How To Choose The Right Major

How To Choose The Perfect Major In College

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now (well, hello again!) you probably know that I changed my major like six times over the course of three semesters. It was annoying and sometimes tiring, but admittedly exciting to get to dip my toe into other fields. But every twist and turn has led me to the field I’m studying today: Journalism. Sure, I wish I had somehow known that I’d be a Journalism major from the beginning so I could’ve saved myself from struggling through classes I hated, but I guess sometimes you have to stumble a little before you get it right.

In high school, you don’t learn how to choose the right major, unfortunately. And while there is no magical formula where you plug in x and out pops your perfect major, there are some things for you to consider in order to make the decision a lot easier.

First thing’s first…

Don’t pick a major just because all of your friends picked it, or because you think you’ll be thought of as “less smart” for choosing something else. Someone else might suck terribly at something you’re really good at, and vice versa. There will be a lot of people on campus who bash majors that they think are “easy.” If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone is crapping all over your major, you should either ignore them or tell them where they can stick their opinion. Yeah, I went there.

Oh, and another thing…Can we all agree once and for all that there is NO SUCH THING as an “easy” major???? Thanks. Now, onto the tips for choosing the perfect major!

1. Consider your hobbies and interests.

Do you love sports and have always been interested in healthcare? Maybe you’d like a career in sports medicine. Make a list of all of your hobbies or interests if you have absolutely no idea where you should start. For me, I’ve always loved writing, and I love reading magazines and doing all things beauty, so I want to have a career as a writer in the magazine industry. Remember to consider clubs or organizations you were part of in high school, and things you like to do in your free time.

2. Think about what you’re good at. 

I’m absolutely horrendous at math, so I have no idea what possessed me to think that I’d be good at economics. If you’re really good at getting people to listen to you on Twitter or Instagram, consider a career as a social media coordinator for your favorite company. If you took your high school robotics team to championships, consider something in the computer science field. And if you swear up and down that you absolutely aren’t good at anything, keep looking! Everyone’s good at something. 

3. Do you want to have the chance to travel? 

Lifestyle is an important aspect to consider when deciding on a major, because different fields foster different schedules. While there are many other important factors to consider, the opportunity to travel is a huge one that many people think of first. A doctor may not travel to five different countries over the course of a year, but a journalist, especially a foreign correspondent, most likely would. If traveling while working is important to you, be sure to consider which fields allow this type of mobility so you have an idea as to what you should study.

Related: How To Travel Cheaply In Your 20’s

4. Consider whether you want a set work schedule or a more unpredictable one.

I know nothing’s set in stone, and we don’t hold the crystal ball to our futures, but thinking about how you’d like to work is another important lifestyle factor that can help you decide on a major. Maybe you like the rush of being pulled away at a moment’s notice to do something incredible. Or maybe you prefer having a set, 9-5 so you can make time for other obligations. Or maybe you like the idea of being your own boss and setting your own work schedule.

5. Make a list of things you hate.

I know this sounds strange, like why would you need to be reminded that you hate something…but this can help you rule out majors that right off the bat are not right for you. Do you hate art and drawing because you were never good at it yourself? You probably wouldn’t want to study it then. If you hate math and science (like me) stay away from any major that says applied math, statistics, finance, the science of anything, and most things ending in -ology. If you hate dogs and cats (hard to believe, but there are in fact people who dislike animals) I doubt you’d be happy as a veterinarian.

6. Do you want the opportunity to work on something  you’re passionate about?

Most people have causes that they’re passionate about—social work, animal rights, environmental issues, etc. And using those passions can help you settle on your perfect major. Don’t be afraid to really dig deep. And it doesn’t hurt to talk to an advisor. They know the school’s programs inside and out, and can tell you if there’s a major that suits your passions.

7. Look into potential careers in the field. 

This was my favorite thing to do in high school when it came to thinking about what my major would be. I’d research careers that I could have if I studied a certain field, and if it sounded good to me, I’d pick it. If you want to study computer science, look at the various options for jobs and see if there are any that click with you. Same goes for if you want to study marketing or history or english. However, don’t think that the options Google lists out for you are what’s set in stone. Nowadays, you never know where you could end up! My class once went on a trip to BuzzFeed’s New York City headquarters (Yes, BuzzFeed) and we met a guy who works on those addicting to watch Tasty videos but he didn’t even major in Journalism or Video Editing or anything—he was an Engineering major!! Crazy, right?

8. Consider shadowing a professional. 

This is a great way to figure out if you’d truly enjoy a career in a certain field. Can you wake up every morning and put a smile on your face when you walk into your place of work, ready to take on your challenges? Hands-on experience will tell. It gives you the opportunity to see a day in the life of a professional. Maybe after you shadow a marine biologist you realize that this isn’t the field for you. It’s okay—it’ll save you a ton of time and energy.

9. Get an internship or take a summer workshop.

I know you’re thinking that you haven’t had any relevant experience so you can’t possibly get an internship, but on the contrary, there are so many opportunities in various fields opening up for high school graduates and underclassmen. You just have to be willing to do some research and email a few people. Interning is a great way for you to get an inside look at the industry you want to be part of. If you can make it through the summer and come out loving every minute of what you did, maybe you should consider studying for that career.

Related: 10 Questions To Ask Before You Begin An Internship

10. Research your college’s programs.

A quick Google search of your college’s majors should give you a list of all the degree programs. There’s nothing wrong with running your finger down the list and stopping at the names that jump out at you. Click on those programs and read more about them. Find out what the classes will be like and what the program will focus on. Is there room to adopt a concentration or specific track within the program? Is there the opportunity for independent study? Also feel free to ask your advisor these questions.

11. Ask upperclassmen for insight. 

Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to grab someone’s attention and get them to talk to you. If you exchanged names with the senior Biology major who stood behind you in line for mac and cheese, shoot them a friend request and pick their brains for insight into the program and what they want as a career. I know a lot of people are selfish and don’t want to help others, but if you’re lucky enough to meet someone who would love to see you succeed even though they have no idea who you are and don’t owe you anything, hold onto them as a mentor.

12. If you aren’t sure, add a minor first. 

Minors are safe because if you later on decide that you want to adopt the field as a major, you’ve at least already completed a nice chunk of the courses because you added it as a minor first. And contrary to what we all thought in high school, your major and minor DO NOT have to be related! While having your major and minor as closely related as possible is a prudent move, having a minor that has nothing to do with your main field of study can help you become a little more well-rounded. Plus, it’s another way to explore other interests. You may be the only Psychology major with a Dance minor on campus, but who cares as long as you enjoy them both!

What are you studying in college? What are your tips for picking a major? 

Related: How To Make Class Enrollment Less Stressful

 

 

The Ultimate Guide To Skipping Class Like A Pro

the ultimate guide to skipping class like a pro

When I was in high school, I would never dream of skipping class. In fact, if there was a chance I’d have to miss a day of school for any reason, I’d get upset and cry because God forbid I didn’t get my perfect attendance award at the end of the year. I’m not super proud of the fact that I’ve skipped some college classes before, but I don’t regret the instances when I did. In college, you’ll likely find yourself faced with the decision of whether or not to skip a class, and sometimes that decision is really tough, especially if you’re a nerd like me and the mere thought of missing a day’s worth of lecture notes gives you heart palpitations.

But here are two things no one tells you about skipping class in college: First, it’s extremely easy to skip class. Your professors don’t patrol the hallways like your high school teachers do, and your parents aren’t making sure you leave your dorm room. You’d have to just be really unlucky to skip your 8a.m. bio lecture and then run into your professor on campus later in the day. Second, skipping class is a skill. Throwing your hands up and saying “I don’t feel like going to class today so I’m not gonna go” is too easy. So to help you out, I’ve basically compiled all my class-skipping advice and things you should consider right here in this one blog post.

Skip class if…

1. You’re really sick. 

Honestly, if you’re coughing up a lung and running a fever, don’t hold out hope that a dash of chicken soup will help you power through a day of long lectures and pop quizzes. Do yourself a favor and just stay home or stay in your dorm room so you can recover quicker. Check out my post on how to avoid getting sick in college for some tips because catching a cold is NOT fun.

2. You feel mentally drained or exhausted.

We’ll all likely feel this way at some point, and it’s important to note that if you feel this way it’s okay to miss class to recuperate. This is especially important if you’ve been running around all day. Use the hour that you’re skipping class to take a nap or do something for you to unwind.

3. You have an important interview or meeting during class time that couldn’t be rescheduled. 

Do you want a summer internship or brownie points from the professor? If I had to choose one, I’d take the internship without hesitation. But, you can actually have both in this situation. If you have to skip class for an interview for a position, let your professor know ahead of time if it’s a really small class and your absence will be noticeable.

4. You haven’t used any free skips yet. 

Some professors will allow you to skip up to three classes without your grade being penalized. I’m not saying you should become skip-happy and use all your free skips for no good reason. But if you have a few weeks of class left and you feel like you’re going to need to skip class at some point, you have these freebies as a cushion.

5. You will definitely drop the class within the next week. 

Only skip if you are 110% certain that you will never walk into the classroom again after a week. No need to waste time on it anymore. I actually did this for one class this past semester. I was actually on the waiting list for the class, but I still attended the first week because not going to the class even though you’re waitlisted is actually a bad idea. After that first week, I decided that it was just too much for me and I was already falling behind, so I decided that I can and will drop the class and transfer into a completely different one. I didn’t attend the next class and I dropped it the following day and moved on with my life.

the ultimate guide to skipping class like a pro

Don’t skip class if…

1. The weather is bad. 

Boo-hoo, it’s raining outside and you hate walking in the rain. You poor thing. Throw on your rainboots and grab an umbrella. If the weather in your area is bad enough, your class would be cancelled. If you’re a commuter and you don’t think you can make it to class safely from home, that’s a different story.

