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Besides showing up and participating, taking notes will be one of the most important things you do in the classroom.  Taking notes will help you pay attention, retain information, and serve as a helpful study tool.

Here are a few keys to successful note taking.

  1. Find the medium that works best for you. Do you prefer to handwrite notes, type on a tablet or laptop, or a combination of either while recording the lecture?  You will need to confirm if your professors have any restrictions on how notes can be taken.
  2. Considering the evolving technological landscape, many students nowadays rely on laptops, versatile devices that cater to various academic needs. As they offer the convenience of typing, which can be faster and more organized than handwriting for many students.
  3. However, some people find that a hybrid approach, where they type on their student laptops for most of the content and jot down key points or sketches by hand, offers the best of both worlds. Ultimately, the choice of medium should align with your personal preferences and the specific requirements of your coursework. Experiment with different methods to discover which one suits you best and helps you retain information effectively.
  4. Do not write word for word. Find ways to shorten longer words, use abbreviations, and summarize bigger ideas.
  5. Ensure your notes are organized and are easy to understand.  Remember, you will refer to your notes in a few weeks (for a quiz or midterm) and possibly a few months (for a final).
  6. Compare notes with classmates. See if your classmate’s notes offer something different than your own notes.
  7. Review your notes often.  After class, before your next class, at the end of a chapter or section, and before tests. Reviewing your notes will allow the information to stay fresh and offer greater understanding of the information and build on new information being presented.

Learning to take notes early in your college career will not only be beneficial throughout your time in undergraduate school, it will also be helpful in graduate school, post graduate school, and later in your professional career.  Taking notes will help you take direction, review directives, and execute assignments. Although it will be time consuming, it will prove to be beneficial tool throughout your life.

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Have you ever heard the saying “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know?” Well that motto directly relates to networking. If you are not familiar with networking, this is something that you should start now as a student and take with you into the work force.  Networking is the exchange of information between people that could develop as your community of colleagues and may become your friends.

 

Networking is a very valuable tool as it allows you to connect and build relationships with others who may or may not be in your industry. Networking will allow you the opportunity to reach out to others and utilize them brainstorm ideas, determine benchmarks, develop mentor relationships, and of course for possible career opportunities.

 

You should see every interaction with people as an opportunity to network. Your very first exposure of networking may be in the form of family.  Career choices can be influenced by a family member or friend of the family.  These people will know you best and speak of your character.  They will be able to provide insight and advice on their career journey and it may have a positive impact on your journey.  When you need an internship, job shadowing experience, and professional interviews these will be your go to people.  Your relationship and performance may land you a career opportunity.

 

Your classmates will serve as the second source of networking opportunities. You will spend an immense amount of time with your classmates throughout your college career.  Be mindful of how you interact with others, how you make others feel, your work ethic, and overall relationship with them.  There may come a day when you may work with, work for, or rely on their opinion as it could impact your career.

 

The next group of people that serve as valuable networking tools, are your professors. Believe it or not, your professors are incredibly connected in the field.  They were in the field for years (and may still be in the field), they have friends in the field, and they may have access to a variety of professional opportunities.  Your professors will also be able to speak of your professional and academic skills.  You want to make sure you have a positive review from your professors by attending class and submitting assignments on time, working well with others, positively participating in the classroom, getting involved in your major’s professional organization, writing articles, attending conferences, participating in research opportunities, and volunteering whenever you can.  These things will shine a positive light on you and your professors will not hesitate to present professional opportunities to you.

 

The last source of networking that is available to you is the career development office on campus. If you have no idea where to start, not sure what events to attend, or how to approach potential networking opportunities the career center is the place to start.  This will allow you the opportunity to practice, get feedback, and obtain information about upcoming opportunities to network.  Stop by and see what services are available to you.  The services are free and you should utilize the career center every chance you get.

 

The most important part of networking is to connect with others, so you will want to have business cards or have your resume handy. If you don’t have either, add the person to your contacts in your phone and be sure to follow-up, so they also know how to contact you.

 

When it comes to networking, put your best foot forward, be yourself, and showcase your knowledge and skills.

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The campus visit is a really big deal, because it is most likely going to be the most influential part your college selection process.  The way the campus visit makes you feel, the people that you meet, and the more you can visualize yourself on campus will all play a role in the connection you develop with the university. Below we will explore the things you should do to prepare for the visit and things to consider while on your college tour.

