Your first year of college is your first real experience with independence, but there are so many choices, as well as responsibilities. You have classes to attend and social activities to explore. You may also work a part-time job, volunteer, or participate in extracurricular activities. Being a freshman is exciting, but it can be overwhelming.

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid during your first year of college:

1) Thinking It Will Be Just Like High School

One of the biggest mistakes freshmen make is thinking that college will be just like high school, but college isn’t like high school at all. You may have been the valedictorian of your high-school class without ever having to study for a single test, but don’t expect things to be so easy in college. Now that you are going to a university, you may find yourself surrounded by people just like you. However amazing you were in high school, these people may be equally amazing. You may even find that you are no longer the smartest person in the room — and that’s a good thing. Dial back the hubris and embrace your position. Don’t feel threatened, seize the opportunity to mix with some bright minds.

2) Working Too Hard but Not Smart Enough

This brings us to the second common pitfall: putting in too much effort but focusing that energy on the wrong things. Effort can be defined as taking action toward a goal. When you go to college, you find more extracurricular activities, course options, and social opportunities than were available to you ever before. It is easy to over-commit yourself and to try so hard to be the best in class or the best on your team that you get burned out. Instead of applying your effort, apply your willpower — that is, your ability to persevere. In other words, work smarter, not harder so you don’t burn yourself out on the wrong stuff.

3) Losing Focus

With so many new distractions, events, friends, and activities in college, it can be tough to really be there in the moment, giving full attention and not thinking about what you are going to do later or that cutie in the next row. Before you know it, you miss something important your professor said, you show up late or miss class because it’s Greek week, you fall behind on homework, or you miss a deadline with your financial aid/student loan paperwork and risk losing out on a college you dreamed of attending. Don’t let this happen to you.

4) Neglecting to Care for Yourself

In college, you get to eat what you want and sleep is something you do when you don’t have anything better to occupy your time. It may seem fun in the moment, but it is a big mistake. Overeating or eating the wrong foods can lead to the notorious “Freshman 15,” a very real situation in which many college students quickly put on 15 lbs. and stress their bodies carrying around that excess weight. Before you know it, you have problems concentrating and you don’t have any energy, plus you seem to get every cold that comes around and you’re out of breath just walking to class. Avoid this pitfall by keeping regular sleeping hours, exercising regularly, and eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

You finally have the chance to make your own decisions, plot your own course, and work toward the life you want. Don’t start off on the wrong foot!


Texas recently rolled out the welcome mat for concealed weapons on college campuses. The bill, known as the “campus carry” bill, will go into effect in August 2016 for universities and August 2017 for community colleges. Although private colleges can opt out of the bill, and public schools can designate “gun-free” zones, the measure has created a flurry of debate on both sides of the issue.

Supporters Claim the Bill Is a Protection

Republicans voted in favor of the new law. “I just feel that the time has come for us to protect the men and women of Texas who are carrying concealed on our campuses,” said the bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Allen Fletcher.

Supporters also claim that most of the people who will carry their guns on campus will be older, responsible students who simply want to protect themselves. The argument claims that villains will be villains regardless of laws, and the new bill lets law-abiding citizens guard themselves against the people who would choose to do them harm.

Some Gun-Rights Advocates Dislike the Bill

Some people who support the rights of students and others to carry concealed guns dislike the attention the bill has brought to the issue, and they claim the bill gives too much leeway to opponents of concealed weapons rights.

Students for Concealed Carry expressed opposition to the legislation, which the group said gives “opponents of campus carry exactly what they wanted — complete local control over licensed concealed carry . . . We at Students for Concealed Carry would appreciate it (if) the bill’s authors and sponsors would quit confusing the issue by claiming a victory for our side. We don’t need to hide behind a gutted bill to save face.”

Professors and Students Express Concerns

In a New York Times article, reporters Manny Fernandez and Dave Montgomery wrote that professors worry about seeing students in their offices alone to talk about failing grades, if they believe the students may be armed. The article also noted that Democratic lawmakers and some university leaders have concerns about hikes in security costs and the effects of the bill on bringing in new teachers and students from other states.

