Tag Archives | tips

Don’t Attempt to Cram all Your Studying into One Session

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The most stressful time for any student is, of course, the exam period. Simply trying to pass an exam or score a good grade, while struggling to get all your other activities completed is extremely frustrating. The fact that there never seems to be enough time for everything just makes things more difficult.

Students usually tend to make their situation more complicated than it actually has to be. Face it, you’re usually procrastinating and getting distracted by the quite interesting – to put it mildly – student life, until the very last day. After that, it’s panic and hysteria to try and get everything done on time. There are ways to make the best of your studying attempts and pass your exams, while maintaining your sanity and low stress levels. Here are a few tips on how to study smart, not just hard.

Plan ahead
The key to making the most out of studying is to plan how, where and when to study. Furthermore, you must identify and set clear goals you want to reach in order to find effective ways of accomplishing them. Most students, whether in high school or college, have a tendency to cram studying into one session due to the lack of organizational and planning skills. Cramming everything in at once can cause information to mix in your head and inevitably cause confusion.

Carefully planning out your studying process will help you learn everything you need, minus the stress. Start by identifying a learning style that suits you best. See whether you learn better in groups or alone, and try to find out if you prefer studying in the morning or evening. Make a study plan based on your preferences.

Manage time
For students, managing time and daily activities can be quite a nightmare. Furthermore, it’s easy to lose track of time when focusing on too many things at once. That’s why it’s important to be consistent when it comes to studying. For example, a few hours of studying each day will help you learn a lot better than studying for twelve hours straight, the night before an exam. If you fit a few hours of studying each day into your schedule you will be able to progress much better. However, it’s important to be consistent with your daily study plan in order to get the best results. You may have to sacrifice some personal time to achieve this, but it’s for the right purpose.

Always take notes
Taking notes in class is greatly beneficial for learning the subject. Each student creates their own unique set of notes that help them learn more effectively, and many times you catch some information a professor mentions that isn’t included in textbooks. Some students neglect to take notes or simply take the opportunity to doze off during class. If you miss out on a chance to take notes, borrow them from a friend or search through websites like Thinkswap for similar study notes. The important thing is to have notes, as they will greatly aid you in learning what you need to know for an exam.

Distractions
Whether you study at home, your dorm or a park, there will always be distractions. Learn how to focus on what you’re doing and tune out random things around you. Avoiding distractions altogether is almost impossible, so choose a place to study that has the least commotion. Remember to turn off your smartphone and other devices when studying, because no one can distract you more than you can distract yourself. Some things can throw you off balance such as relationship or family issues – in these kinds of situations, studying can be quite difficult. The important thing is not to force yourself to learn. If it’s not your day, take a break and relax. Forcing yourself to study is ineffective and counterproductive – you will only stress yourself out further.

Taking some “me” time every now and then is good for you. Rest is just as important as dedication and hard work. Everyone needs time to recharge and clear their thoughts in order to improve their well-being and concentration.

Studying smart is not that difficult; it just needs some good planning and organization. Mix in regular breaks to eat, sleep, exercise and relax. After all, you want your brain to function properly and not burn out completely.

This article was contributed by guest author Alex Williams.

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Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks You May Not Know About

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Spring cleaning is something that needs to be done. Some people love it, some hate it, but it’s inevitable, and the sooner you get the hang of it, the sooner your home will be neat and clean.

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

Drain unclogging

The water in your sink doesn’t drain fast enough and it’s driving you crazy? Luckily there’s a really easy solution for this problem.

Pour half a cup of vinegar mixed with half cup of baking soda into the drain. Cover it with a wet cloth and leave it for a few minutes. If you have a long wire, string or not too thick cable, use it to poke the drain a bit. Once you’re done, flush the drain with hot water. If this didn’t help, you may have to try it few times, depending how clogged your drain is.

Bathroom and kitchen floor maintenance

Those tiles and reflective surfaces can really show dirt and smudges when they are not properly cleaned. In order to clean these surfaces properly, follow these steps.

