Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

How to Avoid Freshman Year Roommate Awkwardness

Categories: College Life

The start of college is just a few weeks away. The prospect of cool classes, new friends, and more independence are all exciting, but there’s one thing most incoming freshmen are worried about – their new roommate.

If you’re going to the same school as a friend and chose to live together, great! But most of us end up with someone completely random, and we’ve all heard horror stories about the weird roommate who does rain dances in their underwear, doesn’t believe in showering, or keeps you up all night playing the bongo drums. Luckily, these situations are far from average – in fact, we’d say they’re pretty darn rare.

But chances are you want to get to know the person you’re going to be living with next year before you move in. You have to know what to expect, right? Here’s how to make sure you don’t wander into a sticky situation come move-in day.roommate

Talk on the Phone or in Person When You Can
Texting and social play a huge role in communication, but that doesn’t mean you should stick with them exclusively. Chat on the phone or meet in person if you live fairly close to get a better feel for how outgoing your roommate is, what they find funny, and how they express themselves. Plus, it’ll be a relief to hear a familiar voice once your parents leave and you’re surrounded by unfamiliar people on move-in day!

Use Social to Your Advantage
Admit it – if you haven’t already talked to your new roomie, you’ve at least Facebook stalked them. Checking out someone’s social profiles can tell you a lot – what their hobbies are, what sort of music and movies they like, and what they do with their free time. But at some point it’s time to stop lurking and have a real conversation.

Don’t just rely on Facebook or Instagram, either – start Snapchatting your new roommate and get a feel for their sense of humor before you move in. You may even have some great inside jokes and feel super close by the time it’s time to start school. Plus, getting a feel for someone’s personality makes it easy to…

Find Some Common Ground
Maybe you and your roommate are both really into live music, or maybe you’re a gym nut and they’re trying hard to get in shape. Figure out what your common interests are – if you don’t have any, find something you’ve both always wanted to try and do it together. Bonding over a mutually loved activity or new experiences relieves some of the tension you might feel living with someone new. Plus, you’ll have something to talk about when the conversation hits an awkward pause.

Who’s Bringing What?
Even if you got lucky enough to live in a fabulous dorm, your school probably isn’t providing you with every single thing you’ll need. Want a TV, gaming system, fridge, or microwave? They usually aren’t supplied. Make sure you don’t wind up with two microwaves and no fridge because you failed to figure it out in advance.

Set Expectations
Much as you may want to, you can’t ban your roommate from inviting friends don’t like to your room or making a ton of noise coming in late after a night of partying. But you can set up reasonable expectations in advance. Have a quick chat about lifestyle habits – like how clean you expect it to be, when you’re usually asleep, and how often you need some personal space – and see if your needs match your roommate’s. If they don’t, figure out how you can work around it – maybe you’re a neat freak who’s happy to clean up someone else’s dishes to keep the room tidy, but you realize you’ll need to put on the headphones when listening to music at night so your early-bird roommate can get some sleep. It’s all about compromise!

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Top Tips for Your Freshman Year of College

Categories: College Life

Summer is halfway over and college is probably the top thing on your mind. But while you’re planning your first semester classes and getting your dorm essentials ready, let us remind you of a couple other key things you’ll need to remember for your first year.cuny

Studying
College is about fun. But if you don’t study hard and keep your grades up, you could lose scholarships or even your place on campus. Avoid academic probation by making school work your top priority. There’ll be plenty of time for fun after you’ve finished your essays and put in some time studying for exams.

Networking
Meeting new people on campus is easy, especially if you’re at a big school or living on campus. It’s great to make new friends – and you should – but don’t forget to network with professors, teaching assistants, and campus program leaders. You should aim to build a few new relationships each semester on campus. Who knows, these people may be able to write you a recommendation letter for grad school, help you find a dream internship, or know of a job opening after graduation.

Sleeping
With so much going on it’s easy to get to bed late and wake up early to head to a lecture. Make sure you’re giving yourself a full eight hours of sleep each night. You’ll perform better in class if you’re well rested and you’ll have more energy for time with friends, too. Try to stick with a regular bedtime – it’s key to surviving freshman year.

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer!

image credit: brooklyn.cuny.edu

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Back to Basics: Tips for Finishing up Your College Gen Eds

Categories: College Life

College students should aim to get their core classes out of the way early. It’s not always possible to know what field you want to enter in those first formative years of college. By taking time to get a sampling of different majors, it’s possible to seek out a degree that resonates with you and gives you a chance at a career you’ll truly love.

college gen ed classes

Take Your College Generals First
If you already know what career field you want to go into, then you may have to stagger your core classes over several years. Some degrees require you to take a certain number of degree-specific courses each semester to graduate on time. For those who have the flexibility to get their core classes out of the way early, it’s a good idea to get them done with as quickly as possible. Consider taking summer classes to finish your coursework earlier and spend less on tuition.

Use Your Credits Wisely
Try to put your credits to good use. If you know certain general courses will be easier for you, try to do more in one semester. You can build up the credit you earn and finish the simple ones first. If you have any extra credits from Advanced Placement or other courses, make sure you talk to a counselor so they count on your permanent record.

Challenge Yourself
If you can test out of an entry level course early on, you should aim to do so. While it might be easier to take a core class that doesn’t require much effort, challenging yourself will help in the long run. By taking coursework that is challenging, you train your mind to be more effective, alert, and capable of solving complex problems. The goal is to get a well-rounded education and to increase your awareness of the world around you. You’ll only sell yourself short if you go the easy route.

Take Online Courses
When there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend classes, online classes are a good option. You can even get your entire degree online with a program like Rutgers online, and free up time to get some on-the-job training, or intern in your spare time. Make sure that any online course you take will transfer to your main program. This is best accomplished by meeting with your academic adviser and asking directly if any courses you plan to take will transfer. Many colleges allow a certain number of transfer credits for your degree.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

image credit: franklin.edu

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