Bunking up with a flatmate is a quintessential college experience everyone should have. For better or worse, this is a powerful learning opportunity. Don’t panic if your roomie relationship isn’t blissfully smooth. Most people will encounter occasional issues when confined to close quarters. Try a few tricks to respectfully address the following conflicts and find effective solutions.

You Have Different Standards of Cleanliness

Everyone has their own idea of clean. It’s important to establish guidelines as early as possible on this issue so you don’t fall into bad habits. This is a fairly easy topic to address when you bring it up respectfully. Sit down and decide which chores you’re each responsible for and how often you’ll do them. Draft a quick list detailing how you’ll split the cleaning duties, and keep it somewhere you can both see for easy reference.

If your roommate is slacking on his or her responsibilities, offer a gentle reminder. Don’t let your frustration simmer while the mess worsens. This is a topic you should always speak up on.

You Keep Opposite Schedules

College classes and activities take place at all hours of the day or night. If you and your roommate are on opposite school schedules, you may find that you’re struggling to sleep through study sessions while your roomie tosses and turns as you go through the morning routine. Discuss the hours that you’d each like quiet and find ways that you can better accommodate each other. Try studying in the common room after certain hours or taking your blow dryer to the bathroom in the morning so you can both get your much-needed sleep.

Guests Are Sleeping Over Often

It’s not uncommon for a roommate to develop a relationship that eventually bleeds into their time at home. Their constant guest might be a significant other or it could simply be a close friend. Regardless, you may feel uncomfortable with your newly cramped living quarters or the noise and disruptions of having another person in the room.

It’s best to discuss your boundaries for sleepovers when you first move in. This way, your concerns aren’t aimed at a specific individual who might take offense. If you must address the issue later, try to do so when the third party isn’t present. Come armed with a compromise, and offer specific times and activities that you’re comfortable with sharing in exchange for reclaiming some of your time alone.

There’s an Undercurrent of Aggression

It’s unfortunate, but in some cases, roommates simply don’t get along. You may have radically different political or religious views and few interests in common. Try to smooth things over by inviting your roomie out for lunch or striking up a conversation in his or her area of interest. If these efforts don’t work, talk to a mediator, such as your RA or a school counselor. If this person can’t help you resolve your issues, they may help you switch rooms.

If you sense trouble brewing in your apartment or dorm room, act quickly. The earlier you address a problem, the easier it is. You’ll often find that open conversation can get you everywhere.

Being away from home and your regular routine for the first time isn’t always easy. During your first year of college, it isn’t unusual to make a few unhealthy choices or put on a few pounds. That doesn’t mean you have to gain the so-called freshman 15, though. Check out six ways to fight the freshman 15 and stay healthy throughout your first year of college.

Pace Your Meals Throughout the Day

As you might have heard, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also essential that you pace all of your meals throughout the day. Not only does eating healthy meals three times a day keep you fueled with energy and nutrients, but this schedule also keeps you from getting too hungry and overeating later in the day.

Develop a Dining Hall Game Plan

There’s no question that making healthy choices at the dining hall can be tricky. Not only are many of the foods fried or covered in cheese, but the portions are also huge. Rather than filling up on pizza or fried foods, opt for salads, fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, or baked or grilled meats. Try to avoid the pastas and cream sauces altogether or pick small portions and balance them out with a fresh salad on the side.

Snack Smart

Even if you eat most of your meals at the dining hall, you’ll want to have at least a few snacks on hand for when hunger pangs strike outside of mealtime. For instance, fresh vegetables and hummus or fresh fruit and your favorite nut butter are nutritious choices. If you don’t have a refrigerator, there are plenty of equally healthy snacks that can be kept in air-tight containers.

Skip the Drinks

From soda and smoothies to espresso drinks, most are packed with sugar and empty calories. Rather than making these drinks part of your daily diet, keep cold water, tea, and coffee on hand. You’ll spare yourself hundreds of calories and tons of sugar.

Find a Workout Routine You Love

While eating healthy is a big part of avoiding the freshman 15, adding more movement to your routine is just as important. Your workouts can be just as organized or freeform as you want. Find a gym routine you love, join an intramural team, or go running before class every morning. Just make sure you’re working your muscles and getting your blood pumping several times a week.

Know Your Triggers

Even when you develop a diet and exercise plan, certain events can disrupt your routine and cause get you off track. If you tend to overeat and under-exercise at certain times of the year or when you’re stressed, do your best to anticipate these events before they happen. Develop a game plan, such as scheduling gym time with a friend or stocking extra healthy snacks, to stay successful.

From dining hall specials to dinners out with friends, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make unhealthy choices. But when you keep these tips in mind, you’ll keep yourself on a healthy track and resist weight.

Living in the dorms comes with plenty of perks, such as being just steps from your classes, but it also has its fair share of challenges. After all, living in close quarters with someone you just met can be tough. Find out how to keep the peace and get along with your assigned roommate.

Share Your Expectations

Before the two of you start unpacking your things, connect with your new roommate to share your expectations. Tell your roommate about your daily habits, such as keeping an early schedule or studying with music. Let your roommate know some of the things you need to be happy, such as having quiet time to yourself every evening or welcoming friends to your room every Saturday. If you’re a neat freak or on the messy side, tell him or her right away so you both know what to expect.

Communicate With Your Roommate

Whether you’ve shared a room with a sibling for years or this is the first time you’ll be in such close quarters with someone else, communication is key when you’re living with a roommate. Even if you tend to keep things to yourself, it’s essential to address problems when they’re minor rather than waiting for them to blow up into a huge fight. Try setting aside 30 minutes each week to talk over any issues and make sure you’re both happy.

