Once you are back in college, there is a wide choice of activities lying in front of you. Some students prefer to use their time for getting organised, and some perceive it as an opportunity to learn something new. Regardless of what you choose to do during early autumn days, BooksRun has selected a few interesting college tips that we consider to be useful for every student out there after summer vacation.
1) Volunteer work
Any work experience is valuable enough to put on the resume. Volunteering, among other things, helps you build communication skills, master networking competencies as well as practice your team working abilities. It also allows you to try out something new and learn as well as help the community.
2) Summer school
Some summer schools still run in September. Even if the thought of additional classes makes us cringe, they might turn out to be very helpful in the long-run. Treat it as an opportunity to get ahead in the subject that you were not understanding too well. Student groups tend to be smaller in size in comparison to regular classes, so it’s a great chance to get to know your classmates better and advance your academic knowledge as well as learn extra study tips!
3) Learn new skills
There is plenty of free time during summer months, so why not finally do the thing that you were always dreaming about—for example, learn a foreign language? What’s more, keeping your brain in the working mode during the summer months would allow you not to have your cognitive abilities decreased too much from summer idleness.
4) Find a job
As you know, jobs bring you money to spend on things you need, and again, more work experience. Another great idea is to look for an internship in the area of your studies to multiply the academic knowledge you have already acquired by practical experience that may teach you even more than actual classes.
After months of eating lots of fruits and drinking numerous sugary cocktails with alcohol on the coast, now you have a perfect chance to restore your “beach body” and improve your health habits. For example, you can take a bike wherever you go or enrol in dance classes. Or you can take a simple walk outside and get some fresh air which will help your brain energize and make the blood flow. Don’t sit in one position for too long, stand up and stretch your tense muscles from time to time!
Feel free to take a break from work and other useful activities you have planned and travel to the places you have always dreamed of visiting! Or simply enjoy doing what you like!
7) Adjust your sleeping schedule
First and foremost you need to acknowledge the fact that there should be no more late-night Netflix streaming. Yup, your Netflix days are pretty much over now. Your only reason for staying up late now should be connected with attempts of pulling an allnighter with your textbooks, although this isn’t advisable (no one likes allnighters!). Nonetheless, retaining your post-summer habit of sleeping in or staying up late is bound to make it quite difficult for you to get back into your school routine. A healthy sleep schedule is crucial for excelling well in college and handling college stress. Try pushing your bedtime to an hour earlier day by day and before you even notice, you will ease yourself into a normal sleep cycle!
8) Get acquainted with your college timetable
Getting familiar with your new timetable lets you know what workload to expect in the midst of the semester and how to keep up with all that homework. That way you save yourself from the exercise of running up and down hallways in an attempt to figure out where the lecture is being held, or looking absolutely clueless during lectures. Keep a calendar where you can fill out what lectures you have on which dates. Get acquainted with the new subjects (if there are any), read up on them or consult the help of seniors who may have also had these classes before. It might give you an insight on what to expect before lectures start and how you approach your study routine to get the most out of the course with the minimum time required. This is called efficiency!
9) Get in touch with your study group
Yup, you’re definitely gonna need your study group again. You didn’t delete their numbers till now, did you? This is the time to get back with your classmates, college friends, tutors, teachers, and etc. Get together with your study group to discuss the upcoming semester, exchange ideas, review past assignments, practice exam tips and just generally get back on track. Always keep in mind that you don’t have to be alone on the journey. Never hesitate to ask for help!
10) Clean Up the Room
Stuff scattered around the table or a room makes your brain unable to focus on one thing, so your attention just roams around the place. Certainly, you know how tempted you can be to make an excuse that you have to tidy up everything instead of studying. Now you can turn it into a strength by both making the environment clean and completing your tasks — we have prepared special decluttering tips for college students.
11) Take a Shower
No matter hot or cold, showers tend to increase our alertness, ease stress and anxiety, and relieve tension. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that you might want to stay in the shower forever, but don’t make it too long – five or ten minutes is enough. And then back to the textbooks!
