Just accept it; you’re not going to love every class you take every semester. Whether the course is challenging or a boring subject, or you just haven’t meshed with your instructor, there are ways to stay positive and engaged. A recent study by USA Today reports that calculus, biology, and chemistry were the top three hated classes by college students last year. Here are a few tips on how to survive the drudgery and even get a solid grade.

Explore Different Learning Styles

Everyone has his or her own unique approach to learning new things. If your teacher’s style doesn’t compliment your own, look for other ways to get information. The web is an endless source of learning opportunities. If you like videos or the opportunity to take a practice quiz, the internet is a great tool to reinforce your curriculum. Just make sure your sources are credible. Mike on YouTube may be a rocket scientist, but he may not be. By taking your education into your own hands, you’re more apt to survive those classes you hate.

Reevaluate Your Attitude

This semester, you may have that dreaded class where everything is wrong from the professor to the subject to the schedule. Keep an eye on perspective. Every course offers an opportunity to learn something new, and if you open your mind and change your attitude, you might be surprised by how much you end up enjoying it. Keep in mind that every class brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal: a degree and your dream job.

Relate the Topic to Everyday Life

Difficult-to-understand classes may be easier to swallow if you relate them to your daily life. If you’re a biology major and your tough subject is geometry, look for shapes and angles anywhere and study their relationships to one another. Consider taking pictures and make observations. The good news is that we use math and many other subjects without even noticing. Choosing to be aware and using what you learned in class will strengthen your understanding of the material, and it might not seem so hateful after all.

Get a Study Group Together

Power in numbers is more than just a phrase. If you’re having difficulty grasping a lesson, reach out to your peers for help. Form a study group or ask for some tutoring assistance. A new and completely different viewpoint of confusing topics can help clarify information you don’t understand. If nothing else, the companionship will make studying more enjoyable.

It’s Only Temporary

Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is just one class of many you’ll take during your college career. Once it’s over, it’s over, and you just need to focus on doing your best. If you need to, ask your instructor for extra credit so you can pass the class and leave it behind you forever.

Studying for classes you hate probably feels intimidating. Just remember that there are ways to survive these subjects and even make them more enjoyable. Don’t hesitate to add your own creative flair to your study approach; your grades are sure to reflect your input.

According to published research by Statistic Brain, 46 percent of us vowed to improve our health this year, and resolutions for 2018 will likely pan out the same. Another study reports that 80 percent of us will fall off that healthy bandwagon by February. Don’t be too hard on yourself. With commitments to your education and other interests, sticking to healthy habits is challenging. The goal of healthy changes is to focus on progress, not perfection. Here are a few tips to help you make healthy habits stick.

Start with Reasonable Goals

It’s the new year, and we’re all excited about getting in shape, but many of us bite off more than we can chew and end up getting frustrated. Healthy choices are not an all-or-nothing deal. Don’t blow off your workout because you have an exam. Try walking to class. 10 minutes of brisk walking will improve brain function while burning calories. Ignore commercials that promise you’ll lose 20 pounds in a month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a reasonable monthly weight loss goal is 4-8 pounds, but in one’s later years that could drop to 2-3 pounds per month. Just a few pounds a month will go a long way to improving heart health.

Use a Fitness Tracker

Better than tracking how long you spent at the gym, lay down some more valuable hardcore numbers like how many calories you burned and the maximum heart rate you achieved. Innovative technology like the Fitbit Ionic and Jawbone’s UP2 easily track your workouts, sleep, and more. Plus, these devices can enhance your favorite outfits. Good old standbys like MyFitnessPal.com has an excellent database of foods that make tracking calories easy and fun.

Find Joy in Everyday Changes

Making positive changes in your health shouldn’t feel like a huge burden. Figure out small changes that fit your personality and are exciting for you. Would you rather go for a hike than run a mile on a treadmill? Does a four-minute Tabata fit your schedule better than an hour of powerlifting? Are you a yoga guru? Go ahead and indulge yourself in whatever makes you feel empowered. If a bowl of ice cream after a stressful day of Monday classes makes you happy, then take that time for yourself. As long as you focus on the 80:20 nutrition plan of eight parts healthy and two parts indulgence, you will see positive changes over time.