2. The weather is really nice outside. 

I know a lot of people love cutting class to soak up the sun, but fight every urge to do this. You’ll have your chance to be in the sunshine eventually. Just try to get through the next hour and a half of class without thinking about sunbathing in the grass.

3. You have an exam or presentation you’re unprepared for. 

A lot of colleges don’t allow you to make up exams, so getting a 50% is better than getting a zero. If you’re unprepared for your presentation, email your professor in advanced to let them know so they can plan material for the day or ask another student to present, and don’t just not show up. It’s way worse if you inconvenience your professor in this situation.

4. You hate waking up early. 

Tough turtles. Take a cold shower, have a cup of coffee, and get your ass out the door. Avoid taking early morning classes next semester. Take a look at my post on creating the perfect class schedule for tips. And if enrollment stresses you out, read my post on how you can make class enrollment less hectic.

5. There’s a class discussion and you didn’t do the reading. 

I know you may be thinking that there’s no way you’d be able to contribute if you didn’t read, but here’s a pro tip for that: Read whatever you can right before the class begins — if you can get just one page in, that’s fine. And just participate in the very beginning before everyone really delves into other parts of the reading. Boom. You give the illusion that you actually read when you didn’t. Another tip is asking a question in response to someone’s statement so you seem engaged, but be careful with this because you may be asked to give your own stance on the reading!

Extra pro tip: If the professor asks who didn’t do the reading, be honest and raise your hand. If they call on you randomly and you weren’t honest, you’re screwed.

6. You may be failing the class. 

Don’t torture yourself by missing out on opportunities to learn and help your grade. Going to class will allow you to ask any questions and get help from peers before it’s too late. Plus, if your grade in class is attendance based, DON’T throw away those points! It’s better to attend and tell the professor that you’re struggling than to not go and have to figure it out on your own later.

Related: How To Improve Your GPA For Next Semester

7. You’ve already used up a lot of free skips. 

Free skips are valuable in college and shouldn’t be wasted. If you’ve used up two out of the three and you still have two months of school left, I’d save the last one for an emergency if I were you.

8. You’re convinced you can do the material in your sleep. 

If that’s the case, you should use class time to further your knowledge by asking advanced questions or asking the professor to explore something related to the class that you’d like to learn more about. Plus, no one likes a cocky know-it-all.

9. Your class is starting a new chapter/topic.

Not being in class for fresh material is one of the worst things you could do. You’ll fall behind and it’ll be harder to take in next class’s lesson if you weren’t here for the intro.

10. You plan to ask the professor for a letter of recommendation. 

Definitely don’t skip! You need as many brownie points as you can, and you need to show that you’re committed to the class.

What to do if you plan on skipping class

1. Check the syllabus for the attendance policy. 

I mentioned before that some professors give you free skips. If you don’t remember if that’s a thing for your class, always check the syllabus. The syllabus will also tell you if there are any days when class isn’t being held, so you get a free skip anyway!

2. Email the professor ahead of time.

And if necessary, email them after class instead. Like, if you were sick and used the time to rest, when you wake up, tell the professor that you were ill and ask if there are any resources you could use to catch up on what you missed. They’ll love that you’re taking responsibility and taking their class seriously, and they’d be more willing to help you themselves.

3. Make sure someone in your class can fill you in. 

If you have a friend in the class who takes great notes, ask if you can borrow them for a night, or ask for a recap of the class. If you don’t have a friend in the class, this is a great reason to start getting to know the cutie who sits behind you.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making Friends In College

4. Don’t make up bull crap excuses. 

Never pretend you were in a car accident or you were ill. If you have to email your professor to give an excuse, don’t be too specific about your situation, or else they may think you’re lying!

5. Use your skipped class time wisely. 

Don’t skip class so you can watch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Use the time that you would’ve been in class to get ahead or catch up on the homework assignments, study for an upcoming exam, or do an assignment you know you won’t have time to do the next day.

Related: 13 Tips For Getting A’s In Your Classes

What are your tips for smartly skipping class?

What has been your favorite and least favorite classes so far? Let me know!

How To Make Time For Going To The Gym In College

How To Make Time For The Gym In College

I finally reached my goal of consistently going to the gym five days a week! I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’d tell myself that I’ll go and then I don’t. Or, I’ll embark on a journey of attending the gym everyday, go twice and then allow small hiccups in my schedule to prevent me from continuing to go. It’s really hard to squeeze gym time in between your part-time job, your internship, your class work and your social life. It’s also really hard to remain consistent with it once you start. Why that’s the case is beyond me. One thing I do know for sure is that I love going to the gym because for an hour and a half a day, I can focus on my music blasting in my ears without thinking about a paper or homework assignment. I also love knowing that I’m getting closer toward my health-related goals, so that also keeps me coming back.

Because I know that the struggle I described above is something than many others are all-too familiar with, I decided to write this post on how to better pencil in workout time even if you’re really busy. What’s your favorite thing to do at the gym? Let me know in the comments!

1. Sign up for a fitness class. 

This is one of my favorite (and most common) ways to not only motivate you to exercise, but also to make sure you add it to your schedule. When you sign up, you feel obligated to go. If you sign up to volunteer at the campus blood drive, you’d probably add that to your schedule so you don’t forget. So do the same with fitness classes. Check out your college’s fitness class schedules and try to find one that occurs when you don’t have class. My personal favorite is Zumba Toning because I can do cardio and strength training in one class.

2. Look for time in between your classes. 

I know a lot of people prefer to not go to class right after going to the gym because then they’ll be sweaty, but if it doesn’t bother you then this is a good way to get in a workout. If you’ve got an hour and a half before your next class and you’re looking for something to do, exercising is a good way to be productive in that time. On days that I slide a workout in between my classes, I bring deodorant and a change of clothes in my duffel bag so I can feel even a little bit fresh after my muscles and body cry for an hour. In my post on things to make college life easier, I talk about a great product that’s perfect for slipping into your bag when you need to freshen up but don’t have a lot of time.

If you don’t like being sweaty in class then maybe this isn’t the option for you. If that’s the case, check out my next suggestion…

3. Plan to go for at least an hour right after your final class of the day. 

Class is over for the day, so you can’t use being sweaty in class as an excuse anymore. This is also a good idea if you have back-to-back classes. If you need to bring gym clothes with you, do it. Make sure you plan ahead by bringing a lock if you’ll need to leave your backpack in a locker at the gym. Sometimes you’re already really tired after a day of class and going to the gym might tire you out even more. At the same time, going to the gym could also wake you up. You never unless you try! But if you’re worried that working out at the end of a long day will leave you exhausted, try doing low impact exercises for the hour. Or, instead of going for an hour, do 45 minutes and gradually work your way up to a longer duration.

I usually like going to the gym after I’m done with my classes because I can stay for as long as I want and I can really take my time. I don’t have to hurry to change for class or cut my treadmill time in half because of something else I have to do.

4. Pick two-three days during the week as “workout days.” 

And stick to them! Tell yourself that every Monday and Thursday after your psychology class, you’ll go to the gym. Forming a habit out of it will ensure that you keep going. You don’t have to plunge right into going to the gym for most of the week. Even starting out by picking one day a week to workout is a really good start.

5. Think of going to the gym as an obligation, just like class. 

Build the rest of your schedule around your classes and the gym, as surprising as that sounds. I have my beloved Zumba Toning class every Tuesday at noon and, I shit you not, I will NOT give up this time for anything else. If someone asks if I’m free then, the answer is always no. If I need to meet with a professor, I will not suggest this time to meet. I’m very stubborn when it comes to trying to compromise with this time because I love the workout so much and I basically treat my attendance in it as I would my attendance in an academic class: if I’m not so sick I can’t move, I’m going. This really helps a lot because at least I know that I’ll definitely have at least one workout day taken care of.

What are your tips for making time for a workout? 

Related: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College, 10 Ways To Relax + Enjoy Alone Time In College

 

How To Write A Kickass Paper In College

How To Write The Best College Paper

So, I do a lot of writing, clearly. I mean, I’m a blogger (duh), a Journalism student, a former Editor in Chief at Odyssey, and I write for a billion platforms and things. I’m usually that person in my friend group who everyone comes to for writing advice, help with editing papers, and all that good stuff. In high school, you could probably b.s. half your paper and still do well enough to laugh about it after class with your friends, but college papers are nothing like high school ones. Professors expect much more from you: a higher level of information gathering; more advanced writing techniques; concrete proof that you actually understand the material/prompt and you didn’t just pull all those words out of your ass.

So yeah, writing papers in college is NOT always very easy, and if you aren’t careful you can leave some major points on the table. If you have a final paper on the horizon, here’s my advice when it comes to writing them:

1. Pick your topic ahead of time.

The gun has gone off the minute the professor introduces the assignment. You don’t need to have every detail of your assignment worked out at this point, but it helps to at least have even a vague idea of what you want to write about (go to your professor’s office hours to really come up with a solid proposal).

Here are some things you should consider to help you pick a topic you can really write about well: 

  • What are your interests and how might they connect to the class material?
  • What are some things you’re just curious about finding out more on?
  • What issues are you most passionate about?
  • What topics do you lack an understanding of that you’d like to understand better?

2. Talk to your professor if you want to change your idea/proposal.

Don’t just assume that they’ll be cool with it, or that your new idea doesn’t need any work. Your professor might even help you discover a bigger topic that you can write about, or even point you toward excellent resources that you can use for your paper. A quick email explaining your reason for change will suffice, but if you want to have an actual conversation about your proposal, just go to office hours.

