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10 Things that can Make College Life a Whole Lot Easier

10 Things that can Make College Life a Whole Lot Easier
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So, you have enrolled in college and now you are a freshman. The worst is probably behind you, since you’ve passed your entrance exam, right? Well, not exactly. College holds many trials for freshmen students. Getting good grades on your midterms and finals, managing your finances, having a decent social life, and getting some shut eye are just some of the challenges you’ll face.

Since I went through all this, and discovered some efficient tactics for college life management, I can tell you that it’s not too difficult to find a good balance. So, without any further delay, here are the 10 things that will come in handy during your college years.

1. Recording device

Alright, it appears that you are not allowed to record lectures, and some professors might have an issue with it, so make sure they don’t know you have a recording device. You can place it in some sort of a casing or in a bag and leave it on the desk in front of you. Try to find a seat in the front row, in order to get the best audio quality possible, and try not to make too much noise to mitigate the interference.

Once you have your lectures, you can transfer them to your PC or laptop, and when you start studying you can transcribe them, and have the highest quality notes possible when the midterms draw near. Furthermore, simply transcribing the lectures will etch them into your mind, so the whole studying process will be a lot easier.

2. Mastering holistic learning

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    One of the major adaptations you’ll have to go through when you are a college student is learning to cope with higher expectations. You see, in elementary and in high school, your teachers could let you slide even if your knowledge was not sufficient for a particular grade. After all, we are not able to be really good at everything so it’s natural that some subjects will give us a harder time. Considering how this was the case, our teachers had the tendency to reward good effort, even when our knowledge was lacking.

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    College professors are a different story. You chose this path and you want to become a specialist, so do not expect to be applauded for your efforts and will to learn – you need to give concrete, elaborate and correct answers. So, it would be for the best if you could master holistic learning.

    Holistic learning means that you are able to retain a lot of information and make connections between them, so you need to be fully invested and constantly think about what you are learning. When you learn, divide your text into questions, or to be precise, as you read think about the questions your lesson answers, then learn the lesson as a set of answers to those questions.

    Use all of your senses to remember things and to create more solid memories. In other words, see if there are videos or pictures that exemplify what you are studying.

    Try to find patterns as you learn, and constantly ask yourself if you’ve already heard something similar so that you can try to make connections. These are all of the necessary techniques to answer exam questions elaborately because your professor wants to see that you understand what you are talking about and that you know how that knowledge can be applied.

    3. Study group

    In all honesty, this is a double-edged sword. My study group was great and they were really diligent and both eager to learn and to explain things if you were having any trouble. We knew how to have fun as well, but whenever we were running on a tight schedule, learning was a number one priority. On the other hand, I was also a part of different groups, and just like me, these different members were easily distracted and they would often digress from the topic at hand.

    So, even though we all had a good time and some great conversations, the amount of work done was insufficient. In other words, each of us individually would have finished the whole group project faster than the amount of time it took us to finish it all together because we were only a distraction for one another.

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    4. YouTube

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      As we have already mentioned, in order to truly study for serious exams, you needed to understand your materials and get some good additional sources of information.

      With videos, our retention capacity is far stronger, and there are so many bloggers now who covered specialised niches, that a variety of different academic topics are covered in YouTube videos. So, when you are having trouble and struggling with some concepts, see if there is a video that explains it, this will really help you a lot.

      5. Activity

      College will require immense mental strength and willpower, so learning how to handle hard work would be wise. The best way to learn to power through a tough task is physical exercise.

      Since you’ll be stuck at lectures for a long time, and then either learning or having fun with friends, you’ll need some exercise to add a bit of healthy lifestyle to the equation. It is a bit tough to squeeze in workouts in your schedule, but after a few months you get used to it and it really benefits you.

      6. Home remedies

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        During your lectures and breaks, you are going to be surrounded by a lot of different people, which is not a bad thing, of course. However, during seasonal illnesses or during any sickness outbreak, this is not the best place to be, since no one is safe. There are numerous conditions when the illness is dormant and can still be transmitted even if the symptoms haven’t manifested yet. In other words, you can easily get sick.