Be Accountable to Yourself

Being part of an online community or hiring a personal trainer are all great choices if you actually commit to them. What’s more important is being accountable to yourself. Guilt doesn’t always motivate us. It often backfires and causes us to give up or lose sight of our ultimate goal of healthier habits. Only you can take charge of your health and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, and obesity.

Many other serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes are also linked to poor lifestyle choices. Committing to a healthy routine now will pave the way to good health in the future. Once you find joy in healthy choices, your new and improved lifestyle habits will stick. You may want to share these healthy traditions with your own family someday.

There are many situations in life where you will need to work full time while going to college.  You may have a family to support, bills to pay, and can’t give up work to go to school. Even without these responsibilities, working full time while going to school is a good way to avoid too much student loan debt.

Regardless of your reason to work full time while going to school, you’ll need to plan carefully to balance work and college time, and still have room for free time to recharge.

Make a Solid Plan

Get a planner app for your phone so your busy schedule is always with you.  Set realistic goals for work, study time, and rest. Planning your down time is an absolute must, in order to recharge your mind and body.

 

If you have an hour for lunch, try doing some homework in the lunch room. Use travel time to read on buses or trains, or listen to recorded lectures while driving.

Communicate With Your Boss

Speak with your manager and explain that you attend college after working hours.  Share your college schedule with your manager or supervisor to be sure you won’t have to stay late on those evenings when your class load is heaviest.  In most cases, your boss will appreciate that you are committed to improving yourself through higher education.  This could even lead to a promotion in the future.

Avoid Taking Too Many Classes

It’s not a race. If you work 40 hours a week, you will not be able to take eight classes per week and still keep your sanity at the end of the semester.  Opt for 3-hour night courses which meet one evening per week. You don’t have time to attend three 1-hour sessions of the same class every week. Weekend courses are an excellent option.

 

Spread your course load over evenings, weekends, and summer sessions, to avoid burnout.  If possible, look for a job with flexible hours, to better accommodate your class load. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many heavy classes at once.  Take at least one light course, such as an elective or a physical education class, to blow off steam.

Take Online Classes

Take as many online courses as you can.  Avoid wasting time and money commuting several times per week to your college campus. It’s much easier finding an online course to fit your work schedule than the other way around.

Use Your Support Network

Family and friends will help you if you ask.  If you have children, divide childcare time with your partner or your parents. Even getting a ride to work or school eases the stress of driving, and you gain more down time to study.  If you have a mentor*, ask for advice on how to juggle your busy life. Seeking an outside opinion is a great way to avoid burning out.

 

You can balance work and study if you stick to a solid plan, don’t over-extend yourself, and look to others for help carrying the burden.  Take days off from work around mid-term and final exams. And most importantly, don’t forget to take time to relax.  You earned it!

You’ve got a part-time job, a full college course load, and you’re on your way. But that calculus class is turning out to me a really tough nut to crack. In order to maintain your grade point average, and save your mental energy for everything else, it may be time to try tutoring.

 

In the old days, in-person tutoring was your only option. In the digital age, you have a wide variety of tutoring choices. So how do you choose between in-person and online tutoring? Weigh the pluses and minuses of each tutor type before choosing, or try both to decide which is best for you.

 

In-Person Tutoring – Personal Face Time

 

The obvious advantage of an in-person tutor is proximity. Your tutor is literally there for you, in the same room. Your tutor knows your school’s individual curriculum and its teachers. An in-person tutor also gets to know you and your study habits over time.

 

Online tutors communicate with you over Skype, but that’s not the same as personal human interaction, and today’s digital devices separate us more often than bring us together. You’ll develop a working relationship with your in-person tutor, and they will quickly identify your learning habits and adjust their tutoring methods to help you.

