College Tips for Freshmen Students: on Your First Days on Campus, Homework, and Mental Health

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It is the beginning of autumn! It’s the time for freshmen students to buy textbooks, learn about new dorm roommates, and simply get ready for college. Everyone facing this new experience does not really know what to expect. In order to make these years more memorable, you can engage in many activities which can expand your horizons and make your life more fun. You also should get ready to refute some of the myths about what it means to be a college student… And last but not least—how can one handle all that college homework and preserve your mental health? Let’s have a look at these tips prepared for you by BooksRun below!

Tips for First-Year Students

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Meet New People

Don’t be afraid of going out and making friends, socializing is a skill that will always be useful. Also, getting to know a bunch of new people makes you look at things from a different perspective, and college is a perfect place for this.

Join Interest Clubs

College is also a great place to meet people that have something in common with you, whether it be rubik’s cube enthusiasts, guitar players, or beer pong champions. 

Do Sports

Playing any sport on campus will allow you to stay fit and avoid freshman fifteen. It’s a good opportunity to spend some active time with friends and take a break from studying as well.

Enjoy Nightlife

Nightlife doesn’t only include getting wasted in clubs and bars (though it’s definitely a big part of college life). You can also attend a gig of your favorite band or a local play.

Go and Study Abroad

Europe (or any other continent) is calling! Check out the scholarships at foreign universities and set on an exciting trip full of memories waiting to happen.

A lot of freshmen entering college struggle with their new college life due to certain clichés and stereotypes that are so widespread outside college fences and walls. They might think that they do not cope that well with their academic work as they saw in films or heard from someone else—and it all reflects on freshmen’s self-esteem and optimism. What is the reason that the results of our tests and exams turn out not as we expected them to be? Of course, that doesn’t apply to the case when you get the highest mark for the essay you wrote at 4 am because we don’t discuss supernatural here. The point is, why do the study guides we rely on don’t yield the results we expect from them?

It turns out, no one could definitely say which habits are good for both memorizing and grades and which are not; these were mostly urban legends. But now we can rely on the trustworthy research and bust some of the most widespread myths about studying habits.

Study Myths Unveiled

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Myth One. Find a quiet location.

As it turns out, the brain does not entirely focus on the material you’re trying to keep in your memory at this point but also pays attention to the outside world, which is not surprising. It is subconsciously making the associations with the environment and creating the links with that color of the coffee shop wall or a tree in the yard. The information is not being tied only to one setting, and your brain does not struggle to connect everything with it, but keeps receiving new pieces of data that differ from each other and are unique what makes them less forgettable. It’s basically like comparing daily routine and holiday: you definitely won’t forget something new and colorful. Therefore, having a nice view out of the window can be beneficial for your revising routine!

Myth Two. Always focus on one type of task only.

Many of us students know that feeling when seeing the problem at the exam and having no idea how to solve it. Technically, we know how to solve the parts of the equation separately, but we’re not trained that much to give answers to mixed problems. It’s like studying the leaves of a tree and never seeing the whole tree. It turns out that our brain learns to understand what’s similar and different among the parts of the whole mixed set, compare them, and work out the strategy for solving or distinguishing the parts.

Myth Three. Study something particular for a long time until you remember it well.

Mixed problems are always different, while easy equations are simple and all look similar to each other, and solving tests with mixed sets involves developing a creative approach to the task and decomposing it to parts, not sitting in confusion with the knowledge of only simple strategies. Don’t skip your “leg day” and get a proper, complete workout of your abilities.

The ability of your brain to learn something new deteriorates at the same pace with the time spent on studying in one sitting. When you’re spending a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there on studying some topic, you have to revise all the material each time you study, and more revising allows the brain to repeat and relearn the things you might have forgotten from the last times.

Myth Four. Testing is a bad tool of studying.

The standardized testing might be pretty hard, and remembering the answers to particular questions is really difficult. The thing is, no matter how bad the connotations that people have with tests are, the fact remains: the harder it is to remember the fact, the harder it is to forget later. You may still know the significant dates from the times of the Second World War many years after you passed all the tests. Therefore, practicing tests might become a powerful tool for remembering things. This is what bestselling Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning explains in great detail—the practice of retrieval is crucial for understanding and remembering materials, and tests are a good tool for that.

