‘Smart’ is Cool in College

smartcollegeThe kid who always walks into class late, the girl who yells obscene things across the hall, the student who talks back to the teacher, the guy who throws desks across the room, the students who park where ever the they want even if it’s in ‘faculty only’ parking, and the girls who wear the least amount of clothes…. yea those kids, they’re the cool kids in high school. They were the ones who got the attention, the ones who were always noticed, and invited to the best parties. They were cool….in high school. Things are a little different in college. Some of the students with the best reputations in college are the students who are the smartest. They are the students who do the most internships, who are always at networking events on campus, who tutor their classmates, who are making money during the semester. The people in college who get the most attention, the ones who get noticed by faculty, and the ones who are successful are the ones who:
1. Speak up in class and ask or say intelligent things
2. Dress appropriately
3. Talk to the professors
4. Give great presentations in class
5. Show up to class prepared
5. Do outstanding academic work and are featured on the school website or in the school newspaper for a major achievement
6. Are NICE…. you’d be surprised at how many people are well known for simply being a really nice person
Being respectful, being a good student, and acting like an adult are what will get you known (for the right reasons) in college. If you are a ‘nerd’ in high school and are thinking about changing your image in college because you want to be a ‘cool’ kid now, don’t do it! Keep being who you are. Today, the people who were considered the ‘smart kids’ in my high school are now some of the most successful people I know, which brings up another reason why you should be nice to everyone in your high school and in college. Those ‘smart kids’ grow up to be really successful and you never know when you might need their help or their expertise or a reference to another very successful person they know. Connections are key!

You Only Give ONE First Impression, Don’t Screw It Up

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughingIt’s true that most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. You can form a good or bad reputation in the first weekend of college. People will form opinions about you even without meeting you. My first weekend of college I had formed opinions about people just based on observing the way they acted and also based on what other people said about them. It didn’t matter what happened over the next 4 years, because when I saw those people at graduation, I still remembered the first impression I had of them. It’s human nature to form an opinion about someone. Do a little experiment today, make an effort to meet someone new. As you meet them, be conscious of the observations you make about them. Are they speaking clearly, are they fidgeting, are they rambling on, are they making eye contact with you? Then as you leave, think about the opinion you formed of them. Is it a good one? Why? What kinds of things did they do that impressed you? Takes that impressed you and keep them in your back pocket, pull them out when it’s time for you to meet someone new.

Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.  So how do you make sure that people are judging you accurately? Not just new friends but your professors, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, RA’s, administrators, corporate recruiters who come to campus, upper classman, everyone that you meet will form a first impression about you. Here is my best piece of advice for you to make sure you give the BEST first impression:

Know your purpose and your intention when meeting someone. One of the most important things to do when approaching someone is knowing why you are meeting them. It may sound odd but it will make you come across more confident and keep you in charge of the conversation. Think about it, if you see a professor and just walk up to them thinking, “oh man, here’s a professor, I should meet them so they know me, I hope I don’t screw up, I’m really nervous,” you’re going to go up to them, put out your hand and said, “Hi I’m Gabby” and then they’ll say “Hi I’m professor ‘whoever’ it’s nice to meet you.” Then after a few seconds of awkward silence, you’ll smile and fidget and maybe say something that doesn’t make sense and then walk away having achieved nothing. First impression – fail! So instead what you should do is think about your purpose. Think, “I am going to go up to the professor to introduce myself and let him know that I am excited about the first semester. I am going to keep it quick, I will remember to smile, I am going to speak clearly….now take a deep breath and stand up straight.” As I walk over I know exactly what I am going to do and exactly what I am going to say and I have just taken a deep breath so I am feeling good and I am feeling confident. I walk up to the professor, put out my hand and say “Hi Professor ‘whoever’ my name is Gabby. I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and let you know that I’m really looking forward to this semester [smile].” He may then say something as simple as “great it’s nice to meet you” and then you can say “You too, have a good day, I’ll see you next class.” Bing, Bang, Boom. Great first impression – success! Simply because I had a plan. It was much better than the smile and stare and awkward shuffling of paper as I walk away looking like an idiot. Having a plan or an introduction in mind will help you for every conversation you have and it will, without a doubt, help  you master the first impression.