Some students also stated their worries about having concealed weapons on campus. “I don’t think guns should be allowed, because that’s pretty scary,” 18-year-old sophomore Sarah Wang said in the Times article. “We’ve already seen so many instances where people get hurt because there are guns in schools.”

Do Guns Belong on Campus?

When the bill goes into effect, Texas will join seven other states that allow concealed weapons on campuses; Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin already allow guns. Nineteen states ban guns, and 23 states leave the decision up to individual schools. The other states that do allow guns give more freedom to weapons owners than the Texas law does.

Rick Brown, the chief of police at Southern Utah University in Center City, where students and faculty can carry concealed weapons in most campus areas, claims the university’s gun policy has never led to any problems on campus.

Obviously, the issue of whether guns belong on campus is a polarizing one. Regardless of which side of the issue they stand on, however, students should take common-sense measures to protect themselves and be aware of school and state policies regarding concealed weapons.


Internships help you explore a field of study further, get experience in an industry, and build connections within a company. You may have to work for free or for a very low wage to have the privilege of learning from established professionals in your field or industry. The hours are usually long and the work can be plentiful, but when you do an internship abroad, you get to spend your days working in a field you love while exploring a new place. You may even get to learn a new language, and the experience itself, whether positive or negative, lets you explore a country you have always wanted to see while earning an impressive entry on your resume. It may sound like a dream, but scoring an internship abroad is a very real possibility and easier than you think.

Interning Abroad

Most schools in the United States will offer credit for qualified internships, but not all internships will qualify. That may or may not matter, depending on your particular field of study, the requirements of your program, the reason you want a particular internship, and the employment laws of the country in which you intend to complete your internship. Some colleges may not give you the necessary documentation you need to prove that you are completing an internship, so do your research before accepting an internship. Plus, whether your internship is paid, required, or counts for college credit can change the legal right you have in the host country and even the process you need to follow to get a visa.

Common Fees

Depending on your college, you may have to pay to get acknowledgement for your internship on your college transcript. In addition, many internships are unpaid or do not offer enough pay to support yourself financially while staying in the country. You will incur expenses for food and accommodations, as well as the adventures you will have. To be able to get a visa to your host country, you will need to prove that you have adequate financial support before paying the fees for the visa. Travel expenses also have to be tallied as well as health care. Make sure you have an emergency fund, just in case.

Websites to Use

There are organizations that offer internship abroad placement services for a fee but you don’t need to use them to find a great opportunity. You can find internships in your host country on your own through sites like GoOverseas.com, which provides information about programs for studying, interning, and learning a language in different countries, and GoAbroad.com, which offers a variety of information about volunteering, studying, teaching, and interning abroad. Both provide reviews as well as information. The career placement services office at your college may also be able to help.

Interning abroad is a great way to earn work experience while gaining life experience. Being in a different country, with a different language, different customs, and a different culture, makes an internship abroad challenging — you’ll be away from friends and family, and will likely have difficulties communicating — but the trade-off is worth it as long as you do your research first.


Ready to hit the road for an unforgettable mid-summer trip? If destinations like New York City and Las Vegas seem a little too commonplace and touristy, you can find many other cities you can head to for offbeat fun and eccentric offerings. Plus, cities that don’t see as many tourists tend to be cheaper, so you can be kind to your budget.

What are some worthy destinations for your summer road trip? Here’s four to consider:

1) Portland, Oregon

The TV show Portlandia depicts this Pacific Northwest gem as out-of-this-world weird, and that isn’t far from the truth — in a really good way. All you have to do is head downtown, pick a spot for people-watching, and count all the unique characters that pass by.

But Portland’s lovable strangeness is only part of the city’s appeal. You’ll find amazing food, too. Enjoy handmade pasta, perfect pizza, stellar seafood, microwbrews galore, and more

For some stunning natural scenery, take the short trip to the Columbia River Gorge, where lush greenery and majestic waterfalls await. Or, if you’re up for a hike, try Mt. Hood, which is just a short drive out of town.

2) Memphis, Tennessee

For amazing Southern fun, head to Memphis. Walk along Beale Street and try not to let the tons of live entertainment and food options overwhelm you. Visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Wander through museums that showcase the city’s rich music history (a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit soul, and all good). Want to find a unique piece to liven up your dorm room? Head to the Memphis Antique and Design District in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

See Memphis’s true beauty when you go to the Mississippi River and take in a remarkable sunset while you unwind from a day of eating and shopping and exploring. Take a biking tour of the city for even more photo opportunities.

3) Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ready to have a grand time in Grand Rapids? This beautiful attraction-filled city is a great place to visit if you live in the Midwest. The GR beaches are a must-experience. In winter, the beaches are too cold to be much fun, but the warm summer weather lets you take full advantage of the clean white-sand shores of Lake Michigan.

In the city itself, you can enjoy top-notch shopping at malls and boutiques. After the sun sets, don your nighttime party apparel and head to a place like 57 Brewpub and Bistro or Dr. Grin’s Comedy Club.

4) Albuquerque, New Mexico

Pack your sunscreen when you head to Albuquerque. The average daytime temperature in the summer is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, although a low humidity level makes it tolerable.

Hiking is one of the best things to do in Albuquerque. Enjoy the allure of the desert when you traverse the Sandia Mountains. Keep an eye out for wildlife and bring your camera so you can capture a breathtaking sunset or sunrise. If your budget allows for it, you should take a hot-air balloon ride over the Rio Grande Valley for views unlike any other and you’ll understand why Albuquerque is considered The Ballooning Capital of The World.

If you’d rather spend your time indoors, you can have fun at a spa or casino in town. Visit a brewery or winery for some delicious cooling libations and sink your teeth into New Mexican cuisine, a unique fusion of Spanish, Native American, and Spanish ingredients and styles.

Where will your summer adventures take you?

 


This little planet contains hundreds of cultures, thousands of beautiful places, and limitless opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re a travel newbie or a seasoned globetrotter, you can grow every time you leave your homeland. Here are some ways travel can change you for the better.

1. You Gain Confidence

When you’re traveling, you’ll run into unexpected situations. You will have to navigate unfamiliar areas, adapt to new laws and customs, and overcome language barriers. Figuring things out is always challenging, but as you do, you’ll gain self-confidence and problem-solving skills, and that can-do attitude and critical thinking will transfer to other areas of your life.

This is especially true if you decide to do some solo traveling. Just make sure you do your research before you take off, so you don’t stray into danger.

2. You Make Friends

Sometimes the people you’re with will take an experience from ordinary to unforgettable. Maybe you want to invite a few of your classmates on a road trip, perhaps you’ll sign up for a group tour in Europe or Asia, or maybe you’ll meet fellow travelers along the way and you’ll continue the journey together. No matter what, you will bond with your travel companions.

You should also reach out to local folks as you travel They will have different perspectives on their cities and the world in general and your cultural awareness will flourish. Plus you’ll be privy to inside information that goes deeper than any tour books can offer.

3. You Learn About Humanity

You can read about other places in books and you can watch TV shows about people across the world, but these don’t compare to personal experience. Whether you visit tribes in Papua New Guinea or get to know people in Myanmar, you will become better at understanding how other people think and feel and live.

No matter how different cultures are, all people belong to the same human family, a fact you will come to appreciate every time you meet someone with a background vastly different from your own but with whom you share a smile.

4. You Learn to Let Things Go and What’s Important

Regardless of how diligently you plan your itinerary, things will change and probably even go wrong. When that happens, you can be totally derailed into a meltdown or you can go with the flow and see what happens. Traveling will help you teach yourself how to relax and when to let go, skills that will come in handy when you’re going in for a job interview or facing finals week.

Traveling will also shift your perspective on material possessions. You’ll learn that packing light and living more simply gives you more time and energy to enjoy the wonders of your journey. You’ll also see how much of the world lives without the things you take for granted and you may even be inspired to reduce your own consumer footprint.

5. You Become More Creative

Whether you’re viewing art at the Louvre or watching buskers on the streets of Bangkok, everything you take in will spark your imagination and inspire you. To capture your memories, you’ll want to write a journal, record everything in photos, or put your experience on video.

Furthermore, according to researchers, “living in another culture and learning the practices of that culture may enhance the psychological processes that make people more creative.”

There are a lot of reasons to opt not to travel (instability abroad, budget concerns, taking time off from work or school). But don’t let these become excuses. Remember that the personal benefits you reap from seeing the world can be transformative and the memories will last a lifetime.