        As mentioned it is good to exercise and live a bit healthier just to maintain our immune system, however, there are things you should do and things you should buy, just in case everything doesn’t go so well and you start feeling sick. Here is a list of illnesses that you are likely to get as a student, and some ways of preventing them.

        In short, you should always remember to wash your hands, take your vitamins, eat fruit, get flu shots etc. Make sure you go through the link, since it has a detailed description of the most common diseases and illnesses and how to treat them effectively.

        7. Sleep

        This is actually one thing I did not have enough of, and in retrospect, my life would have been a lot easier back then, now that I think about it. The fear of missing out is what kept me awake, and why I always opted for some fun rather than a good night’s sleep. It was as if I thought something epic was going to happen and I wouldn’t be there to see it, but would definitely hear about it tomorrow.

        It was really foolish, since nothing that amazing happened that was worth the exhaustion. The reason why we enjoy nights out is because we are with people we care about, and that can always be arranged, no need to sacrifice countless hours of sleep.

        So, if you want to have a pleasant time in college and not be under constant stress or suffer headaches, learn how to rest and recover. Eat some food that can help you fall asleep easier and turn off your computer a bit earlier since those memes will be there tomorrow as well.

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        8. Apps

        Apps are awesome! They help you remember things, they can help you get organised, they can even help you earn some money and kill some time as you are waiting for the exam results. I use apps today as well, but they have started to become a trend during my freshman days. I used them as reminders for my daily tasks, I used them to help me organise my budget and save money and to help me wake up.

        Turns out your alarm clock can be so much better if you have something that monitors your sleep cycle and can wake you up during a sleep phase when it doesn’t feel so painful. Now there are even better versions of these apps for both android and iPhone. Moreover, here is an awesome list of apps that will help you save and earn some cash, which I found incredibly useful since I always had trouble making ends meet during my student days.

        9. Coupons and discounts

        To quote “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy — “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” Turns out he was completely right, if you wait long enough there will always be some sort of discount in some store or supermarket. Moreover, there are all kinds of incentive plans to secure customer loyalty so, if you just ask around or wait enough, chances are you can get almost anything you want and need a lot cheaper.

        You can also monitor these things online and find which brands or stores are offering discounts or coupons. Like I said all it takes is a little research and you can easily save 30% of the money you would otherwise have spent on a monthly basis.

        10. eBay

        Finally, to continue our finance management tips, you need to have an eBay account. You can both get items cheaper, and earn money by selling things you no longer use. Sites like Amazon and Etsy can also be your useful allies. On Amazon, you can find tons of audio books, which will come in handy if you have literature classes. Audio books can help you go through materials quicker, if you have focus problems and if you read at a slower pace.

        I hope you will have a really exciting and fun time while you are going through college. There are a lot of stressful and amazing days ahead of you, and it is truly a time of life you will always remember and cherish. Use these tips if you can, they can definitely come in handy, and may you reach mastery in your passion.

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        Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/unsplash/ via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

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        Last Updated on July 20, 2021

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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        You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

        Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

        Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

        1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

        According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

        “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

        Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

        Warming up

        If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

        If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

        Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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        1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
        2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
        3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

        Stay hydrated

        Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

        To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

        Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

        Meditate

        Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

        Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

        Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

        Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

        2. Focus on your goal

        One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

        Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

        Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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        Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

        If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

        3. Convert negativity to positivity

        There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

        ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

        It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

        Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

        Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

        Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

        4. Understand your content

        Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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        However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

        “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

        Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

        Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

        One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

        5. Practice makes perfect

        Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

        In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

        Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

        6. Be authentic

        There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

        Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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        Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

        To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

        With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

        Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

        7. Post speech evaluation

        Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

        Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

        We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

        You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

        Improve your next speech

        As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

        Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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        • How did I do?
        • Are there any areas for improvement?
        • Did I sound or look stressed?
        • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
        • Was I saying “um” too often?
        • How was the flow of the speech?

        Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

        If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

        Reference

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