Author Archive | Stephanie C.

The Advantages of Getting Your License Before Going to University

Image by Gregg O'Connell on Flickr

Image by Gregg O’Connell on Flickr

You have just been accepted to college, and you’re daydreaming about your first day. Going to class, making friends, exploring the campus. But have you thought about how you’re going to get there? Now is the time to consider if you should be getting your driver’s license. Many people choose not to have a license because they live in the city and it’s less expensive to take public transportation than it is to pay for gas and insurance. However, not being able to drive can limit your freedom. It may be easier to live on your own with a driver’s license. Getting your license before college/university can be advantageous for the following reasons:

  • Safety – Taking public transportation can be risky. If you have night courses, you may feel unsafe taking the bus at late hours.
  • Moving or helping a friend move – Being able to drive makes it easier to borrow a truck or rent a U-Haul truck in the event you are moving or helping a friend move.
  • Partying – You’ll have more responsibility when out with friends as you can assign a designated driver.
  • Identification – A driver’s license is the most commonly accepted I.D. worldwide. You can present it when opening a bank account, going to a bar or club or applying for a passport.
  • Rite of passage – Many people look at getting a license as a milestone. It makes them feel proud, like an adult and gives them a sense of freedom.
  • Exploring the city – If you like day trips, having a license allows you to borrow or rent a car to explore the city you live in.
  • Convenience – Being forced to adhere to a bus or train schedule is not always practical. Having a license allows you the convenience of being able to go wherever you want at the time you want to.
  • Grocery shopping – Do you take a taxi or public transportation to carry your groceries home? That can become expensive. Driving can make it easier and a bit more affordable.
  • Significant other – If you have a partner that does not live with you, driving can make it much easier to see them more often. Let’s not forget you don’t have to worry about how you are going to get home – some buses stop running early in certain cities.
  • Sick family – If you are living at home with sick family, having a license makes it easier to attend to their needs, i.e. run errands for them or take them to doctor’s appointments.

Getting your license before college or university can make life more convenient. Although it is not crucial, it can make your college years much easier, so it’s worth considering!

0

How to Focus in Summer School

Image by Francisco Osorio on Flickr

Image by Francisco Osorio on Flickr

School can be tiresome. Exams, essays, assignments – none of it is ideal. However, no one needs to tell you that learning is beneficial to your future. It makes you more knowledgeable, enriches your life and helps you find a job. So in those gorgeous summer months, how does one focus in summer school?

All you have to do is make learning entertaining – and yes, there are many ways to do it. You can even put your own twist on it. Here are just some of the ways to make education fun:

  • Choose courses you’re interested in. If you can, try to choose courses that intrigue you. Summer is one of the hardest times to focus. The more interesting you find a course, the easier it will be for you to absorb facts, remember information and complete projects and assignments with gusto.
  • Listen to music when you’re studying. Studying can be tedious, but listening to music can make it fun. You may wish to do this when you’re completing assignments and essays as well. Keep in mind this can be distracting for some people, so our advice is to try it out once and see what effect it has on you.
  • Make friends. Approach people who you think you might share common interests with. Knowing you’ll see your friends will motivate you to wake up early in the morning for class. You may also wish to study with them, as it can make the process a little less stressful.
  • Explore the campus. Use your time in between classes to browse the shops, restaurants and bars available to you on campus. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for walks on your study breaks to clear your head.
  • Start an after school hangout routine. Once a week, arrange a spot to meet with your friends. You can grab a coffee, read over notes, go over textbook questions or simply enjoy yourselves.

Summer school is not that hard when you try to make it entertaining. Remember to choose courses that interest you, listen to music while completing tasks, make friends in your classes, arrange a weekly hangout with your classmates and make light of what the campus has to offer. This may even motivate you to wake up early in the morning and attend every class. Summer school doesn’t have to be a bore – you just have to make the most of it.