3. Read the assignment guidelines before you begin writing anything.

You can lose so many points for not doing this because you won’t know what the professor expects from your paper! Reading the guidelines can also hint at what sources you should use, what information should definitely be included, and ultimately what the point of the assignment is. If none of this is clear to you, verify with classmates or ask the professor.

4. Create an outline.

I LOVE OUTLINES. They’re God’s gift to people who have a million ideas in places they didn’t know they could keep ideas. Creating an outline will help you organize pieces of information so you know where to talk about certain things, and you can always add more tid-bits as needed, move things around, and never forget a thing. You can make your outline as detailed or as not detailed(?) as you want. Just simply using bullet points is a great way to get your thoughts and information on paper.

5. Is your opening paragraph reflective of what you’re going to be talking about?

If you don’t know what you’re going to say, that will be reflected in your opening paragraph. This is also why it’s really important to think about your topic in advanced. Don’t write an opening paragraph that tells people you’re going to talk about how Facebook gets in the way of intimate interactions and then use the rest of the paper to praise it for speedy contact with others in the rest of your paper. This would be an example of an unfocused paper. Not all professors would be okay with this, and the ones who aren’t will definitely deduct points. It helps to get another pair of eyes on your opening paragraph to see if the connection between your opening and the rest of your paper is clear.

6. Don’t add a million quotes to your paper.

And if you do add quotes, DON’T pick the ones that take up a quarter of the page. You actually shouldn’t have a quote take up more than three lines of your paper; so much for that level of bullshittery. If you’re employing the excessive use of quotes because you don’t know as much about your topic as you should, then your professor will know. I know that sometimes there are just so many amazing quotes that will suit the paper so well, but you can’t use them all. Paraphrase some of them and cite them anyway. Also, pick quotes that propel your points forward; don’t pick a quote that basically repeats what the previous one just said.

7. Explain every quote you include.

You can’t just leave a quote hanging with no explanation to keep it company — quotes get lonely; they have feelings, too. Okay, not really but you get what I’m trying to say. Does this quote support my idea? Yeah? Good, then explain to the reader how it does that.

8. Avoid rambling for “filler.”  

If your paper needs to be at least five pages long and you have four, don’t talk nonsense just to fill up that last page. I know it can get to that point where you just want to be done with that paper ASAP, but take a break and come back to it and maybe another way to present the information will come to you. If you’re writing a statistical paper, use informative graphs where appropriate to help you take up some room. If you’re analyzing a book or text, draw connections between other books, if you’re allowed to. Just make sure that everything you include supports your thesis and moves your paper forward.

9. Don’t be repetitive. 

If you feel like you’ve already said something, chances are you probably did. I used to have a major problem with repeating my ideas in elementary school essays, and it was never really caught by anyone, so I kept doing it until I got to high school and had to practice how to avoid repeating myself. Here are some helpful strategies I employed to solve this problem:

  • Designate a new idea to each paragraph, so you only talk about that one thing in that specific place.
  • Keep some sentences short and sweet — get right to the point. Every sentence doesn’t have to be long and flowery.
  • Find more evidence to support your thesis. You might be repeating yourself because you don’t currently have enough substance to back everything up.
  • Rephrase the prompt.

10. Verify statistics, dates, and other numbers. 

Not every website can be trusted. Recently, I was working on a presentation for class and I initially used the internet to look up information on a specific, not-so-famous person and found birth and death information that I THOUGHT was accurate until I came across mention of the person’s birth and death in a textbook and found that the two sources gave me completely different years! Learn from my almost mistake, y’all. Numbers are super important, so don’t assume that because one source said it, it must be true. This ties into my next point…

11. Use sources other than the internet.

Use a textbook, library book, encyclopedia, newspaper, etc. Many universities have databases that you can access for the low, low price of $0, so make sure you take advantage of this for any papers that you have to write. You might be able to find much more information from a different source.

12. Avoid simply “summing it all up” in your conclusion. 

In elementary school, we were told that this was okay — this was “how you write a good conclusion.” Not in college, my friend. You have to go a couple steps beyond that. Here are some ways you can improve your conclusion:

  • Connect your points back to a larger-scale phenomenon.
  • Connect back to real-world applications/experiences.
  • Show how your points might be actionable.
  • Briefly explain a possible intent of the author.

Of course, it depends on what class the paper is for, so use your discretion.

13. Grab a partner and read each others’ work. 

I do this all the time with one of my friends and it’s seriously helpful. We catch mistakes that the other made that we ourselves wouldn’t have found in our own papers. If you don’t have any friends in your class, ask a friend who isn’t taking the class at all for some feedback. This doesn’t sound helpful, but it is! You have the opportunity to figure out how your paper sounds to someone who has little to no knowledge about your topic. Are your points clear? Did you properly explain terms and information that might otherwise be confusing? Does this person feel like they learned something from reading your paper? Hopefully the answer to all of these questions is yes.

14. Have your laptop read your paper to you. 

Yep, you read me right. My professor actually told me that MacBooks can read what you wrote out loud to you. This super great for grammar because you’ll find mistakes you didn’t even realize you made! If you have a Mac, here’s how you can get your laptop talking:

Click the apple icon at the top –> System Preferences –> Dictation & Speech –> Text to Speech –> Open up your paper –> Edit –> Start Dictation 

There you go! This has been a super valuable tool that I’ve been using ever since I found out about it. Do you know any other secret gems about Macs? Let me know in the comments! 

I’m not completely sure if PCs can do this as well, but if they can let me know and I’ll update this post!

15. If you aren’t asked for your opinion, don’t give it. 

I’m sure you have exceptionally brilliant thoughts, but if you’re writing a non-biased paper, you can’t afford to lose points for expressing bias. Another big no-no is making assumptions where they aren’t needed.

16. It’s okay to use new vocabulary words to sound fancy, but make sure you use them CORRECTLY. 

I love learning new words (especially big, sophisticated sounding ones!) and I love using them in everyday, casual conversation. But, if you aren’t completely sure that a word suits the context of your sentence, don’t use it. If you use a Thesaurus for finding synonyms, try to pick a synonym that’s in the same field or subject as the word you’re trying to replace.

17. Know what style you’re using. 

Different writing styles have different rules. Do not use them interchangeably in the same paper. If you aren’t sure what style to use, ask your professor. Sometimes I get asked by peers to edit their work and when I ask what style they’re using, they have no idea, so I don’t know if I should make certain changes to their paper. I use AP Style for every single class that I’m in, but other classes in other majors may require papers to be written using other styles.

18. Use an online citation maker for your bibliography. 

I love EasyBib because it’s, well, easy! Be sure to input the correct information so that you get a correct citation!

19. Don’t save your paper for the last possible minute! 

I love leaving at least a couple of days in between finishing my paper and the due date so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes and the intention of merely polishing it off with some finishing touches. If you’re still writing your paper less than 10 hours before it’s due, you won’t have this liberty, or at least you might not be able to exercise it as well as you might like to. Organize your time and plan ahead so you don’t have this problem.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Organizing Your Life In College

What are your tips for writing a killer paper for college classes? 

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5 Things To Do Before You Meet Your Roommate

Your roommate is going to be a huge part of your college life whether you plan to try to be besties with yours or ignore them day in and day out (but try not to decide on the latter). Unless you’re dorming with a friend from high school, you’ll probably be rooming with whatever stranger was paired with you, usually according to preferences you chose in a survey. Whether you’re excited or nervous (or both) about move-in day when you finally get to meet said stranger, there are some things you definitely need to make sure you do beforehand.

1. Email them to say ‘hi.’

This actually isn’t as weird as you might think it is, even if you aren’t usually the type to be bold and reach out to someone. It shows that you’re friendly and open to getting to know them, and honestly it’s nice for everyone to at least know that they might actually get along with their roommate. It doesn’t have to be a longwinded email (unless you want it to be); you can just introduce yourself as their roommate, ask how their summer has been going so far, and say that you can’t wait to meet them. Trying to make contact ahead of time will also make you both feel more comfortable around each other on day one, because at least by then you’ll both know a little more about each other.

2. Ask their likes and dislikes.

When you get to the room, you’re going to have to fill out roommate contracts. This is basically your co-habitation constitution and you SHOULD take it seriously! This is sort of an ‘ice breaker’ for the two of you to say what things get on your last nerve so that you can both try to avoid annoying the hell out of each other. Asking this ahead of time can prepare you for what’s to come. One of their dislikes might come as a surprise to you and you might not know how to react to it. You won’t always agree on everything with your roommate but at least this way you’ll have a few days or a few weeks to think about the situation before move-in day.

My roommate for sophomore year was a girl I met freshman year in one of my classes and we got closer as roommates. I had a really bad experience freshman year with my roommates leaving the window wide open all the time even when it was brick city outside (and MY bed was next to the window!!!), but luckily my roommate had a similar experience and we could both agree on that dislike. This is also a great example of how getting to know each other’s likes and dislikes can draw you closer together!

3. Figure out who gets which half of the room.

Settle this ahead of time so that regardless of who arrives to the room first, you already know which side is yours and you can just go to it and begin unpacking worry-free that your roommate will suddenly bust in with an awkward, horrified look on her face because you took the side she wanted. Also be forward about what you would like. If you really want the bed near the window but don’t say anything, don’t hold a grudge if your roommate takes it. If you both end up wanting the same side of the room, you have time to figure it out in a civil manner that won’t cause anyone to get butthurt.

If you’re tripled (like I was for a semester my freshman year!) you might have a little extra figuring out to do…Some triples have three beds but only two desks, two dressers, and two closets, so you’ll definitely need to work out who’s sharing what with whom. Hint: you definitely DON’T want to save this conversation for move-in day! My freshman year, I had the type of room I just described and I realized that it was actually a lot more difficult to share the space than I had anticipated, especially since not all of the things I’m telling you about were discussed beforehand (whoops). If you want me to do a future post on surviving a triple, definitely let me know in the comments!

