How to Sleep Well at School

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Many college students have trouble sleeping well while at school. With all the academic demands, extracurriculars, jobs, and a social life, getting the right amount of sleep is hard. And early classes only makes it harder. With a new semester coming up, students will have to get used to switching from a summer sleep schedule to one for school. Here are some tips to help you get back into the groove of school. With these tips you will not only be able to get plenty of sleep on a college schedule, but also wake up refreshed and alert. After suffering through waking up for 8am classes my freshman year, I used these tips last year and they worked wonders for me. I could get up early without the added anger at my alarm clock. It worked so well for me, that I decided to do a bulletin board on sleep in my residence hall last spring and the tips even helped my residents.

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1. Figure out what time you will need to get up – Look at your class schedule, and plan accordingly. Make sure you have enough time to accommodate your morning routine (showering, breakfast, exercise, etc.) when deciding a wake-up time.

2. Start early – Give yourself a couple weeks to adjust to a new sleep schedule. I would recommend starting at least 2 weeks before you go back to school. During the first week, start getting up a little earlier each day until you reach your goal time. And during the second week, wake up and go through a dry run of what you would do at school to make sure you have enough time to get ready.

3. Try to wake up at the same time each day – Establishing consistency in your sleeping patterns will only help in the long run. You will feel better each day, and waking up early won’t be a chore if you make a habit of it. So even if you have later classes two days a week, get up at the same time you would for your earlier classes. Do this even on the weekends. You can sleep in a little more if you have no where to go, but don’t give yourself an extra 2 hours. It will only make it harder to get out of bed Monday morning.

4. Eliminate caffeine and distractions before bed – Try not to have any caffeine after dinner and about an hour before bed, put down all the electronic devices and have some relaxation time. The bright lights of computers, smart phones, and TVs will keep you alert and awake and it will be harder to fall asleep. Use the time to shower, get in your PJs, or take some personal time to reflect on your day.

5. Sleep in even sleep cycles – You know how sometimes you go to bed and wake up refreshed and other times you feel terrible? The good feeling you get from sleeping happens when you sleep in complete sleep cycles. A sleep cycle is typically 90 minutes, so if you want to find the perfect time to go to sleep, start from the time you need to wake up and count backwards in 90 minute intervals. Any of those times are good to fall asleep, and you will wake up refreshed! Just make sure you are falling asleep at these times, not going to bed.

6. Put your alarm clock across the room – This will avoid snoozing or accidentally turning your alarm off. I learned the hard way after turning off my alarm and missing my first class! If you keep your alarm farther away, you will need to wake up and get out of bed to turn it off. In the time it takes to walk over, you will be more awake and less likely to go back to sleep. Just make sure if you share a bedroom with your roommate that (s)he isn’t terribly bothered by the extra beeps in the morning.

7. Try not to nap – I know one of my favorite words when I went to college was nap. But keep napping for toddlers. Napping can mess with your sleep and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Try to stay up all day, and soon you will start to naturally be tired around your bed time. If you absolutely need a nap, make it short – go for one sleep cycle (90 minutes) so you wake up refreshed but it won’t harm your sleeping patterns.

 

Busy Semester? Not A Problem!

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Hello again, my fellow bloggers!

It has been a while since I was able to blog with all of you – five months to be exact! I am sorry that it has been so long; I have been extremely busy! And, when I say busy, boy do I mean it! After a two week hiatus from everything (classes, work, tests, deadlines, etc.), I finally decided on the perfect topic to get me back into the blogging world: dealing with the stress of being busy. How ironic!

Like I said before, I really and truly learned what busy was during my last semester. I not only took on five classes, but I also participated in an internship program for credit. The classes were difficult and kept me on my feet throughout the semester. My internship, although extremely rewarding and fun, took up a lot of my time during the school week. Balancing both, in addition to my social life, proved extremely difficult, but I did it and I conquered the semester. Each and every one of you will have a semester like this, one that works you to your core, but if you follow my few tips below, then you will be better able to handle the hundreds of tasks that you will need to do throughout the semester!

1) Use A Planner. I mentioned this multiple times in my summer series, but I cannot tell you how helpful it was for me. It helped me to keep each day organized and to remember the deadlines of each activity. Make sure to write down every event, assignment, test, and any other deadline as soon as you get them so that you do not make the mistake of forgetting them later on!

