By Sarah Ta
[3 minute read]
Depending on where you went to high school and how academically challenging it was, you will either be super prepared for the amount of homework the average college student has or you will be overwhelmed by the first week and spend the rest of the semester playing catch-up with your assignments. I was definitely the second type. My high school did not prepare me at all for the amount of work college would give me and I spent my entire first semester trying to adjust. Now that I’ve gone through two full semesters at USC, I’ve learned some helpful tips on how to stay on top of my work. If you are also struggling with balancing your workload, keep reading for some studying methods that might make your academic life a little easier.
The first tip I have is to get your sleep schedule back on track. It is common to stay up late one night to work on a paper and then end up falling asleep in class the next day. Unfortunately, this causes you to have even more work to do. This forces you to stay up late again and before you know it, your sleep schedule is backward. Establishing a regular sleep schedule will not only help you feel more like a human again but will also improve your productivity in the long run because you will have more energy and be able to absorb information better. It might seem impossible with all the work you have but trust me, it is possible and will make you feel a million times better.
The second tip I have is to split your free time into just working or just relaxing. For example, you have two hours in between classes. You can either work during those two hours or relax, but only choose one. If you choose to work, silence your phone and devote the entire time to just working. If you choose to relax, find a stress-free activity to do and let your mind relax. Instead of having your work open in front of you but not actually doing any of it, choosing either to work or relax allows you to devote your entire focus on one action and boost productivity. However, it is important to make sure that your choice to work and to relax is balanced, or that can result in other problems.
Continue reading Adjusting to the College Workload
By Stephanie Wicburg
[4 minute read]
Coming to a new place and figuring out how to survive classes is a challenge that all incoming college students face. It involves having to adjust to different teaching styles and the various contents of whatever classes you sign up for. You might also have to get over a couple of months of not using your brain nearly as much because you were on summer break. Classes can be hard, but they are something we’re all used to. Even if the environment is new, school is something familiar to all of us. Living in a new place, however, and learning how to coexist with people other than your family is a wholly different challenge.
Roommates in college can either be a great adjustment or a significant challenge. If you’re not used to living with people outside of your family or you are accustomed to living by yourself (which is true for most people), there might be a few moments of rude awakening for everyone involved as people figure out how to be functional individuals in an environment with more than one person.
Many people find lifelong friends in the people they end up being roommates with. I have personally heard wonderful stories about people who get randomly assigned to roommates. Those people didn’t know anyone that they might want to room with and ended up forming extremely strong bonds with their roommate. In some cases, roommates can coexist without bonding or disliking each other, and in some other cases, roommate pairs end up with stress and disaster. So how do you find that seemingly all too common best friend that many find in their college roommate? If you are randomly assigned a roommate, you can’t necessarily control if you will “click” with that person, but there are plenty of ways to foster a relationship in order to prevent the worst-case scenarios we all hope to avoid. I have listed some tips below that you can use to establish a good connection with your new roommate:
Continue reading Roommates and the College Experience
- Reach out on social media. If you have never said hello to your roommate before you meet them in person, chances are you aren’t going to be very close with them.
- Be open. If you go into living with an entirely new person with a ton of expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
- Communicate with your roommate about the things that concern you. If there is something bothering you, say it. The roommates who become really good friends are the ones who can talk to each other about issues in a respectful manner and work on them together. Do not let things that bother you fester up inside of you or you will start to feel resentment rather than a growing friendship.
- Be considerate. Be aware that you and your roommate might come from very different backgrounds, and respect each other’s boundaries. Maybe even make an effort to explore each other’s cultural differences and perspectives if there are any.
- Do fun things together every once in a while. No relationship, friend or otherwise, will work if you never do anything fun together. Go to Disneyland or Chinatown or see a movie. There are plenty of things you can find to do that will help you and your roommate share happy and fun memories to build that close bond.
By Eun Soo Jackie Kim
Happy finals season! As the fall semester approaches its endpoint, classes are in full swing, extracurricular activities are becoming more demanding, and the constant search for a career path is becoming more nebulous. These factors of school life, coupled with pressure from society, family obligations, and the desperate attempt to maintain a social life while squeezing in at least a handful of hours of sleep at night are enough to push a student overboard. An important aspect of maintaining a healthy school life comes to the spotlight particularly during the midterm season, as academic, social, and emotional pressures start to build up: mental health.
Although at a school like USC, physical health is frequently emphasized and encouraged, oftentimes, mental health is forgotten. As an intangible, invisible aspect of a person’s well-being, it is understandable why mental health is not at the forefront of health discussions. However, just like working out at the gym, or going for a quick jog around the neighborhood, your mental health needs consistent exercise too, especially during such a stressful time like now! Follow these tips listed below to take a step back, relax, and focus on why and where your mind is overworked, so that you can come back refreshed, ready to tackle the challenge of a balanced college lifestyle.
- When you’re feeling less confident, write out a list of accomplishments and achievements from the past year that you can reflect on and be proud of yourself for. You’ll start to realize how long the list will get.
- Build up a support group who will be there for you when times are tough. They don’t need to be physically present, but it’d be nice to reach out for a quick phone call, or a nice cup of coffee when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- During particularly tough days, begin the day with some stretching or a five-minute meditation. Some links to helpful resources can be found at Mindful USC’s website: http://mindful.usc.edu/
- Treat yourself to a mental break at least once a day by going out to your favorite ice cream place, going for quick run, watching a short TV show, with no distractions (e.g. homework) at hand.
- Set boundaries for yourself—USC is an amazing university so many resources and opportunities, but as one individual, it is impossible to do be involved in everything. Understand this, and allow yourself to breathe and focus on activities that matter the most to you.
- Write out a prioritization list for the week by listing out all the things you need to get done, and when you will get them done by. I found that a week long list is neither too short nor too long, and allows me to focus on the details but also the big picture very well!
- There’s always going to be someone better or someone worse than you in everything you do—come to peace with this fact, and allow yourself to excel in your own way.
- Realize when things are too challenging to a point when you need help—the USC health center is always available for therapy appointments, and they will be happy to direct you to additional resources near to campus as well.
- Keep in mind that mental and physical health go hand in hand. A little bit of exercise can be an immense mood booster, and a little mindfulness practice can do wonders for your physical activities. Try to remember the duality and balance.
Featured image from WallpaperSafari
Continue reading Mental Health Exercises