Tag: campus

How to Choose Your Classes for College

Ah, college. The one place you can study everything from Marketing and Mythology to Cooking and Creative Writing. But how do you choose your classes? There’s just so many!

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1) Consult your handbook- The college handbook is an excellent guide for when it comes to choosing classes. It details the classes necessary for your degree as well as information about the method of assessment. Knowing more about possible modules can help you decide whether they’re worth choosing.

2) Choose the purpose of your electives- Do you want something fun? Do you want something that complements your degree? For me, I chose a mixture of both.  After all when else would you have the opportunity to study the kind of subjects offered at college? My modules consisted of Media and English (my majors at that time) as well as Criminology and Human Resources (simply for fun).

4) Have a plan B (and maybe a plan C-just to be safe)- Sometimes you may not be able to register for the class you want. In this case it’s a good idea to have a list of back-up classes. And then a back-up of your back-up just in case those don’t work out either.

How do you choose your classes for college?

College Tips for English Majors

Ah, English. We speak it everyday and chances are you’re passionate about it if you’ve decided to major in it. Or in some cases you had nothing else to choose (that’s hurtful but hey it’s true).
For me I chose English because I loved it in school and thought it would be a breeze. It’s not. It’s actually pretty difficult. Here’s a few tips for coping as an English major.

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1) Get Your Reading List Early- I’ve heard other English majors tell me how they love reading but personally I’ve always struggled through my assigned readings. It’s a good idea to get the list of readings early so you know what to expect when it comes to your workload. Email your lecture or the administration to ask for a list. Worse case scenario you get a refusal. Best case scenario you know the books you’re expected to read and can start looking for them early.

2) Compare Book Prices- My campus bookstore is always ridiculously expensive. It works out easier to either buy the books secondhand, online (Takealot and Readers Warehouse usually have reasonable prices for their college books) or even to borrow a copy from your campus library.

3) Read the Book- I’ve seen so many people simply ignore the book they’re studying and it just irritates me. Those people chose English as an elective but their lack of interest was disappointing. How do you expect to write a test or exam when you know nothing about the material being tested? No matter how boring the book is, reading it on your own allows you to form your own opinions that you can include and support in your assignments.

4) Practice Your Writing- Start a blog, keep a diary, write extensive notes. Do something to help improve your writing. Practicing your writing in even a small way allows you to express yourself better and makes for better essays.

5) Proofread Essays- Always check your work before you hand them in. If there’s an option for a lecturer or tutor to read over your work, take it! They’ve been around longer than you have and who knows what is expected of you better than someone in the department?

6) Use Sparknotes- Most of my lecturers take their slides and notes from Sparknotes. I don’t know if they’re taking it directly from the site or if the site simply has the same work but reading Sparknotes makes understanding work so much easier.

7) Take Advantage of Office Hours- If there’s anything you don’t understand, make an appointment to visit your lecturer or tutor privately. I’ve seen students make silly errors simply because of a misunderstanding of the text that could have been cleared.

Are you an English major? What are your tips for a successful semester?

Healthy Snacking For College

As a college student, it’s difficult to find snacks that are both healthy and quick. So I searched all over the internet and here are a few of the snacking options I found:

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-Bagel or crackers with cream cheese
-Yogurt with fruit or granola
-Dried fruit and nuts
-Bran muffin
-Pretzels
-Cereal bars(these aren’t good for a meal though. I tried them for breakfast and was still hungry)
– Peanut butter sandwich
-Chicken or tuna salad(these both are really tasty and healthy).

5 Tips For Improving Your Productivity in College

My words to live by are “Work hard, party harder”. This is excellent advice especially if you’re in college. But how do you manage to be productive when you’re just not feeling it? Here are a few tried and tested tips to help you be as productive as possible,

1) Keep a constant routine- have a set time for sleeping and waking up. Try as much as possible to stick to this because it reduces the possibility of you falling asleep in class. Yes, we all want to sleep in class because it’s boring but that’s not very productive.

2) Pay attention in class. Always record the lecture- when I first started sleeping in class, it was totally accidental. First my mind would wander off, then I’d try to rest my eyes and then I would jerk awake. If you know you’re tired/lazy, record the lecture to listen to later. This works especially well for assignments since you can go back and play the recording to find out precisely what is expected of you. Also when you’re actually listening to the lecturer it’s easier to remember what’s being covered in class.

3) Write things down as soon as possible- use your school calender plus your syllabi (is that the plural of syllabus? I’m not entirely sure…) and note down important dates such as tests, projects, when campus closes and reopens as well as the last day for changing your courses. This will a) help you to see important dates and b) you’ll know when you’re busy with a pile of essays or tests.

4) Set your own deadlines- if you have your own deadlines preferably a day or two earlier than the actual due date you’ll get work done faster. You may also have enough time to get a tutor to edit your essay or cover last-minute concepts with your lecturer.