2) Make A Schedule To Call Your Family And Friends. When you are extremely busy, it can be very easy to forget to call home or your friends. By making a schedule, you can create a block of time out of your week to talk to everyone. Additionally, calling your loved ones will act as a de-stressor in your life.

3) Make Meals Ahead Of Time. When you spend all of your time studying and working, it can be hard to find times to make your meals and eat. Last semester I discovered that by making my meals earlier in the week, such as a whole box of pasta on Sunday, I was more likely to eat throughout the week when my meal was already prepared. Even preparing your lunch in the morning can greatly help and save you time!

4) Avoid Extra Extra-Curricular Activities. Do not get me wrong, it is VERY important to participate in extra-curricular activities throughout your years spent at a university. But, finding the right amount may take some time. When you are taking part in a busy semester, do not engage in more extra-curricular activities than your stress level can handle. For example, I had to take a semester-long break from my student ambassador organization on campus in order to maintain a good GPA with my internship program. It is OK to limit your activities down to a manageable level; it will make your life extremely less stressful.

5) Make To-Do Lists. I have always loved to-do lists to keep myself organized, but I really love them when I am extremely busy. Make daily to-do lists to better manage your life during your semester. Don’t forget to check off the activities that you accomplish.

6) Make Time For You. This is my most important tip! Make sure that you make time for yourself each week. You need time to relax so find an activity that can do that for you!

7) Cut Out Extra Stressors. This tip goes hand-in-hand with number four. Cut out anything in your life that can add extra stress. This can be things such as extra jobs, unnecessary classes, or clubs. There is no need for things that can cause unnecessary stress – especially during a busy semester!

8) Schedule Your Study Time. I learned to do this tip towards the end of my semester. Use your planner to schedule in study times for your classes. Make weekly slots for each class so that you are better able to manage your time. Have a test next week? No problem. Because of your weekly study slots, you are more prepared than ever!

9) Focus On One Activity At A Time. Whether you need to study, work, sleep, etc., you can only do one thing at a time. My advice? Put away anything that is not involved with the activity you are participating in. For example, if you are studying for a test, put away your phone and your worries about work. It will help you to remain focused on the task at hand.

10) Get Your Beauty Sleep. Sleep is the most crucial factor in doing well in anything! Make sure to go to bed at a decent time so that you can rest your brain and de-stress your body!

I hope that you are now better able to handle any busy semester that is thrown at you with my ten tips above!

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Good Luck!

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Greetings, fellow bloggers and students!

I am back with my final blog of the summer, the surprise bonus blog. In this post, I want to give you some final pieces of advice. I have said it over and over again; you are about to start the next chapter of your life. You will be living away from home for eight months out of the year doing everything for yourself. You will need to feed yourself, make your own appointments, clean, make payments, etc. You will have a lot on your plate. Things may get tough, but the thing that you need to remember is that you can do it. Have faith in yourself!

Not only will you be changing your everyday life and habits, but you will also be meeting new people. You will meet new friends and new teachers. Yes, this is a scary process, but you must remember that every other freshman is in your shoes as well. They are also meeting new people in a new place without the help of their parents. Just remember to be yourself and you will find the perfect group of friends for you!

Additionally, after changing your lifestyle and meeting new people, you will gain new responsibilities. You are responsible for attending class and managing your time to fit in all of the studying that you will need to do. It takes a few weeks to get time management down, but you will get it eventually!

College, as I have stated all summer, is a very scary process, but if you stay true to yourself and put in the effort, you will have a blast. This is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life! Take advantage of every moment. Relax and remember that you have made it this far! You all have the capability to do great things-share it with the world.

Congratulations and good luck on your exciting journey.

The End Of The Summer Before College Series

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Happy Thursday, blogging world!

I cannot believe that it is already August! It feels like just yesterday that I was shocked over the arrival of July! Anyhow, now that August has arrived, it is time for my ÔÇ£Summer Before College SeriesÔÇØ to come to an end. I know; I am very upset too! This summer series has been very eventful. From D.I.Y.s to essentials, I have given you plenty of advice on what to bring and what not to bring. All of the advice that I have given you was based on my experiences at the University of Pittsburgh for the past two years. I have been through it all: move-in, meal plan decisions, packing, loans, financial aid, joining an organization, working, and studying. And, I hope that my experiences have helped you to get a better grasp of what to expect in the fall.