First, sweep or vacuum the tiled floors daily to prevent dirt accumulating in the grout or in hard-to-access areas. Always do this before mopping or cleaning it. Next, clean the floors with a cleanser, or warm water with a few drops of vinegar. After this, dry the floors to achieve maximum brightness, and to prevent dirt from sticking right after you’ve just finished cleaning.

Pet fur removal

All pet owners know how furry everything gets when spring starts. If you have a pet in your household, you probably already have your own tricks for removal of those hairs from the furniture and clothing.

One quick fix is to dampen a cloth and stroke the surfaces covered in fur. The fur will get moist and will tangle into a hairball, making it easier to pick up. You could also use a rubber or latex glove the same way, with or without dampening it, and most of the fur will stick to it because of the static electricity created when stroking.

Unpleasant smells

There can be a lot of bad odor sources in the household. Wet towels and sheets, refrigerators, microwave ovens – the list goes on. There’s a seemingly endless sea of products to use in such occasions, but there are some less-costly tricks too.

Cut a lemon in pieces, place it in a cup of water, and heat it up in the microwave. Let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, then easily wipe the insides of the microwave. This helps with both stain and odor removal. You can also place baking soda or medicinal charcoal by your towels and sheets to absorb the bad smells from their surroundings.

Carpet Stains

Carpet cleaning Perth experts say there are a lot of ways you can remove the stains from your carpets. It’s always best to leave this to the professionals, if the stains are too hard to remove, or if the carpet is really valuable, but you can try some of the tricks on your own.

One interesting way to clean lighter carpets is using a combination of lukewarm water, vinegar and salt. Dampen a cloth in this mix and tap it into the stain repeatedly. You can also make a mixture of 1 cup of borax, 2 cups of cornmeal and ½ a cup of baking soda. Spread this mix over the stained area to stop bad smells coming from it.

TV and Computer Monitors

When dusting and cleaning, bear in mind that TV and computer monitors are not like other surfaces. They are very sensitive and it’s not smart to clean them with microfiber or even worse – with a wet cloth.

One great tip for cleaning these sensitive surfaces is to use coffee filters. They are made of really thin and delicate materials and they are great for cleaning without leaving any scratches or markings on the surface.

General Tricks

When you have finished with all the big tasks and you have only those smaller tasks to complete, like cleaning your jewelry box or smaller appliances, these tricks might come in handy.

Let’s say you want to clean your coffee grinder. There are always those bits of coffee you just can’t get out. Just take a handful of rice grains and add it to the empty grinder. Run it through for some time, and throw away the rice once you’re finished, wipe the grinder off and there you have it – as good as new. For small tasks like jewelry untangling, use baby powder as a way to ‘grease up’ that old necklace and get it done.

This article was contributed by guest author Ian Pearson.

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Great Tips to Make Career Decisions

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Losing a job nowadays is much easier than finding one – amply highlighted by the global economic recession that began in 2008. Thousands of employees worldwide, especially in the US, lost their jobs overnight as banks and financial institutions jumped in to stem their losses by foreclosures of loans. Hundreds of employees laid off nearly a decade ago continue to remain redundant for reasons ranging from lack of skills to dropping demand.

Economic depressions have a penchant to strike large economies such as the US with alarming alacrity: Nobody can predict when another big bender will strike. Thus, for fresh job seekers, it is imperative to know what to look for when taking up employment. The emphasis now has to shift from doing a “job” to developing a career that is time-proof.

Here are some tips to help students and prospective job seekers to choose a fitting career.

Job vs. career:
An American poet and essayist once said: “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” This axiom holds good for today’s youth who are increasingly at odds over finding and pursuing a great career. A job is something you do to earn money. You sell your skills and time for a fixed pay, regardless of whether you like the work. A career is different: It involves doing what you enjoy, and as much as you can. In plain terms, it means getting paid to pursue your hobby.

Developing a set of skills:
Everyone is intensely passionate about something other than food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs. Each human has innate skills that need to be stirred and developed. However, only a few enrol in courses that permit them to develop their intrinsic skills. Regardless of the course you have studied, you’re probably aware of your ardour for a particular profession or trade.