0

3 Ways to Eliminate Essay Anxiety

Image by Tim Riley on Flickr

Image by Tim Riley on Flickr

We all get it. You begin to write an essay, and you start panicking. Will I have enough time to do this? Will I get a good grade? You may even procrastinate because you’re bored. In reality, it’s not that hard to write an essay. The next time you start an essay, remember the following:

1) Make it fun. Listen to music. Drink coffee or Pepsi to keep you awake. Take a break to watch YouTube videos every now and then. Keep yourself motivated.

2) Do your research. One huge contributor to essay anxiety is lack of research. When you complete the researching process, you have practically written your whole essay. You’ll know what you want to say and how you need to say it. Follow guidelines and review your notes to make sure you’re on track.

3) Ask for help beforehand. If you typically have difficulty writing essays, ask a professor for help before you begin. Complete an essay outline before asking for help so you can cover any questions you need to ask. The longer you wait, the more you may be pressed for time afterwards. You don’t want to get a bad grade because you submitted your paper late.

Never get frustrated when writing an essay. Remember to breathe. There are many ways to ace your essay, so don’t fret. You can be a good essay writer if you just try.

0

Pros and Cons of Joining a Fraternity or Sorority in College

Image by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, Flickr

Image by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, Flickr

College years can be stressful. If you’re looking for something fun to do, you may consider joining a fraternity or sorority, where you get to make friends while attending great events, have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and connect with alumni networks. However, there can be some disadvantages too. Think carefully before joining a sorority or fraternity. Weigh the following pros and cons:

Pros

  • Some frats and sororities offer scholarships. University can be expensive, which is why it would be helpful to obtain a scholarship. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a fun way to earn a scholarship. It doesn’t take nearly as much effort as writing an essay.
  • You could get help finding a job. It is difficult to find a job these days. It could take a few months up to a few years to find one in today’s economy. It is beneficial to join a sorority or fraternity so you can build your contact network and find a job.
  • You could make lifelong friends. If you enjoy meeting new people, being part of a sorority or frat is a good way to do so. A membership with a fraternity or sorority would mean you have highly educated, social people right at your fingertips.

Cons

  • When joining a fraternity or sorority, you may have to deal with hazing. Some common hazing activities could potentially be disgusting or even illegal. Before signing up for a sorority or fraternity, you may wish to research them a bit further and find out if they have any hazing activities – and if you’re comfortable participating in them.
  • Membership Fees. On top of paying for tuition and books, you may have to pay to enter a sorority or frat. The average membership fee for a sorority is $1,280 and the average membership fee for a fraternity is $605. This can be costly when you’re living on your own and have other expenses to pay for.
  • Time Commitments. Sororities and fraternities demand much of your time. When your main priority is studying, this may be a barrier to academic achievement. You may wish to join a sorority or frat if you’re good at managing your time.

American musician Tom Petty once said,

I’ve learned one thing, and that’s to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax… You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends.

Joining a sorority or fraternity can be memorable, with lifelong friends and business contacts. Go ahead and sign up for one, but make sure you weigh the pros and cons first.

0

5 Tips to Effective Studying

Image by Steven S., Flickr

Image by Steven S., Flickr

Exams can be intimidating. There is so much to remember, and tricky questions tend to get you second-guessing yourself. Let’s not forget the pressure to get a good grade. It can be difficult to know what to memorize and what to skim over, but it is possible to make the most of your study time and ace your exam.