 

But what if your tutor is ill and you need to cram for the mid-term math test? Or maybe your other courses pushed you into a corner, and you need help immediately. In-person tutors are great for a fixed schedule over time, but when push comes to shove, online tutors are available any time.

 

Online Tutoring — Convenience

 

Convenience is the biggest advantage of an online tutor. A digital world of online tutors awaits when you need last-minute help for that major test, or just need to shuffle your busy schedule. Online tutoring agencies match your needs with a wide range of skilled tutors, 24 hours a day.

 

Online Tutoring — Choice

 

An online tutoring agency matches the experts with the students. You choose the schedule, the agency finds your tutor. Your math tutor may not be able to help you with your French homework, so find two tutors in one agency, even if they are miles apart.

 

Maybe you really want to get into a certain University. Find an online tutor alumnus from your chosen school to get the best-qualified tutor, one who knows your school from top to bottom. You also have regular access to your online tutor, even if one of you moves to another city.

 

Online Tutoring – Expertise

 

Most tutoring agencies rigorously screen their tutors to find the people best qualified for the job. This means you can always turn to another expert for help if your regular tutor is ill.

 

Finally, it all comes down to you. How do you learn best? Do you love software and digital solutions? Do you prefer personal meetings? Some tutoring agencies claim there is no difference between screen time and face time, but beyond the marketing message, only you know what’s best for you. The best way to find out is to try both types of tutor.

 

For many first-generation students — students who are the first in their family to attend college — post-secondary education is a huge deal. They’re taking a different path than the rest of their family, one that their parents may not understand or even support. In many cases, they have more financial stresses than other students and may also feel like they don’t belong on campus. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources to help first-generation students adjust to college life.

Finances

Not every first-generation student comes from a low-income family. However, the National Education Longitudinal Study found that first-generation students are more likely to have dependent children, not receive financial help from family, and come from a lower-income family than students with parents who have degrees. Clearly, this puts them at a disadvantage right from the start.

There are several methods for getting funds. The most obvious (and first) step to take is applying for as many grants and scholarships as possible. If the amount received still isn’t enough, there are ways to make money while going to college. For example, you can try doing a work-study program. Also, many courses are available online, which makes it easier for students to schedule classes around their work schedule.  

Family Relationships

For many students who come from a family of college graduates, getting a post-secondary education is expected. This isn’t always the case for first-gen students. Their parents may not see the value of attending college. For other first-gen students, their parents may be proud of them but not understand just how much work college really is. This translates to less emotional support, which adds even more stress. 

The only real solution here is communication. If possible, students can include their parents in discussions with the high-school guidance counselor or precollege staff. If it’s too late for that, telling mom or dad “I just want you to say I can do it” can help them know how to help you.

Fitting In on Campus

It’s common for first-gen students to feel as if they don’t belong on campus. Things that come naturally to other students, such as talking to professors, may be confusing. Income inequality is noticeable in casual conversations. For example, a first-gen student may have nothing to say when her wealthier classmates discuss their latest trips to Europe or the Caribbean. Sometimes professors unwittingly ask questions that make first-gen students feel uncomfortable. For example, while getting to know students in the class, they may ask everyone what their parents do for a living.

Building a support system is the best solution. Student-run organizations for first generation students are popping up in colleges across the states, including Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale. These organizations create a community on campus, provide social and financial resources, and give first-gen students a voice. When choosing a school, first-gen students should do some research to figure out which ones have well-developed support programs.

Attending college can be challenging for first-generation students. They may feel as if they’re trapped between two worlds without belonging to either one. However, it’s definitely possible to graduate and even have fun in college by asking for help and looking for like-minded people. 

College sets the stage for employment, pressing students to choose the right education for their career hopes. Although it’s an easy prospect for students with clear work goals in mind, others are slow committing to an academic major. While picking a program early in your college career has advantages, being undeclared might not be so bad.

Career Flexibility

College degree programs usually require candidates to complete general education requirements, along with coursework related to each major. That means students from many different majors pass through the same basic classes on their way to degrees. Why not get some of these courses out of the way as an undeclared degree candidate?