Myth Five. People differ a lot by their learning styles.

Research has shown that there isn’t much correlation between effective usage of particular approaches like “auditory” and “visual” learning styles with students who call themselves “left-brains” and “right-brains”. In fact, people just might get used to a certain approach, or not like a teacher or way the information is provided. The results from both “auditory” and “visual” learners when using one approach almost did not differ. You’re finally free to use any materials you want and not worry about being bad in one of the directions. 

So let’s put it this way: no studying techniques, even the ones that are supported by the reliable research, are able to make you a pro in one night. Motivation is what matters, and do not underestimate the value of rest and communication with friends.  And of course, time management is what comes after motivation which will let you have a well-rounded and positive college experience overall! If you plan your day well, you will have time for your homework, for doing sport, eating healthily and meeting friends! In order to learn how to master your time well at college, you need to develop efficient studying habits. Let’s start with the habit of being on time with your homework!

Tips on How to Keep up with College Homework

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Homework. Homework. Homework. Let’s get it straight, no one likes homework. Who even invented that stuff anyway? Like going to school wasn’t enough work as it is, now we have to bring the work home with us! You might have thought of completing high school that it would be the last time you would see lots of dreaded homework, but boy we imagine how much were you in for a shock after your first day of college! It seems there’s just no escaping it, and in college, it’s actually a lot worse because there are just too many tasks to be completed; thousands of pages of books to read, essays to write, and let’s not forget about the deadlines, and you have to keep track of all this by yourself! But hey, don’t let this discourage you. You’re not the first to experience this tedious workload of college. Billions of students have gone through this way before you, and if they survived, then why can’t you? Look at a few tips below that are bound to help you keep it together and learn to tame this wild beast called homework!

Write It Down

One of the main study tips for college is to have a small jotter with you. Many college courses have weekly or even sometimes daily assignments that you need to complete. You should make a checklist by writing down each assignment in accordance to their deadline, and by prioritizing them you make sure that you complete the urgent ones first. Prioritize your homework by thinking about their deadline and how long it will take to do each assignment. Try to use a jotter because it’s convenient and very easy to access, but you can opt for other options like your smartphone, a document on your laptop, a calendar, etc. Just make sure it’s easily accessible and you can check it once a day to update it and see if you’re on track.

Create a Study-Gang (I Mean Group ☻) 

You can’t expect to get through college as a lone-wolf. At some point, you’re gonna need the help of others. That’s why it’s advisable to create a study group together with people in your class or from the same college. This will enable you to share information as well as get enlightenment on subjects you have absolutely no knowledge of—best homework help ever! Remember what they say about two heads being better than one? Well, a study group is way better since it’s even more than two heads. Plus, hiring a tutor can also help boost the achievements of your study group because they can explain in more details and help you understand the concepts.

Create the Perfect Environment

We cannot stress enough how much your environment really affects your ability to concentrate. When your environment is calm and tidy, you can focus better, and this, in turn, leads to higher quality and more efficient study time. Make sure your room is all clean and tidied up, and get rid of any sort of distraction. If you find it hard studying at home, then try other options like the park, your local library, maybe even at your friend’s place.

Avoid Distractions

Yes, put your phone down. Of course,  Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter won’t even notice your absence! It can wait. Put your phone on silent mode, or if you fear you might get tempted then switch it off completely. If you think that still won’t work, then lock it in a safe and toss the keys into the Atlantic Ocean. Minor distractions are the last thing you need because not only do they make you lose concentration and make it hard to focus, you also end up spending a lot more time than you planned to on homework, with no progress! If you’re determined to work efficiently, then it’s crucial to set all forms of distraction aside.

Take a Break

Remember that you’re human, and every person has their limits. This is why taking a break is essential. Try to follow the routine of studying for an hour and taking a break for 30 minutes after each hour. You can use the time to go out for a walk, take in some fresh air to clear your mind, make something delicious to eat, play some games, or even meditate. This will get you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle that assignment.

Do Something Fun!