12) Eat Some Healthy Food
While ordering junk food might look like the easiest way out when you’re hungry like a wolf and not willing to bother yourself with cooking, it is not very nutritious and good for your health. Actual cooking may help you ease your mind with a simple task that does not require too much thinking. However, try not to get too stuffed, as it will slow down your thinking process. Moreover, use this time to learn more about healthy eating habits: even if you run every morning but you keep on devouring burgers and pizzas after that – most likely you will put on weight rather than lose it!
13) Breathing Exercises
There is a very simple way that will allow you to relax and meditate in less than ten minutes. Plenty of breathing techniques can help you ease your mind and invigorate you for further assignments that you need to complete.
14) Drawing or Coloring
Expressing yourself through drawing sketches or other artistic means is a powerful tool of relaxation. Coloring books for adults is also a very popular strategy of battling stress, so if you are waiting for the chance your inner child, here it is!
15) Avoid Social Media
As well as TV shows and video games. These things are treacherous and addictive, and a supposed ten minute break may last for hours, robbing you of precious time. Don’t fall for it and choose an activity that doesn’t make you feel sleepy and tired instead.
Enjoy your study breaks and don’t let them go on for ages! Plan your schedule if possible, and make sure you get enough sleep.
16) Just stay positive
It’s just college, right? It’s not like your whole future entirely depends on it, right? Okay, scratch that part. But still, going into lectures with a black cloud over your head is not exactly one of the best ways to start the semester. You have to find the good side of everything and master positive attitude! Think of reuniting with college friends, making even new friends, gaining new knowledge. Sure, there are some difficulties that come with college, but your chances of overcoming these difficulties lie in your ability to see the bright side in everything. Don’t be a downer. After all, it’s just college!
Having said that, we do not underestimate the importance of resolving so many little and not so things that every student out there has to do for the upcoming academic year! It is important to be savvy about the things you have to do! And very often these things require a certain amount of money! The new semester is almost here and it is the time (with no intent to upset you) when you spend your savings and hope you still have some money left to spend with your friends. Sure, the situation isn’t that sombre for everyone, but the amount of money students spend on textbooks is just absurd. And this number is growing. Since 2006 textbook prices steadily move up, and in 2016 that increase reached 73%. Just imagine it for a second! And while you can name a bunch of reasons to justify this behavior pattern of publishing companies, it does nothing good to your own pocket.
We’ve all heard horrid stories about graduates living their lives haunted by the debt trails of their precious diplomas. And while you might be under illusions that it will not be your case, it will still be a good idea to take some precautions. The existing education system designed by the government has been having its way with college students for way too long, so don’t let them take advantage of your lack of knowledge. So what to do to ease your way into adulthood and not end up in the purely surviving mode? Use these loopholes in the system (more like tips carefully gathered by us) and save up for your future.
17) Grants & scholarships for college
Choosing the place you are going to spend the next few years of your life (which will also pretty much define your future career and life perspectives, no big deal), is a traditional nerve-racking activity. And it doesn’t matter what month it is, since the application period lasts almost all year round and it also takes time to pass the necessary exams and prepare all the documents, recommendation letters, and other important information so that your application fulfils all the requirements.
Think about applying for scholarships as a way to avoid working long late nights for years afterwards in order to cover all your debts once you graduate. And while the preparation process (starting with the search for opportunities itself) may be hard and seem never-ending, in the long run, it truly pays off. Search for the government grants, university grants, programs supported by various organizations. Consider transferring to four-year programs while being a junior college student. Apply for FAFSA (and be both careful and attentive). Find suitable scholarships. And just go on studying, searching and applying till you find the option that suits you best.
18) Balance your books
Accounting may not be your thing but it can teach you some key points: from paying attention to the details to writing down the money you “give and get” to avoid any surprises at the end of the month. Moreover, while the tuition fee is seen as the biggest money-devouring monster, the amount you spend on textbooks helps you understand how much your education is going to cost you and your family.
