Do you ever look at your wallet one day and think “WOW-I have a lot of money this week” and then 3 days later you’re broke? It happens all the time, and then we think to ourselves, “WHERE DID ALL THE MONEY GO?”

There are some easy ways to keep track of where your finances go.

1. Make a budget. Think about how much money you make each MONTH. Then subtract all of the necessities you need-gas, cell phone bill, car insurance, etc. What’s left can be divided into several categories, such as food, fun, school, savings, etc.

2. Save the change! Set aside a jar for all of the change you receive from purchases. Once or twice a semester, cash it in at a bank. Suddenly all those quarters and pennies turn into $20s and $50s.

3. Track your purchases. Make an excel sheet, use a note on your phone, create a book–track where, when, and how much you spend at certain stores. You’ll be able to see where and what you spend most of your money on.

In college, I did not always take the best care of my finances. I would purchase “stupid” things that I would never use, and then wonder why I didn’t have the money to go out with my friends. Reflect each month on the purchases you’ve made and set little goals for yourself.

College social life is not all about the wild parties that can occur. There are other ways to have fun. Here are some easy, fun and cost-friendly ways to have fun:

1. Movie Night-Invite some friends to your room and ask friends to bring some movies over. Then, have a fun time eating pizza and popcorn, and watching movies.

2. Game Night- Ask your RA what board games are available in your building. Invite friends over to play video or board games and enjoy the company.

3. Student Center Ideas- Check out the events your student center puts on. Most of these events will be either free or at a reduced cost.


Always feel free to ask your RA for suggestions on where to go around campus for fun.

It’s that time of year when we start to think about the courses we will take in the Spring semester. It is important to indulge your own interests in college too. My biggest tip for course selection is this: see if ANY of your courses can DOUBLE COUNT for two requirements. The biggest regret a lot of college students make is not taking courses that they were interested in. Step out of your comfort zone!! It can be difficult at times, but it is worth it in the end.

Always check in with your adviser about what is best for your requirements, but try to enjoy the classes you take. No one wants to drag themselves through bad weather to a class they hate.

Welcome back to the iRA blog! Hopefully this semester has been a great one, so far. College classes can, and usually are, a lot different from high school courses. Just like high school, your professors want you to succeed! If you grades have not been what you expected, utilize your professors office hours. All professors list them on their syllabus at the beginning of the semester. If your class has a TA, go to them for questions too. They are there for your benefit as well.

With all things, time management is key. Studying and preparing for your classes takes time. Carve time out of your schedule to make a weekly trip to the library. The library is a great place to go with some friends and get some work done. During finals, most libraries will stay open later, which is perfect for those last minute revisions on an English paper.

As you prepare for your spring semester, take time to meet with your advisor. They can help suggest other ways to study for your courses, help you pick out resources on campus (like a tutoring center) to go to with other questions and concerns about your grades. One last way to improve on your grades is to find/organize a study group. Find some peers in your classes and set up a time to meet and review material. This is esspecially beneficial in preparation for finals.


Good luck with the rest of the semester. Don’t hesitate to email us with any questions you may have.

Final exams are quickly approaching. Hopefully you wont have to cram the last 14 weeks of information into your brain. However you study, or whatever type of final exam you have, here are some tips to help you prepare for exams.

1. Check out the Freshman Survival Guide’s Study Budget to help you figure out your free time.

2. Find a place that you can use to clear your head and not be distracted. Having a study center that you know is ONLY for homework/studying, will make you concentrate more.

3. Ask for Slides. If your professors use PowerPoint, see if they will be posting their slides online. A lot of time, students are too preoccupied with copying notes down that we forget to listen to the actual lecture. PowerPoint slides help you keep track of the notes the professor wants. Then connect them with the notes that you took in class.

4. Skim your chapters/reading assignments. Highlight or underline words that are in bold. Look at these words to get the general ideas of what your reading is about. As well try to take notes as you read. This helps you concentrate and be present in the moment. Use these to help review the readings prior to the exam.

Many of you may not have declared a major yet, and that is okay. It may seem harder to plan what classes you’ll want to take for next fall when you are unsure of your degree, but that’s when you can focus on your general education requirements. If you have a major declared, it is a little easier to figure out your schedule. Here are some tips to help you during this tough time:

1. Check to see if your college has a “4 Year Plan”. If so, this may help you spread out your general education and degree required courses throughout the fall and spring semesters of the next 3 years.

2. Talk to a college adviser. They are usually very informative and helpful. Especially talk to someone that is knowledgeable about what you are thinking about majoring in.

3. Map it out! Take a look at the courses offered and how many students are already registered for that class. Create sample schedules for your desired courses. Create extra back up plans in case the classes are all filled up.

Good Luck!!!

Sometimes it is hard to find the time, or the motivation, during the winter months to work out and keep in shape. We find ourselves indulging in “comfort” foods and curling up with blankets, staying warm indoors. There are some things we can do to help keep in shape during these cold months.

1. Find a workout buddy. It would be even better if you found a whole group of people. These buddies can help motivate you and push you to go to the gym, even when you do not feel like it.

2. Do something you love. It does not matter if  it’s Zumba, yoga, or running, do a workout that you enjoy.

The start of each new year, and the start of each new semester, brings around a time to make changes and resolutions. But how do we keep those changes?

The way I have found MOST helpful is to make a goal list.

Use a planner, post-its, an app on your iPad, whatever works for you.  Look at the picture in this post, it is one way to set up a goal list.  You can use post-its to write down the goals ad be able to switch them out when they are completed. 

Another great way to keep to your resolutions, especially if they are related to coursework, is to set up an Assignment Checklist.  This is just a simple table that lays out the due date, assignment and whether or not it is completed. Take a look at my sample one below.

Just make sure that you break up the goals into manageable pieces. Setting a goal to be fluent in a language by the end of the semester, without setting smaller goals along the way, won’t happen.

Take the semester day by day and enjoy the rest of Freshman year!


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