Respect Each Other’s Things

Just because you feel comfortable wearing your roommate’s clothes or borrowing her textbook for a mutual class doesn’t mean she feels the same, even if you invite her to use your things, too. Before you borrow anything, talk with your roommate about his boundaries. He may expect you to ask permission before borrowing each individual item, or he might welcome you to use anything he isn’t using. Find out where both of you stand, and make it a priority to respect each other’s things.

Think Twice About Inviting People Over

You might love creating a social vibe and jump at the chance to invite friends or classmates to hang out in your room. That doesn’t mean your roommate wants to share her space constantly, though. Talk with your roommate about when it’s okay to have friends over and when you both need quiet time. If you don’t see eye to eye, always try to compromise. You might not be able to host your study group every week, but inviting them over every other week might be a reasonable compromise.

Don’t Expect to Be Best Friends

One of the great things about college is that you’ll have the chance to meet hundreds or thousands of new people. You won’t connect instantly with all of them, and you can’t expect to be best friends with your roommate, either. If the two of you hit it off, you could make a lifelong friend. But if your roommate isn’t friend material, don’t stress. You can still be friendly, respect each other, and enjoy living together without being best friends forever.

Whether you can’t wait to live with a roommate or you’re dreading sharing your space, you can make it a good experience for both of you. Keep these tips in mind for maintaining the peace and getting along with your assigned roommate.

Homesickness can happen to anyone, whether you absolutely love everything about your college experience or you’re having a little trouble fitting in. No matter when those homesick feelings hit, however, you can deal with them without letting them ruin your day or your week. Find out how to cope with homesickness while away at college, whether you moved across the state or across the country.

Turn Your Room into Your Home

Your dorm room might not have any personality when you first move in. That doesn’t mean it has to be an unfamiliar space for the whole year, though. Start by hanging up photos of your friends, family, and pets. Leave room for photos of your new college friends so you can celebrate everything that makes you who you are. Sprinkle mementos from your hometown around your space, and connect with new friends by sharing hometown stories with each other.

Make a Point of Socializing

You might be tempted to hide in your room and dwell on your loneliness when homesickness strikes. Make a point of getting out and spending time with friends and classmates instead. Sure, your new college friends don’t know you as well as your high school friends do. Maybe you haven’t found the perfect study spot or a coffee shop where the baristas have your order memorized. Remember that when you make the most of your new living situation, it will feel familiar and homelike sooner.

Keep Connecting

In high school, the timeline for connecting with classmates often seems very firm. It isn’t always easy to make new friends or join a different group after the first few weeks of school. In college, the timing isn’t nearly as strict. In fact, you can join clubs, connect with new people, and expand your social circle all year-round. If you haven’t made the perfect group of friends in the first week or two, you still have plenty of time.

Stay in Touch

Going to college can mean a lot of adjustments for you and your high school friends. Just because you’re all busy with school and dealing with big changes doesn’t mean you can’t be there for each other, though. Try scheduling a FaceTime date or a chat session once a week so you can catch up and offer moral support. You’ll be able to maintain the connections that are important to you and get the support you need while still building an awesome college life.

Reach Out

It isn’t unusual to feel alone in your homesick state, especially if you haven’t told anyone how you feel. Keeping it to yourself is bound to make you feel worse, so let your new friends know how you’re doing. Rather than looking for commiseration, make it clear that you’re looking for fun new activities to help you feel more at home. Chances are that your new friends know just how you feel and they, too, could use some help adjusting to college life.

No matter how much you love where you came from, remember that home is where you make it. Use these tips to stay true to yourself while embracing your new home away from home.

Whether it’s your first year or your last year in college, it’s important to know that scary situations can happen on even the safest college campuses. Rather than worrying what might happen when you head to class or go out for the evening, prepare yourself for any situation instead. Learn how to stay safe on campus with these six tips.

Stick With Friends

Going out with a friend or a group is an easy way to stay safe, as you can keep an eye on each other. Feel like taking yourself out to dinner or doing a late-night library session solo? Message a friend to tell her where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then check in with her when you’re safely back in your dorm. Develop a habit of doing this with a few friends, and you can keep an eye on each other, even when you’re not together.

Keep Your Plans Private

Social media platforms are great places to learn about events and connect with fellow attendees. It’s also a great place for others to learn where you’re going and when. Rather than broadcasting your plans to everyone, adjust your privacy settings. Ensure that only close friends or family members can see which events you’re attending or consider not using social media for event planning at all.

Know Your Campus

Virtually every college campus has a security team that works hard to keep students safe while walking to class or when partying after dark. If you don’t know what the procedures are, though, you might not be able to use campus security effectively. Familiarize yourself with safe routes on campus, learn about security officer escort services, and locate emergency phone stations on campus.

Be Prepared

Even if you want to be spontaneous, take a minute to prepare yourself before leaving your dorm. Always bring your phone, a spare phone battery, your keys, your ID, and some spare cash. With these things in hand, you’ll be able to call for help or get a ride home in any situation.

Lock Up

It’s easy to get comfortable on campus and trust your dorm mates implicitly, but that doesn’t mean you should relax your personal security standards. Always lock your door and your windows when you leave your room, and keep your keys somewhere safe. By doing this, you’ll prevent uninvited guests from entering your room while keeping both you and your belongings safe and sound.

Learn Self-Defense

Even if you never have to put your self-defense skills to work, you’ll feel empowered knowing that you can fend for yourself. Take a class or teach yourself basic self-defense moves. No matter what life throws your way, you’ll be prepared to protect yourself.

Whether you’re walking to class in broad daylight or heading to an off-campus party at night, being prepared is essential. 

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.