5 Things To Do Before You Meet Your New Roommate

4. Find out approximately what time they’ll begin moving their things into the room.

This is so that you avoid arriving at the same time as them. I know, that sounds terrible but let me explain! I usually try to avoid arriving at the same time as my roommate so that we can each have our space when moving our lives into the room. The room WILL be small and everyone WILL have a considerable amount of stuff to move into the room, so the more breathing room you and your families have to do that, the less stressed everyone will be and the easier it will be for you to get done quicker. You don’t want anyone getting in your way, and likewise, no one wants you trampling over them and their items either. I find it much easier to arrive before my roommate so I get all of my things settled. Then, when my roommate and her parents come in, I give them the space they need. If my roommate got there before I did, I’d want her to do the same for me, so it’s only fair. Of course, you can always offer to help your roommate move in (that’s always really nice) but if you aren’t needed, stay out of the way.

If move-in day kinda makes you nervous (it’s okay if it does) check out my post on tips to make move-in day easier!

5. Find out if the two of you will share any items.

If you’re both willing to share some items like a tv or a mini fridge, then it can be pretty easy to come up with a plan for sharing. Keep in mind that although some people are ready and willing to split items, there are also some people who aren’t so cool with doing that and that’s okay. If you personally aren’t up for sharing, then you just need to politely say that you’d rather have your own item. Likewise, if that’s how your roommate feels, you should respect that. Some items that are totally shareable include mini fridges (a 3.0 cubic foot one is pretty good), a tv, a full-sized mirror, and if your school allows it, a microwave. You might also want to discuss if the two of you will share cooking items such as pots and pans if you’ll be cooking in the communal kitchen.

I don’t suggest splitting the payment on anything big you want to share because then there’s always going to be the question of who should take it home at the end of the year. You might want to keep the tv at your house since you paid for half of it, but your roommate might also think the same thing. Pick an item and bring it if you guys want to go that way. Also, if you promise to bring something for the room, try to follow through on it because your roommate will be counting on it.

So I kinda suck at closings (because I always want to keep talking!) but I really hope you find these tips useful. Even small gestures like simply emailing to say ‘hi’ can honestly have a big impact on your relationship with your roommate.

What are some other things you should do before you meet your roomie? 

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13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

So it’s the summertime and one of the most exciting things about it is getting to go out and buy things for your soon-to-be awesome college dorm room! But more important than the fuzzy purple rug you’re going to have on the floor, or the TV and and gaming system you need to bring is the list of items you can’t have in the room. Paying attention to prohibited items can really save you money when dorm shopping, and it can save you from getting written up during room checks! 

Of course, while most colleges have some standard prohibited items that they can agree on, there are still some items that may be permissible at one college that aren’t at another, so definitely please keep your specific college in mind. In any case, here’s a list of items that aren’t allowed in dorm rooms and what you can bring instead!

1. Candles 

I know you want to add a little ambiance to the bland room, but it is entirely possible to get caught up in your daily life and forget to put out the candle. Unattended burning candles can start big dorm fires, which is why these are prohibited items.

Instead, bring string lights. String lights are an easy way to spice up your corner without going overboard. They’re really cute and can make the room look and feel just as cozy as it would with a candle. Keep in mind that some (but not all) universities also prohibit string lights — check with your RA or housing office to find out if the rules also ban string lights. If you can’t have string lights, you can hang paper lanterns (without bulbs in them). They won’t emit any light (so it’s dorm-friendly) and they’ll still make the room feel warm and friendly.

2. A space heater 

I’ve had the experiences of dealing with very cold dorm rooms *shudder* during the winter. Unfortunately, if the rooms don’t come equipped with their own thermostats, there’s nothing you can do about the lack of heat other than file a report with an RHD or maintenance. Never bring a space heater if your college prohibits it because it can be knocked over and start a fire.

Instead, bring a thermal blanket. Thermals are relatively inexpensive and are great alternatives for keeping warm. It’s not a space heater but at least it’s also not a big, puffy winter jacket that you have to wear indoors. 

3. An iron

Irons are super useful for straightening out the wrinkles in the button down you need to wear for an interview in the morning, but most colleges don’t allow irons in the dorm rooms because of the possibility that a user might forget to to shut it off and pretty much accidentally burn down the room. To combat this, some colleges actually allow irons that have an automatic shut off feature.

Instead, bring a mini steamer. Irons are clunky anyway. Mini steamers are really easy to use (I used one during my freshman year). All you have to do is fill it up with water, plug it in and wait for it to heat up, and run the steamer up and down the garment to get the wrinkles out. Yes, steam can burn you if you aren’t careful, but at least it won’t set your room on fire! *thumbs up* 

4. Dumbbells & weights 

In college, it can sometimes be difficult to find time to hit the gym for a workout, and having some equipment on hand so that you can squeeze in a workout while you binge-watch Supernatural in the comfort of your room is a great idea. Unfortunately, dumbbells and weights and some other strength training equipment aren’t allowed in most dorm rooms. 

Instead, bring a yoga mat. You can still work toward some of your fitness goals without weights. You can use your yoga mat to get in your daily round of push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, and other exercises. 

5. An air conditioner

The only way you can really have an A.C. in your dorm room is if your room comes with one already installed. Believe me, I know how wonderful air conditioning can be in a hot, stuffy dorm room in August. The good news is that even without air conditioning, you don’t have to put up with the heat until winter!

Instead, bring a fan. Even a small desk fan is really helpful! In fact, it’s easier to make space in an already crowded room for a small fan than a big one. Plus, the majority of the semester is during months where air conditioning isn’t really needed — August, parts of September, and, if you’re lucky, right before the semester ends in May are the only times when it’s a bit uncomfortable in a hot room. 

6. Live plants or flowers 

It may be your dream to decorate your future apartment with flowers, plants, and small, live trees, but this isn’t your apartment. Plants can be nice for therapeutic purposes, and for adding some aesthetic to a room (I’m actually considering getting little succulents for my dorm room next year!) I’m not completely sure why live plants wouldn’t be allowed (mess from the dirt? desire to keep nature outdoors? if they catch on fire they’ll burn like there’s no tomorrow?) but you probably shouldn’t have them no matter how home-y it’d make your space feel.

Instead, bring fake plants. They may not seem as therapeutic as the real ones, but if you’re just looking to make your room more attractive then you can easily do that using fake foliage. If you need live plants for therapeutic purposes, however, you can notify the housing office on campus so that you can be allowed to have live plants.  

7. Hoverboards 

Hoverboards have been banned in places beyond the college campus — restaurants, city streets, etc. They seemed like a cool, new way to get around, but they’re also really dangerous because of the fire hazard they pose. You’ve probably heard horror stories about Hoverboard chargers exploding or the product catching on fire; it’s a no wonder why they’ve been banned in some dorms.

Instead, bring a regular skateboard, or even a bicycle. Hoverboards are really just another way to easily get from point A to point B without walking, and you can do that with a regular skateboard (that doesn’t need to be re-charged!) or a bicycle (which will actually give you some exercise!) Some residence halls don’t allow you to store your bike inside your room, but you can lock usually lock them up in racks outside the building. 

13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

8. Nails/screws for the wall

Nails are super helpful for hanging pretty picture frames and other things. As much as you might try to think of your room as your second home, that excuse won’t fly with an RHD. You aren’t allowed to damage the walls in any way because other students will live in that room after you. It might be nice if dorm rooms came with pre-installed hooks or nails so that students and parents don’t feel inclined to take a hammer to it to hang a mirror or something, but until that happens you’ll need to put the hammer and nails away.

Instead, bring Command Hooks. They’re like temporary hooks on the wall for holding up important things — bathrobes, bath towels, jackets, scarves — without leaving holes in any walls. The one caveat I’d give when dealing with these hooks is to be very careful when removing them. There’s a little tab at the bottom for you to pull the adhesive out and remove the hook cleanly, but if you pull too hard and rip the adhesive, the hook will actually get stuck on the wall! 

9. Wallpaper & decals

These are affordable ways to make your space cuter, but wallpaper isn’t allowed in many dorm rooms because they tend to peel off the paint from the walls. The university will bill you for damaging the room, and that’ the last thing you’d want to have to deal with!

Instead, bring personal photos and posters to decorate the walls with. You can easily put these up with painter’s tape (which won’t damage walls) and it’ll come off easily. Another fun way to dress up the walls of your dorm is to print out fun or inspirational quotes and tape those to the walls. You can use decorative tape to create pretty borders around them too! 

10. Toasters, electric frying pans, microwaves

Toast in the morning sounds great, especially when you really want to do your best to have a filling breakfast before you start your day. Toasters and the like aren’t allowed because, like most of the stuff on this list, they can start a fire if they are left plugged in, turned on, and forgotten. I know people try to bring their own microwaves and toasters because they don’t want to go downstairs to use the communal kitchen, and I’ve seen people try to get away with some other prohibited items on this list, but this is a rule you DEFINITELY DON’T want to mess with.

Instead, bring a regular frying pan. You can go down to the kitchen and fry anything that needs to be fried or toasted, and you don’t even have to worry about getting caught for having something you’re not supposed to have. Just make sure you always turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen. As for the microwave, just use the one in the communal kitchen. It honestly isn’t that much work to walk downstairs or use an elevator.

BTW…I’ve also got some pretty awesome tips for cooking in college that will definitely save you so much time and grief!