The publishers, just as experienced politicians, without shame or doubt, skilfully lobby their interests in the form of new editions of textbooks no matter if they are not required to be issued every single year. How often does something beyond question new and ground-breaking get discovered by scientists? So, as a result, the not-so-much updated information on the annoyingly regular basis appears on the must-have list of professors, which doesn’t leave many options for students.
What can you do about that? Well, consider the following points:
- Before ordering a hard copy, first, try to find an online textbook. You can use various websites or just conduct your research using Google (remember to type a format, like epub, pdf, txt, mobi). You can also use html or htm to find and read the books online.
- While the web offers great corners to find peace and escape from a busy routine, it is also a great place to hone your research skills. Here’s where you cannot overdo, especially if it potentially can save you money. Search for the opportunities online, comparing prices and creating your list of favorite websites and companies. Some companies pride themselves on offering the highest buyback quotes, others offer impeccable service, and we here at BooksRun aspire to do both (and more).
- After you set your mind to having a physical copy of the book rather than downloading the material you need (that decision itself may take creating some pros/cons lists), you move to the next step: decide whether you are going to buy or rent. Both can be done on BooksRun website (and the process is very easy). The defining moment is usually the price. If you know that you are going to need the book for a long time (even after the end of the course) and that you would like to use the book without worrying about its condition (like writing on the pages whatever you want, any notes in the unlimited amount), well then, definitely, you should purchase the book. However, if you know that you’re only going to need a few pages or chapters to do your homework, or that the price is a pretty much sensitive subject to your budget, then, by all means, rent. Also, with a rental order on our website, you can always change your mind and purchase the book.
- Completing the “textbook cycle”, you can choose to sell your used textbooks that you no longer need, since using them as part of your room decorum might not be the most profitable idea (unless, of course, you are looking for the ways to monetize your interior design hobby and create a start-up). To do that, simply quote the ISBNs of the books you have, create a buyback order, and after it is processed, promptly receive your compensation.
19) Discounts & coupons
This one is more of a “go-with-the-flow” tip. It’s hard to predict exactly whether they will be there for you when you need them the most, but at least you can find some info about the websites that usually offer them. Also, you can use websites that specifically gather such intel and disclose them to the masses (like offers.com, retailmenot.com, promocodewatch.com, coupons.com, dealspotr.com and many others).
Long story short, whenever you’re about to buy something that will cost you more than $10 (roughly, duh), search for every possible offer that will help you save on the purchase. In addition, check out the options that your student union offers (or any equivalent one, for that matter). Signing up with them may help you save on a wide range of things from books to food and entertainment.
Plus, don’t be shy to participate in contests (we run them from time to time – check our website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and giveaways. You will not win every time, but at least you’re giving yourself a shot at receiving a nice and unexpected surprise.
20) Your budget & free time
Before the start of the fall semester you should have considered creating a budget that you would adhere to in the coming months. Your budget consists of not just the plan you create and solemnly swear to follow it, but also your daily spending habits. What starts with an innocent virtual window-shopping very often ends up with mindless purchases that have a drastic effect on the credit card. Give yourself some time to cool down after seeing some awesome things you wish you’d had. Get your priorities straight and make a well-thought-out decision in cold blood.
In case this type of procrastinating is more like a habit that helps you clear your head, try switching to something more useful or at least safe. Instead of walking on the edge with your time and money, try building up your habits step by step. You can try creating a habit tracker that will notably help you with your spending plan! Next time you feel the urge to do anything to put off doing what you have to do, just find some activity that will do you good, not merely kill your time (read, have a walk, create a bucket list, sign up for ballet, create a sitcom script, etc.).
On top of all the aforementioned facts, be careful with spending on the things you do in your free time, be it going to the movies or a bar, chilling in a spa, trying out floatation therapy or cryotherapy (or something as equally fancy). Try to wait up till a promo code appears or a discount, and always remember to write it down in your budget plan. This way it will be much easier for you to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the month and adjust your spending habits. And you can look for student maintenance loans in case you are struggling to meet ends meet this year!