5) Start work as soon as you get it- I don’t mean write the essay or read 3 chapters for that test. Do something small just to make a tiny dent in your workload. List points for your essay or skim a chapter in the textbook. It makes things easier if you start off small. You’ll eventually be able to tackle the entire essay/textbook.

The Playground of Randomness Guide to College: Orientation

I remember my Orientation as if it were yesterday. Though in reality it was 2 years ago. Time really does fly!
Orientation or O-week as some call it is possibly the most exciting time for a freshman. It’s your first look at the campus when you know with absolute certainty that you’re going to be a part of it.
But try not to lost yourself in all the magic of the moment. Orientation is your time to familiarise yourself with campus and learn how everything works.

What Actually Goes On:
Some colleges may be different but my Orientation started with a long speech from the Chancellor(that I sat outside for since I had heard the same speech when I arrived for Parents Day).
Most colleges have a campus tour. Pay careful attention to this because not only will it prevent you from getting lost, it will help you understand how everything functions.
Handouts about courses are passed out some times. You may even get a handbook- guard it with your life! I have both an actual handbook and a pdf file. I also stalked my college websites and social networking sites for months before I was accepted but I don’t recommend that. I still feel very creepy about that. But my point is- I was super-excited about college. And you should be too.

What I Did:
(Or also known as ‘Mistakes I Made That You Should Avoid’)
I swear there’s gona be an entirely separate blog post on all my college mistakes but that’s for another day.
For Orientation my campus tour guide wasn’t audible to the people in the back of our 40-50 people group…so I skipped the tour and went with a friend’s cousin instead.
The plus of this was that she completed our registration for us(ie the part where you choose your classes) and we didn’t have to wait in a line. We also got our own private tour.
The downsides was that I didn’t receive a handbook(the copy I got was one that I found) and I also was lost about how to use the library and the computer labs.
Eventually, with the help of a few older students who were friends, I managed to figure out what needed to be done but I still have no idea how to use the library copier or how to print out anything should I need to.
I also missed out on fun activities. I knew colleges had events for freshmen to bond over but only saw the flyers once my first official week of college had started- which was too late.
Bottom line- do yourself a favour, attend your Orientation and pay attention! You’ll be grateful later on.
Xoxo

7 Things I Wish I Knew in College

The “real world” is completely different from college. Which is odd considering that college is supposed to be your first taste of independence and the world out there. Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I was in college:

 

1) Your grades don’t matter: This part hit me the most when job-hunting. No one cared that I had great grades or was part of a honour society for students in the top 15% of their field of study. In fact no one seemed to care that I had a degree at all. People just wanted work experience which I didn’t have (and couldn’t get because I had no work experience). Which brings me to my next point:

2) The importance of work experience: No one wants to employ someone with no work experience. Which is ironic because how do you get work experience if no one wants to give you work without prior working experience. It baffles me that this has been going on for a while now and no one has done anything about it.

3) How to work in a team: It’s not that I don’t know how to work in a team. It’s just that I don’t want to. Group projects in college were a total nightmare and we basically divided the entire project into individual parts and then got together to present the entire project. While I may love the team that I work up, it took the introvert in me five months to finally feel comfortable around them. I definitely wish someone had taught me the importance of working in a team.

4) It’s who you know not what you know: Like number 1 on this list, this also hit me hard. Finding a job seems to be more about who you know than what you know. So network network network. You never know who could lead you to your next job. My cousin found her current job because someone saw her searching career websites on her phone and they knew someone who was hiring.

5) You can’t stay at home from work just because you want to: There are many reasons to miss class in college. It’s too cold, too hot, it’s a Friday, you’re hungover, etc. Unfortunately you can’t do this in the real world. Come rain or shine, you have a job to do. While slacking off in college was okay, that kind of behavior could get you fired.

6) Treasure your free time: My holidays and weekends in college were spent complaining about how bored I was. My holidays and weekends as an employed adult are spent running errands or completing chores that I couldn’t do during the week. Free time is no longer a thing.

7) It’s all going to be okay: I was a neurotic wreck in college. I always fretted over the smallest of things (I once printed out an assignment three times because the ridiculous tutor kept changing her mind about the format of the assignment). I would love to tell my past self to relax and breathe, everything will be fine. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want it to and that’s okay.

What do you wish you knew when you were in college?

Can We Please Stop Judging People’s Decisions?

It seems like everyone and their mother has an opinion on what I should do once I graduate. So far, none of those opinions have included or required any of my input. And all this unsolicited advice seems to go along the same route- basically everyone wants me to go do postgraduate studies.

Which would be great if a) it was something I wanted to do or even  if b) People would suggest postgraduate studies instead of simply telling me “you should go do Honours”.