If you have followed my blog series thus far, then you will know that I am very thorough and very detail-oriented. That is why I believe that if you follow all of my blogs, then you will be as prepared as possible for your first year at college!

I hope that this series has probed you to think of new ideas and essentials for college that you have never thought of. That was my goal: to make you more prepared for college than you were at the beginning of the summer. Did it work?

So now that my series is over, I know what you are thinking. ÔÇ£Where will I continue to get advice?ÔÇØ That is the beauty of OCMÔÇÖs blog. It was created to help incoming freshmen just like you! Keep following OCMÔÇÖs blog, as well as their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The other bloggers, also college students, give excellent advice week after week on a number of topics. Be sure to follow them so that you get everything ready for your exciting year to come! They will not lead you astray!

So, I leave you with the official end of the series! I will be back with one more surprise bonus blog this week, so be sure to stay tuned to the blog page! Additionally, do not forget to keep following OCMÔÇÖs blog so that you can gain some extra advice from experienced students!

Summer Before College Series 36: OCM Sweepstakes and Coupons!

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Good morning, my lovely bloggers!

Have I got a treat for you on this wonderful Tuesday! Throughout the summer, I have advised you on what to buy and what not to buy, but I have failed to address the costs associated. Yes, going to college is extremely pricey, no matter where you go. There are many supplies to buy, not to mention tuition, room and board, and meal plan costs. You must learn to budget and to take advantage of every deal and sale that the world has to offer! That is why I would like to talk about OCMÔÇÖs newest sweepstake contest today.

As of last week, OCM has created a sweepstakes and giveaway for their Facebook followers. Each week, a random winner will be drawn and receive a $250 shopping credit to RHL.org, a website providing the best source of dorm linens and accessories for the college lifestyle. RHL.org is also affiliated by over 900 colleges, proving its credibility. The website offers bedding, bath, d├®cor, furniture, storage, and essential items. The site also sells pre-assembled packages to make shopping quicker and easier! Additionally, any student who enters the sweepstakes receives $10 off their order of $100 or more on the site! How great is that? You are bound to spend that much based on all of the necessities that you will need to purchase, so why not try to get some of them for free?

Have I convinced you yet? Well, if you are interested, you only need to follow a few steps to save money and possibly win $250!

First, make sure that you like the OCM Facebook page. This is a must if you want to win! Then, hit the green and blue ÔÇ£enter to winÔÇØ link at the top of the Facebook page. Finally, enter your information and cross your fingers! It is as easy that! A winner will be picked every week throughout August, so be sure to keep entering each week!

I would definitely advise every student to enter. You could save yourself up to $350 on supplies and, in turn, use it towards tuition and loans! What is better than that?

So, do not forget to enter for the seven remaining prizes! Good luck!

Summer Before College Series 35: Packing

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Happy Friday, fellow bloggers and students!

With less than a month to go, you may want to start thinking about how you are going to pack up your entire room at home. What materials will you use? How will you make sure that you do not forget anything? In this blog, I would like to give and describe several tips on how to make the packing process easier.

The packing process itself can be very intimidating. Most of you probably feel that you have no idea where to start. That is definitely okay! Follow my tips below and you will have absolutely no problems at all!

  1. Make a list. This is the most important/helpful tip that I have to offer! This list will prevent you from forgetting anything! First, sit down and write a list of everything that you use or wear every day, including your bathroom essentials. Make sure to think carefully! You do not want to miss anything! After completing this task, go around your room and other parts of your house that house your possessions. Add items that you believe you will need while at college. Then, you will have made a list of everything that you will need!
  2. Keep only the necessities in mind. This tip really comes in handy while making your list described above. Freshmen dorms tend to be small and cramped. You can only fit so much in them. Do not take items that you think you may only use in certain situations. Trust me. You never end up using them, so try to leave them at home if at all possible. If you find that you do need them while you are at school, have your parents or guardians ship them to you!
  3. Use bins. This tip is no secret. Most college students use bins to transfer their items and for a good reason! Bins keep your items secure and protect them from getting smashed or completely messed up. Nothing is worse than arriving at school and realizing that you broke your favorite mirror-I know from experience! Make sure to use bins as much as you can so that you can avoid the problems that I had!
  4. Do grocery shopping at your school. I only learned this tip during my second year of college. I only recommend this tip to those of you who are lacking space in your cars. If you are in need of space, then do not pack any items that can be bought at a grocery store. There will most likely be a grocery store near your campus where you can purchase all of your essentials. Walking the isles will also help you to remember anything you may have forgotten. Not sure where the closest grocery store is to your campus? Call your university to ask!
  5. Use a big vehicle. No matter who you are, you will need a big vehicle to transfer all of your items. You are moving to a place for four months which requires a lot of necessities!