Investing your time and effort into developing your skills in that specific work can help bag a job in a career of your choice. The legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius exclaimed over 2,500 years ago: “Choose a job you love and you will never work a single day of your life.” You can also develop your chosen skills by attending classes or courses outside your regular university hours.

Upgrading your skills:
This is vital since man and machine are now locked in a race – and the outlook for the humble human doesn’t look promising. Newer software and machines can do the job of many, reducing dependence on manpower. Upgrading your skills frequently is crucial. Myriad resources available on the Internet can help you hone and update your skills to give you a vital edge when applying for jobs.

Join groups related to your skills and career:
Scores of online forums exist across the world for almost every conceivable skill or talent. These permit persons from diverse cultures to exchange notes on existing and developing trends. Group discussions are held online that add to the skill development process.

Social media networks such as Facebook feature interest groups from various countries. Staying in touch with developments worldwide can help you get better paid jobs abroad, provided you are willing to relocate.

Multinationals usually headhunt for people who are willing to work outside their native countries. Blogs are an effective way to learn about the demand for your skills.

Obliterating deficiencies:
Humans have inborn deficiencies that you need to guard yourself against. This process begins with identifying areas that are directly related to your career but not have no imminent impact. For example, a student may be a financial wizard but lack basic computer skills.

Whatever your grey area, it would pay well to identify it as early as possible and work on acquiring the additional skill. It could turn out to be a lifesaver in situations such as an economic depression.

Time proofing:
A relatively new concept, time proofing made its appearance in the US and other major job markets in the aftermath of the 2009 global economic recession. Plainly put, time proofing means protecting your career and skills against adverse times and developments that occur in any sphere over a period.

Acquisition of new skills, fine tuning existing ones and remaining in touch with the industry help buy some degree of time proofing. Meaning, you are protected to some degree against an imminent layoff.

Develop business skills:
Acquaint yourself with how a company works. Such knowledge is essential when applying for a job or vying for a promotion within an organization: Bosses look for people who are business minded. Remember, business is all about making money.

Avoid underselling yourself:
Most job aspirants are desperate to get employed. They are willing to take the first job offered regardless of the salary offered. Such job aspirates prioritize experience over earnings and settle for payments that can be significantly lower than industry standards.

This jeopardizes your future prospects since your salary will be one of the bargaining chips while applying for another job. Job adverts usually mention salaries or wages a worker can expect, which gives a fair idea about what you can expect to be paid. Monitoring job websites is therefore a good idea.

Gathering certificates, documents and accolades:
This is very simple. Ask your school and every educational institute attended for certificates and other proofs of attendance and performance. Certificates issued for attending camps, competitions and accolades earned for your performance in sports or other activities help boost career prospects.

Apple polishing your teachers guides and mentors:
Many reputed organizations now engage companies to run background checks on job applicants. These background check companies call or email the references you provide on your resume. An adverse remark need not necessarily disqualify you for a job, but is highly undesirable especially when embarking on a chosen career. You can reap rich dividends by staying in the good books of your teachers, guides, mentors and other persons who may feature as your references.

Why these tips are important:
Educational institutions in the US and elsewhere pay millions of dollars annually for career counsellors on their campuses. Despite its importance, most students frown upon career counselling because they are insolently determined about what they wish to do.

Such haughtiness can cost dearly. Students tend to sacrifice enjoyable jobs for the glitter of money, so you should realize that you can be happy in your work while prospering.

This article was contributed by guest author Sam.

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15 Science-Backed Memory Tips to Help You Succeed

Why is it that we can remember our home address growing up, but we have trouble remembering what we ate for breakfast a week ago? Clearly our memory works in a very special, unique fashion. In a world full of distractions, it is sometimes hard to concentrate on the things that we need to know and remember. But, understanding the way our brains work is the key to improving things like studying for tests or learning new facts or figures. To help unlock the mystery of the brain, GetVoIP has put together 15 memory skills that will help supercharge your memory.

