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.

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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!

The number one dreaded response to a question you ask your professor is “It’s on the syllabus.” Professors love this phrase almost as much as students hate it. However, it’s important to understand that your college career will be so much easier if you make friends with your syllabus. This is your guide to surviving the semester, and the best part is you usually get all of them at the exact same time.

The most important information for students on the syllabus is the attendance policy. Some professors are very lenient about attending class (although it will always pay off for you to go) while others have a very strict “one-and-done” policy. If this information is on your syllabus, it can help you to plan for those inconveniences of life. For instance, you might be able to schedule a doctor’s appointment during Stats 1001 if you have to, but you definitely can’t go to the dentist during English 1010. Try your very best to save those absences for when you really need them, and always contact your professor to let them know you won’t make it before the class if at all possible. Professors appreciate this consideration for their time, and you will definitely notice the difference in their persona toward you.

The second most important information is the book list. Knowing ahead of time which books you’ll be reading for the semester can help you plan this out. Check and see if you know any friends who have the book and check university Facebook pages to see if another student is selling the book you need. While your university bookstore is an excellent resource, we all know that they tend to have some of the most expensive books. However, occasionally you’ll have a class where the professor has written their own book, and it’s usually only available at the university bookstore. This is where you get to make the fun decision whether to rent or buy the book. In my experience, if the difference between the price to rent or buy is only a few dollars, go ahead and buy the book. It will be much less stressful than trying to keep from accidentally damaging it all semester, and you’ll get to put it on your shelf and look cultured to all your friends.

Last but not least, take note of assignment dates. Most syllabus have all the dates for assignments, exams, and project deadlines. Write these down at the very beginning of the semester so that you can plan when to start each assignment and when to start studying for your exams. Knowing this information ahead of time will also help you plan for finals week. Many universities have policies about the number of finals you can take in a 72-hour period, but you have to request to move these finals very early in the semester. Don’t be that person to wait until Thanksgiving to realize you have four finals in 48 hours. Give yourself and your professors a break and find out that information now.

Knowing the syllabus inside and out before you really get into the semester will be the single biggest time saver for you. This will help you prioritize assignments between classes, manage your time, and improve your study skills. Make an effort each semester before classes start to sit down with each syllabus. You won’t regret it!

It’s that time of year to start thinking about housing plans for next year! Are you going to live on campus or off campus? Do you have a friend in mind to live with, or are you searching for a new roommate? This is the perfect time to start making decisions about next year, especially if you are going to be signing a lease off campus.

Choosing a roommate is a very important task, but can sometimes be very tricky. It’s natural to think that you and your three best friends would have a blast living together, but living together is very different from just hanging out all the time. Does your best friend have an annoying habit that just drives you crazy? If so, living with them may cause you to notice that habit even more often, and can lead to fights. As Chapter 2 of the Freshman Survival Guide says, there are little things we ignore about our friends because we care about the friendship more, but when it’s a roommate doing something that bothers you, you need to feel comfortable speaking up.

With that in mind, think about how you’re going to choose a roommate. Does your university have a roommate matching service that you can use? Are you searching around on Facebook groups or planning to put an ad in the paper? Whatever method you use to find a roommate, remember that honesty is key. Tell your potential roommate things you do and don’t like, and what you’re like as a roommate. Don’t say that you keep your room spotless and like cleanliness when the truth is you clean your room once a week and let everything pile up in between. If there is something that makes you uncomfortable such as significant others spending the night or drinking in the room, say so! You owe it to both yourself and your potential roommate to be honest so that each of you can find a roommate that you will be happy living with, not one that will have you calling your mom every day complaining.

If you do end up living with someone you don’t already know, plan to get to know them before you move in together! If you live on campus, most universities will tell you your roommates ahead of time. Send them a message introducing yourself and asking about them. Plan together how you will decorate your room or which big items you will bring. If you have a fridge, could they bring a microwave? If they have a TV, could you bring your PS4? Having these conversations ahead of time will prevent an overcrowded room, and help both of you cut down on costs. Roommates are an important part of the college experience, so do your homework and plan ahead!

You may think that flu season is gone, but don’t be too sure. Allergies and colds can still come around, even as the nice weather comes back. Don’t forget to check in with the health center on campus if you feel you’re getting sick. Getting enough sleep and eating enough during the day will help you stay healthy too. A good way to stay healthy and relieve stress is by working out. Take a yoga class, do Zumba, lift weights or run. Grab a friend and take a walk around campus. Any little step, is a step in the right direction.

Now that the weather is starting to get better, and the semester seems to be nearing its end, it is easy to think that we have everything figured out. It is extremely hard to get out of the funk we may have had when winter hit us all hard. The work seems to never end, snow days pile up, and who could resist staying inside your comfy, warm bed on a cold day? Even as the nice weather comes, and the end of Freshman year heads your way, don’t forget to take advantage of the support groups you have. Your family and friends are always there for you, even if you fight now and again. There is always a counseling center on campus that has trained counselors willing to listen to whatever you have to say. Sometimes, just saying your stresses out loud, helps relieve some of the stress.

We, the iRA team, are also here for you. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have.

 

I could sit here and write a huge blog on the importance of having a good resume when looking for summer jobs and internships, but I’m not. I could post my resume and say “these are the things you NEED to do in order to get your resume noticed”, but that won’t help you either. I am a firm believer in getting your resume done as soon as you can, and constantly editing it. Keep a few different variations of it, and ALWAYS have someone look at it. Have 5 people look at, if you want. Each person will have their own opinions on your resume, and take their advance as you see fit. Don’t forget that your college career center is a GREAT resource for getting your resume looked at, and for giving you interview tips.

Here is an article I found that I thought was EXTREMELY helpful to me as I continue to tweak my own resume.