Staying undeclared while you complete basic coursework keeps your options open. A lot can happen in a year or two, as you chip away at core classes. A flexible approach enables you to follow employment trends, declaring your course of study when the time is right. Future career opportunities and even new degree programs might be more appealing than those available today. Putting off a commitment can save you the trouble of changing your major later.

Personal Growth

Declaring a major is a meaningful personal milestone, demonstrating a professional commitment to your chosen field. Although it can be undone, locking down a course of study shouldn’t be taken lightly. Like marrying for the wrong reasons, declaring your major too soon can create complications.

What if your values change? What if your college experience steers you in a new direction? Will your credentials be in demand upon graduation, or is your chosen profession in decline? Remaining undeclared gives you time to answer these and other important questions, ensuring your education decisions reflect your personal and professional goals.

Time and Money

Declaring early works for many students who are confident in their career plans. If your dream is immovable, committing to an academic major can help keep you focused during school. And since competitive programs may have more interest than available spots, pledging to a program is often the best way to gain access to degree courses. If you’re uncertain about your career direction, however, declaring a major too soon can cost you time and money.

Tuition is expensive, so you want every credit you earn applied to your major. Setting out in one direction only to double back and change your major can leave you with unused credits. For every class you complete that doesn’t apply to your degree program, you’ll spend another semester replacing it with one that does. Not only does the approach set you back financially, but you’ll also spend more time in school earning your degree.

Broad Base

You can’t get a degree without declaring a major, so you shouldn’t lose sight of the endgame. In the meantime, liberal arts studies provide a broad base to draw from as your educational plans firm up. Even if you don’t nail down a specific major, narrow your focus as soon as possible so your coursework stays relevant. Use the opportunity to build a strong GPA, bringing good grades with you when formally declaring your major.

Picking a major can help keep you on track during college, but being undeclared also has advantages. Use the flexible approach to find your true calling, without wasting time and money.

College poses plenty of legitimate challenges, so the last thing you need is a senseless setback during school. Unfortunately, scammers may have you in their sights, preying on your search for any valuable internship experience.

Valuable Positions

As graduation nears, paid and unpaid internships furnish on-the-job experience and networking opportunities within your field. These positions enable you to work alongside established professionals, learning practical skills in genuine employment settings. Though specific job duties vary, most student work opportunities provide hands-on exposure tied to your major. Working as an intern can also lead to full-time employment upon graduation. Employers commonly use their internship programs to develop top talent, extending regular work offers to their most qualified interns.

Authentic internships offer the work experience you can’t simulate in the classroom, but not all the opportunities are real. Various internship scams lure students trying to build professional skills and establish industry contacts prior to graduation. Unfortunately, they only disappoint when the cons are exposed. The false positions can interfere with your degree and employment prospects, so it is important to protect yourself from these bogus offers.

Signs of a Scam

Criminals go to great lengths disguising internship scams, giving unsuspecting students every possible reason to believe they’re above-board. As you compare opportunities, look for these sure signs of an internship scam:

It sounds too good to be true. Internships are learning opportunities that sometimes offer compensation. Though some high-profile positions provide payments rivaling a regular salary, most intern pay is modest. Remember, you are there to learn, observe, and put your best foot forward. Career compensation comes later. Maintaining realistic expectations can help protect you from scams. When an internship offer promises power, prestige, and/or great wealth, you’ve likely stumbled upon a scam, which won’t help advance your career.

Landing the position calls for an investment. The best internships are highly competitive, reserved for strong academic achievers and other well-qualified candidates. Your grades, interview responses, extracurricular participation, and other factors may be used to evaluate eligibility. However, legitimate internship sponsors will not ask for money. Sometimes disguised as application charges, offers demanding deposits or fees are scams. Similarly, programs requiring would-be interns to buy software or other items do not hold water. Rather than opening doors to employment experience, payments and investments vanish, along with the scammers and their false internship offers.

