Advice on Surviving Your First Semester

collegeHere are the Do’s and Don’ts of how to survive your first semester of college. This semester matters. You’re building the ground work, you’re building your blueprint for the rest of your college experience. Hey! Remember – if you want to start building your resume now, e-mail me to be a college blogger – it’s easy and will look great on your resume! 😉

1. Don’t go home every weekend. This is tempting, especially if you live close, or you have a significant other at home, but you will make absolutely no friends on campus this way and you will be miserable. You will also be known as “the one who always goes home.”

2. DO communicate with your roommate. This is crucial! One of the biggest causes of roommate conflicts is a failure to communicate, especially at the beginning of the year. If you don’t start early, it just gets harder and harder. If your school doesn’t require it, I recommend you and your roommate create a contract discussing your expectations of each other involving guests, cleanliness, alarm clocks, TV etc. It may seem silly, but it will come in handy later!

3. Don’t sit in the library every weekend. You will burn yourself out fast if you study all the time. You need to take social breaks. I understand that for some of you it’s easier to sit and read a book or stare are your computer screen than it is to go out and converse with new people. Socializing is important to your mental health and it will help you in the long run when you need to interview for internships, jobs, meet with professors, and work with new people.

 4. DO explore the different majors are your school. You will probably not end college doing the same thing you think you will do when you start. This is more than likely because when you start college, all you really know is law, medicine, and business, but there are so many more great options, so don’t be afraid to explore them and to change your mind! One trick I tell student is to go into the admissions office at their school and pick up the newest viewbook or list of majors. This will list all of the majors. When you see one that’s interesting you can then find a professor in that department and e-mail them. You’re on the campus now, use your resources!!!

5. Don’t spend every second with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. This is a topic that needs its own blog post and I very well may write one in the near future. It’s so easy to totally consume your time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. It will take energy and effort to force yourself to spend time with your roommate and other friends. Force yourself to do that! Your bf/gf will still love you even if they don’t see you for a night or a weekend and if they don’t, then you need to get rid of them because that’s not healthy.

6. DO get to know your RA. Your RA is not out to get you. Remember, they’re students too, and writing you up just means hours of unwanted paperwork for them on a Saturday night. They hate doing it but they will if they have to, because it’s their job, and because they want you to be safe. Which brings me to my next point –

7. Don’t do stupid things. You cannot get away with anything. I know that you get away with a lot, now that you are out of your house and on your own. Yes, you can get away with staying up all night. Yes, you’re allowed to walk around campus whenever you want. But no, you can’t break the rules. No, you’re not invisible. I’ve seen the stupidest things done – I’ve seen students get caught for smoking weed with their dorm room door open. Seriously? What makes people think they can do that? Remember your morals. Keep in mind that college is not a guarantee and you very well can get kicked out of school. Don’t be dumb!

8. DO ask for help. I really mean this. If you are struggling with homesickness, depression, if you can’t sleep, if you are having trouble finding a good study habit, if you find yourself experimenting with substances, if you got too drunk one night and scared yourself, if you’re just not feeling like yourself ….find help and ask for help. Talk to your RA, go to health services, talk to a faculty member. If you have no idea who to go to, e-mail me and I will help navigate you to the right person -> gabbriel.simone@gmail.com

‘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!

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.

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.

New Years Resolutions for College Students

celebrating

 

New year, new you!  First off, sorry for being MIA for so long.  The Holiday’s got busy and the 8 day cruise my best friend and I treated ourselves too kept me away from my lovely laptop.  In fact that’s a new years resolution you should all consider – save up some extra $ and plan a getaway with friends for a long weekend during the semester.  Sunshine, a beach chair and a good book is a necessity for a hectic college lifestyle.  Now with a new year comes a new slate (kind of like starting freshman year).  In case you’re having trouble creating your own new years resolutions, I’ve jotted down some ideas that you are more than welcome to take.

