Student Advice on Freshman Year

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College life is looming. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some pointers on making the most of college?

Fastweb polled students across the country for their top tips for a successful freshman year in college.

What tips do students across the nation have for students about to go to college? Find out below!

Getting Settled
Classwork/Academics
Extracurriculars
Dorm or Apartment Life
Health and Wellbeing
Money
Social Life

 

Getting Settled

“Talk to your roommate before you get to school and decide who’s bringing what (you don’t need two stereos…).”
Tina, Dartmouth College

“Even if you really miss your home or your parents want you to come back, don’t do it until it has been at least a month since you were in college. The people who leave before then never feel like they have a foothold on college life, and end up leaving.”
Kristen, Cal Poly

“Splurge on organizing materials—for your dorm, for your backpack, for all your papers. This is the most important thing you can do in order to preserve sanity as you find your free time slowly slipping away.”
Andrea, Harold Washington City College

“Make friends with an older student

A New Semesters Game Plan

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Start the school year off on the right foot. How, you ask?

There are plenty of ways to ensure you’ll have the best chances of staying focused and on top of your academic game. You just need to implement them.

Think of the following as a game plan for starting ahead:

Get Acquainted

Meet your TAs and professors as early as possible. Go to their office hours and give yourself a friendly introduction.

That way, you’ll be familiar with them should you need help and you’ll be more than just a name on papers to grade.

Once you become a face behind the name, they’ll likely notice if you’re not in class which holds you accountable for skipping, so you’re much less likely to make a habit of doing so (not that you ever would).

Make New Friends

Your classmates are a great resource! Aside from the usual social reasons, it’s a great idea to make friends with them for academic purposes, too.

It’s not as hard as you think. If they’re in your class, you’ve already got something in common with them.

What if you’re super sick one day and miss class? Having

Social Media Guidelines for Students

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In today’s world, you’re going to get Googled at some point. But, don’t fret – just make social media work for (rather than against) you!

Remember, those performing an online search for you – employers, colleges and scholarship providers – aren’t on a mission to find dirt, gossip or disqualifications.

Most likely, they are simply just trying to learn more about you as a candidate.

That’s why it’s important to try to be equally aware of what you do include within your social media presence, just as much as what you do not want associated with you.

Is social media working for or against you? It’s time to make your social network work for you!

Here’s a guide for you to follow when posting on social media accounts.

Do: Have an online presence.

Since they will be searching for you, give them something to find that will reflect positively on your personal character.

Don’t: Upload anything that you wouldn’t want EVERYONE to see.

When posting items online, never assume that only some of your friends, family or other specific people within your social network will have access to it. Regardless

10 DIY Dorm Room Projects

Summer’s not over yet (thank goodness). You still have plenty of time to think about what type of décor you’d like your dorm room to have – and then, instead of purchasing it, why not save some dough and create it?

Worried that you’re not crafty enough? Don’t be! These projects aren’t difficult – they’re easy enough that any student can accomplish them with style and panache. Plus, they’re all budget conscious so you’ll be saving, too!

Take daily items most college students utilize and turn them into unique pieces that will make you the envy of your floor mates. Talk about a great conversation starter…

Here are some fun dorm room DIY ideas that you’re sure to love making and having around in college:

1. Cookie Sheet Magnetic Board

Don’t write your reminders on a boring notepad only to blend into your desk later – hang them on a cool homemade magnet board you’ll be sure to notice! You can also hang photos and mementos from home, too!

We also happen to think these DIY cat magnets and Instagram magnets would look pretty great on there.

2. Recover an Old Desk Chair

You don’t need to spend money on a new desk chair – new

Valuable Life Skills Learned in College

While everything you learn in college is important, there are some teachings that may come in handy more so in life than, say, how to balance the most complicated chemistry equations.

Such lessons are actually not taught in courses, they’re learned throughout the experiences in college courses, social life and other daily activities.

Here are some valuable life lessons you’ll learn in college, if not only, by default.

Budgeting

Learning to budget comes in handy with resourcefulness as well. If you’re forced to be on a budget – as in, you have no choice but to budget your money out, you’ll learn how to scrimp and save.

That way, when you’re in the work force and your budget (hopefully) isn’t as tight as when you were a college student, you’ll still make smarter financial decisions.

Independence

If you don’t worry about yourself in college, nobody else is going to do it for you.

Sure, your family and friends check in on you, but you’re the sole person responsible for you – 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

If that doesn’t teach you to be independent, nothing will.

Multi-tasking

Similar to prioritizing your tasks, you’ve learned to switch gears at the drop of a hat. You need to – with

21 Cool Items All College Students Can Use

We’ve found all of the stuff a college student could want – at the best prices around!