Image by Vincent Nero

This article was contributed by guest author Reuben Yonatan.

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How to Develop Your Study Skills – Work Smarter, Not Harder

Even the most dedicated students will go through periods when they’re struggling to focus on studying. For students who want to achieve their goals, it is imperative that they have a dedicated study plan.

Studying isn’t about how long you do it, but how much you learn. When you’re studying, it’s important to try and avoid any distractions, and focus on the task at hand. Effective studying isn’t about sitting at your desk and staring at a book all day. In fact, research has shown that studying is more effective in short blocks. Do some work and take a break – you will find that you learn more overall.

Have a look at this infographic from Study Medicine Europe for more detail on how you can make the most of your study time. Work smarter, not harder!

This article was contributed by guest author Aris Grigoriou.

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12 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Freshman Year

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

College freshman year is your first step into adulthood and it’s a year you’ll remember for the rest of your life. All those past achievements and high school grades can get you into the college you desire, but once you’re in, it’s a complete new start. Everyone gets an equal chance to prove themselves and what you make of this opportunity matters the most in shaping your personality and career.

So here’s a list of ‘must dos’ to help you make the most of your freshman year so you don’t look back and regret your decisions.

Choose wisely
The very first thing to do (*cliche alert*) is to put some thought into selecting the right major. As statistics show, 30% of college students in the US drop out of college in the first year, or complete their graduation elsewhere. I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to fit into that number, right? You must believe in your instincts and pick the right program that interests you, while at the same time being feasible with your SAT/ACT scores.

Be an occasional nerd
It’s okay to sometimes stay back and study instead of slipping out at night to party with the clan. You must resist the temptation (I know it’s hard!), and prioritize academics whenever need be. Trust me, it’s really cool to be the student who’s out with friends when he/she wants to – and who also does well in class. You must learn to say no at the right time, and loosen up and unwind when required.

Timetables and due-dates
It’s college, not high school. Every time you’re late with a submission, or miss out on a lecture that you “didn’t know” about, it’s a red alert. Colleges are very strict with timetables and dates right from the time of applications. It’s wise to sit down and draw up a timetable of lectures and upcoming due-dates for submissions. Put it in a chart and hang it on a wall over your bed so you don’t forget.

Hang in there
It’s not easy for everyone to cope with the newfound freedom that comes with college. And it’s okay to be scared. Some of us are introverts. Some of us don’t make friends easily and need time to build a good rapport. The good news is, you’re not alone. There are others just like you feeling the chills in a new place. Find them and make friends with them as they are also probably looking for someone who can understand how they feel. Always be nice to your roommate, and if they don’t reciprocate, change rooms. It’s hard to survive college without at least a small set of friends, so surround yourself with like minded people.

Define your study style
The college curriculum is a lot harder than high school, and it takes your first year to understand and implement this in your study routine. It doesn’t mean you’ll be slogging through the years. Be smart at your work. Identify your study style. Are you good with group study? Check out the library and find students who do the same. Stay connected with your groups online even when they’re not around. Like to keep testing your skills? Take pop quizzes and solve question papers from the university’s website. Like to make short notes? Use websites like Evernote to save notes, and Cram to make your own flashcards to remember hard concepts. It’s important to find your comfort zone while studying.

Try to be yourself
Right from the time of filling out an application, to writing that crucial college essay, applicants are expected to describe who they really are. Adding that ‘you’ element in an essay describes your unique quality and gets you into the college. You need to maintain that ‘you factor’ all throughout freshman year.

Work on your speech
Take a speech class if needed. Communication skills are very important to make yourself heard among the cluster. You may have been a pro debater or an elocution expert in high school, but the trick is to keep that spirit alive in college. Communication skills are like a good dessert after dinner. From making college life easier to impressing potential employers that want to recruit, your communication skills will play an important role in your future.

Draft a plan for the next four years
Yes, live in the present, but also think of the future. College is about enjoying your precious young-adult years, but with an element of added responsibility. It’s the right time to plan your academic goals for the next 3-4 years. Discuss them with your counsellor / mentor. This helps you to stay on course, tick off the milestones, and reevaluate your choices and options if needed.