Keep these five tips in mind and you will surely have an easy packing/travel process!

Are you excited for the next step in your life?

 

Summer Before College Series 34: Resources!

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Hello again, blogging world!

Can you believe that you only have one month left before starting school? Some of you may even have less than that! The summer has flown by faster than you could ever imagine!

Do you think that you are ready for what lies ahead? Are you nervous to be in a new place without the guidance of your parents or guardians? What you need to remember is that you are not alone! College is an intimidating place, but there are people for you to talk to with similar situations.

Below, I will list and describe several people that you can contact or talk to once you arrive at school. These people have been through the same situation as you and/or know everything that there is to know about your school. They will be great to contact once you get there in the fall and do not know where to go, what to do, or when to do certain things. They will definitely make your transition easier.

  1. RA. I have said it over and over again in previous blogs: your RA’s job is to help you to make the adjustment from living at home to living in a dorm with strangers. Your RA will gladly help you to find an academic building, give insight to the best places to eat on-campus, and help you to find that perfect club or organization for you.
  2. Roommate. Your roommate is the best person to talk to about your fears or anxieties of college. He/She is in the same boat as you. This is also his/her first time at college-this could even be his/her first time in the state or country! Have a chat with him/her once you have both settled in. Who knows? Your roommate could have the same fears as you!
  3. Student Center. Every university has some form of a student center. Whether it is called an “information center” or a “student services center”, it has one purpose: to help the university’s students. This resource will help you to find buildings on-campus, buildings/shopping off-campus, as well as give you an inside look at all of the fun activities that your university has to offer.
  4. University Tour Guides. From experience, I can tell you that your university tour guides are the best people to go to if you have any questions about statistics, classes, buildings, locations, activities, housing, dining, meal plans, etc. They are required to know everything there is to know about the university. They would be very willing to help any student! How do you find them? Go to your student center and ask for their office location. Then, go to the office and ask away!
  5. Counseling Center. This resource is very helpful in calming students’ nerves and anxieties, especially for freshmen. There is no need to be embarrassed if you take advantage of this resource! Lots of students use the center so that they can have a stress-free year!

Make sure to remember these five resources when you get to school. That way, if you have any questions about locations, activities, housing, dining, etc., you will know exactly who to go to!

Summer Before College Series 33: Communal Mayhem

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Good morning, fellow bloggers and students!

Today, I want to address a common fear that most incoming freshmen have: using a communal restroom. For those of you who do not already know, communal bathrooms are public restrooms in school dormitories that are usually shared by an entire floor of students. There are multiple showers, bathroom stalls, sinks, and mirrors. Now, this probably seems extremely scary, sharing something so private with strangers, but I am here to give you a few tips to make this huge process much easier!

If you are anything like me, then you will agree that public restrooms are absolutely the worst things out there. If you follow these tips, however, you will be able to use the communal restroom at school with confidence and with no problems at all!

To make your experience easier and less stressful, remember:

  1. That everyone is in the same boat as you. You are not alone! This is every freshman’s first time in college, dealing with daily stresses. From experience, talking to other girls/boys on your floor will help make things less awkward and scary in the communal bathroom. You will soon realize that others feel the same way that you do!
  2. That everyone on your floor has a different schedule. Every freshman student on your floor has a different class, sleep, work, homework, and club schedule. You will most likely have the restroom to yourself most days. For example, I can count on one hand the number of times that the communal bathroom I used my freshman year was crowded. I usually only had one person in the restroom with me at a time.
  3. To create a schedule. If you still find it difficult to use a communal bathroom after remembering the first two tips above, then create a schedule of the least busy times during the day. After a week or two of living with your floor mates, you will know exactly when you will have the most privacy. Create a schedule of these times and follow it to ensure that you feel comfortable while at school.
  4. To utilize your RA if needed. Remember that your RA is there to help you to make the adjustment from living at home to living in a dormitory. The biggest adjustment, perhaps, is sharing a restroom with complete strangers. Your RA has been through the same experience and will definitely be able to give you some words of advice.
  5. To bring your shower caddy with you every time you use the communal restroom. Make sure that you fill your caddy with all of the things necessary to get ready in the morning or at night. Then, bring the caddy with you when you are ready to get primped for the day/night. That way you are sure to have everything that you need and can avoid leaving anything in your room, causing you to have to make a trip back and spend more time in the restroom than you intended to.