1.  Get organized!  Throw out clothes, shoe’s, old notes, notebooks, old makeup, clean up your life!  The problem with cleaning out your room is that you pick up things you’ve never used or clothes you’ve never worn and say “i’m sure i’ll use this or wear this one time.”  Then sure enough nothing gets thrown out.  The trick here is to pick out the things you DO use and wear often FIRST, then with whatever is left over is stuff you probably don’t need.  Get rid of it.

2. Don’t procrastinate.  How many times have you heard this?  Probably enough to get you annoyed and procrastinate even more to make a point.  Yea, well don’t do that.  Get a big old fancy 2013 planner and use it.

3. Get good grades.  This may sound cheesy but write out your class schedule on a piece of paper and then next to each class put (loud and clear) what grade you want to get by the end of the semester.  Hang that piece of paper next to your desk so you can see it every day.  The power of writing down a goal is wonderful!

4. Build your resume and land a great summer internship!  It doesn’t matter what year you are, anyone is capable of being a successful intern.  Internqueen.com is a fantastic resource, you don’t want to miss out on great internships around the country and tips on how to land you dream internship.

Here’s to your best year yet!

 

Recharge for Finals

The semester is almost over.  It’s easy to blame your exhaustion on the stress of finals, the end of the semester, the papers and the projects.  Psych yourself out.  Recharge your brain.  Be a spark in the classroom.  Be intellectually curious.  Ask questions that everyone wants to know or has in mind.  Stay after class to clarify something with the professor.  Make sure they know you.  Be thorough and be committed to your academics.  Get through it and own it.

Pre-Finals Preparation

The semester is almost over which means that your dreaded final’s week will be here before you know it.  Yes, you can enjoy the rest of your semester by pushing everything aside until the week before finals and cramming the night away OR you can start preparing now!  If you start pre-finals preparation now you can do little by little to get organized without the stress and pressure of having to get it all done ASAP.  Here are some tips of how to get organized for pre-finals preparation:

  1. Separate your notes into folders or binders for each of your classes (especially if you’re one of those students who uses the same notebook or binder for all of your classes)
  2. Pick a class each day and create a new word document on your computer – as you flip through your notes start a list on your document with bullet points or if you’re feeling ambitious start a detailed outline of all your notes up to this point (when you go back to it the week before finals you will be REALLY happy to see everything you need to know, even if it’s just bullet points with key words to know)
  3. Figure out which classes you have final papers for and get the criteria now – starting your papers (even just an intro and then notes of what you will talk about) during Thanksgiving break will make it much easier when you come back to campus and work on your paper.  When you sit down to write a paper the hardest part is starting it but if you start it during Thanksgiving you will be ahead of the game right before finals and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.
  4. Get Healthy! Eat right, get exercise, and sleep!  Force yourself to eat some veggies and go take a walk, take a fitness class, or spend some time at the gym – healthy body, healthy mind!

First | Semester | Almost | Over

{gabbriel m simone}

Procrastination No-No!

Procrastination in college is on an entirely new level than procrastination in high school.  You thought waiting until after dinner in high school to write a paper that was assigned 2 weeks ago and is now due tomorrow is quality procrastination?  Try – college, 2am, paper due at 8am, haven’t even looked at assignment yet.  Yes my friends… procrastination at it’s finest!  Major problemo though!  The number one thing college students wish they knew before coming to college was how to manage their time.  Proper time management helps to avoid poor quality work,  avoids stress, keeps you organized, keeps you focused, and keeps you on task – all things that lead toward a successful college experience.

There are a variety of excuses that all you procrastinators use.  i.e. ‘I have to log on to facebook to see what’s happening’ ‘I need to call my boyfriend and settle our problems right this second’ (problems already? buh-bye) ‘I have to hang out with my friends’ ‘I need to take a nap’ keep going?…. okay, ‘I can’t study right now, i’m not in the right mood’ ‘I have to take a break before I start my work’ ‘I have to party tonight otherwise i’ll be wasting my college experience’

NONSENSE my friends…. get your shit together.  Instead of using the words i have to and i need to use the words i choose to.  You don’t have to or need to do any of those things, you all choose the things you do in college.  You don’t have to call your boyfriend instead of writing a paper, you choose to call your boyfriend.  You don’t have to start drinking at 7pm, you choose to.

