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7 Awesome Websites to Plan Your Freshman Year

7 Awesome Websites to Plan Your Freshman Year

You’re about to go off to university and you’re not sure what to do. That’s a scary time in your life. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools out there to help you along. Today we’re going to take some time to talk about a few of the best ones out there so that you can make the most of your freshmen year.

Because, as they say, a good start is half the battle, so…

1. Xmind

01_-_x-mind_mind_mapping_service

    The first step to getting going is to build a good plan. I personally swear by mind mapping, as this really lets you get into the ins and outs of what you need to do. For example, it allows you to visually represent what you’ve got going on and thereby spot faults in your thinking, see where you can delve deeper and slowly but certainly get a true idea of what ahead of you and what you need to focus on.

    It is definitely worth using a good mind mapping tool to know where you’re at and get a better idea of where you’re going.

    Xmind is a great choice, but there are plenty of others out there as well.

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    2. Essay Thinker

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      Here you can get help with essay writing, so that you can get the knack of writing the perfect essay. You see, essay writing isn’t something people are intuitively good at. It’s not like speaking. Instead, you’ve got to practice, learn and study how to do it better.

      One of the best ways to do that is to look at some perfectly executed essays.

      And that is something that you’ll find a great deal of at Essay Thinker. So, get help, get better and get the GPA you deserve.

      3. Roomsurf

      03_roomsurf_service_for_finding_college_roommates

        Another vital part of making university live great is making sure you bunk with the right person. Now at some universities you don’t get a choice as you’re assigned a place. At others, however, it’s up to you to figure out where you’re going to stay and who you’re going to stay with.

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        In that case, you’ve got to check out Roomsurf to find the right person to bunk with.

        Because if you can’t sleep and you can’t study, then university life is going to be brutal!

        4. Unigo

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          Haven’t yet figured out what university is for you? Then check out Unigo, as it will match you with the best university that fits you and your expectations. And that, with the sea of information that’s out there in terms of universities, is something absolutely vital to get to grips with your future and to make the most of these wonderful years you’ve got coming up.

          As an added bonus they also include scholarship program, so that you can come out of university with an education but without a crushing mountain of debt.

          5. iTunes U

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            Not sure what courses you’re supposed to take? Then start out with something like iTunes U where you can take courses from all over the world and some of her best universities for free. In this way you’ll have a leg up in deciding what courses do actually appeal to you and which do not.

            That means you’ll be spending far less time trying to figure out what you want to do during the year, as you’ve already done most of that before it! What’s more, if you keep following the courses beyond the ‘am I interested’ stage you’ll actually get a serious leg up on the rest of the students in your class and be far more likely to get good grades with minimal effort.

            And that means you’ve got more time for a part-time job or a social life.

            And that has to be at least half the fun of uni, right?

            6. Rate my Professor

            06_rate_my_professor_service

              Classes are not just the subject matter, but equally the professor that teaches the class. Some people have the ability to make something utterly boring become utterly fascinating, while some people have the ability to take something that was a defining moment in our species’ history and make it seem as boring as watching grass grow.

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              For that reason, don’t just select your classes based on what you’re interested in, but also based on how good the professors are, by taking a look at Rate My Professor.

              7. TomatoTimer

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                And finally, you’ve got to make sure you actually do the stuff that these tools all outline for you. For that reason, you’ve got to get some motivational apps. TomatoTimer is probably one of the best. It’s simple and effective.

                The idea? If you can work for 25 minutes in a concentrated manner on a task, you can actually do a heck of a lot. Do it a couple of times throughout your day, without allowing yourself to get distracted, and you’re going to be able to blast through most of your work. And so the timer demands that you spend 25 minutes on a task, after which an alarm rings and you can once again slack off a bit (though obviously, you don’t need to).
                In this way, you’ll actually get the stuff done that you need to get done and will actually have a plan in place for your first year of university. And that has to count for something!

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                Last Updated on October 17, 2018

                7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                1. Meditate

                We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                2. Get plenty of sleep

                If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                How much sleep should you be getting?

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                Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                Yes, there are.

                Try these three things:

                • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                • Don’t eat too late
                • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                3. Challenge your brain

                When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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                4. Take more breaks

                When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                However, I was wrong.

                Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                Let me explain.

                Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                What’s the answer?

                Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                5. Learn a new skill

                I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                Let me give you an example of this:

                Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                6. Start working out

                If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                Not a problem.

                A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                Interested in getting started?

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                Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                • Join a gym
                • Join a sports team
                • Buy a bike
                • Take up hiking
                • Dance to your favorite music

                7. Eat healthier foods

                I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                This applies to your brain too.

                The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                • Nuts – improves memory
                • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                Final thoughts

                I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                Reference

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