11. Alcohol

Alcohol is prohibited if you’re under the age of 21. Some colleges even have designated residence halls that are substance free (I’ve lived in a substance free dorm for the past two years). These rules are so strict that they don’t even allow alcohol paraphernalia as decoration in the rooms.

Instead, bring soda, juice, sparkling water, or other non-alcoholic beverages. Just stock your mini fridge some of your favorite everyday beverages. I promise, you won’t get written up for having soda in your room! 

12. Plug-in air fresheners 

A nice-smelling room is great to walk into, but little plug-in air fresheners can actually cause big fires, and that’s not great to walk into. Hence, the reason why they aren’t allowed in dorm rooms.

Instead, bring a regular can of air freshener, or even one of those solid air fresheners. I’ve used a solid air freshener in my dorm room before and it kept the room smelling fresh until all the solid was melted. You don’t even need to remember to spray anything because it does all the work for you! Just throw it out when it’s all melted.

13. Water bed 

I mean, the only reason you might want a waterbed is if you plan on having guests over in your room during the semester, but even so, waterbeds are difficult to maintain and can pop or leak in the room, which leaves a huge cleanup duty for the cleaning staff in the building.

Instead, bring a sleeping bag. This might not be the same as sleeping in a bed, but at least you don’t have to worry about your sleeping bag springing a leak. They’re really easy to store and carry — you can even take it with you if you plan on sleeping over at a friend’s dorm for the night. Plus, you’ll definitely be able to allow your guests to use it, and you don’t have to worry about it taking up any space in the dorm. 

From one college goer to another, navigating dorm room policies can be a bit sticky, so I really hope you found this list of alternatives helpful.

What other dorm room alternatives do you have? 

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A College Student’s Ultimate Guide To Resume-Writing — With Examples!

guide to resume writing

So you’re in college now and, well, shit’s getting real. Like really real. Like, you need to find a part-time job or internship to gain experience real. One of your most valuable assets when applying for said job and/or internship is your resume, and truthfully, it can be really hard to write one! I’ve written and re-written my resume so many times this past year in college because every time I thought I had concocted the perfect way to show employers why they should hire me, I realized that no, I hadn’t — I was always missing something, and that something can really make your resume! So to help you not make the same mistakes that I did, here’s my little guide on resume-writing so you can totally land that position.

P.S., I may or may not also have a guide specifically about internships. Be sure to check out Part One and Part Two!

Use a simple and clean format. 

Your resume really isn’t a competition to see which applicant has the best decorating ability. Even when you apply to really creative or expressive positions you shouldn’t try to add fancy borders and garnishes. I do agree that a very monochromatic resume can be bland, so what I like to do is add a single, colored line right at the very top underneath my name and contact info — like this:  Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.51.42 PM

Don’t mind the blue bars, they’re just there to hide my more personal info. My pink line is a nice break from black and white, and it’s really simple and doesn’t require much thought. It also nicely separates my name and contact info from the rest of my resume.

Put your name where everyone can see it (and know that it’s your name!)

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See that? That is a very painful screenshot of my first resume *shudder* that I prepared for my college’s job fair. In case you were wondering, I did not walk away from that job fair with a job. My name and contact info are all formatted to the lefthand margin. I also included my phone number, my email address, campus address, and permanent address. As you can see, my email couldn’t fit in the tiny space so it took up two lines. Same goes for my addresses. This all just looks cramped and just NO. A lady at the job fair even had to ask me if that was my name up there in blue!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.51.42 PM

I highly recommend centering all your essential information. My name is written in big, bold, black letters where everyone can recognize it, and write under it I have my address, phone number, and email all in one single, convenient line that doesn’t look cramped in any way, shape, or form.

Stay away from fancy fonts. 

And use fonts that are easy to read, too. Nothing on your resume needs to be written in any form of script, nor do you need bubble letters of any kind.

Keep your profile short and sweet! 

You’ve probably heard that employers only spend about 30-60 seconds looking over your resume. While I can’t speak for employers, people probably say this with good reason! Make sure you get right to the point with your profile. It should essentially be a summary of your best qualities and what you hope to do with those qualities. Here’s mine:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.59.01 PM

So I basically described myself (diligent, fast learner, etc.) and said that I was looking to contribute my skills to a well-rounded team. Short and sweet! Note that my profile is literally two sentences long!

Make sure everything is READABLE. 

I used to be under the impression that your resume should be one page or less. That actually applies to cover letters (which I already knew) but I was literally stressed about having a resume that continued on a second page. So to combat my worries I’d type all my words in size nine font. Never do this. Don’t sacrifice readability for space. Honestly, it just makes your resume look very cluttered and hard to read, and an employer would probably give up on trying.

Use bold face to set sections apart. 

Where does your list of experiences end and your skills begin? Playing around with bold face can make sections stand out better for the sake of organization, neatness, and ease of access. This is what I did:

edit2

Now, I definitely should’ve made ‘Profile’ and ‘Experience’ black instead of gray, but that’s what happens when you use a resume template that comes with your computer!

edit1

Ah, that’s better. Another way I would try to improve this part of my resume is by going easy on the all caps. I find that all caps all over the place is a bit hard visually and not always appealing.

Really think about all of your relevant experience before you hit ‘send’! 

This is probably the biggest reason why I had to keep revising my resume in between applications. I thought that my roles as an EIC, contributing author, college CERT member, and teaching assistant were the only things I should include. I completely forgot about the articles I had written for Thought Catalog, Thought Couture, and I had forgotten to list my social media experience as a Snapchat content creator, even though it was a one-time thing. Hell, I even forgot to list THIS BLOG as relevant experience! Even though I had only written one article for Thought Couture and two articles for Thought Catalog, they were still really excellent pieces of experience that I FORGOT to add earlier. Remember, you can’t hit ‘send’ on that resume attachment and then email the employer again like, ‘jk I forgot to add something.’

Be able to say what you did for each piece of experience in two sentences.

I know, I know, you want to really show potential employers that you learned so much from your past positions and you can’t possibly fit all your knowledge into a couple of lines. Honestly, try to save your learning outcomes for the interview. Use your resume to say exactly what you gave to your past organizations.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.54.32 PM

Bam. There you have it — exactly what I did as a Snapchat content creator. I showed that this particular project was for a major event, I showed that a major media organization trusted me to use their company’s social media tools, and I used adjectives such as ‘fun,’ and ‘informative’ to describe my work — all in just two sentences! Here’s another look at how I kept things concise:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.20.51 PMOn this version of my resume, I did NOT forget to mention the fact that I have a blog!

Don’t include any type of high school information.

I got this pro tip from a career advisor at my college’s career center. When I went to see her, I was a sophomore (no longer fresh out of high school) so she told me not to mention high school information. I didn’t even need to list the name of my high school under my Education section. Not even the names of my honor societies. You’re in college so you need to show what you’ve been doing in college. The only reason you should have for including high school experience is if you’re a freshman and don’t haven’t held a position during your college years yet.

Don’t include references on your resume.

This is also a pro tip from the career advisor (and a mistake that was written all over the first 30 copies of my resume I printed). If an employer asks for a list of references (at all), it would be after receiving your resume and cover letter. If you’re asked for a separate list of references, be sure to give your separate list the same format as your resume’s!

Include social media handles.

Yes, you can totally include your Twitter and Instagram handles on your resume…as long as they will help you and not hurt you! If your Twitter profile is full of curse words and content that employers wouldn’t consider professional, you definitely don’t want to include this information. I’m a journalism major and a lot of my tweets (almost all of my tweets!) are article links to my content and links to other extremely enjoyable articles I’ve found. I probably should’ve included my handle with my contact info…oh well next time! Likewise, if you’re seeking a photography or visual position, it would do you good to include your Instagram handle…as long as your Instagram contains quality photos that are representative of what you can offer the company.

Don’t be modest about your skills! 

And don’t forget about some of the ‘basic’ ones like Microsoft Office and Google Apps (because I did at first!) It’s actually good to see that you understand and can use these updates. I also label this section as my ‘Skills/Credentials’ section because as I have gone through two years of college already, I have gained some certifications that would be great to talk about during an interview. This is also a good place to say what languages you’re fluent in, or have conversational ability in.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.43.14 PM

I like separating my skills using a semicolon. One thing I’d do differently in the future is tighten up my organization. I start off by saying ‘writes effectively’ then I get into some skills I’ve picked up, then somewhere in the middle I describe myself as ‘punctual,’ ‘effective listener,’ etc. It feels a bit choppy to me, so in the future I’d definitely put those ideas closer together.

Don’t bullshit about your skills!

When I wrote my first resume, I stated that two of my skills were HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I tried to self-teach HTML and CSS and I forgot half of what I looked at, and I had taken a college class on JavaScript (which I did terribly in). My rule of thumb if you’re not sure if something should be added as a skill is: if you need to essentially completely re-teach yourself how to do something, it shouldn’t be on your resume. If you get the position, you’ll likely have to use those skills ASAP so there’s no time for tutorials on YouTube. Needless to say, I got rid of those ‘skills’ from resume.

These are some of the things I’ve learned when crafting a resume that will make employers interested. Of course, I’m no professional resume writer, nor do I claim to be, but the great thing is that this is all spoken from my (good and bad) experiences!

What are your tips for writing resumes? Comment below or tweet them to me @jay_su_ using #macaronsandmascara 

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10 More Tips For Getting A Summer Internship

The internship hunt can be a bit time consuming and often stressful — I’d know because I recently got out of that hunt alive! This was actually the first time I applied for summer internships, so there was definitely some trial and error in certain places. At the same time, I emerged victorious and excited to share with you all how I landed my position. I picked up so many tips during my experience, that one blog post wasn’t enough! Be sure to check out part one of my tips for getting a summer internship so that you’re all caught up, and that being said, let’s get into part two!