To study effectively, all you need is a combination of time management skills and discipline. You don’t need to spend too much time studying in order to successfully retain information (wait, what? I’ll explain), and discipline helps you to ask your professor the right questions, study the right topics and avoid distractions.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  1. Don’t cram. When you cram, you leave yourself little time to look over notes and textbook pages. This makes it highly unlikely that you will cover all the content required. It also isn’t guaranteed that you will be able to remember all that you read. Give yourself at least one week to study, spreading out your studying every day for a few hours.
  2. Take notes, if needed. It can be hard to grasp certain ideas or facts while studying. You may wish to jot these down multiple times. Then, attempt to write down the ideas on your own without looking at the page.
  3. Create acronyms to remember concepts. If you’re trying to remember a list of items, create an acronym to help you remember it. Start with a phrase that is easy to remember, then turn it into an acronym – a series of letters composed of the first letter of each word in the saying. It may help to choose a saying that rhymes.
  4. Avoid distractions. As hard as it may seem, don’t text, go on Facebook or take phone calls while studying. These are unnecessary uses of your time, and you may spend more time doing these things than intended. You’ll be surprised how much time you can pick up by eliminating these distractions.
  5. Ask your professor for help. If you’re really struggling with the course, it may be useful to ask your professor what subjects will be on the exam. Sometimes they may even provide copies of previous exams. Ask your professor to guide you with concepts you’re having trouble understanding.

Renowned astronaut and physicist Sally Ride once said,

Studying whether there’s life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there’s something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.

Although studying may be tiresome, it helps you to learn. More importantly, it is 100% necessary in earning a college degree. Don’t give up on studying. It is absolutely possible to ace your exam using some helpful tricks.

Florida: A Travel Review

Image by Trey Ratcliff, Flickr

Image by Trey Ratcliff, Flickr

I’ve travelled to a handful of places, but Florida beats them all – I’d have to say it’s my favourite place to vacation. Not only is it always sunny, but there are many tourist attractions to keep you occupied. Just some of these include Disney World, Universal Studios, Chocolate Kingdom, Crayola Experience and CSI: The Experience. And of course, if none of those satisfy you, you can always head to the beach.

The Weather

Florida is one of those places with stable temperatures – it is always warm, but not unbearably hot. It tends to be humid in the morning and dry in the afternoon. The temperature in Orlando, home of Disney World, ranges from 22° C to 33° C. It rarely rains, but when it does, it only lasts about 10 minutes.

The Food

There is a wide selection of food in Florida. I’ve never been stayed at a resort there, but I have been to many restaurants. The food is scrumptious, and the service is excellent. My favourite restaurant is Medieval Times. You have the opportunity to watch actors on horses battle while eating delicious food. The acting is quite amusing and makes for an eventful night, especially with a group.

Shopping

Shopping is much more affordable in Florida than in Canada. There are many malls and a good variety to choose from where you can find name brands at inexpensive prices.

The Main Attractions

Disney World:
Disney World has to be the most popular attraction in Florida. Meet Disney characters, go on roller coasters, eat at a venue of your choice, and watch fireworks. There are nine sections within Disney World:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Downtown Disney Area
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Disney World was highly enjoyable for me. The food was a bit pricey, but you will find that at any theme park. It was fun meeting Minnie Mouse and Rafiki from the Lion King (you don’t have to be under 10 to enjoy it!).

Universal Studios:
Universal Studios is one other popular tourist destination in Florida. You have the option of going on roller coaster rides or enjoying 3D virtual shows. The theme of each show and ride is a movie produced by Universal Pictures. Universal Studios has over 25 roller coasters, some of which are award-winning. If you get nauseous or panic easily, you may want to avoid these rides.

Florida is a great place to travel. From the sightseeing to the temperate weather to delicious food and great shopping, it’s a fantastic place for students to get away for spring break or a summer vacation. I give Florida a 9/10.

Make Florida your next travel destination! You won’t regret it.

How to Deal With a Heavy Workload

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

 
 
Post-secondary years are stressful for most. There are assignments, exams and readings all piled on top of each other, not to mention juggling a part-time job for some. It can be hard to balance all your duties – but it is not impossible.

All it takes to accomplish your goals is some inventive thinking. It allows you to perform duties on tight deadlines, complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, and have more time for yourself. Most importantly, you’ll be less stressed. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips:

  1. Skim through the readings.
    Read quickly, and avoid overthinking certain passages. Highlight and make notes in your book (if it’s not a library book). This way, you can refer back to your book if you need to, but avoid spending too much time taking notes. Make your notes brief phrases rather than full sentences to save yourself some time.
  2.  