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a journalist which is why I chose to major in Journalism. People just seem to ignore that and it is seriously pissing me off. Which brings me to my next issue with postgraduate studies. If I was to study further, I would prefer to do my Honours in English Studies. I would also prefer to study all the way until PhD so that I can lecture in a university-level English classroom. However that is more of a back-up plan than a goal. Like I’ve said so many times since I was twelve, journalism is the career I want. And like people have done so many times since I was twelve, my decision is being ignored.

My question is this, when did society decide what we can and cannot do? I am sick and tired of being considered odd simply because I don’t follow the stereotypes of what society expects us to do. I’ve seen friends complain about how people expect them to marry and have kids. Like postgraduate studies, starting a family is a great idea if it’s what you want. I remember being totally shocked when an old friend got married at the age of twenty. However my shock quickly melted away when I remembered that she always had been the mother of our friend group. Marriage would certainly suit her. However when other people found out (okay I couldn’t resist bragging that I had grown up with someone who was now getting married), I remember someone asking me if she was pregnant.

Last I checked, everyone had a life of their own. Why don’t we all focus on living our own lives instead of dictating how people live theirs? Some people want to get married, some people want to study, some people want to go start their own business. Unless their plans somehow seriously harm you, I really don’t see what the big deal is.

If we all followed the same life path, we would essentially be copies of each other and what would be the fun in that? People need to step back and allow others to do what makes them happy instead of what they think society would have wanted them to do.

Life as a Second-Semester Senior 

There’s always been much for me to worry about as a second-semester senior even without actually being a second-semester senior.

I’m supposed to update my resume, start the job search, make a final decision on whether or not I’m pursuing postgraduate studies (and if so, in which of my two majors would I continue studying?). However the day before my 21st birthday, the driver of my liftclub altered my second-semester to-do list. He announced to us that he would be getting a new job and we needed to find new transport. 

Most liftclubs take new members at the beginning of the year so I knew that finding a new liftclub would be difficult. Another thing that worried me was that in my first liftclub, the people delighted in making me miserable. I would even go as far as to say that they were bullies. The end result of their horrid ways was that I left the liftclub as well as my “friends” from high school (Life Lesson: It’s important to know the difference between “friends” and Friends. Sometimes it may take an unpleasant experience to learn the difference but you’ll be better off in the end).

After much searching I did find a liftclub. And boy was it majorly different from both my first liftclub and the second. The people were so friendly I couldn’t help but be suspicious. (So much so that I eventually broke down one day in tears because I had no idea how to respond to them and worried that they would think I was being rude). This liftclub was also huge- with about thirty people. I also no longer needed to wake up at 5AM and was home immediately after my class.

However everything has a downside and for my liftclub the downside is the van. On the first day of campus I opened the van door, only for it to close on me.

On day two, there was a different van with a faulty door that didn’t open unless you put in alot of strength.
I don’t have alot of strength. 

As far as downsides go, these aren’t so bad. It sucks that I’m still so terrified of the people in my new liftclub turning out to be as horrible as the ones in my old liftclub. Especially since these people have been nothing but pleasant to me. However try as I might, I really can’t let go of the past.

How to Avoid Burnout in College

The stress of college can all too easily lead to burnout. Here are a few tips to help you make it to the end of the semester with your sanity and energy levels intact.

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1) Plan Yourself Well- Failing to plan is planning to fail. Those words were drilled into my high school senior year Accounting class. Those words can also be my life motto. It’s difficult but always ensure that you have enough time to get an assignment done (possibly even extra time in case of any unexpected circumstances).

2) Have fun- I’ve been known to literally just sit around and read for hours or have a TV show marathon when I should be studying. Downtime is very very important to ensure you don’t overstress yourself. Take breaks and take them often.

3) Work smart not hard- Okay so this is going to make me sound so bad but I always work harder for the first assignment of each module. The reasoning behind this is that if I get a good enough mark for the first assignment, I don’t need to worry as much for the second one. If you kick ass at both assignments then you’re pretty much guaranteed a pass for the semester (depending on how your final mark is compiled).

4) Don’t compromise on your sleep- Sleep has health benefits and blah blah blah. Don’t give up on your sleep even if it’s for an all-nighter. Your body needs rest to recover from the day and prepare for the next one.

How do you avoid burnout in college?

10 Signs You’re Meant to Be an English Major

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1) You enjoy reading
2) You enjoy writing
3) You’re good at both reading and writing
4) Your literary collection consists of more than just the latest bestsellers. You have the classics too.
5) You can write an essay in your sleep

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6)  You’ve written something that wasn’t for school (poems, short stories, fanfiction)
7) The idea of having to read and be rewarded for writing about what you read, excites you. Hello easy A
8) You’ve read a classic novel without it being compulsory for class.
9) You don’t mind putting in work for a module that most believe will only lead to you working at McDonalds or Starbucks.
10) Well you’re reading this so you obviously believe you’re meant to be an English major.

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