 

When planning your college visits keep these 5 things in mind:

  1. Seriously consider the school
    1. College visits can be fun, but you don’t want to take visits to schools that you are not seriously considering. It is okay to visit a school that you are open to, but you should narrow your list to 3-5 universities.
  2. Know where the school is located.
    1. It is not just about knowing the school’s city/state, but do you know how far the school is from transportation (local bus, the highway, the bus station, or the airport). Does the school make the city? When school is not in session, the town does not have a lot of life. Do you have liberal ideals, but the school is in a very conservative community?  Are you a city person in the middle of a rural community?
  3. Special characteristics.
    1. What attracted you to the community?  Is there a major that is only offered at the school?  Do they offer intramural sports?  Do they provide support to students in the form of a resource center, student organizations, or staffing?
  4. Consider the season
    1. Keep in mind the time of year you are visiting.  The campus will look different during the summer versus during the school year. The weather can have a major effect on the campus visit.  If it is raining or snowing you will not see much student activity on the quad.
  5. Number of people in attendance
    1. Take family and friends that will remain objective and provide additional insight. Taking your 5-year-old sister may not be able to assist you in the process.  You may also not want to take an entourage of 10 people.  Ask 1-2 people that will add value to the experience and allow them to be your sounding board. Â

 

What to expect while on your visit:

  1. Walking
    1. Expect to do lots of walking. Your tour will consist of a lot of walking, as your tour guide will take you to see the very best of the campus.  You will see the admissions office, residence halls, dining halls, and of course a classroom. There may be other stops along the way like the fitness center, the student union, and the building where many of your classes will be held.
  2. Meeting with someone from your major.
    1. Your tour will most likely involve speaking with someone from the department where you will complete many of your classes. Use this time to learn about the history of the department, opportunities for your professional development, and other information about the program, instructions. And course load.
  3. Interactions with other students.
    1. On your tour, get face-to-face with as many students as possible.  Ask them what they like about the school, what they don’t like about the institution, what they would change, and how their lives have been impacted since attending the school.
  4. A lot of information.
    1. The visit will provide a wealth of information and it will probably be a lot to take in.  Take notes and attempt to get as much information as possible.  Take notes, snap pictures, and gather handouts.  You can use all the information you gathered to later review and help in making your decision.
  5. The best sides of the university.
    1. You will only be exposed to the best aspects of the campus.  It is up to you uncover the bad and the ugly of the university. Do your research, ask questions, and gather as much information as you can.

The college visit is an exciting and scary time. Use this time to get to know the college, its people, and what it has to offer.  See if you are a good fit for the university, see if you can envision yourself on the quad, and interacting with the other students. Be sure to prepare a list of questions, address your concerns, and gather as much information as possible. Take the information from each visit and compare finding the right fit for you.

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By: Kiersten McDonald

Winter is here and the slump is real. Research shows that winter months can take a massive toll on our moods. The start of college can be a daunting, life-altering adjustment that leaves freshmen vulnerable to a winter crash. Here are seven tips and tricks on how to combat those dreadful winter blues:

  1. Exercise

Exercise is a sure-fire way to boost your mood. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with an exercise routine when you’re in school juggling the demands of academic work, extra-curricular activities and a job all at once. You should “pencil in” particular times during the week for exercise. Making it a part of your schedule helps you remember the importance to stick to your health commitment. Health is extremely important and should not fall through the cracks because of other responsibilities. Something as simple as walking to your class on the other side of campus, instead of taking the shuttle bus, can brighten your day.

  1. Go Outside (even when it’s cold!)

One of the major contributors to winter blues is lack of sunlight. You can combat the depressive effects of winter by going outside, despite the chilly temps. The benefits of an outdoor walk or run are endless and outweigh the drawback of having to bundle up. The sun does some pretty amazing things for our body like helping the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that boosts mood and energy levels. The more sun exposure we have, the more our bodies produce serotonin. When serotonin levels in our body are high, we are happier. Vigorous exercise also releases endorphins, which create a sense of euphoria. These feel-good neurotransmitters can create what’s called a “runner’s high.” Regular exercise promotes health, increases confidence and boosts your overall mood. This mini biology recap lesson screams that our poor winter souls need sun and exercise – STAT.

