list clip art           With the close of the school year, it’s time to start thinking about your plans for next year. What classes would you like to take or are there any clubs you’re interested in joining? Thinking about these kinds of things ahead of time gives you plenty of time to make a decision instead of feeling like you are under pressure to make all your decisions right away. Sit down this summer and make a bucket list for next year!

In regards to class schedules, try to schedule classes as early as possible. Popular classes get chosen very quickly and you’ll want to make sure you get a spot. If you have certain classes you’re required to take by a specific semester try to take them as early possible. Class deadlines are the same as any regular deadlines-the earlier you meet the requirements the easier you will breathe.

Planning your activities out in conjunction with your class schedules can give you a better idea of how much free time you’ll have after all you want to do. Trying to overstretch yourself can end in you being exhausted and overwhelmed as opposed to feeling engaged in everything you want to do. Keep your schedule as full as you want it, but make sure to pencil in time for yourself as well. Take that rock climbing course you’ve always wanted to, check out that indie theater you keep saying you’ll attend, or go hang out in that coffee shop. Doing something for yourself can help make you feel at peace with the rest of the schedule that you can’t always control.

Whether you make your bucket list on a computer, write it down in a book, or just keep it in your head, having an idea of what you want to do can make your life much less stressful. Planning ahead can help you decide what is or isn’t the most important use of your time. A more thought out plan for the next year can give you more free time and leave you feeling in control. The idea of a bucket list for college might seem silly, but trust me. Checking off your wish list will give you a feeling of accomplishment unsurpassed by anything else.

exercise

It’s no secret that college can be incredibly stressful, especially during the time of finals and thinking about what you’re going to do with your summer. Alleviating this stress is important, and it is even more important that you do this in a healthy way. While hiding in your bed and eating junk food may be tempting, doing that every single day will eventually just lead to even more stress and feelings of depression.

Exercise is one of the best stress relievers out there: you get to vent your frustrations on equipment instead of people, and the endorphins you receive during exercise boost your mood and concentration! You don’t necessarily have to utilize your university gym to get these effects; you can just start running or playing pick-up ball with your friends. If you do decide to go to the gym, take advantage of all it has to offer. Many university gyms offer swimming pools, exercise classes, equipment for tennis courts or racquetball courts, and a variety of cardio and weightlifting equipment. There is something for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.

The best way to keep yourself interested and your stress levels low is to change up your form of physical activity. Swimming might be your favorite, but doing it every day can eventually become monotonous. Try doing a dance class or weightlifting class every few days to keep your body and mind guessing. While you might not be interested in working out at first, give it a try the next time you’re feeling stressed. You might find the benefits greatly outweigh the effort it takes to get to the gym.

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House parties and fart parties are a way of life for many college freshmen. Whether you rushed a Greek organization or just know someone who did, chances are you may end up at a party by your senior year. These parties can be a lot of fun, but it is important to know how to stay safe while you’re doing so.

The number one way to stay safe while in an environment you are unfamiliar with is to have a plan ahead of time. Don’t just show up at the door-go in knowing your limits. How many drinks will you have? Which friends are you going with and who do you know in the house? If you’re going to be offered a place to stay for the night, will you accept or do you plan to head home at a certain time? It may seem kind of foolish to “plan your fun” but you’ll be thankful for it when a situation is sprung on you and you already have an answer.

The second important factor in staying safe is to be familiar with the safety resources your campus has to offer. For instance, knowing how you’ll get to and from a party is very important, particularly if you plan to be drinking. My university had a bus that ran on a set schedule on campus and some off campus places, as well as a campus transit option that would pick you up when you called and take you anywhere else on campus. Knowing your campus resources can be life-saving, especially if you planned for a different ride that backs out at the last minute. You should also program your campus police number as well as the local area number, just in case.

No one wants to plan for the worst to happen at a party, but planning ahead can make your time much more enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about what might happen because you’ll be at ease knowing that no matter what happens you’ll be ready.

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If this is your senior year, February is about when you start hearing back from all the colleges you’ve been applying to this year. Understanding what these letters from colleges mean can help you make an easier transition into your freshman year.