This is where the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” comes to mind. Take it as a way to make up for the hours you spent devoted to your homework. Now it’s time to put that all behind you and do something nice for yourself. It could be anything, from getting hooked on a video game, ordering pizza and binging on a really cool show on Netflix, or just a very looonnnnnng nap. You definitely deserve it for all your hard work. And such a reward can even serve as an incentive to make you study more efficiently!

After we have unveiled popular studying myths which might hinder incoming college students from feeling satisfied with their academic achievements and since we have discussed the tips which should improve your academic efficiency at college, let’s look at a set of facts which you are most likely not aware of! Did you know that most freshmen get admitted to the colleges of their first choice? Did you know that the majority of students rate their academic abilities as above average? Check below for more surprising college students’ facts.

Surprising Students Statistics

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Practically everyone from our community has already experienced (or definitely will do that in the near future) the thrill and magnificence of being a first-year college student. Of course, sophomores, junior and senior students have already passed such a life stage with pride and honor and currently can look at freshmen with a slight sign of supremacy. Nonetheless, each college student faces several hurdles on the way to success. Some people also note that one becomes a real student only during the second year of studies after surviving all crucial exams and gaining necessary credits for their further step of a college education. Let’s see what facts will make you feel dizzy as well as excited when even thinking of the first-year studies at college.

#1: All applicants generally fear that their college admission will be a complete failure due to certain reasons. Thus, there is no surprise that “fresh minds” often experience their luck with multiple college interviews according to their list of college preferences. However, the statistics provide us with totally different results that are as follows: it has turned out that more than 76% of freshmen are accepted to №1 college from their wish list. At the same time, such a point can be explained due to the fact that freshmen indeed strive to impress the College Admission Board by intelligence and witty catchwords prepared in the pockets in case of bad scenario.

#2: The second astonishing fact is devoted to the self-esteem of a freshman who has already studied for a while at college but has not scored enough credits to pass the first semester yet. Generally, a first-year student has an image of a scared boy or girl whose academic ability is below average in comparison with senior students. Or even vice versa, when the image of a swot or computer nerd whose success totally turns out to be a result of his lonesome lifestyle of a unsociable self-taught smartie arises in our minds. As a contradiction, statistics say that 71 percent of students rated themselves as either being in top 10% of students or above-average in their academic ability. A little surprise, huh?

#3: It seems that only earlier times dictated their rules when bachelor’s degree was not enough for the career ladder and studying further was indeed a perfect resolution. At the same time, we can easily observe the situation that nowadays the era of businessmen has come when people want to earn money with their innovative ideas easily and fast without further educational steps. Contrary to this fact, 25% of college freshmen expect to earn a master’s degree according to our investigation. That particular fact implies that students are really willing to succeed in education that sooner or later will lead them to a perfect job position with good annual income as a sweet bonus for their exhaustingly-tough work during college days.

#4: We cannot but mention the tuition fees that still play a crucial role in the possibility to attend the chosen college. No doubt that a student could be a gifted person with mental abilities higher than average, but unfortunately, very often  the college attendance can be totally dependent on the family income. Everyone knows how expensive the college education may be, even though student grants and loans are generally provided for all types of students by the college board taking into account a family’s social position. Still, only less than 57% of high school seniors can afford to attend classes in colleges. And that is the percentage out of 76% of freshmen who have indeed passed the admission! That fact imposes us to reconsider the existing opportunities for talented students attracting the governmental help in such a case to give those people a better chance for their development.

#5: We cannot exclude the fact about how much money freshmen spend on books for their studies either. That vital issue has been analyzed based on the parent forums and chats. Of course, taking into account how much can be spent only on the college tuition, parents as well as students themselves, make various attempts to find cheaper alternatives for buying books. According to data, weekly, students may spend from $30 to $300 on their textbooks only, depending on the college campus. No wonder that college freshmen (other students either) are constantly looking for bargains on books to save up a bit. For that reason, nowadays there is a bunch of alternative resources where students can not only buy books but also rent and sell old purchased textbooks to earn some extra cash! Thus, our BooksRun services is designed to help with such obstacles on the students’ way to college achievements! Here you may constantly sell your used textbooks back at the highest buyback prices, buy books at reasonable prices and even rent the items with the best quotes offered! Up to a point, we keep our customers updated with special offers and bargains with our newsletters where all the important information may be found. Our various promotions, numerous coupon codes and contests may add a perfect alternative for students to earn with us more. So, do not hesitate to contact us promptly and find the best resolution for yourself to save up and spend less money on books this year!