  1. During, an interview, try to give all your experiences a bit of attention. Earlier in my internship hunt, during interviews I’d often just discuss one piece of experience that I had listed on my resume (my position as an editor). I thought that this was my strongest asset because I developed skills as a leader, manager, writer, editor, and it took a lot of planning and strategy. It was great that I could talk about how much one position taught me, but what about the other positions on my resume? From what I’ve experienced, showing your interviewer that you were able to take away something from all the experiences you listed is a really good way to show that you’ve grown from every experience you had. I feel like interviewers think of this as you adequately absorbing what took place, and really making the most of your positions. Besides, they’d probably want you to make the most of a position at their company. 
  2. Demonstrate a unique understanding of a concept or idea. Show the interviewer that your experiences have shaped your thinking in a unique way. They can find many likeminded applicants who might approach a situation the same exact way, but try to show them that you have a different understanding that also works. Remember when you were in the first grade and kids made fun of each other for being even a little different? Well now you’re all grown up and being a little different is actually a good thing. 
  3. Don’t be repetitive. The interviewer doesn’t need to know five times that you’re an organized individual who is experienced with team management. I’m pretty sure that you have so much more to say about your abilities, so take your time to elaborate without repeating the same set of skills over and over again. 
  4. Use any opportunity to discuss what makes you qualified. This actually happened to me during an interview. The interviewer had finished asking me questions and was explaining a few things about the position. I took that opportunity to further elaborate on why I would be able to handle those specific tasks. Those were not interview questions, however, I wasn’t done making an impression. Saying ‘okay,’ isn’t always enough, and it never hurts you to endorse your abilities just a little bit more. That being said, really use your face time or phone time with your interviewer wisely and to your advantage. 
  5. Ask questions. This is actually how I was able to take the above stated opportunity to talk more about my qualifications. At the end of an interview, you’re typically asked if you have any questions for your interviewer. This is probably the one question that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, so make sure you have at least one question to ask. In my opinion, it shows that you took the time to fully understand what you could about the company and the position before sitting down to be interviewed, and you’d like to take the extra step to learn more. Plus, like I said, you might be able to get the opportunity to further showcase your abilities by doing this. 
  6. Leave your business card if it’s an in-person interview. After I applied to the internship I eventually received, I was contacted for a phone interview, then I took an edit test, and lastly I had an in-person interview. Now, I had business cards in a nice business card-holder in my purse, but guess what I forgot to do…I was kicking myself up and down for that because business cards are definitely really professional, and a nice, neat way of telling an employer how you can be reached and what your work has been like so far. This looks extremely professional (especially for a college student like me) and it’s definitely something that makes an employer go, ‘wow.’ Leave your business card whenever possible, and if you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend getting some printed. 
  7. Be polite! Okay, don’t get so caught up in the craziness and stresses of internship hunting that you forget your manners at home. Always thank the interviewer for making time to speak with you. It’s definitely a small statement that is really appreciated because they’re probably way busier than you are and have a hundred things planned out for the rest of the day. You don’t want them to remember you as the rude candidate who doesn’t know how to say, ‘thank you.’ 
  8. If you haven’t heard anything, follow up. I typically follow up with a company one week after my last interaction with them. Following up lets them know that you’re serious about the position because you took it upon yourself to check in with your progress. Keep in mind that even after you follow up, companies don’t always reply to you. It’s not what you want, but remember that it’s okay because you did all that you could do. 
  9. Reply to emails promptly. No matter what point you’re at in the application process, reply to the company’s emails in a timely manner. Try not to just see it in your inbox and put a star next to it for later, unless you absolutely must do that because of circumstances. I have actually interviewed many people for positions on the staff I manage in college, and I can’t help but feel that the applicant is a bit disconnected when he or she takes many days to reply to a message. This can come off as a red flag to an interviewer. 
  10. Don’t quit after two or three failed attempts. Yeah, I know rejection hurts and it sucks, and when you feel you have so much to offer, getting rejected can really hit you hard, but you can’t just decide that you’ve given it your all and give up. I applied for a position at eight different platforms before being hired. To be honest, eight attempts isn’t a lot; some people apply to 20 positions before getting something, so don’t view rejection as ultimate. 

And that concludes my entire guide to landing a summer internship! I know I’ve talked about a lot, so if you have any questions you’d like to ask me, or if you also have some input you can leave me a comment below or email me at heyimjasmin@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you guys! That being said, good luck with your hunt, and if you aren’t looking for an internship just yet, I hope to see you back here when you are.

Happy hunting! 

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The Confused College Student’s Guide to Good Note-taking (Part 2)

So now you know which method of note-taking will survive the abyss that is your lecture hall of knowledge. Congratulations. But if you’re not yet sure how to select the fittest method of in-class note-taking for each of your classes, be sure to check out my previous post. As I was saying, so now you know that annotating lecture slides is your go-to note-taking method for that chemistry class, or typing your notes on your laptop is the best way to keep up during a history lecture. Now we have to take things one step further to ensure that you’re grabbing all the important info (a.k.a. stuff that will be on your exams) you need.

You rarely (if at all) get anywhere in life by cutting corners — looking for the easy way out, trying to skip the hard stuff. But when taking notes in class, sometimes you might want to trim the fat off of some edges. I’m pretty much talking about finding ways to make your note-taking easier, which includes learning how to write quickly and efficiently to ensure that you record only what’s important — that unnecessary fat can really weigh you down! So here’s how you can ensure you’re only writing down the necessary information:

Throw capitalization to the wind. You know how it’s just the law of basic grammar to capitalize the names of people, important places, states, etc.? Sometimes when I’m typing my notes I do this instinctively, but sometimes my fingers fumble on the keys when trying to hold the shift key and press a letter. This may sound stupid to you but it does happen and it does waste some time. Your notes are only for you — you aren’t submitting them for an essay contest! You don’t need to get caught up with capitalizing names of people, cities and the like. 

What comma? Punctuation marks such as commas and semi colons are not crucial when it comes to note-taking. You’ll still understand your sentence without a semi colon, so doing away with this kind of punctuation doesn’t take anything away from your lecture notes. 

Use ur abbreviations! Put your texting skills to good use in the classroom! Okay, actually, some people write out full sentences when they text, contrary to what many think, but that’s a story for another time. You’ve probably heard this ad nauseum at any school you’ve ever been to, but truthfully, abbreviating really does save you a lot of time when writing. Sometimes I instinctively write out full words when I could have used an abbreviation that would save me less time so I could focus on writing down other important points. 

Arrows are more than adorable boho print. I like incorporating simple arrows (like this one –>) into my notes to show cause and effect relationships. It’s way easier than writing, “and this lead to the downfall of…” #timesaver. 

Focus on points that demonstrate change. Demonstrating change over time, especially if you’re in a history class or other liberal arts class, is very important for exams and essays. I have a Professor who likes to give a lot of biographical information, which is cool and all (I totally want to know where George Washington got the majority of his teeth from) but I’m not going to write an essay about that! Looking for points that demonstrate change is a good filter to use when trying to figure out what to write down. 

List equations in the margin. If you’re in a math class or chemistry class or some other class I find horrid (because I hate math) then you’ll be working with a ton of equations. Making a list in the margin of your paper specifically for equations will help you single them all out so you don’t have to keep writing them down every time the professor presents a problem with them. This saves time like you will not believe! 

These few points are rather simple, but super useful! They’re great ways to effectively cut corners without taking away from your learning experience, and I’ve definitely found them to be extremely useful! Do you have any other methods for ‘trimming the fat’ from your lecture notes? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Confused College Student’s Guide To Good Note-taking

Note-taking is essentially a hated part of college life. So would you believe that many college students – freshmen, sophomores, juniors, even some seniors – still have no clue how to take down proper notes for classes? In my last four semesters of college, I have practiced and witnessed many different methods of note-taking, because I’ve had many different professors with many different styles of lecturing. What’s more is that not every single one of my classes has been a large lecture hall with 500 students, so that contributes even more to my professor’s style of lecturing, and thus my method of note-taking.

Really, it’s kind of like a ‘survival of the fittest’ sort of thing – only the better adapted methods will survive (and help you survive!) I’ll walk you through the methods I hail as ‘the best’ for taking good notes, because I believe in helping out my fellow college-goers. You can totally thank me by telling everyone you know about my blog! (Just kidding…but not really).

For the lecture hall with 300+ people: 

This was one of the first classes I experienced when I first started college. It was a general chemistry class and the lecture hall was huge, though admittedly not the largest lecture hall I would have a class in. It may be easy enough to succumb to our beloved high school habits by whipping out the looseleaf and pencil (which is exactly what my first instinct told me to do) but here’s why this might not be the most efficient way to take notes:

  • The professor will likely move very quickly. He or she has, like, 50 powerpoint slides of material to teach to hundreds of students in one sitting, and usually within about an hour to an hour and a half. So don’t be surprised if your professor doesn’t do you the courtesy of spending even close to five minutes on every slide.
  • Your handwriting may become a little…unrecognizable as handwriting. At some point during the scramble to write down every single thing written on the slides, your notes might actually start to look like a bunch of squiggly lines on a piece of paper. Unless you are fluent in the reading and writing of the squiggly language, this won’t be very helpful during your cram study session.
  • You might lose stray pieces of paper. Sometimes even the most organized people have a bit of trouble keeping their heads on their shoulders, and things might get misplaced. Wouldn’t it suck to have an entire page of biochemistry notes go missing right before a midterm?

