Category: College

The Importance of a Mental Health Day (and how to take one)

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I’m not sure if I haven’t adjusted to campus yet or if third year is just really hard. It’s become impossible for me for make it through the week and I’m so stressed I feel like I might break down in tears. The last time I felt like this was last year second semester. I responded to those feelings of hopelessness by staying at home for three days(three weekdays btw). Whether you’re working or studying, sometimes you just need a break. Your brain needs breathing space away from all the stress and deadlines. Here are my tips to help you take a mental health day.

1) Ensure that nothing important is happening on your mental health day- I was able to miss those three days of campus because I had already handed my assignments in and I had done all the work already. Making certain that you’re not missing out on anything allows you to spend your day just focusing on you.

2) Speak to the necessary people to take the day off- Whether it’s your employer or your driver, let the relevant people know that you won’t be available. For me this is my lift club so that they know not to pick me up.

3) Make it obvious that you won’t be available… At all- this time is for you to relax and recharge. You’re not going to be able to do that if people are calling or texting you about things that are only going to stress you out more.

4) RELAX- read a book or take a nap. Do whatever is necessary for you to renew your energy. This is your day and it’s all up to you as to how to spend it.

Do you take mental health days off work/school? What do you spend them doing?

College Tips for Commuters

For some reason, the majority of college blog posts are targeted to those who live on campus. In fact, until my cousin went to college (which was when I was when I was sixteen), I had assumed that everyone lived at college. No one told me about commuters. As a commuter, your college experience is pretty different. Your have different expenses and different issues (instead of stressing over chores, you get to spend time stuck on campus in between classes). Here are my tips if you’re a commuter student:

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1) Budget for YOUR expenses– As a commuter you may have pay for gas or public transportation to get to campus. Depending on how many hours you spend on campus, you may also have to budget for food and snacks. I had days where I would take my three meals at campus instead of my house but there were also days when I ate all the food I brought with me and had to go buy something from one of our food stalls.

2) Do homework during campus hours– Travelling to and from campus is exhausting and when you get home, you probably just want to sleep. Save your precious nap-time by doing most or all of your work on campus. This ensures that your time away from campus can be spent doing something that isn’t related to campus. Like binge-watching Riverdale. I did this and I never had to pull an all-nighter.

3) Pack snacks– This is very important. Whether it’s because you miss breakfast due to your early commute or you simply spend a really long day at college, pack snacks to ensure you don’t get hungry. Bringing snacks from home also means you don’t have to spend money every time you need a nibble. Trust me on this. My first month of college, I spent around R800 on food.

4) Make friends in your classes or through your commute– When your time is divided between campus, commuting and home, making friends can be difficult. Introduce yourself to the person next to you in class or the girl who takes the same bus as you. You guys will already have one thing in common (The long commute or the long class).

5) Download ebooks– Whether it’s recreational reading or your college textbooks, try as much as possible to buy ebooks. They take up less space and won’t hurt your back. As a commuter you don’t have the luxury of being able to pick up textbooks from your dorm room so this solution works great! I also have a few tips on how you can avoid buying textbooks here

6) Be prepared… For anything– there’s no predicting the weather so carry a jacket with you at all times as well as closed shoes. It’s always amusing to me when people walk in heels and are then attacked by rain. (I’m not a bad person, I swear! They just make for a really funny sight. Also, why are you wearing heels when you’re going to have to walk to class?) This leads me to my next point:

7) Wear comfortable shoes– Can you imagine the horror of wearing shoes you can’t walk in and then having to suffer the entire day? I can (because I’ve done it before) and it is not fun. Be sure that your shoes are durable and comfy. You’ll probably be in them a while.

Are you a commuter? What are your tips for surviving college? I’d love to know.

How to Get Things Done (even when you really don’t want to)

Adulting sucks. There’s decisions to be made, budgets you need to follow and errands to run. I thought being at college meant putting these things off for a while but I was so wrong! College is just adulting on a minor scale (Sorta like Adulting 101 instead of Adulting 301). Here are the tips and tricks I use to help me get everything done.

