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7 Things They Don’t Tell You About College Life

7 Things They Don’t Tell You About College Life

College is more than studying to get a diploma. Readings, homework, and requirements are only half the battle. There are things that you need to know about college that even college professors won’t teach you. Get a leg up with seven things no one told you about college life. Amidst all the college rankings that you are obliged to check in order to set your priorities or the impending tuition fees that you need to know in order to save money, there are other things you need to know about college, so be prepared.

1. You should be aware that BFFs will not be formed overnight

All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you are eager to make friends. Some people you meet will only be classmates, acquaintances, or report partners. Finding your close-knit group in college takes a bit of trial and error. Join student organizations and interest clubs, attend a few parties, and enjoy the variety of people you’ll meet along the way.

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2. You have to get to know your professors well

Professors can make or break you, so don’t stay in the dark. Check out student forums for professor guidelines and tips. Build a professional relationship with your professors. Showing professors a good work ethic can even land you a job referral in the future.

3. You should be creative, books are expensive

A study reveals that every year, the average American college student spends up to $1,200 on books and supplies alone. Save some money on books. Borrow from the library, visit a second-hand bookstore, ask friends to lend you a copy, ask your professor if he/she has a spare book you can use, rent a digital copy, or shop online for used textbooks.

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4. You have to figure it out, “required” reading can be optional

This is entirely on a case-by-case basis that you need to figure out. Generally, professors will discuss the most important points of the text in class. When you pay attention to lectures and diligently take notes, you can get away with just skimming your readings before exams.

5. You MAY skip some classes – but in moderation

College students skip classes. If you don’t plan to, good on you. But if you do, skip classes wisely. Some professors do not tolerate absences, some professors do not notice. Whether your reasons are scholarly, or otherwise, just make sure you won’t get caught.

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6. Sometimes you need to isolate yourself to get things done

Distractions are everywhere. When you have a paper due in a few hours, isolation is your best bet at finishing on time. If you have references online, download them and turn off your WiFi connection. Stay in a library instead of your dorm, so you’re not tempted to take a nap.

7. You need to get enough sleep, and health is a priority.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, 50% of college students report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep. Loss of sleep can mean a lower GPA, inability to concentrate, and may even cause mood swings. Drinking coffee or energy drinks to pull that all-nighter only promotes that vicious cycle. If you can’t avoid staying up, consider taking a nap. Daytime naps may offer a potential remedy that may also help academic performance.  When you’re up to your neck in coursework, it’s easy to neglect your own health and well-being. Getting sick means missing your classes, catching up with assignments, and if you missed an exam, rescheduling with your professor. No one will take care of you but yourself. Drink vitamins. Ditch the junk food. Get some exercise. Take time to relax. There will be moments when you feel like giving up. You will question if college was the right decision or if there is a point in crossing the finish line. With college dropouts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg still finding success, leaving without a diploma doesn’t sound bad, right? However, the Pew Research Center’s report on The Rising Cost of Not Going to College, states that “on virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.” Beyond financial matters, studies also suggest that college graduates live longer and healthier lives, have stable marriages, and produce healthy children. Most graduates say their college education helped them to grow intellectually, mature as a person, and prepared them for a career and adulthood.

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Featured photo credit: Scensiblesbags via scensiblesbags.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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