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Solution:

  • Type your notes on a laptop. Most people can type faster than they can write, so the fact that your professor spends exactly two minutes per lecture slide won’t be as big of a deal, and you won’t have to break as much of a sweat to get important details down. Plus, there are no stray pieces of looseleaf paper that can get lost, and you will always be able to understand the font you use in Pages or Microsoft Word.
  • Pro Laptop Tip: Type your notes in Google Drive. This semester, I realized that typing my notes in Google Drive is easier than typing them in Pages or Microsoft Word. You will have your Google Drive documents anywhere there’s a computer, and everything you do in Drive saves automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing 11 pages of unsaved notes because your laptop shut down mid-sentence. Plus, some universities give you an unlimited amount of free storage space. I also found that using Google Drive to take my notes allowed me to keep everything really organized because I can see all my folders laid out right in front of me.

For the professor whose lecture slides are mostly images and diagrams: 

You have to pay particular attention to these classes. The lecture slides may only have images of people or objects or whatever, but the professor may be saying a mouthful while on that one slide. Don’t let the simplicity of the powerpoint fool you! These kinds of classes don’t really allow you to skip on taking notes and just look at the slides on the class webpage later – you won’t know what the hell the pictures mean later! I actually have a professor like this right now, and I prefer to actually know what his lecture slides mean at the end of the day. I mean, don’t expect to study a picture of Samuel Adams’s face and know all about his role in America’s journalistic history. Still not picking up what I’m putting down? Here’s how this kind of class can really screw you over:

  • You have nothing concrete to study. You literally cannot rely on images and charts to do well on your exams for this class. Your professor probably wants you to think that you can but, believe me, it’s not going to happen. You still need to take notes for this class because, like I said, when you go to your class webpage later because your professor considerately posts the useless image-heavy lecture slides, you’ll have extremely little to no recollection of what was even discussed in class.
  • This style of lecturing requires you to have a sharp ear. I suck at auditory learning. Even if I’m trying to pay really keen attention to what I hear, I still won’t be able to retain as much information as an auditory learner can. If there’s very little to no text on the lecture slide, you can bet your Starbucks iced vanilla latte that pretty much all of the crucial points are coming from the professor’s mouth.
  • The images should be supplements for what you write down. I’m somewhat of a visual learner myself – somewhat – but even so, I still only like to use images as supplements for written notes. I will definitely draw accompanying diagrams because I know they will help me better understand the material, so you can’t completely discount images in lecture notes. So if you can’t discount them and you can’t rely solely on them, what the hell do you do!?

Solution:

  • Print out and annotate your lecture notes. This is my favorite method of note-taking for any class! If your professor posts lecture slides before class, printing them out beforehand and annotating on the sides is an efficient way for you to focus on what the professor is saying (the important stuff) rather than getting caught in the crossfire of diagrams, talking and all that confusing nonsense. Plus, your attention can only be divided in so many ways. With this method you can focus on the professor speaking and still be able to refer back to the images later on!

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For the class that’s basically like high school: 

This is the class where the professor handwrites everything on a chalkboard and you sit there and either type it all on your laptop or jot it down in your notebook. I call this the ‘like high school’ class because these classes – even if you go to a college with 20,000+ students like I do – are usually smaller with about 30 or so students in them – just like the good old high school days! I’ve had a few of these classes now and in the past. My Italian class from freshman year was like this and the law class I’m currently taking is like this, too. Many college math classes are like this, though some may have that large lecture hall component.

Even so, you can’t really go wrong if the professor lectures like this because now you have the ability to match the professor’s writing speed rather than lagging behind and cursing under your breath. You can’t really go wrong with this kind of class. The only caveat I have to offer is…don’t get used to this. Not all of your classes are or will be so forgiving when it comes to note-taking!

Hopefully I have brought you a little closer to note-taking success. Remember that this is only part one of my Confused College Student’s note-taking series! Stay tuned for part two, and let me know in the comments what kind of college lectures you’re taking and how you take notes for those classes!

 

 

 

 

10 Lessons I Learned Two Weeks Into The Spring Semester

This weekend concluded my first two weeks back for the spring semester of college, and let me tell you, I’ve already learned quite a lot and not just from my lectures! I’m always writing about lessons you can learn from your experiences, as you might have read in my post about things I learned during the fall semester. I wasn’t really expecting to do a pot on lessons learned this early in the semester, but a few things worth mentioning definitely came up – for good or bad!

  1. There is no shame in dropping a class. There’s this one class in particular that I’m currently enrolled in that I thought would be a cool elective for my minor, but it turns out that, due to the set up of the class and the teaching style of the professor, getting a good grade will be extremely difficult for me – even if i strain every brain cell I have to my name. I really should have dropped the class before the deadline because dropping a class after the deadline has passed would result in a ‘W’ on your transcript. Now I’m left with a miserable class for the rest of the semester that I need to somehow find a way to pull things together in. I mean, I could have walked without any collateral damage since there was no required textbook for the class and I’ve only dedicated my time to a couple of lectures. But I guess it was either my stupidity or my personal pigheadedness talking, convincing me to power through it. FYI, there are very few times when you shouldn’t listen to your gut telling you to ‘power through’ something and this is one of those times! 
  2. ‘Only’ taking 12 credits isn’t such a bad idea. If I had dropped the previously mentioned class I would have been taking a total of 12 credits this semester – just enough to be a full-time student. I admit that this is where my pride got the best of me (and totally kicked my ass, too). I guess there was just something about settling for the minimum that I’ve never liked (if you haven’t already guessed, I grew up as that irritating little overachiever). But if taking 12 credits meant that I wouldn’t be swamped with work and filling every minute of my schedule with a new task or meeting then I should have just swallowed my pride. And to think that I had wanted to take 22 credits, keep my job as an editor, plan a TED Talk, stay on the emergency response team and keep writing for a magazine! 
  3. Don’t be so quick to buy or rent a textbook. Last semester, I began the wonderful act of renting my textbooks instead of buying them, because who doesn’t love saving money? This semester, I kind of went all rent-crazy and automatically sought after cheap rents…until my friend – who is in like half of my classes – told me that he just borrowed the required textbooks from our school library – free of charge. You can’t even begin to imagine how many times I kicked myself for not thinking of that! Even though I was able to rent my textbooks for relatively cheap, I still spent a total of 100 dollars for all of my classes when I could have spent extremely little to nothing if I had attempted to borrow the books from the library. Well, now I know the importance of being more frugal and a little stingier with my money! 
  4. Actually, don’t be so quick to obtain textbooks in any way. For this one journalism class, I rented, not one but two, textbooks only to find that even though they were ‘required’ texts, we didn’t need to have them because the professor doesn’t plan on using them much at all. I heard this with my own ears. The professor actually encouraged us to refer to the PDF version of the online textbook (which is free) for times when she will actually use the text. That’s another reason why I’m learning to not jump the gun when it comes to textbook gathering. It may be a bit of work but I think hunting for PDFs and borrowed texts will be much easier on your wallet! 
  5. Your closet should contain at least one fancy party dress. A few days ago, I got a Facebook invite to this on-campus Masquerade Ball and I was pretty excited to go. The only thing I had that was even remotely close to how you should dress for a black tie kind of event was a short, fitted black dress with white polka dots. I paired this with tan boots and a red handbag and headed to the dance with my friends. It didn’t take long for me to feel like my wardrobe choice wasn’t my best call that night, but it was what I had. You’re probably wondering, ‘what girl doesn’t even have an LBD in her closet?’ Well, now I know the importance of a nice LBD, and I will certainly begin my search for one ASAP. College events that require formal dress don’t happen often, but they aren’t nonexistent. 
  6. Stay a million miles away from sick people. I am literally coughing and sneezing my brains out as I type this. My cold medicine has been my BFF for the last few days and I’ve given up on homework assignments and readings because I literally (and I absolutely mean this) cannot. Stay the hell away from people who don’t have the decency to cover their coughs when in close proximity to other individuals. Yeah, I know that getting sick is a natural thing and it happens to everyone, but if someone clearly doesn’t make even the slightest move to protect others from catching whatever they have, then you better make damn sure that you protect yourself from whatever they have. I just experienced firsthand how much of a struggle it is when you have 450 pages of text to read, articles to write and edit and a quiz to study for while you have snot dripping down your chin and your lungs in your throat. Life is much easier if you can avoid the common cold. 
  7. Submitting crappy work will make your life harder. So for that class I mentioned before, I had a lab assignment due this weekend and I really tried to use the resources to the best of my ability. I even sought extra help and resources but to no great avail. Even though I knew parts of my assignment were done crappily, I had a headache and my cold just wasn’t cooperating with me, so I submitted the lab the way it was. Not too long ago, I received a message from my professor telling me that I should resubmit the assignment. Yep, I deserved that. I had felt as though I had no choice because I was in terrible shape and was pressed for time, but even coming back to the assignment later when I’d (hopefully) feel better would have been a better option. Haste makes waste, so do things right the first time around and you won’t have to bear the consequences. 
  8. Even when you can sleep in, don’t. Sleep is such a wonderful, precious thing, but it can really eat up your time! On some days, I start class in the afternoon and I always make a list of everything I’m going to do before the start of my class, but I take my dear sweet time to wake up and get dressed in the morning, which always throws my schedule off. In the end I always angrily roll my eyes as I storm out of the room to start my day because I know that I should have been out the door at least an hour ago. If you got your eight hours for the night, it’s high time you get out of bed and tackle the day. Believe me, I always fall victim to a nice, toasty bed in the dead of winter, but when you have things to do, you want as few delays as possible. 
  9. Laziness is no excuse to stop taking care of yourself. This is going to sound really bad, and I definitely do know better, but sometimes I’m too lazy to go through my entire facial care routine before going to bed so I just take off my makeup and hit the hay. That’s it. Without a doubt, this has delayed my skin’s progress and never fails to make my face feel crappy every time I put my cheek to my pillow. There is absolutely no excuse for not taking care of yourself, at least no valid excuse. 
  10. You don’t have to be top dog in every little thing on campus. I like to be part of every little thing because I enjoy getting involved and meeting new people and making friends. I feel like I have a lot I can contribute to whatever organization I lay my creative little hands on, so naturally I’m a go-getter. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that I seeking to conquer basically everything on campus is a good idea! Being careful of biting off more than you can chew is something I’ve always warned others of and have always tried to warn myself of. For the most part, the responsibilities I held last semester just carried over into this semester, so things were already set for me. I really only took on one new task (planning the TED Talk) and everything else (aside from my schedule) stayed the same for me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t half-dying with everything right now. Knowing when to step back and be content with what’s already on your plate can really conserve your energy (and sanity). There’s nothing wrong with not wanting added stress! 

