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13 Tips for New College Students

13 Tips for New College Students

College is the time to try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. The things is, it can all fall apart if you don’t have a clear idea of what you are getting into. Be sure to make the best of it with these tips for new college students.

1. Go to class

Oh, it will be so tempting to sleep in. After all, you’re a college student! You can do what you want, right? Well, you sure can if you want to scramble to make up for it later on. It is much easier to hold a GPA than to attempt to bring it up!

2. Know what you can handle course-wise

It is much better to finish a semester ‘late’ (who doesn’t these days?) than to have a nervous breakdown because of over-scheduling yourself. In the bigger picture, a few months or even a year does not make that much of a difference, unless you want to brag about how you finished school on time.

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3. Get involved

You might be attending school in a different state, or even in your own state. Either way you can afford to expand your interests and meet new people. College is an easy way to make contacts and new friends!

4. Make friends in your program who are ahead of you

This way you might be able to borrow their old tests, notes and/or lab reports. This is not cheating, but using your resources and contacts wisely. Many sororities and fraternities have these resources available, some even in database form! You can trade off with this friend or do something nice like bake him/her cookies for their help.

5. On that note, consider joining a sorority or fraternity

I was/am a nontraditional student (about five to seven years older than most students at my university), so this was not quite in my realm, but I was often jealous of the many opportunities afforded to these students. Yes, you have to go to social events. Yes, you might get categorized as a snob or fill-in-the-inappropriate-name-blank, but you really can benefit from the social network and resources (such as old tests).

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6. Buy your books online or from a friend

Holy cow, the universities make a boatload off of textbooks! Using one book for a semester (even with selling it back) can cost $100 plus! Many companies like Amazon sell textbooks cheaper than at universities and offer gift cards at a decent rate to sell them back. I had a great experience with the buyback program…much better than selling a book back for next to nothing at the school store!

7. Keep in contact with your family

Yes, you should make contacts and friends at college. This does not mean you should ignore your family who likely supports you, or encouraged you to get to where you are today. Give them a call, Skype them, send them a card, or do something during the semester to let them know you are thinking about them.

8. Keep in contact with old friends

One of my biggest regrets in life was intentionally falling out of touch with high school friends. I had joined a group of people who convinced me that the only important thing was their group and if friends or family did not understand, they should be cut off (read: I got into a pyramid-like scheme). I missed out on so much, and now the stream of Facebook updates from my high school friends makes me sad.

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Sometimes something similar happens if you meet the man or woman ‘of your life’ who you can’t stand being away from. Break away and connect with the friends who have been there for you forever. You can undo some of the damage if you lose touch, but it will never really be the same.

9. Learn from mistakes

If you do something stupid (like join a pyramid-like scheme), learn from your mistakes. College is a time not only for learning about Chemistry and the correct way to cite a source, but for learning about life. Learning how to come back from mistakes is a big part of the college experience.

10. Be silly

You have a little bit of margin during this time to get away with crazy things and not look too foolish (hey, it’s college!) Use this time to go on adventures and do silly things that likely will be looked down upon later in life. This is also a great way to bond with your new friends.

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11. Be careful

Yes, have new experiences. Yes, be silly. Do not do things that you know might endanger your life, health or self-image.

12. Learn how to balance and prioritize

Time management skills are completely necessary to explore all that college life has to offer. There will always be activities, social events, school events, trips, homework, and tests for which to study. Part of life is managing the time that we have, so my advice would be to learn this early on in your college career.

Check out the article: Why To Do Lists Don’t Work and How to Change That

13. Learn about yourself

Figure out what you want out of life. You don’t need to know right away, but be thinking about this as you experience new things, meet new people, and explore the world of knowledge.

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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