Did your summer plans change and you’ve now got some extra time and the itch to travel? Or maybe this summer’s job is so boring that you’re already thinking about getting away next summer. Whatever your situation, consider traveling and its many benefits. You’ll see the world anew, experience diverse cultures, gain valuable experience, make friends for a lifetime, and so much more.

Summer Travel

Summer is full of possibilities for fun and adventure. However, it doesn’t always live up to expectations. If none of your friends are around and you don’t have homework or other tasks to keep you busy, boredom might rear its ugly head. How can you slay the beast of boredom and stay productive this summer?

Learn New Things

School may be out, but that doesn’t have to put a pause on your learning. In fact, it actually frees you up to learn about the things that have always piqued your interest and for which you never had time because of school. To keep your mind sharp, explore new ideas, and even pick up some marketable skills, try some of the following:

  • Take a free online course through a platform like codecademy, Coursera, edX, or Open Culture.
  • Get a head start on next quarter’s classes by getting your textbooks early. Even if you don’t have a syllabus for your upcoming classes, you can still get ahead by browsing the table of contents, glossary, and index.
  • Listen to enriching Podcasts. These could help you learn a new language, better understand everyday science, or train your brain for more-efficient learning.

Find a Project

Everyone has things they’ve been dying to do but simply haven’t found time for. Summer presents the perfect opportunity. Maybe you want to write a novel or memoir about your semester overseas. Maybe your parents need help repainting the house. Brainstorm ideas for projects that could fill both your summer break and your soul with a sense of accomplishment.

You may also want to volunteer. Find local opportunities to tutor younger students, help animals in need, and provide services for those who don’t have enough. You’ll learn about your community and how good it feels to give back and you’ll have something special to add to your resume.

Read

Reading is not only fun, it also has significant benefits that can help you when you go back to school. Reading can:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Increase knowledge
  • Expand vocabulary
  • Sharpen memory
  • Boost writing skills

Whether you read the hottest title on the bestseller, a classic novel or a cookbook, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re relaxing under the summer sun with some lemonade and a good book. All reading is good reading.

Establish Healthy Habits

Maybe the hectic routine of college life got you into some bad habits, like eating nothing but microwaved meals. Use your summer to re-establish healthy habits you let slide during the school year:

  • Explore the outdoors by going hiking, biking, or just taking long walks. Find some beautiful natural scenery, and take some Instagram photos to make your friends jealous.
  • Get into a healthy eating routine. Summer is prime time for farmers’ markets and produce stands so why not add those veggies back to your diet and snack on in-season fruit instead of processed foods? And why not walk or cycle to the market instead of driving?
  • Encourage your friends and family to hop on the health bandwagon. Working out with a buddy will make it much more likely for you to stick to your plan.
  • Brainstorm ways you can keep up good habits even when you’re juggling classes, homework, and social events at school.

Forget the lazy days of summer — make your break productive. Learn new things, complete a project, or get in shape. When you head back to school, you’ll free refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the new year.


As the mercury climbs, college kids everywhere are preparing for road trips to some of America’s hottest festivals. But where should you go? If your itinerary is still up in the air, consider checking out these awesome events.

Lollapalooza: World’s Best Musical Showcase

Line-ups don’t get more eclectic than Lollapalooza, which has becomes a long-running summer tradition. Just about every genre and musical era are represented, with artists like Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence and the Machine, and Hot Chip on the bill. You’ll be on your feet for more than 12 hours each day, so pack comfy shoes!

Lollapalooza hits Chicago’s Grant Park from July 31 to August 2 this year. General admission tickets are sold out, but out-of-towners will save money on travel packages, which include local accommodation, your choice of general admission, VIP, or platinum passes, and some swag to take home. Travel packages start from $1,735.

Burning Man: Iconic Arts and Culture Festival

For something truly exceptional, head to Burning Man. From August 30 to September 7, more than 65,000 free spirits will converge on Nevada’s Black Rock City. It’s a truly alternative festival, without a bill of bands or a schedule, and the gathering celebrates art, music, sustainability, community, and higher consciousness.

Burning Man’s OMG Sale will commence at noon PST on August 5. A thousand $390 tickets and 1250 $50 vehicle passes will be released as part of this sale. Registration is required for this special sale, and takes place from noon on July 29 to noon on August 1.