Join a club
Extracurricular activities are crucial to making your resume shine, exploring your interests outside of the classroom and to make new contacts. Involving yourself in college clubs (drama, debate, etc) and student organizations will help you reap significant benefits in later years. It improves your leadership skills and your ability to perform as a team; two qualities much sought after by employers.

Technology is your friend
Times have changed and it’s a definite perk to be tech savvy. Learn to work your way around on the internet and use online tools like Google Drive (If you’re not already into it!). List down important blogs to read. Learn online etiquette to get a good reputation. It’ll help you to finish your assignments quickly, and stay in touch with the latest developments in your field.

Build a good rapport with professors
A good piece of advice here is to get noticed and fall straight into the good books of at least one teacher. It helps with getting good research opportunities, recommendations for internships, and a better understanding of the subjects. You don’t need to become a ‘teacher’s pet,’ but be regular for the lectures, take interest in finishing the assignments, and contact them for study help.

Seek internships
Draw up your resume (if you don’t have it already) and keep updating it with your newly acquired skills. Towards the end of your Freshman year, start sourcing for summer internships. Your teacher reference comes in handy for this. It will help you to get another internship next summer after your sophomore year. Graduating with two of these certificates will give you a competitive edge over others.

Freshman year is all about re-discovering yourself and laying the foundation of your career. Remember, it’s very tempting to get carried away into different social groups and succumb to peer pressure. Stay focused on your goals.

This article was contributed by guest author Ethan Miller.

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Health Tips To Know Before Heading To College

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

College is an exciting time in a student’s life — a movement toward adulthood and its unique freedoms. Along with the privilege of greater freedom, however, comes greater responsibility, including caring for your own health for what may be the first time. Do you know how to stay healthy while away at school? What steps should you take to stay well?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the top tips to know in order to care for your body while in college:

1. Watch what you eat. Your diet plays a major role in how you feel day to day, but when you’re busy with a heavy class load, a hectic social calendar and other new activities, you might be tempted to grab whatever is fastest and easiest — even if it’s a candy bar. That’s why you need to decide now to prioritize a balanced diet. One great way to do this is by choosing to make more of your own food. When you shop for your own groceries and make simple, healthy meals at home, you can better control what you eat.

2. Drink lots of water. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Keep a re-usable water bottle with you, drink often and fill it up at drinking fountains on campus in order to keep refreshing your body’s water supply.

3. Stay active. Exercise is about much more than losing weight. The truth is, getting your body moving is important for everything from mental clarity to emotional stability. Whether you participate in pickup sports, join a gym or spend a big chunk of time each day walking all over campus, stay active.

4. Locate your nearest health clinic. Maybe you have an awful migraine from studying all night, or think you may have the flu. It’s important to know where the closest urgent care center or health clinic is in order to maintain optimal health. Your college will likely have this information on hand.

5. Get your sleep. When you’re facing high-pressure deadlines, upcoming tests or the opportunity to party all night, it’s all too easy to miss out on sleep in college — but don’t make this mistake! Missing sleep can mess with your brain function and increase headaches or even weight gain. Instead, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

6. Skip the drugs, drinks and smoking. When you want to stay healthy, choose to avoid drinking, drugs and smoking, all of which can damage your body over time. Skipping these substances helps reduce your risks for various diseases — both now and in the future.

7. Limit sugar and caffeine. Think chugging energy drinks or soda will give you the extra boost you need? Think again. As much as possible, skip these stimulants that typically make you crash a few hours after your temporary high.

8. Protect yourself in the sun. Heading to the beach with friends on spring break may be a college cliché, but it’s a fun one. Whenever you’re soaking in sunshine, however, make sure you take protective measures. Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it regularly. Likewise, skip the tanning beds completely as they can increase your skin cancer risks.

9. Have fun. There’s no denying stress is bad for your body, so do yourself a favor and find things to enjoy in college. Just as important as studying for tests and sticking to a budget is making time to unwind and relax. Whether it’s getting out with your friends for coffee or going for a walk, make time to de-stress. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.