  1. Be Social

I think we can all agree that staying in bed and watching Netflix all day is extremely tempting during the wintertime. Who doesn’t want to stay under the covers when it’s gross and gloomy outside? This urge, however, becomes problematic when Netflix starts to consume an extremely large portion of our waking hours. Routinely binge-watching shows can negatively impact one’s mental health. This is why it is so important to stay social. Socializing boosts energy and mood regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert. Friends give us a sense of belonging and help us navigate stress. Connect with positive people who can bring some laughter and joy into your life. On-campus activities and clubs can help you find your niche. Positive socialization helps ward off those dreadful blues.

  1. Try New Things

There comes a point in the winter, where you need to accept that summer is far-gone and spring is off in the distance. When you get to that point, it is important to embrace the [ugly] beast of winter; because hey, winter doesn’t get enough credit! There are tons of activities that can help break up the cold weather monotony.

Winter activities such as skiing, tubing or sledding are great sources of exercise and fun. If you don’t have the access or resources to do these activities, many metropolitan areas have free museums and indoor sights to explore. Also, look out for what your campus has to offer in the winter; schools typically organize free or low cost activities as well as off-campus trips. Winter is a great time to travel to new places; whether it’s in between semesters or over a long weekend, explore indoor and outdoor attractions to combat that cooped-up winter feeling. Blues are perpetuated by boredom, so be sure to change up your routine and try new things whenever you can.

5. Sleep, sleep and sleep. Oh…did I mention sleep?

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Often, we forget about the importance of self-care. Getting plenty of rest greatly impacts physical wellbeing and mental health. College students typically struggle with a healthy sleeping schedule. “All nighters” or sleeping far into the afternoon on weekends can wreck havoc on our bodies. In order to feel energized throughout the day, a set-sleeping schedule is vital. Falling asleep and waking up around the same time each day helps your body regulate itself.  Make sure your dorm has heat pump systems so you will stay warm indoors. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, makes it difficult to manage stress, mood and energy. Perhaps my favorite fun-fact about sleep is that it dramatically helps your memory function well. Lack of sleep has detrimental effects on your memory. Yes, cramming and pulling all nighters probably have the opposite impact that you intend. (TIP: if you’re looking to ace that exam, study hard but also get your rest!)

6. Food is fuel (and so is water)

An important aspect of self-care is eating healthy and limiting caffeine. Holiday treats and the stress of finals can add up quickly. Unfortunately, college and stress eating go hand-in-hand. The dining hall or your dorm room stash of junk food can take you down a slippery slope of neglecting your body’s nutritional needs. To combat this, remain active and focus on eating foods that will fuel your body. Healthy fruits, veggies and sources of protein will give your body a boost in energy and mood. To compliment these efforts, check out what your school has to offer as far as workout classes!

7. Give Yourself a Break

Perhaps the most important skill to acquire with age is learning how to relax and truly decompress. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, including my own, our bodies cannot endlessly run on Dunkin’. We all need time to unwind. What makes us feel relaxed is subjective, but reading or meditating are some great starting points. Sometimes we need that bowl of ice cream or afternoon of Netflix, so treat yourself in moderation.

Amidst the various therapeutic approaches available, cognitive analytic therapy stands out for its unique methodology that combines elements from different schools of psychotherapy to offer a comprehensive treatment model. This approach facilitates a deeper understanding of one’s mental patterns and the external factors that influence them, encouraging a proactive stance towards mental health. With the guidance of a skilled therapist, patients can navigate their way through the complexities of their psychological landscapes towards a healthier mindset. For further details, visit Augmentive.io.

8. Soak Up The Sun (even if you’re inside)

Let’s say midterms are coming up and you are feeling swamped. You simply don’t have time to schedule in regular exercise, outdoor time or new adventures with your friends. Fear not, because the mood boosting effects of sunlight can still be experienced when you are inside. Always open the blinds in your dorm, apartment or home right when you wake up. This keeps your body’s circadian rhythm on track, boosting your energy levels and mood. Set up shop next to a window in the library or place your desk next to a window in your dorm. Natural light is a key component in fighting against the winter slump.

