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10 tips every college student should know

10 tips every college student should know

Are you headed to college soon? Or are you already in college and still apprehensive about how things are going to turn out?

The reality is that the transition from high school to college can be a bit difficult. It’s important that you know your goals beforehand and make plans to achieve those. There are many things you need to consider and be careful about.

Nevertheless, college life should be fun and will ultimately help you shape your career. Here are 10 tips every college student should know.

1. Budget! budget! budget!

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    Be financially literate. Know your constraints beforehand with respect to money.

    If required, start keeping a record of all your savings and expenditures. Stop spending on things you don’t need. Buy your books and supplies only if it is very necessary. Try taking things from library or rent them. It will save a lot of money and effort in case you decide later on to drop a class.

    There is a subtle difference between needing and wanting.

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    Cut down on your credit cards, if you are an avowed shopaholic.

    If you wish to establish a credit history, make a small purchase regularly using your account number.

    Start saving regularly. Trust me, these small savings will make a huge difference. If you really need some extra money to sustain yourself, consider a part time job.

    2. Time management.

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      Time management is very crucial. Manage your time well between your classes, part-time job (perhaps!) and other extra curricular activities. Be disciplined in classrooms.Take notes. Participate in discussions. You will thank yourself later on.

      Before committing to anything, make sure that you have sometime everyday to unwind. Otherwise, all the pressure and stress will catch up to you soon. And you definitely don’t need that.

      3. The system is not your enemy!

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        Remember this always.

        Don’t try to work against your college authorities and professors however much you are tempted. Talk to them in case there is any problem or misunderstanding. Be cordial even if in reality, the rebel in you wants to paint the city red. This will pay off in the long run.

        4. People always talk. You have to learn to ignore them!

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          It’s very important to have a social life. Getting along with roommates and batch mates will help you not only adjust in the new environment but also to meet new people and develop lasting relationships.

          You create memories and go through various experiences with people you meet in college. At the same time, don’t get bothered by unnecessary rumors.

          Some people tend to take comments to heart. It would be advisable to avoid that. Make sure that you know your limits when it comes to having a social life.

          5. Internships and hiring.

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            Plan on getting an internship if you don’t have one already. Practical experience always looks good on a resume. You will be one step ahead of your peers when you start job hunting after you graduate.

            6. Confused about a major?

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              Still not sure if you want to continue in the same major as you entered in the college? Do not worry. You can change it.

              For instance, some engineering colleges allow this change after a year of study. As a freshman, you should take your time to explore and think carefully about the possibilities and then make a decision regarding the department you want to major in.

              Take different classes to discover new areas of interests. You might surprise yourself.

              7. Your adviser is there to help.

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                Usually colleges make every effort to initially match students with a faculty adviser who is in their area of interest. But, you can match yourself with an adviser of your choice later on if you feel that you want to learn more from him/her.

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                8.Library/Research Facilities

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                  Get to know the facilities provided by your college for your research work.

                  If you need some tutorial/remedial classes outside the classroom, ask around if those are available or can be arranged. In short, try to have knowledge about every program which is running at the college which might help you.

                  9. Set goals.

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                    College is where the most mind opening learning of your life will happen. It is important to set clear goals for each class you wish to take. Try to take at least one extra class per semester. At the same time, do not over burden yourself.

                    10. Stay healthy!

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                      This tip is old school. Research says that physical exercises result in increased blood flow to the brain which indirectly improves mood and sleep; reduces stress and anxiety. Exercising a few hours every week will help you increase alertness and attentiveness which leads to faster learning. It’s very important that you eat right, exercise regularly and stay fit.

                      So, hope you enjoy your journey in college!

                      Featured photo credit: Addy Abdullah via flickr.com

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                      Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                      Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                      There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

                      How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

                      Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

                      Why is multitasking a myth?

                      The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

                      Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

                      You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

                      Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

                      We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

                      Your brain on multi-tasking

                      Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

                      When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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                      But I can juggle multiple tasks!

                      You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

                      For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

                      Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

                      Why multitasking is failing you

                      Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

                      Multitasking wastes your time.

                      You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

                      In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

                      It makes you dumber.

                      A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

                      You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

                      This is an emotional response.

                      There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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                      Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

                      It’ll wear you out.

                      When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

                      We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

                      How to stop multitasking and work productively

                      Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

                      In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

                      Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

                      1. Consciously change gears

                      Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

                      As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

                      This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

                      2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

                      Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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                      Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

                      This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

                      3. Set aside distractions

                      Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

                      If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

                      Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

                      Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

                      4. Take care of yourself

                      We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

                      Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

                      In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

                      5. Take a break

                      People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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                      Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

                      6. Make technology your ally

                      Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

                      Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

                      The key to productivity: Focus

                      Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

                      Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

                      If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

                      How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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