If you’re accepted into a college, you usually get a big package from them. This can sometimes include university memorabilia, but will definitely include information about the school, how you can register for orientation, signing up for housing, and so on. At first glance it might seem like a lot of information but it is all very important so make sure to pay attention. Most notably, many colleges require you to accept your place there by a certain date. If you are still waiting to hear from other colleges, you are under no obligation to respond immediately. Make sure you write this date down on your calendar however, because if you don’t respond by then you will often lose your spot.

If you’re rejected from a college, it’s tempting to be devastated. While it is okay to be upset, don’t take it too hard. Sometimes this just means you and the college are not a good fit together, and you should look at this as an opportunity to find a college that more closely matches what you are interested in. Look at the college carefully and think about what inspired you to apply, and use that information to help narrow down other colleges that you’re thinking of applying to. If the college provided information about why specifically they didn’t choose your application, use that to shape your application for the future.

A third option you will receive from a college is a wait list notice. This means that the college is interested in you, but might not have any more available spaces. Remember we talked about that date you have to let colleges know if you accept your place by? This is how people move up the waitlist; as people turn down their spots, people on the wait list are offered the position. You should plan, however, to attend a different college. Accept your place, and follow their instructions to begin planning to attend for your freshman year. If your wait-listed college ends up accepting you, you can decide to attend there instead. This way, you have a secured place and aren’t left in the lurch if you don’t get accepted. There are many ways to improve your chances on the wait list as well. Follow the instructions in your letter; contact the university to find out where you are on the list; and update them on major changes in your academic status, such as improved test scores, additional classes, and financial aid needs. Contact an admissions counselor at the school and ask for advice. They help students all the time, so they are well-equipped to answer any of your questions.

The last question that often plagues high school seniors is the inevitable “What If?” questions. What if your friends all get accepted to your top university and you don’t? In your senior year, this can seem devastating. You now face the possibility of having to find a whole new group of friends, going to a new place by yourself, and losing contact with your old friends. Going to a different school doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your friendship. Technology has progressed to the point where you can see your friends across the country through Skype or Facetime; we have text messaging, instant messaging, even apps that connect you instantly! While it will take a bit more work, your friendship can grow even stronger if you apply the effort.

The college application process is the first step toward the next important part of your life. With careful planning, you can make the right decisions for you without becoming totally overwhelmed. Remember that your parents, guidance counselors, university admissions counselors, and college recruiters are all there to help you. Make sure you take full advantage of these resources by asking as many questions as you need answered. You can do this!

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In January, students often feel that they need to make a resolution. After all, everyone else is doing it. The key to a successful resolution is viewing it as a lifestyle change instead of a goal you need to meet for an x-amount of time. This is why you often seen the university recreation centers packed for the entire month of January, but as soon as February 1st rolls around those people disappear. If you truly want to be successful, sit down and commit to yourself to make changes in your life, not a resolution.

With this in mind, think about the changes you’d like to make in your life. Do you need to set aside more time for homework or get to bed earlier? Do you want to start going to the gym every day or spend more time with your friends? Whatever your goal is, putting it down on paper makes you more likely to follow through since you’ll have a visual reminder. Set a number of days you want to keep doing an activity before you reward yourself. For example, “When I go to the gym 14 days in a row, I can treat myself to ice cream.” Small rewards will keep you excited about your new lifestyle and you can look back and see how successful you’ve been.

One of the most effective things I ever did in college was set a school-night bedtime of 12:00 AM. During my freshmen and sophomore years, I pulled a lot of all-nighters to get things done, and it really wore on me. Once I set a time that I had to be in bed by, I noticed an improvement in my organization, my academic work, and my overall mood. Small things can vastly improve your life. Take this month to make some changes in your life, and reap the benefits all semester long!

Finals week is the time of year when all of your good habits like sleeping, eating healthy, and exercising go right out of the window. Most of your meals turn into coffee and a snack, you don’t have the time or energy to work out, and it’s so easy to tell yourself you have to stay up to study and pull three all-nighters in a row. However, this is the time of year that you should focus on your health the most. Your success in finals can be directly traced back to whether or not you ate well or slept at all.

With this in mind, prepare for finals week by making a study plan. Make sure you know when all of your finals are and then you can plan the rest of the week around it. Even though it sounds silly, schedule time to eat, sleep, and get some physical activity. Writing these things down will help you remember to follow your schedule when the time comes, and you’ll be less likely to skip them when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  Additionally, if you are too overwhelmed with finals, remember there are people you can talk to about how you feel. There are mental health counselors, friends, and mentors who are all willing to help you when you need it. Keep an eye out for campus de-stress events as well, as many colleges hold events during finals week specifically to help you de-stress.