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1) Invest in a planner of some sort- I prefer using a school diary but your cellphone works just as well. The trick here is to actually use whatever item you choose to keep you organised. If it’s your phone, enter in deadlines and important dates. The same applies to planners.

2) Write down everything- I mean every single thing. You need to buy your mum a gift? Write it down. Accounts needing to be paid? Write it down. You don’t want anything slipping by you so write it down. You’ll be able to see everything that needs your attention.

3) Get it done!- I use Any.Do to keep a daily to-do list. It allows you to divide items into categories as well as decide when you are going to do it (today, tomorrow or eventually). The great thing about Any.Do is that it sends out a reminder daily for you to update your to-do list. You’ll never forget an errand ever again.

4) Don’t Overdo It- There is only so much you can do (before your TV shows start calling) so make sure that you don’t tire yourself out. Start with doing three items on your to-do list per day. If you feel up to tackle more then you can. Be sure to list items in order of importance so you can the most relevant things done first.

5) Say No- Sometimes our lives are busier than they need to be. Sometimes you just need to say no to things. Last year I was falling behind on my class, my blog and my role as a community moderator and beta tester for Her Campus. It hurt me but I had to drop out as a community moderator and slow down my blogging in order to focus on my schoolwork. The decision hurt me at first but it made focusing so much easier.

What are your tips for getting things done? What apps do YOU rely on? I’d love to hear from you below!

Dorm Room Organisation

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How many times have you struggled with your million pairs of shoes? Or tangled your necklaces because they all simply lay in a heap?
Today I will be talking about simple and easy way to store and organise stuff in a small room.
Most dorm rooms are small- as is my bedroom- and a small space for a shopaholic is torture. Nonetheless I’ve figured out a way to store all of my stuff and still have my room looking decent.

1) Box It Up
The easiest way to store something that isn’t currently in use is a box. Choose one in a cool pattern so it adds to the room. Boxes can be used to store shoes, bedding and anything else that you want to keep hidden out of sight.

2) Ottaman/Window Seat
Storage ottamans are amazing. Now I’m not sure if you can fit one in a dorm room(I definitely have no space for one in my room) but it’s always nice to have. It’s part seating-plan and part storage-facility. Super-useful and effective.
A window seat is pretty much the same but unlike a ottaman, cannot be moved.

3) Hooks
Hooks are great for hanging necklaces, hats, bags and belts. Put a few on the inside of your wardrobe for easy access to your accessories. It’s a quick and easy solution.

4) Jewellery Dresses
I love love love jewellery dresses! They have spaces for necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc. They also fit easily into your wardrobe if need be. They can also be hung from hooks attached to the wall.

5) Cupholder
This sounds insane but a cup holder is great for storing bangles. Cupholders are also larger than regular bangle-stands.

Do you have any useful storage tips of your own?

Free Printables (for a limited time)

Here is a link to some free printables I created for college a while back. They include a master to-do list as well as a daily to-do list. Have fun with them and save them if possible because I will be deleting the site that they’re stored on soon!

How to Cope with a Difficult Class

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I don’t know about you but each time I’m excited for a semester, there’s always that one class that ruins everything. Last year it was Translation and this year it’s Research Methodology: Criminology.
What makes this module so intimidating is that it involves graphs and statistics (stuff I suck at). Granted the majority of my fear stems from the fact that I don’t know what to expect but the entire course is terrifying. Here’s how to deal with a difficult class.

1) Speak to your lecturer- most of my fear comes from not knowing what is expected or from not knowing if I’m able to cope with the workload. Speak to your lecturer one-to-one and explain your concerns. Sitting down and talking through the module can help you decide if you really can or can’t manage with it.

2) Meet with your lecturer regularly- if the module is compulsory it helps if you meet with your lecturer to go over concepts you find difficult. When my Translation lecturer found out I was anxious about her class she made certain to check with me often to see if I was coping (I was fine but her thoughtfulness was much appreciated anyway).