Summerfest: America’s Biggest Festival

Between 800,000 and 1 million music lovers visit Summerfest each year, making it America’s biggest festival. It’s also one of the cheapest, with one-day passes priced at just $19. That won’t get you into Marcus Amphitheater, where big names like the Rolling Stones, Keith Urban, Stevie Wonder, and Florida Georgia Line play, but you will get to see performances on other stages dotted around Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival park. Doing the festival on the cheap is a great way to discover new musical acts and stay ahead of the curve.

Summerfest runs from June 24 to 28, and from June 30 to July 5. To really save cash, carpool to Wisconsin with your buddies and buy three-day passes for just $45.

Vans Warped Tour: Classic Traveling Punk Festival

The Vans Warped Tour is a punk festival institution. It’s ideal for students without the time or money to travel across the country as it stops at more than 40 U.S. cities from June 19 to August 8. For around $40 a ticket, depending on your location, you’ll see some of punk music’s biggest names, including We Came as Romans, Motion City Soundtrack, Simple Plan, I Killed the Prom Queen, Juliet Simms, and heaps more.

Bypass the crowds and do some good by donating three canned goods, a used cell phone, or $5 at the Express Entry flag. Backstage wristbands are also available to the first 100 ticket holders who donate blood each day.

You’ll be back in class before you know it, so make the most of your summer,and let your hair down at one of these fantastic festivals.


Today we’re continuing our mini-series about summer internships (no, it’s still not too late). This week we’ve got an extensive inforaphic on The Most-Exciting Summer Internships as a follow-up to last week’s article, 4 Tips to Help You Score a Summer Internship. Got plans for a sweet summer internship or advice for your peers still hoping to secure that perfect intern experience? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Summer Internships

The weather’s warming up, but it’s not too late to organize a summer internship. A summer internship can provide valuable workplace experience and access to industry professionals who may become great contacts in the future. So don’t delay a minute longer. The clock’s ticking, but these tips will help you find the right internship opportunity before summer arrives.

Approach Small Businesses

Small businesses tend to have less-formal internship programs, so there are often no deadlines. You’re also likely to have less competition, as students who already have their internship places often target household names.

What these eager beavers don’t realize is that small firms often provide a richer internship experience. They don’t have the same hierarchy you’ll find in big firms, so you’ll be able to interact with the C-suite and probably enjoy more responsibility and hands-on experience.

Traditional local businesses are a good start, but start-ups and non-profits may also consider taking you on for an internship.

Use Your Network

Studies show four out of five jobs are found through networking. You might think you don’t have a network yet, but you have more contacts than you realize. Your family members, your friends, your parents’ friends, your professors, your boss at your part-time job, and anyone else you know are part of your network. Talk online and offline about your desire to find a summer internship and ask whether anyone knows of any great opportunities. You might be surprised what this process unearths!

Search Through Internship Websites

We’ve all heard spending time online searching for a job isn’t the best way to find paid employment, but internships work a little differently. Many companies love the convenience of fielding applicants online, so checking out what’s advertised on reputable internship sites makes sense.

Internships.com and Internmatch.com are just a couple of the excellent internship sites online. If you’d love to give back and work for a non-profit, try Idealist.org. And if you can afford to pay for the experience of interning overseas, Global Experiences is a great resource.

Create a Resume to Impress

It can be disappointing to discover recruiters typically spend just six seconds looking over a resume. Which is why your resume needs to make the right impression within that short time frame, or it’ll end up in the trash.

You want your resume to pop, so use subheadings to make it scannable and see whether you can cull the information you present. You might be proud of winning the sophomore science fair, but a prospective employer’s likely to be less impressed. Consider the type of internship you’re seeking and tailor your resume to highlight the skills and experience you’ll need. For example, if you want to intern at a design firm, show off your design talents and create a resume with real flair.

If your school has a career center, the staff there can give you tips on how to improve your resume. This might give yours the extra polish it needs to help you land that last-minute internship.

Now that you know the tips, don’t waste a moment more. Start putting this advice into practice for your best chance of securing an internship before summer.

Like this post? Check out our Summer Internships Infographic!