more independent adult experience.

Note: There are pros and cons to living off-campus. It can provide a sense of privacy, independence, and can often be cheaper than living on-campus; but you may also feel lonely and disconnected from the other students and college activities. Living on-campus may be more suited for those who prefer to feel a part of a community.

Full-time Student; Part-time Job?

Discussing your financial reality before you head off to school is highly important. Knowing what may be required of you ahead of time will ease the stress of dealing with your money issues. If you are one of the fortunate few who will not need to contribute to your well-being while in school, that is awesome. However, many are not so fortunate and have to share expenses with their parents along with receiving some form of financial aid. This is probably the most adult conversation you will have during this time. Can you be a full-time student that spends your leisure time at campus parties or will you have to rise to the occasion and combine work and school? If so, there are ways to ease the strain. Make sure that you get a job that works well with your school schedule and also make sure that you leave time for proper rest. Be realistic about how many hours you can work and let your employer know that you are a student so they can be more flexible with your schedule. Learning time management skills is the key to making this process successful. You must make a study schedule and adhere to it or else you will find yourself overwhelmed.

Note: Seek help from your financial aid advisor and your academic advisor to make things easier. A financial advisor can tell you if you qualify for more financial assistance and your academic advisor can help you rearrange your class schedule if needed.

Staying in Touch While Creating New Social Circles

Your connection with your loved ones, family and friends you may have left at home, are important to keep you encouraged and motivated to succeed. Stay in touch on a regular basis. We live in a world that makes it easy to bridge the gap that long distances may cause. Besides calling, Skype, Facebook, and other social online tools can lessen the stress of being apart. And reach out to campus social groups to find others who have things in common with you. You can keep the ties at home while also creating new circles of friends at school.

Note: It is good to find out what social groups are active on your campus before you leave home, this way you will have some direction in knowing how to connect with like-minded individuals once you arrive

Yes, leaving home and familiar surroundings for the first time can be challenging but with planning and preparation you will be able to look back on one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life. Remember to always seek assistance and support from those around you whether at home or at school.

College Living Advice

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