You can probably say that these are lessons well-learned, because I certainly won’t be making the same mistakes twice! I’m currently working on ways I can combat whatever mishaps I can because doing nothing is way worse than trying and failing. Please let me know what you think and also what your new semester experiences have been like by leaving a comment below!  

What College Actually Did To My Sleeping Pattern

College can do some…interesting…things to a person. Maybe you were once a slob but after a few years of being forced to learn how to conserve every ounce of precious space, you picked up what you were lacking in the organization department. Or maybe once upon a time your outfits were always on point but college has introduced you to the beauty of wearing your pajama pants to class when you just don’t give a rat’s behind. For me, my sleeping habits have been altered in an interesting way.

I was always used to waking up early. I wouldn’t call myself a happy early bird that sings with the bright morning sun (to be honest, sunlight annoys me) but waking up early and getting my butt out of bed and on my way to getting dressed for school was a normal thing for me. While my high school peers complained about waking up ‘early’ at 7:30am for class at 8:20, I always took pride in shutting them down by adding that I got out of bed at 5:30am to leave the house an hour later.

It’s rumored that 8:30am college classes are the absolute worst, but I thought I was up to the so-called ‘challenge.’ This past semester, though, due to the availability of some of my classes, I ended up with days when I didn’t have my first class until 1pm and then no class at all on Fridays. It was a relief knowing that I had class late in the day because for me that meant that the night before I could stay up as late as I’d like to do assignments and study. Plus, because I took a lot of evening classes this semester, I was usually more free at night to do work. Going to bed later than I was used to nudged me to wake up a little later.

I also found myself sleeping in later than normal because I had a little extra time in the morning. Okay, more than just a little extra. Previously, ‘sleeping in’ to me used to mean waking up at 9am. After this semester, it got to a point where waking up at 11:30 in the morning on weekends and on those glorious 1pm class days became ‘sleeping in.’ I cringe a little at early morning classes and do my best to avoid them because I learned that it actually feels kind of good to not wake up with the birds.

But then I brought that habit home with me for winter break and that’s when it actually hit me that this was something that I developed. All those years of waking up early like it was my job turned into sleeping in, which now seemed so easy. Is this just a habit or is it a bad habit because of the misconception that millennials are lazy and I’m basically adding fuel to the fire by sleeping in? I surprisingly don’t know where I stand on my feelings toward this change. I have just come to realize that college forces us to adapt in interesting ways. Besides, I would assume that someone with the opposite situation would become accustomed to waking up early and thus it would now be easier for them to do so. If we pay attention enough, we might find more changes and different habits forming.

I truly do wonder if I’ll be able to get back into that once-familiar grind of waking up annoyingly early. Maybe. College, after all, is full of push factors that can influence any aspect of our lives.

What’s your idea of sleeping in? 

7 Surprising Lessons I Learned During The Fall Semester

It’s that time of year again – the time of year when we can rot our brains on Netflix, wake up as late as we’d like and breathe a sigh of relief (unless you failed, like, half of your classes and still haven’t told your parents yet!) This is probably the second greatest time of year – after Christmas and the holiday season, of course. I’m talking about winter break. I actually took my last final just over a week ago and, might I add, it felt ah-mazing to walk out of there knowing I won’t have to touch another chapter of Java programming for (probably) the rest of my college career.

After finals, some of us were probably at that stage where we contemplate everything that went on during the fall semester – just before hitting the grief stage where we wonder what could have been if we had just gotten up for class every morning like we promised ourselves we would at the start of the semester. Looking back at my fall semester, I can definitely say that I’ve learned a few lessons that you can’t be taught in the classroom.

  1. Your quiet, comfy room can be the worst place to study. My room used to be my ultimate sanctuary – at home and away at college. I could get anything done in my room no matter how much attention the task required. But then my mini fridge filled with delicious food happened. Then my warm bed in a cold college dorm happened. Then the tiny piece of paper on my desk that wasn’t bothering me at all but I felt the need to get up and throw it out happened. Simply put, my dorm was just the perfect breeding ground for distractions. I found my new favorite study spot: the Starbucks at my college. In my opinion, it’s the best place for me to study and get things done. The dim lighting actually doesn’t make me want to fall asleep because I’m not a fan of bright light (I’m basically a vampire), there’s light noise that isn’t overwhelming and I’m not inclined to get up and do things for no reason. Realizing this helped ensured that I didn’t just squander the free time that I had.
  2. Saying ‘no’ to a friend is a little easier than we might think. Fun fact about me: I tend to look at a situation from all possible perspectives in order to determine the best course of action. I’m pretty much a really reasonable person. This being said, it boils my blood when I can see that someone is being completely unreasonable – especially when it’s a friend! I don’t appreciate having to work hard to be where I am and then someone else purposely slacking off and literally expecting me to make their life easier. Um, no. You’re barking at the wrong tree, buddy! I’ve had my fair share of saying ‘no’ to friends this semester, and it is actually easier than you might think it is. I know you don’t want to disappoint that person because they’re, like, you’re bff, but saying ‘no’ isn’t the end of the world. Honesty is the best thing you could give someone and if they don’t appreciate it or insist on putting you in an unreasonable situation, they can find a new friend (but they probably won’t find one as good as you are because you’re awesome!)
  3. Asking questions can sometimes lead to more than just answers. Quick story: I had been reading articles from a completely cool platform called Odyssey and I wanted to know how their open submission process worked. If I was able to submit an article and have it published on their site I’d be super psyched! Now, I know that you 8 times out of 10 will not receive a response when you contact sites through email and such but I decided to take a chance on this. A quick response lead to a phone call, which lead to me becoming the Editor in Chief of the newly established Odyssey branch at my college! I truly expected nothing as amazing as this to happen as the result of a simple email. It just goes to show that you don’t lose anything from asking a simple question. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  4. Staying connected to people is a big responsibility. I met so many cool new people this semester who I really would like to get to know better and become friends with, but to be honest, that’s actually a lot of work. When you have your own classes to worry about, meetings to attend, articles to write and edit and a full staff to manage, any amount of free time you have would like to be spent watching Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, or even just sitting in your bed scrolling through Twitter. Sure, I have tried to grab dinner with some people sometimes (because we all have to eat, of course) but even then, we all have very different schedules. I took a lot of evening classes this semester so when some peoples’ days were ending, mine were just getting started. Sadly, it seemed as though my social life could only accommodate my immediate friends even though I really wanted to make new friends.
  5. Netflix can be kryptonite – even for the best of us. I never understood when people talked about being “addicted” to Netflix. Just stop watching and get your butt up and do some work, I used to think as I rolled my eyes at my friends who were seemingly complaining about nothing. But then, I got into a few really good shows – I mean, really good shows. And when I wasn’t doing work I wanted to pick back up where I left off on Netflix. I never imagined that I would be that person because I have always been extremely studious and never let things get in my way. Yes, Netflix is a cool way to chill, but you’re picking a very deadly poison if you can’t control yourself long enough to realize that you might have an exam you need to study for. Might. 
  6. Everyone should stop believing in multi-tasking. I used to think that I was great at multi-tasking, no matter what I was doing. I have literally, in the past, baked cupcakes while cooking dinner, listening to music, helping my brother with homework and doing my own assignments. Easy-peasy. Piece of (cup)cake. But then in college, the work got more intricate and therefore required a more fine-tuned focus, in some cases for an extended period of time. I realized that I could not write a 10-page paper while scarfing down pasta and listening to Katy Perry. I mean, I could, but that’s just not the most efficient way to do things. Sure, you might be killing two birds with one plate of spaghetti, but truthfully, the more divided your attention is, the lower your performance on your tasks will be. Yes, eating food does require attention. Yes, listening to music does require attention. Focusing on one thing at a time made my life way simpler!
  7. Everything happens for a reason. Another quick story: When I realized early this semester that I wanted a career in writing, I went to the job and internship fair at my school (every single one of them) in order to seek an on-campus writing job. It’d be a great way for me to get my work out there, learn some new things and practice. I applied for many positions but there was one in particular that I had really wanted. The position consisted of a student writer producing articles about technology at our school. Awesome! I felt I was a very strong and versatile writer so I applied and, plus, the woman who would have been my boss seemed very impressed with what I could offer. A week went by and I hadn’t received any response. I emailed the woman (thank God for business cards) and I was told that the position had been given to someone else. I was sad but I pushed forward. That’s when my story from #3 happened – Odyssey. I was psyched to be an editor. I had the complete power to hire new writers and oversee everything. One day I received an application from a girl and, wouldn’t you know it, it was the same girl who got the writer position I had wanted a few months earlier! I was now her boss! Wow. I was stunned by this interesting twist of fate. So you see, not everything will work out on the very first try, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Things happen for a reason – and often, really amazing stunning jaw-dropping reasons!

What did you learn this semester? 

JS