When you’re young, you might not always feel the urgency for taking care of your health — but your college years are the perfect time to implement healthy habits that continue for the rest of your life! Set good patterns today so you can enjoy maximum energy and mental clarity well into the future.

This article was contributed by guest author Dr. Abhijit Shinde.

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Study Tricks to Get You Through College

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

You spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time in your college education. To make the most out of your college career, you should consider a few study tricks that will help you sail through smoothly.

Use School Resources
Colleges are geared toward successfully educating students. They have tons of educational resources available to you on campus. Some places you may want to look for resources include the library, student services, the school’s website, career center, study sessions, and peer tutoring services. By just asking, you can find a lot of services and free resources you haven’t taken advantage of yet.

Online Resources
There are many online resources that will make your education much easier. You can find classes for an online masters in organizational leadership or supplemental courses for your own major. Services range from online tutoring, to free classes on a variety of subjects from Saylor Academy, to managing your academic career with an app like iHomework. Just performing a google search for help may return some extremely useful web tools which are available to you around the clock.

Get to Know Your Professor
It may seem old fashioned, but talking to and getting to know your professors is a great tool professionally as well as academically. They are a wealth of knowledge, and are there to help you succeed. Getting to know each professor can give you insight on how they grade, what their expectations are, and they might even serve as a mentor to you and help guide you in your career path. You never know what great benefits you might receive from forming professional relationships.

Study Groups
Many students form study groups. If study groups are well-organized and efficient, they offer many benefits. Some of the benefits include seeing information from different perspectives, filling in learning gaps, no procrastinating due to a set time for studying, and learning to work cooperatively with others. Be sure you choose your study group wisely. If you find the group mostly chats and wastes time, you should search for a new one.

Be Prepared for Class and Take Comprehensive Notes
Completing homework and the required reading before class is critical. The lecture will be based on your assigned reading and the professor will highlight important information during class. You will understand the lecture more thoroughly if you go to class prepared. During lecture, your note-taking should become an art. You will rely on your notes to review for tests, so they must be comprehensive. If you still do not understand a concept during lecture, ask for clarification in class or through an email.

Use these tips, and you’ll be that much closer to success!

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

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5 Things I’ve Learned Halfway Through University

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Photo by uniinnsbruck on Flickr

Reaching the halfway point of my university career has been a bit scary. Those two years flew by and soon enough the next two years will be done as well. I find it important to reflect on the things I’ve learned throughout my first two years both in and out of the classroom, and in regards to university as a whole. More importantly, I believe it is essential to highlight the skills I have learned in regards to studying, and how newcomers to university can learn from previous mistakes that I’ve made. Having finished my second year of university and reflecting back on my time of studies, there are many things I feel should be highlighted for new students.

  1. Start the semester strong – Being able to do really well on those early midterms and essays makes a difference. Rather than being pressured to ace your final exam or essay, do well on the earlier work to reduce the stress you’ll have later on.
  2. Find YOUR best way to study – Not everyone works well in study groups or at the library; I know I didn’t. Finding the manner in which you work the best and sticking to it will help you excel in school. By the end of first year it may already be a routine!
  3. Manage your time for other activities – Constant studying will exhaust you and it’s important to do other things while on campus – playing sports, joining clubs, seeing friends, attending parties. Make sure to leave time for fun and don’t constantly think about what’s due next week.
  4. Get enough sleep – Especially for those living on residence, getting the proper amount of sleep can be difficult sometimes. Ensuring you’re well rested for lectures and not being lazy about attendance is good habit to keep throughout your four years. Don’t get too immersed into the party life and staying out late on school nights; your studies should still come first.
  5. Take advantage of the resources on campus – Every university, no matter their size, is equipped to help students deal with the problems they’re having. And even if you’re not in a pickle and just looking to find a job or some information, your school will have the right people there to help you.

I hope these tips help you get through your first two years of university and avoid some of the mistakes that I made. University is a great time – be sure to enjoy your stay!

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