Gear Up For the First Semester

transitioningThis first month of school is critical for setting up the rest of your semester. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new freshman or a returning upperclassman the transition from home life to school life is up to you. You have the opportunity to build a strong foundation for the rest of the semester, don’t let bad habits take over. Start to take control of your responsibilities – go to the gym, eat healthy snacks, watch those ‘liquid’ calories, stay up to date on classwork, and take a look at these simple 10 to-do’s to help you build a strong foundation. I suggest you take a few minutes to do arts and crafts, write these out on a piece of paper, bring them to school with you and hang them above your desk. I am a true believe in visualization – if something is staring you in the face everyday you will do it, or accomplish it. Add to your list daily!

1. Get to know your roommates – sit with them and really get to know them. These are the people you are going to spend the most amount of time with. You don’t have to be their best friend but you do have to live with them (and they have to live with you).

2. Get Organized! Your professor may have assigned work and projects and told you about them on day 1. Don’t expect them to remind you everyday about it and if you forget to hand it in when it’s due you will not get away with the excuse ‘i didnt know it was due.’ Get a planner and fill in the dates when assignments are due.

3. Go to class – Sleeping in and skipping your morning class may seem tempting, who’s making you go anyway? Get up and go! You are paying to be there, don’t waste your money.

4. Meet with your professors. Take the extra minute to show up before class or stay after class and meet your professor. Ask them a question, or tell them that you are enjoying their class so far. They’re human (everyone likes to be given complements) and they’ll appreciate the positive feedback.

5. Let go of the pressure of having to know exactly what you want to study – You’ve probably met a number of people who say they know exactly what they want to do when they graduate (i’d bet money that majority of those people have no idea what they want to do). College is a time to discover what you want to do. Let those people do what they want to do and be excited that you aren’t locked into one track right now, you are exploring!

6. Stay healthy! Go to the gym, eat your fruit and veggies, listen to music and go for a walk by yourself.

7. Take a deep breath.

8. Don’t cut corner – nobody gets placed on the top of the mountain, they all have to climb it.

9. Seek help when you need it – are you really stressed? Are your eating habits getting out of hand? Are you drinking more than you expected? Dont be afraid to ask for help. Walk to health services (trust me they’ve seen and heard it all) and tell them what is going on. Are you confused on an assignment? E-mail your professor, reach out to a classmate or go to the tutoring center. People want to help you.

1o. Call home to your family – they miss you, they want to hear from you.

 

Always Be Ready For a Pop Quiz

pop quizAlways comes to class as though there was going to be a pop quiz. The benefit of this is two-fold: first you’ll be more able to participate in class; second you’ll be prepared if there actually is a pop quiz. Living by this motto will help you immensely! First off, many professors don’t require students to do homework. They will assign it but leave the responsibility up to you. Most students will not to the homework. Because of this, they aren’t prepared to participate in class and they’ll, without a doubt, be scramming at the end of the semester to learn everything for the final exam. If you decide to take the advice and prepare for every class you will inevitably earn a better grade and reduce your stress during finals. If you come prepared you will absorb more information because you will know what the professor is talking about, you will have more questions, you will participate more (participation points!!) and if there is a pop quiz, you will ace it! Also, you will learn more as a student if you gradually absorb the material you are taught. If you study a little before every class you will find that studying for the final exam will be more like a review rather than a race to cram information into your brain and memorize as much as you can.

Scholarships For YOU!

scholarshipsThere is so much free money out there, Millions of dollars remain unclaimed every year because no one applies for some scholarships. Don’t give up on searching for the money. A $1,000 scholarship may not seem like a lot when you’re looking at a tuition bill of $20,000 or $30,000 but if you apply for 10 scholarships and get them, that’s $10,000! I had a friend in college who made it her part time job over her four year education to search and apply for scholarships. Every few months she had a check being sent to our school to go towards her tuition bill.  She graduated with hardly ANY loans to pay off. Take the time now to fill out that application, write that essay or sit for that interview to earn some money. Regardless of where you are looking for scholarships, everyone should be looking.