This list includes everything that can be used in both dorm rooms and apartments to keep the roommates at bay and to let you play. After all, what’s college if you can’t have a little fun in between classes? (Don’t worry – there are plenty of essentials included, too!)

Here are some fun, some necessary and some downright quirky items that any college student would love to have:

1. Dictionary Book Safe with Lock

Place this “dictionary” on your bookshelf and nobody will suspect a thing – but you’ll know where your valuables are! With so many people coming in and out of your room in college, it is important to have a good hiding spot and this is the perfect sneaky little space. It also has a lock, just in case someone catches on.

2. Bed Risers

Whether you’re in a dorm room or in a tiny apartment, bed risers are a life-saver because they allow you to store off-season clothing out of view. Pair with the next item on the list and you’re good to go!

3. Underbed Storage

Store all of your off season clothing, extra blankets and

The Best Ways to Get to Know Your Professor

Building valuable relationships with your professors is vital. They are important resources, can provide a wealth of information regarding your college career and your career path.

Additionally, strong bonds with professors can lead to mentorship, letters of recommendation and, sometimes, job opportunities.

It’s really in a student’s best interest to get to know their professors as much as possible, because one never knows what it can lead to!

The following are some tips, based on an article from HackCollege, that will help you build a strong relationship with your professor:

Arrive on Time

Starting out your relationship on a good note, with a good impression, is important. Arrive to class on time, if not early.

Professors often interpret a late arrival as rude or disrespectful – both character traits that you don’t want to be associated with.

Never Leave Early

Similar to arriving late, leaving early can reflect poorly on you. You may have a completely valid reason for leaving early, but it comes across to the professor that you don’t care or are bored with their class.

You do not want a professor to think you couldn’t bother to take out the time to sit through a full class period.

If you do need to leave early for any

Budget Savvy Back to School Shopping

Heading to college is exciting…and expensive!

Whether you’re going for the first time or returning for a new semester, there are likely items you’ll have on your shopping list that quickly add up to one hefty sum.

Wise shoppers stretch dollars, so don’t overspend on things you don’t have to (which is pretty much everything, by the way).

How? It’s easy – just shop smarter!

The good news is that, once you begin saving, you’ll likely start shopping smarter regularly and stay thrifty throughout the year, too!

Not sure how to become a thrifty shopper? It’s a lot simpler than you may think.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you shop smarter for all of your college needs:

1. Learn Dorm and Housing/Apartment Do’s & Don’ts

Your awesome wall hanging won’t look so awesome in a box under your loft. Make sure you’re going to be able to hang it – along with other dorm restrictions before you buy.

You can easily find out from the school what is and is not allowed in dorms or your rental property, including: items hanging on walls, painting and electronic items, etc.

Additionally, many schools have commonly used items available for students in the dorms, so you don’t need to

How to Get a Passport Pronto

Your Spring Break vacation is right around the corner…do you have your passport ready?

Is your passport valid for your upcoming study abroad trip?

Too many students neglect to think of these items or fail to realize they need their passport before the trip is just a couple of weeks away.

And, though visions of your amazing getaway slipping through your fingertips have started, there are still ways to obtain your passport and, hopefully, continue on with your travel plans.

Some travelers decide to turn to passport-expediting companies, who charge outrageous prices and aren’t guaranteed to follow through – often times their claims are nothing but that – claims.

The only way to ensure a government document is valid is through, well, the government.

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs – U.S. Passports & International Travel offers a handy page which details how to get a passport in a hurry.

Sure, it starts with a little bit of scolding – you should always plan far in advance before traveling, be prepared with proper documentation so you don’t find yourself in this position and so on. But, guess what government agency? I wouldn’t be on that page if I had done so and hindsight is

5 Life Lessons From Dr Martin Luther King

There is probably no other American figure that epitomizes the qualities of leadership and self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we celebrate his life on the day set aside to honor him, let’s look back at some of the most important events in his life. From them, there are plenty of lessons we can apply in our own lives – both personal and professional.

 

#1: Knowing What’s Possible Comes From Asking “Why Not?”

It’s easy to see archival footage of Dr. King’s stirring speeches or the stark black and white images of him in thought and forget that no man is born wise and with all the answers. In reality, Dr. King used his many interactions and experiences with people from all different walks of life to inform his worldview.

Prior to entering Morehouse College in 1944, the then 15-year-old King left the South for the first time to work on a tobacco farm in Connecticut. This experience proved revelatory, and he noted in letters to his parents that he never knew that “… a person of my race could eat anywhere.” By being exposed to different ways of living, his perspective that segregation

Spring Break Ideas for High School Seniors

As a high school senior, you have a lot on your plate.