  3. Try to schedule time in advance to complete homework and study.
    Put away a few hours here and there to study and complete assignments, especially when you have to work. Have readings to do? Do them on the bus or subway. You’d be amazed how much you can complete while commuting.
  4.  

  5. Eliminate distractions.
    Put away your cell phone, stay off social networking and avoid instant messenger when doing homework. You may just accomplish more than you expected.
  6.  

  7. Take fewer courses.
    When you are selecting your courses, try not to take on an unreasonable load. See what has worked for you in the past, and go from there. If this is your first year of school, take a look at the required credits per year for your program. You may even wish to see an academic advisor to help you choose the right amount of courses. They may be able to help you choose the right combination of courses that range from lightweight to a heavier workload.
  8.  

  9. Take time off work to complete assignments, if you need to.
    If you’ve tried all of the above and you still aren’t finishing your work, take time off from your job. This should ease your stress and give you ample time to do your homework. Try not to do this too often, though – you don’t want to get in trouble or get fired.

 
Managing your workload while in school can be tiresome. By avoiding distractions, skimming through readings, assigning time for homework, taking no more than the required number of courses, and taking time off work when necessary, you can reduce stress. Don’t dwell on your workload. Do something about it.

How to Succeed in the Workplace

Image by Phil Whitehouse, Flickr

Image by Phil Whitehouse, Flickr

A new workplace can seem intimidating for some people. Fitting in, getting a good performance review, maintaining a good reputation – the pressure to be the perfect employee can be overwhelming. On top of that, one has to ensure he or she doesn’t inspire any client complaints or get into trouble for minor things like not following dress code and breaking unwritten rules. It can be difficult to stay in your boss’ good books. That may be why it’s called “work” – no pun intended.

There are a few things you can do to be regarded as a good employee. They require discipline and forward thinking, but they are not too hard to pull off. Just keep your goal of being an exceptional employee in mind. Here are some tips on how to wow your boss:

  • Avoid mistakes. Listen carefully to what your superiors tell you, write it down when necessary, leave post-it notes for yourself and follow schedules. It may be handy to keep a wall or pocket calendar to organize yourself. Keeping a “to-do” list also helps.
  • Review policies and guidelines regularly. Whenever possible, take a look at company policies and procedures. Keeping yourself up-to-date and aware of company policies will prevent you from getting in trouble. It may seem easy to avoid corrective action, however, company rules are usually more complex than you would think. When you first begin work, it is important to ask a coworker what the unwritten rules are – if any – so you don’t land in hot water.
  • Ensure you get along with your coworkers. It’s important to mingle with your colleagues. It is an absolute must to attend company events. If you don’t, you risk looking shy or antisocial. Most importantly, don’t instigate conflict. Keep your relationships professional, even though some people may be difficult.
  • Don’t talk about inappropriate things. Avoid bringing up things that are too personal at the lunch table. You don’t want to be regarded as overly emotional. Avoid inappropriate topics and swearing. No matter how close you get with someone at work, you never want to share details that are too personal.
  • Read or watch the news. News is a regular topic of discussion in most workplaces. You are expected to stay informed of current events. Employers look for cultured, up-to-date workers when hiring.

It is hard to impress a boss, but with discipline and forward thinking, you can accomplish it. Simply remember to get along with your colleagues, read policies and guidelines regularly, avoid mistakes, pay attention to the news and avoid inappropriate topics. When you follow these precautions, you are on the way to success at work.

How to Have a Healthy and Happy 2015

 
 

Image by JD Caitlin Childs, Flickr

Image by JD Caitlin Childs, Flickr

 
 
2015 has just begun. As part of your New Year’s resolution, you may have promised yourself to have an even better year than the last. Now, the question is how. And it’s not hard! All it comes down to is health and happiness.