Here are 4 GREAT scholarships websites

  1. Scholarships.com is a free and very well laid out, user-friendly website. You have to create an account to get started, then you can save your favorite scholarships to view later. Scholarships are organized into different searchable categories such as Scholarships Trending Now, Scholarships By Grade Level, Scholarships By Major, Scholarships By State, Scholarships for Women, Sports Scholarships, Minority Scholarships, and Unusual Scholarships. The site also has scholarship applications tips and resources. Scholarships.com boasts over 2.7 million scholarship listings totaling $19 million in winnable funds.
  2. CollegeBoard is a website that should be a familiar website to most students who took the SATs and any AP courses. It is a private, free website that is updated regularly by staff and is highly accredited. Around 2,300 scholarships are listed with a value of closing in on $3 billion.
  3. FastWeb is a private and free site. Scholarships over 11 months old are automatically deleted from the database so that it stays current. There are videos on the site to give advice to students, sweepstakes and special promotions, and a list of common scholarship deadlines. It offers around 1.5 million scholarships totaling around $3.4 billion in funds.
  4. CollegeNet is a site that lets you search for scholarships based on their content with Keyword Search or based on your personal information and what you qualify for with Profile Search. CollegeNet also offers this great feature that allows students to open discussions in the forums. The conversation topics get voted on based on how interesting they are; the student with the most interesting conversation wins money to the tune of $300-$5000. It is private and updates monthly.

Know When To Seek Counseling

depressionMost, if not all college campuses offer counseling services to offer aid to troubled students. Don’t’ be afraid to take advantage of this resource if you need it. You may be thinking that you’re not the type to need it. College brings an entire new level of stress, peer pressure, experiences, personalities, and opportunities that you may have never been exposed to in high school. Because of that, you may find yourself in situations where you are questioning your actions and your feelings. Have you lost control of your drinking and partying? Are you always sad? Are you having trouble focusing? Are you having trouble sleeping? Be aware and conscious of your actions and your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it.

If you’re embarrassed to talk about your issue or concern with a person in the counseling service, I can assure you that you have no reason to be. People who work in the counseling office have heard everything and anything there is to hear about issues in college. They are trained professionals and they aren’t going to look at your cross-eyed because the issue that you bring to them, they’ve probably heard hundreds of times before.

ULifeline – The online resource for college mental health — GET THE FACTS HERE

You Control How Much You Learn

College Student Studying in Library

One of the hardest things to do in college is making the effort to learn more. In high school you are told what to learn, what to study, what to memorize, what to write your paper about. You’re not in high school anymore. In college, how much you learn is up to you. How much do you want to learn? You can do just enough to get by or you can do more than is expected. Remember that knowledge is key and people pay for expertise. The more you know, the more you can do, the more people you will meet and the more money you can make.

There are a lot of opportunities for learning in college, often times outside the classroom. Think about the situations in life, thus far, that you have learned the most from? There is much more to college than a textbook. Take advantage of every opportunity you can.

You’ve Been Talking to Your New Roommate and You Already Don’t Like Them

RoommatesYou received your roommate assignment for freshman year. You’ve jumped on Facebook and sent a friend request, maybe sent a message or an e-mail. Thankfully you heard back from them quickly and started to talk. It all seemed great at first – you’re both excited about going to college, the conversation seems to be running smoothly and then the more you talk, the more you realize that this is probably the worst roommate match up of all time. You think, “I filled out the roommate survey online, did res life even look at it!?….There is no way we are going to work out as roommates.”

The more you look at their pictures online the more you realize how different you are from them. You can’t wait for the college nightlife and they said that they like to be in bed by 10:00pm every night. Or maybe, you’re that person who likes to be in bed early and your roommates Facebook is covered with pictures of drunken nights and posts about being so excited to go to college and get to their first frat party. You talk about having friends from come visit and they say they don’t like when random people sleep in their room. The issues go on and on and now you’re freaking out because you haven’t even started your freshman year and you are worried that you and your roommate are NOT going to get along.

Don’t jump to conclusions! Living with someone and talking to them face to face is very different than communicating through facebook and e-mail. People change in college, even after the first weekend! Your roommate is talking to you as a High School student, most likely living with their parents. As soon as you more in with them they will be talking to you as a college student. Your mind, your imagination, your worries, are your biggest challenges…. not him or her. You need to give it time. You need to change your mindset. You’ve heard the horror stories about awful roommates but have you heard about the roommates who were complete opposites and became the best of friends? It happens all the time. Don’t compare your roommate to your friends from home. I did this all the time and I think it hurt the potential for some great friendships. I thought I knew what ‘type’ of person would be a good fit as a friend however, it turned out that the best friend I made in college was the complete opposite of my friends from home.

If you have concerns, keep your communication minimal until you actually get to college and experience living in a dorm. Think about some of the ground rules you will want to set and when you get to college have this discussion with your roommate. If you are your roommate really don’t get along once school starts this is something you will discuss with your RA.