Other Things To Look Out For

The offer doesn’t make sense. Misdirection helps magicians carry-off their best tricks, diverting viewers’ attention with a flurry of unrelated activity. In much the same way, scammers put forth impossibly complex internship offers, hoping you’ll fall for the ruse, without sweating the details. True internship offers are straightforward and transparent, clearly outlining expectations, compensation, duration, and other important aspects of each job. If the addresses, contact information and other internship details can’t be verified, it’s a clear sign of a scam.

You can work from home. The spirit of this type of job involves interaction and hands-on learning. If you’re recruited to work from home, the internship might not be legitimate. Before making commitments, investigate the sponsor and whenever possible, discuss the experience with past interns from the organization.

College internships bridge the gap between classroom learning and permanent employment. To make the most of these valuable experiences look for telltale warning signs and steer clear of internship scams.

Colleges have gotten better at feeding students. Your university food service program probably includes more dining options than a single, predictable, cafeteria menu. While the variety may make campus dining more bearable, it isn’t exactly mom’s home cooking. For a more satisfying eating experience during school, spend some time at your local grocery store and explore other creative ways to stay nourished.

Exploring the Possibilities

Your college living conditions influence what’s possible in the kitchen – if you have one. Dorm life can seriously limit your ability to cook, but savvy students still find ways to produce healthy fare. Be realistic about what you can do before setting out to the grocery store. With only a fridge and a way to boil water, dorm room staples may be limited to foods like granola bars, soup, fruit, hot cereal, pasta, and cocoa. If you’re shopping for the first time, look for inexpensive brain foods that won’t spoil easily and won’t zap your energy— trail mix, celery, carrots, or even avocados for something more substantive.

Introducing a microwave or slow cooker (check the campus rules) takes cooking possibilities to another level, giving you the tools to make dishes like chili, stew, casseroles, hot dogs, and even desserts. If you share a community kitchen or operate a hot plate in your dorm, then grilled and fried foods are also within reach. Use the burners to improve on college classics and make staples like popcorn, gourmet grilled cheese, pancakes, hamburgers, fajitas, and other familiar stovetop treats.

Pushing Boundaries

Living off campus with a full kitchen, there’s no excuse for not eating well. In fact, your biggest challenge might be keeping down grocery costs. Clipping coupons and watching for store specials helps stretch food dollars, but you’ll also want to share the cost. For memorable meals on a budget, band together with roommates and think big. A large pot of spaghetti, double pan of lasagna, and whole roast chicken are only a few of the cheap, easy-to-cook meals you can make. And when you need a break from the kitchen, consider these possibilities:

  • Take it outside. Your school might have rules against barbecuing, so it is important to check with your resident assistant before grilling outside your dorm. If it’s allowed, a small grill can be a game changer, accommodating fair-weather food options like burgers, hot dogs, and grilled pizza. Portable burners may also be permitted, giving you a stovetop option outside.
  • Go to the source. Food service jobs provide more than spending money. If your college plans include part-time work, landing a job at a restaurant can also keep your belly full. Most restaurants feed their staff at least once per shift, making these hospitality jobs ideal for hungry college students.
  • Get credit for cooking. Dedicating yourself to your studies doesn’t necessarily mean turning your back on tasty food. Depending on your major and your school’s curriculum, you may be able to earn credit for cooking (and eating) classes.
  • Find local food specials. Nearby food outlets compete for college business, so many offer student specials. Taco Tuesdays and other familiar menus can keep you fed, without draining your grocery budget.

Campus dining gets old, so grocery shopping adds variety. Your college “kitchen” may have limits, but with the right approach, even dorm cooking shines.

 

College is supposed to prepare you for the “real” world, so challenges are expected. Unfortunately, one of the biggest trials facing many college students is finding money to pay for school. Federal and private loans help them make ends meet.

Unless your college fund is flush, you may need help paying for school. Fortunately, there are several types of student aid available, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Most college students draw from one or more of these resources when covering college costs. Which one is best for you?