Having good health isn’t complicated. You don’t need to overexert yourself at the gym or become a vegetarian. Being happy doesn’t have to involve winning the lottery either. There are a few steps to enjoying the year ahead, and they are simple to follow. Here’s how to start:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • Meditate. Not only is meditation relaxing, but it also lowers blood pressure. It increases the production of serotonin, a chemical that improves mood balance. Simply close your eyes and breathe, and you will start feeling the benefits. You may wish to get a short meditation guide for your computer or phone.
  •  

  • Work out. Working out releases endorphins in the body, which reduces stress levels. It goes without saying that exercise improves one’s self-confidence, due to pride in athletic abilities. Let’s not forget that exercise prevents cardiovascular disease. 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity are recommended per week, or 1.25 hours of vigorous activity. I know you’re likely saying “ugh” at this point, but it could really be as simple as joining a sports team or completing a 10-minute routine every morning.
  •  

  • Set a few goals for yourself. One of the keys to being happy is being productive and successful. Set a few small goals for yourself throughout the year. You will be amazed at the feeling of delight once you achieve them.
  •  

  • Eat healthy. Eating the right foods has been proven to improve your mood. A new European study concludes that eating junk food regularly increases one’s risk of depression by 51%. Eating junk food and fast food once in a while shouldn’t dampen your spirits, though. Try eating in more, limiting sweets, and be conscious of the unhealthy snacks you do ingest.
  •  

  • Surround yourself with positive people. The key to being happy is being positive. A positive attitude will get you through almost any situation. It’s important that your social circle is as positive as you are. You don’t want to be brought down by Debbie Downers.

Having a healthy and happy 2015 is all based on your mindset. You don’t have to spend tons of money to be happy or become a professional athlete to be healthy. All it comes down to is accomplishing a few realistic goals, eating healthy, exercising, meditating and having a positive group of friends. Happy 2015!

The Best Christmas Movies to Watch

Image by JD Hancock, Flickr

Image by JD Hancock, Flickr

The Christmas season is all about hot chocolate, candy canes and gingerbread men. But it wouldn’t be complete without Christmas movies. Christmas movies make a great break from studying. They’re perfect for get-togethers with family and friends. Let’s not forget they can be used for entertaining purposes on Christmas Day.

Christmas movies help you get in the Christmas spirit, as they are usually feel-good movies. And of course they are entertaining, making them a good way to pass the time. There are many Christmas movies out during the holiday season. Which ones are the best to watch?

1) Christmas with the Kranks: This film stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. They play a couple who decide to take a vacation to escape the hassle of the holidays. Their unconventional decision has their neighbours in a frenzy, as the Kranks usually hold a Christmas Eve party.

2) Home Alone: 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind by his family who are travelling to France for Christmas. As the family struggles to find Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), he is forced to ward off burglars who are attracted to his lavish home. Kevin schemes to scare away the enemy, filling his house with outlandish traps for the thieves.

3) Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas: In the town of Whoville, everyone loves Christmas. The Grinch, a creature who resides just north of Whoville, despises Christmas and the Whos. He occasionally pulls harmful pranks on them. For this reason, all the Whos hate him. The Grinch, played by Jim Carrey, attempts to stop Christmas celebrations.

4) Four Christmases: Kate (Reese Witherspoon) and Brad (Vince Vaughan) plan a Christmas vacation. They pretend they are doing charity work overseas to escape their dysfunctional families. To their surprise, their flight is cancelled and they are captured on a news channel. Their brief television appearance alerts their families that they will be home for the holidays. Brad and Kate are forced to make Christmas Day visits to all four of their divorced parents.

5) Elf: This movie tells the tale of an elf seeking his biological family. The so-called elf crawls into Santa’s bag as a baby, and the oblivious Santa Claus takes him back to the North Pole. The elf, Buddy, is then raised by “Papa Elf.” Buddy is tasked with the duty of saving Christmas by getting people to believe in Santa.

You may find yourself with nothing to do this holiday season. You may be tired of the regular celebrations. You may be lacking company. You don’t have to be bored, though. Watch a Christmas movie to entertain yourself. You may just be glad you did.