Well, there you have it-the five tips for making the transition of living at home to living in a dorm easier, particularly in the restroom.

Have any other tips? Share them with us!

Summer Before College Series 32: Binders vs. Notebooks

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Hello again!

Now that you only have five or six weeks until your school year begins, it is time to start thinking about school supplies if you not already done so. I touched on this topic back in my “Summer Before College Series 2: The Preliminary List” blog. Today, I want to elaborate on the binder versus notebook section of that episode. After a talk with my mom about her college habits last semester, I decided to ditch the notebook idea and just go with binders as she had done. I absolutely loved just using binders. I did not even miss the notebooks at all!

Below, I have created a list for why I firmly believe that binders are better than notebooks. As with all of my blogs, this is my opinion based on my personal experiences at the University of Pittsburgh.

I like the binders because they allow you to:

  1. Save space! If you either stick to one or two binders for all of your classes, then you will save plenty of desk space. Instead of having five or six notebooks and five or six folders, you will only have one or two binders! This will not only save precious desk space, but backpack space as well!
  2. Forget forgetfulness! By keeping your subjects together, you are ensuring that you will never forget any homework or other materials for class! (Here is a tip to make this easier: use dividers to section off a homework tab.)
  3. Organize your life! Binders allow you to keep your class materials much more organized. Buy dividers of two different sizes. Use the bigger ones to separate your different classes and then use the smaller ones to separate notes, homework, and tests within the class sections. For extra organization use colored separators. Use a different color for each class!
  4. Avoid shopping next year! The great thing about binders is that they are sturdy and reusable. You can reuse your binders from semester to semester. This will save you the hassle next year! All you will have to do is take out the notes, homework, and tests from each class and replace them with new paper!
  5. Save money! For the reasons listed above in number four, you will save money! By reusing the binder semester after semester, you are able to save money that you could, in turn, use to pay for your tuition!

The list above describes the five reasons why I prefer binders over notebooks. Again, it is easy to use either one, but my money-saving experiences have led me to the binder!

Have you done your supply shopping yet? Which do you prefer?

Summer Before College Series 31: Where Is My Aid?!

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Happy Wednesday, bloggers!

Today’s blog was inspired by some unfortunate events that happened to me this past week. Now, I have told you over and over again to double check every important document that you send into your school, and I am definitely one to practice what I preach. My mother and I double-check all of the paperwork and call my university’s financial aid office for reassurance every year. However, when it came time for aid disbursement this year, I did not receive my package. I gave a two-day grace period until I started to panic. Why had I not received my financial aid package when everyone else had? This question repeatedly ran through my mind. I quickly called my mother after the two-day period was over and began to freak out. What if I was not chosen for aid? What if there is no record of me on file? How am I going to pay off my bill? These were all questions that a veteran like me should never have thought of.

Today, I want to give you some tips on how to fix the unexpected problems that may arise just before you leave for college in the fall.

  1. Stay calm. I cannot tell you this piece of advice enough! Make sure that you stay calm as much as you can. Do not panic or ask the same questions that I did because there may not be anything wrong. Relax and remember that you have done everything that you were supposed to do!
  2. Allow a two-week grace period. There are thousands of students enrolled at your university, so it is nearly impossible for your school to send all of the packages out at the same time. Give it time and if you do not hear anything for two weeks after the set date/other people received theirs, then…
  3. Call your university’s financial aid office. Do this immediately after your two-week grace period. The financial aid employees will help to fix the problem by telling you the error that occurred. More often than not, your package is either in the mail or still being completed by the university. So, calling to ensure this information will ease your nerves.

Being the two-year veteran that I am, I should have known better and followed these tips. Especially because after calling the university, I discovered that my package was still in progress. There was no need to fret. The financial aid officer also informed me of when I should expect my package, easing my nerves.

I hope that my real-life scare acts as a good lesson for you to learn from. Make sure to follow my tips in blogs #22 and #16 so that you complete everything that you need to in a timely fashion. After that, remember to keep calm and know that time frames differ. You will receive the aid that you deserve! I promise!

Did you have something similar happen to you? Tell us about it!