Between applications, scholarships, dorm shopping, etc. there might not be a lot of time to complete these tasks and enjoy yourself.

If you manage your time well, you’ll be on your way to having a fun and productive Spring Break.

1. Try Something New/Get Prepared

Ever wanted to start a new hobby, but you’ve never found the time? This may be your chance!

It’s also a great time to do DIY projects for your dorm room next fall! If you want to learn anything such as cooking, budgeting, etc. before you go off to college, you can do this now.

You’ll be surprised of how much you can learn in a week!

This is also a good time to get prepared for college. Go dorm room shopping, school supply shopping, etc. Get organized! It’s always better to be prepared!

2. Apply for Scholarships & Financial Aid

Scholarships are everywhere you look, and with all those long essays and upcoming deadlines, who has the time? Spring Break is a good time to line up all of the scholarships you qualify for and complete them.

Think of how good you will feel knowing how much you accomplished, and

Spring Break Safety Tips

I know it’s hard to think about Spring Break when the weather (at least where I am) is freezing, but it’s NEVER too early to plan ahead! This is especially true if you’re traveling with other students.

Besides, what better way to beat to beat the slow days of winter than to dream of vacation?

Fun is only fun if you’re smart about it. So, with the help of a little research and a bit of my own experience, I’ve come up with some ways that students like us can stay safe and have a blast over Spring Break!

Travel Safety:

Make sure that whoever will be driving has a valid driver’s license. In fact, make sure that everyone does. Plans can change on a moment’s notice. Make sure you are aware of exactly how to get to your destination and how to get back. Whoever sits in the passenger’s seat should try to stay awake to keep the driver company. This is especially true if you’ll be driving at night. Falling asleep can be kind of a contagious thing…have you ever noticed that watching someone else doze off often makes you more tired? Accidents are very easily caused by the driver

5 Ways You Can Avoid Senioritis

Your senior year of high school, especially the second semester, will almost certainly be one of the most stressful times of your high school career. Grades, scholarships and college applications rush upon you all at once and, once the rush seems to have passed, many times, seniors tend to get an attitude that reflects the fact that they will no longer be attending high school next year.

There are a lot of ways to avoid senioritis, and it doesn’t necessarily matter how you do it, as long as you realize how important it is to stay away from that state of mind.

When people refer to the term “senioritis,” they are usually referring to the attitude I just described. Seniors begin to think that their grades don’t matter anymore. They only come to school because it’s required to graduate. Everyone gets the mindset of “Oh, I’m too good for this,” or “I don’t need to do that.”

The only problem is that senioritis isn’t one of those things that you can just turn on and off. Once you get into the habit of blowing off classes and assignments, showing up late, and being disrespectful to teachers, that behavior tends to carry on throughout

Pros and Cons of Friends as Roommates

Let’s debate: should friends room together in college? This is an issue which can be especially relevant to incoming freshman when they are forced to decide upon a roommate. There are solid arguments to both sides.

So, let’s analyze the pros and cons of rooming with a buddy. It’s up to you to determine which side you agree with most and what’s best, given your particular situation.

Pro: You already know each other

There’s no awkward stepping-on-eggshells period, since you two are already buddies.

Con: You could get stuck in high school

The whole point of college is to meet new people, gain new experiences and broaden your horizons. While it may be comforting having a friend by your side, you don’t want to hold yourself back from making new friends and having new experiences. It’s great to keep in touch with the high school gang, but make sure you’re trying to gain new friends, too.

Pro: You can plan your room together

Who doesn’t want to have an awesome pad? If you already know the person you’re rooming with, it makes planning out your tricked out dorm room that much easier.

Con: A great friend doesn’t always equal a great roommate

Just because you’re great friends, doesn’t

Future College Roommates and Facebook

Incoming college freshman, understandably nervous about their future living arrangements, learn their roommate assignments and promptly log on their Facebook accounts to investigate their future roommates.

Upon finding information they find favorable or, perhaps even, unfavorable, they began to immediately build friendships or put in for roommate changes, often without even meeting the assigned roommate.

Weeding Out via Social Media: Useful or Damaging?

While this may seem like a useful tool, it actually defeats the purpose of leaving comfort zones to bond with other students over college experiences. These bonds may not occur in other scenarios, but the unique social setting college provides allows students from all different backgrounds to connect.

Such connections build relationships that last a lifetime, help celebrate cultural diversity and open students’ minds to appreciate differences. Going even further, the bonds will shape job opportunities, communities and relations for years to come.

Keeping these concepts in mind, it’s easy to understand how “weeding out” potential individuals as roommates via Facebook begins to sour the entire process.