Finals week is the summation of all the hard work you’ve put into the semester. Take a deep breath, focus on yourself and your studies and you’ll do well. There is no reason to panic, you’re at the final step and then you’ll be halfway done your freshman year!

As you are nearing the midway point of your semester, take a minute and think about your relationship with your roommate. Do you love your roommate, you get along great and you have no issues? Or, like so many students, are you struggling with conflict with your roommate but aren’t sure what your options are? This is the time to truly think about how you feel, especially as you make decisions about roommates for next semester or next year, depending on your university. Don’t feel obligated to stay with someone if it isn’t working for you, and don’t feel like it’s too late for you to get a roommate if you’ve lived alone this semester.

If you lived alone this semester and you’d like a roommate for next year, talk to your RA or landlord. Sometimes just having a conversation can help them keep you in mind the next time someone is looking for an apartment, or your RA can pass on to the housing office that you would like a roommate. Many times throughout the year, residents move in and out of their rooms, and so it’s very likely that you would get a roommate if you remove the “live alone” option.

If you have a roommate now but it’s not working out for you, take stock of the situation. Why are you having these issues? If they are simple issues like they’re eating all your food, constantly having people over, or they aren’t sharing the responsibilities of cleaning equally, then first try talking to your roommate frankly. Explain to them how their behavior affects you, and you just might find that is enough to solve the problem. A lot of times, your roommate is not even aware that you are upset and they can be totally blindsided when you want to move on to another roommate. After you have talked to your roommate, if the situation does not improve that is the time to involve your RA. Don’t let this wait until the end of the year and during finals week start talking about how much you hate your roommate, go to your RA now and explain the situation. They can facilitate a meeting between you and your roommate that might help mediate the situation, and they can involve their supervisor if room changes need to happen.

The important thing to remember with roommates is that this is a learning experience, for you and for them. Depending on the set-up in your residential hall, you could be sharing a room and/or a bathroom with multiple people who all come from different backgrounds and have different viewpoints, and this can create conflict. The key to good roommate relations is communication. Don’t ignore problems as they arise, take the time to talk about them. Along with that, do not shut your roommate out if they come to you to complain about one of your behaviors. Take their complaint seriously and try to make sure your behavior is not creating a hostile environment. College roommates can either be cordial or friends for life, but there is no reason you should have to live in a battleground. Respect and communication will help make your roommate experience a positive one instead of a horror story.

Partying at college is often seen as a rite of passage, with many people assuming that you can’t have any fun at all if you aren’t into partying. While you can have lots of fun at college if partying isn’t your style, it’s also totally fine to admit that you like partying with your friends on weekends to celebrate surviving another week of classes. What’s important to note here is that you get to make your own decisions now: whether partying is or isn’t for you, whether you will drink alcohol or whether you’d rather steer clear, and how partying stacks up against your own values.

The most important key here is that you need to make these decisions before you’re pressured into going out. Knowing what you want to do ahead of time takes the stress off of you in the moment, and helps you make wise decisions instead of decisions based on alcohol or peer pressure. Sit down with yourself and take a good hard look at what you plan to do. The obvious question is whether you will or won’t drink alcohol. Try to decide ahead of time how many drinks you’ll have, because when you reach that level at the party you’ll be more likely to stop yourself. It’s very easy in the moment to say “Well, I’ll just have one more.”

Second, if you plan to go with friends, make sure you know what the plan is before people start drinking. Know who your designated driver is going to be, and make sure you know whether or not you are all planning to leave together. The last thing you want is to be running around at 3 AM looking for one of your friends. With that in mind, make sure you hold onto your phone, keys, and license. If you do happen to lose your license, do not panic! Wait until the next day and call the bar or the party host. Often people drop their licenses, and during clean-up they are piled up in a stack for the people who will call to collect them. If you’re at a bar and you paid with a credit card, make sure you close your tab before you leave. That way you will get your card back and know how much money you spent.

Regardless of what you choose, be aware of how the choices you make can affect your future. Remember the lesson about “The Internet is Forever,” and be very careful about posting pictures that show you being drunk or behaving in a way you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. While partying can certainly be a lot of fun, you do not want to regret it in the morning.