Now we are getting down to less surprising statistics—about how it is important for young people to maintain their mental health when pursuing their high education at college! Everyone seems to be talking about it nowadays in the news, you can read numerous articles on this topic on the internet but we still see that students do not take care of themselves when at college! Below we would like to address your attention to this important issue and we would like to share a few useful tips to support your emotional stability when studying for your diploma.

Maintaining Your Mental Health As a College Student

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As college students, we have quite a lot on our mind regarding tons of school work and keeping a decent academic record that we tend to forget the most important thing of all—looking after ourselves. Some are often hesitant to stop for a moment just to reflect on their lifestyle, to see if they may have recently developed certain habits that may be detrimental to their mental health. They fail to realize these habits until it’s too late and the outcomes are rather severe. You see, your mental health is way more important than academic records. Being mentally healthy enables you to function well, have meaningful social connections, positive self-esteem, and helps you to cope better with the ups and downs of college life. By maintaining your mental health, you eliminate certain toxic habits which are likely to disrupt your mental state. The key is to be aware of what these habits are in order to put an end to them. So here are a few tips to help you maintain your mental health as a college student.

Don’t Skip Sleep

Most people think that skipping sleep doesn’t affect you that much, except for the feeling of being tired all day and not being able to differentiate dream from reality. Well, think again. The effect that sleep deprivation can have on your mind and body is actually quite surprising, the results can even be devastating. A single night without sleep can be measured not only physically with blood samples that show its effects on hormones, but also visually, and by reaction times. Your immune system is negatively affected by loss of sleep and this makes your body less effective at fighting diseases. You’re more inclined to stress and your blood sugar may rise. Not getting enough sleep makes it hard for you to concentrate or multitask, thus significantly reducing your level of productivity. Not to mention that you won’t look your best.

Doctors recommend 7–9 hours of sleep per night. When you are rested, you look better to others, you physically feel better and your mind is sharper. Simple changes like shutting off electronics, making your bed comfortable, following a strict sleep schedule can really make a huge difference.

Regulate Your Time on Social Media

Social media platforms one more time! The rise of social media implied that we could stay connected throughout the globe. However, our dependence on social media can have detrimental effects on our mental health. According to statistics, the average person checks his/her phone as much as 35 times a day. Social media platforms have their benefits, but using them too frequently can make you feel increasingly unhappy and isolated. Constantly looking at perfectly filtered photos of friends or someone we admire on Instagram can lead to a blow on our self-esteem, while obsessively checking your Twitter or Facebook feed just before going to bed could contribute to poor quality of sleep. Not only has social media been proven to cause unhappiness or disrupted sleep, but it can also lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression when used too much or without caution.

You don’t have to cut out on social media for good, but cautiously regulating your time spent on social media platforms could do you a whole lot of good. For starters, try setting yourself a strict rule of not going on your phone for at least 40 minutes to an hour before going to bed, and see if that makes a difference to the quality of your sleep.

Always Stay Active

Staying active doesn’t particularly mean exercising, doing sports, or going to the gym. It could be yoga, frequent long walks in the park, housework, gardening, etc. A number of studies have proven that staying physically active helps improve your state of mind:

  • It may help to block out negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries.
  • Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increasing your social contact.
  • Increased fitness keeps you in perfect shape, lifts your mood, and improves your sleep pattern.
  • Studies show that yoga can help beat depression, anxiety, stress, and it teaches you how to be at peace with your inner self.

To maintain your physical and mental health, health specialists and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits

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There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect on our body. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. Although fast food is cheap and easy, a crappy diet can have long-term repercussions on your health both mentally and physically. If you aren’t taking care of your physical self, you’re most likely sabotaging your mental abilities. A healthy balanced diet includes:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Wholegrain cereals or bread
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Oily fish
  • Plenty of water

It’s highly recommended to eat at least three meals each day and drink lots of water. Try to limit the amount of high caffeine or sugary drinks you take, and also keep fast food to a minimum. We hope that our BooksRun tips on doing well at college will help you with having a well-rounded college experience!

Iliana K