How To Start The School Year Off Strong

How To Start The School Year Off Strong

15 tips and tricks that will prepare you to kick-off the school year right.
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I have now officially been in school for 17 (never-ending) years, and over the years I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to stay positive and organized for a successful school year. These are some things that have worked for me, so I thought I would share them.

1. Keep A Planner

Whether it is a physical notebook or on a program like Google calendars, plan out your schedule! This includes your classes, meetings, assignments, office hours and anything else you might remind yourself to do. This tip is so simple, yet incredibly useful to staying on top of things.

2. Find Your Best Way to Take Notes

Your optimal form of note-taking may be on your computer, hand-written, jotting down everything or short-handed bullet points of the major topics.

3. Write Down Your Goals (And How To Achieve Them)


At the beginning of the semester it is crucial to make realistic goals for yourself, along with a plan of action. Once you have some attainable goals, go ahead and actually write them down somewhere (I recommend the notes section of your phone) so that you can check up on your progress and reward yourself!

4. Change Up How You Study

There are so many ways to study, including making flash cards, looking back at notes, watching videos and listening to lectures. Do not be afraid to try something new and find what works best for your preferred learning style.

5. Find Your Ideal Study Spot

It is important to not only spread out your studying over an extended period of time, but also to study in a location where you know you can focus.

6. Get A Study Buddy

For each class you have, try to find a study buddy or form a study group that can meet before every exam. Personally, I think that learning from other students can be immensely valuable.

7. Know Your Limits

This can be taken in a lot of different ways. But what I mean is know when you cannot do anymore, whether it’s mentally, physically or emotionally — know your limits. It’s good to push yourself to achieve your goals, but your health should always be your priority.

8. Get Involved

The beginning of the school year is a great time to get involved in new clubs and organizations and meet new people. Plus, this will make it so that not all of your focus is on academics 24/7.

9. Do Things That Make You Feel Productive

Some days will be off, and that’s okay. But I find it really helpful to remain “productive” even on the days I don’t have it in me. For me this means getting things done that I’ll probably have to do eventually, such as going to work, exercising or doing laundry.

10. Get In Tune With Your Emotions

Notice the relationship between your emotions and patterns of behavior. When we evaluate actions through our emotions, it makes it easier to predict and either embrace or change how we behave (if so desired).

11. Forgive Yourself

Know that we all make mistakes. We are only human, and the most beneficial thing we can do is learn from our experiences.

12. Communicate

This one is pretty simple, but it’s really important to talk to your roommates, friends, family, and professors. I usually enjoy writing letters, Face Timing, or face-to-face communication, because they are more meaningful than texts and emails.

13. Say “Yes” More

Obviously stick to your morals and beliefs, but in general, try to say “yes” more. School provides us with so many opportunities, and you never know when you’ll be faced with something life-changing.

14. Don’t Take Anything Too Seriously

That exam, class, embarrassing moment or whatever it may be doesn’t matter as much as you think it does (at least in the long term).

15. Practice Gratitude

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, or what you want, enjoy the simple pleasures and joys that you do have. Every day is a gift, and no matter how much you have, you have something to be grateful for.

Cover Image Credit: Mobile Mag

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100 percent real" and that incoming freshman should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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