#BEATTHEBLUES

These eight tips are just some of the many ways you and I can beat the blues. It is important to understand the difference between occasionally feeling down and the symptoms of depression. Contact your health care provider or a mental health professional if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

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Campuses are relatively safe places.  There are people usually around at all hours throughout the day and night.  There are cameras.  There are campus courtesy officers and some campuses have their own police department.  Safety concerns impact college campuses, because of the campuses easy access.  Most of the doors are unlocked throughout the day and do not require anything for access.  It is easy to blend in with the student population; all you need is a backpack and you will blend right in.  Below are a few tips to help keep you aware of your safety while on campus.

1.       Save important phone numbers in your phone and ensure you have them saved wit quick access.

a.       Add Campus Security/Police.

b.       Add your Residence Hall Emergency Phone.

c.       Add your Resident Assistant.

2.       Adopt the Buddy System.  Try to avoid walking alone especially at night.  Going across campus to the library late at night, take a friend with you, meet up and go together.  Don’t have any friends to go with you?  Utilize your campus resources. 

a.       You have officers available to provide an escort with a simple call.

b.       Take the shuttle instead of walking.

c.       Research student groups and other resources on campus that provide services and focus on campus safety.

3.       Party Smart. 

a.       This is where having a buddy is extremely important. Go together, stay together, and leave together.

b.       Never leave your drink unattended and do not take a drink that is already open (or that you did not see being poured or accept from someone you don’t know.

c.       If you suspect trouble leave.

d.       Be aware of where you are and who you are with.

4.       See something, Say something.  If you notice something that appears to be out of the ordinary, if something seems off, or if there is danger call for help immediately.  It won’t hurt to have the campus officers check on things. 

5.       Be aware of your surroundings. Ensure you are paying attention to what is going on around you is extremely important.  Avoid texting while walking, play music on low or only use one ear bud. Be attentive and take time to see who is around you and what is happening.

6.       If you have a car, ensure it is safe and secure as well.

a.       Do not leave ANY personal items in plain sight. Thieves see value in anything they can exchange money, this includes textbooks, electronics, and other personal items.

b.       Lock your doors.  Leaving your doors unlocked or your windows cracked is an invitation for a thief to help themselves.

c.       Be aware of your surroundings.  Check the car before entering, look around to notice any lurkers, and look for anything that may be suspicious.

7.       Know safe places on campus.  Regardless of your location on campus, know your surroundings.  Actively preparing for the following scenarios will allow you to stay calm and think clearly during the situation.  Identify the closest exit or place of refuge and ways you can protect yourself in the following situations:

a.       Earthquake

b.       Tornado

c.       Hurricane

d.       Flooding

e.       Active Shooter

 

Safety cannot be guaranteed, but following these tips will assist as you navigate on campus.

It is the second semester of your senior year and it is time to ensure you have things in place to be successfully admitted to a university this fall.  If you have not already applied for a university, now is the time to complete the process and below are a few tips to assist you in the application process.

1.        Be organized.  Take the time to create a file, get a notebook, or organize information on your computer. Being organized will help you to easily identify materials needed for each application and reference when needed.

2.       Know your deadlines.  In your planner, on your phone, or put on the calendar; whatever your system may be, just ensure you know the dates.  Once you know the deadlines, create new deadlines that occur 2-4 weeks prior to the actual deadline. If something could go wrong, it most definitely will when you wait until the actual deadline.  You are asking for your application to get lost in the mail, miss the postmarked deadline, or not allot enough time for your recommendation letter to be received, if you do not allow time for any possible mistakes. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application requirements, but also leave room for error.

3.       Read the instructions carefully. Yes; almost all universities will require you to undergo a similar process to be considered for enrollment. However, each application will request the information in a different way. 

Be sure to read the information very carefully and ensure you are providing the exact information that is being requested. When your application is reviewed for admission consideration, if you have an incomplete application, do not address the essay question as listed, and do not include all requested documents, your application could be denied.

The application process can be extremely competitive, you don’t want to give the reviewers a reason to throw your application out of the pool.  Complete all sections, include all accompaniments, and thoroughly respond to the essay question.  

4.        Proofread EVERTHING! Take your time and complete your entire application and essay.  Walk away from it! Yes; walk away and come back in 24 hours. Using your fresh eyes, now review all the information you have completed on the application including your name, address, and essay.  Again, you do not want to give the reviewers any reason to disregard your application.  A simple spelling mistake could have an impact on your application.