ADVICE – There are a ton of resources on how to avoid procrastination and work on time management.  I will give you 1 piece of advice because I know that’s all you want to hear and statistically people only remember about 3 things that you tell them so I’ll bless you with just 1 thing and then you’ll have no choice but to remember it.  Here is it –> SCHEDULE LIBRARY STUDY TIME!  Every day have an hour that you just sit in the library and do work.  Make the library your space.  I did this when I was in college and it was the best decision ever.  I would sit down in the library during my ‘time’ and force myself to do work, even if it wasn’t due until the next week or two.  This made the library my ‘work time’ and my dorm room my ‘relaxing and fun time’.  If you are constantly putting work off until later you will constantly be thinking about.  When you’re sitting in your room or on your bed (when you should be content) you will be stressed because you will always thinking about the work that needs to get done.  If you force yourself to go to the library for at least an hour every day you will stay on top of your work and be able to use your room as an outlet away from work.  If you don’t have one space to associate with work (the library) then you will associate all of college with work and stress… train your mind and body to use the library as your work space and your dorm as your home… balance work life and home life (just like adults do in the real world, right?)

Okay, that post ended up being much longer than I wanted it to be.

Procrastinate | Later {haha}

{gab}

Choosing a Major

You are annoyed, you don’t want to think about picking a major, life would be much easier if someone just told you what you are good at.  An easy conversation starter at college is “what’s your major?” and while it has successfully started a conversation  it has once again reminded you that you have no idea what you want to study, that everyone else seems to know, and the wave of confusion and frustration sweep over you once again.  I may not be able to solve this problem and it may take you much more time to figure out what you want to major in.  In fact, you may just get fed up and pick a major by throwing a dart at a list of majors your school offers (not a bad idea you think) because you are simply running out of time and the pressure from your advisor and parents is forcing you to just choose anything.

Rest assured you do not need to panic – you do not need to know right now.

Choosing a major is not the same thing as choosing what you want to do with the rest of your life.  It simply means what you want to do with your life upon graduating.  Heck, I was an accounting major and upon graduating I never once took a step in the doors of an accounting office.  Take off some of that pressure because your major will help you with your first job but studies show that most people will change careers about four or five times over the course of their lives and there is no major that exists that will prepare you for that.

That brings me to my advice/things to think about when picking a major:

  1. What things in life excite you?  Think about the times during your day when you have the most fun. (Don’t think too hard, if you have the most fun picking out an outfit – admit it!  You can tailor a major around anything)
  2. Make a work criteria list that you would want (i.e. manage people, easy work life balance, 9am-5pm, work alone, no travel, fast pace) if this is the case yet you’re telling yourself you want to work in finance, you need to realize that your wants don’t match up to a career in finance.  These are now things you can ask your advisor about or bring up with employers during interviews or informal meetings on campus.
  3. Go to the admissions office or the registrars office and pick up a course catalog – it has all the majors your school offers and classes you will take within that major.  Do some research.
  4. Meet with professors.  Many of them have worked in the field that they teach.  Ask them what the career is like.
  5. Finally….suck it up and pick something.  You don’t want to waste your time in college.  Pick anything that you even remotely enjoy (you don’t have to love it).  Once you pick it you can then use the remainder of your time at college working to get an internship and eventually a job.  This may sound pushy but you all need to understand that once you pick you major it doesn’t mean you miraculously get handed a job in that field.  Picking your major is the first step.  You will need to use the time from when you declare that major to the time when you accept your first job offer to build up that lovely piece of paper we call a resume.  So yes… if you’re still complaining because you have no idea what you want to study my kind words of advice are…. suck it up and throw a dart.

With | Love

{GMS}

It’s Okay To Fail

Welcome failures into your life and don’t dwell on them.  Force yourself to change your thoughts, think positive.  It’s how we grow.  What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.