Everyone chooses their own path in life. Some of us have known what we have wanted to do in life since the age of 3 or 4. Others of us have had some trouble figuring it out. Let me tell you a secret—IT’S OKAY!!! I have been out of college for 2 years now, and I miss it. Sometimes I wonder what my college path would be like if I started at the same school, just 6 years later than I did. Would I have studied better? Would I have liked my experience the same?

Not everyone is meant to go straight from high school into a four year college or university. Sometimes it takes a little time. My brother, for example, graduated high school in 2010. Technically he should be graduating college this spring, however, he did not start to attend college courses (at our local community college) until May 2013. He is doing EXTREMELY well. He studies, gets his work done on time, and is enjoying his major–Fire Science Technology. He even talks about possibly DOUBLE MAJORING! My brother was not the kind of student who took AP classes in high school, and did not even want to go to college. Now, 4 years after he graduated high school, he is entering his spring semester of college.

It’s okay to start late. No one is going to judge you. It can be hard to fit in when you transfer or start in the middle of the academic year. Reach out to your RAs, and Student Life offices to see what programs and resources they have for transfer and new students.

As always, feel free to message us with any questions or concerns.

Happy New Year! 2014 will be a great year-you’ll be finishing up your Freshman year of COLLEGE!! That is an exciting thought, but also a little scary. What if you didn’t do so well in the last semester? Here are some tips to help you make good New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming semester.

1. Make your goals measurable. By telling yourself to study 2x a week, you can easily mark it off on a calendar or use a chart to help you. You can even give yourself a dollar for every time you study (and REALLY study) by putting it into a jar. Then at the end of the semester, you’ll have some extra cash to go do something fun.

2. Break your goals into smaller parts. A big goal, like getting a 4.0, has a lot of little parts. Mark them each off on a chart to help you keep track of where you are in your progress.

3. Don’t forget to save time for yourself. Don’t plan out every single second of the day. Enjoy living in the present.

 

Always feel free to message the iRA team with any questions you have.

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.