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!

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!

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.

Is your workload too much? By this point in the semester, it may be too late to drop a class, HOWEVER that doesn’t mean that you can’t fix it. You can always withdraw or take an incomplete. There are always other semesters and time to take classes. Your advisor is always there for you. Don’t be afraid to talk to them, or any professor you trust, with any questions you have.

As most colleges and universities Greek Life will be starting, or have started, their Spring recruitment, it is important to keep in mind some aspects about going Greek or not going Greek in college. I asked some of my friends what they thought about pros and cons were about going greek. These stories are from men and women who are proud Greeks. Hopefully their stories will help you see if going Greek is right for you. Whatever the decision, do what feels right and not what someone says you should do.

 

“I went greek back in Spring 2011 during my freshman year and since then, there has been a lot of pros and cons that I face in greek life. Pros: Ive met so many people when I joined my fraternity that over time I just keep meeting more and more. Being in a fraternity also gives you a connection with tons of other people from around the country in other colleges, active members and alumni. This depends on if the fraternity is national. Other pros about greek life is that it gives me stuff to do around campus such as community service, greek events, and even parties. For cons: Pledging sucked and I hated it. Also, there is alot of stupid drama in greek life which I personally hate. Lastly, dues are way too expensive and you have to pay them every semester.”

“Not only did I choose to go greek, greek life chose me as well. I never thought of myself as a sorority girl but seeing the amazing women of AOII changed my mind. I decided AOII was right fit for me. It had a lot to do with fate and just plain luck. I am so glad I went greek.”

“I didn’t want to be Greek at first. A friend dragged me to meet the Greeks freshman year. I didn’t have any reason as to why I was against it; I just thought Greek life wasnt for me. But when I met the sisters of Tri Sigma, I felt so comfortable around them..And now, I’m proud to call them my sisters. Going Greek was probably the best decision I’ve made at college.”

“I debated going Greek for a while in my first years at school. I know my friends all enjoy their experiences but going Greek just didn’t seem to fit my already busy lifestyle. While it would have looked great on my resume and have been the “icing on the cake”, I realized I did just as much to make my resume stand out without being Greek, than some students do by being Greek. My decision was right for me.”