5.       Gather necessary documents. A complete application will take some time to complete.  You will need the following for your application to be completed:

a.       Thorough responses to all parts of the application.  Ensure each area requesting information is completed.

b.       A well-developed essay. Take your time to develop your main idea, supporting information, and conclusion that ties everything together.  Be sure to answer the question that the application is specifically requesting.  Recruit a second pair of eyes to proofread and provide feedback.

c.       Minimum of three letters of recommendation.  Make sure you formally and personally ask each recommender.  They may require a resume, a list of your awards, and to know more about your career goals.

d.       Proof of income. You will need to work with your parents to secure the requested documents that provide proof of your household income.

e.       Obtain your transcript.  You will need official copies of your transcript. Copies will cost you per copy and require that your account is clear of any other outstanding charges. 

 

Follow these steps and watch the decision letters welcoming you to your new university roll in.  Good luck in the application process.

The summer is winding down and it is almost time to head to school. You’re almost ready, but before you leave for school, you want to ensure you have all of the necessary “tools” to be successful.  As you embark the new chapter in your life titled college, do not become overwhelmed anxiety.  Small bouts of anxiety are normal and using the helpful tips below will hopefully allow you to ease the anxiety and transition smoothly. Below can assist you in creating your checklist regarding the things you need to complete prior to your arrival will help with the transition.

  1. Confirm your orientation.  You will need to know what day you will need to arrive.  Haven’t received orientation information? Giving the Admissions office a call and confirm date, time, and location.  You will also need to confirm is the orientation all day, overnight, and if there is anything you need to bring. Be ready as you could do everything from tor the campus, to selecting courses for the semester, to complete all financial aid documents.
  2. Confirm your housing. At this point you should know where you are living.  If you don’t know at this point, give Residence Life a call and see if your application was received, if you have a placement, and if they know your assigned roommate.
  3. Get to know your roommate.  Most institutions will send your housing assignment with contact information for your new roommate.  Utilize the information, reach out to them and start to build the relationship early.  Become friends on social media, determine a shopping list for your new space.  You don’t want to both show up with two microwaves, fridges, and vacuums.
  4. Start gathering your belongings.  In your housing welcome packet there should be a list of suggested items for you to consider. You can also find lists with a quick Google search. You will be surprised how many items you have when you begin to gather everything.  Start early and gather a small piece at a time, start with books, kitchen items, food, and end with your clothes. Believe it or not, you don’t have to take everything you own with you.  You will be back in 4 months (maybe sooner if your university offers a Fall Break) and you can exchange items and grab things you may need.
  5. Get supplies.  In addition to your usual notebooks and pens, you will need additional supplies as you prepare for school.  Consider laptops/tablets, what device will work best for you? You will have term papers to write, PowerPoint presentations to create, and research to complete. How will you accomplish these task and what tool will be the best to help you accomplish the task? Also, know the tools of your major are you an art student, are you an athlete, are you in theater? Consider the tools special to your trade.
  6. Save as much money as you can.  You will need money for many items such as textbooks that can range anywhere from $50-$200 each for your 6-8 classes. Although you will most likely have a meal plan, you will need food for after-hours meals. You will need to shop for essentials for your room; think shower caddy, lamp, bathrobe, and much more. In general, you will want money just to have in the event you and your new friends decide to go on a coffee run, grab a movie, or hit the popular diner down the street.
  7. Consider transportation.  How will you get to school? Once you arrive, will you need to get around? Some campuses are a brisk five-minute walk, while other require a more calculated transit. If you do bring your car, where will you park it? These are all things that you need to consider when considering if a car will be needed.
  8. Say your goodbyes.  There will never be enough time and this next chapter in your life will move at lightening speeds. Speed time with your grandparents, close friends going to other universities, little siblings, and most of all your parents.  Your transition to college not only affects you, but everyone that has regular contact with you. Do your best to spread your time among family, work, and friends before you leave.

Take time to create your “Off to School Checklist”. The checklist will keep you mindful of the items you need to complete prior to your departure.  Use your resources to ensure you are well-equipped and prepared for this next step in your life. Talk to older siblings, review information provided by the university, read the Freshmen Survival Guide, and use search the internet for other resources available. After you complete this checklist you WILL be ready!