Naturally, people always feel more comfortable with those more like them, but that’s not really the point, is it? The point is to leave your comfort zone.

While what students learn in college classrooms is undoubtedly important,

Complete This Bucket List Before College Graduation

Whether you’re graduating and moving on into the “real” world or moving on to a grad program, this list will help you get a head start in your new life.

Either scenario will be filled with new beginnings and lifestyle changes, some you’ll be ready to tackle and some you’ll simply need to get used to along the way.

But, with some simple preparation and well thought-out planning, you can make your transition that much easier.

Sure, it’s tempting to fly by the seat of your pants. While you don’t need to obsess over what’s ahead or plan your future down to every little detail, it does help to think things through with some slight preparation.

Additionally, you should savor moments right now. That’s exactly why we certainly don’t recommend the obsessing over every little detail. A good balance is the right, healthy balance.

Here are some items to put on your bucket list right now to accomplish before graduation so you can both appreciate the moments you have left and prepare for what’s ahead, post-graduation, whether you’re going:

• To Get a Job
• To Graduate School

 

 

You’re Going to Get a Job After Graduation:

(I’m going to grad school – I want to jump to

How to Make Friends Before Getting to Campus

You’re about to experience four-ish of the best years of your life! Having friends to share it with is part of what makes college so spectacular.

Making new friends in college can be intimidating but there are always ways to gain a head start.

It can be especially daunting if you’re about to attend a school where you don’t have a familiar face in the crowd – having a couple can make all the difference. It doesn’t mean you have to become best friends, but it can feel make you more comfortable in your surroundings!

Here are a few tips on how you can get started on making college connections before you even set foot on campus for your freshman orientation:

Connect with your high school alumni

Consider reaching out to students who graduated from your high school who now attend your university or have recently graduated from your university. Even if they recently graduated, they may have friends still attending the school.

Let them know that you’re going to be attending the same university and ask if they would like to meet for a cup of coffee so that you might be able to chat with them about the school. Don’t be afraid to let

Conquer Boredom

Do you ever just get bored? Your to-do lists are complete, your friends aren’t around for whatever reason and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Yeah, it happens.

Sometimes you just want to do nothing and that’s OK, too. When you’re itching to accomplish something, it’s a terrible feeling to stare at the wall and feel like you’re wasting your time.

Applying for scholarships should always come first!

But, when you need a break from scholarships and your homework is finished, sometimes more options would be helpful. Don’t worry – there are plenty of things to do for free!

Here’s a list of free-time fillers for the bored student:

1. Clean out your junk email – Admit it, it’s been piling up for months, if not years. At some point, you may have even created a new email to escape – but it’s still there. Clean it up and it can be of use again!

2. Clean out your Facebook friends list – Everyone has accepted random people at one point or another, especially because your Facebook friends’ number used to be relevant. Do you really want random people you don’t actually know knowing your business? Clean up the list by narrowing your

Keeping in Touch

Are you afraid of losing touch with the old high school gang? Don’t be!

In this modern day, it’s easier than ever to stay connected to loved ones – no matter how close or far apart you actually are.

Sure, you’ll make new friends but that doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with your old ones as a result. You can have the best of both worlds!

Here are some tips on how to stay in touch with your high school buddies, even while you’re away at school:

Utilize Social Media –

Social media web sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great resource for keeping in touch with friends and staying involved in friend’s daily lives.

Keep in mind, however, that these tools can become impersonal if that’s the only way you’re keeping in touch.

Also, whatever you post will become public and will be available for everyone, not just your friends, to see. Always keep that in the back of your mind whenever deciding to post on social media sites.

Video Chat –

A picture is worth a thousand words – at least, that’s what they say. It’s often comforting to see your friends that can’t be close by via video chat. You’re likely

12 Summer Bucket List Ideas for College and Grad Students

Even though your summer may be occupied with summer school, a job or an internship, it’s important to take time to enjoy your summer break, too.

There’s so much fun to be had during the summer months and you don’t want to miss out on all of the memories and experiences that come along with it!

Check out these summer bucket list ideas for college students, which will help you make the most of your summer break:

1. Go to concerts

Summer is the perfect time to get together with friends and go to a concert or outdoor music festival. Extra points if you need to take a road trip with friends to get there!

2. Plan a stay-cation

Maybe you don’t have the funds to take a luxurious summer vacation but why not substitute a staycation in its place? See the sights your area has to offer by becoming a tourist for the day – it’s probably been ages since you’ve experienced them!

3. Relax on a beach

Whether you’re need an ocean, a lake or need to go to a pool, there’s nothing like relaxing on a hot day next to a body of water while soaking up some summer rays.

4. Read some classics

Catch up