3) Work on your own- Do the readings or work out the problems before the class. This way you’re exposing yourself to the work an extra time and you can ask for clarification while in class. My Translation seminars and lectures were less terrifying when I engaged with the material beforehand.

4) Look for extra help- when I first started at campus I had no idea how to write an essay. I did a module that taught students how academic reading and writing worked but I failed at my first essay. Thankfully there were people in campus who specifically helped students with essay writing. Look for opportunities such as these where you’re able to get the additional help you need. It’s a tiresome effort but so worth it.

What are your tips for dealing with a difficult class?

Android Apps for College Students

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The first thing I did when I got my tablet was download apps and games until I had finished all my data. My app obsession still hasn’t faded (nor has my knack for finishing my data long before the end of the month) but I know now what apps are helpful for college. Below I list down some apps I’ve found super-helpful for college.

1) Pinterest – this is where the majority of my data goes. Pinterest is perfect for productivity tips, pictures of hot TV stars and pretty much anything in between. Use it as a stress reliever or to find tips on writing an essay. There’s nothing that isn’t on Pinterest.

2) Evernote- More often than not, I have notes scattered all over the place. Evernote helps me to organise notes according to subject and year. I also use Evernote to help me organise my writing drafts. A definite must for any college student.

3) Any.do- I adore this app so very much. Basically it’s a to-do list app that always displays what you need to do, under your notifications. You can organise items based on categories such as work and personal. You can list everything from errands to meetings. Pure perfection!

4) My Study Life- This app allows you to create your timetable and reminds you 15 mins before your class starts. It also allows you to list your assignments, homework and revision. My Study Life gives you no excuse to not be a perfect student.

5) Amazon Kindle- Whether you’re storing your novels or your textbooks, the Kindle app is great to have since it takes up far less space than an actual book.

Feel free to share your favorite apps below (so that I may try them out myself).

How to Take Lecture Notes

I would like to start by pointing out that everyone is different and everyone has different ways of doing things. You may not agree with my tips but it’s vital that you know what works for you and what doesn’t. Kay, here we go!

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1) Write notes instead of typing them- writing notes helps you to remember them better. Also if you write instead of type there’s less chance of you being distracted by Facebook on your laptop.

2) Record notes so you don’t forget/fall asleep- I love recording my notes. It’s like having a PVR for lectures. You can listen to the recordings whenever you want as well as have a copy of precisely what the lecturer is looking for in essays and projects.

3) Take a rough draft first- Nobody has time for a perfect set of notes especially when you’re in the lecture. Write a rough set of notes that you are able to understand. You can clarify it later and make it look pretty. My notes always start off as a bunch of illegible words and some very neatly written reminders of how I want to sleep. No that’s not a joke.

4) Use colour- when you’re rewriting your notes use colour to make themes stand out. For my Human Resources class I had two different colours for the work that was tested as a question and the work tested as an essay.

5) Make sure that YOU understand- whether your notes are plain or coloured, neat or horrifying the most important thing is that you’re able to understand them. These are your notes and when exam time rolls around you’re the one who needs to be able to understand them.

What is your go-to guide for writing notes?

Anatomy of a Cover Letter

I detest cover letters. Is there anything more difficult to write? Thankfully, cover letters are one of those things that get easier to do with time. Before I’ve listed a short guide to what your cover letter should look like.

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Address to who you’re writing

Dear Sir/Madam
(it’s always a good idea to know who’s going to be receiving your application and then addressing them here. It shows that you have done your research on the business).

Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself. State your name, where you go to school and what you’re studying. State why you’re applying. Make sure you catch the readers attention so that he or she is eager to continue reading.

Paragraph 2: Highlight anything important you think they need to know. For example, have you have previous experience in this field?
Do you have a skill that makes you excellent for the job? EVERYTHING is important. Jobs teach you skills that can be used in any field.

Paragraph 3: Make it clear that you will be an asset to them. Whether it’s because you thrive on pressure and deadlines or because you have amazing qualifications, show the company that they should want to hire you.

I look forward to your response

Sincerely,

Enter full name here

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