Paying For Your Education

College spending extends beyond the price of tuition alone. The cost of housing, books, meals, and other necessities pushes up the price of earning a degree. And regular expenses don’t go away during school either.  If you are like most college students, you’ll need outside help to keep up with these extraordinary costs.

Financial aid comes in three forms. Scholarships are earmarked for high achievers who excel in athletics, academics, and civic capacities. If you are a star athlete or an exceptional student, you may be able to land a scholarship. Students who demonstrate need to pay for school are offered grantsl. If your financial outlook prevents you from paying for college, a public or private agency may extend a grant, enabling you to attend. Grants and scholarships do not require repayment.

Student offer a popular third financial aid option, issued by the U.S. government and private banks.

Public and Private Loans

Student loans are offered by private lenders and through U.S. Department of Education programs. These must be repaid after you leave school. Government-backed options have the best interest rates and repayment terms for students, so the Federal Direct Loan Program is the top source for low-interest college loans.

Before you enroll in school, it is important to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA asks questions about your family finances and the cost of attending the college you’ve chosen. Your answers help financial aid officials determine which types of student aid are best for you. If your FAFSA shows financial need, you may be eligible for federal grants.

The last option for students are Federal loans. These loans have the lowest possible interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for unsubsidized loans. Interest rates may not be as low as subsidized alternatives, but unsubsidized federal loans are still more affordable than similar private loans.

In addition to low interest rates, subsidized student loans offer flexible repayment terms. You have the option to defer payment under certain conditions. During deferment, the borrowed amount does not accrue interest, helping graduates get on their feet before interest payments are due.

When scholarships and grants aren’t enough to cover the cost of college, students turn to loans. Your best bet is a Federal Direct Loan, but private options are also available.

 

College offers a world of opportunities, but trying to keep up with your grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain a healthy social life is overwhelming. You want to make sure you don’t overschedule yourself; doing so can lead to burnout, fatigue, and more serious health issues. Here are some tips on how to prevent overscheduling yourself while in college.

 

Set Priorities

Setting priorities — for both academic and non-academic commitments — will help you tremendously. You’ll want to have an academic plan that outlines what courses you need to take. Before each semester, make sure to review your academic plan so that you schedule your classes appropriately. This is especially important if you choose to work part time or participate in extracurricular activities.

Next, you’ll want to review your non-academic commitments or other areas of your life that you value such as family, personal finances, and free time. Once you’ve considered your non-academic responsibilities, set priorities for them and compare them with your academic responsibilities. Now, set realistic priorities that allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your life. Make sure you’ve left yourself some downtime. Remember that if you have to squeeze something into your schedule, you need to either remove that task or rearrange your priorities.

Keep a Calendar

Try using a physical calendar like a planner to maintain your schedule. Using a physical calendar might sound pre-historic to most millennials, but think about using something visual that outlines your life laid out in front of you. You can see what you have to do on Monday and Friday all in one view. With a physical calendar, you can also write notes or reminders in the margins, which you can’t do with calendar applications on smartphones and other electronic devices.

Master Multitasking

If you thought you were a master at multitasking while in high school, then college will test those skills. In fact, multitasking will help you survive while in college.  However, multitasking requires practice, and certain activities are easier to balance than others. For example, if you ride the bus or train around campus, you can open up your notebook and study your notes during your commute. Texting during class, on the other hand, isn’t such a great idea because it interferes with your learning.

Schedule Some Downtime

When setting priorities and creating your calendar, be sure you schedule some downtime. Set aside a block of time on your calendar that is just for you, and don’t alter it under any circumstances. You’ll eventually become an expert at telling people no when they ask you to do something else. You can spend this time alone or enjoy a night on the town with friends. 

Every college student has felt stressed out for many reasons, but you can avoid stress from overscheduling. College is a busy time, but setting priorities and filling your calendar wisely is going to reduce stress levels. So, leave yourself time for mental breaks; your physical and mental health will thank you.